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Civil Rights Commission Blasts Justice Dept. on Black Panther Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The New Black Panther Party voter intimidation controversy continues to haunt the Justice Department and the Obama administration.

A draft report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concludes that the Justice Department tried hiding the fact high-level political officials were involved in dropping most of the charges in the case in which members of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia stood outside a polling place trying to intimidate white voters, according to the website Talking Points Memo. One man was carrying a nightstick.

The commission will vote on the report Friday.

“[T]he record of communications within the Department appears to indicate that senior political appointees played a significant role in the decision making surrounding the lawsuit,” the report says, according to Talking Points Memo. “The involvement of senior DOJ officials by itself would not be unusual, but the Department’s repeated attempts to obscure the nature of their involvement and other refusals to cooperate raise questions about what the Department is trying to hide.”

The Justice Department disputed the allegations.

“The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved,” Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman said, according to the Talking Points Memo. “We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation.”

To read more click here.

Read report

FBI Says Shootings at 3 Virginia Buildings Linked; Gunman May Have Grievance Against Marine Corps

UPDATE: 1:05 p.m. –– The Associated Press reported that that the gunman who fired shots may have a grievance against the U.S. Marine Corps.

At a press conference Friday , John Perren, acting head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said he believes the person has a grievance against the Marine Corps, but not those serving in uniform.

By Allan Lengel
ticklthewire.com

WASHINGTON — Though it may not be nearly as perplexing as the D.C. sniper case of 2002, authorities are trying to figure out who has been shooting at buildings in Northern Virginia. All the shootings have happened overnight.

FBI's John Perren

On Thursday, the FBI confirmed that a shooting this week at a vacant Marine Corps recruiting office in Fairfax County is linked to shootings earlier this month at the Pentagon and the National Museum of the Marine Corps, the Washington Post reports. Unlike the sniper case, no one has been hurt.

The Post reported that ballistic tests of bullets found at the scene point to the same weapon.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Breaking News: Virgin Islands Judge Tosses Case Against ATF Agent Will Clark

ATF Agent Will Clark

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Virgin Islands judge on Thursday tossed out the controversial case against ATF agent Will Clark who had been on trial since Monday on charges of murdering his neighbor during a confrontation in 2008.

The Associated Press reported that Judge Edgar Ross tossed the case on a technicality, ruling in favor of a defense motion that proper procedure was not followed in identifying the body of shooting victim Marcus Sukow to the medical examiner.

Prosecutors had accused ATF agent Clark of using excessive force during a confrontation with Sukow, who was involved in a in a domestic dispute that day.  Clark claimed it was self defense and his agency, after conducting an internal review, found Clark responded properly.

The case was dismissed with prejudiced, meaning the decision cannot be appealed.

Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY), who has been a vocal supporter of Clark all along issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying:

“As I have said from the beginning, Will is a hero, not a murderer, and I’m so grateful the Judge looked at the facts of the case and agreed.”

“Our law enforcement officers need to know that they will not be prosecuted for taking lawful actions to protect the innocent, whether they are on duty or off. I’m proud to say that today, justice was served with the dismissal of the charges against Will Clark.”

Rob Snyder, executive vice president of the D.C. chapter of Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA,) fired off an email to members of ATF and other agencies, saying: “Great news: ATF SA WIll CLark had all charges against him dismissed today! This is great news for him personally and for federal lawenforcement as a whole.”

FBI Ended DC Subway Sting Before Suspect Could Flee U.S.

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — The FBI decided to end its sting and arrest a Northern Virginia man now charged with plotting to blow up D.C. -area subway stations because it was concerned he was about to leave the country to go on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, according to a court document and law enforcement sources.

FBI agents arrested Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, Va., on Wednesday on charges that he conspired with people he thought were al-Qaida operatives to blow up the Arlington National Cemetery, Pentagon City, Crystal City and Court House subway stations in Northern Virginia.

In some other cases involving stings, the FBI let the plot play out more. In Dallas, for example, FBI agents in 2009 actually provided fake explosives to Hosam Smadi, who drove a car bomb to a skyscraper downtown and tried detonating it.

