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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.

Jon Stewart Points Out the Absurdity of Pakistan Not Knowing About bin Laden’s Whereabouts

Prosecution Plays FBI Tapes in Blago Retrial

NY Judge Upholds Synagogue Plot Conviction But Says FBI Might Have Entrapped Defendants

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A New York federal judge delivered a mixed message Tuesday, refusing to overturn last year’s conviction of four men accused of  plotting to blow up synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes. At the same time, she suggested the men may have been entrapped by the FBI, Courthouse News service reported.

The ruling appears to have provided fodder for an appeal.

The legal website reported that defendants James Cromitie, Onta Williams, David Williams and Laguerre Payen based their appeal on lack of predisposition and outrageous government conduct,

The defendants claimed they were entrapped by an FBI informant who offered them $250,000 and other amenities to carry out a plot they never hatched, Courthouse News reported.

U.S. District Judge Connie McMahon said of the entrapment claim: “There is some truth to that description of what transpired here. Nonetheless, the motion is denied.”

Column: Atty. Gen. Holder’s Disappointing Appearance Before the House Judiciary Committee on ATF Controversy

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Whether you agree with Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. or not, most reasonable people would conclude that he’s a pretty decent guy and a straight shooter.

That being said, it makes his appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday all the more disappointing.

I’m referring to his exchange with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif), who started grilling Holder about the controversial and embarrassing ATF program known as Operation Fast and Furious, which encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers — all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the upper ranks of the Mexican cartels. Problem is, ATF lost track of some guns, which may have been used to kill Americans including a border patrol agent.

Issa questioned Holder and tried to figure out who in the Justice Department gave the green light for the program. Holder responded rather tentatively.

Was it deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole, Issa asked. Not likely, Holder said, because “I think” he wasn’t in the department at the time it started. Was it Lanny Breuer, chief of the Justice Department criminal division?

“I’m not sure whether Mr. Breuer authorized it,” Holder responded.

REALLY.

At this stage it’s hard to believe Holder doesn’t know — at least whether the chief of his criminal division authorized it. And perhaps it’s just as bad if he never wandered down the hall to ask.

It’s not too hard to find out.

It was not a pretty performance on Tuesday, not a very credible one.

Holder is better than that.

FBI Warns: Beware of Malicious Software Claiming to Show Osama bin Laden Photos or Videos se

Osama bin Laden

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden may be gone, but a computer virus associated with the al Qaeda leader is making the rounds.

The FBI on Tuesday warned “computer users to exercise caution when they receive e-mails that purport to show photos or videos of Usama bin Laden’s recent death.”

“This content could be a virus that could damage your computer,” the FBI said. “This malicious software, or ‘malware,’ can embed itself in computers and spread to users’ contact lists, thereby infecting the systems of associates, friends, and family members. These viruses are often programmed to steal your personally identifiable information.”

The Internet Crime Complaint Center issued a warning not to open unsolicited (spam) e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.

“Even if the sender is familiar, the public should exercise due diligence. Computer owners must ensure they have up-to-date firewall and anti-virus software running on their machines to detect and deflect malicious software,” the FBI said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Rep. Issa Presses Atty. Gen. Holder for Answers in Controversial ATF Gun Program

Atty. Gen. Holder before House Judiciary/ticklethewire.com

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — In an exchange that was intense and sometimes contentious, Rep. Darrell Issa  (R-Calif.) on Tuesday pressed Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. on who gave the OK for a controversial ATF gun-walking program known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Issa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee,  pointedly asked Holder at a Congressional hearing whether deputy Attorney General James Cole or Lanny Breuer, head of the criminal division,  authorized the Fast and Furious program, which encouraged straw purchasers to buy guns in Arizona — all with the hopes of tracing them to the Mexican cartels.  ATF lost track of some guns, and at least one federal agent Brian Terry may have been killed by one of the guns.

Holder said he didn’t think Cole was  in the department at the time it was authorized, and “I’m not sure whether Mr. Breuer authorized it.”

“You have to understand the way in which the department operates…,” Holder said. “This has gotten a great deal of publicity..”

“There are dead Americans as a result of this of this failed and reckless program,” Issa shot back. “So I would say it hasn’t gotten enough attention, has it Mr. Attorney General?”

Holder responded: “We’ll have to  look at that and see exactly what happened….I take very seriously the allegations.”

Issa later said to Holder: “We’re not looking at straw purchasers. We’re looking at you. We’re looking at your key people, who knew, who should have known about this and whether or not your judgment was consistent with good practices…”

Issa, who chairs another committee that has been aggressively investigating the ATF program, also asked about a subpoena he issued to ATF to get documents.

“After 14 days of waiting for a letter to be signed or acknowledged or responded to, we sent a subpoena signed by the clerk of the House. Thirty two days later, last night your people responded by giving us 92 pages representing three documents that were public records already,” Issa said. “And saying that the 400 or so responsive pages were not going to be produced. Do you stand by that and were you aware of that?

Holder: “I think we indicated that the other 400 pages be made available for review,  to be accurate.”

Issa also suggested the Justice Department and ATF were to blame for the deaths of Mexicans and Americans including  Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry as a result of the Operation Fast and Furious.

“I take great exception to what you just said,” Holder said. “The notion that the Justice Department is responsible for those deaths that you mention, that assertion is offensive.

Fed Prosecutors in Blago Trial Go For More Focused Case 2nd Time Around

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors, after stumbling the first time around, unveiled a blueprint Monday for what they hope is a new and and improved case against ex-Ill. Rod Blagojevich.

The Chicago Tribune reports that in opening statements the prosecution presented a “much slimmer, more focused version of the government’s corruption case.” The first jury complained the case was too confusing and ended up convicting Blago on only 1 or 24 counts.

This time around, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner honed in on the headline grabber in the case: accusations that Blago tried to shake down Barack Obama by getting him to give him a cabinet position. In exchange, Blago would appoint an Obama friend to the vacant Senate seat.

“He was going to shake down the man who was going to become president of the United States,” Niewoehner said in opening statements, according to the Tribune.

“And right there, the crime is complete,” said Niewoehner.

The Tribune reported that “Niewoehner presented a concise view of the case that boiled down to essentially five criminal episodes: the alleged Senate seat sale as well as alleged shakedowns of a road-building executive, a racetrack owner, a hospital official and Rahm Emanuel when he was a former U.S. representative and close political ally of Blagojevich’s.”

But the prosecution left out of the opening a part that confused jurors in the first trial: a complicated scheme in which Blagojevich plotted with convicted fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko to siphon cash from state deals.

Blagojevich’s lawyer Aaron Goldstein in opening statements said the case amounts to no harm, no foul, the Trib reported. He said. Blagojevich talked a lot on the wiretaps, but “what ended up happening?”

“Do you think they found a big bag of cash hidden somewhere?” he said. “No, they found nothing because, in fact, there is nothing.”

To read more click here.