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Witness in ‘Whitey’ Bulger Case Found Dead under Suspicious Circumstances

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Stephen “Stippo” Rakes waited decades to testify against accused mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. 

Rakes will never get the chance because he was found dead in what is being described as a suspicious death, the Boston Globe reports.

Rakes, who had accused Bulger of stealing ownership of his South Boston liquor store, was found dead near a popular walking trail in Lincoln.

But authorities believe Rakes’ body may have been dumped there, the Globe reported.

An autopsy is underway to determine the because of death.

“I can assure you my ex-husband did not commit suicide,” Rakes’s former wife, Julie Dammers, told the Globe.

NSA Takes Steps to Strengthen Security of Sensitive Information Following Leak

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Hoping to strengthen its security to avoid another leak, the NSA is examining how former contractor Edward Snowden was able to access and remove sensitive information, The Los Angeles Times reports.

“This failure originated from two practices that we need to reverse,” Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at a security forum at the Aspen Institute.

“In an effort for those in the intelligence community to be able to share with each other, there was an enormous amount of information concentrated in one place,” he said. “That’s a mistake. Loading everything onto a server creates a security risk.”

The second problem, he said, “You had an individual who was given very substantial authority to access that information and move that information.… We’re acting to reverse both of those things.”

Carter said the NSA was converting to a system that would have prevented a single person from accessing the information, The LA Times reported.

FBI Advises Local Police to Keep George Zimmerman’s Gun, Evidence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Sanford Police won’t return to George Zimmerman his gun and other evidence used at his murder trial after the FBI urged against giving back the weapon, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

It’s a sign that the Justice Department is moving forward with an investigation into whether Zimmerman violated the civil rights of Trayvon Martin, a black, unarmed 17-year-old who was shot dead, The Orlando Sentinel wrote.

The request comes less than a week after a six-member jury acquitted Zimmerman following 16 hours of deliberations.

“The evidence is just in a hold status, pending their DOJ investigation,”  Sanford police spokesman Capt. Jim McAuliffe told the Sentinel.

Transgender Woman Wins Discrimination Suit Against ATF

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A woman who was denied a job after ATF officials discovered she was transgender won a lawsuit this week in which she claimed she was the victim of unlawful discrimination, the Transgender Law Center reports.

Mia Macy, an experienced police detective who has worked with the ATF on ballistics, said she was denied the job because she was transgender.

Macy identified as a male at the beginning of the application process, but by the time of the hiring decision, she changed her name to Macy.

Under the decision, the ATF must offer Macy the position and provide back pay and benefits with interest.

“It’s a victory for all transgender people to know that we have a voice, that we have recourse, and that when it comes to workplace protections we deserve to make a living,” said Macy in a statement. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Senate Committee Approves Comey As Next FBI Director; Full Senate Vote Next

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

James Comey is closer to being the next FBI director.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved Comey, Obama’s choice to replace Robert Mueller, the USA Today reports.

Now the Senate must approve the nomination of the former senior Justice Department official.

The USA Today wrote that Comey is almost guaranteed to be approved by the Senate.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


Drug Dealer Says Accused Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger Forced Him to Play Russian Roulette

Whitey Bulger

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Accused Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger forced a former drug kingpin to play Russian roulette in the back room of a nightclub in 1983, according to testimony at the racketeering and murder trial, Reuters reports.

“The conversation wasn’t going too well… But I wasn’t going to pay him $1 million. I just wasn’t going to do it,” William David Lindholm testified.

Lindholm said Bulger, leader of the Winter Hill Gang, wanted $1 million in cash. Bulger lodged a bullet in the chamber and pulled the trigger with the gun pointing at Lindholm’s head.

Lindholm said he convinced Bulger that his marijuana dealing wasn’t as big as it was and only had to turn over $250,000, Reuters wrote.

NSA Leaker Snowden May Be Granted Temporary Asylum in Russia

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NSA leader Edward Snowden issued a hand-scrawled application for temporary asylum in Russia, and his lawyer said he could soon walk out of Sheremetyevo airport, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

“The question of giving him temporary asylum won’t take more than a week. I think that in the near future he will have the possibility to leave the Sheremetyevo transit zone,” the independent Interfax agency quoted the lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, as saying.

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin had appeared reluctant to help Snowden, The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the president appears to be resigned to the idea.

“As I understand it, Snowden didn’t aim to spend his whole life in Russia. I don’t understand how a young man decided to do what he did, but it’s his choice,” Putin said.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly Seems Open to Head Department of Homeland Security

NYPD Commissioner Kelly/nypd photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly appears to be open to considering the top job at the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Daily News reports.

Rep. Pete King said the city’s top cop is “not saying no” to the possibility of taking the job.

The comment follows President Obama’s comments about Kelly in a TV interview, saying he is “one of the best there is” in fighting terrorism.

“Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is. But if he’s not, I’d want to know about it,” Obama said. “Obviously, he’d be very well-qualified for the job.”

Kelly is among names that have been floated as a potential replacement for Janet Napolitano.