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Republicans Refuse to Confirm Leader for ATF

White House nominee Andrew Traver has not been confirmed as head of ATF/zerocancer.org photo

By David G. Savage
Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans have been upset at the management at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which authorized a botched sting operation near the Mexican border that put guns in the hands of drug criminals.

But Republican leaders, responding to complaints from gun-rights lobbyists, have refused to confirm a director for the bureau since it was split from the Treasury Department eight years ago.

“They have had nothing but acting directors. Do you wonder why some things would go wrong there?” said John Killorin, a retired special agent from Atlanta and president of the ATF Assn. “This is a major law enforcement agency, and they need a confirmed director with the full responsibility and authority to run it.”

President Obama’s nominee, an ATF special agent from Chicago, has yet to have a Senate hearing.

To read more click here

Secret Service Won’t Let VP Biden Tool Around in his 67′ Green Corvette

govt photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes the Secret Service acts like over-protective parents when it comes to its protectees.

Vice President Joe Biden complains in the October issue of Car and Driver Magazine that the Secret Service won’t let him drive around town in his beloved 1967 green Corvette.

“The Secret Service won’t let me drive it. I’m not allowed to drive anything. It’s the one thing I hate about this job. I’m serious,” Biden tells the magazine, according to ABC News.

The magazine reported that Biden still gets a bit of drive time in his driveway. He recently test drove his brother’s 556-horsepower Cadillac.

“He brought it down for me to eat my heart out,” Biden said, according to the magazine. “So I got in. I have a driveway that’s about 1,700 feet long. I knew the Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it outside. So I jumped on that sucker and laid rubber.  A great feeling. That thing could probably beat my Corvette.”

Washington State US Atty. Jenny Durkan Ripped Off in ATM Scam

Greedy Citigroup Exec Admits Embezzling More than $22 Million

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For those who like to vent about the greed of bankers, here’s more ammunition: Meet Gary Foster, the vice president in Citigroup, Inc.’s treasury finance department.

Foster pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn to bank fraud involving the theft of more than $22 million from Citigroup between September 2003 to June 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Foster entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn says Foster used the money to buy real estate and luxury cars including a Ferrari and a Maserati.

Authorities alleged that Foster transferred money from various Citigroup accounts to Citigroup’s cash account, then wired the money to his personal bank account at another bank.

Authorities said he concealed his crooked deeds by making false accounting entries to create the appearance that the cash account was in balance and by placing a fraudulent contract or deal number in the reference line of the wire transfer instructions to give the appearance that the wire transfers were actually in support of an existing Citigroup contract.

“The defendant violated his employer’s trust and stole a stunning amount of money over an extended period of time to finance his personal lifestyle,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement.

Justice Dept. Gives “No Confidence Vote” to Phoenix U.S. Atty Office: Moves Controversial Cases

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is transferring two controversial weapons cases and a murder case out of Phoenix, news that comes after Phoenix’s U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke abruptly resigned late last month, CBS News reports.

“The Department of Justice is giving a no-confidence vote to the US Attorney’s office in Arizona,” one law enforcement source told CBS News.

The cases involve an Operation Fast and Furious case, a major grenade case, and the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Two of the cases have been moved to San Diego and the other to Los Angeles, CBS reported.

To read the full story click here.

John Edwards Wants Criminal Charges Dropped; Claims Charges are Part of Political Crusade

John Edwards/senate photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Senator and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards, whose public image quickly turned to mud after news of his affair surfaced while his wife was dying of cancer, wants the criminal charges against him dismissed.

Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports that Edward’s high-powered attorneys Abbe Lowell, Jim Cooney and Wade Smith filed a motion Tuesday seeking to dismiss the crimina charges of campaign finance violations, saying the case amounts to a political crusade.

“This case is about politics,” the motion said, according to Politico. “A Republican U.S. Attorney with political ambitions of his own has used this high-profile case to his personal benefit,” the defense team wrote.

The motion was in reference to Bush-appointee, former Raleigh, N.C. U.S. Attorney George Holding, who resigned shortly after Edwards was indicted in June.

Interestingly, key politicians in the state wanted Holding to stay on as U.S. Attorney to handle the case, and to avoid allegations of political interference.

To read more click here.

 

Maryland Scientist Pleads Guilty for Attempting to Spy for Israel

Stewart Nozette/nasa photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Maryland scientist busted in an FBI sting in 2009 for attempting to spy for Israel, pleaded guilty Wednesday in D.C. federal court to one count of attempted espionage, the Associated Press reported.

Stewart D. Nozette, 54, was charged in 2009 with giving sensitive government information to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer with the Mossad.  In exchange, the agent paid him $11,000.

Nozette plea calls for a 13 year sentence, with two years credit for time served, AP reported.

In 2009, in a hotel room in Northwest Washington, Nozette told the undercover agent posing as a Mossad agent:

Nozette: I don’t get recruited by Mossad every day. I knew this day would come by the way.

 Agent: How’s that.

Nozette: (laughs) I just had a feeling one of these days.

Agent: Really?

 Nozette: I knew you guys would show up.

Nozette over the years worked for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Appeals Court Rules Against Justice Dept. in Cellphone Tracking Case

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The D.C. Appeals Court ruled against the Justice Department Wednesday, saying it must publicly disclose secret information about how and when the government gathers and uses cell phone location data to track certain criminal suspects, CNN reported.

“The disclosure sought by the plaintiffs would inform this ongoing public policy discussion by shedding light on the scope and effectiveness of cell phone tracking as a law enforcement tool,” a three-judge panels said in a 35-page ruling, according to CNN. “It would, for example, provide information about the kinds of crimes the government uses cell phone tracking data to investigate.”

The court ruled that the public interest outweighed the government’s privacy claim in what amounted to a warrantless wiretap.

CNN reported that the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit demanding the release of info after initially requesting the information under the Freedom of Information Act. The ACLU asked for court docket information on current and past cases in which the feds tracked people using mobile location data. It also wanted to know about the government’s policies, procedures and practices when using the tracking technology.

The BLT: Blot of the LegalTimes, reported that a lawyer for the ACLU, Catherine Crump, who argued in the D.C. Circuit, said in an e-mail: “Americans have a strong interest in understanding when and how our cell phones are being converted into tracking beacons by the government without a warrant, which apparently has become a common practice. Tracking someone’s location 24 hours a day for days on end can reveal very private personal information, and the government should not be able to do it without a strong suspicion that it will turn up evidence of a crime.”

A Justice Department spokesman said the department was reviewing the case, according to the LegalTimes blog.