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Archive for January, 2010

Steam Building to Move 9/11 Trial out of New York

subway-photo-istock
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Steam is building to move the 9/11 terrorism  trial from New York City to a military base.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was once for it, has declared it a bad and very expensive idea. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein concurs.  And Politico reports that the Obama administration is considering a move.

Luisita Lopez Torregrosa writes in Politics Daily that President Obama can do a lot of things “but he cannot push New York City around.” Many in New York and outside were up in arms, citing the potential disruption  in the city, the potential dangers and the high cost of providing security.

” You don’t have to be a politician or a lawyer to see the idea was misguided,” Torregrosa writes. “It had a touch of arrogance, going against the grain, and a bit of the out-of-touch attitude that has plagued the Obama presidency.”

U.S. Inching Toward Cooperation Agreement With Underwear Bomber, Washington Post Reports

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Federal authorities are “inching toward an agreement” with the underwear bomber to secure his cooperation, the Washington Post reported, attributing the information to “two sources familiar with the case.”

Federal public defenders have been involved in talks, the Post reported, that could result in a guilty plea.

The handling of the case has raised its share of controversy, particularly here on Capitol Hill where some politicians have suggested the U.S. could have gotten far more sensitive information from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had they placed him in military custody rather than charged him in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Given that, it’s likely the government feels even more pressure to hammer out a deal so it can pick up where it left off in receiving information from the suspect. He offered information right after the incident, but then clammed up.

To read the full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Looks Like Bush-Appointed U.S. Atty. Jim Letten in New Orleans Will Get the Nod

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It looks like New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, a Bush appointee, will be sticking around.

Reporter Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said after meeting Thursday with Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. that he expects the Justice Department will soon “make clear that Jim Letten” will keep the job.

The paper reported that Vitter said the anticipated clarification about Letten’s job means “he will drop his holds on several of President Barack Obama’s Louisiana criminal justice nominees.”

Letten has the support of the state’s Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

To read the full story click here.

Head of Detroit FBI Defends Use of Informants and Raid Where Imam Was Killed

FBI's Andy Arena/ticklethewire.com photo

FBI's Andy Arena/ticklethewire.com photo

The tension between the FBI and Muslim and Arab American citizens is something being played out around the country, particularly in places like the Detroit area. It can’t hurt to have meetings like these.

By NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

DEARBORN, Mi. — Saying that informants are an important tool, the special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI office told a Dearborn audience today that the case of a Muslim cleric who died in a shootout with federal agents ended tragically, but that his agents followed proper protocol.

“We did what we had to do,” said Andrew Arena, head of the FBI office in Detroit.

Over the past year, there has been growing concern among Muslims about the use of undercover sources in their mosques and communities. Informants were used in the case of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a Muslim leader from Detroit who died Oct. 28 after a shootout in Dearborn with FBI agents seeking to arrest him and others on suspicion of dealing with stolen goods. The FBI has said Abdullah opened fire on agents.

“I’m a Catholic, born and raised Roman Catholic,” Arena told the largely Muslim crowd in Dearborn. “If a Catholic priest is standing on the pulpit, saying, give money to the Irish Republican Army to kill British soldiers and throw them out of Northern Ireland, we have a right, a duty, a responsibility” to investigate.

For Full Story

Mexican Citizen Accused of Killing U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent is Extradited to U.S.

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Mexican citizen charged in the death of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent in 2008 was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. on Thursday, authorities announced.

Jesus Navarro-Montes arrived in Houston and is expected to be transferred to San Diego to stand trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A superseding indictment filed in San Diego charged Navarro-Montes with federal narcotics violations and second-degree murder in the death of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar on Jan. 19, 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities say the defendant allegedly struck and killed the agent with a Hummer H2 vehicle in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Imperial County, Calif.

Senate Judiciary Gives the Nod to U.S. Attorney Nominees for Calif, D.C., NY

D.C. nominee Ronald Machen

D.C. nominee Ronald Machen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a unanimous nod Thursday to three U.S. Attorney nominees.

The nominees include Andre Birotte, Jr. for the Central District of California; Richard Hartunian for the Northern District of New York and Ronald Machen for Washington D.C.

The three must now be confirmed by the full Senate.

Ex-Cong. Jefferson’s Brother Mose Jefferson Sentenced to 10 Years in New Orleans

Mose Jefferson/wdsu tv

Mose Jefferson/wdsu tv

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A sad reminder of the crumbling political dynasty of the Jefferson family in Louisiana surfaced  Thursday in federal court in New Orleans.

Mose Jefferson, the political operative for the dynasty and the brother of convicted ex-Rep. William Jefferson, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribing school board president Ellenese Brooks-Simms  and then trying to cover it all up.

U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon also ordered him to pay a $175,000 fine and $913,000 in restitution to Orleans Parish School Board, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The paper reported that Jefferson can remain free until his next public corruption trial is completed. He is scheduled to go to trial in March with other relatives on charges of ripping off non-profits.

Ex-Congressman Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in prison in Alexandria, Va., in November. However, the judge has allowed him to remain free pending the completion of  his appeal, which could easily take two years.

To read more click here.

TSA Reports Big Drop in Guns Seized at Airports: Could the Christmas Day Incident Have Helped?

tsa photo

tsa photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Could it be that the Christmas Day underwear bombing incident may have raised the consciousness of the everyday traveler — at least when it comes to bringing guns to the airport?

We may never know for sure.

What we do know is that normally on any given week the Transportation Security Administration finds 25 to 30 guns or more at airport passenger checkpoints in the U.S.

TSA figures  posted for the week of Jan. 11-17 show there were only 8 guns found, an unusually low number.

The TSA did not immediately return a phone call to see if it had any explanation.