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Race for U.S. Atty. Posts in Pa. Kicks in Gear

The mad race for the 3 U.S. Attorney posts in Pennsylvania seems to be kicking into high gear, particularly for the post in Philadelphia. We’d like to think that the selection process isn’t political. Then again, we’d like to think, well, a lot of things.

Sen. Specter

Sen. Specter

By Emilie Lounsberry and Tom Infield
Philadelphia Inquirer

The search for a new U.S. attorney for the eastern region of Pennsylvania has now moved into high gear, with about 20 lawyers and judges interviewed last week in a marathon session in Harrisburg.

President Obama will make the formal nomination, after the recommendation of Pennsylvania’s two Democratic senators – Bob Casey and Arlen Specter. It was unclear how quickly a nominee would be announced.

The 16-member panel that conducted the interviews was chaired by two Philadelphia lawyers: Tom Kline, a law partner of Specter’s son, Shanin; and Robert Ross, a law partner of Casey’s younger brother, Matt. Another of Casey’s brothers, Christopher, also a lawyer in the city, was on the panel.

The group interviewed candidates for U.S. attorney jobs in the Western and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, as well as in the Eastern District – more than 40 people in all.

In an interview yesterday, Kline said the panel reached a “consensus” on recommending a number of “qualified candidates” for each of the jobs. He declined to name names.

For Full Story

Head of the Baltimore FBI Amy Jo Lyons Named Assist. Dir. of Inspection Div.

Amy Jo Lyons/fbi photo
Amy Jo Lyons/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Amy Jo Lyons, a New Jersey native who headed up the Baltimore FBI, has been named Assistant Director of the FBI Inspection Division.

She replaces Kevin Perkins, who is now assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division at headquarters.

“In her new role, Amy will be responsible for oversight of internal investigations and the evaluation of FBI programs to ensure their effectiveness and compliance with FBI objectives, governing laws, rules, regulations, and policies,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said in a prepared statement. “Her previous experience in the Inspection Division, coupled with her years of operational work in the field, makes her an excellent fit for this position.”

Lyons joined the FBI in 1990 and was first assigned to the New Haven Division. Six years later, she went to the International Training and Assistance Program at the FBI Academy. After that, she was assigned to the Latin American Unit in the Criminal Investigative Division’s Organized Crime/Drug Section at FBI Headquarters, according to the FBI.

In February 1999, she went to New York where she headed up a squad focusing on the Columbo crime family. She eventually became an assistant special agent in charge in the Special Operations Branch and in April 2008 was named  special agent in charge of the Baltimore Division.

Before joining the FBI, she was a DEA agent in Newark.

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Book Says Bush Daughters Were a Handful for Secret Service

secret-service-book

It’s not surprising the Bush daughters gave the Secret Service a hard time. What young person wants adults with guns following their every move?

By Richard Johnson-Page Six
New York Post

WHEN it came to protecting Jenna and Barbara Bush, the Secret Service truly had its hands full, with President George W. Bush’s wild and crazy daughters doing everything in their power to escape them, a new book reveals.

“Jenna would purposely try to lose her protection by going through red lights or by jumping in her car without telling agents where she was going.

As a result, in a total waste of manpower, the Secret Service kept her car under surveillance so agents could follow her,” Ronald Kessler writes in “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect,” out next month from Crown.

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Feds Indict Leaders of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel

This is a big indictment which targets some major players. But the money is too good and the smaller fish will only step up to the plate to grab it. The question is: How do you stop that from happening?

mexico-border-sign

By Richard Marosi
Los Angeles Times

Federal authorities announced indictments Monday against the reputed leaders of Mexico’s Gulf cartel and its paramilitary force, the Zetas, accusing them of trafficking tons of cocaine and marijuana from South America through the Texas-Mexico border.

Three of the men are identified as the “triumvirate” that manages the far-flung enterprise, dividing its territories among themselves. Another reputed leader, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, allegedly controls the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo, where the cartel is believed to funnel large amounts of drugs through the busy truck crossing into Laredo, Texas.

Fifteen more alleged cartel lieutenants were charged in the pair of indictments filed in New York and Washington, D.C. The Washington indictment was filed in June but not announced until Monday.

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Ex-Texas FBI Agent Jim Wilkins Dead at Age 61

Staying at any job for 34 years is amazing these days. Jim Wilkins did it and made a mark.

fbi-logo

By GORDON DICKSON
Ft. Worth Star Telegram
FT. WORTH, Tex. — Jim Wilkins’ 34-year FBI career included an important but little-known footnote in America criminal history.

