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Lawmaker Calls Federal Air Marshals “Useless”

us-air-marshals

The question many ask: Would the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks have happened had we had Air Marshals aboard those planes?


By Anthony L. Kimery
HS Today

During a five minute speech on the House floor June 19, Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) declared that the Federal Air Marshals Service (FAMS) is “probably the most needless, useless agency in the entire federal government.”

Duncan said the $860 million in the fiscal year 2010 homeland security appropriations bill “for this needless, useless agency … is a total waste … we will appropriate $860 million for people to sit on airplanes and simply fly back and forth, back and forth. What a cushy, easy job.”

Continuing his dissing of FAMS, Duncan asserted he “know[s] with absolute certainty that this $860 million we are about to give them could be better spent on thousands of other things. As far as I’m concerned, it is just money going down a drain for the little good it will do. When we are so many trillions of dollars in debt, a national debt of over $13 trillion, we simply cannot afford to waste money in this way.”

For Full Story

FBI Informant in Jefferson Case Sent Email to Agent Likening Herself to a “Star”

William J. Jefferson

William J. Jefferson

The defense hopes to show that then Congressman Jefferson was simply dealing with the FBI informant as a business person, not a Congressman. He’s got an uphill battle in this area. But as a defense, it’s worth a shot.

By Bruce Alpert
Washington bureau
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — In an e-mail message to the lead FBI agent in the William Jefferson corruption case, government informant Lori Mody likens herself to a “star” awaiting reviews from the critics.

The Mody e-mail, dated May 13, 2005, was sent the day after she and Jefferson shared a $1,023 dinner in which conversations were secretly recorded by the FBI. The contents of the message were provided by defense attorneys as part of a brief filed Monday.

In the filing, Jefferson’s attorneys ask Judge T.S. Ellis III for permission to play excerpts of tapes not being presented by the U.S. Justice Department in the former congressman’s trial, which entered its ninth day of testimony Monday.

During the dinner, in which Jefferson’s attorneys say “considerable amounts of wine” were consumed, Jefferson allegedly wrote on a piece of paper that he wanted an 18 percent to 20 percent share of a company Mody had created to develop a telecommunications project in Nigeria. The government has labeled that a bribe solicitation.

For Full Story

How the FBI Broke Saddam Hussein

FBI Agent fingerprints Saddam Hussein/fbi photo
FBI Agent fingerprints Saddam Hussein/fbi photo

I remember hearing George Piro speak once and one thing he said was that Saddam Hussein loved Saddam Hussein. I guess there was a reason for a country full of Saddam statues.

By James Gordon Meek
New York Daily News
WASHINGTON –Saddam Hussein loved to talk – and to b.s. his sole interrogator, FBI Supervisory Special Agent George Piro.

But Piro – backed up by a team of FBI agents and crack CIA analysts – knew Saddam’s history too well. Where there were gaps, Piro was able to parry with the imprisoned leader to get credible answers. “High Value Detainee-1” was soon blabbing so freely it was hard for him to keep his lies intact.

As the weeks wore on, Saddam opened up more and more as the FBI-CIA team leveraged its strategy to “overwhelm” – and break – him by confronting the deposed dictator with evidence of his crimes against humanity.

He was soon boasting of terrible misdeeds against his own people – in order to set the historical record straight, which Piro had encouraged.

For Full Story

Read Saddam Hussein Interrogation Reports as Posted by the N.Y. Daily News:

FBI-Baghdad 302 interrogation reports from Mar. 3 – May 1, 2004
FBI-Baghdad Mar. 21, 2004 progress report on interrogations
Read How the FBI Broke Saddam – Part 1
Read How the FBI Broke Saddam – Part 2

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBLhU-4WsMI

Adios Bernie: Judge Gives Madoff 150 Years, Says “Sorry Is Not Enough”

Well, 150 years is a lot, but quite appropriate. There’s no way to make up for the damage he did.

By Thomas Zambito, Jose Martinez and Corky Siemaszko
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Ponzi king Bernie Madoff got the max Monday – 150 years in prison – for engineering a $65 billion fraud scheme that made his name synonymous with unbridled greed.

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Denny Chin threw the book at Bernie after Madoff finally apologized and told the court, “I’m sorry is not enough” after the swindler was savaged by the victims of his scheme.

