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FBI

Senators Introduce Legislation to Extend FBI Dir. Mueller’s Term; Sen. Grassley Has Mixed Feelings

Robert Mueller III last year in Denver at IACP / file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In an unusual sign of bipartisanship, the top Democrats and Republicans of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence introduced legislation Thursday that would allow  FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to extend his 10-year term by two years.

Top ranking senators said the bill would provide a “one time extension” and would apparently keep the 10-year term limit in place for future directors. Mueller began serving as director in 2001 and was set to step down this September. One co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Chuck Grassely (R-Ia.),  said he had some mixed feelings given that existing legislation that limits the term to 10-years was put in place for a reason.

President Obama caught many off guard when he announced that he wanted Mueller to stay on past September. Next to J. Edgar  Hoover, Mueller is the longest serving director.

The president said he wanted it to keep some continuity. Some applauded the move. But some agents inside the bureau felt it was time for Mueller to move on.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), one of  the Senators who co-sponsored the bill to extend Mueller’s term, said in a statement :

“Bob Mueller has served tirelessly and selflessly for 10 years, and is undoubtedly ready to begin the next phase of his life.”

“But he has characteristically answered duty’s call and indicated his willingness to continue his service. We should fulfill our duty, as well, and join together without delay to secure the continuity and stability that is demanded at this time, and that is needed to keep our country safe.”

Sen. Grassley  said he favored the bill, but had some concerns.

“The ten-year term for an FBI director is good for the agency and our country. It was designed to insulate the FBI Director from the political process and ensure that no one Director amass too much power. It has worked for thirty-five years. But, we live in extraordinary times.

” Given the complex and uncertain time we live in, the good work of Director Mueller following September 11, and a heightened alert to terrorist attack following the death of Osama Bin Laden, this one-time statutory exemption that will extend the term of FBI Director Mueller’s term by two years is the right decision. I do this with trepidation, though, because of the constitutional and precedential concerns associated with this action.”

“I look forward to a hearing in the Judiciary Committee so we can address those concerns.”

It’s Showtime: Blago Takes Stand and Apologizes for Swearing on FBI Tapes

Gov Blagojevich in happier days as gov/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s finally Showtime.

Ex-Gov.  Rod Blagojevich took the stand in his own defense on Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“I used to be governor and I’m here to tell the truth,” Blagojevich said after being sworn in, the paper reported.

“In many ways, I feel very liberated — I’m ready to answer questions,” he said.

Blagojevich also took a moment to apologize for the a he spewed while being recorded by the FBI, and he said his teenage daughter told him to watch his language on the stand, the Sun-Times reported.

“When I hear myself saying that on tape, I’m an effin’ jerk, and I apologize,” he said, according to the Trib.

The Sun-Times wrote that Blagojevich “went through his own personal history — and it bordered on the absurd at times.”

To read more click here.

Rep. Nadler Criticizes FBI in Letter to Director Mueller Over Anthrax Probe

Rep. Nadler/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution fired off a letter Wednesday to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller accusing the agency of providing “incomplete and misleading” information on the 2001 anthrax attacks to the committee.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) letter focuses on the amount of “silicon” that was contained in the deadly anthrax letters. He asks that the FBI forward any information that could shed light on the subject.

The FBI told the ticklethewire.com on Thursday  that the bureau “received the letter yesterday and we  will respond directly to Congressman Nadler.”

The following is the letter:

May 25, 2011
The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, III
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535-0001

Dear Director Mueller:

I am writing with respect to the investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into the 2001 anthrax attacks and information provided by the Department of Justice (DOJ)/FBI to me about that case, which appears to have been incomplete and misleading.

On September 16, 2008, the House Committee on the Judiciary, on which I sit, conducted an oversight hearing of the FBI at which you testified. At that hearing, I asked you the following: “[W]hat was the percentage of weight of the silicon in the powders that your experts examined?” You testified that you would get back to me. On November 26, 2008, I sent to you this follow-up question in writing: “What was the percentage of weight of the silicon in the powder used in the 2001 anthrax attacks?”