Wilkins was the agent who recaptured American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who was serving two life sentences for the 1975 murder of two FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota when he escaped from a California prison in 1979.

Peltier fled to the Santa Maria hills. But his run from the law ended after four days, when Wilkins spotted Peltier’s white tennis shoes in the brush and took him into custody.

For Full Story

Judges Says CIA Committed Fraud in Defending Wiretap Case Against DEA Agent

Between water boarding and withholding info from Congress, the CIA doesn’t really need more bad publicity. But here it is.

Ex-CIA Chief Tenet Could Face Sanctions/gov photo
Ex-CIA Chief Tenet Could Face Sanctions/gov photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON – A federal judge has ruled that government officials committed fraud while defending a lawsuit brought by a former DEA agent who accused a CIA operative of illegally bugging his home.

In rulings unsealed Monday, U.S. District Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth wrote that he was considering sanctions against five current and former agency lawyers and officials, including former director George J. Tenet, for withholding key information about the operative’s covert status.

The rulings, issued in recent months, highlighted what the judge called fraudulent work by CIA lawyers in defending a suit that Lamberth said had a lengthy and “twisted history.” Brought in 1994 by DEA agent Richard A. Horn, the suit alleged that the CIA illegally bugged his residence in Rangoon, Burma, while he was serving in the country.

For Full Story

Will ex-Rep. William Jefferson Take the Stand in His Own Defense?

Drum roll please. And now the moment some of you have been waiting for: Will ex-Rep. William Jefferson take the stand on his own behalf? The defense is expected to begin presenting its case later this week and will have to decide if it’s best to put Jefferson on the stand. Some politicians have done more damage than good by taking the stand and acting arrogant. Jefferson is not likely to come off as arrogant, but he may have to do some serious dancing to get around some tough questioning by prosecutors under cross examination.

Jefferson's Atty. Robert Trout Has Tough Decision to Make/law firm photo
Jefferson’s Atty. Robert Trout Has Tough Decision to Make/law firm photo

By Jonathan Tilove
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — William Jefferson and his legal team now face the most difficult and fateful decision of his trial: whether the former nine-term Democratic congressman from New Orleans should take the stand in his own defense.

“It’s the last decision you make, ” said James Neal, a prominent Nashville, Tenn., defense attorney. “It’s just a terrible decision to make because the case then turns on it. You can forget about everything else that came before in the case. The case now depends on how well the defendant does.”

Atlanta lawyer Jerome Froelich agreed that the stakes could not be higher for Jefferson.

“What I always fear is that once you put the defendant on the stand, it changes the burden from, ‘did they prove their case?’ to ‘do I believe the defendant?’ ” Froelich said.

Neal represented former Gov. Edwin Edwards in his 1985 racketeering trial. Edwards took the stand. The jury voted 11-1 to acquit. On retrial, Edwards was acquitted.

For Full Story

GAO Report Says Strain Between Venezuela and U.S. Has Caused Alarming Surge in Cocaine Trafficking

One thing the U.S. has to do is try harder to mend the strained relationship between the U.S. and Venezuela. It shouldn’t be hard to improve upon the relationship the Bush administration had.

President Chavez

President Chavez

By Chris Kraul
Los Angeles Times
CARACAS, Venezuela — A breakdown in anti-drug cooperation between Venezuela and the United States has contributed to an alarming surge in cocaine trafficking from Venezuela, according to a report issued Monday by the U.S. General Accounting Office.

The volume of drugs passing through Venezuela more than quadrupled from 66 tons in 2004 to 287 tons in 2007, the GAO said. U.S.-Venezuelan counter-narcotics cooperation ended in 2005, as friction intensified between the Bush administration and leftist President Hugo Chavez.

Although Venezuela was already a major corridor for Colombian cocaine before Chavez took office in 1999, the volume has increased to the point that in 2007, one-quarter of all Colombian cocaine produced passed through Venezuela, according to estimates.

The GAO said trafficking has increased in part because of Chavez’s alleged tolerance of Colombian rebels in Venezuelan territory and because of widespread corruption in his military and police ranks.

“Venezuela is caught between the world’s largest producer of cocaine, Colombia, and largest consumer, the United States,” the report concludes.

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