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New Orleans Mayor Asks Justice Dept. to Help Reform Troubled Police Dept.

Mayor Landrieu/city photo

Mayor Landrieu/city photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Newly minted New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is asking the Justice Department to step in and help reform the troubled police department that has been plagued by scandal, including the cover up of police shootings right after Katrina in 2005.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Landrieu on Wednesday asked Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to to do an assessment of the police department and the criminal justice system.

“It is clear that nothing short of a complete transformation is necessary and essential to ensure safety for the citizens of New Orleans,” Landrieu wrote in a letter to Holder that was published in the Times-Picayune.

The paper reported that the Justice Department has eight open civil rights investigations into the conduct of New Orlean police officers.

The Justice Department issued a statement Wednesday saying it will ” consider these requests to determine what action, if any, is appropriate,” said DOJ spokesman Alejandro Miyar, according to the paper.

To read more click here.

FBI Surveillance of NY Bomb Suspect Broke Down

jfk airport

jfk airport

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI surveillance of the Times Square car bomber broke down, allowing the suspect to spend more than three hours at JFK airport unwatched Monday while he waited to board a plane to Dubai, with the ultimate destination being Pakistan, Newsweek is reporting.

Newsweek reported that Faisal Shahzad arrived at JFK at at 7:30 p.m. Earlier in the day, authorities placed Shahzad on the “no fly list”. But Newsweek reported that because the name did not quickly appear on the reservation computer lists, he was able to board the plane.

Authorities said Tuesday that Homeland Security Department’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Bureau officers caught the oversight and the plane was called back to the gate before it could take off.

To Read More click here.

Justice to Add 33 New Prosecutors in Indian Country

justice logo2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will allocate 33 new assistant U.S. Attorneys to address crime in Indian Country in 21 judicial districts across the nation.

Additionally, the Justice Department has launched three Indian Country Prosecution Teams that will work closely with the Indian community.

“Violent crimes, and particularly crimes against women and girls, continue to devastate tribal communities across the country, and the U.S. Attorney community is crucial to the Department of Justice’s response,” Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said.

“With 33 more federal prosecutors headed to Indian Country, and the launch of three new Community Prosecution Pilot Projects, we have made significant progress finding and implementing solutions to the public safety challenges confronting tribal communities. This Administration is committed to reducing the level of violent crime in tribal communities.”

Each of the community prosecution pilot projects will have one prosecutor and one victim-witness position. The projects will be implemented in the Navajo nation in New Mexico; the Oglala Sioux Tribe on Pine Ridge Reservation; and the Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconsin.

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NY Bomb Suspect Confesses Role and Gives Investigators “Useful Information”

Atty. Gen Eric Holder at podium/doj photo

Atty. Gen Eric Holder at podium/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad admitted after his arrest Monday night that he brought the Nissan Pathfinder to Times Square on Saturday and tried to detonate it,  according to an FBI affivadit unsealed Tuesday afternoon.

The affidavit, part of criminal complaint, also stated that Shahzad admitted getting bomb training in Waziristan, Pakistan. That region of Paskistan is flush with Taliban and al Qaeda.

The affidavit also stated that he received phone calls from Pakistan around the time he was buying the car that was to be used in the bombing, and that his landlord saw bags of fertilizer in his garage. Fertilizer was found in the car with the explosive materials.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. told reporters Tuesday at a press conference in Washington  that  Shahzad, a Pakistani-born and naturalized U.S. citizen living in Connecticut, was being cooperative and continued to provide useful information even after he was Mirandized.

diagram of car bomb

diagram of car bomb

“As a result of those communications, Shahzad has provided useful information to authorities. We anticipate charging him with an act of terrorism transcending national borders, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, use of a destructive device during the commission of another crime, as well as assorted explosives charges.”

Holder declined to comment on reports that Shahzad said he acted alone or on one of the possible theories that the attempted bombing was a response to Comedy Central’s South Park cartoon show that mocked the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

“Well, as I said, the investigation is ongoing, and we — our aim is to determine who is — exactly was involved in this matter, to bring all those people who are involved to justice,” Holder said.

N.Y. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who attended the press conference,  noted with pride how quick the arrest was made.

