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Tag: president

Feds Misbehavin’ in 2013

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Every day, thousands of federal law enforcement agents wake up, grab their gun and badge and a cup of java, orange juice or tea and go out into the world to protect the public and enforce the laws.

Unfortunately, every year, a few step over the line — way over the line — and break the law.

As the year draws to an end,  ticklethewire.com takes a look at some of the more interesting cases of Feds Misbehavin’ for 2013. As in the past, money and sex was involved in some allegations. And this year, unfortunately, so was death.

Too Much Booze: FBI agent Adrian Johnson got 18 months in prison this year after he was convicted of multiple charges including vehicular manslaughter after he drove drunk and crashed into a car in suburban D.C., in Prince George’s County. He killed an 18-year old and man and seriously injured the man’s friend in 2011.

Not So Secret Service: Secret Service agents are getting quite the rep for being serious party people. Supervisors Ignacio Zamora Jr. and Timothy Barraclough, aren’t doing much to change that image. The Washington Post reported in November that the two, who were managing security for the president, have been removed from that detail because of alleged misconduct involving women. 

In one instance in May, Zamora allegedly tried getting back into a woman’s room at the Hay-Adams hotel, near the White House, to get a bullet he had left behind. He was off duty and had removed the bullets from the gun while in the room, the Post reported. He had met the woman at the hotel bar and joined her in her room, the Post reported. The Post reported that the guest refused to let Zamora back in,  and he identified himself to hotel security as a Secret Service agent. The hotel alerted the White House about the odd behavior, the Post reported.

During an internal investigation, investigators also found that the two agents had allegedly sent sexually suggestive emails to a female subordinate, who is an agent.

Hands in the Cookie Jar: Oklahoma FBI agent Timothy A. Klotz confessed to dipping into the FBI cookie jar. Authorities allege that he embezzled $43,190 that was earmarked for confidential informants for tips on criminal activities from 2008-2011.  He acknowledged in a signed statement that he falsified 66 receipts during a scheme that went undiscovered for more than four years. He was sentenced earlier this month to six months in prison and three years of supervised released. He was also ordered to pay a restitution of $43,190.

Let The Dice Roll -- FBI agent Travis Raymond Wilson, 38, of Huntington Beach, Calif., apparently had a little gambling jones and didn’t want the big guys at the FBI to know. Unfortunately for him, he got busted. Wilson pleaded guilty to structuring financial transactions in violation of the federal Bank Secrecy Act.

The feds say between January 2008 and February 2013, Wilson regularly gambled at casinos in California, Nevada, Arizona, and West Virginia, authorities said. In total, Wilson structured more than $488,000 in cash.  Sentencing is set for March 3. 

Hookers, Cash and Luxury Travel: Human temptation. Need you say more. John Bertrand Beliveau Jr., 44, a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), apparently failed that test. He pleaded guilty earlier in December to participating in a massive international fraud and bribery scheme. He admitted sharing with a foreign Navy contractor confidential information about ongoing criminal probes into the contractor’s billing practices in exchange for prostitutes, cash and luxury travel, the Justice Department said in a press release. His case is part of a big scandal.

Ethics Still Applies When You Depart: Kenneth Kaiser, former head of the FBI’s Boston office, found that ethics still apply when you leave the bureau.  The choked up ex-agent appeared in court where he was fined $10,000 for violating an ethics charge. Kaiser was accused of meeting with former FBI colleagues about his company that was under investigation. Federal law prohibited him from having professional contact with former FBI colleagues within a year of leaving government service.

“I lost something I valued the most — my reputation,” Kenneth W. Kaiser, 57, of Hopkinton, Mass. said, according to the Boston Globe.

Helping the Wrong Side –  Border Patrol Agent Ivhan Herrera-Chiang took advantage of his position and helped smugglers bring meth, cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. He was sentenced in Phoenix in November to 15 years. He reportedly even helped smugglers find their way around underground sensors and lock combinations.

