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Archive for March, 2010

Two Ex-High Ranking FBI Agents to Review North Carolina’s Crime Lab

N.C. Atty. General Roy Cooper/state photo
N.C. Atty. General Roy Cooper/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two ex-assistant directors of the FBI have been tasked with reviewing North Carolina’s crime lab, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office said.

The review by ex-FBI agents Chris Swecker and Mike Wolf comes in wake of “a groundbreaking exoneration of a man wrongly accused in a 1991 murder”, according to the Associated Press.

The North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper ordered the review of “cases and practices from the early 1990s as well as current methods” after a judge exonerated Greg Taylor for the 1991 murder, AP reported.

Swecker, an attorney and North Carolina native, was formerly the FBI special agent in charge of the North Carolina office and later served as executive assistant director in charge of nine FBI divisions, including the science and forensic lab division, according to a press release issued by the North Carolina Attorney General.

Wolf, who has a masters degree in forensic science, is the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Connecticut division and was assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group, the press release said. He led an inspection team brought in to fix problems at the FBI crime lab in 1998-1999.

The Attorney General’s Office said the review “will run concurrently with the State Bureau of Investigation’s internal review of current practices and policies at the crime lab.”

President and VP Doing a Heck of a Lot of International Travel Compared With Other Administrations

obama

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden haven’t been shy about traveling out of the country.

Mark Sullivan, the director of the U.S. Secret Service, told a Congressional panel Thursday morning that President Obama went on 31 international trips in his first year in office, a “significant increase when compared to previous administrations’ first year in office.”

He said Biden had traveled on 21 international trips his first year compared to Vice President Cheney’s one trip.

Sullivan, who appeared before a House Appropriations subcommittee to discuss the agency’s budget, also noted that threats against President Obama “are at the same level they were for the last two administrations at this point in their administrations.”

On the issue of  travel,  Wikipedia says that the first six presidents to travel internationally went by ship.

” The first four presidential trips by airplane were the four WWII conferences: Casablanca, Tehran, Yalta (FDR attended during the war), and Potsdam (Truman attended after the war). President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first to travel by jet and the first to travel via helicopter,” the online encylopedia wrote.

Feds Indict 2 Computer Programmers for Madoff

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Bernie Madoff’s house of cards continues to crumble.

Two computer programmers for Madoff’s investment firm– George Perez and Jerome O’Hara — were indicted Wednesday in New York on charges of conspiracy and falsifying records.

Authorities charged that the men helped dupe the Securities and Exchange Commission and a European accounting firm by developing and maintaining “computer programs that generated numerous false and fraudulent records.” The European firm was reviewing Madoff’s records on behalf of a client.

Each man faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Senate Passes Bill to Lessen Sentences for Crack Cocaine

Sen. Leahy

Sen. Leahy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A bill that lessens the sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine sailed through the Senate Wednesday night, the website Main Justice reported.

The Fair Sentencing Act establishes an 18-to-1 sentencing ratio for crack and powder cocaine offenses as opposed to the current 100-to-1 ratio. In other words, a person with crack cocaine currently gets the same mandatory sentence as someone with 100 times the amount of powdered cocaine.

“After more than 20 years, the Senate has finally acted on legislation to correct the crack-powder disparity and the harm to public confidence in our justice system it created,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a news release, according to Main Justice.

“Although this bill is not perfect and it is not the bill we introduced in order to correct these inequalities, I believe the Fair Sentencing Act moves us one step closer to reaching the important goal of equal justice for all.”

To read more click here.

“JihadJane” Confessed to FBI

JihadJane/6abc

JihadJane/6abc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The woman nicknamed “JihadJane” has confessed to the FBI about helping plot the murder of a Swedish cartoonist, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The paper, citing “two people close to the investigation” reported that Colleen LaRose gave her confession shortly after she was arrested in October at Philadelphia International Airport where she had just arrived from London.

The Inquirer reported that, according to a federal law enforcement source said LaRose,46, travelled to Europe to visit with co-conspirators in Ireland.

To read more click here.

Proposed FBI $8.3 Billion Budget For 2011 Includes Request for 276 New Agent Slots

bin Laden said getting weapons of mass destruction was a "religious duty"
bin Laden said getting weapons of mass destruction was a “religious duty”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said Wednesday that he hoped to get Congressional funding to add 276 new agent slots to fight crime, terrorism and battle al Qaeda.

“Usama bin Laden said that obtaining WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) is a ‘religious duty’ and is reported to have sought to perpetrate a ‘Hiroshima’ on United States soil,” Mueller said in a prepared text on the FBI’s $8.3 billion proposed 2011 budget before a House Appropriations Committee.

Along with the new agents, the director is asking for an additional 187 intelligence analysts and 349 professional staff positions.

“These additional resources will allow the FBI to improve its capacities to address threats in priority areas of terrorism, computer intrusion, weapons of mass destruction, foreign counterintelligence, white collar crime, violent crime and gangs, child exploitation and organized crime,” he said.

Mueller said he also hopes to build a new dormitory at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., and upgrade existing facilities there.

Read Full Statement

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Defends Handling of Christmas Day Bombing Incident in Detroit

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi stock photo

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi stock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III on Wednesday found himself defending the handling of the Christmas day bombing attempt in Detroit — this time before a Congressional committee.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., told Mueller he would have preferred that a team of interrogation experts had been brought to Detroit to question Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab instead of the local FBI, according to the Associated Press.

“They were not the best people that we had in the nation at that time to interrogate the Christmas Day bomber,” Wolf said, according to AP.

But Mueller, who appeared before a House Appropriations subcommittee,  defended the the way things were handled, saying the FBI could have lost valuable information while waiting for the out of town interrogators to arrive, AP reported. He added that Abdulmutallab is continuing to cooperate with authorities.

“One has to make decisions relatively quickly in order to maximize the opportunity to get that intelligence,” Mueller said.

Read Mueller’s Statement before the House Appropriations Subcommittee

UPDATE: Party-Crashing Salahis Still on the Feds Radar

The Salahis pose with the v.p./facebook

The Salahis pose with the v.p./facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The party-crashing Salahis — who are apparently “so yesterday” — are still in the crosshairs of federal authorities.

Ben Friedman, a spokesman U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, said Wednesday that the couple is still under investigation and no decision has been made whether to charge them criminally for crashing a White House party on November 24.

“There’s nothing further to report,” Friedman said.

Federal authorities could charge Tareq and Michaele Salahi with criminally trespassing or lying to a federal agent. But there are some observers who believe it could be a tough case to prove, and the government could end up being embarrassed if it loses the case.

Either way, even with a conviction, it’s not likely the couple would serve any jail time.