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Retired FBI Official Backs Proposed Law to Legalize Small Amounts of Pot

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Retired FBI agent Charles Mandigo has quite the resume. Over the 27-year span at the agency, he did a lot of things including head up the Seattle office,  investigate the “Millenium Bomber” and drug cases, and serve a stint as congressional liaison to former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

So when he endorsed an initiative in Washington state to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and regulate state-run pot stores, it got some attention.

The Seattle Times  reports the bill he’s backing is a “complex, 64-page initiative” that would legalize possession of small amounts of pot, but  keep intact police authority in cases of drug smuggling and street sales, as well as continuing the ban on marijuana possession for those under 2

“I am not aware of any case I worked on that this law would have changed,” Mandigo said, according to the Times, noting that he does not condone the use of any illegal drugs.

“There is no question the time has come when government must curtail discretionary programs,” Mandigo said in a written statement, according to the Times.”If the resources were available, continued enforcement of criminal laws for possession and use of small amounts of marijuana might be a discretionary function of government. But we have gone beyond the point where the resources are available or there is a justifiable cost-benefit to society. There must be an end to sacred cows.”

The bill is being pushed by the New Approach campaign, which the Times report calls a growing group of retired law enforcement officials including former Clinton-appointed US Attorney for Seattle Kate Pflaumer and her successor John McKay, a George W. Bush appointee, the Times reported.

To read more click here.

 

Station Posts FBI Recording of County Exec. Telling Wife to Destroy Evidence As Agents Pound on Door

Jack Johnson/wusa

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Considering he was once the top prosecutor for a prominent suburban county just outside D.C., Jack B. Johnson was not such a smart crook and shakedown artist.

Johnson was arrested by the FBI late last year while in his final weeks in office as county executive of Prince George’s County on charges of taking more than $400,000 in bribes. He was recorded by the FBI on a tense phone call with his wife Leslie, who was home at the time when two FBI agents knocked at the front door. He was advising her to hide incriminating evidence including wads of cash. In May, he pleaded guilty in federal court, and sentencing is set for Dec. 6.

Channel 4 in Washington posted on its website the recordings, which are fascinating to listen to.

Below is the recording.

Face of Mexico’s War Against Drugs Dies in Helicopter Crash

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The face of Mexico’s drug war went down in a fatal helicopter crash caused by foggy weather on Nov. 11, reports Bloomberg. Authorities ruled it was an accident and not sabotage as many had suspected.

Interior Minister Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, Mexico’s point man in the war against drug traffickers, died in the crash, along with 15 others,  Bloomberg reported. Mora was traveling from Mexico City to Cuernavaca for a meeting of prosecutors.

After initial suspicion of sabotage, or other nefarious causes, authorities determined the crash was caused by foggy weather. Mexican authorities said radar readings show the pilot did not lose control before crashing, Communications and Transportation Minister Dionisio Perez-Jacome told the press, according to Bloomberg.

A team of 16 experts including US National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials are working on the investigation.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Grassley Questions Justice Dept. Commitment to FBI Whistleblowers

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Chuck Grassley is questioning the commitment of Attorney Gen. Eric Holder and his Deputy Attorney General James Cole to FBI whistleblowers.

In a press released issued Monday, Grassley said one FBI whistleblower case “continues to languish for nine years and a second case sits in limbo for more than four years.”

“Whistleblowers are key to unlocking many of the secrets hidden deep in the closets of the federal government,” Grassley said in a statement. “Allowing a case to sit in limbo for more than nine years shows a lack of commitment to resolving issues for these courageous people.

“The excessive time to make a judgment on these cases indicates that the process for adjudicating FBI whistleblower claims is broken, and needs to be fixed,” Grassley added. “The Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General have significant say over the speed at which these matters are addressed, and the recent decision by Deputy Attorney General Cole to remand a nine year old case for further proceedings is mind boggling and calls into question his commitment to help support whistleblowers.”

Grassley, in a letter to Holder, urged the attorney general to address whistleblower cases in a more timely manner.

Grassley mentioned former FBI agent Jane Turner who was fired in 2002 after disclosing to the Justice Department Inspector General after discovering that FBI agents removed items from Ground Zero following the attacks of 9/11.

