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Mexico Arrests a Dozen Top Ranking Officials With Links to Drug Cartel

Pres. Felipe Calderon

Pres. Felipe Calderon

The menacing drug trade in Mexico not only spells trouble for that nation, but the U.S. as well. Here’s the latest in what seems to be a never ending battle.

By Mark Stevenson
Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderon
‘s war on drug trafficking has led to his own doorstep, with the arrest of a dozen high-ranking officials with alleged ties to Mexico’s most powerful drug gang, the Sinaloa Cartel.
The U.S. praises Calderon for rooting out corruption at the top. But critics say the arrests reveal nothing more than a timeworn government tactic of protecting one cartel and cracking down on others.
Operation Clean House comes just as the U.S. is giving Mexico its first installment of $400 million in equipment and technology to fight drugs. Most will go to a beefed-up federal police agency run by the same people whose top aides have been arrested as alleged Sinaloa spies.
“If there is anything worse than a corrupt and ill-equipped cop, it is a corrupt and well-equipped cop,” said criminal justice expert Jorge Chabat, who studies the drug trade.
For Full Story

Gov. Blagojevich Circus Continues: “They’re Just Hanging Me”

Cheney Says Bush Should Have Pardoned Scooter Libby

Nearly everyone expected Pres. Bush to pardon Scooter Libby. He didn’t, leaving many scratching their heads. Dick Cheney went beyond scratching his head. He simply said it was wrong not to, and said it publicly.

By Stephen F. Hayes
The Weekly Standard
Former Vice President Dick Cheney disagreed publicly with his boss just four times in the eight years they served together. Yesterday, however, on the first day after the official end of the Bush administration, Cheney disagreed with George W. Bush once more.
Cheney told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that his former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, whom he described as a “victim of a serious miscarriage of justice,” deserved a presidential pardon.
Asked for his reaction to Bush’s decision Cheney said: “Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and honorable men I’ve ever known. He’s been an outstanding public servant throughout his career. He was the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice, and I strongly believe that he deserved a presidential pardon. Obviously, I disagree with President Bush’s decision.”
For Full Story

FBI and IRS Raid Pa. Company With Close Ties to Rep. John Murtha

Rep. Murtha/official photo

Rep. Murtha/official photo

Congressman John P. Murtha has brought home the bacon to Pennsylvania, particularly to Kuchera Industries of Penn. He has also gotten loads of contributions from the company’s employees.

By JOHN BRESNAHAN
The Politico

Federal agents on Thursday raided the offices of a Pennsylvania government contractor with close ties to Rep. John P. Murtha, chairman of the powerful Defense panel on the House Appropriations Committee.
Agents from the FBI, IRS and Defense Criminal Investigative Service searched the offices of Kuchera Industries and Kuchera Defense Systems in three different locations in Pennsylvania.
Over the last several years, Murtha, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, has helped steer more than $100 million in contracts to Kuchera, a government contractor founded in 1985 by Bill Kuchera. The company and its employees have donated more than $65,000 dollars to Murtha’s reelection campaign and leadership political action committee, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Thursday’s raid was first reported by the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.
The newspaper also disclosed that federal agents went to the homes of Bill and Ron Kuchera, the president and CFO, respectively of the companies.
For Full Story

Kansas Senate Votes to Let State and Fed Prosecutors Carry Guns in Court

Well,  maybe defendants will be a little better behaved if prosecutors pack heat. Who knows?

By CARL MANNING
The Associated Press
TOPEKA — Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman thinks allowing prosecutors to carry concealed guns in county courthouses could give them an added measure of protection if they ever needed it.
And on Thursday, the Senate voted 39-0 for a bill that would let county, state and federal prosecutors – including Attorney General Steve Six and his assistants – carry concealed guns into county courthouses.
“The courthouse is our workplace where we come in contact with people who pose us the greatest threat,” said Gorman, who been prosecuting criminals in Kansas City, Kan., for 28 years.
For Full Story

Other Stories of Interest

Georgia Man Gets 2 Years for Bomb Threat at Wal-Mart (AP)

Ex-N.Y. State Sen. Majority Leader Joseph Bruno Indicted

Joseph Bruno/cbs photo

Joseph Bruno/cbs photo

BY GLENN BLAIN
DAILY NEWS ALBANY BUREAU
ALBANY –Former State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno was indicted Friday on charges of pocketing at least $3 million by steering contracts to select businesses.
Bruno, who retired from the Legislature in July after more than 32 years in office, was charged in an eight-count indictment with taking defrauding the public from 1993 to at least 2006.
Bruno revealed more than a year ago that the FBI was investigating his private business dealings. He has consistently denied wrongdoing.
Bruno appeared in federal court to plead not guilty.
For Full Story

Internet Child Porn Cases Creates Backlog in FBI Computer Lab

If press releases are any measure, the federal government is being inundated with child porn cases. The Internet, for all its greatness, has created a nightmare in the area of child porn.

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The FBI’s stepped-up effort to fight Internet child pornography has led to an evidence backlog in the bureau’s computer labs, auditors said Friday.
The Justice Department’s inspector general said the number of such cases handled by the FBI rose more than 20-fold between the 1996 and 2007 budget years. As a result, the heavy volume meant it took an average of about two months to examine such evidence in 2007 – and even as long as nine months.
The FBI, which has built a new lab in Maryland to handle the increased demand, agreed with the inspector general’s recommendations to create deadlines to reduce the backlog.
For Full Story

Ex-NSA Analysts Says Agency Targeted Journalists and Honed in On All U.S. Communications

In the comings months we’re likely to hear more and more allegations of improper government eavesdropping. Here we go…
By Kim Zetter
WIRED

Just one day after George W. Bush left office, an NSA whistleblower has revealed that the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program targeted U.S. journalists, and vacuumed in all domestic communications of Americans, including, faxes, phone calls and network traffic.
Russell Tice, a former NSA analyst, spoke on Wednesday to MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. Tice has acknowledged in the past being one of the anonymous sources that spoke with The New York Times for its 2005 story on the government’s warrantless wiretapping program.
After that story was published, President Bush said in a statement that only people in the United States who were talking with terrorists overseas would have been targeted for surveillance.
But Tice says, in truth, the spying involved a dragnet of all communications, confirming what critics have long assumed.
For Full Story

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