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Archive for December, 2009

Atty. Says He Saw Man Try to Help Nigerian on Flight Without a Passport

The flaws in the security will only become more embarrassing as days pass. Stories like this could rock the foundation of airport security around the world. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the suspect had far more explosive than the “shoe bomber” and could have blown a hole in the plane.

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Paul Egan
The Detroit News

TAYLOR, Mich. — An attorney who was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day says he saw another man come to the assistance of accused bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab when he tried to board the airplane in Amsterdam without a passport.

Kurt Haskell, a Taylor attorney, told FBI agents what he saw near the boarding gate at Amsterdam when he was questioned at Detroit Metropolitan Airport following Abdulmutallab’s alleged attempt to blow up the aircraft, said Haskell’s wife Lori, who is also an attorney and was traveling with her husband.

“The two of us were sitting on the floor playing cards,” Lori Haskell told The Detroit News. “My husband noticed two men walk up to the ticket counter lady. The only reason he noticed them is that he thought they were really a mismatched pair.”

The man they later learned was Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, wore older, scraggly clothing, but the man who was assisting him, who appeared to be of Indian descent, was dressed in what looked like an expensive suit and shoes, she said.

The well-dressed man told the ticket agent: “We need to get this man on the plane,” Haskell recounted. “He doesn’t have a passport.”

The ticket agent told the man nobody was allowed to board without a passport, to which the well-dressed man replied: “We do this all the time; he’s from Sudan,” Haskell said, adding she and her husband believe the man was trying to pass Abdulmutallab off as a Sudanese refugee.

Read Full Story

Cleveland DEA Agent Goes on Trial Jan. 6 on Charges of Perjury and Obstruction of Justice in One Heck of a Mess

clevelandBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s never pretty when fed prosecutors go after a federal agent.

But that’s what will happen Jan. 6 in Cleveland when trial is slated to begin for Drug Enforcement Administration agent  Lee Lucas, a 19 year veteran, on charges he lied on the witness stand, made false statements in official reports, obstructed justice and violated people’s civil rights, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The case includes allegations that he oversaw a rogue witnesses who helped put away innocent people. Lucas has denied doing anything criminal.

To read more click here.

Fed Prosecutions Hit Record in Fiscal 2009 Thanks to Immigration Cases

istock illustration
istock illustration

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutions hit a record high in fiscal 2009, thanks to a sharp uptick in immigration cases, the New York Times reported.

The paper reported that there were 169,612 federal prosecution filings up almost 9 percent from the previous year. The data was attributed to data analyzed by TRAC,  a research center at Syracuse University in a new report.

The paper reported that Immigration prosecutions comprised more than half of the criminal prosecution.

“The relatively simple cases have become the low-hanging fruit of the federal legal system: Immigration prosecutions, from inception to court disposal, are lightning quick, according to the report. While white-collar prosecutions take an average of 460 days and narcotics cases take 333, the immigration cases are typically disposed of in 2 days,” the paper reported.

For Full Story

Commentary: Let’s Start Paying Closer Attention to Those on the Terror Watch List

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Eight years after the infamous 9/11 attacks, we still see glaring flaws in our airport security. Why? Why? Why???

Why was Nigerian National Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bomb the Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day, not given a good second looking over before he boarded the plane?

He was on a terrorism watch list with 550,000 people. He bought a one way ticket with cash. The warning signs were there. The security was not.

Maybe we have to forget about doing second screenings at airports for grannies with walkers. We don’t need to arbitrarily start profiling. But when folks like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab step up to the counter, the red flags should go up.

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

There may be no way to close every little security gap. Not everyone with an evil thought is on some kind of warning list. But let’s at least pay attention to those who are!

We can’t keep relying on luck and incompetent terrorists to fall short of their goal.

RELATED STORIES

Murders Dropping in U.S. Towns Bordering Mexico

el paso map istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Amid all the gloomy and scary news about the Mexican drug cartel violence, comes a little good news.

USA Today reports that beefed up law enforcement patrols along the U.S. Mexican border may be helping prevent some of the Mexican drug cartel violence from spilling over to the U.S.

The paper reports that murders in El Paso fell from six in the first half of 2008 to four in the same period this year, according to the FBI.

In the first half of 2009, nearly 1,000 people were killed in the neighboring Mexican town of Ciudad Juarez.

What’s more in Tucson, murders fell from 30 in the first half of 2008 to nine during the same period in 2009, USA Today reported. The drop is part of an overall decrease in the murder rate in the U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer in Michigan Faces Child Porn Charge

border protection
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer in Michigan is facing charges of receiving child pornography over the Internet, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Eric Higgins, 31, who is stationed at the Blue Water Bridge at the U.S.-Canada border in Port Huron, Mi., was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges of receiving child pornography from February to June of 2009, authorities said.

“This indictment sends a clear message that those who perpetuate the market for this material will be prosecuted regardless of their employment,” U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg said in a statement.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mich. Muslims Join Jews on Christmas to Do Good Deeds (AP)

Washington Post Editorial: Mexico Massacre Reminder U.S. Must Do More to Help Fight Drug Cartels

istock photo

istock photo

Washington Post Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — MELQUISEDET Angulo Cordova, a member of Mexico’s naval special forces, had been laid to rest for only a few hours when hit men burst into his family’s home Tuesday and slaughtered his mother, brother, sister and aunt.

This was not a random act of violence. It appears to have been retribution for Mr. Cordova’s part last week in a military ambush that resulted in the death of Arturo Beltran Leyva, one of Mexico’s most violent and brazen drug lords, and a handful of his bodyguards.

The revenge killing, the targeting of a mother and family, has shocked even those who have been numbed by thousands of deaths at the hands of the nation’s drug cartels during the past few years. This tragedy should serve as a reminder of why the United States must remain a strong and unwavering partner to Mexico in combating the increasingly ruthless cartels.

To read more click here.

Mexico Re-evaluates Drug War as Lawlessness Grips (Washington Post)

Father Had Reported Son to State Dept. Because of Radical Thoughts and Connections

nwa2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The father of a Nigerian man charged Saturday with attempting to blow up a Northwest plane bound from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day told the State Department he was concerned about his son’s radical beliefs and connections, prompting authorities to put his name in a U.S. terrorism data base last month, the Washington Post reported.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab “was added to a catch-all terrorism-related database when his father, a Nigerian banker, reported concerns about his son’s “radicalization and associations” to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a senior administration official said,” according to the Post.

“Abdulmutallab was not placed on any watch list for flights into the United States, however, because there was “insufficient derogatory information available” to include him, another administration official said,” the Post reported.

To read more click here.