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News Story

Some DEA Agents Are Being Sent to Afghanistan Against Their Will

It’s bad policy to send workers on dangerous assignments against their will and threaten them if they don’t want to go. The DEA needs to offer incentives, not punishment. There’s no better way to kill morale.

afghanistan

By Marisa Taylor
McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON —  The Drug Enforcement Administration has removed an agent from his pilot duties after he refused to be sent to Afghanistan on a 60 day-detail.

Veteran Agent Daniel Offield’s reassignment from the Aviation Division came less than two weeks after McClatchy reported that some special-agent pilots said they’re being forced illegally to go to a combat zone on temporary duty.

In interviews with McClatchy, more than a dozen DEA agents, including Offield, described a badly managed system in which some pilots had been sent to Afghanistan under duress or as punishment for bucking their superiors.

For Full Story

Airport Screeners a Step Closer to Collective Bargaining

It never made sense that airport screeners didn’t have the right to collective bargaining. This should right that wrong.

airport-screening
By Joe Davidson
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Charity Wilson didn’t go looking for a fight when she went to the Cannon House Office Building yesterday, but she was ready in case one broke out.

Wilson, an American Federation of Government Employees lobbyist, was prepared to provide Homeland Security Committee members with rebuttal arguments against any attempt to weaken or kill legislation that would allow airport screeners the right to bargain collectively.

But Republican opponents apparently knew a fight would be futile. The 13 to 6 vote along party lines that advanced the bill came after almost no debate. What could have been a long, contentious meeting was over in less than 20 minutes.

For Full Story

UPDATE: Texas FBI Agent Who Killed Chihuahua Faces Internal Investigation

FBI Agent knocked off a dog similar to the famous Taco Bell dog
FBI Agent knocked off a dog similar to the famous Taco Bell dog

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Texas FBI agent Lovett Leslie Ledger, who fatally shot his neighbor’s 3 pound Chihuahua named Sassy with a pellet gun, remains on the job, but faces an internal administrative investigation, the San Antonio FBI office said Thursday.

“His employment status hasn’t changed,” said Erik Vasys, an FBI spokesman in Texas. “The FBI respects the court’s sentencing and there is an internal administrative action” investigation that is still ongoing.

Authorities declined to say what could happen to Ledger. But the penalties at the FBI can range from a letter of reprimand to a firing.

On Wednesday, Waco, Tex., State District Judge Matt Johnson gave Ledger, 40, two years deferred probation and 300 hours of community service. He pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that a neighbor saw Ledger shoot the dog with a pellet rifle in February 2008.

U.S. Judiciary Faces Rise in Death Threats

So far, this hasn’t gotten out of hand like in some countries like Colombia where judges have to leave the country and go in hiding. But authorities need to be vigilante and aggressive when dealing with this.

marshals

By Robert Anglen
The Arizona Republic

A prison informer gave up details of a planned hit in April: A drug dealer wanted a federal prosecutor dead. The prosecutor had put him away; now he was willing to pay someone to kill her.

The informer came forward on a Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday morning, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Mosher in Tucson was alerted to the threat on her life. The next day, Mosher was under the protective guard of a team of deputy U.S. marshals who would cover her every move for the next 10 days while another team investigated the threat.

Federal judges and prosecutors across the country, including in Arizona, are confronting a growing number of threats against their lives. The U.S. Marshals Service, which provides security for federal court personnel, reports that the number of threats nationwide against such officials, jurors and witnesses has more than doubled in the past six years, from 592 to nearly 1,300.

For Full Story

Texas FBI Agent Gets Community Service For Killing Neighbor’s Chihuahua Named Sassy

This isn’t good for the FBI image. Some expect an agent might have to shoot a deranged serial killer or terrorist, but a Chihuahua named Sassy? Not good. From Waco, Texas, here’s the sad story of Sassy.

FBI Agent Shot A Chihuahua Just Like This One/istock photo
FBI Agent Shot A Chihuahua Just Like This One/istock photo

By Wendy Gragg
Waco Tribune-Herald
WACO, Tex. Disappointed but not surprised,” is how Jason and Amy Davis feel about the sentence handed down Wednesday to the local FBI agent who shot and killed their 3-pound Chihuahua, Sassy.

Lovett Leslie Ledger, 40, was sentenced Wednesday by 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson to two years’ deferred probation and 300 hours of community service after pleading no contest to state jail felony animal cruelty charges. Deferred probation means there will be no final judgment of guilt if Ledger successfully completes deferred probation.

“This is closure for us,” Jason Davis said. “We’re here for our children. They still ask us questions we don’t know how to answer.”

Jason Davis said the appropriate punishment would have been for Ledger to be in the Davis home the night when the Davises had to tell their children, now ages 9 and 6, that their pet, Sassy, had been killed.

For Full Story

Jury in William Jefferson Trial Sees America’s Most Famous Freezer

Well, sure there was key testimony from an FBI agent in the case. But at the end of the day, the jury got to see America’s most famous freezer: William Jefferson’s. The one  where FBI agents found $90,000 in marked FBI bills.

America's Most Famous Freezer
America’s Most Famous Freezer/Government Exhibit

By Jonathan Tilove and Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — The lead FBI agent in the investigation of former Rep. William Jefferson denied Wednesday that he had instructed cooperating witness Lori Mody to play on Jefferson’s emotions, get him drunk, and lure him into taking a bigger share of her company.

“That’s not on her, that’s on him, ” special agent Timothy Thibault said, explaining that Jefferson continued to escalate his demands for a piece of Mody’s business even when he wasn’t under the influence of her wiles and wine.

In its redirect, the prosecution played a videotape from the four-hour, $1,023 dinner Mody and Jefferson shared at Galileo, a fancy Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C., on May 12, 2005, to show that it was Jefferson, not Mody, who was questioning the wait staff about the wine choices, and ordering a 1997 vintage.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Atty. Drops Charges Against D.C.’s Marion Barry

Mexican Army Using Torture in War on Drugs

One sure way to lose public support on the war on drugs in Mexico and the U.S. is to use torture. This is something both the U.S. and Mexico need to address if they hope to succeed.

mexico-border-sign

By Steve Fainaru and William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
PUERTO LAS OLLAS, Mexico — The Mexican army has carried out forced disappearances, acts of torture and illegal raids in pursuit of drug traffickers, according to documents and interviews with victims, their families, political leaders and human rights monitors.

From the violent border cities where drugs are brought into the United States to the remote highland regions where poppies and marijuana are harvested, residents and human rights groups describe an increasingly brutal war in which the government, led by the army, is using harsh measures to battle the cartels that continue to terrorize much of the country.

In Puerto Las Ollas, a mountain village of 50 people in the southern state of Guerrero, residents recounted how soldiers seeking information last month stuck needles under the fingernails of a disabled 37-year-old farmer, jabbed a knife into the back of his 13-year-old nephew, fired on a pastor, and stole food, milk, clothing and medication.

For Full Story