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January 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for January, 2010

FBI Sting Involving Foreign Bribery Nets 22 Arrests

File photo/istock

File photo/istock

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — About 150 FBI agents executed 14 search warrants around the country and in London and 22 executives and employees in the law enforcement and military products industry were arrested as part of a sting involving allegations of foreign bribery,authorities announced Tuesday.

Twenty one people were arrested in Las Vegas  yesterday while one was arrested in Miami, authorities said.

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Two Illinois Men Charged With Plotting to Kill Chicago Fed Prosecutor

ChicagoBy Allan Lengel

Two DuPage County men in Illinois have been busted for allegedly plotting to kill an assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Authorities charged Jack Mann, 41, of Naperville, Ill. and Frank Caira, 39, of Downers Grove, Ill.

The Trib reported that a defense lawyer for an ex-convict told the FBI that his client had been solicited by Mann to kill the prosecutor in a drug case in which  Caira was a defendant.

The ex-convict who was solicited had been convicted of murder and was a member of the Latin Kings, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

Looking for a New Political Scandal Involving an FBI Probe? Here We Go

Sen. John Ensign

Sen. John Ensign

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — With the ex-Sen. Ted Stevens and ex-Rep. William Jefferson cases over, Washington needs a new political scandal involving the FBI. So here we go.

Politico is reporting that FBI agents have started interviewing folks connected with Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada) who was involved in a sex scandal. The publication says agents have talked to the senator’s  former aides in Washington and Nevada.

Politico, attributing information to sources, said that the FBI had begun a preliminary review and had yet to launch a full scale probe.

A controversy erupted last summer after Ensign revealed that he had an extramarital affair with former campaign aide Cynthia Hampton, who was married to his top Senate aide Doug Hampton.

Questions surfaced over Ensign’s failure to report a $96,000 gift from his parents as a severance payment to the Hamptons, Politico reported.

For Full Story

The Gilbert Arenas Case Created an Interesting Situation: The Old D.C. U.S. Attorney Was Up Against The Office He Once Ran

Kenneth Wainstein

Ex-U.S. Atty. Kenneth Wainstein

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The recent plea agreement involving NBA Wizards star Gilbert Arenas created an interesting set of circumstances: His attorney Kenneth Wainstein, a former U.S. Attorney for the District, was up against the office he used to run.

In fact, the acting U.S. Attorney, Channing Phillips, a long time employee of the office,  and a faithful Washington Wizards fan, had worked for Wainstein from 2004 to 2006.

So the question is: Did it help for Arenas to have Wainstein, an insider, somebody who knew the system?  Somebody who knew office policy and office personalities and what type of pleas had been doled out in many cases in the past?

We may never know for sure, though it appears Arenas didn’t get a plea agreement that was outside the norm. He had four guns, but pleaded guilty last Friday to only one count of carrying a pistol without a license.  He could get jail time or probation at his sentencing, which is  set for March 26 in D.C. Superior Court, the city criminal court. The D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes cases in both the city and federal courts.

Phillips and Wainstein declined to comment because the case is ongoing.

But former U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard, who headed the office  from 2001 to 2004,  and was Phillips’ boss as well, was able to provide some insight, saying it certainly can’t hurt to hire someone like Wainstein who has an intimate knowledge of the office.

He said it certainly doesn’t mean that Wainstein automatically got a better deal than another defense attorney, but it may have cut down on the get-to-know-you period between both sides and any outlandish demands, which can slow the process.

Former U.S. Atty. Roscoe Howard Jr.
Former U.S. Atty. Roscoe Howard Jr.

“It’s a familiarity situation. ‘We know the guy, he knows us’,” Howard said of the Wainstein and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He said sometimes attorneys come from out of state and try to show how tough they are, and that can draw out the plea talks.

“Ken certainly knows the system. He understands what the protocols are what the policies are,” Howard said.

He said Wainstein was in all likelihood able to assure his client that he knows the office policies and what’s doable and what’s not.

“The fact each side is familiar with each other, it’s just easier to sit down and work something out.”

New Orleans Police Brass Appear Before Fed Grand Jury Probing Deadly Civil Rights Violations

new orleans police badge
By Allan Lengel

A major probe by the FBI and Justice Department into the New Orleans Police department’s behavior in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is continuing to show signs of life.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Police Superintendent Warren Riley, his predecessor Eddie Compass and other top police brass testified Friday before a federal grand jury on the fourth floor of the federal courthouse.

Authorities are investigating allegations of civil rights violations that included deadly acts.

For full story click here.


Imitation May Not Always Be The Most Sincerest Form of Flattery: Spanish Lawmaker Rejects Apology Over FBI Use of Photo

FBI used lawmaker's photo for bin Laden
FBI used lawmaker’s photo for bin Laden

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Try telling that to Spanish lawmaker Gasperon Llamazers.

On Tuesday, the angry lawmaker rejected the United States’ apology after the FBI used his photo to create a digitally aged image of  Osama bin Laden, the Associated Press reported.

Not only that, but the member of Spain’s United Left party demanded the U.S. investigate the matter, AP reported.

“Apologies are not enough,” he told a news conference at Parliament after the U.S. ambassador issued an apology Monday, according to AP. “I want a thorough investigation into this disgraceful case, which not only causes concern but also worry and indignation over the behavior of the FBI.”

FBI Illegally Collected Telephone Records During Bush Years, Wasington Post Reports

telephoneBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — A yet to be released Justice Department report is expected to conclude that the FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 during the Bush administration, the Washington Post reported.

The paper reported that the FBI illegally collected the records by “by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews.”

The paper said the bureau issued approvals “after the fact to justify their actions.”

To read more click here.

The FBI responded Tuesday with a statement:

Washington, D.C. — Today, The Washington Post published a story on an upcoming Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on the FBI’s use of exigent letters during the time period 2002-2006. The report is expected to build on the OIG’s 2007 findings regarding a limited and discontinued FBI practice wherein exigent letters, or other informal requests for telephone records, were made to obtain telephone toll billing records. The FBI ceased this practice in 2006 and was never involved in obtaining the content of telephone conversations.

“The OIG report is not expected to find – nor were there – any intentional attempts to obtain records that counterterrorism personnel knew they were not legally entitled to obtain,” said Michael P. Kortan, the FBI’s Assistant Director for Public Affairs. “The FBI was lawfully entitled to acquire every record at issue in the OIG report, and no FBI employee used informal methods to obtain telephone records for reasons other than a legitimate investigative interest. FBI employees involved in this matter obtained the telephone records at issue to perform their critical mission to prevent a terrorist attack or otherwise to support a counterterrorism investigation.”

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NY Times Reports that More Clues in Christmas Day Bombing Were Missed than Administration Publicly Disclosed

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — It seemed refreshing when the Obama administration released a report on the the intelligence community’s failure to connect the dots that could have prevented the Christmas Day bombing attempt aboard a Detroit bound plane.

But the New York Times reports that there “were far more warning signs than the administration has acknowledged.”

The paper says that the President met on Dec. 22 with officials from the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security and there was concern about a terrorist attack over the Christmas Holiday.

And in early November, the paper reported, that “American intelligence authorities say they learned from a communications intercept of Qaeda followers in Yemen that a man named “Umar Farouk” — the first two names of the jetliner suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — had volunteered for a coming operation.”

Frankly, it’s almost like going on the Wheel of Fortune and not being able to guess the phrase with a single vowel missing.

To read full story click here.