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Muslims Complain that FBI Tactics Stir Resentment and Tension

The tensions between the FBI and the Muslim American community may never totally vanish. But both sides need one another and it would be beneficial to improve relations.

mosque

By PAUL VITELLO and KIRK SEMPLE
New York Times

The anxiety and anger have been building all year. In March, a national coalition of Islamic organizations warned that it would cease cooperating with the F.B.I. unless the agency stopped infiltrating mosques and using “agents provocateurs to trap unsuspecting Muslim youth.”

In September, a cleric in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, sued the government, claiming that the F.B.I. had threatened to scuttle his application for a green card unless he agreed to spy on relatives overseas — echoing similar claims made in recent court cases in California, Florida and Massachusetts.

And last month, after an imam in Queens was charged with aiding what the authorities called a bomb-making plot, a group of South Asian Muslims there began compiling a database of complaints about their brushes with counterterrorism investigators.

For Full Story

Read Story on Arrests in Pakistan and Muslim American-FBI Relations

Sen. Judiciary Committee Endorses 4 More U.S. Atty. Nominees

Detroit's Barbara McQuade/icle photo
Detroit’s Barbara McQuade/icle photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday endorsed four U.S. Attorney nominees, according to the website Main Justice.

The nominees include: Barbara McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan; Christopher Crofts of Wyoming; James Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin; and Michael Cotter of Montana.

Main Justice reported that the Judiciary Committee has now approved 31 U.S. Attorney nominees, including the 24 U.S. Attorneys who have won Senate confirmation.

D.C. Fed Judge Says Gitmo Inmates No More Dangerous Than Some Violent Street Gangs

Judge Lamberth/court photo By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — U.S. District Judge Joyce Lamberth in Washington, not exactly a shy person, isn’t buying into the critics’ claims that the Guantanamo inmates are any more dangerous than some street gangs that have gone on trial in civilian courts.

“The gangs are more murderous, I think, than some of these people at Guantanamo,’’ Lamberth, the chief judge (in photo), told lawyers at an American Bar Association breakfast, according to the Associated Press. “They’ve certainly killed their share of witnesses here.’’

Lamberth has some experience dealing with gangs. In 2004, he presided over a trial  involving  “Murder Inc.” gang members who were accused of killing 31 people, including witnesses to crimes.

So far, five Gitmo inmates are slated for trial in New York. More are expected to eventually go on trial in federal courts in New York and elsewhere.

ATF, FBI and D.C. Cops Bust 44 in Undercover Sting Targeting Guns and Drugs

It’s been a while since we’ve heard of any law enforcement operations setting up a sting like this.

gun

By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — D.C. police and federal agents announced Thursday the arrest of more than 40 people on felony weapons and drug charges as the result of a seven-month undercover operation.

Investigators from the D.C. Police Narcotics and Special Investigations Division led the sting, in which undercover officers posed as drug and gun buyers inside a Northeast Washington auto body shop. Police said confidential informants brought dozens of men willing to sell illegal goods at EB Autobody, the phony business set up by police in June.

“This was the most successful operation like this that we have done in Washington, D.C., since the 1970s,” Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said at a news conference.

For Full Story

Death of Mexican “Boss of Bosses” Drug Cartel Kingpin Won’t Spell the End

DEA's Michele Leonhart/dea photo

DEA's Michele Leonhart/dea photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The death on Wednesday of Mexican drug kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva, who claimed to be the “boss of bosses”, may be a big victory for the Mexican and American governments, but it certainly won’t spell the end to the violent grip the cartels have on the country.

In fact, it could end up creating a power struggle that may only mean more violence.

“It’s an important step but, at the end of the day, you’re not going to reduce the market,” Alberto Islas, a Mexico City-based security analyst told the Los Angeles Times. “You take out one guy and somebody else will take his place. But this is violent.”

Mexican and American officials hailed the death of the kingpin, who was fatally shot during an intense gunfight with Mexican naval commandos.

“This action represents an important achievement for the people and government of Mexico and a heavy blow against one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in Mexico,” President Felipe Calderon said, according to the Times.

“His death has dealt a crippling blow to one of the most violent cartels in the world,” said Michele Leonhart, acting director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

To Read the full Los Angeles Times Story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Contract Linguist Pleads Guilty to Leaking Top Secret Documents to a Blog

top-secret
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An FBI contract linguist with top security clearance, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to providing classified documents to an Internet blog, which published some of the information.

Shamai Kedem Leibowitz, 39, of Silver Spring, Md., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md., to disclosing to an unauthorized person 5 “Secret” FBI documents that contained classified information, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

His plea agreement calls for a sentence of 20 months in prison, but the sentencing judge does not have to accept the agreement.

The one-page criminal information did not disclose any details of the documents that related to communication intelligence activities of the U.S.

“As a trusted member of the FBI ranks, Leibowitz abused the trust of the FBI and the American public by using his access to classified information for his own purposes,”  FBI special agent in charge Richard McFeely of Baltimore in a prepared statement.

Leibowitz worked as an FBI contract linguist in the FBI’s Calverton, Md. office from January to August 2009.

Obama U.S. Atty. Appointments Now Outnumber Bush Appointees

It’s taken a while to get to this point, and frankly, it wouldn’t hurt to speed up the process. Each U.S. Attorney office deserves to have the stability that often comes with a permanent appointment.

One of the new Obama U.S. Attorneys Paul Fishman of NJ
One of the new Obama U.S. Attorneys Paul Fishman of NJ

By Joe Palazzolo
Main Justice

WASHINGTON — For the first time in this administration, Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys nominated by President Barack Obama outnumber Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys nominated by former President George W. Bush.

As of the end of November, more than 10 months into Obama’s presidency, the score was 24 Obama U.S. Attorneys to 21 Bush U.S. Attorneys, according to a review of Justice Department and congressional records. And of the 48 acting and interim U.S. Attorneys, just seven were appointed during the Bush administration.

The figures represent a watershed for the Obama administration, which has made halting progress filling the nation’s 93 U.S. Attorneys positions amid political resistance and a crowded legislative agenda.

For Full Story

Blago’s Attorney Could Call Pres. Obama as a Witness in June 3 Trial

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The realty-TV feel of the ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich public corruption case could get all the more intense if the defense calls President Barack Obama as a witness.

One of Blagojevich’s attorneys, Samuel Adams, on Wednesday hinted of the possibility of calling the President as a witness during trial, saying it would be “an awesome experience in any career” to question the leader of the Free World, according to Associated Press.

But Adams said it was too soon to tell whether it will be necessary, the AP reported. The President-elect had been interviewed by the FBI after allegations surfaced that the colorful Blagojevich was trying to sell Obama’s vacated senate seat. Obama is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Blagojevich, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, faces a 19-count indictment that  includes allegatations of trying to sell the senate seat and fundraising abuses.  Trial is set for June 3.