Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

June 2021
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



News Story

Big Management Shakeup Coming at ATF

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With acting ATF Director B. Todd Jones in place, and the new fiscal year beginning, rumors are swirling about that ATF is soon expected to make a lot of changes in top management, which will result in a serious round of musical chairs.

One rumor circulating within ATF is that Thomas E. Brandon, who had just recently moved from Detroit to Phoenix to help clean up the mess in wake of the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious, will be headed to Washington to take on a senior leadership role.

Agents around the country have told tickethewire.com that Brandon has the respect of fellow agents.

The changes come as the scandal surrounding Operation Fast and Furious unravels. The poorly executed operation encouraged Arizona firearms dealers to sell to questionable straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of some weapons, and some surfaced at crimes scenes on both sides of the border.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)  and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.)  have  been investigating the fall out from  Operation Fast and Furious and have been raising questions about ATF’s leadership.

In the midst of their probe,  ATF acting director Ken Melson stepped down to head over to a post at the Justice Department. In stepped Jones, who has kept his post as U.S. Attorney in Minnesota.

The White House had nominated Andrew Traver, head of the ATF’s Chicago office, to become the new director. But his confirmation process got stalled, and the NRA put up a strong fight against him.

At this point, it appears likely Traver’s nomination will simply die out of concern that he can’t get confirmed.

As for seating a permanent director at this point? It’s not likely that the Obama administration will spend its political capital trying to get any director confirmed before the election in November 2012.

Rumors have also been circulating that the Justice Department wants to fold ATF into the FBI, but a federal source said that won’t happen.

The Examiner.com reported last week that there were rumors of  ”a possible big shake up” at ATF,   but gave no specifics.

 

Possibility of Charging Madoff Relatives Fading

Mark Madoff committed suicide/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nearly three years after the feds began investigating world-class swindler Bernie Madoff, it appears less and less likely charges will be filed against his brother, son and niece, the Associated Press reports.

AP reported that “people with knowledge of the case” said potential evidence against brother Peter Madoff, son Andrew Madoff and niece Shana Madoff was turned over to prosecutors in the spring and that a decision was expected by summer’s end.

“The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan hasn’t taken any action, suggesting any potential criminal evidence gleaned from a massive paper trail and the testimony of cooperators isn’t strong enough to conclusively prove that the three knew that Madoff spent decades orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a final decision hasn’t been announced,” AP wrote. “All three family members have denied any wrongdoing.”

AP reported that prosecutors have decided not charge Madoff’s wife Ruth. His son Mark, a former executive with the company, committed suicide last year, AP reported.

 

VP Biden’s Brother Got White Powder Package in Fla.

Suspected Mi. Terrorist Charged With Trying to Ram Car into FBI Agent’s Car

By Allan Lengel
tickletehwire.com

Apparently Reed S. Berry, who was suspected of have terrorist links, didn’t like the FBI tailing him before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Associated Press reports that a fed judge in Grand Rapids, Mi. ordered him detained last week after he allegedly tried ramming his car into an FBI agent’s car while the agent tailed him.

Reed S. Berry, 26, of St. Joseph, Mi., was under surveillance after the FBI discovered he’d had communications on the Internet with one or more groups of international terrorists, AP reported. The FBI wanted to keep an eye on him before the Sept. 11 anniversary.

His attorney Elias Muawad told AP said that his client’s online speech was protected by the Constitution and he was feeling caged in after being subjected to searches and barred from air travel.

AP reported that at one point on Sept. 9, when an FBI agent and other law enforcement were following him in the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph area in the western part of Michigan, he became upset.

AP reported that Berry allegedly shifted his car into reverse and moved at a high rate of speed toward the FBI agent’s car. The agent was able to move out of the away and avoid a collision.

“I believe Berry’s actions created a dangerous and violent situation,” FBI agent Samuel J. Moore of the Grand Rapids office wrote in an affidavit.

 

Weekend Series on Crime History: Prohibition

Preview of CNN Special Report: The Anthrax Investigation 10 Years Later — Sunday at 8 p.m.

