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Happy MLK Day From ticklethewire.com

stanford.edu photo

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.

stanford edu photo

Constitutional Clause Causing Headaches for Justice Department in Probes on Capitol Hill

exRep. Jefferson at sentencing in 2009 /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A 2007 court ruling saying FBI agents violated the Constitution when they raided the Congressional office of Rep. William J. Jefferson in 2006, appears to be haunting the Justice Department.

Washington Post reporters Jerry Markon and R. Jeffrey Smith report that the 2007 ruling, based on the “speech or debate”clause ,   “has helped derail or slow several recent corruption investigations of lawmakers, according to court documents and sources.” The clause protects members of Congress who are conducting official business from some scrutiny or intrusion from the Justice Department.

Ex-Rep. John Doolittle

The Post reports that since the ruling “speech or debate challenges have killed an investigation of former representative Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), hampered probes of Rep. Peter J. Visclosky (D-Ind.) and former representative John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.), and slowed a pending corruption case against former representative Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), sources familiar with those inquiries said.”

In a 3 to 0 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. ruled that FBI agents went too far in searching Jefferson’s office in May 2006 when they viewed paper documents before giving Jefferson an opportunity to say whether the material was connected to legislative activity, and consequently protected by the “speech or debate” clause. Jefferson lost his bid for re-election in 2008.

And though he won a big pre-trial legal battle over the search of his office,  he went on to get convicted on 11 of 16 public corruption counts and was sentenced in Alexandria, Va. to 13 years in prison. He remains free pending an appeal.

To read more click here.

The Arizona Shooter and Secret Service Study on Assassins

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPrYZ9wwCv4

Surprise Development: Woman Plans to Plea in Fatal Shooting of FBI Agent Sam Hicks

Slain FBI Agent Sam Hicks/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a surprise development, a woman who fatally shot Pittsburgh FBI agent Sam Hicks in 2008 is set to enter a guilty plea in federal court Tuesday morning, court records show.

U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry set the plea date for Christina Korbe just three days after he ordered the federal jury administrator to summon 350 people to serve as the jury pool for the March 7 trial. The potential jurors were set to report to the courthouse on Feb. 14 for preliminary instructions.

Christina Korbe is charged with shooting Hicks to death. Hicks and other agents had come to the house to serve an arrest warrant for Korbe’s husband. She opened fire, killing Hicks. Her husband Robert Korbe has been sentenced to 25 years in prison on drug and other charges. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported the plea agreement.

Authorities said when the agents came to the home, Robert Korbe ran in the basement to get rid of cocaine and his wife Christina opened fire from upstairs.

In November 2009, the Baltimore FBI building was named after Hicks, who had been a Baltimore cop before joining the FBI.

Column: Ex-FBI Agent Rowley “Secretive, Unaccountable” Homeland Security Turning Inward on Americans

Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent and legal counsel in the Minneapolis field office, wrote a “whistleblower” memo in May 2002 and testified to the Senate Judiciary on some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures. She retired in 2004 and is now a writer and speaker.

FBI Agent Colleen Rowley/ photo ia.ucsb.edu

By COLEEN ROWLEY
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

A secretive, unaccountable, post-9/11 homeland security apparatus has increasingly turned inward on American citizens.

The evidence includes everything from controversial airport body scanners to the FBI’s raids last September on antiwar activists’ homes in Minneapolis and Chicago. A federal grand jury investigation in Chicago was recently expanded.

Unless the erosion of proper legal safeguards is halted, we risk a return to Vietnam-era abuses on the part of the FBI and other security agencies.

Agents are now given a green light, for instance, to check off “statistical achievements” by sending well-paid, manipulative informants into mosques and peace groups.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Homeland Security Pulls Plug on Border Fence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s certainly not the first government boondoggle and it certainly won’t be the last. Nonetheless, it appears it was waste of time and money.

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday decided to cut off the ambitious, problem-plagued billion-dollar program SBInet to build a high-tech fence along the Arizona border to battle the nagging problem of illegal immigration, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The project had been plagued by continuous delays, cost overruns and technology glitches.

The Journal reported that Homeland Security will turn to “a mix of proven, existing technology it says will help agents patrol a much bigger chunk of the Southwest border at a lower cost.”

“SBInet cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border-security technology solution,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a written statement.

The Journal reported that she said the new solution will include mobile surveillance systems, unmanned aircraft and thermal-imaging devices. Up until now, only 53 miles of the border have been protected with the technology.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Chinatown Mafia

Column: Ex-DEA Official Criticizes Outspoken Arizona Sheriff Dupnik

William Coonce worked for the DEA for 29 years and was special agent in charge of the Detroit Division from 1987 to 1993.

William Coonce

By William Coonce
For ticklethewire.com

TUCSON — Subsequent to my retirement from the DEA in 1993, I was hired by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in Tucson, Arizona to be the Deputy Director of the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking (HIDTA) program.

For the next 8 years I worked indirectly for Mr. Clarence Dupnik, the Pima County Sheriff. As most everyone in the country has heard, Mr. Dupnik has made several highly inappropriate comments about people in the media and talk radio as somehow being responsible for the shooting in Tucson last Saturday.

He also has referred to those who support SB 1070, the Arizona Immigration law as being ‘bigots’ and ‘racists’.

Despite his long tenure as the Pima County Sheriff, Mr. Dupnik has never been a visible leader in Tucson.

His style is one who quietly manipulates people and issues behind the veil of his subordinates. They are expected to do his bidding and then take a fall if circumstances indicate that that his skin is on the line.

Given this history, his recent comments are highly out of character and may in fact reflect his true feelings given the emotional trauma of this tragic event. The remarks might also just be just Democratic demagoguery. Either way he should not have made the damaging and un-true statements.

I was raised and educated in Tucson and my respect for the heritage, people, culture and the Sonora desert have no bounds as people who know me will attest.

I could not wait to retire and come back home. My grade school through college education in Tucson was always multicultural where everyone was equal. There were no ethnic awareness classes, defined barrios or ethnic conflict.

To this day I enjoy the Mexican culture, tradition, mariachi music and of course the food. I frequently visit Mexico where I speak passable, although somewhat fractured Spanish and love doing it.

I am, however, a supporter of SB 1070 and want and expect elected and appointed law enforcement officials to support and enforce the immigration laws in this country and this state.

So, a little memo to you Clarence: You are correct that I and others are a little angry. We are angry and disgusted at a community manager like you who dare to call us racists and bigots!

You are blaming conservative Tucsonans for fanning the flames of dissent when in fact it is you Mr. Dupnik who are clearly doing so and not citizens like us who watch you flaunt the laws by not enforcing them.

We need a leader as the Sheriff in Pima County. It is time for you to step up to the plate or step down.