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Archive for December 29th, 2009

Louisiana Sen. Landrieu Tries to Get Clarification on Status of U.S. Atty. Letten

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The question that has to be asked — and in fact it has is: What the heck is going on with New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten?

The legendary reporter Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune has written a story stating that Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office “is seeking clarification from the White House on U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s status, nearly a year after President Barack Obama took office and eight months after Landrieu announced that she wanted to keep Letten, a Republican, in place.”

Alpert reports Democrat Landrieu, the state’s ranking Democrats, should have a significant say in the matter even if the final word is up to the President.

And in April, Landrieu took the unusual step of recommending that Letten, a Bush appointee, stay on as U.S. Attorney. The Times-Picayune reported that recent aides were told not to worry– that Letten’s job is secure.

Still, the paper quotes a Justice Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz as saying:”Jim Letten continues to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana without being re-nominated by the President.”

Go figure. It’s like a message from the Kremlin. You need a Kremlinologist to read between the lines.

For Full Story

Boston’s Top FBI Agent Warren T. Bamford Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year

William Bamfor/fbi photo

Warren Bamford/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Warren T. Bamford, special agent in charge of  the Boston FBI, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2009.

The award to Bamford comes as a result of the high marks he earned from colleagues around the country, who say he’s a stand-up person and a  first-rate agent and leader.  In 2009, the Boston FBI, under his leadership, took on a number of key investigations including the recent indictment of mobster Ralph F. Deleo,  a street boss for the Colombo crime family.

Bamford joined the FBI in 1986 and took charge of the Boston office in 2007.  Before that, he served as special agent in charge of  the Counterterrrorism and Intelligence Division in  the  Los Angeles office, where he supervised 450 people.

Last year’s recipient of the Fed Of The Year  award was Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Nigerian Bomber Hid Explosive in Underwear With Secret Compartment

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Senator Holding Up Vote on TSA Director Who’s an Ex-FBI Agent

Sen. DeMint/gov photo

Sen. DeMint/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Here in the nation’s capital, there’s always someone willing to play politics, no matter the consequence.

In this case, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is holding up President Obama’s nomination of Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent, to head the Transportation Security Administration over a union issue, McClatchy newspapers reported.

The news organization reports that DeMint is holding up the confirmation to try and prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union. He feels such a move would interfer with the effectiveness of the organization and its ability to change rules quickly.

The news organization reported that he wants to hear testimony on Southers’ view on unionizing TSA before the matter gets voted on before the full Senate.

To read more click here.

FBI Could Name its Miss. Building After Slain Civil Rights Workers

jackson miss map
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A movement is afoot to boost Mississippi’s image.

Some politicians are pushing to name the FBI building in Jackson, Miss., after three slain civil rights workers, who were killed in 1964 during an intense voter registration drive, USA Today reported.

The Jackson City Council is supposed to vote on a resolution on the matter Tuesday, and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson told USA Today that he would support such a measure.

“Given our state and its history, it would do a lot to show that Mississippi has changed,” Thompson said. “I think it’s an excellent idea and one that I would support.”

The civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, were slain in 1964 while taking part in a voter registration drive in Mississippi.

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors in August passed a similar resolution.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden told USA Today the FBI will defer to Congress on the matter.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Atty. Says He Saw Man Try to Help Nigerian on Flight Without a Passport

The flaws in the security will only become more embarrassing as days pass. Stories like this could rock the foundation of airport security around the world. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the suspect had far more explosive than the “shoe bomber” and could have blown a hole in the plane.

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Paul Egan
The Detroit News

TAYLOR, Mich. — An attorney who was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day says he saw another man come to the assistance of accused bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab when he tried to board the airplane in Amsterdam without a passport.

Kurt Haskell, a Taylor attorney, told FBI agents what he saw near the boarding gate at Amsterdam when he was questioned at Detroit Metropolitan Airport following Abdulmutallab’s alleged attempt to blow up the aircraft, said Haskell’s wife Lori, who is also an attorney and was traveling with her husband.

“The two of us were sitting on the floor playing cards,” Lori Haskell told The Detroit News. “My husband noticed two men walk up to the ticket counter lady. The only reason he noticed them is that he thought they were really a mismatched pair.”

The man they later learned was Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, wore older, scraggly clothing, but the man who was assisting him, who appeared to be of Indian descent, was dressed in what looked like an expensive suit and shoes, she said.

The well-dressed man told the ticket agent: “We need to get this man on the plane,” Haskell recounted. “He doesn’t have a passport.”

The ticket agent told the man nobody was allowed to board without a passport, to which the well-dressed man replied: “We do this all the time; he’s from Sudan,” Haskell said, adding she and her husband believe the man was trying to pass Abdulmutallab off as a Sudanese refugee.

Read Full Story

Cleveland DEA Agent Goes on Trial Jan. 6 on Charges of Perjury and Obstruction of Justice in One Heck of a Mess

clevelandBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s never pretty when fed prosecutors go after a federal agent.

But that’s what will happen Jan. 6 in Cleveland when trial is slated to begin for Drug Enforcement Administration agent  Lee Lucas, a 19 year veteran, on charges he lied on the witness stand, made false statements in official reports, obstructed justice and violated people’s civil rights, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The case includes allegations that he oversaw a rogue witnesses who helped put away innocent people. Lucas has denied doing anything criminal.

To read more click here.