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ATF Agents Concerned About Justice Dept. Memo About Explosive Cases With FBI

bomb2
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Some ATF agents are concerned about a recent memo from the Justice Department that tries to correct the  beefing going on between the FBI and ATF over turf, the Washington Post reported.

Acting Deputy Attorney Gen. Gary G. Grindler issued a memo earlier this month saying it was “critically important” for the two agencies to share information so key intelligence isn’t lost, the Post reported. He also said that the FBI should be the lead agency on terrorism related explosive cases and ATF should do the rest.

“It’s very disheartening,” one ATF agent, who was not authorized to speak publicly about internal matters, told the Post. “They won’t hesitate to throw that memo in our face.”

The Post reported that other agents fear there will be “further delays as the FBI decides whether bombings are terrorism-related – and then hands over some cases weeks later to ATF agents who must retrace the FBI’s steps. The agencies use different techniques to investigate bombings.

“Everyone will have to wait for the FBI to make a decision,” ATF agent told the Post. “This gives one agency – the FBI – the ability to control everything.”

The Post reported that FBI associate deputy director T.J. Harrington praised Grindler’s “leadership” and said “both the FBI and ATF are committed to providing their very best in service to the American public. The Deputy Attorney General recognized the unique strengths of our two organizations, and he has reaffirmed our common commitment and goal of ‘One-Team One-Fight’ – keeping the country safe.”

Judge Orders Dallas FBI Agent Detained Pending Trial on Charges of Threatening to Kill Estranged Wife and Head of Dallas FBI

dallas-map1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Dallas FBI agent accused of threatening to kill his estranged wife and the head of the Dallas FBI, Robert E. Casey Jr., will remain behind bars pending trial, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Ramirez in Dallas came Thursday after hearing disturbing evidence about Carlos Ortiz, 48, who has been fired by the FBI, the Dallas Morning News reported. The judge found Ortiz was a danger to the community. Ortiz’s wife is an FBI analyst.

“Its a very sad day for law enforcement,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Ramirez said, according to the Dallas paper reported.

The paper reported that an FBI assessment concluded that Ortiz was “erratic and dangerous for years.”

The paper reported that the assessment or Ortiz was included in a dismissal letter Ortiz got on Wednesday from the FBI, the same day he was arrested.

“The letter chronicles allegations of spousal abuse and describes a 1992 encounter in which Dallas SWAT officers had to be called when Ortiz barricaded himself in his home over ‘job stress and personal issues’,” the paper reported.

The FBI declined comment, the paper reported. Ortiz had been on unpaid leave for months pending a probe into whether he assaulted his estranged wife., the paper reported.

Ortiz’s father and girlfriend said Ortiz is not a violent person and blamed the matter on the estranged wife, the paper reported.

Brotherly Love? Ex-Gov. Blago Doesn’t Call Brother Hours After Charges Dropped

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice
Ex-Gov on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Perhaps one of the more interesting asterisks surrounding the decision Thursday by prosecutors to drop charges against Robert Blagojevich was that his brother Rod, the very chatty, seldom-at-a-loss for words ex-governor, had not called to congratulate him hours after the announcement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“When it comes to my brother, I’ve grown accustomed to being an afterthought. So, it’s not a big deal for me,” Robert Blagojevich told the Sun-Times.

The case was dropped against Robert Blagojevich, who had been indicted on four corruption counts. The jury in the first trial deadlocked on all counts. Prosecutors still plan to retry brother Rod, who was convicted on only 1 of 24 counts.

The paper reported that reporters caught Rod Blagojevich on Thursday as he was leaving to go jogging and asked his reaction to the charges being dropped against his brother.

It “was long overdue,” Rod Blagojevich said, according to the Sun-Times.

“What happened to my brother should have never happened, and I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for my brother and for his family that this nightmare for them is finally over,” he said.

The paper reported that after talking to reporters, Rod Blagojevich called his brother and left a message.

“I still love my brother,” Robert Blagojevich said, according to the Sun-Times. “I know he still loves me. I wish him well and want nothing but the best for him and his family.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Drop Charges Against Blago’s Brother Robert

ChicagoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

At least one of the Blago brothers is off the hook.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that federal prosecutors announced Thursday in court that they were dropping the corruption charges against brother Robert Blagojevich. The jury had been deadlocked on all four counts against him and the judge had declared a mistrial, leaving open the possibility of prosecutors going after him in a second trial.

The Sun-Times reported that prosecutors said they made the decision  in the interest of justice and the “disparity in roles’’ between the brothers..

“It’s stunning,’’ Robert Blagojevich said in a phone interview with the Sun-Times minutes after his attorney text messaged him saying that he was a free man.