“You have done about the worst thing a law-enforcement agent could do, especially a Border Patrol agent, and that is passed confidential information,” U.S. District Judge Paul Rosenblatt said.

A Fatal Shot – FBI agent Arthur “Art” Gonzales of Stafford County, Va.  is charged with shooting  his estranged wife to death in April. He told dispatchers he was acting in self-defense when he shot his 42-year-old wife, Julia Sema Gonzales. He says his wife attacked him with a knife.

Gonzales was a supervisory special agent-instructor at the FBI’s National Academy at Quantico.  Court records show bond was granted. Trial has been set for March.

 

ICE Agent ICED:Veteran ICE agent Juan Martinez, 47,  has suddenly got a lot on his plate. He is accused of extortion and accepting bribes. Authorities alleged that he conspired with others to shake down a Colombian construction company. The group allegedly told the firm that it was under investigation, when it was not, and that the U.S. Treasury was about to add the company to a list known as Specially Designated Nationals (SDN). The designation by Treasury can result in the freezing of bank accounts and other action harmful to a business. Martinez’s group said it could keep the company off the list, and for that, it received more than $100,000. He is also accused of illegally bringing in people to this country, claiming falsely that they were witnesses in an ongoing narcotics investigation.   His attorney says the allegations are false.

Leaky Pipes: Plumbers aren’t the only ones who concern themselves with leaks. FBI agent Donald Sachteren who leaked information to the Associated Press was recently sentenced to more than three years in prison for possessing and disclosing secret information. Sachteren, 55, was accused of disclosing intelligence about the U.S. operation in Yemen in 2012. What made him a far less sympathetic character in this whole mess was the fact he was also sentenced to more than 8 years in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography in an unrelated case.

 

 

 

U.S. Secret Service Scandal Brews in Colombia Over Prostitutes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service, which normally tries to stay in the background and garner as little attention as possible, is causing an international stir.

CBS News reports that a dozen Secret Service agents were sent home from Colombia before the President arrived Friday for the Summit of Americas. The New York Times later reported the number as being 11. It reported that it included agents and officers.

A Secret Service source told CBS News that one or more of the officers were involved with prostitutes and that there was a dispute over payment.

CBS reported that one prostitute went to the police, who notified the State Department. CBS reported that two were supervisors and the other were assigned to logistics.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed the removal of personnel, according to CBS News and said in a statement: “There have been allegations of misconduct made against Secret Service personnel in Cartagena, Colombia prior to the President’s trip. Because of this, those personnel are being relieved of their assignments, returned to their place of duty, and are being replaced by other Secret Service personnel.”

To read more click here.

 

Secret Service Dep. Director Keith Prewitt is Hanging Up His Badge

Keith Prewitt/secret service photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After 29 years with the agency, U.S. Secret Service Deputy Director Keith L. Prewitt is hanging it up. He’ll retire April 7.

“It’s truly been an honor to work with the dedicated men and women of the Secret Service and serve as Director Sullivan’s deputy,” said Prewitt in a statement. “It’s been a privilege to contribute to the rich tradition and history of the most respected law enforcement agency in the world.”

Since 2008,Prewitt oversaw the protection of the U.S. President and Vice President and visiting heads of state. Additionally, he led the Secret Service’s investigative mission enforcing counterfeiting laws and criminal investigations into a wide range of financial and computer-based crimes

“Keith’s contribution to the agency has been invaluable,” said Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan in a statement. “His experience, judgment and management skills have brought our agency much growth and success through the years. His outstanding leadership and friendship have meant a lot to me.”

 

Judge Refuses to Dismiss John Edwards Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John Edwards may have cheated on his dying wife, but he won’t be cheated out of a criminal trial.

A U.S. District Judge in North Carolina on Thursday denied a request by the two-time presidential candidate to dismiss the criminal charges against him, the Associated Press reported. Trial is set for January.

