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Archive for November, 2011

Column: Cutting FBI Agents’ Benefits Won’t solve the country’s fiscal crisis

Konrad Motyka/ticklethewire.com photo

Konrad Motyka is president of the FBI Agents Association

By Konrad Motyka
The Hill

Among the federal employees closely watching the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “Super-Committee”) negotiations are FBI Agents and other federal law enforcement officers. They are becoming increasingly alarmed by calls from some of our political leaders for drastic changes to the formula by which they contribute to their defined pension plans.

For some, attacking federal employees — “faceless bureaucrats” — in the debate over spending cuts offers an easy sound-bite and generates little opposition. However, when they do so, they are also attacking FBI Agents and other law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day.

Agent pay and benefits are not the cause of this country’s fiscal problems, and cutting these benefits would have minimal impact on reducing the deficit. However, federal employees like FBI Agents may be tempting targets because we don’t have the financial wherewithal to impact the Super-Committee’s negotiations with large political operations or active political action committees. Instead, we are working daily to protect this country by combating a wide array of crimes ranging from street gangs to mortgage fraud, and from foreign spy networks to anti-terrorism operations.

To read more click here.

Bullet Hits the White House; Secret Service Investigating

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A bullet hit the White House, but was stopped by ballistic glass, reports the Associated Press.

Because the investigation is ongoing Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan declined to answer questions about the incident, including the room of the hit window are the caliber of the bullet, AP reported. Additional rounds were found outside of the White House.

The bullets were discovered on Tuesday, AP reported.

President Obama was on his way to a summit in Hawaii and not at home at the time.

Officials say the incident is not tied to another shooting incident near the White House on Friday, when gunfire was heard accompanied by two speeding vehicles.

To read more click here.

 

Gunfire Exchange Confirmed in Baltimore ATF Operation

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The ATF operation that sent one agent to the hospital this week included an exchange of gunfire, several other injuries and several arrests, reports the Baltimore Sun.

After remaining tight-lipped about the incident, Special Agent Clare A. Weber, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore ATF office, said information about the exchange was initially withheld because of an internal investigation. She said no one was injured from the gunfire, but apparently offered no details on the injuries.

A video of the incident shows that the exchange took place in the parking lot of a storage company in an industrial section of Baltimore. “That video showed a white SUV speeding across the lot, the passenger side door open, and crashing into another car,” reports the Sun. The video also showed police snipers positioned on rooftops.

To read more click here.

 

Mich. Fire Chief Pleads Not Guilty in FBI Probe

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

It’s tough to come by a buck in Metro-Detroit these days.

Still, Jeffrey Hawkins, a 46-year-old former fire chief for Pontiac, Mich.–a city at the northern end of Detroit’s metropolitan area–maintains that he did not ignore fire violations in exchange for cash.

Hawkins plead not guilty on Tuesday after turning himself in following an FBI investigation into an alleged shakedown he had with a local bar.

The bar owner told the FBI that Hawkins offered not to report the violations in exchange for $1,000. Hawkins allegedly took $500 from the owner in August of 2009 and another $500 from an undercover FBI agent in April of 2010.

To read more click here.

FBI Questions W. Va Treasurer’s Employees in Widening Probe

John Perdue/govt. photo By Danny Fenster

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com
 
FBI Agents spread out across West Virginia on Tuesday night to question employees of the state Treasurer John Perdue about $1,000 campaign contributions made to his unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign last spring, reports the Charleston Gazette.

“A number of individuals are being interviewed this evening,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin told the paper. “Beyond that, I can’t comment further.”

The FBI and the US Attorney’s Office were already investigating a property sale by Perdue, but the new questioning indicates a widening of the scope of the investigation. They questioned employees over whether they had donated $1,000 themselves or had been given the money to donate to their boss, an illegal practice.

Thirty-five employees of the Treasurer’s Office donated $1,000 each — the maximum allowed — to Perdue’s campaign. Some of the donators earned less than $35,000 a year, according to the Gazette, which raised questions as to how they could afford such a contribution.

To read more click here.

Book Excerpt: Young J. Edgar


 By KEN ACKERMAN

EDGAR BOARDED THE OVERNIGHT TRAIN on Tuesday, April 6, 1920, carrying a suitcase with a few notes and a change of clothes. It took ten hours to reach Boston from Washington, and he used the time sitting alone to read, think, and steal a few hours’ sleep. The next morning, he stepped out on the platform at South Station and found Boston’s two top federal prosecutors waiting there to meet him: United States Attorney Thomas J. Boynton and his assistant Louis Goldberg. They took him to breakfast and showed him the Wednesday morning newspapers.

Edgar must have grinned ear to ear at what he saw. Every single one featured a story about him, one more glowing than the next. EXPERT ON REDS COMING HERE, shouted

the Boston American on its front page. “John E. Hoover is the man, it was disclosed, who had direct charge of the Red raids all over the United States early

in January.” The Boston Post called him the one who “directed all the activities of the United States government against radicals during the past two years.”

So too the Boston Evening Globe: MAN HERE WHO DIRECTED

NATIONWIDE RAIDS, read its headline.

Edgar had left Washington a frustrated government bureaucrat. He arrived in Boston a law enforcement star.

He couldn’t enjoy himself for long, though. They had work to do. As Edgar sipped coffee and nibbled his egg, Boynton and Goldberg briefed him on the problem facing them in court that day. The trial in the habeas corpus case, the one brought for the prisoners on Deer Island, had gone wildly off course. On the first day of testimony, lawyers for the prisoners had embarrassed the government and threatened to blow the case wide open.

Read more »

State Rep. Accepts Lobbyist Cash, Pleads Guilty

Terry Spicer

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A former state representative in Alabama  pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting cash, gifts and campaign money from a businessman and a lobbyist in exchange for political favors, the Justice Department said.

Terry Spicer,  46, who had been cooperating with the government long before 11 arrests were made in a  vote-buying investigation involving the the Alabama Legislature, admitted to accepting monthly cash payments from lobbyists, gifts of ski trips to Breckenridge, Colo.

Authorities said that from 2006 to 2010, Spicer accepted bribes from Jarrod Massey, a former lobbyist in Montgomery, Ala., and his client, businessman Ronnie Gilley.

Spicer admitted receiving cash, campaign services and a ski vacation from Massey in exchange for Spicer using his official position to obtain lobbying business for Massey.

Spicer also admitted that he accepted campaign contributions and entertainment concert tickets from businessman Gilley in return for Spicer’s official assistance in favor of Gilley’s business projects and interests, the Justice Department said.

Both Massey and Gilley have pleaded guilty to paying and offering bribes to Spicer and other legislators.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Inmate Threatens Fed Judge and to Blow Up Fed Courthouse

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Clifford Cousins will not be out on good behvior any time soon.

The 41-year-old prison inmate, already serving time for murder, arson and robbery–he was once accused of threatening President George Bush–is facing new charges of threatening a federal judge in northeast Ohio.

Cousins, also known as Abdullah Jihad Al-Malik, was angered with U.S. District Judge David Dowd, of Akron, Ohio, for refusing to allow Cousins to serve state and federal sentences simultaneously. So Cousins sent a “menacing series of letters” to the judge and his family, reports Cleveland’s FOX affiliate. He also threatened to blow up the federal court building in Akron. Cousins also put white powder in the envelope of a letter which claimed the substance was arsenic.

This week a federal grand jury returned an eight count indictment against Cousins, which could potentially tack on 100 years to his prison term.

To read more click here.