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A.G. Holder’s Letter Gives Insights Into Detaining Terrorists Arrested on U.S. Soil

Eric Holder Jr.

Eric Holder Jr.

This analysis of Atty. Gen. Eric Holder’s letter gives some insights into the administration’s view of detaining suspected terrorists arrested on U.S. soil. It may explain why the case against Christmas Day bomber and others like it — the shoe bomber —  have been handled in the way they have.

By Chisun Lee
ProPublica

The five-page letter [1] (PDF) that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued this week defending the decision to treat the Christmas Day bomber suspect as a criminal suspect, rather than as a wartime captive, offered new insight into the Obama administration’s view of the limits of preventive detention.

The letter suggests that the administration sees virtually no legal foundation for holding terrorism suspects arrested on U.S. soil in preventive detention and has very little interest in trying to create any.

He didn’t confine his reasoning to the specifics of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s case, but instead offered an overarching view of the current state of the law.

“Some have argued that had Abdulmutallab been declared an enemy combatant, the government could have held him indefinitely without providing him access to an attorney,” Holder wrote. “But the government’s legal authority to do so is far from clear.”

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Authorities Expect Fraudulent Haiti Fundraisers to Hit Facebook and Twitter

facebook-logo
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The social networks like Facebook and Twitter, which have revolutionized communication among the masses, is likely to be fertile ground for con artists trying to cash in on Haiti fundraising scams, according to USA Today.

The paper reports that authorities are bracing for that  possibility.

So far, authorities have gotten more than 170 complaints about fundraising scams linked to earthquake relief, USA Today reports.

“We’re seeing a lot of computer-based fraud — unsolicited e-mails, bogus websites,” David Nanz, chief of the FBI’s economic crimes unit told USA Today, adding, they’re also seeing “traditional stuff (in which) people are just raising money on the street fraudulently.”

To read more click here.

Anger Issues for Anger Management Counselor Who Allegedly Pulled Gun on 2 Deputy U.S. Marshals in D.C. suburb

fairfax countyBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Under the category of “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”, an anger management counselor was in federal court Thursday for allegedly pulling a gun on two deputy U.S. Marshals in Northern Virginia over a parking flap, the Washington Post reports.

The Post’s Tom Jackman reports that a federal judge ordered Jose L. Avila, 57, who is also a domestic violence counselor, held without bond pending a detention hearing Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. He has been in the Fairfax County Jail since Jan. 25.

Avila, a former priest, encountered the deputy marshals outside a apartment complex in Annandale in Fairfax County, a suburb of Washington.

To read the full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Obama Nominates U.S. Attys for N. Dakota and Connecticut

David Fein/law firm photo

David Fein/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – President Obama nominated Timothy Purdon for the U.S. Attorney post in North Dakota, and David Fein for Connecticut.

The President decided to pass on selecting Connecticut’s acting U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy,who had been appointed in 2008 to lead the probe into the controversial U.S. Attorney firings around the country under the Bush administration.

“Today, I nominate David Fein and Timothy Purdon to serve as US Attorneys on behalf of the people of Connecticut and North Dakota,” President Obama said in a statement. “Their esteemed legal careers to date leave no doubt that they will be relentless in their pursuit of justice and serve their fellow Americans with distinction. I am grateful for their selfless commitment to public service.”

Here are their bios, according to the White House press release:

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Pres. Obama Nominates 5 U.S. Marshals

u.s. marshal patchBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration pulled the trigger Thursday and nominated five U.S. Marshals.

The nominees include: Loren Carl for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Kerry Forestal for the Southern District of Indiana; Gerald Holt for the Western District of Virginia; Clifton Massanelli for the Eastern District of Arkansas; and Scott Parker for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“These nominees have spent their careers risking their own safety to protect their fellow Americans,” President Obama said in a statement. “Their courage and selfless dedication to the public good are unparalleled, and I am honored to nominate them today to continue their work as U.S. Marshals.”

Here are the bios, according to a White House Press Release:

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El Paso Judge Convicted For Demanding Bribes and Sex and Lying to a Fed Agent

el paso map istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal jury on Thursday found a Texas state judge guilty of accepting more than $5,000 and asking for sexual favors from women to help with a case, the Associated Press reported.

State District Judge Manuel Barraza of El Paso was convicted of wire fraud and lying to a federal agent.

Sentencing is set for April. 28.

Miss. FBI Agent Facing Criminal Charges Claims U.S. Atty. Was After Him for Being a Whistleblower

Trouble is brewing in Mississippi. FBI agent Hal Neilson on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges he failed to disclose his hidden interest in a leased FBI office he headed up in Oxford, Miss. He claims the U.S. Attorney had it out for him for being a whistle blower. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal takes a look at the contentious situation. The website Main Justice also gives its read on the matter.

Mississippi Road Sign

By Patsy R. Brumfield
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

OXFORD, Miss. – FBI agent Hal Neilson’s professional troubles apparently began some five years ago, when he says he discovered a U.S. attorney’s office investigation for “no reason” into nearly 150 north Mississippi residents of Middle Eastern origins and then later questioned the handling of the Mississippi Beef Plant investigation.

When Neilson reported his concerns, he asked his employer for protection against retaliation. At that time, he was the FBI’s resident agent in Oxford. As of today, he reportedly has never heard a response.

Monday (Feb.1 ) the 49-year-old career agent will answer a five-count federal indictment about some personal financial actions.

While neither he nor anyone else directly involved with his case will say much, if anything, about it, documents provided to the Daily Journal show that Neilson felt he was under attack for blowing the whistle.

U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee, appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush, leaves office Sunday. His permanent replacement has not been announced by the Obama administration.

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Tiff Brewing: American Airlines Won’t Let Off Duty Fed Agents Carry Guns if They Fly at Discount Rate or Free

american airlines logoBy Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A tiff has been brewing between American Airlines and federal agents over the right to carry guns aboard planes.

Bottom line: the airline won’t let off-duty agents carry a gun aboard a plane if they fly at reduced rates or free on “buddy passes” in what’s known in the industry as a “non-revenue” passenger.

Interestingly, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith told ticklethewire.com that if off duty federal agents pay full fare they can carry a gun.

That policy hasn’t sat well with Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (F.L.E.O.A), who fired off a Dec. 10 letter to the airlines.

“We have received reports that American Airlines has repeatedly denied boarding to federal law enforcement officers flying in a non-revenue capacity,” Adler wrote. “From an airline victimized by two terrorist attacks, resulting in the death of thousands of Americans, we find this policy disturbing for a number of reasons.”

“Their revenue status should have no bearing,” he added later on in the letter. “For American Airlines to essentially say ‘it’s okay if you pay, but not if you don’t’ is absolutely ridiculous. I can assure you that a federal law enforcement officer would not base their reactions to a hijacking on whether they paid full fare or not, nor should American Airlines.”

“It’s not as if when you’re on duty you’re Superman and when you’re off-duty you’re a clumsy Clark Kent,” Adler said in an interview with ticklethewire.com this week , adding that the agents were “valuable assets” when it came to airplane security.

Earlier this week, the airline conceded that it was reviewing what it now considered a flawed policy.

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