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News Story

Sean Joyce Named Assist. Dir. of FBI’s International Operations Division

Sean Joyce/fbi photo

Sean Joyce/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Sean Joyce, a Boston native, is the new assistant director of the FBI’s International Operations Division. He replaces Tom Fuentes, who retired.

“The International Operations Division’s scope of responsibilities is greater than ever, given the importance that relationships with international law enforcement partners and other parts of the government hold to our overall national security mission,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller III in a statement. “Sean’s knowledge and his experience in criminal and national security matters make him an excellent fit for the job.”

Joyce joined the FBI in 1987 and initially went to the Dallas Division, where he investigated violent crimes. He then went on to focus on Colombian drug trafficking in the Miami Division, the FBI said.

Read more »

ATF Initiative Helps Crack Down on Guns to Mexican Drug Cartels

This is a good good initiative. We just need more of these because the violent Mexican drug cartels aren’t going away, not so long as business remains brisk.

mexico-border-sign

By Juan A. Lozano
Associated Press Writer
HOUSTON- A four-month effort to stop the flow of firearms from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels has helped law enforcement disrupt various gun trafficking rings and gain a better understanding of how these groups try to avoid detection, officials announced Thursday.

Many weapons seized south of the border are traced back to Houston, where 100 agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other personnel were deployed in April to develop cases on trafficking firearms to Mexico.

ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson said the initiative vastly reduced a backlog of investigative leads and increased the number of criminal cases in Houston.

“While we can’t say we’ve solved the gun running problem to Mexico as a result of this (effort), it is a start and it certainly has made an impact here in Houston,” Melson told The Associated Press after a news conference.

For Full Story

Read Justice Department Press Release

Shape Up! TSA to Install 150 Machines at Airports that See Through Clothing

airport-people-walking

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON— Ok, here’s another reason to stay in shape and stop hiding behind those baggy clothes.  More airport screeners are about to acquire Superman powers.

USA Today reports that Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration plans to install 150 security machines at airport checkpoints that will let screeners peek under passengers’ clothes.

The scanners have been used on a test basis at some airports, but mostly on folks who set off screening alarms and are pulled aside. Some groups are complaining that the machines are far too intrusive.

The House has passed a bill limiting the machines’ use for passengers who have set off some type of screening alarm. The bill is before the Senate, USA Today reported.

TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee told USA Today that the machines are “critical” to stopping terrorists with homemade bombs. The machines will be installed early next year and will have “privacy additions to create images that look like etchings”, the paper reported.

Secret Service Says Kid Posted Obama Assassination Poll on Facebook

facebook1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The person who posted a poll on the ever-popular Facebook social network last week asking whether President Obama should be assassinated is a kid.

Bloomberg news reports that the Secret Service determined that the juvenile doesn’t pose a threat.

The news service, attributing the information to Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan, said agents interviewed the youth and the parents, but declined to reveal names.

“We’re characterizing it as a mistake,” Donovan told Bloomberg. “We don’t have the luxury of discounting threats. We need to run every single referral out, and that’s what we do.”

Louisiana Judge Pleads Guilty in Fed Court To Taking Bribes in Scheme to Release Inmates Without Bond

District Judge Wayne Cresap

District Judge Wayne Cresap

Anytime a judge gets busted for taking a bribe it reminds us how vulnerable the legal system is. It also makes us wonder about other judges.

By Chris Kirkham
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — A longtime St. Bernard Parish judge who handled some of the parish’s most high-profile civil lawsuits pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to taking part in a judicial bribery scheme that allowed inmates to get out of jail without paying any bond money.

Judge Wayne Cresap, of the 34th Judicial District, netted more than $70,000 over five years as a result of the scheme that also involved two St. Bernard Parish lawyers, Victor J. “V.J.” Dauterive and Nunzio Salvadore “Sal” Cusimano, who also pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

As part of the plea before U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon, Cresap will resign his judgeship before he is sentenced in January. The crimes are punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

For Full Story

FBI Seizes Well-Traveled Fake Andrew Wyeth Painting

fbi-logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If only this were our biggest crime problem in America.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the FBI seized “a well-traveled forgery of a 1939 Andrew Wyeth watercolor, the fourth such counterfeit painting to surface since the artist’s death in January.” Art fraud is a multi-billion dollar industry.

The paper reported that U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss of Wilmington said the same painting — “Wreck on Doughnut Point” — has been offered for sale several times since 1998 even after Wyeth had said it was a forgery.

Authorities announced that a California man who was trying to sell the painting won’t be charged because he too thought it was real. The real painting is worth about $100,000.

Wyeth’s paintings have gotten attention from the FBI in the past including in 2001 when it recovered a painting that had been stolen from a Chicago art gallery in 1967.

NY Feds Bust Gambling Operation Run by Luchese Crime Family

football-gambling

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the gambling world there are lucky days and not so lucky days.

Thursday was a “not so lucky day” for suspected members and associates of the Luchese crime family in New York who were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of running an illegal gambling, sports betting and loan sharking operation and trying to bribe New York cops.

In all, 19 people were indicted in the gambling ring. Of that group, 12 were charged as members, associates and conspirators of the Luchese crime family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.  Eighteen of the 19 of the suspects were arrested on Thursday.

Authorities alleged that as part of the gambling operation in in 2006 to 2007, several defendants participated in a scheme to bribe a N.Y. police sergeant and a detective  for protection. Unbeknownst to the suspected wise guys, the cops were actually working undercover as part of the two year probe, authorities said.

Read more »

Fed Judge Orders Govt. to Release Substantial Part of FBI Interview With Ex-V.P. Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney/meet the press

Dick Cheney/meet the press

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — A federal judge issued a ruling Thursday saying the government has to release a substantial portion of  an FBI interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney tied to the probe into the leak identifying CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations wanted to keep the 2004 interview confidential. They argued releasing the materials might prevent future vice presidents from cooperating in criminal probes.

But Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting to see what amounted to 67-pages of records documenting the interview.

U.S. District Judge Emmet J. Sullivan, in his ruling on Thursday wrote because the case is over: “The court concludes that the agency has failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the requested documents were properly withheld in their entirety under any FOIA exemption protecting law enforcement interests.”

But he added: “Limited portions of those documents, however, were properly withheld under exemptions designed to protect information that is privileged or that could impinge on personal privacy or threaten national security.”

Read Judge’s Ruling