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Detroit Fed Task Force to Go After Public Corruption

Chief Fed Judge Circulates Racist Joke About President Obama

 
 

Judge Richard Cebull/wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s hard to imagine the chief federal judge in any district being so ignorant as to taint the bench and raise serious questions about the ability to be objective.

Well, meet Chief Judge Richard Cebull, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench in  Montana. Apparently he admitted Wednesday, according to press reports, to sending a racist email around that goes like this:

“A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’” the email joke reads. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’” […]

The website Think Progress Justice reported that Cebull forwarded the joke from his brother to a half dozen friends and acquaintances.

“The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan,” Cebull said, according to the website. “I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.“

USA Today reported that he sent a formal apology to the President, which said:

“I sincerely and profusely apologize to you and your family for the email I forwarded. I accept full responsibility; I have no one to blame but myself. I can assure you that such action on my part will never happen again. I have requested that the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit review this matter. Honestly, I don’t know what else I can do. Please forgive me and, again, my most sincere apology.”

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said in a statement: “Chief Judge Richard Cebull’s email was deplorable, shameful and inexcusable. There is no way to shroud hatred under the cloak of differences in ideals. The email was blatantly racist and filled with the hateful rhetoric this country has strived so desperately to leave behind. An apology alone is not acceptable.”

 

 

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Continues to Bang the Drum About the Dangers of Terrorists and the Cyber World

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo By Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
There’s was nothing particularly shocking — or for that matter new — in FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III’s speech Thursday, but it was another reminder of the havoc and mischief we can expect via cyber attacks against business and government in the future.

Terrorism remains the FBI’s top priority,” Mueller told a crowd in San Francisco at the RSA Cyber Security Conference, according to the text of his speech. “But in the not too distant future, we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the number one threat to our country.”

Mueller talked about how increasingly “cyber savvy” terrorist have become, citing as example, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has produced a full-color, English-language online magazine.

“They are not only sharing ideas, they are soliciting information and inviting recruits to join al Qaeda. ”

“Al Shabaab—the al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia—has its own Twitter account. Al Shabaab uses it to taunt its enemies—in English—and to encourage terrorist activity, ” he said. “Extremists are not merely making use of the Internet for propaganda and recruitment. They are also using cyber space to conduct operations.”

“The individuals who planned the attempted Times Square bombing in May 2010 used public web cameras for reconnaissance. They used file-sharing sites to share sensitive operational details. They deployed remote conferencing software to communicate. They used a proxy server to avoid being tracked by an IP address. And they claimed responsibility for the attempted attack—on YouTube.”

To read the complete speech click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Feds Move to Crack Down on Gun Crimes in Detroit

FBI’s John Perren Named AD for Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate

John Perren/ttw photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John Perren, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Division at headquarters, is moving up. He’s been named to the post, Assistant Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.

Perren, a former D.C. cop who joined the FBI in 1987, will replace Dr. Vahid Majidi, who plans to retire in May. Majidi had come to FBI from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), where he served as the Chemistry Division Leader.

Earlier in his career, Perren was supervisor of the Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and then assistant special agent in charge.

In 2005, he spent a half year in Iraq as the FBI’s on-scene commander before returning home to headquarters to become section chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction/Domestic Terrorism Operations Section.

In 2007, he was named special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Branch at the Washington Field Office. He has twice filled in as acting head of the field office.

The FBI established the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate post about 5 1/2 years ago “to centralize and coordinate all WMD-related investigative activities, intelligence analysis capabilities, and technical expertise from across the Bureau.”

 

Column: A Tale of Union Racketeering or How I Learned to Love the Hobbs Act

Greg Stejskal

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.
 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

Richard Debs was President of the United Auto Workers union local 1776. (No relation to Eugene V. Debs, the union organizer and socialist from the early 20th Century.) Debs had been the President of the local for 15 years in 1988. 1776 was the local representing the workers at the General Motors Willow Run assembly plant near Ypsilanti, Mich., where the Chevrolet Impalas were made.

Debs liked that job. And authorities suspected he was willing to harm people to keep it. But before I get into that, a little more about the Willow Run plant.

Willow Run was a massive industrial complex first developed by Ford during World War II to make the B24 Liberator bombers. At that time it was the largest assembly line facility in the world. At its peak it turned out a bomber every 55 minutes and was home to Rosie the Riveter. (The model for the iconic picture worked at the plant.)

After the war GM acquired the complex, GM expanded and converted it to an assembly plant and another plant to build the GM Hydra-matic transmissions.

During the waning halcyon days of the American auto industry, as president of a local, Debs had considerable power over a fiefdom that was comprised of all the workers at the assembly plant. Debs did not work at the plant, but rather administered the local from an office in a union building near the plant.

Because all GM plant jobs required UAW membership, Debs had the ability to influence hiring and to disperse jobs. He also had political power in the local community that derived from his position. There were also ample opportunities for corruption and graft to those so inclined.

Periodically UAW local officers have to stand for reelection, and there was to be an election in the spring of 1989. Debs was being challenged for the presidency by two other local members, Jesse Gray and Bob Harlow. Despite Debs 15 years as president, he was not universally well liked. Also he had recently been charged albeit acquitted in a Federal corruption case involving a local judge. (The judge and several others were convicted.)

In the fall of 1988, the FBI learned from a confidential informant (CI)that Debs had been attempting to hire some men to dissuade by violence Gray and Harlow from running against Debs. The source knew the identities of some of the men that had been approached by Debs, but he/she did not know whether anyone had agreed to Debs’ plan.

Read more »

FBI Agent Says Businesses Aren’t Taking Hackers Seriously Enough

By Tom Espiner
ZDNet Daily Newsletters

Businesses are not taking Anonymous and hacktivism seriously enough, according to an FBI special agent.

The youth of alleged Anonymous hackers, who are often teenagers or in their early twenties, has lead a number of businesses to dismiss the hacking group without taking into account the ramifications of a successful hack, FBI cyber-investigator Eric Strom told the RSA Conference 2012 in San Francisco on Wednesday.

“[Businesses] are taking it too lightly,” said Strom. “A lot of people think it’s a bunch of kids goofing around. In reality it’s not, [hacktivism] can destroy a business.”

To read more click here.

Australian Man Indicted on Charges of Exporting Military Related Equipment to Iran

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

At a time when Iran is not a very popular nation around the world, the feds have indicted an Australian man and his company on charges of conspiring to export sensitive military technology from the U.S. to Iran.

Fed authorities in D.C. on Wednesday indicted David Levick, 50, an Australian national, and his company ICM Components in Thorleigh, Australia, for trying to export components with applications in missiles, drones, torpedoes, and helicopters.

Levick, who is the general manager of ICM Components, remains at large and is believed to be in Australia, authorities said.

Authorities said that from March 2007 to about March 15, 2009, Levick and ICM solicited purchase orders from a representative of a trading company in Iran for U.S.-origin aircraft parts and other goods.

The person in Iran also operated and controlled companies in Malaysia that acted as intermediaries for the Iranian trading company.