Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

May 2011
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for May, 2011

Weekend Series on Terrorism History: Did Clinton Administration Blow Chance to Kill bin Laden?

Ex-Sen. John Ensign Broke Law, Committee Finds

Sen. John Ensign

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada) recent resignation may not be enough to keep him out of trouble.

The Washington Post reports that the Senate ethics committee on Thursday took the rare step of referring to federal investigators “substantial and credible evidence” of criminal violations that centered around his effort to cover up an extra marital affair with a campaign  aide. The allegation were contained in a 75-page report by a special counsel hired by the committee.

The Post reported that Ensign conspired to help Douglas Hampton, his former aide, lobby the senator’s office despite a one-year lobbying ban — all in violation of federal law.

Ensign had an affair with Hampton’s wife, Cynthia Hampton, a campaign aide. The Post reported the work as a lobbyist was meant to replace Douglas Hampton’s Senate salary.

The Senate Ethics Committee also stated that Ensign may have violated federal law by asking his parents to make what appeared to be an illegal $96,000 severance payment to the Hamptons, the report said, according to the Post.

Mr. Ensign’s lawyers released a statement Thursday, according to the Post.

“Senator Ensign has admitted and apologized for his conduct and imposed on himself the highest sanction of resignation,” the statement said. “But this is not the same as agreeing that he did or intended to violate any laws or rules.”

To read the full story click here.

Read New York Times story

Marshals Auction Belongings of “Unabomber”, Madoff and Dem Fundraiser


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If you’ve got some extra doe, and you’re in to collecting things relating to legendary crime history, the U.S. Marshals Service has a deal for you.

The service is auctioning off the  belongings of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, swindler Bernie Madoff and crooked Democratic Party financier Hassan Nemazee.

CNN reports that the Unabomber’s belongings up for grabs include: driver’s licenses, birth certificates and checks; academic transcripts; typewriters, and “more than 20,000 pages of written documents, including the original handwritten and typewritten versions.”  Proceeds will go to victims.

CNBC reported that Madoff”s wine collection is being sold in an online auction through Morrell Company Fine Wine Auctions, and includes a case of 1982 Chateau-Lafite-Rothschild worth about $50,000.

And CNBC reported that the Marshals Service is asking $28 million for a Park Avenue apartment seized from former Democratic Party financier Hassan Nemazee. He got 12 years after pleading guilty to a Ponzi scheme involving $300 million in fraudulent loans.

9 Gambino Family Mobsters Sentenced in NY; One Gave Green Light to Murder His Own Nephew

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nine members of New York’s Gambino Crime family, ranging from ages from 25 to 70, were sentenced in recent days in Manhattan federal court as part of a wide sweeping indictment that included charges of racketeering, murder, conspiracy, extortion and sex trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

“The successful prosecutions of Daniel Marino and his cronies dealt a significant blow to the Gambino Family — a ‘family’ that will stop at nothing to wield power, extract illegal profits, and exact revenge against its enemies,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “But we are far from finished,and our goal of disrupting and dismantling organized crime throughout the City of New York and beyond its borders will continue unabated.”

Those sentenced included Daniel Marino, 70, the reputed boss of the family who “presided over” at least 200 full inducted “made” mobsters and hundreds of associates, authorities said. He was sentenced to five years and ordered to forfeit $1.25 million for conspiracy to murder his nephew, who was cooperating with law enforcement.

Marino admitted giving the green light to kill the nephew Frank Hydell, 31. In 1997, fellow mobsters lured Hydell to a strip club in Staten Island where he was shot three times in the face and back. He died in the parking lot.

Others sentenced included:

NY Prosecutor Preet Bharara Credited With Bringing Down Hedge Fund Giant Has Had Successful Run

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

The Justice Department official credited with bringing down hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam is a wisecracking, self-effacing, Bruce Springsteen-loving prosecutor who is deadly serious about what he views as rampant insider trading on Wall Street.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, has been hailed by some in the financial media as the “sheriff of Wall Street.” His office has ramped up white-collar enforcement, charging nearly 50 people in an insider trading crackdown that led to Wednesday’s conviction of Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon hedge fund, on 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Yet some who know Bharara, while crediting him with aggressive enforcement, say he is following the tradition of an office known for policing Wall Street since Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken were sent to prison two decades ago. The Rajaratnam investigation began during the George W. Bush administration, though Bharara oversaw the case after taking office in August 2009.

To read full story click here.

Read NY Times Story on Bharara

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

After Hoover, No FBI Director Has Served Longer than Robert S. Mueller III

Robert Mueller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Next to the big guy, J. Edgar Hoover, Robert S. Mueller III is the longest serving FBI director.

And with Thursday’s announcement of a proposed two-year extension — which seems all but certain Congress will OK —  he’ll add to the record. His 10-year term is set to expire in September.

Next to Mueller, William Webster served the most years with  9 from Feb. 23, 1978 to May 25, 1987; Louis Freeh served nearly 8 years from Sept. 1, 1993 to June 25, 2001; William Sessions served nearly 6 years from Nov. 2, 1987 to July 19, 1993; and Clarence Kelley served nearly 5 from July 9, 1973 to Feb. 15, 1978.

William Webster/fbi photo

Hoover served nearly 37 years from July 1, 1935 to May 2, 1972.

There were also acting directors who served far shorter times.

