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U.S. Falling Far Short in Effort to Battle Guns in Mexico, LA Times Reports

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — America seems to be falling short when it comes to committing resources to battle the burgeoning problem of guns being smuggled into Mexico.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

“U.S. authorities in Mexico charged with stemming the flow of U.S. weapons to drug cartels have been hampered by shortfalls in staffing, agents with limited Spanish skills and the difficulty of recruiting new agents to the dangerous posting because they can’t officially carry weapons, current and former staff members say.”

Rene Jaquez, a former ATF attache in Mexico City and deputy attache in Ciudad Juarez, told the paper that agents didn’t have the resources to effectively go after gun smugglers.

“I can tell you from my perspective as the former country attache in Mexico … that ATF has not taken seriously its role in the international affairs program as far as Mexico is concerned,” Jaquez told the Times.

To read more click here.

NY Terrorist Suspect Said Something Mel Gibson-like

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

He may not be Mel Gibson, but terrorist suspect Adis Medunjanin might have done something sort of Mel Gibson-like after he was arrested last year in connection with an alleged al-Qaeda-sanctioned plot to blow up New York’s subway system.

The New York Daily News reports that FBI agent Aaron Spivack testified Monday at a pretrial hearing in Brooklyn federal court that Medunjanin, after his arrest, wanted to know if the agent was Jewish. He also called Judiasm “the wrong religion.”

“He began to talk religious talk . . . about how Judaism was the wrong religion . . . it was like a lecture or a speech,” Spivack said, according to the Daily News.

The suspect’s attorneys wanted the judge to toss the incriminating statements and said their client was denied access to a lawyer, AP reported.

Authorities allege that Medunjanin and co-conspirators Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay plotted to blow up the subway and were, in part, motivated by their hate for Israel, the Daily News reported.

As you might recall, after Mel Giblson was arrested in Malibu, Calif. on July 28, 2006, he said to the arresting officer James Mee, who is Jewish: “F— Jews…the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”

Sounds like the Medunjanin, the suspected terrorist, might have been a little more polite.

.

Iran Claims it Has “No Trace” of Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s tough figuring out the truth here.

Bloomberg news reports that Iran’s Foreign Ministry claims it has “no trace” of ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in 2007 from an Iranian island. The U.S. has said it believes he was abducted by Iranian agents.

If the U.S. has “consistent information, they can relay it to us,” Ramin Mehmanparast, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told state TV today, according to Bloomberg. “Through collective effort, we could do a more effective search.”

The U.S. recently announced that it believed Levinson, 63, was alive and being held in Southwest Asia.

To read more click here.

FBI Arrests Calif. Woman Charged With Scamming Nuns Out of $285,000

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

A California woman may have to answer to a higher authority — a federal judge, that is — after being charged with scamming a group of nuns out of $285,000 and using the money to pay for items such as lingerie and pet sitting.

The FBI Monday arrested Linda Rose Gagnon, 57, of Tustin, on three counts of wire fraud for allegedly swindling a group of nuns at the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus & Mary Inc. in Rhode Island in a real estate scam.

Authorities say Gagnon operated the California-based Rose Enterprise Inc., a company she claimed helped clients with delinquent mortgages and real estate transactions. She had no real estate license.

According to a federal indictment, Gagnon, a former student of a boarding school operated by the Sisters of Religious of Jesus & Mary, visited the convent in Rhode Island in November 2008 and learned the organization was attempting to purchase a property in San Diego as a residence for nuns. It has residences for nuns all around the country.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

NY Fed Judge Visits Brooklyn Neighborhood Where Defendants Allegedly Sold Drugs

wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein — some times known as a maverick — did something fairly unorthox for a federal judge, but maybe not so unorthodox for Weinstein: he went to visit the neighborhood where a crack cocaine crew ruled, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Weinstein, 89, who is presiding over a trial involving the suspected drug gang crew, walked through the Louis Armstrong houses in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn on Friday, accompanied by a bodyguard and two news photographers.

“The outing on a quiet and crisp winter afternoon drew some stares, but was otherwise uneventful,” AP wrote.

The wire service reported that the judge said he sometimes needs a firsthand reality check on his cases.

“Otherwise,” he said, “it gets very abstract.”

Justice Dept. Collects Only a Teeny Fraction of Swindlers’ Fines

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Since the year 2000, the government has only collected about two cents on the dollar from hundreds of the nation’s biggest swindlers who were fined by federal judges, USA Today reports.

A USA Today reported that its analysis of Justice Department records shows the difficulty of the Justice Department collecting fines from scam artists who profited from the housing and financial crises.

“A vast number of these cases … there will never be any money collected,” Ray Hassett, a Connecticut lawyer who used to supervise collection efforts for the U.S. attorney’s office there said, according to USA Today.

The paper examined 258 cases since 2000 in which judges ordered a criminal to pay $25 million in fines or more. Some some thieves paid what amounted to less than a speeding ticket, USA Today reported.

The paper reported that the biggest judgments totaled about $30 billion, the Justice Department has only collected about $660 million so far.

To read more click here.

Rep. Peter King’s Controversial Hearings on Muslim Extremists

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Eq_RVooZ-g

Column: Congress Needs to Cut “Waste” Caused by Its Own “Duplicative” Oversight of Homeland Security

David Olive writes about the business of homeland security. He formerly served as Chief of Staff for then-U.S. Representative Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) and is the founder of Catalyst Partners, a government relations and public affairs firm in Washington.

David Olive

By David Olive
Security DeBrief

At a time when Congress is looking to cut federal spending, why won’t it eliminate the “waste” caused by its own dysfunctional DHS oversight? The apparent answer is that is it far easier to talk about reforming someone else than oneself.

What other conclusion can be drawn from the reaction to the just-released GAO report on costly, duplicative and questionable federal agencies and programs?

Republican budget hawks littered the traditional and social media with example after example of “waste” that could be eliminated by halting duplicative programs. Democrats were just as quick to point out that President Obama had identified many of these same programs as areas where savings could be found, even using the food safety regulations example the President mentioned in his State of the Union address.

What the Congressional bloviators seem to ignore is Congress’ own culpability in creating many of these duplicative programs.

The perfect place to address this issue, should they choose to look inside their own house first, is the mishmash of congressional committees that claim jurisdiction over DHS. It remains an area ripe for reform.

To read more click here.