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Column: I Wish I Had Good Friends Like Ex-Sen. Norm Coleman Has

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I have some lousy friends, particularly those with money. They haven’t lavished me with tens of thousands of dollars in gifts.

Maybe a beer. Maybe a meal. And oh yes, one once gave me a Jerry Springer “Uncensored” video for my birthday.

I don’t get it. I’m a good guy.

I wish I had friends like ex-Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman has. He must be a great guy. Why else would a wealthy businessman/friend like Nasser Kazeminy give him $100,000 worth of gifts?

After a 3 1/2 year investigation, the Justice Department decided not to file criminal charges against Coleman or Kazeminy, Kazeminy’s attorneys announced Tuesday. The allegations, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, were reportedly that Kazeminy violated campaign finance laws by trying to funnel $75,000 to the family of former Sen. Norm Coleman through a Minneapolis insurance company that employed Coleman’s wife, Laurie.

One rather well-known attorney, ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh, said he investigated the matter on behalf of Kazeminy and found no wrong doing.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Freeh confirmed in his probe that Kazeminy had given Coleman gifts over the years that totaled more than $100,000 in value. He said Kazeminy and Coleman are good friends.

The gifts included at least two suits from Nieman Marcus in Minneapolis and flights to Florida on Kazeminy’s private jets.

Freeh said, according to the paper, that the two “have a long-term, personal relationship that goes back to when he was mayor. … We looked at the gifts and we found no wrongdoing and no impropriety with respect to that exchange.”

So it really comes down to, some people just have better luck finding generous friends.

Maybe my jokes aren’t good enough, my conversation not stimulating enough to warrant such friends.

Or maybe I just have to run for elected office. That way I’d have a better shot at finding generous friends like Norm did.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

It Can’t Hurt to Hire Ex-FBI Director When Going Up Against the Justice Dept.

Louis Freeh

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If you’re going to hire someone to help in a federal criminal matter, it can’t hurt to get an attorney who use to head up the FBI.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh was hired by  Minnesota businessman Nasser Kazeminy, who was under investigation for allegations that he gave Sen. Norm Coleman illegal campaign contributions,  the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Freeh conducted an independent investigation of the allegations.

On Tuesday, attorneys for Kazeminy announced that the Justice Department had decided not to file criminal charges against either one, the paper reported.

The paper reported that late in Coleman’s failed campaign bid for re-election allegations  surfaced that Kazeminy tried to funnel $75,000 to the family of former Sen. Norm Coleman through a Minneapolis insurance company that employed Coleman’s wife, Laurie.

Robert Weinstine, one of Kazeminy’s attorneys, said the allegations had “no credibility,”  account to the Star Tribune.

The paper reported that Freeh, who was hired by Kazeminy to investigate the allegations against him, said that although “these allegations were entirely false, they were repeated in hundreds of local and national media reports” that left the reputations of the two men “injured and tarnished.”

Coleman, who lost to comedian Al Franken,  issued a statement saying the Justice Department’s decision “is welcomed but not a surprise” and that his “political opponents turned those lies into multimillion-dollar attacks against my family and Nasser Kazeminy.”

The paper reported that  Freeh reviewed the facts in the case.

Ron Rosenbaum, a Minneapolis attorney serving as a spokesman for Kazeminy, said Freeh reviewed the previous investigation of the allegations along with numerous documents, according to the paper.

“He went over everything,” Ron Rosenbaum, a spokesman for Kazeminy said. “In criminal defense work, you don’t rely on your client’s word. Kazeminy wanted this investigated from top to bottom because he wanted a clean bill of health.”

The paper reported that On Tuesday, Freeh said that “we found that there were gifts that were made.” He said that Coleman and Kazeminy “have a long-term, personal relationship that goes back to when he was mayor. … We looked at the gifts and we found no wrongdoing and no impropriety with respect to that exchange.”

