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Congressman Claims TSA Workers Harassing Some Innocent People at Airports

tsa photo

tsa photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Congressman is raising a stink about some rogue Transportation Security Officers at airports.

Joe Davidson, the Federal Diary columnist for the Washington Post, reports that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has written a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano complaining that travelers have been subjected “to baseless harassment, intimidation, and situations designed to instill fear and cause public humiliation.”

Davidson reports that the letter claims some TSA workers were involved in “childish practical jokes” and that some disabled passengers were mistreated.

To read full column click here.

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich Gets Rodney Dangerfield Reception on College Campus

rodneydangerfield4By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, under federal indictment on  public corruption charges, has become the Rodney Dangerfield of his time: He gets no respect.

He was reminded of that Tuesday when he appeared before a crowd of 1,000 people at Northwestern University, his old alma mater, to talk about “ethics in government.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that while Blogojevich sees himself as a victim, the crowd “saw him more as a political clown.”

The paper reported that the crowd laughed “when a campus leader said the College Democrats invited the indicted Illinois ex-governor to speak to ‘make sure tomorrow’s leaders respect the rule of law.'”

“They laughed when someone insisted that tapping Blagojevich to lead an ethics discussion was akin to asking Tiger Woods to lecture on fidelity,” the paper reported.

The paper reported that the ex-gov was annoyed.

To read more click here.

NY Imam in Subway Bomb Plot Ready to Plead Guilty

subway-photo-istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The terrorism cases in New York involving the subway bombing plot seem to be falling into place.

One week after a key figure Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty in the plot, Ahmad Wais Afzali, the Queens imam who was an informant, has reached an “agreement in principle” to plead guilty, Newsday reported. He is charged with four counts of lying to the FBI.

Authorities alleged that Afzali tipped off Zazi that he was under surveillance in New York.

The paper reported that his lawyer confirmed the plea agreement in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday. He is charged with four counts of lying to the FBI.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Undercover Operative in Indian Artifact Case Commits Suicide

salt lake city mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ted Dan Gardiner, the undercover witness who helped the feds build a case against more than two dozen people charged with looting American Indian artifacts in the Southwest U.S. , has committed suicide, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that the 52-year-old apparently shot himself Monday in a Salt Lake City suburb home.

The wire service reported that Gardiner had worked with the FBI and the Bureau of Land Management for more than two years.

Two of the 26 defendants committed suicide last year, AP reported.

Column: Time for D.C.’s Marion Barry to Go

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

D.C. Marion Barry, the guy who got busted years ago for smoking crack, the guy who got busted for failing to pay taxes, the guy who has been one great big embarrassment to the District of Columbia, has now been stripped of his committee chairmanship on the D.C. Council and faces the prospect of yet another federal investigation.

The D.C. Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to censure and strip the chairmanship from the never-a-dull moment politician as a result of an independent report by attorney Robert S. Bennett, which found that Barry landed his ex-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt a $15,000 personal-services contract and then took a cut of the contract himself.

Ex-D.C. Mayor Marion Barry

Ex-D.C. Mayor Marion Barry

The council also referred the report to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Washington Post reported.

Marion Barry, former mayor, former community activist, has done some good things for D.C. But he has also done plenty harm. It’s not good when you’re the punchline for comedian Chris Rock. It’s not good when the masses lose faith in you as a leader.

Taxpayers over the years have paid for the expensive federal investigation into his wrongdoing — including him not paying taxes.

He has been an endless source of fodder and amusement for the media. But it’s time to put it to an end.

It’s time for him to step down from the city council — or be forced off.  He’s not a terrible guy. He’s just a terrible representative of the people.

It really is time to say goodbye.

Fed Court of Appeals Judges Testify in Right Wing Shock Jock Trial in Brooklyn

Judge Richard Posner/ harvard photo
Judge Richard Posner/ harvard photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two federal Court of Appeals judges from Chicago took the stand Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court, saying they felt threatened by the rantings of Internet radio shock jock Hal Turner, the New York Daily News reported.

Federal Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer took the stand and Judge Frank Easterbrook was scheduled to testify in the afternoon. Turner is being retried on charges that he threatened the lives of the judges. A mistrial was declared in the first trial after the jury deadlocked.

Turner wrote in his blog that the judges deserved to die for upholding a gun ban. He also said the judges “didn’t get the hint” after the husband and mother of Chicago Federal Judge Joan Lefkow were murdered, the Daily News reported.

“It’s obviously a threat,” Posner said, according to the Daily News. “It sounds like another murder is needed…namely of me.”

For Full Story

Texas Juror Met With Drug Dealer Defendants During Trial

houston-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

When it comes to a federal juror stepping over the line, Maximino Gonzalez rates right up there with the best of them.

Maximino, 36, of Palmview, Tex., who served on a jury in 2008, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Houston on Monday to jury tampering  after he met with defendants during trial and tried to get them acquitted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The trial ended in a mistrial.

He has been in custody since his arrest in January. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Gonzalez was on a jury in November 2008. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that during the trial Gonzalez contacted an unindicted drug dealer implicated by testimony in the trial.

He also contacted two defendants in the trial, brothers Guadalupe and Abraham Hernandez, “to discuss the trial testimony”, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Read more »

LA Woman Pleads to Lying to FBI About Fake Kidnapping That Caught Media’s Attention

lieBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If you’re going to make up a story and possibly go to prison for it, it might as well be a grand one.

Enter Sylvia Mardini. The 24-year-old Los Angeles woman who pretended she had been kidnapped across state lines last summer, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Los Angeles  to lying to the FBI. She faces up to five years in prison at sentencing on May 10.

Mardini vanished last August 21 and started sending text messages to her mother saying she had been kidnapped at gunpoint and she was in Utah, authorities said.

The hoax got the attention of the media. The FBI and Los Angeles Police coordinated a multi-state search.

Colorado State Patrol found her at a gas station alone in Routt County, Colo. After she returned to Los Angeles, she told FBI agents of the kidnapping story.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST