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News Story

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and FBI Dir. Mueller Make List of Washington’s 50 Most Powerful

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — In this town of ego-excess, where power is the true currency, not money, its tough to be number one — even if you think you are.

GQ magazine has weighed in with the “The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C.” Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is ranked 13 and FBI Director Robert Mueller III gets the number 19 spot.  Sorry,  Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano didn’t make the cut.

Had J. Edgar Hoover been around, we wonder where he would have ranked. By the way, number one person was Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff. We assume the president wasn’t in the running.

Here’s what the magazine said about Holder and Mueller.

Holder on the left in Denver at the International Chiefs of Police Conference/ticklethewire.com photo

Holder on the left in Denver at the International Chiefs of Police Conference/ticklethewire.com photo

13. Eric Holder
Attorney General

Is this how an independent-minded attorney general operates? It’s been so long, it’s hard to know. Nonetheless, Holder has pushed back against the wishes of his own team, fighting CIA director Leon Panetta’s attempts to quash the release of the interrogation records and going forward with an investigation, against Obama’s wishes, into the alleged torture that took place during the Bush years. While critics on the left say he’s not going far enough, it’s nice to have a DOJ paying attention to the rule of law again.”

Robert Mueller III in Denver/fbi photo

Robert Mueller III in Denver/fbi photo

19. Robert Mueller
Director, FBI

You never really hear much about Mueller. “He stays out of the headlines,” says Michael Chertoff, former secretary of homeland security. Since coming into office seven days before September 11, he has quietly tried to build a more nimble intelligence division, which is now in the process of taking over much of the CIA’s role in detainee interrogations. And after the economic meltdown, he has expanded the bureau’s ability to tackle white-collar crime. “He’s making sure the FBI can retool itself,” says Chertoff.

Weekend Series on History: Nixon Talks to Atty. Gen. Mitchell and Henry Kissinger About Pentagon Papers

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB3aZr3a-d8

Former Bush White House Official Gets 1 Year For Lying About Ties to Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff

David Safavian/ gov photo

David Safavian/ gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The taint of lobbyist Jack Abramoff  surfaced again when a federal judge on Friday sentenced a former Bush White House official to one year in prison for lying about his ties to Abramhoff.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman sentenced David H. Safavian, former General Services Administration (GSA) Chief of Staff, and admonished him for not recognizing right from wrong. Safavian eventually left GSA to become the  Bush White House chief procurement officer.

To date, 20 people including lobbyists and public officials have pleaded guilty, been convicted or are awaiting trial in connection with the probe into crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is serving a four year prison term for corruption related charges on top of the 22 months he had already served prior to sentencing, according to a U.S. Attorney press release.

Read more »

Feds Bust Up $20 Million Hedge Fund Insider Trading Scheme Using Wiretaps

This not only was notable for its size, but for the fact it was the first time the feds got court authorized wiretaps for Wall Street hot shots.

wall-street

BY Jose Martinez
NY DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
NEW YORK — A piggish hedge fund hotshot who ranks among the world’s richest men was charged by the feds Friday with making millions of dollars on insider-trading tips.

Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire founder of the New York-based Galleon Group, was among six people charged in what federal prosecutors labeled the largest-ever hedge fund insider-trading case.

“The defendants operated in a cozy world of you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference announcing the arrests.

Rajaratnam, who Forbes ranked as No. 559 on its 2009 list of the world’s billionaires, was snared in a $20 million insider-trading case touted by the authorities for its first-ever use of court-authorized wiretaps against Wall Street big wheels.

For Full Story

Interesting Twist: Sammy the Bull Might Testify on Behalf of Mobster Gotti Jr

sammy-the-bullBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Salvatore “Sammy Bull” Gravano, the legendary mob snitch who helped convict his boss John Gotti, may get an opportunity to help  John Gotti Jr. who is on trial in N.Y., according to the website Gang Land News.

The website, written by mob-beat  reporter Jerry Capeci, reports that the defense may call Sammy the Bull as a witness to refute allegations that Gotti Jr. supervised the 1990 murder of a Gambino wise guy Louis DiBono who poppa Gotti wanted dead.

“In interviews with the FBI, and from the witness stand at several trials, Sammy Bull testified that he oversaw the October 4, 1990 murder of Louis DiBono,” Gangland news reports. ” At no time did he ever include Junior as a participant in the slaying, one of three murders included in the current case, and that could be of crucial help for the defense in Gotti IV.”

Gotti Jr. is accused of racketeering and murder and all things mobsters do to run an enterprise. It is his fourth trial in five years. The other three trials ended in a mistrial.

LA Times Editorial: Feds Need to Crackdown on Illegal Gun Sales at Gun Shows

gun

By The Los Angeles Times
Editorial Page
LOS ANGLES — For shock value, they may not rank with the videos released last month showing ACORN workers giving tax advice to a couple of undercover investigators posing as a prostitute and her pimp. But New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s covert recordings of what really goes on at gun shows are appalling nonetheless.

In the midst of a reelection campaign in a Democratic-majority city, the Republican (sort of) Bloomberg has latched on to an issue that appeals mainly to liberals: gun control.

Though New York state has fairly restrictive gun laws, Bloomberg believes firearms bought out of state play a big role in Gotham’s crime problems. So he sent private investigators to seven gun shows in three states between May and August and posted the results, including video shot with hidden cameras, on a city-sponsored website.

“So no background check, right?” the investigators ask. “Because I probably couldn’t pass one.” The response, over and over, is laughter, a shrug or even admissions from gun sellers that they couldn’t pass one either. Out of 30 vendors approached, 19 sold guns to people they knew were barred from owning them.

To Read More

Jury Deadlocks in Trial of Abramoff Associate

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff became the poster child for lobbyist/political corruption on Capitol Hill. His associate Kevin Ring is lucky to have gotten off with a mistrial. It’s not likely that the government will go after him again considering that the jury deadlocked on all 8 counts–unless the votes on some or all of the counts were leaning heavily in favor of conviction.

istock photo

istock photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A federal judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the prosecution of former lobbyist Kevin Ring after jurors deadlocked on charges that he lavished meals and concert tickets on public officials in the hope of illegally influencing them.

After hearing testimony for four weeks at the District’s federal court, jurors deliberated for eight days but could not reach a verdict on any of the eight charges of conspiracy, providing an illegal gratuity or honest services fraud. Federal prosecutors indicated they would seek another trial.

Ring, 38, was a close associate of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, one of 16 people who pleaded guilty to participating in a pay-to-play corruption scam that involved members of Congress, their staffers and officials in the executive branch. Ring and federal prosecutors declined to comment.

For Full Story

FBI Busts Ex-Ford Engineer For Stealing Trade Secrets

Xiang Dong Yu/u.s. marshals service photo

Xiang Dong Yu/u.s. marshals service photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Back in the day, Ford ran a commercial that said: “Ford Has a Better Idea”. Chinese National Xiang Dong Yu figured that was still the case.

The former product engineer for the Ford Motor Co. was indicted in the Motor City on charges that he stole trade secrets from the automaker just before he took a job in the China branch of a U.S. company.

Turns out Ford may have had a better idea, but Xiang Dong Yu didn’t.

Xiang Dong Yu,47, of Beijing, China, was arrested Wednesday at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after deplaning from China, authorities announced.

He is charged with theft of trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets and unauthorized access to a protected computer.

Read more »