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Baseball’s New Blackeye: Feds Indict Ex-Chicago White Sox Executive and 2 Former Scouts in Kickback Scheme


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Baseball has periodically gotten a black eye from one scandal or another. Here comes another.

A federal grand jury in Chicago  on Wednesday indicted a former professional baseball player scouting executive for the Chicago White Sox and two former scouts for the team in Latin America for allegedly accepting kickbacks totaling about $400,000 from signing bonuses and contract buyouts to secure 23 prospective players between December 2004 and February 2008.

Authorities alleged in a seven-count indictment that the White Sox team was defrauded of money and honest services from the defendants, who concealed the kickbacks from the team and its more senior officials.

Those charged included: David S. Wilder, the White Sox farm system director from late 2003 to 2006, who went on to become the team’s senior director of player personnel until May 2008; Jorge L. Oquendo Rivera, the White Sox Latin American scout between November 2004 and October 2007 and Victor Mateo, a White Sox scout in the Dominican Republic between November 2006 and May 2008.

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FBI’s James McJunkin to Head Washington Field Office

James McJunkin/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As expected, James McJunkin, assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters, will head up the FBI Washington Field Office.

The office is currently being run by acting head John G. Perren. The vacancy popped up after Shawn Henry, the head of the FBI Washington field office, was named to the number four spot at headquarters. McJunkin is expected to assume the new post next month.

John Perren

McJunkin started out with the FBI in 1987 and worked in the San Antonio, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. field offices, the FBI said.

In 2005, he became an assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office and led the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

In August 2006, Mr. McJunkin became the acting special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office Counterterrorism Division and after a couple more moves, he was named deputy assistant director for Counterterrorism Operations — Branch I in January 2008.

In February, he was named to his current post at headquarters.

IG Report Sharply Criticizes ATF’s Program to Crack Down on Guns to Mexico

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– A Justice Department’s Inspector General report released Tuesday sharply criticized ATF’s efforts to crackdown on gun trafficking along the Mexican border, saying the agency is failing to share information within and outside the agency and with Mexico and is focusing far too much on smaller rather than bigger gun traffickers.

The 152-page report, which focused on ATF’s “Project Gunrunner”, which aims to curb gun trafficking to Mexico, found “that ATF does not systematically and consistently exchange intelligence with its Mexican and some U.S. partner agencies.”

“We found weaknesses in how ATF implemented Project Gunrunner as a multi-agency effort,” the report by Inspector General Glenn Fine concluded.

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Discovery Channel: Secrets of the Secret Service; Info on JFK Detail in Dallas

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjtrA_OlIGQ

Justice Won’t File Charges in Burning of CIA Videotapes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it won’t file criminal charges over the destruction by CIA workers of 92 videotapes showing harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects.

“In January 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed Assistant United States Attorney John Durham to investigate the destruction by CIA personnel of videotapes of detainee interrogations,” Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“Since that time, a team of prosecutors and FBI agents led by Mr. Durham has conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter. As a result of that investigation, Mr. Durham has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes.”

The tapes were burned in November 2005 at the direction of a CIA official.

The Washington Post reported that authorities had not ruled out the possibility of filing criminal charges against officials who may have misled investigators during the probe.

U.S. Military Ties Growing with Mexico’s Armed Forces in Battle Against Drug Cartels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — To help battle Mexico’s increasingly violent and dangerous drug  cartels, the U.S. military is getting more involved, the Washington Post reports.

Mary Beth Sheridan of the Washington Post reports that the U.S. military is sharing information and training soldiers in an expanding effort to help that country battle its violent drug cartels.

The Post reports that U.S. military officials have been reluctant to publicly discuss the growing ties, fearing Mexico’s residents might voice concern about the U.S. meddling in Mexico’s affairs.

Citing the Government Accountability Office, the Post reported that the Pentagon’s counternarcotics funding for Mexico has nearly tripled, from $12.2 million in 2008 to more than $34 million in 2010.

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Column: U.S. Attys Rip Off Taxpayers on Hotel Rooms

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The words “offensive” and “disgusting” and “criminal” best describe the findings of a Justice Department Inspector General report this week which found that five U.S. Attorneys stuck taxpayers with hefty hotel bills.

In other words, they went far beyond the allotted allowance for rooms.

And the worst offender, the report said, was the New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie — who is now the state’s governor — who has crusaded against corruption. This sounds rather corrupt to me.

He was U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2008.

“After reviewing the travel documents and interviewing the U.S. Attorney’s secretary, we found insufficient justification for exceeding the government rate with respect to 14 of the 15 trips,” the report said of Christie.

“These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.”

The report said Christie — considered a rising star in the Republican party – stayed at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for $449 per night and the $475-per-night Four Seasons Hotel in Washington at a cost of more than double the government rate for those cities.

Guess what. Go to Orbitz right now. Punch in hotels for  Boston and Washington.

The St. Gregory Luxury Hotel at 20th and M Streets NW in D.C. — a pretty darn nice neighborhood and a four-star hotel — is going this week for $211 a night. And guess what, it’s right near a Four Seasons Hotel where Christie spent $475 a night. And the five-star Langham hotel in Boston is going for $257 a night — far less than the $449 a night he spent at the Nine Zero Hotel.

Christie’s press secretary did not return a call when I called for comment. Not surprising.  There’s no justification for ripping off the taxpayers.

What Christie and the other four U.S. Attorneys need to do is take out a check book and reimburse the taxpayers. They also need to remember, while they’re presidential appointees, they are not the PRESIDENT. They can stay at an Embassy Suites or a Hilton.

It’s all about doing the right thing.

Imprisoned CIA Officer Pleads Guilty to Espionage for 2nd Time in 13 Years

Harold James Nicholson/cia photo

By Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

Father and sons have different ways of bonding. Some go camping or fishing. Ex-CIA officer Harold J. Nicholson and his son chose a more novel way: they worked together in the espionage world with the Russians.

On Monday, Nicholson, 59, who is already serving a 23 year-plus year sentence after pleading guilty in 1997,  pleaded guilty again on Monday in Portland, Or., to espionage charges in a case involving his son and the Russians.  Authorities alleged that his son helped his imprisoned father collect some back payments from the Russians while passing on information.

Nicholson worked for the CIA for 16 years. Between June 1994 and November 16, 1996, authorities said he provided the Russian Federation documents, photographic negatives and information relating to the national defense of the United States,  according to Nicholson’s indictment.  He was arrested in November 1996 at Dulles Airport in Virginia while trying to board a plane to Zurich, Switzerland with classified documents.

In return, Nicholson received cash payments he used to pay credit car bills and other expenses, according to court papers. In 1997, he pleaded guilty and agreed to have no direct contact with any foreign government or through another party. His youngest son Nathaniel was 12 at the time.

Authorities say that agreement was broken when around June 2006 Nicholson’s  son Nathaniel J. Nicholson began communicating with the  Russian Federation on behalf of his father.

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