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Two Texas Border Patrol Agents Charged With Drug Trafficking

The temptation to make money beyond the government paycheck may have been too much for two Border Patrol agents down in Texas.

By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer
McALLEN, Texas – Two South Texas Border Patrol agents appeared in federal court Thursday on charges alleging they helped drug traffickers move their product across the U.S.-Mexico border.
A grand jury in Houston returned sealed indictments Dec. 1 against Leonel Morales, 30, of the Border Patrol’s Laredo sector and Salomon Ruiz, 34, of the Rio Grande Valley sector.
Both men made their initial appearances in federal courthouses in McAllen and Laredo on Thursday after the FBI arrested them Wednesday. They will remain in custody until their respective detention hearings next week, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
For Full Story

Suggestions For Other Top Posts in Homeland Security

Now that President-elect Obama has picked Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to head Homeland Security, the administration can start filling other key spots in the department. Rich Cooper of Security DeBrief throws in his two cents as to who should get those spots.

By Rich Cooper
Security DeBrief

With the nomination of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as the next DHS Secretary now official, I decided to put together another posting about prospective candidates for the ‘other tough jobs’ at DHS and who might be good choices to fill them.
While the Secretary may lead the Department of 200,000+ on a daily basis and be the voice and face for leading and communicating major events and threats whenever and wherever they occur, they can not do the job alone.

For Full Story

D.C. U.S. Magistrate Judge’s Son Pleads Guilty to Being Armed Heroin Dealer

U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson probably had a little more compassion than usual on Wednesday for a defendant: Her son.

Philip Winkfield/ baltimore police photo courtesy of baltimore city paper

Philip Winkfield/ baltimore police photo courtesy of baltimore city paper

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper
BALTIMORE — U.S. District Court magistrate judge Deborah A. Robinson normally presides over matters in her Washington, D.C., courtroom. But on Dec. 3 she sat in the gallery of a federal courtroom in Baltimore to witness her 21-year-old son, Philip Winkfield, admit to being an armed heroin dealer.
Winkfield was a Morgan State University student last April, living in Dutch Village in Northeast Baltimore, when a raid team served a warrant at his apartment and found him with five loaded guns (including an assault rifle), a bullet-proof vest, a digital scale, a drug ledger, cutting agent, and a bunch of heroin, cocaine, and pot.
Despite the broad array of evidence, on Wednesday Winkfield copped only to dealing heroin and to the fact “that one or more of the firearms was used in furtherance of the crime,” according to the plea agreement. “This is not a cooperation agreement,” said U.S. District Court judge J. Frederick Motz after accepting Winkfield’s plea deal, which had been hammered out by prosecutor George Jarrod Hazel and Winkfield’s attorneys, Gregg Bernstein and Robert Mance.
For Full Story

Investigation Concludes Ex-Minneapolis U.S. Atty. Retaliated Against No. 2 in Office

Retaliation can be an effective management tool — that is til you get busted.

Ex-U.S. Atty. Rachel Paulose

Ex-U.S. Atty. Rachel Paulose

By Randy Furst
Minneapolis Star Tribune

An independent federal investigation has determined that former U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose retaliated against the No. 2 person in her Minneapolis office after he filed a complaint that she had mishandled classified materials.
The announcement by the Office of Special Counsel in Washington on Wednesday appeared to be a full vindication of John Marti, the first assistant U.S. attorney, who resigned his management position in 2007, along with two other top lawyers in the Minneapolis office.
Marti, who continues to work as an assistant U.S. attorney, reached a financial settlement with the Justice Department. Any negative references will be removed from his personnel records. He had filed a complaint under the Whistleblowers Protection Act.
For Full Story

Read Press Release From Office of Special Counsel

Accused FBI Agent No Stranger to Controversy

FBI agent Mark Rossini always knew how to get attention. Gossip columnists linked him romantically to actress Linda Fiorentino. Unfortunately, this time the attention is not very flattering. He resigned Friday and is expected to plead guilty next Monday to accessing FBI computers for personal use.

Mark Rossini (left)/youtube photo

Mark Rossini (left)/youtube photo

By Jeff Stein
SPY TALK
WASHINGTON –The FBI agent who stands accused of accessing bureau computers for a notorious Hollywood private eye is no stranger to controversy.
Mark Rossini, 46, was a favorite go-to guy for national security reporters when he worked in the FBI’s media relations office. He had come to the job after several years working with the CIA and other intelligence agents at the National Counterterrorism Center, in Virginia.
Tall, handsome and gregarious, Rossini enjoyed schmoozing with reporters over good cabernet and cigars at Les Halles, a French restaurant around the corner from the FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Over the past year the recently divorced counterterrorism specialist had also been squiring his raven-haired actress girlfriend, Linda Fiorentino, to the Palm and other top restaurants in Washington and New York.
Rossini had also made a splash of sorts when it emerged on Oct. 1, in this column, that the FBI was blocking him from appearing in a public television documentary about pre-9/11 intelligence failures.

For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

House Legal Staff Defends Arizona Congressman Accused of Corruption

Once again the legal staff for the House of Representatives finds itself caught in a predicament: defending a member of Congress accused of wrongdoing. The legal staff says it’s intervening to protect the integrity of the institution, not Renzi. Nonetheless, it’s trying to sink the government’s case.  Not a great position to be in.

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

Arthur H. Rotstein
The Associated Press

The legal staff for the U.S. House of Representatives has challenged the constitutionality of the Justice Department’s prosecution of retiring U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, effectively aligning with Renzi’s defense.
The House counsel, in a friend-of-the-court brief, said federal prosecutors and the FBI repeatedly violated the Constitution’s speech or debate clause, which grants members of Congress protections for their legislative acts.
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House noted its filing is intended “to articulate and protect the House’s interests – and not to defend defendant Congressman Richard Renzi.”
For Full Story

Read House of Rep. Counsel Filing

Prosecutor Probes U.S. Atty. Firings And Dispatches Subpoenas

The Justice Department appears to be moving forward with its probe into the firings of 9 U.S. Attorneys — a mess left behind by former Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales. Will there be justice in the end? We shall see.

Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey/official photo

Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey/official photo

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A prosecutor who is investigating the dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys has been meeting with defense lawyers, dispatching subpoenas and seeking information about the events, according to legal sources familiar with the case.
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy two months ago, after the department’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility reported that they had hit a roadblock in their lengthy probe into whether political interference prompted the dismissals. Internal investigators said they had been stymied by the refusal of key witnesses, including former presidential adviser Karl Rove and former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers, to cooperate.
For Full Story

Prosecutor Has Contacted Former A.G. Gonzales (TPM Muckraker)

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ATF’s Theresa Stoop Returning To Baltimore as Special Agent in Charge

Theresa Stoop/atf photo

Theresa Stoop/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Theresa R. Stoop of ATF is returning to Baltimore for an encore.
The agency announced Wednesday that Stoop will become the special agent in charge of the Baltimore Field Division, a post she held from 2000 to 2003. The division includes Maryland and Delaware.
“Theresa Stoop brings 24 years of knowledge and experience to Maryland and Delaware as one of ATF’s key leaders,” said acting ATF director Michael Sullivan in a prepared statement.
Prior to this, Stoop served as the deputy assistant director for Training and Professional Development at ATF headquarters, authorities said.