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Tag: attorney general eric holder

Justice Department Kicks Off Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Month

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

There was a time in Washington where such an event would have been unheard of. That’s all changed.

Attorney General Eric Holder kicked off  the Justice Department’s annual LGBT Pride Month Program on Wednesday, celebrating contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) employees as well as the civil rights gains made across the country.

Highlights of the event’s honors, according to a press release included:

  • Keynote speaker Chai Feldblum was the first openly lesbian Commisioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, whom Holder described as an “advocate, a law professor, a public servant, and a pioneer.”
  • The James R. Douglass Award was presented to Diana Flynn –Chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section for raising awareness about and addressing issues facing LGBT employees in the Justice Department.
  • The Roemer Award recognized legal teams from the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, and student plaintiffs for resolving harassment of middle and high school students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota.

Holder said to the crowd, “we have made meaningful, once-unimaginable progress in recent years. And we come together at an exciting moment…But there can also be little doubt that, when it comes to making good on the promise of equality for every American, the hard work is far from over.”

To read the Attorney General’s entire speech, click here.

 

Attorney General Eric Holder Honors 362 Fallen Peace Officers at Annual Candlelight Vigil

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, photo nleomf.org

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

While most of us were celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder commemorated the service of fallen peace officers in an annual candlelight vigil, as part of National Police Week, reports the Justice Dept and PR Newswire.

Each May 13, fallen officers’ newly engraved names are formally dedicated  and read aloud at The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC.

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to the crowd that typically draws about 20,000 officers and supporters:

“As we lift up these brave individuals – and the nearly 20,000 others whose names are etched into these walls – we also pledge to remember their stories. We honor their service and sacrifice. And we affirm that – although they are missing from this crowd of heroes tonight, in both memory and spirit they are still with us. Their selfless actions continue to guide and inspire us. And – in each of the law enforcement professionals gathered here, and in the work of our nation’s Department of Justice – the mission that became the cause of their lives goes on.”

To read more click here.

Rep. Issa Announces Investigation into DEA Letting Money Flow to Cartels

By Allan Lengel and Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)is attacking Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. once again, this time for a DEA operation that allowed money to flow to the Mexican drug cartels.

In a press release issued Monday, Issa announced that he was investigating the matter, which was highlighted in a front page story in the New York Times on Monday.

In a letter to Holder, he said he had been investigating this “reckless tactics” in Operation Fast and Furious, and he was none too happy to see it being done with money “walking” to the cartels. ATF’s Fast and Furious operation encouraged gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers” or middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the cartels.

“The existence of such a program again calls your leadership into question,” Issa wrote in the letter to Holder. “The managerial structure you have implemented lacks appropriate operational safeguards to prevent the implementation of such dangerous schemes. The consequences have been disastrous.”

DEA agents have laundered or smuggled–or, “let walk”–millions of dollars in drug proceeds in an effort to trace the money to the end recipients, reports the New York Times. The DEA sought to understand how cartels moved their money, where assets were kept and, ultimately, who the leaders were. Money was put into trafficker accounts or shell accounts set up by agents, according to the Times.

The DEA said the operations began in Mexico only within the past few years, but similar operations have been used internationally before. The controversial tactic lets cartels continue their activities while the investigation is ongoing, and raises serious some questions about the agency’s effectiveness, diplomacy and Mexican sovereignty and the distinction between surveilling and facilitating crime, the Times reported.

Former DEA officials reject any comparison between the laundering operation and the gun-walking program Fast and Furious, saying that money poses far less a threat to public safety and can lead more directly to the top ranks of cartels, the Times reports.

Atty Gen. Holder Says 12,000 Cops to be Laid Off This Year

ticklethewire.com

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

CHICAGO —   Times are tough.

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder brought that point home Monday morning as he spoke to a large audience at the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago about the state of law enforcement in the country as departments face  budget cuts.

Holder said nearly 12,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be laid off by the end of this year.

“Of course – as cities, states, and counties confront once-in-a-century financial constraints – this has never been more difficult,” said Holder.  “Across the country, mayors, sheriffs, and chiefs have been asked – not only to do more with less – but also to make painful budgetary cuts.

Holder, citing a recent economic outlook report conducted by the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Strategies (COPS), said nationwide that law enforcement agencies have almost 30,000 unfilled vacancies–the first-ever national decrease in law enforcement positions.

These challenges are not insurmountable, he continued.

“Block by block, city by city, department by department, the Administration is determined – and I am determined – to help build capacity, to enable our law enforcement partners to make the most of precious resources, and to encourage their most promising and effective public safety efforts,” he said.

Holder also noted that last month COPS Director Bernard Melekian announced more than $240 million in grants, which will support the hiring and retention of more than a thousand officers across the nation.

NY Terror Case Ruling Likely to Stir Debate Over Use of Civilian Courts

terrorismBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

A last-minute ruling Wednesday  by a federal judge blocking the government from using a key witness in a major terrorism case is expected to heat up the already contentious debate over whether to use civilian courts in such cases, legal experts say.

“It will certainly fuel the debate,” said former New York federal prosecutor Anthony Barkow, executive director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at the New York University School of Law. “The question is whether a military commission would have reached the same conclusion.”

The debate is likely to center around whether prosecutors are more limited in what they can introduce into evidence in civilian courts as opposed to a military venue, and whether the governments should take such risks.

The three-page written ruling by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan came on the day trial was to begin in New York for Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is accused of conspiring in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

To read more click here.