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Nearly Six Months After Nomination, No Confirmation Hearing Set for ATF’s Andrew Traver

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON —  Nearly six months after the White House nominated Andrew Traver to head ATF, there’s no sign of a confirmation hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee said there’s nothing scheduled for Traver, who heads  the ATF Chicago Office, and explained that the committee has so many confirmation hearings to deal with.

But some observers think there’s more to it.  They think ATF is a low priority, plus they think there’s no hurry to rush the confirmation process in the midst of the bubbling controversy over an ATF program known as Operation Fast and Furious, in which gun dealers in Arizona were encouraged to sell to straw purchasers — all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Some of the guns ended up being used in crimes.

James Cavanaugh, a former ATF official, said Friday that he suspects that the controversy over Operation Fast and Furious will probably delay the confirmation.

“I think it will have an impact, I think it will delay the director,” he said. ” Its such a big dust up on the Hill.”

He said the gun lobbying groups, which oppose Traver’s nomination, may also use the controversy over Fast and Furious to delay the confirmation.

“The gun lobbying groups don’t want Traver,” he said. “If they can use the controversy to stall the confirmation and block it and drag it out, they will.”

Traver was nominated last November.

Ex-Atty. Gen. Gonzales Congratulates Obama and Bush For bin Laden Death

Alberto Gonzales/Fox 34

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The voice of former Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales was heard again  earlier this week when he issued a statement on the execution of Osama bin Laden.

Texas Tech University, where Gonzales is a visiting political science professor, released the statement.

“I congratulate President Obama and his team for this significant accomplishment. I also congratulate President Bush who carried the War on Terror to our enemies and adopted the legal framework for that effort that continues today.”

“The brave work of members of our military, law enforcement and the intelligence community makes all Americans proud. The death of Osama bin Laden is a victory for all who have worked so hard to defend our nation since 9/11. It is also a time to remember once again the victims of terrorist attacks, and the men and women who have given their lives to keep our nation secure. God bless America.”

Secret Service Rules Barred Only Black Firefighter at NY Fire Station Where Obama Visited Because He Was Off-Duty

Pres. Obama toasts firefighters at the station Thursday/white house photo

White House photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service has its rules.

As a result, the lone black firefighter at the Midtown firehouse — Engine 54, Ladder Company 4 — visited by President Obama on Thursday wasn’t allowed to be there, the New York Times reported.

”Secret Service only wanted the people that were working that tour there, and it is unfortunate that some provisions could not be made for the only black firefighter in the firehouse to be there also,” said Michael Marshall, a fire lieutenant in the department and the first vice president of the Vulcan Society, an organization of black firefighters.

The Times reported that the black firefighter, Patrice G. McLeod, and more than 30 other off-duty firefighters were not given permission to attend.  The station lost 15 firefighters on 9/11.

The Times reported that McLeod showed up anyway along with other high ranking department members who apparently were not vetted by the Secret Service for the visit. But they were all told they had to leave.

”I said to myself, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance,’ so I went down on my own this morning,” McLeod told the Times.

McLeod said had had met Obama twice before when assigned to the department’s standby team for presidential visits, the Times reported

”This is the only black president this nation has had in its history, and if I have two million opportunities to meet him, I will take every one,” McLeod told the Times. ”Especially if he is coming to my firehouse.”

(photo of Obama/white house photo)

FBI Following Up on White Powder Letters Sent to 29 D.C. Schools

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The white-powder scare always seems to stir up a frenzy.

The FBI said  Friday it was following up on white powder letters that were mailed to 29 schools throughout Washington, D.C. on Thursday and some additional ones on Friday. The letters contained the words “AL AQEDA-FBI.” The material proved to be harmless.

“The FBI continues to investigate who is responsible for mailing at least 29 letters Thursday, and additional letters this morning, to Washington, D.C. schools, causing some school evacuations and tying up hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources,” the FBI said in a statement issued Friday.

“Pursuant to protocol, each item packaged will be analyzed for hazardous substances by an approved regional lab before it is transported to the FBI’s Laboratory at Quantico, Virginia,” the FBI said.

“Experts there will perform a variety of tests in an effort to determine who sent the letters and whether the letters are linked to any other pending investigation.”

“Initial indications are that the letters were mailed from the Dallas area and are similar in style and content to other suspicious letters under investigation by Dallas FBI and U.S. Postal Inspectors. In addition, they are similar to other letters received at some Washington, D.C. area schools in October of 2010.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Trial: Blago Wanted to Cash in For a Lot of Money

Mobster for Genovese Crime Family Gets 10 Years For “Murder Conspiracy” Involving a Hitman for the Russian Mob

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mobster Anthony “Tony D” Palumbo of the Genovese crime family was sentenced Thursday in Manhattan federal court to 10 years in prison for “murder conspiracy”  that included a plot to bump off a hitman for the Russian mob.

Palumbo, a soldier and an “acting capo” in the Genovese family, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit murder in the aide of a racketeering enterprise.

“Anthony Palumbo’s decades long crime spree has finally come to an end,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.”He is going to prison which is exactly where he belongs.”

Authorities say that Palumbo operated mobster crews in Brooklyn and New Jersey.

In 1990, he was put in charge of the Genovese Crime Family’s interests in an illegal mob cartel that extorted petroleum companies affiliated with Russian organized crime figures.

Read more »

What’s Next for FBI Dir. Robert Mueller III?

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As his 10-year term comes to an end, rumors and speculation are popping up as to what  FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III will do in life.

People who know Mueller say one thing is for certain: He won’t be getting a white belt and white shoes and heading down to Florida to play shuffle board, race to the early bird dinner specials and attend $1 movies.

They say Mueller, who will turn 67 in August, about a month before he steps down,  still wants to stay active professionally.

One rumor — and certainly unconfirmed — is that he has an interest in landing a federal judgeship in California.

One person speculated that he might also have an interest in becoming attorney general if Eric Holder Jr. were to step down after President Obama’s first term.  (Of course, Holder would almost have to if Obama isn’t re-elected).

Another person suggested that Mueller might be a good candidate to take over as baseball commissioner if Bud Selig steps down. Selig first started serving as acting baseball commissioner in 1992 and became the permanent commissioner in 1998.

Raid Materials Show bin Laden Still Had a Hand in Strategy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Materials seized during the raid in Pakistan over the weekend may provide insights into  al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — and then some.

USA Today reports that some materials seized during the Pakistan raid suggests bin Laden still had a hand in providing strategic guidance terrorists. The paper cited an unnamed government source.

“The official, who declined to be identified because the person is not authorized to speak publicly, said the material contained on about five computers, 100 remote electronic storage devices, such as flash drives, and 10 hard drives is one of the ‘most significant in the history of the war on terror’.”

The paper reported that an initial review of materials “has produced some potential threat information.”