On April 17, 2009, then-Acting Assistant Attorney General M. Faith Burton, of the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs, responded with the following answer:

FBI Laboratory results indicated that the spore powder on the Leahy letter contained 14,470 ppm of silicon (1.4%). The spore powder on the New York Post letter was found to have silicon present in the sample; however, due to the limited amount of material, a reliable quantitative measurement was not possible. Insufficient quantifies of spore powder on both the Daschle and Brokaw letters precluded analysis of those samples.

Read more »

FBI Says Corrupt U.S. Border Agents a Serious Threat

FBI Arrests Man For Being Too Friendly With Himself in the Friendly Skies

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On flights across the country, there are passengers who yak too much, or lean their seat way too far back or take up your elbow rest.

And there’s Kyle Pearce, 25, in a category all to his own.

The FBI arrested the Florida man last Thursday at the Denver airport after he flew on a United flight from Spokane to Denver and masturbated on the flight “to the point of ejaculation”, according to The Smoking Gun.

He was charged with making an “obscene and indecent exposure of his person” on an aircraft, The Smoking Gun reported.

“I heard a noise and looked over and saw his penis,” said one female witness in a written statement according to The Smoking Gun. She added, “He ejaculated & got some on the seat.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Let the Show BEGIN! Blago Expected to Testify at His Retrial

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was once known for his political prowess. But in the past 18 months or so he’s been known more for being an entertaining sort.

He’s appeared on Letterman. And the Daily Show. And he did a commercial promoting pistachios. And he went on The Celebrity Apprentice with The Donald.

Now brace yourself for more entertainment.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Blago plans to testify in his own defense at his corruption retrial. The paper cites “several sources familiar with the former governor’s decision.”

“Blagojevich has been preparing to take the witness stand for several days and worked in depth on his possible testimony over the weekend, sources said. It was unclear how soon he could be called to testify, but the defense is scheduled to begin presenting evidence Wednesday at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse,” the Trib reported.

Too bad cameras aren’t allowed in the federal courtroom in downtown Chicago. This may well be his best performance.

Blago passed on testifying in his first trial, which for the most part, was a major embarrassment for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Blago was convicted on only 1 of 24 counts — lying to an FBI agent.

http://youtu.be/SH6B5s4uWEQ

Justice Dept. Not Budging: Won’t Pay for $750,000 Car FBI Agent Smashed

Latest model of Ferrari F50

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– A Michigan insurance company insists it’s still not getting justice from the Justice Department.

The Associated Press reports that the Justice Department is still refusing to pay $750,000 to a Michigan insurance company for a stolen Ferrari F50 that was recovered, but then was wrecked while being driven by an FBI agent in Kentucky. The Justice Department has refused to release many documents to the insurance company about the incident involving the car that was stolen from a dealership in Rosemont, Pa.

A hearing on the matter is set for June 13 in Detroit.

The Justice Department claimed in a lawsuit filed by the Southfield, Mi. insurance company, Motors Insurance,  that it was immune to tort claims when law enforcement possesses certain goods, AP reported.

The rare car was stolen in 2003 and recovered five years later in Kentucky, AP reported. It became evidence in an ongoing probe.

In May 2009, FBI agent Fred Kingston was moving the car when he lost control and crashed into a curb.

Judges Tosses Ex-Terrorist Suspect’s Suit Against Detroit FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –An FBI agent is off the hook.

U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani of Detroit on Monday tossed out a lawsuit against FBI agent Michael Thomas, the Associated Press reported. The suit was filed Karim Koubriti, whose terrorism conviction  in Detroit was thrown out after it was ruled that the prosecution withheld crucial evidence from the defense.

The judge on Monday ruled that  Koubriti had failed to prove that the agent had intentionally withheld evidence, AP reported.

Koubriti was after millions of dollars in damage in a suit originally filed against Thomas and former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino. Convertino had been removed from the lawsuit based on a ruling that prosecutors are immune from lawsuits.

The high profile case generated a lot of attention, first because the arrests came shortly after 9/11.  Later, after trial, the case  was mired in controversy after allegations surfaced that the prosecution had withheld information from the defense.

OTHERpS STORIES OF INTEREST