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Tag: Eric Holder Jr.

Longest Serving Fed Prosecutor John C. Keeney Dead at Age 89

John Keeney

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It was Billy Joel who once sang “Only the Good Die Young.”

Not so.

AP reported that retired Justice Department official John C. Keeney, the longest-serving federal prosecutor in history, died on Saturday in Kensington, Md., at age 89.

In a statement posted on the Justice Department website on Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. remarked:

“For the last six decades, Jack Keeney served the Department of Justice with dedication, integrity and an unshakeable commitment to the rule of law. As the longest-serving federal prosecutor in the history of the United States, the contributions that he made – to the Justice Department and to the nation he was so proud to serve – are beyond measure. And I am one of many who have been grateful to count him as a mentor, advisor and friend.

“Although Mr. Keeney will be sorely missed, his legacy will live on – in the Justice Department building that bears his name, in the standard of excellence that he established in the department’s Criminal Division, in the work of countless attorneys that he mentored throughout his career, and in the inspiration that he will continue to provide public servants across our nation.”

Sen. Confirms Dep. Atty. Gen. James Cole and 2 Others

James Cole/law firm

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Senate on Tuesday delivered the long awaited confirmation of Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole.

By a vote of 55-42, the Senate confirmed Cole, 59, who had been nominated by the White House more than a year ago. But he bumped up against Republican opposition, so President Obama ended up giving him a recess appointment in December.

The Senate on Tuesday also confirmed Lisa Monaco, as Assistant Attorney General for National Security and Virginia Seitz, as Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel.

“I am pleased the Senate moved to confirm Jim, Lisa and Virginia, following their appointments by President Obama,” Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a statement. “I’m confident they will provide invaluable leadership to the department, and will play a critical role in protecting the American people, ensuring the fairness and integrity of our financial markets and restoring the traditional missions of the department.”

Cole  first joined the department in 1979 as part of Attorney General’s Honors Program and served there for 13 years – first as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division, and later as the Deputy Chief of the Division’s Public Integrity Section.

He entered private practice in 1992, and became a partner with Bryan Cave LLP in 1995, specializing in white collar defense.

In 2005, he was  appointed as an independent monitor at the insurance company AIG to review five years of transactions following a settlement with regulators involving allegations the company was setting up sham transactions to hide losses.

In 2006, he was charged with developing financial reporting and regulatory compliance programs at AIG.

Atty. Gen. Holder Gets Grief in the Heartland; Protesters Interrupt Speech

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.  gets his fair share of grief inside the Beltway, particularly from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But some of that grief on Friday came from elsewhere: the heartland.

Minnesota Public Radio reported that Holder’s speech in Minneapolis at a conference on preventing youth violence was  interrupted several times by protesters who say the FBI, under Holder’s reign,  has expanded surveillance on Arabs and Muslims and targeted peace groups.

The Star-Tribune reported that several protesters were led out of the morning speech after repeatedly standing to shout. Another 50 or so stood outside banging on drums and chanting for the FBI to stop violating First Amendment rights of people.

One of the protesters, Tracy Molm, told MPR that after the speech she spoke to Holder, who said they would have to agree to disagree on what activities are protected by the First Amendment, MPR reported.

“He can disagree all he wants, but people around the country believe these attacks need to end because they’re killing our free speech rights, our ability to question our government, and our ability to speak out,” Molm said, according to MPR.

Juan Osun Gets Nod as Permanent Dir. of Justice Dept’s Exec. Office of Immigration Review

Juana Osuna/cspan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Former Associate Deputy Attorney Juan Osuna, who has been acting director of the Director for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) at the Department of Justice will become the permanent director, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

“Having served with the department for over a decade, Juan has developed an extensive knowledge of immigration litigation and issues, and demonstrated himself to be a diligent and thoughtful advocate and manager,” said Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. in a statement. “I am confident he will lead this office with the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and dedication.”

EOIR was created on Jan. 9, 1983, through an internal department reorganization which combined the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) with the Immigration Judge function previously performed by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Justice Department said.

Osuna has served as Acting Director of EOIR since December 2010. Prior to that, he worked as an Associate Deputy Attorney General focusing on immigration policy, Indian country matters, pardons and commutations and other issues, the Justice Department said.

“I am honored by the Attorney General’s appointment and look forward to continuing to serve the department and the American people on these important issues,” Osuna said.

Before joining the Deputy Attorney General’s office, he worked as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the department’s Civil Division.

Politicians Voice Opposition to the Axing of Justice Unit that Cracked Down on Adult XXX

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some conservative politicians — mostly Republicans but some Dems — are beating their chest over pornography.

The politicians including Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) signed a letter earlier this month that was sent to Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. complaining about the Justice Department shuttering its Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. The unit was created  under President George W. Bush, according to Politico.

The group is complaining that the department isn’t doing enough to crackdown on pornography.

Politico reports that the Justice Department insists it’s not giving up the battle against pornography, but it’s best handled at the U.S. Attorney level.

“Attorney General Holder told the Judiciary Committee last year that this task force was the centerpiece of the strategy to combat adult obscenity,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told POLITICO in a statement Friday. “Rather than initiate a single new case since President Obama took office, however, the only development in this area has been the dismantling of the task force. As the toxic waste of obscenity continues to spread and harm everyone it touches, it appears the Obama administration is giving up without a fight.”

In the letter sent to Holder, according to Politico, the politicians said: “We write to urge the Department of Justice vigorously to enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography.

“We know more than ever how illegal adult obscenity contributes to violence against women, addiction, harm to children, and sex trafficking. This material harms individuals, families and communities and the problems are only getting worse.”