Opinions Mixed on Assassination of US Born Radical Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

al-Awlaki

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On tv, radio and on the Internet, pro and con opinions are rapidly cropping up over the assassination in Yemen of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric.

Plenty folks in the U.S. were simply elated. Period.

But others  are questioning whether the U.S. has stepped over the line by assassinating the U.S. citizen.

President Obama called Awlaqi’s death “a major blow to al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate” and described him as “the leader of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” according to the Washington Post.

“In that role, he took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans,” Obama said at a ceremony honoring the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Fort Myer, Fla., the Post reported.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), when asked by CNN Friday whether he had a problem with President Obama approving the assassination of an American citizen, said the only problem he would have had would have been if the president had not ordered the assassination.

Charlie Dunlap, visiting professor of law at Duke University Law School and director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, said in a statement:

“In short, if a U.S. citizen overseas presents an imminent threat, or is a participant in an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict against the U.S., as the administration seems to be alleging is the case with al-Awlaki, the mere fact that he may also be accused of criminal offenses does not necessarily give him sanctuary from being lawfully attacked overseas as any other enemy belligerent might be.”

Here’s some samples of  opinions on newspaper websites around the country:

Reader DELewes wrote in the Washington Post:  “While a happy result, the means is a little frightening. We need a serious discussion of proper conduct of war…”

Reader battleground51 wrote in the Post: “This seems to be one of the things Obama is doing right.”

In the New York Times, Shane from New England wrote:  “Great news. With the murder of Bin Laden, this is a real feather in the president’s cap. The world is safer (I hope) today.”

A.S. of CA wrote in the Times: “Yes, Awlaki made videos supporting Al quaeda and wrote sermons. But as the Supreme Court has made it unambiguously clear in the past, advocating violence is protected free speech.”

Kevin D. Williamson, in a column in the National Review wrote:

“Here are two facts: (1) Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen and an al-Qaeda propagandist. (2) Pres. Barack Obama proposes to assassinate him. Between the first fact and the second falls the shadow.

“The Awlaki case has led many conservatives into dangerous error, as has the War on Terror more generally. That conservatives are for the most part either offering mute consent or cheering as the Obama administration draws up a list of U.S. citizens to be assassinated suggests not only that have we gone awry in our thinking about national security, limitations on state power, and the role of the president in our republic, but also that we still do not understand all of the implications of our country’s confrontation with Islamic radicalism.”

In response to the column, reader RobL wrote: “OK so if a policeman kills a criminal who is shooting at him, is this an assassination?

If a National Guardsman shoots and kills a looter during a state of emergency, is that an assassination?

If Major Hassan was killed by the guard woman who shot him, would that have been an assassination.

No, no and no!

al-Awlaki whether a citizen or not was declared war against the United States has plotted to kill and successfully organized missions to kill Americans.”

 

Illegal Video Download Host Who Let Millions See Free Movies and TV Shows Pleads Guilty

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

In June of last year the feds shut down the website NinjaVideo.net, which let millions of viewers see copyright-protected movies and television programs in high-quality formats for free or for a nominal fee.

On Thursday,  one of the site’s founders, Hana A. Beshara of Las Vegas,  pleaded guilty in Alexandria, Va. to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement.  Sentencing is set for Jan. 6.

Beshara admitted the site collected more than $500,000 in overall proceeds over its two-and-a-half-year existence, and that she earned more than $200,000. Beshara agreed to forfeit assets seized by law enforcement in the June 2010 raid “including cash, an investment brokerage account, two bank accounts, a Paypal account and one Internet advertising account,” according to a Justice Department press release.

A press release from the Justice Department said:

“The NinjaVideo.net website allowed visitors to download infringing copies of hundreds of television shows and movies, including those still playing in theaters and some that had not yet been released in theaters. Website visitors could download much of the infringing content for free, but visitors who “donated” at least $25 obtained access to private forum boards that contained a wider range of infringing material.”