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Archive for April, 2012

FBI and Homeland Security Not Only Agencies That Want to Fly Drones

istock photo

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security aren’t the only law enforcement agencies that have gotten permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones in the friendly sky.

CNET reports that new documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation from a lawsuit against the feds show that some very small police department have gotten permission from the FAA including Herington, Kan., (population 2,526) and Gadsden, Ala.

FBI Returns Wedding Ring to Head of Michigan Militia

Hutaree members- Stone Sr. is in upper left hand corner /southern poverty law center photo By Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The wedding ring has been returned.

The leaders of a Michigan militia, who was acquitted in a high-profile case in Detroit that involved allegations of killing cops and revolting against the government, has finally gotten his wedding ring after two years, Ed White of the Associated Press reported.

The feds had seized the ring from the Hutaree militia leader David Stone Sr. along with other items including credit cards and military-style gear. Stone, his wife Tina and five other members were acquitted of the charges of revolting against the government.

On Friday, Stone and his wife Tina parked a pickup and trailer outside a fed building in downtown Detroit where the FBI is housed and collected their belongings — including the ring and military gear — from FBI employees, AP reported.

The acquittals in March were a major embarrassment  to the federal government. Defense attorneys all along had said the case was bogus. The feds insisted the threats and the plotting were real.

 

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

NY U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara Among Time’s Most 100 Influential People in the World

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Included in a list of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World are folks like President Obama, comedian Steve Colbert, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Bharara is in obviously good company. And in the media’s endless search for Superman figures and heroes,  and good vs. evil, Bharara’s name has surfaced before.

He’s gotten his fair share of good press over time. He’s been called the “The Sheriff of Wall Street”, and in fact, he graced the cover of Time magazine in February with the headline: “This Man is Busting Wall St.”

The Time shoutout is just the latest bit of good press.

Time notes, in a short piece written by law professor and former assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh, that Bharara’s Manhattan team “has battled terrorism, convicting the Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad; crippled international criminal networks run by Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, Jamaican drug trafficker Christopher Coke and Colombian rebal group FARC; and in March secured a halfbillion-dollar forfeiture from computer contractor SAIC in the biggest fraud ever against New York City. Those are good cases well prosecuted.

Time also notes that he has the ability to “see the next battleground”, a reference to the indictments of the Anonymous and LulzSec hacker networks.

“What sets him above is the patience honed by principle,” the article states. “Preet resisted the temptation of a sloppy kill and instead waited for the facts. His 58-0 record for insider-trading cases bodes ill for the bankers whom his office has charged with reckless lending practices or inflating mortgage values.”

Secret Service Scandal is Not Indicative of Agency’s Current Culture

By James G. Huse
ticklethewirecom

I have been somewhat “retired” from this column for many months, but the No. 1 news story in Washington this past week, the Secret Service personnel who broke the code of conduct rules in Cartagena on an advance assignment for President Obama’s trip, has motivated me back to the keyboard.

I have waited a bit for the media hysterics to somewhat abate before making these observations.

Contrary to the hue and cry, this is not the greatest crisis in Secret Service history.

That was, as we all know, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. That was a true crisis. This instant mess is an egregious failure of discipline on the part of the personnel involved. The breach was reported to leadership and instant remediation action ensued.

This is not, by any gauge, proof of a pandemic culture of immorality and irresponsibility in today’s Secret Service, nor is it the first time in Secret Service history that agents and officers have been disciplined for breaking the rules.

As in all organizations there are people who fail to meet or perform to acceptable standards. Dealing with those individuals has been a continuing Secret Service focus through the years.

I know this because it was my job as a Secret Service Assistant Director. In this current matter the Secret Service process of discipline and correction was well underway before it became public knowledge.

When the failure became known to management the situation was immediately addressed and the miscreant agents and officers immediately replaced.

While this event is certainly an embarrassment to the Secret Service it is not -as some strident media experts suggest – a complete condemnation of its leadership, professionalism and public service to the United States. The over-the-top posturing of these so-called experts should raise some questions about the substantiation behind their pronouncements they endlessly tout on the news media. I wonder what their professional experience is and what their qualifications are, to advance these opinions.

I also question why their inside sources remain anonymous? During my years as Inspector General of Social Security Administration a steady stream of provocative allegations about agency leaders were reported to my office from anonymous sources.

