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Tag: Justice Department

DOJ Mulls Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is weighing whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigative Hillary Clinton.

In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, the department said it would look into allegations that the Clinton Foundation received donations liked to a 2010 decision by the Obama administration to permit a Russian agency to buy Uranium One.

The records came in response to a formal request from congressional Republicans for the Justice Department to investigate Clinton.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from election-related issues, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, are responsible for oversight of the prosecutors’ decision on appointing a special counsel, according to the letter.

“These senior prosecutors will report directly to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit a special counsel,” Stephen E. Boyd, an assistant attorney general, said in the letter to the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, blasted the letter.

Ex-Secret Service Agent Sentenced to Additional 2 Years in Prison for Bitcoin Theft

bitcoin_bigBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Secret Service agent received an additional two years in prison for stealing bitcoins during an investigation into drug marketplace Silk Road.

Shaun Bridges, 35, was sentenced in 2015 to nearly six years in prison stealing more than $800,000 worth of bitcoins during the Silk Road probe.

Bridges pleaded guilty in August to money laundering in another criminal case involving the theft of more than $350,000 with of bitcoin that today is worth more than $800,000. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco sentenced Bridges to another two years in prison, the Justice Department announced

The investigation shut down Silk Road in October 2013, and authorities said the site generated more than $214 million in sales of drugs and other illicit goods and services, relying on bitcoins for payment.

Ex-FBI Informant to Testify about Obama-Era Nuclear Bribery Scheme

congress copyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has given the green light to a former FBI informant to testify before Congress about what he discovered in an undercover investigation about the Russian nuclear industry’s efforts to buy uranium in the U.S. during the Obama administration.

The news comes as House Republicans announce an inquiry into the President Obama-approved sale of a Canadian uranium mining company, Uranium One, to Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom, the Hill reports

The Justice Department released the unidentified informant from a confidentiality agreement, nearly eight years after he began investigating the issue.

“As of tonight, the Department of Justice has authorized the informant to disclose to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as one member of each of their staffs, any information or documents he has concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market, including but not limited to anything related to Vadim Mikerin, Rosatom, Tenex, Uranium One, or the Clinton Foundation,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

The informant spent nearly five years digging up information on Russia’s efforts to grow its atomic energy business, helping secure a conviction against Russia’s top commercial nuclear executive in the U.S., a Russian financier in New Jersey and the leader of a U.S. uranium trucking company. Prosecutors said the scheme involved bribery, extortion, kickbacks and money laundering.

Border Patrol Agents Increasingly Coming Under Attack This Year

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Assaults on Border Patrol agents are significantly on the rise this year.

In the first 11 months of fiscal 2017, 671 assaults on Border Patrol agents were reported, a 67% increase during the same period last year, Officer.com reports

Worried about the increase in assaults, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed prosecutors to make attacks “a top priority” during an April 11 speech in Nogales.

“If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it,” Sessions said.

The good news is, prosecutions for assaults on agents also are increasing. During the first 11 months of this fiscal year, 48 new cases of assault were prosecuted, up from 34 in each of the two previous fiscal years.

It’s not entirely clear why assaults are increasing.

AG Sessions Creates Safeguards After Reinstating Controversial Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is creating safeguards to detect problems with the asset forfeiture program that he reinstated amid criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

In July, Sessions reversed a decision by former Attorney General Eric Holder to end the program, which had been mired in problems.

Sessions directed his deputy attorney general to hire a director to review the policy and identify and correct any problems that arise, the Washington Post reports

“The asset forfeiture program has proven to be extremely valuable to law enforcement in our country, but it has received certain criticisms,” Sessions wrote in his memo to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

Holder ended the program two years ago to prevent state and local police from seizing cash and other property without warrants or criminal charges.

Judge Limits DOJ Warrant Seeking Data from Anti-Trump Site

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge drastically scaled back a Justice Department warrant seeking digital data about visitors to an anti-Trump website that helped organize protests against the president.

Superior Court Chief Judge Robert E. Morin ruled that the Los Angeles web host may redact information that identifies site visitors because of constitutional rights to privacy, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

The Justice Department cannot force the disclosure of identifying information unless there is evidence of criminal activity.

“While the government has the right to execute its warrant, it does not have the right to rummage through the information contained on DreamHost’s website and discover the identity of, or access communications by, individuals not participating in alleged criminal activity, particularly those persons who were engaging in protected 1st Amendment activities,” Morin wrote.

In July, the Justice Department filed a search warrant for information on the 1.3 million visits to the website, disruptj20.org.

Justice Department Awards $37M to Address Backlog in Rape Kits

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to use $37 million to help state, local and tribal governments address a backlog of sexual assault evidence that is preventing the capture  of violent offenders.

The grants are intended to help law enforcement reduce the backlog of sexual assault kits to help track down rapists, the Los Alamos Daily Post reports

“There is no greater injustice to a victim of sexual assault than a failure on the part of the system to exhaust its investigative possibilities,” said Alan Hanson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. “These awards will supply badly needed resources and manpower to our nation’s law enforcement agencies and prosecutors helping investigators and analysts do the urgent work of closing out cases and bringing answers to survivors.”

The Post wrote:

Administered through the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, managed by the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance, 21 grant awards totaling more than $35 million were awarded to improve the processing of sexual assault kits and strengthen jurisdictions’ capacity to act on evidence resulting from kit processing. Those awards are available online at: https://www.bja.gov/funding/FY-2017-National-Sexual-Assault-Kit-Initiative-Funding-Awards.pdf 

Solving sex crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice requires a thorough understanding of the value of sexual assault evidence and a solid commitment to submitting sexual assault kits for testing. OJP’s resources help jurisdictions reduce their inventory of unsubmitted kits, bring offenders to justice, provide answers to victims and restore the safety of our communities.

The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative provides competitive grants for teams committed to reforming how their jurisdictions deal with cases of sexual assault. SAKI helps jurisdictions address the issues that lead to delayed testing of kits by providing funds to inventory, test and track sexual assault kits, as well as collect and submit DNA from suspects to the FBI’sCombined DNA Index System and hire crime analysts. The grants also support the investigation and prosecution of resulting cases and support the victims of sexual assault.

Other Stories of Interest

DOJ Trying to Force Facebook to Reveal Names Associated with Anti-Trump Event

computer-photo1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is trying to force Facebook to disclose the names of everyone who interacted with an event page about an anti-Donald Trump rally during the presidential inauguration.

If the social media giant complies with warrants issued by the DOJ, the federal government would receive the Facebook accounts of everyone who “liked” the disruptj20 page and signed up to attend the protest, Gizmodo reports

The ACLU says the Justice Department’s warrants are a violation of the First and Fourth amendments.

“What is particularly chilling about these warrants is that anti-administration political activists are going to have their political associations and views scrutinized by the very administration they are protesting,” ACLU attorney Scott Michelman told CNN.

Facebook said it plans to fight the warrant.