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Secret Service Failed to Fix Former President Bush’s Residential Alarm

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For more than a year, former president George H.W. Bush’s home had a broken alarm system and Secret Service failed to fix it, the Washington Post reports. 

Although the alarm system monitors the property and the house, the agency rejected requests to replace it since 2010, according to an inspector general report.

For at least 13 months, the 20-year-old alarm system didn’t function and wasn’t fixed. It wasn’t until November or December of 2014 that the replacement was made.

Although the Secret Service provided an agent to take place of the broken alarm, the report said that was insufficient.

Agency officials said technology problems are common.

“The service, supported by the department, is making it a priority to go through all of the security systems for all of the protectees, whether they are current officials or former presidents,” said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It’s the department’s and the service’s job to always be concerned about their security, particularly in light of recent things we’ve learned.”

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Agent: Ex-CIA Director Petraeus Put High-Level Military Personnel at Risk

Former CIA Director David Petraeus

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent said in a deposition that Paula Broadwell had regular access to CIA Director David Petraeus’ email that may have extended beyond the launch of an FBI investigation a month before the 2012 presidential election, Politico.com reports.

Transcripts of the deposition show the CIA director was asked twice to change his password because his email account appeared to have been accessed by someone outside of the agency. Authorities later traced the unauthorized access to Broadwell, who was writing a biography about Petraeus and having a sexual relationship with him.

Petraeus was sentenced Thursday to two years probation and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for sharing classified information with Broadwell.

“We believed that the email had been compromised,” Humphries said during sworn questioning in Tampa stemming from a lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by a Florida woman who received threatening emails from Broadwell, Jill Kelley. “His first admonishment [to change the code] was made because we didn’t know who it was, and then upon learning who it was we had a conversation that that should be changed.”

FBI Agent Fred Humphries agreed with Kelly’s attorney that her “actions potentially compromised the security of high level military intelligence personnel and information.”

New AG Loretta Lynch to Work on Improving Relations Between Police, DOJ

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, the first black woman to take the helm, plans to improve the Justice Department’s reputation with police after her predecessor was criticized for too quickly and harshly criticizing officers over lethal force.

Aides to Lynch told the New York Times that Lynch hopes to boost police morale and improve relations between officers and minority communities.

“Loretta’s confirmation ensures that we are better positioned to keep our communities safe, keep our nation secure, and ensure that every American experiences justice under the law,” Mr. Obama said.

The Justice Department said Lynch is expected to be sworn in Monday.

 

 

State Department: FBI Director Meant No Disrespect in Column about Holocaust

Director James B. Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Following a torrent of criticism over his column last week about the Holocaust, FBI Director James Comey emphasized that he did not mean to suggest that Poland was responsible for the genocide of Jews, NBC News reports.

His comments come after Poland’s ambassador called the remarks “unacceptable.” Even the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw was called by Polish authorities.

In the column, Comey said: “In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do.”

A State Department spokeswoman said the U.S. “recognizes and admires the brave efforts of countless Poles, Hungarians and others in occupied Europe in protecting their Jewish countrymen and women from Nazi genocide.

“Director Comey certainly did not intend to suggest otherwise, did not intend to suggest that Poland was in some way responsible for the Holocaust,” the spokeswoman added.

DEA Has Chance to ‘Change Culture Within Its Walls’ with New Leader

By The Daily Iowan
Editorial Board

The DEA chief, Michele Leonhart, is stepping down amid heated congressional hearings into her agency’s scandals involving sex parties and compromised information leaked to Colombian drug lords. An internal report documented that prostitutes, sex parties, and undercover apartments were paid for by government money from 2001 to 2005 in Colombia.

Although Leonhart did not publicly cite the intense scrutiny from public officials in the hearings and in the media as the reason for her departure, it’s fair to assume that it played a huge role. She has served the DEA for 35 years and has been chief since her nomination by President Obama in 2010, but much of her tenure has been regarded by many in the White House as facilitating an agency with no regards for rules or consequences.

When it came time to punish 10 DEA agents accused of the aforementioned misconduct in Colombia, only seven had been issued suspensions, all consisting of fewer than two weeks. But nobody was fired. Agents accused of having sex with prostitutes in Colombia only face what is seen by many as a glorified slap-on-the-wrist in the form of a few days vacation.

Why Leonhart did not fire any agents she attributes to the lack of power that a DEA chief actually has to effectively remove workers. The extraordinary job security through civil-service protections make it incredibly difficult to fire appointed agents. But it is not definitively clear if she had had the ability to do so would have fired those affiliated with the scandal, and that is the real problem.

When a culture exists in an agency where there is no incentive to be ethical and professional, no consequences for wrongdoings, it becomes a place that breeds egregious behavior such as the acts committed in Colombia. It’s a “don’t ask for permission, only ask for forgiveness” way of thinking that has permeated through the lifeblood of the DEA and it will not end until new leadership is in place and more power is granted to Leonhart’s replacement to expunge agents in extreme cases such as this.

The American people deserve a new DEA, chief who will change the culture within its walls.

To read more click here. 

Loretta Lynch Makes History: Senate Confirms Her as First African American Woman Attorney General

Loretta Lynch

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Making history doesn’t always come easy.

But that’s what Loretta Lynch did on Thursday, finally securing the Senate confirmation as the new Attorney General, the first African American to do so.

The five month battle played out, with some Republicans opposing her because of her view on immigration reform.

CNN reported that the vote was 56-43.

Ten Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Democrats, CNN reported. Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz was the only senator not to vote.

Gang Land Exclusive: Feds Tie Howard Beach Home Invasions To Last Year’s Lufthansa Heist Indictment

Jerry Capeci is regarded as an expert on the mob. His website, Gang Land News, is a paid subscription site.  This article was published with permission.

By Jerry Capeci
Gang Land News

Federal authorities have linked an imprisoned Bonanno soldier to abrazen gang of mob associates who pulled off dozens of home invasion robberies and burglaries in Howard Beach and nearby communities, Gang Lang has learned.

The wiseguy, John (Bazoo) Ragano, was one of five defendants in an indictment that charged an aging capo with the storied $6 million Lufthansa heist depicted in the 1990 mob movie classic, Goodfellas.

Sources say the feds suspect Ragano of fingering the owner of an Ozone Park auto repair shop — Bonanno associate Robert Cotrone — for robbery.

Seven weeks after Ragano’s arrest in the Lufthansa case, a trio of armed thugs invaded Cotrone’s Howard Beach home, stealing thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry.

Ragano had “worked” for Cotrone at Bam’s Auto Body, but in a telling display of mob duplicity, he allegedly gave Cotrone up to the robbery team because he knew the auto repair shop owner was on his own after his longtime mob protector was locked up. The protector, Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro, was detained without bail for the airline robbery. Cotrone has allegedly made years of “protection” payments to Asaro, even once testifying as a defense witness for him.

A law enforcement official familiar with the case put it this way: “Money, of course, was very important” to Ragano. “The guy’s a gangster. Locked up, he needs cash. The other guy (Cotrone) is unprotected; his guy (Asaro) just got put away. There’s no honor with these guys, it’s survival of the fittest.

It’s simple: He needed the money, he knew there’d be no payback. Makes no difference to him that he’s going to steal his dough.”

According to court papers in the Lufthansa prosecution, Ragano, 53, was inducted into the Bonanno crime family about three years ago, and was a ready and willing enforcer for his mob superior, Asaro, based on what Ragano was heard saying during the FBI investigation.

Read more »