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Accountant-Turned-FBI Agent Becomes Oregon’s Next Top FBI Official

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gregory T. Bretzing, a former accountant who joined the FBI in 1995, will become special agent in charge of Oregon’s FBI office, The Oregonian reports.

Bretzing, 47, will take over on March 31.

Bretzing, whose father was an FBI agent, served as inspector at the bureau’s Washington D.C. headquarters for the past 18 months.

Bretzing also supervised a joint terrorism task force in Salt Lake City.

Bretzing has five children.

Illegal Immigrants Have ‘Earned the Right to Be Citizens,’ DHS Secretary Says

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

About 11 million illegal immigration in the U.S. have “earned the right to be citizens,” said new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The Daily Mail reports that Johnson called for “comprehensive, common sense, immigration reform” during his speech at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington D.C.

“An earned path to citizenship for those currently present in this country is a matter of, in my view, homeland security to encourage people to come out from the shadows,” Johnson said.

He added: “To offer the opportunity to those who want to be citizens, who’ve earned the right to be citizens, who are present in this country – many of whom came here as children – to have the opportunity that we all have to try to become American citizens.”

 

Snowden Says U.S. Authorities Want to Kill Him After Their Anonymous Remarks in Media

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NSA leaker Edward Snowden claimed Sunday that U.S. officials “want to kill me,” the Daily Mail reports.

In an interview with a German TV station, Snowden cited an anonymous Pentagon official quoted as saying, “I would love to put a bullet in his head.” An NSA analyst was quoted as saying he would kill Snowden.

The 30-year-old, who took refuge in Moscow to avoid treason charges, said he does not want to return to the U.S. because he wouldn’t receive a fair trial.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Parker: Bravo to DEA’s Michele Leonhart for Criticizing the President’s Remarks About Pot

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart was apparently critical of President Obama’s recent remarks about marijuana in a closed-door session with the Major Counties’ Sheriff’s Association in Washington last week, according to an article in the Boston Herald on Saturday. She received a standing ovation.

Exactly what she said and how critical she was has not been made public. She expressed frustration over the administration’s response to legalization by Colorado and Washington primarily because of the mixed message that it sends to high school aged kids.

DEA spokesperson Dawn Deardon “clarified” the Administrator’s remarks by stating that they were not against the President. In other words, don’t fire her for expressing semi-privately what law enforcement officers are saying openly—that President Obama’s remarks were irresponsible and erroneous.

The President’s remarks were made to an interviewer for The New Yorker’s January 27 issue. He gave his opinion that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and even less so in terms of the health effects on an individual. He freely admitted smoking pot as a kid, a habit that was “not something that I encourage…a waste of time, and not very healthy.”

Setting aside the issue of the wisdom of the recreational use by adults, the problem with his gratuitous opinions especially for law enforcement observers and those who counsel teen agers is twofold. They contribute to the confusing chaos of the nation’s marijuana laws and their enforcement. And they send the message to American teens that smoking pot is no big deal. After all, if Obama did it regularly and grew up to be President, how harmful can it be?

The President’s favorable opinion on legalization in Colorado and Washington throws fuel on the fire of the inconsistent mess of America’s laws on the use and distribution of marijuana. Less than two decades ago it was illegal everywhere in all forms. In 1996 California legalized “medical marijuana” and 19 other states have followed suit.

DEA's Michele Leonhart/dea photo

Ten years ago “recreational” use of marijuana was illegal. Since then personal use decriminalizations have been instituted in Alaska, Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island, Colorado and Washington. The legislation in the latter two states is particularly significant since it legalizes possession, distribution, and cultivation with some conditions. Moreover, proposed legislation, pushed by well funded lobbyists, is pending in more than a dozen states plus Congress to escalate this trend.

Meanwhile marijuana is illegal in all forms in the United States Code and is treated as a serious crime in many states.

The Attorney General announced last summer that DOJ would not challenge medical or recreational use state statutes but would continue to concentrate on large traffickers and demand reduction for children.

But this inconsistent dual enforcement federal system makes no sense to someone who has to make moral and practical decisions about their own conduct. It is even more problematic for prosecutors and law enforcement agents in doing their jobs. One federal agent from Los Angeles told me recently that the legalization trend and the uncertainty were seriously undermining public respect for the drug laws in general and those charged with enforcing them.

Then, too, there are the perplexing problems of jury nullification for front line prosecutors, plea and prosecution guidelines for U. S, Attorneys, sentence guidelines and imposition choices in particular cases for federal judges.

