Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

January 2009
S M T W T F S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for January, 2009

Judge Rejects Bush Admin’s Move to Keep Secret Identities of White House Visitors

Judge Lamberth

Transparency may be coming a little too late as the Bush administration gets ready to ride out of town. But better late than never?

By Pete Yost
Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A federal judge yesterday rejected the Bush administration’s latest attempt to keep secret the identities of White House visitors, and he declared that the government illegally deleted Secret Service computer records.
U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth  (in photo) concluded that the deletions took place before October 2004, when the Secret Service transferred large numbers of entry and exit logs to the White House and then deleted copies of them.
The deletions ceased after the archivist to the United States instructed the Secret Service to stop the practice and after various private organizations went to court in an effort to gain access to the logs, according to papers filed in the case. The deletions date to at least 2001, the government’s papers added, the year President Bush took office.
For Full Story

Read Ruling

Read Ruling II

Opposition Picking Up Steam in Confirmation of Eric Holder as A.G.

Sen. Mitch McConnell/official photo

Sen. Mitch McConnell/official photo

Very early on, it seemed as if the confirmation of Eric Holder, an affable Washington figure, would be a breeze. Doesn’t seem that way any more.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Eric H. Holder Jr. is facing increasing resistance to his bid to become the next attorney general, emerging from President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet nominees as the prime target of Senate Republicans, both because of troubling episodes during his service in the Clinton administration and because of the sensitivity of the post overseeing the Justice Department.
With two days of confirmation hearings set to begin Thursday, Holder must demonstrate his independence from Obama to a vocal chorus of GOP lawmakers who want to warn the incoming president that he should not veer too far to the left on national security and judicial nominations. The attorney general plays a pivotal role in those issues, which are of intense concern to conservatives.
What was considered a smooth path to confirmation has recently been complicated as signs of hostility toward Holder have increased over the past month. Political operative Karl Rove and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for example, singled out the longtime Washington lawyer as the candidate who would face bruising questions.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-FBI Dir. Louis Freeh Writes Glowing Letter to Judiciary Endorsing Eric Holder for Atty. Gen.

Louis J. Freeh

Louis J. Freeh

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Former FBI director Louis J. Freeh has written a glowing letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsing nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. for Attorney General, saying he “displayed total integrity” as a high-ranking Justice Department official when President Clinton and other senior members were subjects of a grand jury probe.
In a two-page letter dated Jan. 7, Freeh wrote:
“As the Senate Committee on the Judiciary well remembers, my tenure as FBI Director required that the Bureau and I initiate a series of the most sensitive criminal investigations where the President of the United States, who appointed me, and other senior members of the Administration were subjects of grand jury inquiry.
“During this highly-charged time, Eric served as United States Attorney for Washington, D.C., and later as Deputy Attorney General. In my then position of FBI Director , I worked closely and directly with Eric and had the unique opportunity to observe and evaluate all of his actions in connection with the execution of these criminal investigations.
“In all, Eric’s interaction with me as FBI Director, as well as his close coordination with my Deputy and other Assistant Directors, who also had extensive and sometimes daily contact with him, Eric always displayed total integrity, courageous leadership, complete fairness and, once again and most importantly, political independence.”
Freeh said after left the FBI and became the general counsel for MBNA America Bank in Wilmington, De., he retained Holder — who had gone into private practice — as outside counsel for the bank.
“As General Counsel, I could have engaged any lawyer in America to represent our bank. I chose Eric for all the same reasons I described above: his excellent legal skills, complete integrity, sense of fairness, courage, and most importantly, my confidence he would provide me with his independent judgment without fear or favor.”
The Senate Judiciary begins confirmation hearings for Jan. 15 for Holder, 57, who is an attorney in Washington for the law firm Covington & Burling.

Read Louis Freeh Letter to Judiciary

Prosecutors Want Grand Jury Testimony Released For Sentencing To Show Just How Corrupt CIA Official Was

Kyle Foggo/msnbc

Kyle Foggo/msnbc

It seems the public has a right to know. But does that include grand jury material after trial? The prosecutors say yes.

