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Passenger Aboard Detroit Flight: “I Heard a Pop and Then the Next Thing You Know Fire”

Yes, more than 8 years after the infamous Sept. 11, 2001 attack, the friendly skies still have the potential to be pretty darn scary. Here’s a Detroit Free Press account of the incident as told by some passengers.

plane window2

BY NAOMI R. PATTON
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

DETROIT — Most of the passengers on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 seated near seat 19A seemed to hear it. A single, loud pop — like a firecracker — 10 minutes before the flight landed.

“I HEARD THE POP AND then the next thing you know fire …people running out of their seats,” said Syed Jafry of Holland, Ohio, was one of the first passengers off the plane, seated a few rows in front of the suspect.

“It was a fire, it wasn’t just a firecracker, it was a fire,” Calvin Kakar, of New York, said. He was seated a few rows in front of the man, a Nigerian national, now in federal custody after trying to set off some sort of explosive device. “We heard a pop and the next thing you know it was a fire.”

One by one, the passengers deplaned Friday with similar and various bits of the story. By all accounts, the suspect was immediately tackled by at least one man, and several other passengers ran towards him immediately trying to put the fire out.

To read more click here.

White House Says Detroit Plane Incident a Terrorism Attempt

northwest-airlines1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –Federal authorities were investigating an incident on Christmas day in which a Nigerian man tried to blow up  Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit by igniting a powdery substance during the plane’s  descent, according to media reports.

The New York Times reported that the White House said it believed the incident was  an act of terrorism. The Times reported that a spokeswoman for Delta, which now owns Northwest Airlines, said there was a commotion and some minor injuries and other media reports that the device failed to go off and the man was subdued by passengers.

ABC News reported that the suspect, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, told authorities that he was acting at the direction of al Qaeda.

An official was questioning the credibility of the statement, ABC reported.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Weekend Feature (Humor): How to Handle an Uncooperative Witness

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxAk3B_zS5k

Second Govt. Witness in ex-Cong. Jefferson Case Gets Major Sentence Reduction

William Jefferson

William Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Brett Pfeffer, who ended up testifying this summer against his former boss, Rep. William Jefferson, is getting a major sentencing reduction for his cooperation.

As expected, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandra, Va., on Tuesday reduced ex-Congressional aide Brett Pfeffer’s sentence from 8 years to 3 years and 4 months, Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The paper reported that the judge said Pfeffer’s cooperation with the government was substantial.

Pfeffer, 41,  a former aide to Jefferson, pleaded guilty in 2006 to bribing the Congressman. He then testified against Jefferson, who was convicted on 11 of 16 public corruption counts.

Another key government witness, Vernon Jackson, recently had his 7 year and 3 month sentence cut by about half for his cooperation in the case. Jackson had also pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson, who lost his bid for re-election last year.

Both Pfeffer and Jackson could be released next month.

Jefferson was sentenced in November to 13 years in prison. The Judge has allowed Jefferson to remain free pending his appeal.

To read more click here.

Merry Christmas From ticklethewire.com

christmas 2 merry

Pres. Obama Nominates 7 U.S. Attorneys; Senate Confirms 7 Others

D.C. nominee Ronald Machen
D.C. nominee Ronald Machen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The burden of filling U.S. Attorney posts around the country just got a little lighter.

The White House announced Thursday that President Obama had nominated seven U.S. Attorneys  including Ron Machen for D.C. and Sally Quillian Yates for the Northern District of Georgia.

And the U.S. Senate, according to the website Main Justice,  confirmed 7 previous nominees for U.S. Attorney posts including: Richard Callahan (Eastern District of Missouri): Sanford Coats (Western District of Oklahoma): Michael Cotter (Montana): Christopher Crofts (Wyoming): Barbara McQuade (Eastern District of Michigan): James Santelle (Eastern District of Wisconsin); Mary Elizabeth Phillips (Western District of Missouri):

The following are the names and bios of the U.S. Attorneys who were just nominated, according to the following White House press release:

André Birotte, Jr.: Nominee for the Central District of California

André Birotte, Jr. works for the Los Angeles Police Commission, where he has been Inspector General since 2003 and served as an Assistant Inspector General from 2001 to 2003. From 1995 to 1999, Birotte served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California. He started his legal career as a Deputy Public Defender in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1991 to 1995. Birotte graduated from Tufts University in 1987 and Pepperdine University School of Law 1991.

Read more »

Retired ATF Official Bernie La Forest Authors Crime Novel

9781449043957_cover.inddBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Bernie La Forest had a rich career with ATF. He headed up offices in Kansas City, Detroit, Phoenix and Los Angeles and saw plenty guns, drugs, killers, con men and intrigue.

But one reality he learned over the years was that law enforcement agencies didn’t always get along. It was a simple fact.

“They don’t usually get a long, but on a common purpose they can come together, not everybody, but some people will come together for the case,” he said.

Now, the retired agent, who had the respect of the rank and file for his no-nonsense style, has penned a novel “Shadow Partners”, a crime thriller in which multiple law enforcement agencies come together to probe bombings and murders and political corruption.

La Forest, a former Detroit cop,  retired from ATF in 1998 and then worked as a contractor for the agency on a gun trace project from 2002 to 2007,

He said he’s excited about the debut of his book, which is slated to go on sale on Amazon.com and at retail outlets some time in February or March. It is self published.

La Forest is already looking ahead. In fact, he says he’s already got three quarters of his second book finished.

“The stories come pretty easy to me,” he said.

To read more about the book and the author click here.

Washington Post Reader Defends Secret Service Dir. Mark Sullivan After Party Crashing Incident

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan has taken his share of lumps over the party crashing incident at the White House involving the now famous Salahis.

In fact, some observers say he looked worn out when he recently went before Congress to testify on the matter and took blame for it all.

But Sullivan, who became director under President Bush in 2006,  still has his fair share of  supporters including Washington Post reader Toni Marsh of Montgomery Village, Md., who wrote a letter to the editor, which the paper published on Thursday.

Here it is:

“Regarding the Dec. 21 Style story on the White House gate crashers, “After the breach, gatekeeping of another sort”:

“Exactly one man has stepped forward like an adult and taken full, on-the-record responsibility for anything relating to the Salahis’ appearance at a White House state dinner, and that man is Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. Every other person, from members of the White House staff on down, has obfuscated, evaded, hedged and hidden behind anonymity. Mr. Sullivan has been the epitome of class, responsibility and maturity since the start of this story, and the president is fortunate to have a man like him at the helm of his security operation.”