“Fifty-three hours and 20 minutes elapsed from the time Faisal Shahzad crossed Broadway in his pathfinder to the time he was apprehended at Kennedy Airport,” he said. “Jack Bauer may have caught him in “24.” But in the real world, 53’s not bad.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that Pakistani authorities have made several arrests after Shahzad was arrested in New York. But authorities said Wednesday that the arrest were unrelated to the New York case.

Security Lapse Let Suspect Board Plane (New York Times)

Feds Charge S.C. Sheriff With Cocaine Trafficking: Allege He Also Tipped Off Drug Dealers

s.c. mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities say a South Carolina sheriff stepped way way over the line.

The feds alleged in a criminal complaint that Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin not only dealt drugs from his police SUV, but tipped off or extorted money from a list of drug dealers provided by federal and state law enforcement authorities, the Associated Press reported.

The FBI tapped Melvin’s phone and at one point caught him saying he planned to seize some cocaine during a traffic stop, take some for himself and use the rest as evidence, AP said, citing an FBI affidavit.

Melvin was arrested on drug trafficking charges  Saturday, and he resigned after that, AP reported. Six others along with Melvin have been charged with cocaine trafficking.

Read FBI Affidavit

Crooked Ohio Pol James Traficant Wants Back in the Game

James Traficant/umass.edu photo

James Traficant/umass.edu photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently you can’t keep a good crooked politician down.

Ex-Ohio Congressman James Traficant, who served  seven years in prison after being convicted on public corruption charges, and was notorious for sporting a bad toupee, filed papers Monday to run in the 17th Congressional district in Ohio, a seat currently held by his former aide Democrat Tim Ryans, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. He was released from prison in September.

Interestingly, Trafficant also told reporters he might also file papers for the 6th District seat held by Democrat Charlie Wilson.

“There is no rhyme or reason to it,” Traficant’s campaign spokesman Dennis Malloy told the Plain Dealer. “This is Jim Traficant we are talking about, not the run-of-the-mill everyday politician.”

Ohio election officials said a person can seek two offices, but a House Democratic leadership spokesman told the Plain Dealer Trafficant would have to pick one district to represented if elected to both.

To read more click here.

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Investigators Looking For Ties Overseas in NY Car Bomb Case

Bye Bye New York?

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After making an arrest late Monday night in the New York car bomb case, the FBI continued to investigate whether other people or an organization, possibly overseas, were involved.

“The investigation remains very much ongoing, and the dedicated agents, detectives, and prosecutors on this case will continue to follow every lead and use every tool to keep the people of New York City safe,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, FBI’s George Venizelos and New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelley said in a statement issued Tuesday morning.

Around 11:45 p.m. Monday, FBI agents and New York police detectives arrested Faisal Shahzad, 30, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan who lived in Connecticut, for allegedly driving a car bomb into New York’s Times Square on Saturday.

The Justice Department said the suspect was arrested at JFK Airport after he was identified by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection while attempting to take a flight to Dubai.

He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Manhattan later Tuesday.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a press conference: “It’s clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans.  “We will not rest until we bring everyone responsible to justice.”

Read NY Times Story

Read Washington Post Story

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Ex-ATF Official Weighs in on NY Car Bomb: “It Was a Grandiose Plot But Sort of a Ridiculous Device”

James Cavanaugh/atf photo

James Cavanaugh/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — James Cavanaugh, who recently retired as a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives official after 33 years, Monday shared his insights into the Times Square car bomb with AOL News.

Cavanaugh said he thought the culprit or culprits likely had international ties. He also said he wouldn’t rule out the theory that the bomb was in retaliation for an episode of the Comedy Central cartoon “South Park” that mocked the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

But, he said, the device was poorly built and appeared destined to fail. “It was just too complicated,” he said. “It was a grandiose plot, but sort of a ridiculous device.”

AOL News: How much planning went into this?

Cavanaugh: It’s not one day of planning and it’s not one year’s worth of planning. It looks like two or three weeks. This device was thrown together slapdash. It’s clear they never tested it or had any technical skills to build it. It’s almost as if they read about it on the Web and tried to build it. It came out flawed, and it malfunctioned. You can tell it’s quite a complicated contraption.

To read the rest of interview click here.

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