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Archive for May, 2009

A Number of Women Landing Top Spots at Homeland Security

Dep. Sec. Jane Holl Lute

Dep. Sec. Jane Holl Lute

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Though law enforcement is still often considered a “boys club”, women are landing a number of top spots at the Department of Homeland Security.

Rich Cooper, a columnist for Security DeBrief, has compiled an impressive list of woman holding top spots besides Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“While I’ve not gone through the other Cabinet Departments to compare how many women are in some of their most senior leadership positions, at DHS the facts speak for themselves,” Cooper writes.

Here’s the list he compiled:
Janet Napolitano, Secretary, DHS
Janet Lute, Deputy Secretary, DHS
Jan Lesher, Chief of Staff for Operations
Elaine Duke, Under Secretary for Management
Vice Admiral Vivien S. Crea, Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard
Dr. Tara O’Toole, Under Secretary for Science & Technology, DHS (nominee)
Juliette Kayyem Assistant Secretary, Office of Intergovernmental Programs
Gale Rossides, (Acting) Administrator, Transportation Security Administration
Chani W. Wiggins, Assistant Secretary, Legislative Affairs
Sue Ramanathan, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Legislative Affairs
Connie Patrick, Director, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
Mary Ellen Callahan, Chief Privacy Officer
Dora Schriro, Special Advisor on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Detention & Removal

Justice Dept. Public Integrity Unit Needs New Shot of Integrity and Rehab

A.G. Eric Holder

A.G. Eric Holder

It might be just a little ironic that the integrity of the Public Integrity Unit is on shaky ground these days.  This once elite unit has taken a beating of late and the Atty. General knows he’s got a lot of work to do to turn things around.

By CHARLIE SAVAGE
New York Times
WASHINGTON – A week after shutting down the criminal case against former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska because it had been botched by prosecutors, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. delivered a pep talk to Justice Department lawyers.

The latest on President Obama, the new administration and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion.

“I’m here to tell you personally that I’ve got your back,” Mr. Holder told prosecutors in the department’s Public Integrity Section, an elite unit charged with pursuing corruption charges against public officials. He called them “among the finest lawyers in the entire government,” promised them more resources and vowed not to back off from “prosecuting the tough cases when warranted because of the criticism we’re getting right now.”

Despite Mr. Holder’s gesture of reassurance last month, recalled by someone present, the public integrity unit, once the pride of the Justice Department, is badly in need of rehabilitation, according to current and former officials.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Grand Jury Probing Whether Philly Cop Helped Tip Drug Kingpin About ATF Raid

These type of breaches undermine the integrity of the system and reminds us that the this type of corruption just doesn’t happen south of the border.
philly-map
By John Shiffman and George Anastasia
Inquirer Staff Writers
PHILADELPHIA — Hours before ATF agents raided his home and arrested him in 2005, Philadelphia drug kingpin Alton “Ace Capone” Coles got a phone call from a friend in California warning that “the feds were coming.”

Federal authorities now believe the friend’s source for that tip was a Philadelphia police detective.

The detective, Richard “Rickie” Durham, was working with a 200-member task force that was poised to execute a series of raids that would take down Coles and most of his top associates on Aug. 10, 2005, capping one of the most significant drug investigations in recent Philadelphia history.

Durham, 43, is now the target of a federal grand jury investigation, sources said.

To Read More

FBI Wants Ex-Agent to Remove Bureau Seal From Website and Any Book Reprints

fbi-book1

The questions are: Is this battle worth it? Is it bad public relations?
And are there better ways for the FBI to spend its resources?

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — You’d think that the nation’s number one domestic counterterrorism agency would have better things to do than yap at authors and publishers about using the bureau’s official seal on their books.

But I.C. Smith, a retired senior FBI counterintelligence agent who wrote a very critical book about the bureau in 2004, just found out otherwise.

A few weeks ago an FBI lawyer instructed Smith that he had to remove the FBI seal from his Web site, including one on the jacket of his 2004 book, “INSIDE: A Top G Man Exposes Spies, Lies and Bureaucratic Bungling Inside the FBI.”

The G-lawyer also told Smith that the publisher of his book, Thomas Nelson, Inc., would also be instructed “that if the book is reprinted, the cover be redesigned to remove the FBI Seal.”

For Full Story

Cyber Piracy: FBI and Va. State Police Search for Hackers Who Have Demanded $10 Million For Pharmacy Records

pirate-cyber-theft

This is the equivalent of piracy on the high seas. The only difference is: records — not human life — are at the heart of the ransom demand.

By Brian Krebs and Anita Kumar
Washington Post Staff Writers
RICHMOND, Va. May 7 — The FBI and Virginia State Police are searching for hackers who have demanded the state pay them a $10 million ransom by Thursday for the return of millions of personal pharmaceutical records they stole from the state’s prescription drug database.

The hackers claim to have accessed 8 million patient records and 35 million prescriptions collected by the Prescription Monitoring Program.

Sandra Whitley Ryals, director of Virginia’s Department of Health Professions, declined to discuss details of the hackers’ claims and referred inquiries to the FBI.

For Full Story

FBI Wiretapped Ex-Congressman Curt Weldon’s Inner Circle and at Least One Reporter

Ex-Rep. Weldon

Ex-Rep. Weldon

The Justice Department has sent out wiretap letters, which may indicate that this probe is over. Ex-Rep Curt Weldon was never charged.

By WILLIAM BENDER
Philadelphia Daily News
PHILADELPHIA — Federal investigators were running wiretaps for months at a time in 2006 on then-U.S. Rep. Curton Weldon’s chief of staff and other members of his inner circle, the Justice Department has revealed.

The wiretaps were disclosed in letters that the department recently sent to individuals – including this reporter, then employed at another newspaper – whose phone conversations with the targeted parties were intercepted.

The notifications, required under federal law, often are sent toward the end of an investigation or when the disclosure would no longer affect an ongoing investigation.

Legal observers say that the wiretap disclosure could be another indication that the corruption probe that helped end Weldon’s lengthy political career has concluded.

Weldon, a Delaware County Republican now working for Exton-based Defense Solutions, has not been charged.

For Full Story

Bernie Madoff’s Secretary Speaks Out

N.Y. Cops Aid Ailing Fed Judge and Win False Arrest Case

nypd-badge1Well, it was a good day for 2 cops in Brooklyn fed court. They helped a sick judge and they won their case. Hope they went off and tried their luck at the Lotto.

By John Marzulli
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Two city cops who were defendants in a civil case came to the aid of a stricken federal judge presiding over their trial in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

But the nerve-racking day had a happy ending – Chief Judge Raymond Dearie appeared to be okay and the jury cleared Officers William Higgins and Thaddeus Niksa of wrongdoing.

“They’re cops first and defendants second,” said their union lawyer, Gregory Longworth. “Their instincts kicked in and they rendered immediate first aid to the judge.”

Dearie was charging the jury on the law when he apparently fainted and slumped forward on the bench.

Higgins and Niksa leaped from the defense table and assisted the judge from his chair to a hallway behind the courtroom. They loosened his tie, propped up his feet and checked his pulse while co-counsel Mitch Garber called 911.

Another judge was summoned to complete the charge and the jury deliberated about three hours before reaching a verdict.

Higgins, a 14-year-veteran, and Niksa, a 15-year-veteran were accused of false arrest and violating the First Amendment rights of a pair of foul-mouthed sisters from Queens.

For Full Story