“The government did the right thing,’’ Robert said, according to the Sun-Times. “They did the right thing.’’

To read more click here.

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For Atty. Gen. Holder: With the Tough Job Comes a Little Glamour

Vogue Magazine
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t been all glamour for Eric Holder Jr. as Attorney General. For one, there’s the less than friendly receptions on Capitol Hill from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who seem to enjoy grilling him like a burger at a 4th of July gathering.

Then there’s the  second guessing by the public, the political pundits and others on the Hill.

But there are times when the job does have some glamour.   Enter Vogue magazine. The magazine September issue has dedicated two-full pages of photos and then a two page write up on the guy it labels “Man of the Hour.”

Holder tells the magazine that the job is not easy. In fact, he shares, that his teenage son remarked that he doesn’t smile as much as he used to.

“You have a responsibility to keep the American people safe,” he tells the magazine. “It weighs on you. You literally go to bed and think, Have I done what I can?

He’s gotten grief over Gitmo, Miranda Warnings and the 9/11 trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But he tells the magazine he’s unfazed by the negativity.

“It’s the reality of being the attorney general,” he says. “When I am dealing with some congressman who is trying to get me to engage so that he can end up on television, I have to think, What do I want people to think about this department 50 years from now?”

And then he offers an interesting perspective on the law.
“The law is not always right. “It kept my people slaves for years, segregate African-Americans, and kept women from voting, but it’s the place you go. You have to have an inner compass that tells you the right thing to do. That’s what I tell the people who work for me. Trust your instincts. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s where yo need to look.”

As for ambition, the magazine quotes former Justice colleague turned D.C. Judge Robert Richter: “Eric was never a particularly ambitious person. His goal was to make a difference, not end up on top.”

His wife, a physician, isn’t so certain, the magazine writes.

“It’s a question I wonder about. When I roll back the time and ask, ‘Did I think I was marrying a nakedly ambitious man?’ I answer no, but, then again, he was a judge at 38. In his case, I think, it’s there; it’s just not particularly offensive.”

U.S.-Mexico Only Nabbing a Fraction of Drug $$$ Being Smuggled South into Mexico

US Mexican borderBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Despite their efforts, U.S. and Mexican authorities are seizing no more than one percent of the billions of dollars in drug proceeds being smuggled south into Mexico, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.

The cash is being smuggled in spare tires, engine transmissions and truckloads of baby diapers, the Post reported. In other words, any way you can imagine.

In all, the drug traffickers and the Colombian suppliers smuggle $20 billion to $25 billion a year in U.S. bbank notes across the border, the Post reported.

“If we fail to curtail these money flows, the confrontation with organized crime will generate more violence and more corruption,” Carlos Pascual, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, said at a border conference in El Paso this month, according to the Post.

To read more click here.

FBI Agent Arrested on Charges of Threatening to Kill Wife and Head of Dallas FBI

FBI's Robert E. Casey Jr./fbi photo

FBI's Robert E. Casey Jr./fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Suffice to say, FBI agent Carlos Ortiz is in big trouble.

The 48-year-old Dallas agent was arrested Wednesday for allegedly threatening to kill his estranged wife — also an FBI employee  — and Robert E. Casey Jr., the head of the Dallas FBI, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The paper reported that Casey had placed Ortiz on leave pending an investigation into domestic violence and then fired him.

Ortiz, of Red Oak, Tex., a 21-year veteran  was being held at the Dallas County jail, the paper reported. He is scheduled to make a court appearance in federal court on Thursday on charges of threatening to assault or kill a federal law enforcement officer, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The paper reported that Ortiz allegedly told a friend of his plans to kill his wife and Casey. Ortiz filed for divorce and bankruptcy last year, the paper reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

A Few Top DEA Officials’ Names Surface for Number 2 Spot

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A few names have surfaced as potential candidates to fill the number two spot at the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Sources say the names that have popped up  include  Thomas M. Harrigan, chief of operations,  Anthony Placido,chief of intelligence, and John P. Gilbride, head of the N.Y. DEA.

The number two spot  was held by Michele Leonhart, who has been nominated by President Obama for the top spot. She has yet to be confirmed.

John Gilbride

John Gilbride

The number two spot is also a presidential appointment and must be approved by the Senate.

The DEA declined comment on Wednesday.

Anthony Pacido/dea photo

Anthony Placido/dea photo

Harrigan, who joined the DEA in 1987, heads up all domestic and foreign offices as well the Special Operations Division, the Aviation Division, and the Office of Diversion Control. He was appointed to the post in 2008.

Placido, who joined the DEA in 1980, heads up the DEA’s intelligence program.

Gilbride was appointed head of the N.Y. DEA in 2005.  Prior to that, he headed up the Detroit office.