Not all see the elimination of the unit as a bad thing.

“It’s a very smart and pragmatic move on the part of the administration,” Diane Duke of the Free Speech Coalition, a group representing businesses that produce sexually-explicit entertainment, told Politico. “It was a witch hunt against folks in the industry, and it wasn’t one that was particularly successful. … It just seems like, finally, the Department of Justice has caught up with the rest of the nation.”

Read full report

FBI Releases List of Some of its Top Terrorism Cases in 2010

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The year 2010 was full of almost-disastrous terrorist acts  from the Times Square Bomber to the the Portland teen who tried to detonate a car bomb during a Christmas-lighting ceremony in Oregon, only to find out it was an FBI  sting.

Not everyone agreed with the FBI tactics when it came to  stings like the ones in Portland, Baltimore and the Washington area. Some accused the FBI of making terrorists out of lost souls looking for a mission. But Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. forcefully defended the FBI stings, saying they were legitimate investigative tools.

In a speech earlier this month in California, Holder specifically defended the FBI tactics in the Portland, Ore. case at the Christmas lighting ceremeony that led to the arrest of the teen Mohamed Osman Mohamud.

“Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight – or do not have a full understanding of the law,” he said.

“I make no apologies for the how the FBI agents handled their work in executing the operation that led to Mr. Mohamud’s arrest,” Holder said, according to a text of the speech distributed by the Justice Department.

The FBI on Monday released a list of what it considers some ofr its most significant terrorism cases of 2010.

The following was included in a press release:

  • Attempted bombing of Armed Forces recruiting center: A 21-year-old U.S. citizen earlier this month parked what he thought was an explosives-filled vehicle in front of a military recruiting center near Baltimore and tried to detonate it remotely. The bomb was fake, thanks to our undercover agents working the case. Details
  • Attempted bombing in Oregon: A naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested the day after Thanksgiving when he attempted to set off what he thought was a car bomb at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland. The 19-year-old had been the subject of a long-term undercover operation by the Bureau. Details

  • D.C. Metro bomb plot: In October, a 34-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen believed he was joining members of al Qaeda to plan multiple bombings of Metrorail stations in the Washington area. Instead, it was a sting. Farooque Ahmed researched peak rider periods so the attacks could cause mass casualties. Details
  • Al Shabaab indictments: In August—in Minnesota, Alabama, and California—two Americans were arrested and 12 others, including five U.S. citizens, were charged with terrorism offenses and providing material support to the Somali-based terrorist organization al Shabaab. Details
  • Northern Virginia man indicted: In July, 20-year-old Zachary Chesser—also known as Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee—told agents he twice attempted to travel to Somalia to join al Shabaab as a foreign fighter. On one of those occasions he tried to board a plane with his infant son as part of his “cover.” Details
  • Al Qaeda plotters indicted: In July, five senior members of al Qaeda were indicted for their roles in the 2009 plot against the New York subway system. Details
  • Missouri man guilty of supporting al Qaeda: In May, a 32-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen pled guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda and to bank fraud and money laundering. Details

Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad

  • Attempted bombing at Times Square: After a three-day nationwide manhunt, a naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested in May for an attempted bombing at New York City’s famous tourist area. Details
  • Michigan militia group indicted: In March, nine members of a militia group called the Hutaree were charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and related offenses. Details
  • Jihad Jane indicted: Also in March, U.S. citizen Colleen LaRose—also known as Jihad Jane—was indicted in Philadelphia for her role in recruiting jihadist fighters to commit murder overseas. A month later, a Colorado woman and colleague of LaRose’s was indicted on similar charges. Details

Interpol Puts WikiLeaks Founder on Wanted List for Rape Charge

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks, is in more hot water.

Interpol, an international law enforcement agency, has placed Assange on a “red notice” wanted list as a result of a Swedish arrest warrant on allegations of rape and other sexual charges relating to encounters he had with two women in August, the New York Times reported. Assange, 39,  has claimed it was all consensual.

The U.S. isn’t likely to shed a tear over the latest developments. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said this week that a criminal probe into the leaked Wikipedia documents is under way.

Several newspaper published confidential documents leaked by Wikipedia. In all, 250,000 diplomatic cables were leaked this week, embarrassing the U.S. and other nations.

Assange’s whereabouts is unknown.

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Rep. Peter King Urges Atty. Gen. Holder to Go After WikiLeaks; Holder Says There’s “Active, Ongoing Criminal Investigation”

Rep. Peter King/gov photo

Update: Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said the Justice Department will prosecute anyone found to have violated U.S. law in the leaks, the Associated Press reported.”To the extent that we can find anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law, who put at risk the assets and the people I have described, they will be held responsible; they will be held accountable,” Holder said at a news conference, according to the AP. He called the WikiLeaks probe “an active, ongoing criminal investigation.”
*****
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is urging Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. to designate WikiLeaks as a “foreign terrorist organization”, saying it “posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,” the New York Daily News reported.

The request came  as the White House condemned the leak, saying some who help the U.S. abroad could be harmed, the paper reported.

WikiLeaks published 250,000 diplomatic cables from classified projects, exposing back-channel communications, some embarrassing to the U.S., foreign nations and individuals.

The Daily News reported that the leaks included information that Saudi Arabia has urged the U.S. to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear program.

“Cut off the head of the snake,” the Saudi ambassador to Washington urged Gen. David Petraeus, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks Shines Light on Backdoor Diplomatic Channels (NY Times)

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