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Archive for November, 2011

Iraq, Afghan War Veterans Might Join Dept. of Homeland Security

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Department of Homeland Security official on Wednesday announced a plan to hire veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan to operate satellite communications, blimps and other surveillance tech at stateside southern borders, reports NextGov.

Drawdowns in troop levels and overseas actions will leave the Pentagon with more equipment and personnel on hand at the same time that the Department of Homeland Security seeks to build a “virtual fence” along the southwest border of the nation. DHS officials were invited to share their plans for using the military systems with a House subcommittee on Wednesday, NextGov reported.

“We’ve got a huge number of personnel coming out of the military as we wind down in theater in Iraq,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, said. “There’s an opportunity there to hire already trained DoD personnel to run these systems.”

To read more click here.

 

Atty. Gen. Holder Harangued Over Caribbean Trip

file photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder can’t get a break. On break from congressional hounding over ATF’s Fast and Furious program, Holder is now being criticized over an ongoing visit to the Caribbean.

The Daily Beast reports that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has been sharply critical of  Holder over the Fast and Furious Operation, is ripping into him for traveling for five days to the islands just days after President Obama announced a new austerity program to save billions in federal spending and travel.

“One would think that agreements could be signed on a more abbreviated schedule that saves the attorney general time he continually indicates he doesn’t have, as well as taxpayer money,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Issa, according to The Daily Beast.

Holder has been traveling to sign law-enforcement agreements with local agencies, and to discuss a Medicare fraud sting in the area, according to the Daily Beast. Holder also held a summit with other AGs in the area and plans to attend an international conference on promoting democracy in the Western Hemisphere.

To read more click here.

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Fed Grand Jury Probing Bill Richardson’s Campaign Funds


Ex-Gov. Richardson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is in for some nail biting.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a fed grand jury in Albuquerque is looking into possible financial irregularities in Richardson’s failed presidential campaign.

The paper reported that a number of witnesses have been granted immunity.

The paper reported that the feds are looking into whether campaign funds were improperly used to settle a “threatened lawsuit” against Richardson in the fall of 2007 by a former state government worker.

 

Ooops! FBI Barges in Wrong Fla. Home

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There was one of those Oooops moments in Delray Beach, Fla.

Station WPBF reported that FBI agents mistakenly barged into the wrong home in Delray in their search for a teen who allegedly concocted a phony kidnapping plot to extort money from his parents.

The station reported that Naomi Palmer was sleeping on the sofa Tuesday morning when she heard commotion at the door and people yelling.

“They started hollering FBI, FBI,” Palmer says. “They came in with high-powered rifles.”

Delray Beach police Sgt. Nicole Guerriero told the station that “sometimes we get information we have to follow up on, especially in a case like this when someone is stating that their life is in danger and they’re being kidnapped. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the right address. We did have to enter two other homes because we received information that he was possibly there.”

 

Feds Allege that Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Took $10,000 Bribe in Restaurant

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — At this point it would be hard to tarnish the reputation of ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

But the feds heaped on some more serious allegations to his already pending public corruption charges.

The Detroit News reports that new court filings in fed court in Detroit allege that Kilpatrick took a $10,000 kickback in a restaurant bathroom and tried forcing a business to take in his father as a minority partner.

The allegations were included in an updated racketeering conspiracy indictment against Kilpatrick and three others.

The News reports that the allegation appears to rely on some information from the mayor’s ex-aide and good buddy Derrick Miller, who pleaded guilty in September and has been cooperating.

One allegation is that Miller hand-delivered Kilpatrick a $10,000 kickback inside a Detroit restaurant bathroom in fall 2007.

The News reported that the cash came from a developer who was seeking a loan from city pension funds for Asian Village, the defunct restaurant development.

The News reported that another new allegation was that “Kilpatrick allegedly tried to strong-arm a company in 2002 that wanted to open a House of Blues restaurant at Ford Field.

“During negotiations, according to the indictment, a city development official pressured a company official to hire the mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, as minority partner. The firm, identified as ‘Company F’ in the indictment, said no. So Kilpatrick withdrew the city’s support, according to the indictment.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Man Arrested in Shooting at White House

20 Charged in Chicago-Mexico Drug Network, Ties to Zetas Drug Cartel

The logo of the Los Zetas Cartel/baltimore city paper

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The tentacles of the Mexican cartels can be found throughout the U.S.

The latest: 20 defendants — five of them suspected members of a Chicago cell of the violent Zetas Mexican drug cartel — were charged in major drug indictment in Chicago following a joint FBI-DEA investigation, Chicago’s US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office announced Wednesday.

The investigation resulted in the seizure of more than $12.4 million in cash and about 250 kilograms or more than 500 pounds of cocaine during 2010 in the Chicago area.

Arrests were made on Tuesday in Chicago and Laredo, Tex. Along with the Tuesday arrests, an additional $480,000 in cash and two kilograms of heroin were also seized.

