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Archive for December 15th, 2009

Ex-Transportation Security Admin Official Says “No Acceptable Excuse for TSA’s Recent Blunder”

Tom Blank

Tom Blank

By Tom Blank
Security DeBrief

As the House Homeland Security Committee prepares to hear testimony from Acting TSA Administrator Gale Rossides tomorrow (Wed), it should be reiterated that there is absolutely no acceptable excuse for TSA’s recent blunder in posting classified Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for passenger and baggage screening on the Internet.

While the agency’s response that the inadvertently posted SOPs are out of date is an accurate statement, it’s a disingenuous explanation that attempts to mask the nature of the breach. I understand that Secretary Napolitano has taken personnel actions in the aftermath of the breach – as well she should.

I make these comments as the former TSA head of policy where I had responsibility in 2002 for creating the first baggage screening SOPs to comply with the statutory requirement to screen all bags using Explosive Detection Systems by December 31 of that year.

To Read More

R

Sen. Chuck Grassley Critical of Housing Guantanamo Inmates in Ill.

Sen. Grassley/official photo

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As expected, not everyone is happy with the Obama Administration’s decision to house Guantanamo Bay prisoners at a correctional facility in Thomson, Ill., about a two hours drive from Chicago.

The White House announced on Tuesday that it planned to purchase the facility and also hold military trials there.

In response, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a critical statement:

“I don’t agree with bringing terrorists anywhere in the United States, let alone a stone’s throw from Iowa. There are a number of serious concerns with moving these terrorists to United States soil, including the legal, immigration and constitutional rights they will be afforded, along with a host of national security concerns and risks that would obviously come with moving people to the heartland who wish to kill Americans.

“On top of all that, experts say many of the jobs at the prison will need to be filled by specialized personnel who would be moved into the area instead of the jobs going to local residents.”

“I’m all for filling this facility with federal prisoners, but that can be done without bringing 75-100 terrorists, who have worldwide terrorist connections, to it.”

Texas Agent Who Shot and Killed Chihuahua Named “Sassy” No Longer With FBI

FBI Agent Shot A Chihuahua Just Like This One/istock photo
FBI Agent Shot A Chihuahua Just Like This One/istock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Texas FBI agent who shot and killed his neighbor’s 3 pound Chihuahua named “Sassy” with a pellet rifle in the Waco, Tex. area in 2008, is no longer with the FBI.

Erik Vasys, an FBI spokesman in San Antonio, on Tuesday confirmed that agent Leslie Ledger, 41, was “no longer an employee of the FBI.”  He declined to discuss the circumstances behind Ledger’s departure several weeks ago. Ledger had been under internal investigation for the shooting, and had been  expected to face some type of discipline, in all likelihood ranging from a suspension to a firing.

“Personnel actions are matters between the FBI and the employee themselves,” Vasys said in a statement. “As such, the Federal Privacy Act prohibits any further comment by the FBI on these matters.”

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Mobster Henry Hill of “Goodfellas” Fame in Trouble Again

GoodfellasBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Henry Hill, the real life mobster turned FBI snitch who inspired the movie “Goodfellas”, is in trouble again.

Fairview Heights, Ill.  Police arrested Hill, 66, on Sunday at a hotel for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, the Associated Press reported.

The paper reports Hill was in the area for a showing of his art work.

Hill told the Belleville News-Democrat he had  “one too many” drinks in a hotel lobby and that things “got pretty foggy after that.”

Hill, who was played by actor Ray Liotta in the movie Goodfellas, is free on bond.

The FBI got Hill to snitch on the mob after busting him for drugs. He was booted from the witness protection program after getting busted on drugs in the 1990s.

Earlier this year, in California,  Hill was sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of public intoxication.

Actor Ray Liotta Played Hill in This Movie

Justice Dept. Considering Putting Guantanamo Inmates on Trial in Brooklyn and Other Places

brooklyn bridgeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department may end up not only holding trials for Guantanamo prisoners in a Manhattan court, but also in Brooklyn and eventually D.C. and Alexandria, according to a report in the New York Times.

The Times reported that authorities were close to deciding whether to hold trial for some Guantanamo Bay inmates in the Brooklyn federal courthouse. Justice officials have not publicly disclosed who would go on trial there.

Right now the Justice Department has plans to hold trial in lower Manhattan for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and four of his cronies.

That decision drew criticism from some people who felt it endangered the folks of New York City. They also said defendants should go before a military tribunal, not a civilian court.

A decision to hold trial in other civilian courts is likely to draw more criticism. Stay tuned.

FBI Investigating Sports Doctor Who Treated Tiger Woods

tiger woods 2

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Now comes the unwanted publicity associated with golf legend Tiger Woods.

The New York Times is reporting that the FBI is investigating a Canadian doctor, a sports medicine specialist, who has treated Woods, plus an untold number of N.F.L. players and Olympic medalists.

Investigators are looking into allegations that the doctor, Anthony Galea, provided athletes with performance-enhancing drugs, the Times reported, attributing the information to “several people who have been briefed on the investigation.”

Galea was busted at the U.S. Canada border in September after carrying a human growth hormone and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf’s blood, in his medical bag. Actovegin is illegal in the U.S.

Canadian authorities are investigating him, the Times reported.

To read more click here.

Guantanamo Bay Prisoners to be Held in Illinois Prison

Thomson Correctional Center/abc7 photo

Thomson Correctional Center/abc7 photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — And the winner is … the Thomson Correctional Center in northwestern Illinois.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet  is reporting that the White House will announce on Tuesday that it will use the nearly empty 1,600-cell facility in Thomson, Ill.,  more than 2 hours outside of Chicago,  to house Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

At one point, officials were considering a site in rural Michigan. The relocation of the prisoners is expected to give the area an economic boost by creating plenty jobs.

The Sun-Times reported that President Obama has directed the federal government to acquire the facility, which will house under 100 Guantanamo Bay military prisoners.

The facility currently holds less than 200 prisoners, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

To read more click here.

Read Nov. 16 ticklethewire.com story