Very few proved to have any validity. I am wary of unidentified sources. To me, it’s the old courage of your convictions test. Too much exists as fact today that is never substantiated by good validation and verification before it is proclaimed to our over-connected world.

I know I am very subjective about my views on the Secret Service. I spent the balance of my federal career in it. I served with the finest men and women I know. I also know that the agents, officers, and all the Secret Service staff of today hold to the same commitments and standards that I did in my time.

On this past Wednesday evening, April 18, a wreath was placed at the Law Enforcement Memorial on E Street NW, here in Washington to commemorate the 29 officers and agents who have died in the line of duty since the Secret Service was authorized by President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

The Secret Service has a long and rich history of public service to the United States. It is made up of real people, steadfast men and women who respect these traditions, and serve their country with honor and commitment.

Where there are individuals who fail to keep this compact they are identified, and following due process, are removed. This is the abiding core culture of the Secret Service.

James Huse is currently a Senior Advisor to the Global Public Sector practice for a major consulting firm.

Column: Ex-Secret Service Official: Scandal is Not Indicative of Agency’s Current Culture

James G. Huse

James G. Huse is a retired Inspector General for Social Security and the retired assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service. He occasionally writes a column for ticklethewire.com. He currently a Senior Advisor for a major consulting firm.
By James G. Huse
ticklethewirecom

I have been somewhat “retired” from this column for many months, but the No. 1 news story in Washington this past week, the Secret Service personnel who broke the code of conduct rules in Cartagena on an advance assignment for President Obama’s trip, has motivated me back to the keyboard.

I have waited a bit for the media hysterics to somewhat abate before making these observations.

Contrary to the hue and cry, this is not the greatest crisis in Secret Service history.

That was, as we all know, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. That was a true crisis. This instant mess is an egregious failure of discipline on the part of the personnel involved. The breach was reported to leadership and instant remediation action ensued.

This is not, by any gauge, proof of a pandemic culture of immorality and irresponsibility in today’s Secret Service, nor is it the first time in Secret Service history that agents and officers have been disciplined for breaking the rules.

As in all organizations there are people who fail to meet or perform to acceptable standards. Dealing with those individuals has been a continuing Secret Service focus through the years.

I know this because it was my job as a Secret Service Assistant Director. In this current matter the Secret Service process of discipline and correction was well underway before it became public knowledge.

When the failure became known to management the situation was immediately addressed and the miscreant agents and officers immediately replaced.

While this event is certainly an embarrassment to the Secret Service it is not -as some strident media experts suggest – a complete condemnation of its leadership, professionalism and public service to the United States. The over-the-top posturing of these so-called experts should raise some questions about the substantiation behind their pronouncements they endlessly tout on the news media. I wonder what their professional experience is and what their qualifications are, to advance these opinions.

I also question why their inside sources remain anonymous? During my years as Inspector General of Social Security Administration a steady stream of provocative allegations about agency leaders were reported to my office from anonymous sources.

Very few proved to have any validity. I am wary of unidentified sources. To me, it’s the old courage of your convictions test. Too much exists as fact today that is never substantiated by good validation and verification before it is proclaimed to our over-connected world.

I know I am very subjective about my views on the Secret Service. I spent the balance of my federal career in it. I served with the finest men and women I know. I also know that the agents, officers, and all the Secret Service staff of today hold to the same commitments and standards that I did in my time.

On this past Wednesday evening, April 18, a wreath was placed at the Law Enforcement Memorial on E Street NW, here in Washington to commemorate the 29 officers and agents who have died in the line of duty since the Secret Service was authorized by President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

The Secret Service has a long and rich history of public service to the United States. It is made up of real people, steadfast men and women who respect these traditions, and serve their country with honor and commitment.

Where there are individuals who fail to keep this compact they are identified, and following due process, are removed. This is the abiding core culture of the Secret Service.

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Convicted Felon and Nixon Hatchet Man Charles Colson Dies at 80

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Charles W. Colson, President Richard Nixon’s hatchet man, who was convicted of obstruction of Justice in the 1970s and went on to found a prison fellowship ministry, died Saturday in a suburban D.C. hospital, the Washington Post reported. He was 80.

The Post reported that Colson died after suffering from a brain hemorrhage earlier this month.

He lived in Naples, Fla., but kept an apartment in the Virginia suburbs of D.C., the Post reported.

To read the full story click here.

 

Weekend Series on Crime: Drug Cartels Target Peruvian Officials