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Happy Thanksgiving from ticklethewire.com

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful
that thorns have roses.”Alphonse Karr

*******
“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Column: Ex-FBI Official Mike Mason Challenges Comment by FBI Profiler on Penn State Scandal

Michael Mason, a former assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, retired as the executive assistant director at FBI headquarters in 2007. His column is in response to a column ex-fed prosecutor Ross Parker wrote in the form of a  letter to his son about the Penn State Scandal in which he quoted Jane Turner, an FBI psychological profiler, who said: “It takes enormous strength to put one’s moral integrity over your personal inclination to protect fellow colleagues who have committed malfeasance, or criminal activity. The FBI, like Penn State and the Catholic Church, are entities that allows their personnel to report allegations up a chain of command but those in positions of power or change, fail to take immediate or strong actions.”

Mike Mason/fbi photo

 
 
By Michael Mason
for ticklethewire.com

I have tried for the past two days to get beyond Ross Parker’s letter to his son and specifically the reference he made to the FBI via a piece apparently written by FBI profiler Jane Turner.

I too, have sons and have always taught them to stand tall when faced with moral imperatives.

I have shared with them many times that never in my FBI career was I ashamed to look at myself in the mirror for my conduct or that of my colleagues regarding the decisions we were called upon to make on a daily basis. I have shared with them times when agents have gone astray and been held accountable for doing so. I have shared with them the times I had to take a stand against conventional wisdom and against my own best interest and proudly did so.

I am not alone in any of the above. I did not inhabit an insular world. As you know I left the FBI as an Executive Assistant Director and there is not a single day of my entire career for which I am ashamed of or would be afraid to put on the front page of the Washington Post or New York Times.

I am proud of the many internal discussions we had in the FBI about choosing the right course of action in a myriad of situations most would find extremely challenging. Did we always choose the right course of action, perhaps not, but I can tell you and the readers of Ticklethewire that we left those meetings believing we had done so.

I never left any such meeting with my head hung low, ashamed that I, or one of my colleagues, had not spoken up when the occasion required us to do so.

I believed I wrestled with enough truly challenging decisions over the course of my career that teaching a masters level philosophy course would have been a natural role for me and many others to fill in retirement. So when I read comments about the FBI, even from FBI employees such as Jane Turner, I find myself wondering to what, specifically, they are referring.

Now that I am in the private sector, I can assure you the significant decisions made by the FBI are more exposed to the light of public opinion than virtually any such decisions made in this arena.

My point here is not to suggest the FBI was or will ever be flawless in their decision making processes or in the execution of their sworn duties. However, throughout my career I worked with some of the hardest working, most honest people I have ever met. I have seen FBI employees give more of themselves than the average American will ever be asked to give.

Every day of their respective careers they tried desperately to do the right thing. So try as I might to simply read Parker’s article and move on, I have been unable to do so. What was essentially a “drive-by” comment linking the unfortunate incident at Penn State to the general environment at the FBI demands a response. Parker’s use of Turner’s piece in his letter to his son suggest at a minimum he agrees with her statement. I categorically do not.

I have no doubt that both Jane Turner and Ross Parker are very fine individuals who served the public well. I have no doubt Parker’s son, if he follows his dad’s advice, will become a fine young man as well.

However, I believe the exact same thing about my two sons and dozens of other sons and daughters of FBI employees who have dispense similar advice to their children.

Far from an “insular world” the one I inhabited while serving in the FBI dealt with extraordinarily complex situations which often called for very difficult decisions. Never did I find my colleagues shrinking from their responsibility to try and make the right call.

Blago Fundraiser Gets 10 1/2 Years for Extorting Millions

By Danny Fenster
ticklethwire.com

A top fundraiser and advisor to ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich got handed a stiff sentence Tuesday in Chicago federal court for extorting millions of dollars in exchange for regulatory approval or business.

Fundraiser  Antoin “Tony” Rezko was sentenced to 10 1/2 years in prison — a sentence that prompted Rezko’s daughter to burst into tears, reports the Chicago Tribune. Judge Amy St. Eve told Rezko his “selfish and corrupt actions” have threatened people’s trust in government.

The tough sentence could be the preview as to what’s to come next month when none other than Blagojevich himself is sentenced.

Rezko has been in prison since his 2008 conviction, but the sentencing was delayed because federal prosecutors thought he may have needed to be called a witness at other key trials related to the probe of the Blagojevich administration, the Tribune reported.

US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called the sentence “a wake-up call.”

