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Nigerian Bomber Hid Explosive in Underwear With Secret Compartment

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

Senator Holding Up Vote on TSA Director Who’s an Ex-FBI Agent

Sen. DeMint/gov photo

Sen. DeMint/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Here in the nation’s capital, there’s always someone willing to play politics, no matter the consequence.

In this case, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is holding up President Obama’s nomination of Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent, to head the Transportation Security Administration over a union issue, McClatchy newspapers reported.

The news organization reports that DeMint is holding up the confirmation to try and prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union. He feels such a move would interfer with the effectiveness of the organization and its ability to change rules quickly.

The news organization reported that he wants to hear testimony on Southers’ view on unionizing TSA before the matter gets voted on before the full Senate.

To read more click here.

FBI Could Name its Miss. Building After Slain Civil Rights Workers

jackson miss map
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A movement is afoot to boost Mississippi’s image.

Some politicians are pushing to name the FBI building in Jackson, Miss., after three slain civil rights workers, who were killed in 1964 during an intense voter registration drive, USA Today reported.

The Jackson City Council is supposed to vote on a resolution on the matter Tuesday, and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson told USA Today that he would support such a measure.

“Given our state and its history, it would do a lot to show that Mississippi has changed,” Thompson said. “I think it’s an excellent idea and one that I would support.”

The civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, were slain in 1964 while taking part in a voter registration drive in Mississippi.

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors in August passed a similar resolution.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden told USA Today the FBI will defer to Congress on the matter.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Atty. Says He Saw Man Try to Help Nigerian on Flight Without a Passport

The flaws in the security will only become more embarrassing as days pass. Stories like this could rock the foundation of airport security around the world. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the suspect had far more explosive than the “shoe bomber” and could have blown a hole in the plane.

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Paul Egan
The Detroit News

TAYLOR, Mich. — An attorney who was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day says he saw another man come to the assistance of accused bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab when he tried to board the airplane in Amsterdam without a passport.

Kurt Haskell, a Taylor attorney, told FBI agents what he saw near the boarding gate at Amsterdam when he was questioned at Detroit Metropolitan Airport following Abdulmutallab’s alleged attempt to blow up the aircraft, said Haskell’s wife Lori, who is also an attorney and was traveling with her husband.

“The two of us were sitting on the floor playing cards,” Lori Haskell told The Detroit News. “My husband noticed two men walk up to the ticket counter lady. The only reason he noticed them is that he thought they were really a mismatched pair.”

The man they later learned was Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, wore older, scraggly clothing, but the man who was assisting him, who appeared to be of Indian descent, was dressed in what looked like an expensive suit and shoes, she said.

The well-dressed man told the ticket agent: “We need to get this man on the plane,” Haskell recounted. “He doesn’t have a passport.”

The ticket agent told the man nobody was allowed to board without a passport, to which the well-dressed man replied: “We do this all the time; he’s from Sudan,” Haskell said, adding she and her husband believe the man was trying to pass Abdulmutallab off as a Sudanese refugee.

Read Full Story

Cleveland DEA Agent Goes on Trial Jan. 6 on Charges of Perjury and Obstruction of Justice in One Heck of a Mess

clevelandBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s never pretty when fed prosecutors go after a federal agent.

But that’s what will happen Jan. 6 in Cleveland when trial is slated to begin for Drug Enforcement Administration agent  Lee Lucas, a 19 year veteran, on charges he lied on the witness stand, made false statements in official reports, obstructed justice and violated people’s civil rights, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The case includes allegations that he oversaw a rogue witnesses who helped put away innocent people. Lucas has denied doing anything criminal.

To read more click here.

Fed Prosecutions Hit Record in Fiscal 2009 Thanks to Immigration Cases

istock illustration
istock illustration

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutions hit a record high in fiscal 2009, thanks to a sharp uptick in immigration cases, the New York Times reported.

The paper reported that there were 169,612 federal prosecution filings up almost 9 percent from the previous year. The data was attributed to data analyzed by TRAC,  a research center at Syracuse University in a new report.

The paper reported that Immigration prosecutions comprised more than half of the criminal prosecution.

“The relatively simple cases have become the low-hanging fruit of the federal legal system: Immigration prosecutions, from inception to court disposal, are lightning quick, according to the report. While white-collar prosecutions take an average of 460 days and narcotics cases take 333, the immigration cases are typically disposed of in 2 days,” the paper reported.

For Full Story

Commentary: Let’s Start Paying Closer Attention to Those on the Terror Watch List

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Eight years after the infamous 9/11 attacks, we still see glaring flaws in our airport security. Why? Why? Why???

Why was Nigerian National Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bomb the Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day, not given a good second looking over before he boarded the plane?

He was on a terrorism watch list with 550,000 people. He bought a one way ticket with cash. The warning signs were there. The security was not.

Maybe we have to forget about doing second screenings at airports for grannies with walkers. We don’t need to arbitrarily start profiling. But when folks like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab step up to the counter, the red flags should go up.

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

There may be no way to close every little security gap. Not everyone with an evil thought is on some kind of warning list. But let’s at least pay attention to those who are!

We can’t keep relying on luck and incompetent terrorists to fall short of their goal.

RELATED STORIES

Murders Dropping in U.S. Towns Bordering Mexico

el paso map istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Amid all the gloomy and scary news about the Mexican drug cartel violence, comes a little good news.

USA Today reports that beefed up law enforcement patrols along the U.S. Mexican border may be helping prevent some of the Mexican drug cartel violence from spilling over to the U.S.

The paper reports that murders in El Paso fell from six in the first half of 2008 to four in the same period this year, according to the FBI.

In the first half of 2009, nearly 1,000 people were killed in the neighboring Mexican town of Ciudad Juarez.

What’s more in Tucson, murders fell from 30 in the first half of 2008 to nine during the same period in 2009, USA Today reported. The drop is part of an overall decrease in the murder rate in the U.S.