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FBI

Minn. FBI Issues Apology; Says 2 Homicide Victims Weren’t Gang Members

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ooops.

The Minneapolis FBI on Friday apologized for saying that two homicide victims were members of gangs.

“Donald E. Oswald, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis FBI office, today regrets to announce that the FBI made an error in a press release that was released yesterday regarding the arrest of fugitive Carlos Maurico Lizama, 29, of Baltimore, Maryland,” the FBI said in a press release.

“The press release stated that the two homicide victims were members of the 18th Street Gang. In fact, the two victims were not affiliated to any gang. The FBI apologizes for this mistake.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICE ACT STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Agents Get Leeway to Push Privacy Bounds

city of chester photo

By Charlie Savage
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.

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The F.B.I. soon plans to issue a new edition of its manual, called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, according to an official who has worked on the draft document and several others who have been briefed on its contents. The new rules add to several measures taken over the past decade to give agents more latitude as they search for signs of criminal or terrorist activity.

The F.B.I. recently briefed several privacy advocates about the coming changes. Among them, Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent who is now a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that it was unwise to further ease restrictions on agents’ power to use potentially intrusive techniques, especially if they lacked a firm reason to suspect someone of wrongdoing.

To read full story click here.

N.C. Sheriff’s Deputy Assigned to U.S. Marshals Task Force Shot and Killed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A sheriff’s deputy assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service task force was shot and killed Thursday while trying to serve an arrest warrant in a murder in Kinston, N.C., station WRAL reported.

The station reported that the deputy, Warren “Sneak” Lewis, was a nine-year veteran of the Nash County Sheriff’s Department.

The station reported that Lewis was approaching a home around 7 p.m. to serve a warrant when someone opened fire. The station reported that five people were detained, including three suspected in a June 2 murder.

“Investigator Lewis was a gentle soul and would go out of his way to give you the shirt off his back, if he thought you needed it. He will definitely be missed, and he leaves a void at this office that will never be filled,” Sheriff Dick Jenkins said in a statement.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Republicans Delay Judiciary Committee Vote on Mueller’s Extension; Gives the Nod to 3 U.S. Attorneys

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Legislation that would enable FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to extend his 10-year term by two years seems all but certain to pass.

But it may not be with out a little resistance.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a vote Thursday on the legislation. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) said he wanted more time to get answers to some questions, according to the news website Main Justice. The bill was held over til the next meeting.

Grassley said the process should move forward in an orderly fashion after pressing questions are answered, Main Justice reported.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the panel had an opportunity during a hearing on Wednesday to get answers and that the delay could be risky with a the limited time Congress has with upcoming Congressional recesses.

The committee on Thursday also gave the nod to U.S. Attorney nominees Felicia Adams for the Northern District of  Mississippi, Ronald Sharpe for the Virgin Islands and George Beck for the Middle District of Alabama, Main Justice reported.

Closings in Blago II; He’s a Liar and Swindler and His Testimony Was “Absurd”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Surprise Surprise (not really).

Federal prosecutor Carrie Hamilton delivered closing arguments on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago, calling defendant Rod Blagojevich a liar and a swindler, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. And oh yes, she said his seven days of testimony was “absurd” and “ludicrous.”

The closings marked the beginning of the end for Blago II, the sequel to the first trial which didn’t go so well for the prosecution. It convicted Blago on only one of 24 counts — lying to the FBI. The jury deadlocked on the remaining counts.

This time around, the prosecution tried to simplify the case after the jury in Blago I complained the case was too complicated.

She asked the jury to keep this in mind, according to the Sun-Times:

“Did the defendant try to get a benefit for himself in exchange for an official act?”

“That’s really all this case and these charges boil down to, and it’s really not any more complicated than that,” Hamilton said.

The Sun-Times wrote that the prosecutor  tried to address what some see as a weakness in the case: Blago talked a lot but never completed any illegal acts.

“The law protects people from being squeezed,” Hamilton said. “The harm is done when the ask is made because that’s the violation of the people’s trust.”

Her closing continues Thursday, the Sun-Times reported.

FBI Warns of Bogus Emails Soliciting Money

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The FBI in Detroit has issued a warning: Beware of emails that display the FBI seal and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III’s name.

The emails, that have been sent to Michigan residents as well as others nationwide, direct people to contact the Department of Homeland Security and send $350 to obtain a Clearance Certificate.

Failure to do so will result in legal action, the email says.

The FBI noted that it does not send out emails soliciting personal information or asking citizens for money.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Mueller’s Full Statement Before Judiciary: “FBI Has Never Faced a More Complex Threat Environment”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III began the process on Wednesday of getting a two- year extension when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Committee is considering a bill that would extend his stay two years beyond the 10-year term, which expires in September.

Currently legislation limits the term of an FBI director to 10 years, a move that was taken after J. Edgar Hoover died. Many thought Hoover had stayed on too long and gathered too much political power.

The following is Mueller’s statement before the Judiciary Committee:

Good morning Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley, and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee today.

As you know, my term as FBI Director is due to expire later this summer. In early May, the president asked if I would be willing to serve an additional two years, and I told him I would be honored to do so.

The president has further asked that Congress pass the legislation necessary to extend my term, and the committee is considering that legislation at today’s hearing. If my term is extended, I look forward to working with the committee and the men and women of the FBI to meet the challenges that face us in the years to come.

The FBI has never faced a more complex threat environment than it does today. Over the past year, we have seen an extraordinary array of national security and criminal threats, from terrorism and espionage to cyber attacks and traditional crimes. These threats have ranged from attempts by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to place bombs on airplanes bound for the United States to lone actors seeking to detonate IEDs in public squares and subways, intent on mass murder.

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FBI’s Mueller Said After “Some Reflection” He Agreed to Take on Extension

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After “some reflection” and consulting with family and people inside and outside the FBI, bureau Director Robert S. Mueller III said Wednesday he agreed with the White House proposal to stay on for two years.

Mueller appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering a bill that would extend his 10-year term two more years. His term currently is set to expire in September.

While there were some questions raised as to whether the extension could be constitutionally challenged, and therefore undermine the director’s effectiveness,  the reception was generally welcoming and complimentary.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) thanked  Mueller for his “tremendous service” and said it was no small fete that there had been no major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)  said of  the proposed legislation to extend Mueller’s term:  “I assume it will pass.”

Leahy added that Mueller’s wife should be thanked, considering she doesn’t get enough credit for her support of the director.

Mueller said his wife appreciates and the “much deserved” acknowledgement.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) asked about criticism of agents in management who feel its unfair that Mueller is about to get an extension while they were not allowed to stay on in their current management post.

The policy that has so irritated agents surfaced after Sept. 11, 2001. It requires FBI supervisors to move on after seven years and compete for another managerial post, retire or get demoted at the same field office with a pay decrease.

Mueller said Wednesday it was difficult decision to implement the policy, and the agency lost some good people. But he said the move has helped develop a pool of good managers.

Mueller also testified that he planned to continue focusing on terrorism and cyber crimes along with other pressing issues like the violence and drug trafficking along the Southwest border.

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who had been mentioned as a possible replacement for Mueller before the President decided to extend Mueller’s term,  testified before the committee, calling  Mueller “one of the finest public servants this nation has ever seen.”

Comey said he supported the current 10-year term limit,  but said the potentially dangerous times call for an exception at this time, and he therefore supported the extension of Mueller’s tenure.