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Archive for February 10th, 2015

FBI Investigating Voter Fraud, Financial Mismanagement in The Bronx

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating voter fraud and financial mismanagement of politicians in The Bronx, the New Work Post reports.

The probe comes at a time when Albany’s power shifted to Bronx politicians after Sheldon Silver stepped down as speaker of the New York Assembly following his arrest by the FBI.

Replacing him was Carl Heastie, a Bronx political powerhouse.

The target of the probe, however is unclear, but the Post reported that the investigation was prompted, at least partially, by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

“I’m hearing that one document turned over to Bharara shows that some candidates in certain Bronx districts got more votes than the number of voters who went into the booths,” the Post’s John Crudele wrote.

“There is also a question about the use of campaign funds for personal purposes, a source tells me,” wrote Crudele. “Stay tuned. This could get interesting quickly.”

Puerto Rico Man Charged with Threatening U.S. Attorney from Prison

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Puerto Rico man has been arrested and charged with threatening a U.S. Attorney while in jail, the FBI said Monday.

Jose Villafane-Cotto was charged last week with mailing threatening communication and threatening a federal official.

He is accused of threatening U.S. Attorney Rose Emilia Rodriguez Velez of the District of Puerto Rico in a letter.

“I want to inform the federal court that Rosa Emilia Rodriguez has a few days to announce her resignation or she will pay with her life,” the letter reads in Spanish.

The return address was the Pomce Correctional Facilities, where Villafane-Cotto has been lodged.

Villafane-Cotto also is accused of making threatening phone calls. In one, he allegedly said, ““Rosa Emilia, it’s me, Jose Villafane Cotto; remember I am after you and I’m searching for you. Please remember that. Don’t think that because I’m inside I can’t be outside. I’ll leave you with that. I know where you are and where you are going. I am not going to tell you anything else. I left you a very clear message. I hope you have received my letters. In an alerted war, nobody dies.”

Second-in-Command Ousted at Secret Service Days Before House Testimony

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just months after Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was forced out of her job, the second-ranking official was stepping down, the Secret Service said Monday.

The Washington Post reports that Deputy Director Alvin “A.T.” Smith was ousted just three days before he was to testify during a House oversight committee about spending cuts and officer training.

Smith, 56, has served in the position for three years, overseeing the day-to-day operations.

Smith has been offered another position in Homeland Security.

“His contributions to the Agency have been invaluable,” the Secret Service’s acting director, Joseph P. Clancy, said in a statement.

Other Stories of Interest


Records: FBI Spied on Numerous African American Authors, Scholars for Decades

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and its notoriously paranoid director J. Edgar Hoover spied on prominent African American writers for decades, monitoring their activities and critiquing their work.

The Guardian reports that newly declassified documents from the FBI show extensive surveillance of black writers and scholars, including Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Claude McKay.

The records were obtained by William Maxwell, an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who was shocked when the FBI turned over 1,884 pages of documents on 51 well-known black writers. His request included 106 black writers, which means nearly half were monitored by the feds.

“I suspected there would be more than a few,” said Maxwell. “I knew Hoover was especially impressed and worried by the busy crossroads of black protest, leftwing politics, and literary potential. But I was surprised to learn that the FBI had read, monitored, and ‘filed’ nearly half of the nationally prominent African American authors working from 1919 (Hoover’s first year at the Bureau, and the first year of the Harlem Renaissance) to 1972 (the year of Hoover’s death and the peak of the nationalist Black Arts movement). In this, I realised, the FBI had outdone most every other major institution of US literary study, only fitfully concerned with black writing.”

Maxwell is revealing the findings in a book entitled, “FB Eyes: How J Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature.” The book hits the shelves on Feb. 18.

The book says the surveillance was prompted by Hoover’s “personal fascination with black culture.”

What was Hoover afraid of?

“Hoover was exercised by what he saw as an emerging alliance between black literacy and black radicalism,” Maxwell said.

“Then there’s the fact that many later African American writers were allied, at one time or another, with socialist and communist politics in the U.S.”