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Google Challenges FBI’s Secretive National Security Letters, Saying They Violate Free Speech Rights

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Google is fed up with the FBI snooping on its users without a warrant.

Now, the company appears to be challenging so-called national security letters, which do not require a warrant to gather electronic information, reports CNet.com.

The judge hearing the case, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco, ruled last month that the national security letters “violate the First Amendment and separation of powers principle” CNet.com reported. But the Justice Department has 90s day to appeal.

New Proposal Calls for Building New FBI Headquarters in Downtown Washington D.C.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI has received at least 35 proposals so far to relocate the FBI’s headquarters, and most are in the suburbs.

But the Washingtonian reports that one plan would keep the headquarters in downtown Washington near the Union Station.

The proposal by Republic Properties and renowned architect Arthur Cotton Moore calls for a 2.1 million-square-foot building bordered  by North Capitol Street, Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, and New Jersey Avenue.

The property is currently a parking lot for the Government Printing Office, the Washingtonian reported.

The news is good for many agents who wanted the convenience of being in downtown D.C.

The FBI said its current headquarters is insufficient and flawed.

It’s unclear whether the federal government will decide which proposal to select.

Former Enron Chief Executive Skilling Could Have Prison Sentenced Reduced

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Justice Department is working on a deal that would reduce the prison sentence of former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey K. Skilling, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Skilling was convicted of insider trading, securities fraud and conspiracy, among other charges, in 2006.

His attorney has been trying to overturn the conviction ever since.

“The Department of Justice is considering entering into a sentencing agreement with the defendant in this matter,” according to a Justice Department note, the LA Times reported. “Such a sentencing agreement could restrict the parties and the Court from recommending, arguing for, or imposing certain sentences or conditions of confinement.”

It’s unclear how much the sentencing would be shortened, if agreed to by a judge, the LA Times wrote.

ICE Settles Suit with 22 New Yorkers for $1 Million over Warrantless Search

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

More than 20 New Yorkers will receive a combined $1 million in a settlement with ICE over warrantless raids on their homes, WNYC reports.

Under the settlement, ICE also must change some of its policies and training involving searches.

“Sleeping while Latino is not a suspicious activity that justifies ICE’s forcing its way into homes and terrorizing families at gunpoint,” Ghita Schwarz, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said. “Our brave clients have shown ICE agents that they are subject to the same constitutional restrictions as any other law enforcement officer; they need judicial warrants or valid consent to enter a home.”

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President Obama’s Hunt for New FBI Director Leads to Short List of Likely Candidates

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The search for a new FBI director is heating up.

Looking to replace Robert Mueller, whose term has expired, the White House has begun vetting candidates and may be down to a short list of potential successors, NPR reports.

NPR reported that the Obama administration approached Judge Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge in Washington D.C., but he didn’t want the job.

That leaves the White House with a short list of candidates, NPR reported, citing anonymous sources.

Among them are Lisa Monaco, a federal prosecutor; Jim Comey, a former U.S. attorney in New York City; and David Kris, a longtime Justice Department lawyer, NPR wrote.

FBI Informant at Center of New York City Bribery Case Has Own Big Troubles

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI informant who provided vital information about an alleged bribe to get a state senator on the New York City mayoral ballot has his own troubles, NBC 4 New York reports.

NBC 4 identified the informant as real estate developer Moses Stern, 40, who is accused of orchestrating a fraudulent real estate deal totaling more than $100 million. 

Authorities allege Stern owes most of the money to Citigroup, NBC 4 reported.

“We’re gratified to hear the Mr. Stern is cooperating with law enforcement on this important corruption investigation and hope that as part of his deal, the government will insist that he come clean about the 2007 real estate fraud as well,” said Craig Missakian, general counsel for Amusement Industry, which is allegedly owed $13 million.

Stern helped the FBI uncover a bribery plot by State Sen. Malcolm Smith.