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Detroit U.S. Atty. Barbara McQuade Launches Media Leak Probe in Corruption Investigation

U.S. Attorney McQuade

U.S. Attorney McQuade

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade in Detroit announced Thursday that she’s launched an internal inquiry into “recent disclosures of information to the press regarding federal public corruption investigations.’

McQuade asked investigating agencies to conduct similar internal inquiries, according to a press release issued by her office.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI have been engaged in an ongoing probe into public corruption in city hall over the past few years. Targets include former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his father.

“Investigations are kept confidential for a number of important reasons, including protecting the integrity of the investigation, protecting the safety of witnesses, and protecting targets of investigation from public suspicion when no charges have been filed,” McQuade said in a statement. “We take our obligations to protect those interests seriously.”

She noted that if evidence was disclosed by a defendant in violation of a protective order, he would file a moiton for contempt of court.

“Although we can’t prevent witnesses from talking to the press, we will not tolerate leaks from the government or defendants in violation of protective orders,” McQuade said.

Homeland Chief Janet Napolitano to Head to Rhode Island to Assess Floods

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The head of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will head off to Rhode Island on Friday to assess the devastating damage from the floods, the Associated Press reported.

The floods have been the worst the state has seen in 200 years.

“I hope that it will show Rhode Islanders, some of whom are feeling pretty beleaguered after a tough economy, a flood, a cleanup after the flood and then, bam, another one, that they are being heard in the highest levels of the Obama administration,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) told the AP.

Leonardo DiCaprio May Play FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood Film

Leonardo DiCaprio/photo from his website
J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Actor Leonardo DiCaprio could end up playing FBI Dir. J. Edgar Hoover in a film to be directed by Clinton Eastwood.

Mike Fleming of the website Deadline New York is reporting that “talks with Leo are just getting underway, but I’m told that DiCaprio will play the lead role in the film written by Dustin Lance Black, with production to begin later this year.”

The question is: Can DiCaprio pull it off to play the legendary G-Man?

To read more about the film click here.

Undercover FBI Agent Helped Breakup Christian Militia Plot

Fed Judge Rules the Govt. Illegally Wiretapped Islamic Charity and 2 Lawyers

telephoneBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A San Francisco federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the government illegally wiretapped phone conversations of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers without a search warrant, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker found the plaintiffs provided evidence to show “they were subjected to warrantless electronic surveillance.”

The ruling was regarded as a repudiation of the Bush Administration’s  Terrorist Surveillance Program, the AP reported.

The ruling was in response to a suit challenging the program filed by the Ashland, Ore., branch of the Saudi-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and two American lawyers Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, the AP reported.

To read more click here.

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“One of a Kind” James Cavanaugh –Head of ATF’s Nashville Office — Retires

James Cavanaugh/photo by atf's carolyn wallace

James Cavanaugh/photo by atf's carolyn wallace

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

During his colorful career with ATF, which spanned more than three decades, James Cavanaugh found himself in the thick of some of nation’s biggest cases: The D.C. sniper murders, the Unabomber, white supremacist Eric Rudolph, church burnings and the deadly shootout at the Branch Davidian in Waco, Tex. involving leader David Koresh.

“Ninety-nine percent of him thought he was David Koresh, but the 1 percent of him really knew he was Vernon Wayne Howell, just a two-bit thug from the country in Texas,” said Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the ATF Nashville office, commenting on Koresh during a lengthy interview in October 2009 with ticklethewire.com. He was one of the negotiators during the standoff.

On Wednesday, Cavanaugh, a New Jersey native who kept his Jersey street sense about him while acquiring a Southern charm during his many years working in the south, retired from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after 33 1/2 years. He’s reached the mandatory retirement age of 57.

His retirement party is Thursday night in Nashville where he headed the ATF office for 12 years.

“Jim is one of a kind, all the way from this ability to do the job, to his passion for the mission and his professionalism,” said Mark Potter, special agent in charge of the ATF Philadelphia office. “He’ll create a huge void in the organization.”

Read more »

Feds Probe Shenanigans at Baltimore Docks

There’s a lot of commerce that flows through the bustling docks of Baltimore. And there’s a lot of shenanigans as well. Baltimore City Paper investigative reporter Van Smith takes a look at some of the questionable activity the feds are probing.

docks2

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), the nation’s largest union of maritime workers with some 43,500 members stationed along U.S. and Canadian coasts, has deep roots in Baltimore.

Baltimore native Richard Hughes Jr. has been its president since 2007, and he is also the business agent for ILA Local 953, based in Locust Point. Del. Brian McHale (D-46th District), who represents Baltimore’s waterfront in the state House of Delegates, is on Local 953’s roster as a steamship clerk. One of the ILA’s vice presidents, Horace Alston, heads the union’s Baltimore District Council. He and former ILA general vice president John Shade are trustees of Baltimore’s ILA Local 333.

But amid the well-connected ILA members in Baltimore, one longshoreman in particular raised the union’s profile recently: Milton Tillman Jr.

A politically connected ex-con and real-estate investor who is the dominant force in Baltimore’s bailbonds industry, Tillman Jr. is also a member of ILA Local 333. On March 17, a federal indictment charging Tillman Jr. and his son, Milton “Moe” Tillman III, with tax fraud, wire fraud, and unlawful bailbonds practices, was unsealed (“Milton Tillman and Son Indicted in Bailbonds Conspiracy,” The News Hole, March 17). It includes charges that Tillman Jr. was paid for unloading ships at Baltimore’s docks on shifts when he was in Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Las Vegas, among other places.

To read full story click here.

Judge Approves $3 Million Payout to Ex-DEA Agent, But Chastises Government For Failing to Punish Anyone

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-DEA Agent Richard Horn may have been quite happy when the government agreed to pay him $3 million late last year to settle a lawsuit in which he claimed the CIA spied on him and illegally wiretapped his conversations while he was stationed in Burma in 1993.

But  U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth of  Washington is none too happy and chastised the government in an opinion issued Tuesday for failing to punish anyone in the matter.

“Now this court is called upon to approve a $3,000,000 payment to an individual plaintiff by the United States, and again it does not appear that any government officials have been held accountable for this loss to the taxpayer,” Lamberth wrote in an opinion in which he approved the settlement. ” This is troubling to the Court.”

The government was able to invoke a “state secret privilege”. By doing so, it agreed to pay the ex-DEA agent $3 million, but not admit to wrongdoing. It also avoided airing government secrets.

“As to the allegations of wrongdoing that form the basis of Horn’s claims, while the government makes no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement, the Court is persuaded that the government must have at least found them credible to pay the plaintiff $3,000,000 to settle the case,” the judge wrote.

Lamberth asked the Attorney General whether the case will be referred to the Inspector General for internal investigation.

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