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Tag: entertainment

Late-Night Comedians Poke Fun at Sessions’ Selective Memory

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ hazy, selective memory during testimony to the House Judiciary Committee created a lot material for late-night comedians.

When asked questions about Trump’s campaign and ties to Russia, Sessions often responded, “I don’t recall.”

“There were so many meetings about collusion, I’ve got the collusion confusion. It’s like brain fever with the vapors at the same time. I do believe,” “The Late Show” Stephen Colbert said.

“I’m starting to get a little worried here. Is something wrong with Jeff Sessions? Did he get hit by a big coconut on his way into the chamber?” he added.

“The Tonight’s Show” host Jimmy Fallon joked about Sessions’ memory.

“At one point he was questioned about his stance on marijuana. You know, ’cause it’s a little odd when a guy’s anti-weed, but seems to forget every conversation he’s every had,” Fallon said.

Trevor Noah, host of the “Daily Show,” illustrated how Trump’s international policies allowed the China to become the most powerful nation in the world, surpassing the U.S.

Oscar-Winning Director Sues Justice Department for Public Records of Her Airport Datainments

Laura Poitras

Laura Poitras

By Steve Neavling

Oscar-winning Laura Poitras is suing the Justice Department and other federal agencies after they have denied her access to public records documenting the dozens of times she said she has been questioned and searched at airports, Variety reports. 

The “Citizenfour” director claims in the lawsuit that she has been detained every time she entered the country from 2006 to 2012 to work on her documentary.

Fed up with being targeted, she filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain records about those incidents.

She said that her requests have been virtually ignored.

Church of Scientology Faces Controversy Over Latest Abuse Allegations

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The Church of Scientology, which boasts such members as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is once again steeped in controversy, thanks to a magazine article that cites numerous allegations of abusive behavior and gross misconduct.

Author Lawrence Wright writes in The New Yorker magazine that ex-members told him of physical and psychological abuse and how the church brought “escapees back” through emotional, spiritual or psychological pressure and physical force if necessary.

The church did not immediately respond today to AOL News for comment but denied the allegations in a statement, according to NBC News.

The New Yorker also says the allegations have been the subject of an FBI probe. In December 2009, FBI agent Tricia Whitehill of the Los Angeles, who worked on the human trafficking squad, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the agency’s Clearwater office about “abuse,” the magazine reported. The church’s spiritual headquarters is based in Clearwater.

The author cites two sources in the FBI who “assured me that the case remains open.” However, a federal law enforcement source told AOL News the investigation has fallen short and no criminal charges are expected to be filed. Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, declined comment.

To read more click here.

Movie Depicting Hoover as Having Gay Affair Rankles Some in FBI

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The bulldog-like mug of J. Edgar Hoover has long been synonymous with the FBI, a world-renowned law enforcement agency forever hyper-sensitive about its public image. Still, Hoover’s legend has taken its lumps over the years.

Now comes the latest: an upcoming movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover, in which the iconic G-man reportedly has a romantic affair with FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson, his constant companion and alter ego.

Word of the movie — with the working title “J. Edgar” and slated for release later this year — is already stirring feelings among current and former FBI agents and employees, and raises the question: What does the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover mean to today’s FBI?

“Obviously it upsets me when he’s commonly portrayed wearing a dress or having an alleged relationship with Clyde Tolson,” says Terry Booth, a retired FBI agent who works for the bureau as a contract employee for its Law Enforcement Online program. “There are those who choose to believe it and those who choose not to. I think 99 percent of the agents don’t believe it.”

Some agents don’t care how Hoover is sexually portrayed in the movie. But there are plenty of others who do, who admire Hoover and feel his reputation is being unfairly besmirched as head of an agency that is still considered conservative and male dominated.

Whatever the case, there are those who say the FBI has moved on.

Leonardo DiCaprio/photo from his website

“There are certainly people who are protective of his image,” says former FBI official Mike Mason, who left the bureau in 2007 as executive assistant director at headquarters. “As to his entire legacy, I don’t know how much time agents today think about it. I think the FBI has grown beyond the shadow of Mr. Hoover.”

It is certainly not the first time agents have seen Hoover portrayed in a fashion they find less than flattering. There have been articles and books and YouTube videos portraying him as a sexist and carrying on an affair with Tolson — and yes, even being a cross-dresser. In his later years, he was accused of overstepping his bounds, harassing political dissidents, building files on enemies and becoming far too powerful.

But a movie — which can sometimes have broader impact these days than print in shaping public opinion — has some current and former agents and employees uneasy.

Greg Stejskal, a retired 31-year veteran of the FBI and a columnist for the website, says Hoover should get credit for creating a first-rate law enforcement agency that lives on today.

“I think most of my generation and prior to that think Hoover has been done a disservice,” said Stejskal, who concedes that Hoover was far from perfect.

“He’s been vilified in the media, in Hollywood,” Stejskal said. “Unfortunately, he’s not around to defend himself. I think he’s blamed for a lot of things. But people forget things like the wiretaps on Martin Luther King were signed off by Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the Kennedy brothers sat around and listened to some of the tapes, and they didn’t complain then.

“If in fact the reports are based on fact and he’s going to be portrayed as having a sexual relation with Clyde Tolson — or alluding to it — I don’t think that’s fair. There’s no evidence. I suspect Hoover was asexual and married to the bureau. I hate to see the new generation take this as fact.”

Hoover first became director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924 and 11 years later helped found the FBI, which he headed up until his death on May 2, 1972, at age 77.

Some agents and former agents referred to him as a trail blazer in law enforcement, a man who created a sophisticated machinery that relied on science and a world-class fingerprint collection and electronic listening devices.

“The guy was probably the founding father of modern law enforcement,” Stejskal said. “Did he do some things wrong? Probably. But there were a lot of good things. I think the FBI is what it is because of Hoover. I think we owe him. The American citizens owe him a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices he made. The worst crime is that he stuck around too long.”

Most agents agreed that the tactics Hoover used early on in his career did not play well, particularly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By the time he left, the FBI had no female employees and relatively few African-Americans.

Former agent Terry Booth says that even though he arrived at the FBI in 1983 after Hoover had long passed, his presence was felt.

“He was a legendary figure we heard about during our entire career,” Booth recalled. “When I was a new agent, I would see an older agent who worked under Hoover and had an autographed picture of him or a letter of commendation signed by Hoover; I was in awe.”

But some agents dismiss concerns about the new movie.

Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry

“First off, who cares?” said one veteran FBI agent who asked not to be named. “I thought a little higher of Mr. Eastwood than that. But I don’t think it hurts the FBI. To me it’s just silliness. Why do it? The guy has been dead since 1972.”

Another agent simply said: “I think the bureau takes the good part of what he did. Without him we don’t have an FBI. He was kind of a visionary. That’s the backbone of how we got started. I think certainly some of the people still in the FBI who worked for him (support staff) drank the Kool-Aid and support him to the end. But I don’t care what he did in his free time. I could care less.”

Added another fellow agent said, “If he were gay today, everyone would applaud it.”

“Is he important? Yes, as the founding father. Is he George Washington? No,” said William M. Baker, who worked under Hoover, was former assistant director of the FBI at headquarters and is a director of the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation.

As for the movie, Baker said: “I think it could do damage to his reputation more than the FBI.”

But he dismisses suggestions that Hoover had a romantic tie to Tolson.

“It would be wrong I think if (Clint Eastwood) goes in that direction in any explicit detail. It would be imagination. I worked with agents who protected him and many who were close to him, and no one ever saw anything between the two men that one could use to jump off to depict a sexual relationship. I believe he was truly married to the FBI.”