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Michael Ward Named Head of Newark FBI

Michael Ward/fbi photo

Michael Ward/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Michael B. Ward has been plucked from the FBI mothership to head the agency’s  Newark Division, starting in March.

Ward, currently the assistant director of Counterrorism Division’s Operations Branch II at headquarters, started his FBI career in 1988 and spent the first nine years in the Dallas office dealing primarily with violent crime, interstate theft and criminal enterprise investigations, the FBI said.

In July 1997, he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Office of Professional Responsibility at FBI Headquarters. Nearly two years later, he was named assistant inspector in the Inspection Division.

Read more »

Muslim Parents Coming Forward Against Extremism is More Common Than Public Realizes, Muslim-American Leaders Say

Publisher Osama Siblani
Publisher Osama Siblani

By Allan Lengel
For Sphere.com (A new AOL news site)

WASHINGTON — The dramatic, fast-paced events of recent weeks that had parents contacting the FBI and CIA about their children’s links to radical Muslims may clear the way for other reluctant parents to come forward, say key figures in the Muslim-American community.

But on the flip side, leaders fear the cases may leave the wrong impression that the Muslim parents in Northern Virginia and in Nigeria who stepped up were exceptions, and that others ordinarily would never do such a thing.

“I am pleased to see the recent two examples,” said Nawar Shora, legal director for the Washington-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. “To see that the Northern Virginia parents did not face any negative ramifications, if anything, it might help push a few people who were uncertain.”

But he said Muslim parents, contrary to what some may think, have contacted authorities before and have long been sensitive to children’s exposure to “self-radicalization.”

“That’s always been there,” Shora said. “No parent wants to lose their kid to extremism.”

For Full Story

Website Challenges Conservative Columnist Over the Firing of a D.C. FBI Agent

Frank Gaffney/facebook

Frank Gaffney/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The news website TPMmuckraker is challenging an assertion by conservative columnist Frank Gaffney in a recent op-ed piece  that D.C. FBI agent John Guandolo lost his job because of fierce opposition to radical Islamic ideology, not because he was sleeping with a key witness in the ex-Congressman William Jefferson public corruption case as was reported.

“And in an e-mail exchange with TPMmuckraker, Gaffney is standing by the column, while providing no information to back up his claim,” the website wrote.

The website wrote: ” The Jan. 5 column, which ran in the Washington Times and elsewhere and encourages president Obama to hire Guandolo as part of a terrorism “Team B,” includes this passage (emphasis ours):

“Moreover, few in the military, intelligence or law enforcement communities have missed what has happened under this administration (and, in fairness, under the previous one) to patriots like the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s erstwhile Shariah specialist, Steven Coughlin, or an FBI special agent with deep expertise in counterterrorism and jihad, John Guandolo. For courageously challenging the official orthodoxy on the ideological wellspring of the threats we face, namely Shariah, they lost their jobs.”

To read more on the matter click here.

Justice Dept. Probe Calls for Reforms for Inglewood Police’s Use of Force Policies

inglewood-policeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department “has found significant flaws in the way Inglewood police oversee use-of-force incidents and investigate complaints against officers” and has proposed a list of reforms, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

The paper reported that the ongoing Justice Department probe found the department’s use of force policies are poorly written and legally inadequate.

It also reported that the Justice Department has called ” for numerous changes in the way the departme4nt trains and investigates its officers.”

To read the fulls story click here.

Column: Sen. Reid’s Remark Reminded Me of ATF Official’s “Jew Them Down” Remark

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The revelation in a new book on the 2008 presidential campaign about the stupid remarks Sen. Harry Reid made about President Obama was somewhat of a shocker.

The book “Game Change” reported that Reid “was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” as he said privately.”

It reminded me of an interview I had several years ago with a high ranking ATF official in Washington when I was a reporter at the Washington Post.

I was sitting there with the official and an ATF press spokesman, when I asked the official about undercover drug buys.

“Do you ever bargain over the price with drug dealers? I asked.

The official casually responded: “Sometimes we try to Jew them down.”

I was shocked. I couldn’t look up for a moment as I jotted down notes. I couldn’t believe in Washington — a pretty sophisticated town — that a official could make such a foolish remark and not think twice.

He was a nice guy and well intentioned. But obviously somewhat ignorant and lacking in sophistication.

I could have written about it and and damaged his career, but I didn’t. I decided to let it pass.

But I still think about that incident and wonder how anyone with any stature in Washington could make such a stupid remark.

Then I heard Sen. Reid’s remark and was reminded that yes, ignorance in the officialdom of Washington is part of the DNA that will live on for generations no matter how smart some of these folks think they are.

Politics Continues to Plague U.S. Atty Choice in Dallas

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson/gov photo
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Justice may be blind, but politics is not — particularly when it comes to the appointment of a new U.S. Attorney in Dallas.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the White House may not be any closer to appointing a new U.S. Attorney there than it was a year ago, thanks to the bickering between Republicans and Democrats.

Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson says Republicans need to accept that there’s a Democrat in the White House, the paper reported. Dems have suggested two candidates.

Meanwhile, Republican senators from Texas are pushing for a different candidate based on a bipartisan panel they appointed.

To read the full story click here.

FBI Busts West Hollywood Woman for Allegedly Selling Fake Picasso Painting for $2 million

The Fake Picasso/gov photo

The Fake Picasso/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The old saying goes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

But the FBI in Los Angeles apparently isn’t buying that one — at least not this time.

The FBI has busted a West Hollywood antiques dealer who has been charged with fraud  in a scheme that involved the sale of a fake Pablo Picasso painting for $2 million.

According to authorities, antiques dealer Tatiana Khan, 69, paid an artist $1,000 to fabricate the painting — a 1902 pastel called “La Femme Au Chapeau Bleu,” or “The Woman in the Blue Hat”

Read more »

Social Networking and the Courts: One of the Curses of the Internet

The Internet has been a blessing and a curse for the justice system. This is one of the curses.

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By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Al Schuler, one of 12 jurors weighing the fate of a 23-year-old charged with killing a homeless man in Maryland, was confused by the word “lividity” and what role it might have played in explaining the circumstances of the victim’s beating death.

So, one night after deliberations, the retired engineer did what so many people do in the digital age: He looked up the definition on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. “It was just a definition, like going to the dictionary,” Schuler said. “It was very innocent.”

A Maryland appeals court didn’t think so. In throwing out the defendant’s first-degree murder conviction and ordering a new trial, the court ruled that Schuler’s inquiry violated an Anne Arundel County judge’s order prohibiting jurors from researching the case.

Schuler’s query is just the latest example of how modern technology and an information-saturated culture are testing centuries-old notions of how juries and judges mete out justice. The issue garnered national attention recently in Baltimore, where five jurors were accused of using a social-networking site to inappropriately discuss the ongoing trial of the city’s mayor.

For Full Story

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