“I have left a legacy of shame,” Madoff said after a dozen of his dupes begged a judge to let him rot in jail. “This is something I will live in for the rest of my life.”

Madoff also defended his wife Ruth, who while not charged with a crime has become a reviled figure in the tragedy.

For Full Story

Victims Speak Out

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Federal Judges Beginning to Equalize Punishment for Crack Cocaine

This has long been one of the unfair disparities in sentencing. No question crack cocaine has plagued urban America and destroyed neighborhoods and lives. But should crack have ever been treated differently than powdered cocaine when it came to sentencing?

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
crack-cocaine-deaWASHINGTON — Federal judges are beginning to equalize punishment for crack and powder cocaine crimes, resulting in shorter prison terms for crack dealers and putting pressure on Congress to address a wide disparity in how the legal system handles cocaine-related offenses.

In two recent rulings and interviews, a federal judge in the District and one in Iowa said they had policy differences with Congress and a judicial commission that they said did not go far enough to change the guidelines for crack sentences in 2007.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Detroit U.S. Atty. Berg Defends Time it Took to Charge Council Member Monica Conyers

U.S. Atty. Terrence Berg/doj photo
U.S. Atty. Terrence Berg/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
For the past several years, the FBI and U.S. Attorney had been probing political corruption in Detroit City Hall, but no indictments came, just reports in the press that something was percolating.

What did come were plenty complaints from the community that the feds were dragging their feet, and that it was hurting the city.

In March, Adolph Mongo, a Detroit political consultant and former aide to the late mayor Coleman A. Young, told the Detroit Free Press: “There’s a cloud over this city.”

“Whatever’s going to happen should have happened. People just want the shoe to drop.”

On Friday, the first shoe dropped when city council member Monica Conyers pleaded guilty to taking bribes in connection with a city sludge hauling contract. No more council members will be charged in connection with that contract.

But more public corruption indictments are expected later this year. Word is those indictments could come by October, according to sources.

Feeling the pressure to defend federal authorities for taking so long to come up with the first set of charges, U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg issued a statement on Friday:

“This investigation took just under two years from the time we first discovered the possibility of misconduct by Ms. Conyers until her plea of guilty today.

“This may seem like a long time to people who are not familiar with the complexity and difficulties of federal public corruption investigations, but the citizens of Detroit and of the whole Eastern District of Michigan deserved a thorough and fair investigation that would lead to a successful outcome.”

Ecstasy Pills Showing Up in Shapes Like Bart Simpson and Snoopy

They look innocent enough. And that is what is scaring local and federal authorities.

bart-simpson

By JOE LAMBE
The Kansas City Star
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Drugs shaped like Snoopy, Transformers and President Barack Obama’s head recently showed up on Kansas City area streets, adding to a trend that worries police and health experts.

Colorful Ecstasy pills started showing up last year shaped as Homer and Bart Simpson, Ninja Turtles and other characters. As more of the pills that look like vitamins or candy go out locally and nationwide, they put children at great risk, police and experts said.

“Someone leaves this around … kids pick them up and boom,” said H. Westley Clark, director of the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

The result could be seizures, a spiked blood pressure and heart rate and even death, he said.

Last month, Drug Enforcement Administration officials in Nevada sent out warnings that the cartoon pills were in Las Vegas. Dealers there call Ecstasy “Thizz” and market it to minors, the DEA warned. They also said they had found pills shaped like Ninja Turtles, Transformers and other Simpsons characters.

For Full Story

First Female Native American U.S. Atty. Diane Humetewa Will Soon Lose Job

U.S. Atty. Diane Humetewa
U.S. Atty. Diane Humetewa

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON —   The first female Native American to serve as a U.S. Attorney is expected to soon step down, according to Indian Country  Today.

Indian Country Today newspaper reported that U.S. Attorney Diane J. Humetewa of Arizona will step down ” not because she’s doing a bad job, either. Instead, she will become a casualty of the political appointee process that comes with each new presidential administration.”

At the time of her appointment in December 2007 “Indian country found big reason to celebrate”, the publication noted.

The publication said that  many of  the U.S. Attorneys who were fired during the Bush years were “strong in the area of tribal justice”. It said Humetewa helped to fill that void.

Her replacement is expected to be Dennis Burke, a former aide to then Gov Janet Napolitano, who  now heads up the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.