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Archive for January, 2011

In 2011 it’s Time to Stop “Acting” and Confirm Leaders

Michele Leonhart

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Something seems terribly wrong when we see federal law enforcement agencies headed up for years by people who are “acting” heads.

Michele Leonhart of the DEA was the acting head since 2007 — up until the end of December.  Finally, just before the holidays, the Senate confirmed her appointment as the DEA administrator.  Sorry, but that’s  way way too long to have an acting head of any agency.

And now we have to wait for the appointment of a number two person at DEA, which requires Senate approval as well.

At ATF, Kenneth Melson has been acting head since April 2009. It’s now 2011. Just recently President Obama nominated Andrew Traver of the Chicago ATF office to head up that agency. Who knows how long that will take for the Senate to decide his fate?

Elsewhere, two years into the Obama administration, only 76 U.S. Attorneys have been confirmed. There are 94 U.S. Attorney offices. And to boot, there are plenty of federal judicial seats that remain vacant.

It’s 2011. It’s time to step it up. The Obama administration needs to step it up. The Senate needs to step it up.  Whatever the reason for the delays — the political bickering, procrastination —   it needs to stop.

The American people are getting screwed. Organizations need permanent heads.  “Acting” heads seldom have the same juice, the same influence needed to make an organization operate at peak efficiency.

Sure there are plenty of other things weighing on the minds of the White House and Congress.  A dearth of jobs. A wimpering economy.  Afghanistan. Iraq. On and on and on.

But last I checked, the American people cared about fraud and scams and  murder and gun trafficking to Mexico and terrorism. Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, black or white,  Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu,  lover of Sarah Palin or  hater of Sarah Palin,  meat eater or vegetarian, it’s fair to say these people care about quality of life issues. They want to be protected from the Madoffs and the bin Ladins and the deadly Mexican cartels.

The White House and Congress need to step on the gas and get to where they need to go.

Now!

Column: In 2011 it’s Time to Stop “Acting” and Confirm Leaders

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Something seems terribly wrong when we see federal law enforcement agencies headed up for years by people who are “acting” heads.

Michele Leonhart of the DEA was the acting head since 2007 — up until the end of December.  Finally, just before the holidays, the Senate confirmed her appointment as the DEA administrator.  Sorry, but that’s  way way too long to have an acting head of any agency.

And now we have to wait for the appointment of a number two person at DEA, which requires Senate approval as well.

At ATF, Kenneth Melson has been acting head since April 2009. It’s now 2011. Just recently President Obama nominated Andrew Traver of the Chicago ATF office to head up that agency. Who knows how long that will take for the Senate to decide his fate?

Elsewhere, two years into the Obama administration, only 76 U.S. Attorneys have been confirmed. There are 94 U.S. Attorney offices. And to boot, there are plenty of federal judicial seats that remain vacant.

It’s 2011. It’s time to step it up. The Obama administration needs to step it up. The Senate needs to step it up.  Whatever the reason for the delays — the political bickering, procrastination —   it needs to stop.

The American people are getting screwed. Organizations need permanent heads.  “Acting” heads seldom have the same juice, the same influence needed to make an organization operate at peak efficiency.

Sure there are plenty of other things weighing on the minds of the White House and Congress.  A dearth of jobs. A wimpering economy.  Afghanistan. Iraq. On and on and on.

But last I checked, the American people cared about fraud and scams and  murder and gun trafficking to Mexico and terrorism. Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, black or white,  Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu,  lover of Sarah Palin or  hater of Sarah Palin,  meat eater or vegetarian, it’s fair to say these people care about quality of life issues. They want to be protected from the Madoffs and the bin Ladins and the deadly Mexican cartels.

The White House and Congress need to step on the gas and get to where they need to go.

Now!

Homeland’s Napolitano Plans to Add More Agency Agents to Afghanistan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced over the weekend that her agency plans to add up to 54 agents in the coming year to Afghanistan to compliment the current lot of 25, the Washington Post reported.

The announcement came during Napolitano’s two-day visit to Afghanistan. The added agents will help to border control and train Afghan officials in anti-smuggling techniques, the Post reported.

The country has been hurt by the smuggling of cash, drugs, gems, historic artifacts and timber out of Afghanistan, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

Napolitano’s Trip to Afghanistan

President Obama Uses Recess Appointment to Install #2 Justice Dept. Official

James Cole/law firm

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Following months of frustration and opposition from Republicans, President Obama last week used a recess appointment to install James Cole to the number two spot at the Justice Department. On Monday, he was sworn in.

The post, deputy attorney general, has been vacant since February. Cole, 58, is a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave LLP since 1995. Republicans have raised concerns about his views on terrorism and his legal work representing the highly problematic American International Group.

Cole began working for the Justice Department in 1979 as part of Attorney General’s Honors Program and served there for 13 years. First he was a trial attorney in the Criminal Division and later he served as the Deputy Chief of the Division’s Public Integrity Section.

He entered private practice in 1992.

“I am pleased to welcome Jim back to the Department of Justice,” Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said Monday.  “He will be critical in our work to keep the American people safe, ensure the fairness and integrity of our financial markets, and restore the traditional missions of the Department.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Cole’s nomination in July.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Helped New Year’s in Times Square Come Off Without a Major Incident

New Year's Eve in Times Square/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One of the more intense events of the year — New Year’s Eve in Times Square — came off without any major incidents.

The New York FBI office said it deployed hundreds of employees including agents, analysts and professional staff to deal with the event.  It also worked with other law enforcement agencies like the New York Police Dept. and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

“We are constantly working to help keep this city safe. At high profile events, like New Year’s Eve, the FBI works tirelessly to prevent and thwart any possible attacks,” said assistant director in charge of the New York FBI office Janice K. Fedarcyk.

Agents in the mobile command post/fbi photo

“We worked closely with our law enforcement partners and as we look back on the fact that last night was only filled with good memories, we can say job well done.”

Fedarcyk’s office posted some photo on the N.Y. FBI website from the evening.  Here they are.

SWAT team leader Dan Feither talks to reporter

Agent Kristy Kottis speaks to colleague in joint operation center

Special Agent in Charge Greg Fowler gives briefing

FBI's mobile command center

Special agent bomb tech Pete Licata

NYPD's command post

SAC Mary Galligan (center)briefs head of NY office Janice Fedarcyk at joint operation center (right)