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Archive for June, 2012

Holder Faces Possible Contempt of Congress Charges

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House Oversight Committee will take the unusual step this week of deciding whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents in the controversial Fast and Furious weapons sting investigation, CBS News reports.

Republicans say the Justice Department is withholding tens of thousands of pages of documents that would shed light on a sting operation that put guns in the hands of thugs and drug dealers.

Holder can prevent a contempt hearing by handing over the documents, CBS News reports.

But the Justice Department said it has been open and cooperative about requests for records.

If the committee takes action, it will be Congress’ fourth contempt action against a presidential cabinet member in 30 years.

Former DEA Agent: Legalize Drugs

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former federal investigator called for the legalization of drugs during a Libertarian Party of Texas convention over the weekend, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Saying the war on drugs has spread needless violence and wasted billions of tax dollars, Sean Dunagan, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, also told the audience that money would be better spent on prevention and treatment programs.

“There is a huge collateral impact by the drug war,”  said Dunagan a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a Massachusetts-based group of law enforcement authorities who support the legalization of drugs, the paper reported. “We spend at the federal level about $26 billion a year fighting this war, and we really have nothing to show for it. Ten years ago, 8.3 percent of the population reported using illegal drugs. Today it’s 8.9 percent.”

While Dunagan said he does not advocate drug use, he believes the ban on drugs violates civil liberties, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Is NYPD ‘Stop and Frisk’ Illegal? Justice Department May Decide.

 

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department may soon investigate whether New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk program unfairly targets racial minorities.

Opponents, who say the program is illegal because it has led to countless race-based searches, met with the department Thursday to call for its involvement, according to USA Today.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends the program as an effective crackdown on crime, saying the effort has resulted in 6,000 guns being taken off the streets over the past decade.

But a study by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that nearly 90% of those stopped under the program were black or Hispanic, reported the USA Today.

To read more, click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Appoints D.C. and Baltimore U.S. Attys to Probe National Security Leaks

Ron Machen Jr./doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder assigned the U.S. Attorneys from D.C. and Baltimore to launch criminal probes into national security leaks to members of the media.

In a press release issued Friday, Holder said D.C. U.S. Attorney Ron Machen and Baltimore U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein will lead the probes.

The leaks center around the the disrupted bomb plot by al Qaeda and a New York Times story about the U.S. cyberattack program targeting the Iranian nuclear program.

“These two highly-respected and experienced prosecutors will be directing separate investigations currently being conducted by the FBI,” Holder said. “I have every confidence in their abilities to doggedly follow the facts and the evidence in the pursuit of justice, wherever it leads.”

Weekend Series on Crime: The Violent Mafia in Italy

http://youtu.be/pgiuTqi5R-o

Column: Woodward and Bernstein, 40 Years Later, Nixon Was Far Worse Than We Thought

By Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
Washington Post

As Sen. Sam Ervin completed his 20-year Senate career in 1974 and issued his final report as chairman of the Senate Watergate committee, he posed the question: “What was Watergate?”

Countless answers have been offered in the 40 years since June 17, 1972, when a team of burglars wearing business suits and rubber gloves was arrested at 2:30 a.m. at the headquarters of the Democratic Party in the Watergate office building. Four days afterward, the Nixon White House offered its answer: “Certain elements may try to stretch this beyond what it was,” press secretary Ronald Ziegler scoffed, dismissing the incident as a “third-rate burglary.”

History proved that it was anything but. Two years later, Richard Nixon would become the first and only U.S. president to resign, his role in the criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice — the Watergate coverup — definitively established. Another answer has since persisted, often unchallenged: the notion that the coverup was worse than the crime. This idea minimizes the scale and reach of Nixon’s criminal actions.

To read the full column click here.