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Archive for December, 2010

Mary F. Rook Named Head of FBI’s Anchorage Office

Mary Rook/fbi photo By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Mary F. Rook, the chief in the FBI’s Training Division’s Law Enforcement Programs Section, will head the Anchorage Division, the agency announced Wednesday.

Rook began her FBI career in the laboratory as a serology technician in 1984. She became a special agent two years later and was assigned to the Milwaukee Division.

In 1990, she transferred to the Los Angeles Division where she investigated Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

Read more »

Senate Judiciary Gives Nod to Leonhart for DEA and Hylton for U.S. Marshal

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Michele Leonhart/dea photo

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday gave the nod to Michele Leonhart to head the DEA and Stacia Hylton to head up the U.S. Marshals Service. The approval came by way of a voice vote on both presidential nominees.

The nominations now go before the full Senate for a final vote.

For Leonhart, who has been acting head of the DEA since 2007, the nod by the Judiciary brought her one step closer to getting the permanent post.

Some current and former DEA agents have complained that the Obama administration has been slow to push the confirmation through.

Thomas Harrigan Rumored to be Front Runner for #2 Spot at DEA

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON —   The rumor mill has  Thomas M. Harrigan, chief of DEA operations, as the  front runner for the number two spot in the agency, according to people familiar with the situation.

The number two spot was held by Michele Leonhart, who has been acting head of the agency, and has been nominated for the permanent spot by President Obama.  On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave  her nomination the nod. She must still be confirmed by the full Senate.

The DEA declined comment on Wednesday on the number two spot in the agency.

In the past several months, other names that have surfaced for the number two spot include Anthony Placido, chief of intelligence, and John P. Gilbride, head of the N.Y. DEA.  However,  Placido has now opted to retire.

John Gilbride

Harrigan, who joined the DEA in 1987, heads up all domestic and foreign offices as well the Special Operations Division, the Aviation Division, and the Office of Diversion Control. He was appointed to the post in 2008.

Gilbride was appointed head of the N.Y. DEA in 2005. Prior to that, he headed up the Detroit office.

Retired Secret Service Agent John Joseph Lardner Who Protected the Kennedys Dead at Age 80; Always Kept Mum About Detail

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired Secret Service agent John Joseph Lardner rode behind President John F. Kennedy on Pennsylvania Avenue during his inauguration in 1961 and later went on to head up the agency’s Rhode Island office, the Boston Globe reported.

He died of a heart attack in Easton, Mass. on Nov. 19 at age 80.

The paper reported that Lardner told his family he was proud to be the kid from Lowell who grew up to guard the president.

But he was mum about most everything else about the Kennedy years, the Globe reported.

“There’s a reason we’re called the Secret Service,” Lardner often told his nephew, Michael Walsh of Bedford, N.H., according to the Globe.

Lardner, a US Marine Corps captain, was a Secret Service agent from 1959 until his retirement in 1983 as special agent in charge of Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass.

“My dad lived his life by the Marine Corps code,” God, corps, and country, his oldest daughter, Kristin M. Brown of East Sandwich, Mass., told the Globe. “It was just the way his life was.”

The Globe reported that Lardner never talked about his assignment on the day Kennedy was shot or whether he was even in Dallas.

“He would never tell,” his daughter said.

“He had strong opinions about the assassination, but it was very difficult for him to talk about,” she told the Globe. “He was never a man at a loss for words, but it was the one subject you just couldn’t approach him about.”

After the assassination, he protected Jacqueline Kennedy and her children. His family told the Globe they believe Jackie Kennedy personally requested him.

The Globe reported that Lardner was a life-long Republican and supported state candidates including Senator Scott Brown.

“The only time I saw him cry in the 33 years I knew him was the day President Reagan died,” his daughter told the Globe. “He adored him.”

TSA Now Checking All Passengers Against Terror Watch List

tsa photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary  Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday that 100 percent of passengers on flights within or bound for the U.S. are now being checked against government watchlists, fulfilling a key 9/11 Commission recommendation a month ahead of schedule.

A Homeland Security press release said that Transportation Security Administration reached 100 percent watch list matching for all domestic airlines on June 22.

Under the program called “Secure Flight”, the TSA now prescreens a passenger name, date of birth and gender against terrorist watchlists before passengers receive their boarding passes. Previously, airlines did the screening.

Authorities said the program also helps prevent passengers from being mistaken for those on the watchlist who have similar names.

“Secure Flight makes air travel safer for everyone by screening every passenger against the latest intelligence before a boarding pass is issued,” Napolitano said.

“The threats we face in the aviation sector are real and evolving, and we must confront them with strong and dynamic security measures,” added TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “Secure Flight bolsters our efforts to be more intelligence-driven and risk-based in our approach to aviation security.”

Father of NY Subway Bomb Plotter Faces More Charges

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mohammed Zazi, the father of the New York subway bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi, is facing additional charges including allegations of lying and witness tampering, Newsday reported.

In a superseding indictment, authorities charged that he tried to destroy evidence after learning in 2009 that his son was under FBI investigation.

His son Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado airport shuttle bus driver, pleaded guilty this year to plotting an attack on New York City’s subways and has been cooperating with authorities, Newsday reported.

The father Mohammed Zazi lives in Denver and has been free on bail since being charged in the case in January, Newsday reported.

Newsday reported that authorities charged that the father destroyed some of his son’s bomb-making equipment and tried talking a witness out of speaking to the FBI.

Interpol Puts WikiLeaks Founder on Wanted List for Rape Charge

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks, is in more hot water.

Interpol, an international law enforcement agency, has placed Assange on a “red notice” wanted list as a result of a Swedish arrest warrant on allegations of rape and other sexual charges relating to encounters he had with two women in August, the New York Times reported. Assange, 39,  has claimed it was all consensual.

The U.S. isn’t likely to shed a tear over the latest developments. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said this week that a criminal probe into the leaked Wikipedia documents is under way.

Several newspaper published confidential documents leaked by Wikipedia. In all, 250,000 diplomatic cables were leaked this week, embarrassing the U.S. and other nations.

Assange’s whereabouts is unknown.

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