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January 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for January, 2010

Column: Sen. Reid’s Remark Reminded Me of ATF Official’s “Jew Them Down” Remark

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The revelation in a new book on the 2008 presidential campaign about the stupid remarks Sen. Harry Reid made about President Obama was somewhat of a shocker.

The book “Game Change” reported that Reid “was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” as he said privately.”

It reminded me of an interview I had several years ago with a high ranking ATF official in Washington when I was a reporter at the Washington Post.

I was sitting there with the official and an ATF press spokesman, when I asked the official about undercover drug buys.

“Do you ever bargain over the price with drug dealers? I asked.

The official casually responded: “Sometimes we try to Jew them down.”

I was shocked. I couldn’t look up for a moment as I jotted down notes. I couldn’t believe in Washington — a pretty sophisticated town — that a official could make such a foolish remark and not think twice.

He was a nice guy and well intentioned. But obviously somewhat ignorant and lacking in sophistication.

I could have written about it and and damaged his career, but I didn’t. I decided to let it pass.

But I still think about that incident and wonder how anyone with any stature in Washington could make such a stupid remark.

Then I heard Sen. Reid’s remark and was reminded that yes, ignorance in the officialdom of Washington is part of the DNA that will live on for generations no matter how smart some of these folks think they are.

Politics Continues to Plague U.S. Atty Choice in Dallas

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson/gov photo
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson/gov photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Justice may be blind, but politics is not — particularly when it comes to the appointment of a new U.S. Attorney in Dallas.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the White House may not be any closer to appointing a new U.S. Attorney there than it was a year ago, thanks to the bickering between Republicans and Democrats.

Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson says Republicans need to accept that there’s a Democrat in the White House, the paper reported. Dems have suggested two candidates.

Meanwhile, Republican senators from Texas are pushing for a different candidate based on a bipartisan panel they appointed.

To read the full story click here.

FBI Busts West Hollywood Woman for Allegedly Selling Fake Picasso Painting for $2 million

The Fake Picasso/gov photo

The Fake Picasso/gov photo

By Allan Lengel

The old saying goes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

But the FBI in Los Angeles apparently isn’t buying that one — at least not this time.

The FBI has busted a West Hollywood antiques dealer who has been charged with fraud  in a scheme that involved the sale of a fake Pablo Picasso painting for $2 million.

According to authorities, antiques dealer Tatiana Khan, 69, paid an artist $1,000 to fabricate the painting — a 1902 pastel called “La Femme Au Chapeau Bleu,” or “The Woman in the Blue Hat”

Read more »

Social Networking and the Courts: One of the Curses of the Internet

The Internet has been a blessing and a curse for the justice system. This is one of the curses.


By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Al Schuler, one of 12 jurors weighing the fate of a 23-year-old charged with killing a homeless man in Maryland, was confused by the word “lividity” and what role it might have played in explaining the circumstances of the victim’s beating death.

So, one night after deliberations, the retired engineer did what so many people do in the digital age: He looked up the definition on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. “It was just a definition, like going to the dictionary,” Schuler said. “It was very innocent.”

A Maryland appeals court didn’t think so. In throwing out the defendant’s first-degree murder conviction and ordering a new trial, the court ruled that Schuler’s inquiry violated an Anne Arundel County judge’s order prohibiting jurors from researching the case.

Schuler’s query is just the latest example of how modern technology and an information-saturated culture are testing centuries-old notions of how juries and judges mete out justice. The issue garnered national attention recently in Baltimore, where five jurors were accused of using a social-networking site to inappropriately discuss the ongoing trial of the city’s mayor.

For Full Story


Jordanian Left Message Before CIA Suicide Bombing in Afghanistan


Preview: National Geographic’s New Show “Border Wars” Featuring U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents Debuts Sun. at 9

Fed Grand Jury Convenes to Look into White House Party Crashers

The Salahis pose with the v.p./facebook
The Salahis pose with the v.p./facebook

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Authorities still seem determined to make a federal case out of the White House party crashing incident involving the Barbie-Doll looking couple, the Salahis.

The Washington Post is reporting that a federal grand jury has been convened to look into the matter, and that two witnesses received subpoenas on Friday to testify  next week before the secret panel at the U.S. District Courthouse in D.C.

The convening of a grand jury doesn’t automatically indicate that criminal charges will be filed. But it certainly is a sign that federal authorities continue to take the embarrassing incident seriously.


Giuliani Claims Underwear Bomber Being Prosecuted in Wrong Place (Washington Post)

Cybersecurity Expert Shawn Henry to Head FBI D.C. Field Office

Shawn Henry/fbi photo
Shawn Henry/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Shawn Henry, a cybersecurity expert from FBI headquarters, is the new head of the FBI Washington field office, the Washington Post reported.

Henry replaces Joseph Persichini Jr., who stepped down  on Christmas Day. John Perren, special agent in charge of the office’s counterterrorism division, had been named the interim replacement following Persichini’s departure.

Henry started his FBI career in 1989 and was first assigned to the Washington field office where he focused primarily on public corruption, according to the FBI.

In 1996, he was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent in the Public Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters “with program management oversight for public corruption investigations nationwide,” the FBI said.

After several more career moves, he was named deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Divison in 2007.

The following year he was named assistant director of that division.