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Atty. Gen. Holder Swears in Mass. First Woman and Hispanic U.S. Attorney

Carmen Ortiz

Carmen Ortiz

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Eric Holder Jr., the nation’s first black Attorney General, on Monday swore in Carmen Milagros Ortiz as Massachusetts’ first woman and Hispanic U.S. Attorney.

The two first met 30 years ago when Holder was a young lawyer in the Justice Department and Ortiz was a law student serving an internship in his unit, the Boston Globe reported.

“Have we come a long way, huh?” Ortiz said to Holder, drawing a hearty applause from the packed courtroom, the Globe reported.

To read more click here.

The Latest from the Once Friendly Skies: FBI Arrested Intoxicated Passenger Who Locked Himself in Bathroom

plane window2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — And now for the latest from the once friendly skies.

Authorities say a Virginia man who forced an Atlanta to San Francisco AirTran flight to divert to Colorado on Jan. 8 got angry after flight attendants cut him off from having more alcohol, according to Denver tv station KDVR. He had downed 5 airplane sized wines.

Federal prosecutors say Muhammad Abu Tahir, 47, eventually locked himself in the bathroom and took off some of his clothes and at one point  placed his shoes and socks outside, the station reported, the station reported.

At another point he opened the lavatory door, revealing that he was shaving with no shirt, the tv station reported, referring to the arrest affidavit. As a precaution, flight attendants strategically placed beverage carts to prevent the man from reaching the cockpit.

Two military F-16s escorted the plane to Colorado Springs Airport while Tahir remained in the bathroom, the station reported.  The  FBI then arrested him.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-FBI Agent and ticklethewire.com Columnist Greg Stejskal Says FBI Knew About McGwire’s Steroid Use Way Back

Retired FBI agent Greg Stejskal

Retired FBI agent Greg Stejskal

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Former FBI agent Greg Stejskal, a columnist for ticklethewire.com, tells ESPN.com that he didn’t need baseball slugger Mark McGwire’s confession on Monday to know he was taking illegal steroids.

Stejskal says informants told the FBI about McGwire’s doping regimen two decades ago and added that it was unfortunate he wasn’t caught back then during a federal steroid probe dubbed Operation Equine that Stejskal helped lead for the FBI.

Stejskal tells ESPN.com that the feds never considered charges against McGwire, but had they, it might have brought more attention to the problem.

For Full Story

Read Stejksal’s late column on steroids

Drunk Driving Charge Dropped Against R.I. Fed Prosecutor; Justice Dept. Probing Matter

drunk drivingBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A judge dropped drunk driving charges Monday against an assistant U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island who is at the center of a controversy over whether he got favorable treatment, the Associated Press reported.

A Warwick, R.I. judge, at the request of the city attorney, dropped the charges against fed prosecutor Gerard Sullivan, who was pulled over on Thanksgiving morning, AP reported.

The city attorney dropped the charges in part because Sullivan admitted there was enough evidence to prove he refused a chemical breath test. He has lost his license for seven months.

Warwick police, according to the Associated Press, say Sullivan repeatedly told police he was a fed prosecutor and he knew the police chief. He was originally just charged with refusing to take a breathalyzer test. He was later charged with drunk driving.

AP reported that the chief has ordered an internal probe into why the prosecutor was not initially charged with drunk driving along with refusing to take the breath test.

The Providence Journal reported that the Justice Department is also looking into the allegations that Sullivan tried to use his position and his connection to the police chief to get favorable treatment when he was pulled over.

The chief has ordered an internal inquiry into why Sullivan was not initially charged with DUI.

Michael Ward Named Head of Newark FBI

Michael Ward/fbi photo

Michael Ward/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Michael B. Ward has been plucked from the FBI mothership to head the agency’s  Newark Division, starting in March.

Ward, currently the assistant director of Counterrorism Division’s Operations Branch II at headquarters, started his FBI career in 1988 and spent the first nine years in the Dallas office dealing primarily with violent crime, interstate theft and criminal enterprise investigations, the FBI said.

In July 1997, he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Office of Professional Responsibility at FBI Headquarters. Nearly two years later, he was named assistant inspector in the Inspection Division.

Read more »

Muslim Parents Coming Forward Against Extremism is More Common Than Public Realizes, Muslim-American Leaders Say

Publisher Osama Siblani
Publisher Osama Siblani

By Allan Lengel
For Sphere.com (A new AOL news site)

WASHINGTON — The dramatic, fast-paced events of recent weeks that had parents contacting the FBI and CIA about their children’s links to radical Muslims may clear the way for other reluctant parents to come forward, say key figures in the Muslim-American community.

But on the flip side, leaders fear the cases may leave the wrong impression that the Muslim parents in Northern Virginia and in Nigeria who stepped up were exceptions, and that others ordinarily would never do such a thing.

“I am pleased to see the recent two examples,” said Nawar Shora, legal director for the Washington-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. “To see that the Northern Virginia parents did not face any negative ramifications, if anything, it might help push a few people who were uncertain.”

But he said Muslim parents, contrary to what some may think, have contacted authorities before and have long been sensitive to children’s exposure to “self-radicalization.”

“That’s always been there,” Shora said. “No parent wants to lose their kid to extremism.”

For Full Story

Website Challenges Conservative Columnist Over the Firing of a D.C. FBI Agent

Frank Gaffney/facebook

Frank Gaffney/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The news website TPMmuckraker is challenging an assertion by conservative columnist Frank Gaffney in a recent op-ed piece  that D.C. FBI agent John Guandolo lost his job because of fierce opposition to radical Islamic ideology, not because he was sleeping with a key witness in the ex-Congressman William Jefferson public corruption case as was reported.

“And in an e-mail exchange with TPMmuckraker, Gaffney is standing by the column, while providing no information to back up his claim,” the website wrote.

The website wrote: ” The Jan. 5 column, which ran in the Washington Times and elsewhere and encourages president Obama to hire Guandolo as part of a terrorism “Team B,” includes this passage (emphasis ours):

“Moreover, few in the military, intelligence or law enforcement communities have missed what has happened under this administration (and, in fairness, under the previous one) to patriots like the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s erstwhile Shariah specialist, Steven Coughlin, or an FBI special agent with deep expertise in counterterrorism and jihad, John Guandolo. For courageously challenging the official orthodoxy on the ideological wellspring of the threats we face, namely Shariah, they lost their jobs.”

To read more on the matter click here.

Justice Dept. Probe Calls for Reforms for Inglewood Police’s Use of Force Policies

inglewood-policeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department “has found significant flaws in the way Inglewood police oversee use-of-force incidents and investigate complaints against officers” and has proposed a list of reforms, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

The paper reported that the ongoing Justice Department probe found the department’s use of force policies are poorly written and legally inadequate.

It also reported that the Justice Department has called ” for numerous changes in the way the departme4nt trains and investigates its officers.”

To read the fulls story click here.