He’s charged with using campaign funds to cover up an affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, and submitting false campaign finance reports as part of the cover up. Hunter had a child with Edwards.

AP reported that Edwards was in the courtroom, but displayed no visible reaction to the decision.

AP reported that Edward’s defense team argued that the fed’s case depends on novel legal arguments, which have never been validated by the court.

 

9/11 Defendants to Be Tried in Military Court; Atty. Gen. Says He Still Believes Civilian Court Was Best Venue

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Because Congress has blocked Gitmo detainees from being prosecuted in civilian court, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said Monday that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others will stand trial in a military court in Gitmo.

The announcement marked a sharp reversal of his announcement in November 2009 that the men would be prosecuted in federal court in New York.

“Unfortunately, since I made that decision, Members of Congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States, regardless of the venue,” he said in a statement. “As the President has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security.”

“After thoroughly studying the case, it became clear to me that the best venue for prosecution was in federal court. I stand by that decision today.

“As the indictment unsealed today reveals, we were prepared to bring a powerful case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators – one of the most well-researched and documented cases I have ever seen in my decades of experience as a prosecutor.

“We had carefully evaluated the evidence and concluded that we could prove the defendants’ guilt while adhering to the bedrock traditions and values of our laws. We had consulted extensively with the intelligence community and developed detailed plans for handling classified evidence.

“Had this case proceeded in Manhattan or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the past year, I am confident that our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over two hundred years.

“Decisions about who, where and how to prosecute have always been – and must remain – the responsibility of the executive branch. Members of Congress simply do not have access to the evidence and other information necessary to make prosecution judgments. Yet they have taken one of the nation’s most tested counterterrorism tools off the table and tied our hands in a way that could have serious ramifications. We will continue to seek to repeal those restrictions.”

(Read more of his statement)

Read more »

FBI Searching for Assets in U.S. of Ousted Tunisian Pres. Ben Ali

Ousted Pres. Ben Ali

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to figure out if ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and other officials have assets in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.

Agents, along with a new Justice Department team, are looking for “proceeds of theft by foreign officials,” the Journal reported.

The paper reported that European nations have moved to freeze funds of Ben Ali they believe were stolen from his country.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after he was ousted.

Secret Service Agents Say Pres. Reagan Was Sharp During Presidency Contrary to What Son Says

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ronald Kessler of Newmax.com writes that Secret Service agents on President Reagan’s detail say the 40th president “was sharp until several years after he left the presidency”, contrary to what son Ron wrote in his latest book.

“We had a hundred twenty agents on his detail, and he seemed to remember everyone’s name,” former agent Glenn Smith said of Reagan when he was in the White House, according to Kessler. Kessler authored the book “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect.”

The President’s son Ron Reagan claims in his just-released book “My Father at 100″ that his father showed signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in his second term.

To read more click here.

Washington Post Editorial: U.S. Guns Going to Mexico is “Scandalous”

drug war-gunBy The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — SECRETARY OF STATE Hillary Rodham Clinton caused a stir last week by suggesting that Mexico’s drug-trafficking gangs were beginning to resemble an insurgency, like that which has plagued Colombia.

She’s right in the sense that the cartels have come to effectively control parts of the country, where they “attempt to replace the state,” as Mexican President Felipe Calderón put it last month. Like most insurgencies, the Mexican drug armies also have an external source of funding and weapons. Shamefully, that is the United States.

A new report details the abundance of U.S. weapons delivered to the cartels — and the inadequacy of U.S. efforts to stop the illegal trafficking.

According to authors Colby Goodman and Michel Marizco, at least 62,800 of the more than 80,000 firearms confiscated by Mexican authorities from December 2006 to February 2010 came from the United States. Guns are being smuggled across the border at a rate of up to 5,000 per year. The top two varieties are assault rifles: Romanian-made AK47s and clones of the Bushmaster AR-15.

To read more click here.