Perhaps more aggravating about the President’s seemingly offhand comments is the shrugging, luke warm advice that he gives to kids. Have you considered, Mr. President, that the highly potent weed today poses vastly greater hazards to kids than the 2% THC stuff that you smoked?

A lot of people in the field think that using today’s marijuana has the potential for reducing young users’ intellectual ability, robbing them of motivation, lowering their ability to concentrate, and aggravating emotional problems and mental conditions. Your tsk-tsking attitude undercuts the life’s work of teachers, parents, counselors, and health professionals.

And, for God’s sake, will some qualified person do a legitimate study to test his assertion that poor kids and children of color are suffering the unduly harsh penalties of jail as a result of petty marijuana offenses, i.e., those not connected with distribution and other crimes?

Assuming that was once the case, I have serious doubts that police and federal agents are doing that today. To the contrary, my impression is that they, along with drug courts and other professionals, are fighting an uphill battle to get treatment for the increasing number of users who need help. The upward trend in the hospital emergency room admissions supports the need for this kind of intervention. And more.

So, Mr. President, my kids think you are cool and pay attention to what you say. But, if you don’t mind, I would prefer that you not give them advice on why they shouldn’t smoke pot. It’s more than just a bad habit and a waste of time.

And Administrator Leonhart, bravo for some truth-telling. Have the courage of your convictions in a city where that is a rarity.

If it costs you your job after such a distinguished law enforcement career, you will always have the respect of thousands of us who admired you for standing up and saying what you believe.

How the Feds Gave “Macy’s Bargain-Basement-Style” Guilty Pleas in Mob Case Because of A Very Shady Witness Who Was Convicted of Sexually Soliciting a Teen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Did fed prosecutors in a mob waste hauling case in Manhattan give two  hold-out defendants a sweet plea deal to avoid putting on the witness stand a key FBI undercover operative who was convicted of soliciting sex from a teen girl?

That likely appears to be the case, according a story by mob expert Jerry Capeci of Gang Land News.

Capeci writes:

The gangsters got offers they couldn’t refuse: low-end guidelines of 15 months for one, a year for the other. The deals were cut last week, right after a Manhattan federal judge indicated he would give the defense some leeway in questioning witness Charles Hughes about his 2008 arrest for soliciting sex from a girl he believed to be 15-years-old.

The guilty pleas close out the first of three trials that were scheduled in the 29-defendant case alleging mob control over the private sanitation industry in five counties in New York and New Jersey. So far, 19 defendants from three crime families, including geezer gangster Carmine “Papa Smurf”

 

Capeci reports that U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel said he’d allow  the defense to bring up some of the sexual allegations if the government witness took the stand.

Capeci describes the government deal as a “Macy’s bargain-basement-style sale of guilty pleas: Prosecutors suddenly reduced prison-term plea deals offered two Gambino family defendants by two-thirds.”

Gang Land News is a  paid subscription site, but worth it.

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement: The Drug War in Peru

httpv://youtu.be/PLycln2D1-M

FBI May Have Cracked Case of Pre-Dawn Robbery Immortalized by ‘Goodfellas’

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 1978 robbery depicted in the movie “Goodfellas” was inspired by real life events at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

CNN reports a major break in that case, in which suspected organized crime associates were murdered and more than $6 million in cash and jewelry stolen.

On Wednesday, authorities arrested suspected Bonanno mob captain Vincent Asaro, 78, on charges that he participated in the robbery. Four other alleged members of Bonanno were also arrested.

“As alleged, Vincent Asaro devoted his adult life to the Bonanno crime family, with a criminal career that spanned decades,” Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement. “Far from a code of honor, theirs was a code of violence and brute force. Those suspected of cooperating with law enforcement paid with their lives.”

Only one person – an airline employee – was previously convicted in the robbery case.

httpv://youtu.be/aC5al-btIEw

 

Nude Pictures on Revenge-Porn Site Leads to 2 Arrests for Hacking, Other Charges

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hunter Moore, who once operated the revenge-porn website IsAnyoneUp.com, and an accomplice have been arrested and accused of hacking into computers and stealing nude photos, the Rolling Stone reports.

Thursday’s arrest of Moore and Charles Evens came on the heals of a 15-count indictment.

Moore, among other things, is accused of paying Evans for nude pictures stolen from hundreds of victims’ email accounts.

In 2012, Moore told the Rolling Stone that he decided to sell the website that year because “ruining people’s lives with naked pictures wasn’t, you know, the ideal job.”