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Archive for December, 2008

Piece of History: Nixon Talks To J. Edgar Hoover in 1971 About N.Y. Cop Killers and Mocks N.Y. Times

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z_If_ViZJk

Homeland Security Forecast For Five Years: More Scary Threats

DHS Sec. Chertoff/official photo

DHS Sec. Chertoff/official photo

The assessment of the terrorist threats offers no shocking revelations. The forecast comes down to this: Possible scary threats coupled by more scary threats.

By EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The terrorism threat to the United States over the next five years will be driven by instability in the Middle East and Africa, persistent challenges to border security and increasing Internet savvy, says a new intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press.
Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks are considered the most dangerous threats that could be carried out against the U.S. But those threats are also the most unlikely because it is so difficult for al-Qaida and similar groups to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots, according to the internal Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013.
The al-Qaida terrorist network continues to focus on U.S. attack targets vulnerable to massive economic losses, casualties and political “turmoil,” the assessment said.
Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction remains “the highest priority at the federal level.” Speaking to reporters on Dec. 3, Chertoff explained that more people, such as terrorists, will learn how to make dirty bombs, biological and chemical weapons. “The other side is going to continue to learn more about doing things,” he said.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

CIA Using Viagra in War on Terrorism (Washington Post)

Gov. Blagojevich’s Atty. Wants To Subpoena Obama’s Chief of Staff in Impeachment Proceeding

Chief of Staff Emanuel

Chief of Staff Emanuel

The Gov. Blagojevic scandal is proving to be a thorn in the side for President-elect Obama. Just how messy it will get is unclear.

By The Associated Press
CHICAGO — An attorney for Gov. Rod Blagojevich has asked the Illinois House committee considering whether to impeach the governor to subpoena more than a dozen witnesses, including President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming chief of staff and a senior adviser.
State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie said Thursday that the House committee received a letter from Blagojevich attorney Ed Genson asking it to subpoena Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett and more than a dozen others, including Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
To Read More

Pardon the Pardon: Bush Giveth and Bush Taketh Away the Pardon

This is one way to avoid a Marc Rich-Clinton like pardon. Yank the pardon before you get hell.

By Agence France-Press
WASHINGTON – US President George W. Bush on Wednesday rescinded his pardon announced a day earlier of a New York real estate developer, the White House said, after new information came to light about the man accused of fleecing hundreds of homebuyers.
Isaac Toussie was one of 19 people whose names were put forward Tuesday for clemency by the outgoing president.
“Based on information that has subsequently come to light, the president has directed the pardon attorney not to execute and deliver a grant of clemency to Mr. Toussie,” the White House said in a statement.
It did not provide details on the new “information,” but said “the pardon attorney has not provided a recommendation on Mr. Toussie’s case because it was filed less than five years from completion of his sentence.”
Toussie pleaded guilty in 2001 to making false statements about mortgage applications and lying to federal officials, and the following year pleaded guilty to mail fraud relating to the purchase of a plot of land in Brooklyn by a county government in New York.
For Full Story

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes from ticklethewire.com

Justice Dept. I.G. Glenn Fine Wins National Law Journal Award

Glenn Fine/doj photo

Glenn Fine/doj photo

If you want to be loved by everyone, don’t become an Inspector General. Folks on the outside constantly want you to crack things wide open. People on the inside avoid you like you’re Bernie Madoff’s best friend.

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s internal watchdog won the National Law Journal’s top honor Monday for targeting Bush administration actions that cast doubt on the department’s political independence.
Inspector General Glenn A. Fine was named “Lawyer of the Year.”
The newspaper said Fine’s investigations into White House political meddling and mismanagement by former Justice officials has helped restore the fierce independence that was once the department’s trademark.
“During a year in which the Justice Department’s reputation suffered one black eye after another _ largely because of politicization of a number of its functions _ Fine and the team he has assembled in the past eight years emerged as beacons of nonpartisanship and independence,” the newspaper said.

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Other Stories of Interest

Va. Gov’s Brother-in-Law Candidate for U.S. Attorney Post

Gov. Kaine/official photo
Gov. Kaine/official photo

Candidates around the country are floating their names and vying for the dozens of U.S. Attorney jobs. In Virginia, the governor may have a particular interest in the Alexandria position.

By Jerry Markon and Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writers
ALEXANDRIA — Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s brother-in-law is among the candidates for U.S. attorney in Alexandria, a key law enforcement job that is supposed to be free of political considerations, legal and political officials said yesterday.
Kaine (D) said he has discussed the position with Dwight C. Holton, an assistant U.S. attorney in Oregon and the brother of Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton. Dwight Holton also is the son of former governor A. Linwood Holton Jr.
Kaine said he referred his brother-in-law to U.S. Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), whose office will help recommend candidates to the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama. At least five other current or former prosecutors are candidates for the job, officials said.
“All I have done with him is to say there is a process and that process involves getting hold of the senior senator,” Kaine said. The governor added that Holton “is very qualified” and “has had some significant experience” in more than a decade as a federal prosecutor.
For Full Story

Homeland Security May Search the Internet for Terrorist Threats

The Internet has become the wild wild west and Homeland Security wants to be the sheriff. Can the agency pull that off? Is the universe small enough to police?

By Thomas Frank
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The Homeland Security Department may soon start scouring the Internet to find blogs and message boards that terrorists use to plan attacks in the USA.
The effort comes as researchers are seeing terrorists increasingly use the Internet to plan bombings, recruit members and spread propaganda. “Blogging and message boards have played a substantial role in allowing communication among those who would do the United States harm,” the department said in a recent notice.
Homeland Security officials are looking for companies to search the Internet for postings “in near to real-time which precede” an attack, particularly a bombing. Bombings are “of great concern” because terrorists can easily get materials and make an improvised-explosive device (IED), the department said.
“There is a lot of IED information generated by terrorists everywhere – websites, forums, people telling you where to buy fertilizer and how to plant IEDs,” said Hsinchun Chen, director of the University of Arizona’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Chen’s “Dark Web” research project has found 500,000,000 terrorist pages and postings, including tens of thousands that discuss IEDs.
For Full Story