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Archive for May, 2014

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Hired Ex-FBI Agent to Investigate Referees Following 2006 NBA Finals

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The owner of the Dallas Mavericks hired a former FBI agent to investigate referees following the 2006 NBA finals in which the Miami Heat beat the Mavericks.

The Oregonian reports that owner Mark Cuban was so suspicious and angry after the finals that he hired retired FBI agent Warren Flagg, who spent more than 20 years at the bureau, to investigate.

Flagg said Cuban was considering pressing charges against the league.

“Cuban asked me what he should do. I told him, ‘Sue and you’ll win your case,’ but he knew he’d be killing the Golden Goose,” Flagg said.

FBI Informant Who Beat Murder Charges Acquitted Again in Assault Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI informant accused of putting his thumb in a man’s eye was acquitted Monday.

The acquittal is the second for Kimani Anderson, who was found not guilty of murder in September 2013 in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old, Mass Live reports.

Anderson was an FBI informant who helped bring down a cocaine trafficker.

Anderson said the incident happened after the alleged victim said, “Ain’t you supposed to be a federal informant? Snitches get stitches.”

FBI Agent Turns in Phoenix Boyfriend After Learning About His Shady Past

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Phoenix man is in custody after his girlfriend – an FBI agent – discovered some dirty secrets about him.

The Phoenix New Times reports that authorities arrested Caleb Heath VanGrinsven, 31, after leaving the agent’s Phoenix house on May 14.

FBI Agent Rachel Herrick said she discovered that her boyfriend “was a person of interest in a law enforcement investigation in Wyoming.”

The ATF also warned Herrick that her boyfriend had a history of dating law enforcement officials.

VanGrinsven is expected to appear at a detention hearing today.

Supreme Court to Decide When Federal Employees Can Blow Whistle to the Media

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When is a federal whistleblower allowed to release sensitive information to the public?

That’s the question before the Supreme Court, which must decide whether a federal air marshal was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle to the media about a security plan that he disliked, the Washington Post reports.

Robert J. MacLean, who was an air marshal in 2003, went to the media after his boss told him to be quiet about budget shortfalls requiring the agency to cut back on overnight trips for undercover air marshals.

After MSNBC began asking questions, Homeland Security canceled the cutbacks and called them “premature and a mistake.”
MacLean, who was fired in 2006, argued that he was protected by whistleblower laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed.

“Robert MacLean was a federal air marshal who spoke up about the consequences of a dangerous and possibly unlawful government decision,” wrote Washington lawyer and former deputy solicitor general Neal Katyal.

“Because he blew the whistle, the government changed policy and a potential tragedy was averted. But Mr. MacLean paid a hefty price.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Former British Imam Convicted in Terror Trial in New York

By Benamin Wiser
New York Times.

NEW YORK — The fiery British cleric who prosecutors said had “devoted his life to violent jihad” and had dispatched young men around the world to train and fight was convicted of 11 terrorism-related charges on Monday in Manhattan.

Prosecutors had charged that the cleric, Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, a former imam at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, helped to orchestratethe violent 1998 kidnappings of 16 American, British and Australian tourists in Yemen; had tried to create a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore.; and had supported terrorism by sending one of his followers to train with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

In the tourist abductions, four hostages were killed after their captors, a militant group allied with Mr. Mostafa, used them as shields during a Yemeni rescue operation. “He jumped at opportunities across the globe to support this violent jihad,” a prosecutor, Ian McGinley, told the jury in a closing argument on Wednesday.

To read the full story click here. 

Feds Expected to Announce First-of-Its-Kind Prosecution Involving Cyber-Espionage Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal law enforcement officials are expected to announce criminal charges today in an international cyber-espionage case.

Details were murky this morning, but the Associated Press reports that Attorney General Eric Holder planned to reveal new indictments against people suspected of cyber-espionage on behalf of a foreign government.

The target wasn’t clear early this morning, but one official said it will be a first-of-its-kind prosecution.

The Obama administration has expressed an urgency in going after cyber threats.

Pakistani Court Dismisses Criminal Case Against FBI Agent Who Tried to Board Flight with Bullets, Knife

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who was arrested in Pakistan for trying to board a flight with bullets and a knife in his luggage will not be charged after all, Reuters reports.

A Pakistani court dismissed the case Monday in a move likely intended to keep from souring U.S.-Pakistani ties.

Joel Cox, an FBI agent for the Miami Field Office, was arrested May 4 after trying to board a civilian flight with the knife and bullets. He was jailed for three days before being released on $10,000 bond.

“Since he was not carrying a weapon, only bullets were found from his luggage, the investigation report recommended the cancellation of the case,” Inspector Khalid Mehmood told Reuters.

Column: DEA’s Actions with Industrial Hemp in Kentucky Is Arbitrary

By Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer
Cincinnati.com

On the afternoon of May 14, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture filed suit against the federal government. Enough is enough.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is illegally preventing shipment of hemp seeds to Kentucky in clear violation of federal law. For weeks, we have dealt with unnecessary government bureaucracy, federal officials unwilling to discuss the law or answer questions, and delay … after delay … after delay.To understand what led to legal action, you have to know the journey. From the beginning, Kentucky has taken a legally responsible pathway to reintroducing industrial hemp to our agricultural economy. We did everything “by the book” and in record time. We revived the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, pulled together an unprecedented bipartisan coalition, passed a landmark state law legalizing hemp production in Kentucky, and traveled to Washington and worked with our congressional delegation to change federal law.

The Agricultural Act of 2014, signed into law by the president of the United States in February, authorizes states where hemp production is legal to carry out research pilot programs “notwithstanding any other federal law.”

A couple of weeks ago, a 250-pound shipment of hemp seeds meant for legal Kentucky hemp pilot programs was imported from Italy to Chicago. The shipment cleared customs in Chicago, but then, in an arbitrary and capricious about-face, the DEA seized the seeds when they arrived in Louisville. We negotiated for their release for days, and we thought we had the matter resolved. But then, DEA attached conditions to the release of the seed requiring the department to obtain a Schedule 1 controlled substances research registration and prohibiting private farmers with sites duly certified by and registered with the department from participating in the pilot programs.

When we confronted the DEA about this, the response was, “Make a counter-offer.”