FBI Wants Colo. Restaurant Video of Confrontation Between Lance Armstrong and Ex-Teammate

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has an interest in a French restaurant in Colorado — and not for the the Escargots à la Bourguignonne or “Loch Duart” Scottish Salmon on the menu.

The New York Times reports that FBI has requested surveillance video from the Aspen restaurant Cache Cache to look at a Saturday night confrontation between world-famous cyclist Lance Armstrong and former teammate Tyler Hamilton, who is a witness in a doping investigation targeting Armstrong.

Jodi Larner, a co-owner of the French restaurant, told the Times Tuesday that the FBI told her it would subpoena the surveillance tape.

The Times reported that investigators want to see if the confrontation amounted to witness tampering.

Chicago U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald Defends Plea With American Terrorist

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Sebastian Rotella
ProPublica

The chief prosecutor in a landmark terrorism trial that ended last week in Chicago says a plea bargain with a confessed American terrorist was justified because of his value as a source of intelligence and as a key witness in any future prosecutions.

Jurors last Thursday convicted Tahawwur Rana, a Chicago businessman, after a trial that revealed unprecedented details about the alliance between Pakistani militant groups and that country’s intelligence service. In addition to investigative work by the FBI in the United States, Pakistan, India and Denmark, the case centered on five days of testimony of David Coleman Headley, who confessed to doing reconnaissance for the 2008 Mumbai attacks and a failed plot in Denmark.

Jurors convicted Rana on two of three counts of support of terrorism for letting Headley, a childhood friend, use his immigration consulting business as a cover for his plotting overseas. Headley described the Mumbai attacks as a joint operation directed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) and the Lashkar-i-Taiba militant group. He testified as part of a plea agreement that enabled him to escape the death penalty for his role in the killings of 166 people, including six Americans, in Mumbai.

Defense attorneys argued that using Headley, a former drug dealer and DEA informant, to go after Rana was comparable to using a whale to catch a minnow.

But in a telephone interview Friday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of the Northern District of Illinois said the information that Headley provided about the inner workings of terrorist groups and the ISI was unprecedented in its scope and detail.

Headley will testify in any future prosecutions of fugitive masterminds such as al-Qaida chief Ilyas Kashmiri and Lashkar’s Sajir Mir, who is charged with a lead role in the Mumbai plot, Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald declined to discuss details of the case such as the politically sensitive decision to indict a suspected ISI officer who served as Headley’s handler and is known only as Major Iqbal.

“In addition to Rana, what we got from Headley was a lot of intelligence,” Fitzgerald said. “There is no doubt in my mind that we would have been derelict in our duty if we didn’t go after a deal with someone who had sat down with Kashmiri, with Sajid Mir, with Major Iqbal, someone who knew so much about these groups and these plots. He gave us 34 more targets in India. It was a no-brainer to me.”

Read more »

FBI Forensic Team sent to Yemen to Investigate Attack on Prez Compound

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI forensic team has been sent to Yemen to investigate the attack on the presidential compound that wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the website Global Post reported.

“The FBI is aiding Yemeni law enforcement in their investigation in the attack on the presidential compound. The FBI team arrived in Sanaa last Wednesday,” said a senior Yemeni government official, according to the website.

The website said that the request underscores the close relationship between Yemen and the U.S.

News reports had initially said that the attack might have been the work of a rival tribal group. But some reports say the FBI will be looking at whether al Qaeda was involved, or someone within the presidential circles.

“They are concerned about how the attack was carried out. Everyone is a suspect,” the Yemeni official said, according to the website.

Insurance Firm Isn’t Giving Up on Collecting Money After FBI Agent Smashed $750,000 Ferrari

Latest model of Ferrari F50

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– The case of the smashed up $750,000 Ferrari simply won’t go away for the FBI and the Justice Department.

Reporter Ed White of the Associated Press reports that a Southfield, Mi. insurance firm, which is suing the feds to recover money from the crash,  is wondering about the suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident. FBI agent Fred Kingston was driving the stolen 1995 F-50 Ferrari when he crashed it in 2009.

