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Tag: Attorney General

FBI Director: Terrorism Attacks in Paris Have No Links to U.S.

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

The Paris attacks that killed 129 people and wounded hundreds of others had “no connection at all” to the U.S., FBI Director James Comey said Thursday.

Speaking at a briefing with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Comey dismissed any notion that that U.S. is the target of any specific or credible attacks, the USA Today reports.

Still, he emphasized, the FBI stepped up surveillance of dozens of potential suspects who could launch an attack.

Lynch added that the U.S. won’t be intimidated by terrorists.

“We will not let our actions be overtaken by fear,” Lynch said, referring to ISIS operatives as “merchants of violence.”

“They want us to live in fear, and we refuse,” the attorney general said.

AG Lynch Says No Data Supports FBI Director’s Comments on ‘Ferguson Effect’

camera policeBy Steve Neavling

Attorney General Loretta Lynch joined the debate over the so-called “Ferguson effect,” saying there’s no data to show that crime is on the rise because of criticism over police tactics, CNN reports. 

“While certainly there might be anecdotal evidence there, as all have noted, there’s no data to support it,” Lynch said in an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The comments come a month after FBI Director James Comey said officers were reluctant to enforce the law at times because of viral videos of cops making arrests.

“In today’s YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime? Are officers answering 911 calls but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns?” he asked in a speech at the University of Chicago Law School, his alma mater.

“I don’t know whether this explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year. And that wind is surely changing behavior.”

Lynch’s comments were similar to President Obama’s administration.

“The available evidence at this point does not support the notion that law enforcement officers are shying away from fulfilling their responsibilities,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a daily briefing soon after Comey’s remarks.

“The evidence we’ve seen so far doesn’t support the contention that law enforcement officials are somehow shirking their responsibility, and in fact you’ve seen law enforcement leaders across the country indicating that’s not what’s taking place,” he said.

Justice Department to Begin Tallying Number of Killings by Police Nationwide

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

By Steve Neavling

For the first time, the federal government is tallying the number of killings by police around the country.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a pilot program Monday to begin an open-source system to accurately account for every death at the hands of American law enforcement, the Guardian reports. 

The move comes after activists and lawmakers have called on the federal government to keep better track of the police killings.

The tracking program has begun but will be fully active at the beginning of 2016.

The Bureau pf Justice Statistics will run the program.

Government Lawyer: Don’t Discipline Border Patrol for Erasing Videotapes

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling

The lawyer for federal government acknowledged that Border Patrol erased videotapes that captured allegedly deplorable conditions at several Arizona detention centers but urged a judge not to discipline the agency, the Arizona Capitol Times reports. 

Assistant Attorney General Sarah Fabian said the agency was under no obligation to save the recordings is taking “Herculean efforts to comply at great expense to the agency, both financially and in man hours.”

She added that the recordings are “being preserved to the fullest extent possible in light of technical challenges.

The videotapes are at the center of a lawsuit by immigration rights group who claim Border Patrol was confining people to inhumane conditions.

Judge Orders Pennsylvania Attorney Gen. Kathleen Kane to Stand Trial

Kathleen G. Kane/Twitter

Kathleen G. Kane/Twitter

By Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff

A Montgomery County judge on Monday ordered Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane to stand trial on criminal charges after a hearing in which one of Kane’s most trusted aides testified against her, and the judge repeatedly rejected her legal arguments.

Prosecutors say Kane, a Democrat who is the state’s top law enforcement officer, broke the law by orchestrating a leak to a newspaper reporter in a bid to embarrass a foe, and then lied about it under oath. Using Kane’s testimony before the grand jury that investigated the leak, prosecutors attempted to show that she repeatedly lied in an effort to cover up her actions.

They called David Peifer, a special agent in the Attorney General’s Office, who was a member of Kane’s inner circle. Peifer, the first witness to take the stand, described meeting with Kane in March 2014 and giving her information she is charged with leaking to the press.

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FBI Launches Investigation into Pennsylvania Attorney General

Kathleen G. Kane/Twitter

Kathleen G. Kane/Twitter

By Steve Neavling

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has found herself on the other side of the law.

After state authorities began investigating her over an allegedly shady deal with a union and trip to Haiti, the FBI is making its own inquiry, The Philadelphia Inquiry reports. 

Kane is under investigation following allegations that she offered a better contract to union officials in her office if they supported her embattled chief of staff. Investigators also are looking into how she paid for a trip to Haiti last year.

She also is accused of leaking information to embarrass a critic and then lied under oath about it.

It wasn’t immediately clear how involved the FBI was, and a spokesman for the FBI office in Philadelphia declined to comment.

Investigators: DeKalb County Officials ‘Rotten to the Core’ with Corruption

DeKalb_County_Georgia_Incorporated_and_Unincorporated_areas_Atlanta_Highlighted Map_of_Georgia_highlighting_DeKalb_CountyBy Steve Neavling

DeKalb County government is “rotten to the core,” investigators said, outlining allegations of bribery, theft of government property and corruption, 

“The misconduct starts at the top and has infected nearly every department we have looked at,” wrote the investigators, former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde. “Expenses range from the petty to the absurd.”

Investigators called the findings “stunning” but declined to identify suspects until the report was finalized.

From cruises to the Bahamas to a Christmas tree, county officials are accused of using tax dollars to buy a variety of services and items.

Eric Holder: Plea Deal Possible to Bring Back NSA Leaker Snowden

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department could make a deal to convince NSA leaker Edward Snowden to return to the U.S. after he fled in 2013 following the shocking release of secret surveillance documents.

That’s according to former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who spoke to Yahoo News about the issue.

Holder said the U.S. likely would be interested in striking a deal with the whistleblower and even conceded that Snowden’s document leak “spurred a necessary debate” on surveillance.

“I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists.”

But current AG Loretta Lynch didn’t seem as open to a deal.

“This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed,” Lynch spokeswoman Melanie Newman said in an email.