In September 2009, FBI agents posing as low-level al-Qaida operatives provided Michael C. Finton — aka Talib Islam — with fake explosives in a van that he allegedly tried detonating in front of the Paul Findley Federal Building in Springfield, Ill.

In this latest case, Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, met with undercover FBI agents and FBI operatives over the past several months and provided video and diagrams of subway stops and conducted surveillance, authorities said. He also advised when the best time was to kill the maximum people, but never came close to carrying out the plot, investigators said.

To read more click here.

Read FBI affidavit

Atty. Gen. Holder Honors 303 Justice Dept. Employees

Holder at a recent press conference/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder recognized a whole lot of Justice Department employees — 303 to be exact — at the 58th Annual Attorney General Awards Ceremony here on Wednesday.

Additionally, 55 others outside the department were honored.

The Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service—the department’s highest award— went to two teams; one involved in the investigation and prosecution of the largest health care fraud settlement ever obtained by the department involving Pfizer Inc., and the team involved in the case of the al Qaeda plot against the New York City subway system.
To read who received awards, click continue.

Brooklyn Feds Vouch for Bonanno Crime Family Mobster

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fed prosecutors are putting in a good word for convicted killer and tough guy Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale, a Bonanno family mobster who is set to be sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court. He hopes to avoid a life sentence.

Newsday reports that prosecutors, in a court filing, are advocating that Vitale get a break in sentencing because his cooperation was “devastating to the mafia” and worthy of a “substantial” sentencing break.

Prosecutors in a court document described the cooperation as “groundbreaking by any measure.”

Newsday reported that Vitale’s testified against his close friend and brother-in-law Joseph Massino, who was the boss of the Bonanno family.

Newsday reported that Vitale provided the FBI with evidence about more than 30 gangland murders or attempted murders. Court papers say he also helped identify hundreds of mobsters.

In court papers the prosecution described Vitale, who had been charged with racketeering,  this way:

Vitale was, for more than three decades, associated with the Bonanno organized crime family of Cosa Nostra (the “Bonanno family”). He rose to leadership positions in that enterprise, and ultimately, as the underboss and acting boss, he served in two of the most powerful positions in the American mafia.

“He has committed, sometimes daily, a wide array of crimes that include horrific acts of violence. He engaged in murder repeatedly, including the eleven murders to which he pled guilty. For most of his adult life, Salvatore Vitale lived outside the laws of the United States.”

Read Government’s 128-Page Filing

U.S. Marshals Help Track Down Health Care Executive in Mexico

Rebecca Parrett/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sophisticated and a person of means, convicted health care executive Rebecca S. Parrett was one tough person to track down. She was on the lam for two years.

But the Justice Department announced Wednesday that Mexican authorities arrested Parrett, 62, Tuesday in the resort town of Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, thanks to information provided by the U.S. Marshals Service in Columbus Ohio. She was immediately deported to the U.S.

The capture came after the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies followed leads in more than a dozen states and several foreign countries, the Justice Department said.

Parrett fled in March of 2008 after a federal jury convicted her on charges stemming from her role in a $2.8 billion fraud that led to the collapse of National Century Financial Enterprise, based in Dublin, Ohio. It was one of the largest health care financiers in the nation.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years, and this was the most detailed and far-reaching investigation I’ve ever been a part of,” Drew Shadwick, deputy U.S. marshal in Columbus, Ohio told the Washington Post. “She was difficult to find, because she is intelligent, she was a woman of means and she had plenty of time to plan her escape.”

“She was living comfortably – making friends and going out dancing,” Shadwick told the Post.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Bust Northern Va. Man Who Plotted to Blow Up D.C. Area Subways


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI busted a northern Virginia man on charges that he conspired with people he thought were al Qaeda operatives to blow up subway stations in the Washington Metro system, authorities announced Wednesday.

FBI agents arrested Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, Va., on Wednesday morning on charges of conspiring with others to blow up subway stations at Arlington National Cemetery, Pentagon City, Crystal City and Court House.

Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, initially grabbed the attention of law enforcement when he sought out unspecified materials.

An attack was not imminent and the public was never in danger, authorities said. The Associated Press reported that the case involved a sting, but the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Va. declined to comment on that.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said the defendant made his initial appearance on Wednesday. A detention hearing is set for Friday at 2 p.m.

Read more »