The car had been stolen in 2003 from Rosemont, Pa. and was recovered in Kentucky five years later.

AP reports that Motors Insurance said in a court document filed last week that there was “good reason” to believe that an FBI agent and a federal prosecutor “were taking an extremely rare and exceedingly fast Ferrari out for a joyride.” The car was in the custody of federal authorities after it was recovered.

AP reported that the U.S. Justice Department has claimed it has civil immunity from paying for the smashed car.

The Justice Department had released an email from Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Hamilton Thompson, who was a passenger, AP reported. It said he was invited for a “short ride” before the Ferrari was to be moved from an impound garage, AP reported.

U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn met privately with both sides on Monday, AP reported. The news agency said the Justice Department declined comment.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: Mother of FBI Agent Says Agency Did Daughter Wrong: Questions Whether FBI Dir. Mueller Should Get Extension

Irene Foley is the mother of FBI agent Theresa Foley, the first full-time female FBI agent to be stationed at Guantanamo. Theresa Foley has filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department, saying she was made to bunk with vermin that gave her a tropical disease. Theresa Foley has undergone multiple surgeries since contracting the  disease and has been disabled and is living with her parents. She claims her disease was made worse when the FBI refused to let her stand and instead made her kneel in the traditional stance during firearms qualification.

The lawsuit also says she was ostracized for refusing to join in a “spring break” atmosphere in which agents were encouraged to drink, date and frolic during off hours. Her lawsuit alleges sexual discrimination and harassment,  employment discrimination based on disability and gender and retaliation.   Irene Foley now says Director Robert S. Mueller was unresponsive to the family regarding  her daughter’s problems and questions whether he should get a two-year extension.

Theresa Foley/family photo

By Irene Foley
For ticklethewire.com

I am writing regarding the stories and news that FBI Director Robert Mueller would be extending his term. I am from a law enforcement family, a son and daughter-in-law, who are Police Officers, and more to the point, a daughter, who is an FBI Agent, Theresa Foley.

I feel I must comment as a Mother at this stage, personally, regarding the extension of Director Mueller. After reading his statement before the Judiciary, on everything that is right with the FBI, I couldn’t help but note, no queries on what is wrong.

As noted, I am the Mother of an FBI Special Agent, Theresa Ann Foley. She has been in our care, since her return from Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2004. She will soon be undergoing her 8th surgery due to the actions, of “a contingent of bad agents”.

This statement was relayed to us by a former Associate Deputy Director. Her story is well known to those in “leadership” at the FBI. However, that leadership failed this family greatly.

Theresa was the first, full-time female Agent assigned to Guantanamo. The housing she was placed in was the worst, we were told, badly infested with rats in a condition that should have been condemned.

Due to this, Theresa contracted the rat borne illness Leptospirosis. This has all been documented. Due to over exposure it went into a “stage three”.

Additionally, Theresa was treated as documented by management and fellow agents, in a manner, which should not be acceptable or allowed in the FBI.

This treatment led to a horrific incident in May 2004 regarding firearms. Again, this has all been documented. This, compounded with months of “bad behavior”, lead Theresa to be returned to us extremely ill and in our care, since July 2004.

Read more »

Terrorist Behind U.S. Embassy Bombings in 1998 in Africa is Killed

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

He escaped the long reach of the U.S. for 13 years. He was on the FBI’s Top Ten Terrorist List.  And there was a $5 million reward for his capture.

Last week, a bullet ended all of that.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the organizer of the 1998 terrorist bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, was shot and killed Wednesday after refusing to stop at a government checkpoint in Mogadishu, the London Guardian reported.

The paper said Mohammed,37, was fluent in five languages and was “adept at disguise.”

“He also used his expertise in finance and logistics to assist al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), whose recent successes in Yemen contrast with the reverses suffered by the franchise elsewhere,” the paper wrote.

The paper reported that Mohammed was military commander of al-Shabab, a militia group vying for power in Somalia.