Grassley said in his release that due to the Inspector General’s delayed decision, Agent Turner was forced to file an appeal with the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management, which ordered the FBI to issue back pay, attorney’s fees and other relief.

After an FBI appeal, the Deputy Attorney General remanded the case for further proceedings and it now continues to languish nine years after Agent Turner’s original complaint, Grassley said.

Grassley also cited the case of Robert Kobus, a 30-year non-agent employee of the FBI who more than four years ago disclosed time and attendance fraud by FBI agents. The Inspector General substantiated his claims of retaliation for protected whistleblowing, yet his case has been sitting with the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management for four years.

“I presume you would agree that DOJ is sxending the wrong message to whistleblowers by taking an inordinate amount of time to issue final declarations for Agent Turner and Mr. Kobus,” Grassley wrote in the letter to Holder.

Read letter to Holder

 

DEA Beats FBI in Charity Hockey Game

FBI-DEA game/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In case you’re keeping score, yes, the FBI still has far more agents than the DEA.

But on the ice that didn’t seem to matter Saturday when the two agencies squared off at the Ashburn Ice house in Virginia to play a friendly game of hockey to raise money for the DEA’s Survivors Benefit Fund.

AOL’s website Patch reported that DEA won by a score of 7-4.

The website reported that the ceremonial puck drop was dropped by Loudoun County sheriff-elect Mike Chapman, and the DEA hung jerseys behind its bench of fallen agents Chad Michael, Forrest Leamon and Michael Weston, who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2009.

fbi photo

“We gave it a good try,” said FBI player-coach Dan Storey, according to Patch. “They did skate really hard, and we’ll look for a rematch against our buddies here at the DEA.”

The TSA May Not Appreciate Your Wrap

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The TSA has got the Christmas-time itch for unwrapping gifts.

The agency has announced a zero-tolerance towards wrapped gifts after one passenger was found to be carrying marijuana in a wrapped gift, reports CBS Los Angeles. That means the TSA will unwrap your wrap if it’s suspicious.

The TSA realizes there  are many other items that could be disguised as gifts during the holiday season, says the CBS report. “Certain sporting items such as bats, bows and arrows and pool cues cannot be brought on board unless checked,” it reads.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Packs Up the Toothbrush This Week


file photo/doj

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s a pack-your-toothbrush kind of week for Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., who plans to travel to the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Port of Spain and Trinidad and Tobago to meet with local leaders and law enforcement counterparts and to attend the Organization of American States Conference.

In the Dominican Republic, Holder is expected to sign an agreement at the Dominican Prosecutor General’s office with Dominican Prosecutor General Radhaméz Jiménez Peña to share forfeited assets, the Justice Department said.

Holder also plans to participate in a ministerial conference on combating crime and on cooperation with Dominican President Leonel Fernández at the Presidential Palace.

He returns to Washington on Friday.

 

 

ATF in Thailand Training Police to Probe Explosions

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Two hours outside of Bangkok, Byron San Marco, an ATF special agent, explodes a hidden bomb slung over the back seat of a motor bike, according to a report by Time magazine.

San Marco and his ATF team will blow up two more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the US-funded Tactical Training Center in Cha-am, Thailand. There, they are training Thai police in post-blast training to officers who most sift through wreckage to find evidence of the explosions causes, reports Time.

“The IED has evolved into the weapon of choice for insurgent, terrorist and even criminal networks throughout the world,” the Australian Bomb Data Centre (ABDC), a part of the Australian Federal Police, said in a recent statement.

There are approximately 30,000 government troops and thousands of armed police and paramilitary soldiers deployed across southern Thailand where, like many fragile regions of the earth, IEDs are increasingly threatening.

“We train them to collect anything and everything the bomber brought,” says San Marco, according to Time. “If he delivered the device in a box and that blew up, you want 100% of the box. It may contain DNA, a bar code, a fingerprint.” A cell phone was used to denote the The motor bike bomb, which San Marco hopes his trainees will figure out through the phone’s SIM card or lasting fragments.

To read more about ATF training to Thai police click here.