MATTHEW BARAKAT
AP News

Kyle “Dusty” Foggo is the highest ranking officer in the history of the CIA to be convicted of a federal crime, admitting he abused his influence to steer contracts toward an old friend who showered him with vacations, gourmet dinners and other gifts.
But if the public knew the full extent of his misconduct, they would be outraged, prosecutors said Friday as they urged a judge to make public secret grand jury testimony in the case against Foggo.
Foggo was appointed in 2004 to be the agency’s executive director and third-ranking officer under then-director Porter Goss. Foggo resigned in 2006 as he came under investigation.
Prosecutor Jason Forge told U.S. District Judge James Cacheris that the public has a right to know the depth of Foggo’s misconduct and they want the judge to consider the transcripts during sentencing.

For Full Story

Secret Service Charges Calif. Man With Threatening Obama With Racist Note on Yahoo

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of what’s expected to be an endless problem.

By Kevin Poulsen
Wired

A Southern California man was charged Thursday with threatening a presidential candidate, for posting a racist note to a Yahoo message board in October expressing displeasure over Barack Obama’s candidacy, and predicting “he will have a 50 cal in the head soon.”
Walter Edward Bagdasarian, 47, was found with an arsenal of six weapons when Secret Service agents raided his La Mesa home in November, according to court records (.pdf). He had three handguns and three rifles, including a 30.06 with a telescopic sight and a Remington .50 caliber muzzle-loading rifle.
Bagdasarian is not accused of actually plotting against Obama, and he was released last month on a $100,000 real estate bond. Bagdasarian’s attorney did not return a phone call Friday.
For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

State Prosecutors Indict Baltimore Mayor On Curruption Charges (Baltimore Sun)

Illinois House Votes to Impeach Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich holds press confernce Friday After Impeachment Vote

Gov. Blagojevich holds press conference Friday After Impeachment Vote

The Blago circus continued today, and frankly, it was not a good day for him.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — The Illinois House of Representatives on Friday voted almost unanimously to impeach embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
A monitor shows Speaker Michael Madigan as the Illinois House debates the governor’s impeachment Friday.
The vote was 114-1, with three representatives not voting.
The matter now moves to the state Senate, which will try the case. A two-thirds vote in the Senate is required to remove the governor from office.
Blagojevich’s actions “show a public servant who is prepared to turn public service into an avenue for private benefit,” the chairwoman of the House impeachment committee, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said at the start of Friday’s impeachment debate.
“They show a public servant who has betrayed his oath of office, who has betrayed the public trust, who is not fit to govern the state of Illinois.”
For Full Story

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Burris Appointment Legit (CNN)

Hello Houston, We’ve Got a Problem: Feds Bust NASA Scientist With Child Porn on Work Computer

Alfred B. Schultz/ photo ssed

Alfred B. Schultz/ photo ssed

Not a good way to start the New Year.

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

The first criminal case of 2009 out of the Greenbelt office of the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office accuses Alfred B. Schultz, a scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with looking at child pornography on a NASA computer last August. A criminal information–a document filed when a defendant in a case has waived indictment–was filed in federal court against Schultz on Jan. 5.
“I don’t know what happened,” Schultz tells City Paper in a Jan. 8 phone conversation about the accusation. “They said I looked at porn sites, and I don’t remember doing it. I may have done some of it, but I don’t remember.”
Schultz says he first learned of the investigation during the first week of December. He says he has a lawyer and is going to see the prosecutor in mid-February.
He also says he has talked to family members about the charges.
“They think I may have been depressed for about a year now,” he says. “I’m going to try to straighten this out. I’m going to see a psychiatrist.”
For Full Story

Read 1-page Criminal Information

A.G. Nominee Holder Repeatedly Pushed to Get 1999 Clemency for 16 Members of Violent Puerto Rican Nationalist Groups

Eric Holder may be one of the more low-key nominees in the Obama administration, but his confirmation hearing promises to be anything but low key.

Eric Holder/law firm photo

Eric Holder/law firm photo

By Josh Meyer and Tom Hamburger
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Attorney general nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates at the Clinton Justice Department to drop their opposition to a controversial 1999 grant of clemency to 16 members of two violent Puerto Rican nationalist organizations, according to interviews and documents.
Details of the role played by Holder, who was deputy attorney general at the time, had not been publicly known until now. The new details are of particular interest because Republican senators have vowed to revisit Holder’s role during his confirmation hearings next week.
Holder had no comment for this article, but a spokesman for President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team said Holder’s actions were appropriate.
For Full Story