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Tag: President Obama

Obama Denies Clemency for Native American Convicted of Killing 2 FBI Agents

Leonard Peltier/photo from his website

Leonard Peltier/photo from his website

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama will not grant clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier, who was found guilty of killing two FBI agents during a shootout at a South Dakota reservation in 1975.

The president denied Peltier’s application for clemency, the Washington Times reports. 

The clemency was “not warranted,” the administration’s Office of the Pardon Attorney told Peltier’s attorney.

“Your client’s application was therefore denied by the president on January 18, 2017… Under the Constitution, there is no appeal from this decision,” the notice stated.

Peltier is 72 and seriously ill.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite serious concerns about the fairness of legal proceedings that led to his trial and conviction, Peltier was imprisoned for more than 40 years. He has always maintained his innocence. The families of the FBI agents who were killed during the 1975 confrontation between the FBI and American Indian Movement (AIM) members have a right to justice, but justice will not be served by Peltier’s continued imprisonment.”

The FBI Agents Association President Thomas O’Connor  issued a statement:

The FBI Agents Association agrees with the decision of the Obama Administration to deny Leonard Peltier’s petition for executive clemency. In well over a dozen appeals, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, every aspect of Mr. Peltier’s trial has been reviewed in detail. Mr. Peltier has never taken responsibility for his crimes while imprisoned.

Our thoughts today are with the families of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, who were killed by Mr. Peltier in 1975.  The FBI Agents Association will continue to counter efforts by Mr. Peltier’s legal and public relations team to portray him as anything other than who Leonard Peltier really is: an unremorseful, cold-blooded killer. Mr. Peltier should remain in prison and not be shown a mercy he refused to offer to Agents Coler and Williams in 1975, and has denied to their families and friends over the past four decades.

I would like to thank FBIAA members, the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and former FBI Supervisory Agent Ed Woods for their advocacy efforts against executive clemency for Mr. Peltier.

President Obama Pardons Retired General Who Lied to FBI

General James Cartwright

General James Cartwright

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama on Tuesday pardoned a retired Marine Corps general who was convicted of lying to the FBI about his communication with reporters about Iran’s nuclear program.

In effect, General Cartwright, a former member of Obama’s national security team, was saved from a possible prison sentence.

Cartwright, who was due to be sentenced this month, pleaded guilty last year to lying to investigators about leaked classified information about cyberattacks against Iran.

“The president’s decision is wise and just, and it achieves the right result,” Cartwright’s lawyer, Gregor Craig, said in a statement. “It allows General Cartwright to continue his life’s work — to serve, protect and defend the nation he loves. It allows the nation to continue to benefit from his vast experience and knowledge.”

FBI Report Squarely Blames Russia for Meddling in 2016 Presidential Election

Russian Embassy in Washington D.C.

Russian Embassy in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI issued its first statement on the cyberattacks targeting the 2016 presidential election, blaming Russian intelligence services for launching a broad hacking campaign.

In a 13-page report co-authored by Homeland Security, the FBI concluded that Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, the FSB, sent a malicious link to U.S. government targets, Reuters reports. 

Russia continues to deny the hacking claims.

The FBI’s report came on the same day President Obama imposed retaliatory measures, including the expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence operatives.

The FBI said the Democratic National Committee was among the targets. The DNC also was infiltrated by another Russian agency, the military GRU, in early 2016.

Even some Republicans criticized Russia’s meddling in the election. 

Police Reforms Likely Won’t Be Priority of Trump’s Justice Department

Militarized police

Militarized police

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eight years of police reforms under President Obama could be undone with the election of Donald Trump.

That’s a big concern for former Attorney General Eric Holder, who has described the Civil Rights Division as the department’s “crown jewel,” Vice News reports. 

Trump’s choice of Alabama Sen. Jeff Session as attorney general has raised serious concerns because his voting record and statements as a senator suggest he believes the federal government should not be involved with policing.

And with Trump’s pledge to reestablish “law and order,” many worry that the Justice Department is poised for a dramatic shift in priorities

Vice News wrote:

The Justice Department under President Barack Obama focused on criminal justice and police reform more heavily than past administrations did.