After Hoover, Congress passed a law capping the FBI director’s term at 10-years. Congress will now have to change the overall legislation or pass some narrowly worded bill so Mueller can stay on for two more years. Mueller is generally well regarded on Capitol Hill, so it appears it won’t be a big problem passing some form of legislation.

That being said, some like Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) indicated Thursday that they will give the matter some examination.

“This is an unusual step by the President, and is somewhat of a risky precedent to set,” Grassley said in a statement.

“Thirty-five years ago Congress limited the FBI director’s term to one, 10-year appointment as an important safeguard against improper political influence and abuses of the past. There’s no question that Director Mueller has proven his ability to run the FBI. And, we live in extraordinary times.

“So, I’m open to the President’s idea, but I will need to know more about his plan to ensure that this is not a more permanent extension that would undermine the purposes of the term limit.”

Clarence Kelley

William Sessions/fbi photo

Louis Freeh

Agents’ Opinions Range from Good to Bad to Mixed on FBI Dir. Robert Mueller’s Proposed 2 Year Extension

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nearly everyone in the FBI can agree they were caught off guard by President Obama’s announcement Thursday that he would seek to have FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III stay on for two more years beyond his 10-year term.

What they all don’t agree on is whether it’s a good thing, with opinions ranging from good to bad to mixed. Most agents spoke to ticklethewire.com on the condition that they not be named.

“”It is wonderful,” said one agent. “It is great for our country.”

But some agents thought it was time for Mueller, 66, to go, and were critical of his focus on certain crimes and intelligence issues at the expense of others. They also have long advocated that a former agent — Mueller is a former federal prosecutor — would better understand their mindset and mission.

“I think it was time for a change,” said one agent, who was hoping the new director would be ex-FBI official Mike Mason, the choice of the FBI Agents Association.

Conversely, he said some of the names that had surfaced as potential replacements concerned him.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

“It could have been worse,” he said of Mueller staying.

Another agent expressed mixed views as well.

“I think there are pluses and minuses,” said the agent. “I like Mueller. I don’t agree with everything he does. He’s got the toughest job around. And he’s done a good job.”

The agent said it’s good to have continuity at this time.

“”We just killed bin laden,” the agent said. “Threat levels are up. We’re in times we’ve never seen before. We’ve got wars on two fronts.”

The downside, he said, is that the legislation mandating term limits for the FBI director are “designed to bring in new blood. He also said the term limit was put in place to prevent politics from playing a role in the job, and to keep someone from creating a legacy like J. Edgar Hoover.

“The law was set for a reason. Are we defeating its purpose?” he asked.

Andrew G. Arena, special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI, said: “I think for the sake of the agency, it’s a good thing. It will provide continuity.  We’ll just carry on as we have been.”

With a new person, he noted:”You don’t know if someone is going to come in and change the direction” of the agency. “There was the fear of the unknown.”

Konrad Motyka, president of the FBI Agents Association, which had backed former FBI official Mike Mason as the next director, came out with a statement saying:

“I congratulate Director Robert Mueller on President Obama’s request to Congress to extend Director Mueller’s term for an additional two years.

“President Obama’s request to Congress reflects the critical role that the Director has played in transitioning the Bureau to a post-9/11 world that requires both investigative and intelligence gathering skills. We look forward to working with Director Mueller to continue to enhance the effectiveness of the FBI in the fight against terrorism and emerging threats without compromising the Bureau’s established expertise at both criminal and counterintelligence investigations.”

Mike Mason, who had worked under Mueller,  said Thursday: ” I couldn’t be happier.  I’m glad. He’s got the momentum going on a  lot of initiatives and this keeps the bureau marching in the right direction. ”

Mueller’s 10-year-term expires in September. Congress passed a law putting a 10-year term limit. Congress will now have to pass some type of legislation that would allow Mueller to remain for two more years.

Mueller has generally been warmly received on Capitol Hill, and is unlikely to find much opposition from Congress.

2 U.S. Border Agents Killed After Being Hit by Train

Hector Clark/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were killed early Thursday morning  in Arizona when their vehicle was hit by a 90-car freight train, authorities said. The agents were assisting in the apprehension of illegal immigrants who entered the country.

The agents were identified as Hector R. Clark, 39, and Eduardo Rojas Jr., 35.

The incident happened about 9 miles west of Gila Bend, Az., in an area patrolled by the Yuma Sector of the Border Patrol, according to Kenneth Quillin, a supervisory Border Patrol agent based in Arizona. The incident happened about 80 miles from the Mexican border at Paloma Road near exit 106 of I-8.

Quillin said the men were in an unmarked SUV when they were hit by a Union Pacific freight train around 6 a.m.

“On behalf of the entire U.S. Customs and Border Protection family, I would like to share our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, and colleagues of Hector R. Clark and Eduardo Rojas Jr. as we mourn their passing,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan D. Bersin said in a statement.

Eduardo Rojas Jr/gov photo

Authorities said Clark began his career with the U.S. Border Patrol on August 20, 2001 and was first assigened to the El Centro Sector and was serving as a Lead Border Patrol Agent in the Yuma Sector in Arizona.

Clark, a native of Yuma, Ariz., is survived by his wife and two children.

Agent Rojas entered the U.S. Border Patrol on April 9, 2000, and was assigned to the Yuma Sector, authorities said.

At the time of the accident, he was serving as a Lead Border Patrol Agent in the Yuma Sector. Agent Rojas was a native of El Paso, Tex.,and is survived by his wife and two children, the agency said.