“The extensive cash seizures made during the course of this investigation illustrates how lucrative the illicit drug trade can be,” said Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Chicago Office in a statement. “Combined with the apparent presence of the Zetas in the Chicago area, the charges announced today should serve as a wake-up call to law enforcement throughout the state.”

Five of the defendants in the case remain at large.

 

 

Ex-Fed Prosecutor: A Letter to My Son on Moral Decisions in Light of Penn State

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Dear Son,

As your enthusiasm builds for leaving home and going off to college in a few months, I want to talk with you about having to make on-the-spot moral, legal, and social decisions when you are on your own.

As you know, the news has been filled with reports and commentary about the alleged incidents at Penn State involving former Defensive Coach Jerry Sandusky sexually molesting disadvantaged young boys who participated in his charity. He has denied the charges in the indictment, and due process of law will determine his guilt or innocence.

Up for discussion in the unforgiving public forum are the actions of Assistant Coach Mike McQueary who, on March 1, 2002 at 9:30 p.m., while he was a grad assistant entered the practice facility to obtain some video tapes to review. He heard noises from the shower area and went to investigate. According to reports of his grand jury testimony, he was “distraught” when he saw Sandusky raping a ten-year old boy.

It is unclear what happened next. McQueary apparently made no mention in the grand jury about intervening to save the child, but in the last couple days he has hinted that he forced Sandusky to stop. He then called his father, with whom he had a close relationship, for advice on what to do next. Then he contacted Coach Joe Paterno and reported the incident. Later he also told two other Athletic Department officials. These three, however, say that his report was not detailed enough to cause them to take further action of some kind.

It is clear that no one reported the crime to the police or to Child Protective Services. Allegedly Sandusky’s access to the children and the Penn State facilities was not restricted, and he inflicted other such assaults on children during the nine years that have followed. Both Paterno and McQueary continued to publicly support Sandusky’s charitable activities.

The public reaction to McQueary and Paterno has ranged from commendation to vilification. Paterno, probably the most revered football coach in America, was summarily fired and McQueary, perhaps because of his legal protection as a whistleblower, has been placed on paid administrative leave. Probably neither will have any connection to college football again.

The issue worth thinking about is whether McQueary’s response, whatever it was, presents a moral and legal lesson for the rest of us. In my generation a woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death in New York’s Central Park while dozens failed to take action when they heard her cries for help. Social psychologists have labeled the phenomenon diffusion of responsibility or bystander effect, but the bottom line is that, when confronted with a moral imperative, people who could have saved her life failed to act.

McQueary has been showered with the moral opprobrium of the commentators who have assumed he failed to stop the assault. They have hastened to assure their listeners that they would have assuredly stepped up stopped the violence and called the cops. Jane Turner, an FBI psychological profiler who specializes in child sex crimes, however has indicated that in her experience most people would have walked away as McQueary is alleged to have done. She writes:

“It takes enormous strength to put one’s moral integrity over your personal inclination to protect fellow colleagues who have committed malfeasance, or criminal activity. The FBI, like Penn State and the Catholic Church, are entities that allows their personnel to report allegations up a chain of command but those in positions of power or change, fail to take immediate or strong actions. It simply boils down to the fact that those in power have a stronger desire to preserve the reputation of their institution, than taking the road of truth or justice. Entities like Penn State, the Catholic Church and the FBI all share something in common; they operate in an insular world where rules or laws that apply to everyone else, do not apply to them.”

Early in my career as a prosecutor, my boss Len Gilman made it clear to us that our job was to do what was right even if we as individuals or our office had to pay the price of being embarrassed or worse. And a couple times we were.

Assume for the sake of this letter that Mike McQueary is neither a hero nor a villain but just a guy who hesitated, as a majority of others would have in 2002, when suddenly confronted with a terrible moral issue. Just a guy who knew that the price to be paid for more aggressive action would be to jeopardize the head coach he idolized, the powerful institution and football program to which he was so loyal, and the future he wanted so badly.

So he called his dad for guidance, then Joe Pa. And that apparently was it, for nine years, until it hit the fan, as it seems with increasing frequency to do. If we have learned nothing else from the massive tragedy that has so damaged the Catholic Church, it is that doing nothing, protecting people and institutions that seem so invulnerable at the time, will usually be disastrous for everyone concerned. And now a legend will die, a great university tarnished for a generation and saddled with millions of dollars of civil settlements, and an apparently otherwise fine young man’s dreams dashed forever. Worst of all, boys who had tough enough lives already were damaged by a man who should have been isolated so he couldn’t harm others.

Son, I hope you always have the luxury of time for meditation and parental guidance before you have to act on a moral issue. But if you don’t, consider this your father’s advice.

Demonstrate the courage I know you have to step up, do what is right, protect the vulnerable, call the police and support them in any way they ask. If there is a price to pay, we will share it together and you will be compensated by the respect of your family and friends.

Oh, and call your mother once in a while.

Dad