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14 Pulitzer Prize Winners Ask Justice Department Not to Jail Reporter

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than a dozen Pulitzer Prize winners urged the Justice Department on Monday to stop trying to force New York Times reporter and author James Risen to identify a confidential source, the US News reports.

Risen has said he’d go to jail before testifying at the trial of former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of providing a tip for Risen’s book, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

Prosecutors allege Risen divulged a CIA scheme to provide flawed nuclear weapons designs to Iran.

Fourteen Pulitzer Prize winners issued a statement in support of Risen.

“Enough is enough,” said three-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow of The New York Times. “The relentless and by all appearances vindictive effort by two administrations to force Jim Risen into betraying his sources has already done substantial and lasting damage to journalism in the United States. I’ve felt the chill firsthand. Trusted sources in Washington are scared to talk by telephone, or by email, or even to meet for coffee, regardless of whether the subject touches on national security or not.”

DEA Paid Amtrak Insider $854,000 for Passenger Data It Could Have Gotten for Free

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA forked over $854,460 to an Amtrak secretary for confidential information the agency should have gotten for free, according to an internal investigation.

The DEA paid the employee to be an informant despite the agency’s right to obtain the information at no cost as part of a joint drug enforcement task force, the Associated Press reports.

The payments were made over a two-decade span, the investigation found.

The Amtrak secretary provided passenger information without the proper approval, but the information was available through the proper channels, the inspector general found.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Opens Civil Rights Investigation of Fatal Shooting By Cops of Unarmed Teen

The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation to determine what prompted a police officer to shoot an unarmed blacked teenager in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday afternoon.

The New York Times reports the inquiry into Michael Brown’s death came on the third day of protests. Ferguson, a city of 21,000 residents, has a history of racial issues. Although black people make up a majority of the residents, the local government and police are predominately white.

When the all-white school board suspended a black superintendent, protests broke out.

“The community is still highly segregated,” said Karen Knodt, interim pastor of the Immanuel United Church of Christ, whose congregation has 800 members, only four of whom are black. “The institutions of power don’t yet reflect the changing demographics of the county.”

The city also has been under a Justice Department investigation following claims of racial disparities for juveniles in Family Court.

 

FBI Sketch Artist Writes Tell-All Book About Tracking Down Criminals

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former sketch artist for the FBI has written a tell-all book about his 32 years working with the bureau, the New York Post reports.

Gene O’Donnell, who is shopping his book “Faces of Crime: Memoirs of an FBI Forensic Artist,” said he’s had a lot of bizarre experiences at the bureau, but the strangest may have been drawing a face based on visions of a psychic.

“Officially, I don’t believe that the FBI has ever really admitted to using psychics, but I can assure you that they do. Rarely, but every once in a while, the real FBI looks more like Mulder and Scully’s FBI,” said O’Donnell, referring to “The X-Files.”

O’Donnell, who retired in 2009, started working with the FBI after studying commercial art.

In one his more well-known sketches, O’Donnell helped capture the Russian handler of spy Aldrich Ames.

O’Donnell also helped sketch the face of a man who had been badly decomposed.

Secret Service Gives Child ‘Timeout’ for Slipping Through White House Fence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents are used to the jumpers – the people who hop over the White House fence.

But Thursday night was different when a toddler slipped through the gate in site of arms officers trained to protect the president, the Associated Press reports.

His discipline?

Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said the boy was given a “timeout” before being returned to his parents.

Donovan joked that the FBI will wait until the boy learns to walk before questioning him.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

NAACP Calls for FBI Investigation into Killing of Unarmed Teen Near St. Louis

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Civil unrest over the fatal shooting of a black teenager by police turned into looting and vandalism Sunday evening as investigators try to piece together what happened.

The Associated Press reports that the St. Louis County chapter of the NAACCP is urging the FBI to take over the case of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was killed after a scuffle with police in the predominately black suburb of Ferguson.

“He was running this way,” Brown’s grandmother, Desiree Harris, said. “When I got up there, my grandson was lying on the pavement. I asked the police what happened. They didn’t tell me nothing.”

Brown’s stepfather held a sign outside his house that read, “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”

Police confirmed a police officer shot Brown but didn’t elaborate. Witnesses said Brown was unarmed when he was shot.

The FBI’s involvement is important “to protect the integrity of the investigation,” said John Gaskin, a member of the St. Louis County NAACP.

Attorney General Eric Holder said attorneys in the department’s civil rights division will monitor developments related to the shooting.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Opinion: A Border Patrol Without Borders

By John Stossel
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

If I drive across a U.S. border, I expect to stop at a Border Patrol checkpoint. But imagine driving to the grocery store, or Mom’s house, well inside America, and being stopped by the Border Patrol. Many Americans don’t have to imagine it — it’s how they live.

Even as the federal government fails to control the southern border, it sends the Border Patrol farther into the interior, where Americans complain that agents harass people who are already U.S. citizens.

And it’s legal. The Supreme Court ruled that the Border Patrol can set up “inland” checkpoints anywhere up to 100 miles from an external border of the United States. That’s what government now considers a “reasonable distance” from the border.

But that means the zone within which you could be stopped and searched includes much of Florida and California and all of Maine and New Hampshire. Two-thirds of America’s population lives that close to the border.

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer James Lyall argues, “Interior checkpoints fundamentally fly in the face of what it means to live in a free society, where you don’t have to answer to federal agents when you’re going about your daily business.”

The Supreme Court ruled that Border Patrol agents at these checkpoints can “conduct brief stops for the limited purpose of verifying residence status” but cannot “conduct searches of individuals or the interior of their vehicles.” But the experience of members of my staff and videos on YouTube show that

Border Patrol agents do exactly that. They often demand answers to lots of questions and search cars, too.

To read more click here.

Protesters Crawl Under Border Patrol Truck in Attempt to Stop Arrest

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Protesters crawled under a Border Patrol vehicle to stop agents from transporting a driver who was taken into custody for being in the U.S. without documentation, the Tuscon News Now reports.

The incident happened at 2:45 p.m. when Tucson police pulled over a driver for making an improper turn.

Saying the driver had no license to drive a car and was illegally in the U.S., police contacted Border Patrol, which sent an unmarked SUV to take the driver into custody.

Protesters arrived soon after, with two of them crawling under the SUV.

They were pulled out.