“I don’t know how many times we’ve had sentences of 10 1/2 years” in public corruption cases, Fitzgerald said, according to the Tribune.

Which raises a question. As ticklethewire.com reported previously, some see the upcoming Blagojevich sentencing as a chance for Illinois to send a very strong, very pubic message against widespread corruption in local and state government. Could this be the stern warning, the “wake up call” that was needed? Would that mean a lighter sentence for Blagojevich? Or is this only the beginning of an overdue crackdown?

Blagojevich conducted an extensive media campaign covered by the national press before his guilty conviction. While most Chicagoans know the name Tony Rezko, he does not have the national profile that Rod Blagojevich does. A stiff Blago sentencing would surely send a stronger, or at least louder, message.

Only time will tell. Balgojevich’s sentencing is set for December.

To read more click here.

Civic, Corporate Leader Arrested for Financial Fraud

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com
 

A corporate leader and former member of the executive committee of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors was arrested by the FBI agents, the Berkeley Daily Planet reported on Tuesday.

Todd Hansen, former president of global advertising firm Posterscope and of Clear Channel Outdoors San Francisco division, has been charged with orchestrating a financial fraud  to enrich himself by inflating company earnings.

Hansen and a former colleague at Posterscope, “are accused of engaging in a five-year, $19.75 million accounting fraud scheme to make it appear that the Company was meeting certain performance targets when it was not, so that they could receive higher salary increases, bonuses, and stock options,” according to the FBI. Hansen boosted his income by $1.1 million a year for his five years at the company. He is also accused of mishandling company funds for personal purchases.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

 

DEA, New York Police Shootout Leaves Suspect with Stomach Shot

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A shootout involving undercover DEA, NYPD and the State Police task force left one suspect wounded in upper Manhattan, reports the New York Post.

At 10 p.m., the officers spotted a group of armed men about to rob a known drug dealer when they tried to bust the thieves, the Post reported. The thieves drew weapons and a shootout ensued, leaving one suspect with a shot in the stomach, who is in stable condition. Another received a graze wound and three others were taken into custody.

No officer was hurt.

 

Brit Official Denies Report FBI is Sending Armed Agents to 2012 London Olympics

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
Reports that the FBI is sending an army of armed agents to the 2012 Olympics just ain’t true, at least according to the a Brit official.

The website News24 reported that Chris Allison, the national security co-ordinator for the games, “sharply rejected reports that armed FBI agents would be taking part in securing the games, insisting on Tuesday that Britain did not need outside help to keep the event safe.”

Specifically, he rejected reports in the Guardian newspaper that said the U.S. would send armed FBI agents to protect U.S. interests.

“There will be no foreign armed personnel here,” Allison said, according to the site.

 

TSA Employee Charged in Sexual Assault Incident

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Transportation Security Administration employee in uniform flashed his badge and apparently more at a woman near his Manassas, Va., home.

Harold Glenn Rodman, a 52-year-old airport screener, has been charged with abduction with intent to defile, aggravated sexual assault, forcible sodomy and object sexual penetration, reports CNN.

According to police, a 37-year-old woman was walking with a friend in the neighborhood when Rodman approached and displayed a badge, then sexually assaulted the woman before she fled on foot. Rodman matched a description police had recorded on a patrol call while canvassing the neighborhood.

The Dulles International Airport employee has been removed from work pending the investigation.

“TSA holds its personnel to the highest professional and ethical standards, and investigates all allegations of misconduct,” TSA spokesman Greg Soule told CNN. “The disturbing allegations against this individual in no way reflect the work of the more than 50,000 security officers who every day ensure the security of the traveling public.”

To read more click here.

Mumbia Attack Planner Who was American Focus of PBS Special Tuesday Night

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

David Coleman Headley,  a lead planner of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, who looked Western and had a U.S. passport,  is the focus of  a special on Tuesday at 9 p.m. on PBS’s Frontline called “A Perfect Terrorist.”

The son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, Headley was chosen for his non-Muslim, Western look and fluency in English, reports NPR.

Headley was a walking “mix of cultures,” born in Pakistan and raised by his father after his parent’s divorce in elite military training schools, then sent to Philadelphia to live with his mother above a pub when he got into trouble in Pakistan, NPR reported. At the pub in Philly alcohol and music clashed with his conservative upbringing, leading him into more trouble.

“It’s kind of this collision with the West after this upbringing in Pakistan,” says ProPublic reporter Sebastian Rotella, who did the documentary, according to NPR. “As a young man, he slides into drug addiction and drug trafficking.”

To read more click here.