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Archive for April 13th, 2015

FBI Incensed Over Justice Department’s Leniency in Blackwater Security Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is not happy with how prosecutors handled the indictment of Blackwater security contractors involved in a deadly shooting in Iraq, saying political appointees in the Justice Department intentionally undermined the case. The FBI wanted to have charges filed that could have sent the defendants to prison for life.

Citing internal emails, The New York Times reports that the FBI also expressed serious concerns with Justice Department officials’ decision to refuse to bring two machine-gun charges, each of which carries a maximum 30 years in prison.

In part, officials were not comfortable with the mandatory minimum sentences.

“We are getting some serious resistance from our office to charging the defendants with mandatory minimum time,” Kenneth Kohl, a federal prosecutor, told the lead F.B.I. agent on the case, John Patarini, before the  grand jury to vote on an indictment in December 2008.

Patarini was not happy: “I would rather not present for a vote now and wait until the new administration takes office than to get an indictment that is an insult to the individual victims, the Iraqi people as a whole, and the American people who expect their Justice Department to act better than this.”

In 2007, Blackwater security contractors shot machine guns and grenade launchers into a crowded square in Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding many others.

 

 

 

Justice Department Negatively Impacted by Delay in Confirming Lorreta Lynch

Loretta Lynch

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The partisan delay in confirming Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general is beginning to impact promotions and policy decision at the Justice Department, The Los Angeles Times reports.  

The delay has prompted DOJ officials to question whether to hold a major intentional meeting on cybersecurity this spring.

“There is a constant complication about committing to things,” said Robert Raben, a former assistant attorney general who is advising Lynch on the nomination and remains in touch with department officials. “For April and May, there are an enormous amount of things that are on hold. It’s impossible for the leadership to know what to commit to, because they do not know if Ms. Lynch is going to have a different view.”

The Senate returns this week but it’s unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, will hold a vote.

“There are major policy decisions that are on hold,” said one department official who was not authorized to speak publicly about internal matters.

Both Republicans and Democrats have called for delays.

Another Secret Service Embarrassment: Child Breaches White House Fence

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the latest embarrassment for the embattled Secret Service, a 4-year-old managed to breach the White House fence in broad daylight Sunday, forcing a lockdown.

The Weekly Standard reports that an unidentified child climbed under the fence.

“4 year old child climbed under temporary bike rack along PA Ave. Child was fine and was safely reunited with parents,” Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told the White House pool reporter.

Here’s an earlier pool report detailing the incident:

“Pool loaded the vans at 12:38 pm and motorcade is rolling at 12:51 pm to an undisclosed location.

“As the pool was initially gathering at the north doors of the Palm Room, security agents suddenly rushed to the north lawn with their weapons drawn and pool was told to get back inside. It turned out to be a non-incident, in which an individual jumped over the small bike fence outside the White House gate. After a few moments, pool was able to gather again. Your pooler has reached out to Secret Service for more details.”

Then came the update: “Update on brief security scramble at the White House prior to departure: It was just a child.”

Did FBI ‘Whitewash’ Investigation of Saudi Connection to Sept. 11 Attacks?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

About two weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, a well-connected Saudi family left their luxury home in Sarasota, Fla., leaving behind expensive possessions without letting neighbors or the mail carrier know.

The New York Post reports that a couple made a hasty, suspicious retreat back to Saudi Arabia.

A subsequent investigation found that at least one of the family members trained at the same flight school as some of the hijackers.

The investigation was active for years and included the FBI’s Tampa field office and the bureau’s office in New York and Washington.

The New York Post wrote:

The Saudi-9/11 connection in Florida was no small part of the overall 9/11 investigation. Yet it was never shared with Congress. Nor was it mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Now it’s being whitewashed again, in a newly released report by the 9/11 Review Commission, set up last year by Congress to assess “any evidence now known to the FBI that was not considered by the 9/11 Commission.” Though the FBI acknowledges the Saudi family was investigated, it maintains the probe was a dead end

Off-Duty Secret Service Officer Arrested for Destruction of Property in D.C.

secret service photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Trouble continues for the embattled Secret Service.

This time an off-duty officer from the Uniformed Division was arrested Friday in Washington D.C., The USA Today reports. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what the agent is accused of doing, but he will be charged with one misdemeanor account of detraction of property.

The office is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.

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