Laurie Robinson, who served as assistant attorney general from 1993 to 2000 and then again from 2009 to 2012, characterized Obama’s personal interest in the issue as “highly unusual” for a president but “helpful in spearheading attention.”

Ezekiel Edwards, director of the Criminal Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, added that “the Obama administration understood better than previous administrations the calamities that were taking place.”

Marine Gen. John Kelly Appears to Be Trump’s Choice for Leading Homeland Security

Marine Gen. John Kelly

Marine Gen. John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Retired Marine General John Kelly appears to be President-elect Donald Trump’s top choice for leading Homeland Security.

The 66-year-old with more than four decades of military experience would play a major role in Trump’s plans to secure the border and crack down on illegal immigration, Politico reports. 

When Kelly was the chief of U.S. Southern Command, he oversaw military operations and clashed with the Obama administration on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Politico wrote:

His addition to the Trump administration would likely have implications on candidates for remaining cabinet posts. If formally offered the position, Kelly would be the third general tapped by the president-elect, in addition to Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will serve as Trump’s national security adviser, and retired Gen. James Mattis, who Trump said Thursday he intended to nominate as his Defense Secretary. Concerns about the number of military officials in Trump’s cabinet may harm the prospects of another military man, retired Gen. David Petraeus, whom Trump is considering for secretary of state.

President Obama Criticizes FBI for Peddling Innuendo in Clinton Probe

president obama- white house photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama criticized FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation Wednesday, despite his insistence that he does not comment on federal investigations.

During a rally in Chapel Hill, N.C., Obama said the “fate of the world is teetering” on the presidential election, the New York Times reports. 

“We don’t operate on incomplete information,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with NowThis News. “We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

Obama suggested the FBI violated its own guidelines by peddling innuendo in a letter to Congress last week.

Obama said he trusts Clinton.

“I know her. And I wouldn’t be supporting her if I didn’t have absolute confidence in her integrity.”

How Secret Service Dogs Stopped Intruder Who Jumped White House Fence

secretservicedogs-208c8b2d-1a37-4637-82f8-b9b177defedfBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Cane, a Secret Service dog, became unsettled at 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2014.

“’Cane, buddy—what is up with you?” his handler asked him.

At 7:16 p.m., a man jumped the White House fence, and the dog’s handler yelled out for the unwanted intruder to stop or he’d unleash the canine, Mens Journal reported, citing Maria Goodavage’s book, “Secret Service Dogs.”

After the intruder ignored the commands, another dog named Jadan lunged at the man, biting him in the stomach. Later, the man kicked Jadan in the head.

Another dog, Hurricane, was let loose, and he grabbed the intruder’s knee. But the man repeatedly punched Hurricane.

Then Jadan came rushing back, biting the man.

“OK, I’m done! Get the dogs off of me!” the intruder called out.

Neither dog was seriously injured, but the intruder and threat were stopped.

NYT Editorial: Justice Department Too Slow to Apply Mercy

jail2photoBy Editorial Board
New York Times

President Obama last week commuted the prison terms of 214 federal inmates who were sent to prison under draconian, ’80s-era laws that have since been revised. Among them were 67 people serving life sentences, nearly all of them for nonviolent drug offenses.

Mercy was granted in these cases. But the federal clemency system — which moves far too slowly and is too often blocked by politics in both the Justice Department and the White House — was never intended to manage miscarriages of justice that happen on a vast scale, as was the case when so many Americans were sent to prison under the “tough on crime” policies of the 1980s.

The country needs a variety of mechanisms for reducing unreasonably long sentences. And the Justice Department, which has considerable latitude in these matters, needs to do more within the course of its regular operations to deal with the legacy of sentencing policies that have been recognized as destructively unfair.

The former attorney general, Eric Holder Jr., took an important step: In 2014, he supported the United States Sentencing Commission’s decision to reduce sentences for many nonviolent drug crimes and asked that people in prison be made eligible for the reductions. According to the Justice Department, more than 12,000 people have been released under that effort.

Recently, however, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a Justice Department agency, has come under criticism for not doing enough with the powers it already has to help inmates who deserve to be released. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 authorizes the bureau to ask a federal judge to reduce an inmate’s sentence when there are “extraordinary and compelling” reasons for doing so.

To read more click here. 

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