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Cold War Colder Than Most Thought

Yes, the Cold War is colder than you thought.  AOL News’ Andrea Stone looks into a practice many thought was a thing of the past between the U.S. and Russia.

icecube2By Andrea Stone
AOL News

WASHINGTON— The news of a suspected suburban spy ring couldn’t have come at a worse time. Just days before, President Barack Obama stood beside Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the White House and declared they had “succeeded in resetting” the relationship between the two former Cold War rivals.

Perhaps something got lost in the translation.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, condemned the arrests and said he hoped “that all the positive gains that have been achieved in our relationship will not be damaged by the recent event.”

Just because relations have thawed between the two countries, though, is no reason to stop spying on each other.

“Espionage is a fixture of international politics, for better or worse,” said Charles Kupchan, former director of European Affairs at the National Security Council. The presence of the spies “is disturbing and comes at a very awkward moment, … but this news is hardly a bombshell or a sign that Russia is behaving in a way that constitutes a dramatic departure from the norm.”

To read more click here.

Man Gets 55 Months for Striking Tex Border Patrol Agent With Vehicle

Border Patrol
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An El Savador man illegally living in Houston was sentenced Tuesday to 55 months in prison for assaulting a Border Patrol agent with his vehicle  near Laredo, Tex. while trying to transport 10 illegal aliens, authorities said.

Authorities said that on Feb. 15, 2009, at approximately 10 p.m., Border Patrol agents spotted 10 suspected undocumented aliens running out of the brush and into the the Isuzu Rodeo of Rigoberto Torres-Gomez, 30.

A Border Patrol agent approached the vehicle and tried apprehending the illegal aliens and started struggling with one of them in front of the vehicle, authorities said.

The agent drew his service weapon, ordered Torres to turn off the vehicle and directed all the occupants to get out.

At that point, Torres accelerated and hit the agent with the vehicle, authorities charged.

The agents tried to get out of the wayand fired his service weapon, wounding Torres, authorities said. Both Torres and the agent were treated at the hospital.

FBI Trying to Modernize in Areas Like Paying Informants

atmBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is finally stepping into the 21st Century when it comes to things like paying informants.

The website Main Justice reports that the FBI plans to issue agents debit cards to pay informants. Currently, agents have to cash  bureau-issued checks to pay an informant.

The site also reported that the agency is looking into automating requests for telephone records and using voice recognition software for agents to dictate interviews.

“We’ve been looking at what takes people away from their investigative work,” David Schlendorf, acting Assistant Director of the FBI’s Resource Planning Office told Main Justice.

“A lot of that is administrative work. We’ve been asking: What we can do to eliminate that? How can we make this more efficient?”

To read more click here.

Ex-Undercover FBI Operative Eric O’Neill Who Brought Down Robert Hanssen Comments on Russian Spy Case

More Details on the Russian Spy Ring from ABC’s Brian Ross

Man Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI About Bomb Threat at Oklahoma Sports Arena

tulsaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There are lies. And then there are big fat lies that can land you behind bars.

Daniel Gerald Peterson, 26, told one of those big fat lies, and on Monday he pleaded guilty in Minneapolis federal court to providing the FBI with false information about a bomb threat he made up, authorities said.

Peterson admitted that on September 13, 2009, he told the FBI that someone was planning to bomb the Bank of Oklahoma Center, a sports arena, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The FBI conducted an extensive investigation and determined the story was made up, the FBI said.

He faces up to five years in prison.

Ex-Chicago Police Commander Convicted in Torture Case

chicagocops3By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former Chicago police commander was convicted Monday in U.S. District Court  of perjury and obstruction of justice linked to denials that he participated in torturing suspects in custody decades ago, the Justice Department said.

Jon Burge, 60, now of Apollo Beach, Fla., was convicted by a Chicago federal jury, which found he lied and impeded court proceedings in November 2003 after he provided false statements in a civil lawsuit that alleged that he and others tortured people in custody, the Justice Department said in a press release.

During trial, several victims testified that Burge and other cops who worked for him tortured them.

Read more »

Ex-Gov Blago Discussed Naming Oprah Winfrey for Obama’s Senate Seat

logo_oprah_betaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The entertainment factor in the trial of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich continues to be strong.

Tapes played Monday during his public corruption trial show Blagojevich tossed around some names to fill the Senate seat vacated by President Obama and mentioned Oprah Winfrey, the Chicago Tribune reported.

His chief of staff John Harris apparently didn’t see that as a reasonable idea, the paper reported.

In a secretly recorded conversation played in court, Harris told Blagojevich the idea sounded “crazy.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Blagojevich said.

“Oprah, by the way, is not far-fetched,” Blagojevich said. “She’s up there so high, no one can assail this pick.”

Later, in a wiretapped conversation, Blagojevich and Harris agreed it would be best to pick an African American, the Trib reported.

Blagojevich said it would be best to find a “black Albert Einstein or something.”

One thing that is likely beyond dispute: Blagojevich is no Albert Einstein.

Blagojevich is accused of using his office for personal benefit of trying to sell the seat vacated by President Obama.

He’s expected to testify on his own behalf.

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