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Editorial: New Orleans Paper Urges Obama to Keep U.S. Atty. Jim Letten

U.S. Atty. Jim Letten

U.S. Atty. Jim Letten

By New Orleans Times-Picayune

NEW ORLEANS — Residents across metro New Orleans appreciate the value of dedicated public servants like U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

Under his leadership, the office has kept up a relentless war on public corruption and has helped local law enforcement agencies fight violent crime — particularly in New Orleans.

Those are vital efforts for our recovery, and the best way to ensure their continuity is for President Barack Obama to keep Mr. Letten on the job.

U.S. attorney posts, unfortunately, have generally been viewed as political plums. So whether Mr. Letten stays is in great part up to Louisiana power brokers in the Democratic Party.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, as the state’s senior senator and a Democrat, will have an important role in any decision. She voiced strong support for Mr. Letten in November, calling his work “outstanding” and saying she would meet with Democrats and Republicans about keeping him as U.S. attorney.

That was encouraging. It also was four months ago.

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Kenyan Prez Accepts FBI Offer to Help Investigate Murders of 2 Human Rights Workers

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire

The Guardian newspaper in London is reporting that the Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga has accepted an offer from the FBI to help probe the murders of two human rights workers.

The human rights workers, Oscar Kamau Kingara and Paul Oulo,  who were highly critical of police killings, were shot to death last Thursday when gunmen blocked their car on a street in Nairobi, the paper said. Some have been speculating that police were involved.

“Officers from FBI are engaged to work alongside the Kenya police in carrying out investigations,” the paper quoted the prime minister as saying. “In the perception of the people, police themselves are an accomplice.”

The Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights has called for an independent probe.

FBI Seeks Victims in Stanford Financial Scandal

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — As if we haven’t gotten beaten down enough financially by the crippling economy. We’ve got two princes to help us out: Madoff and  Stanford.

The FBI issued a press release Monday asking for help in putting one of those princes away. The second one is already well on his way to prison.

“Have you invested in the Stanford Financial Group or its affiliated companies in recent years? If so, you may be a victim of a multi-billion dollar investment fraud,” the press release asked.

The release goes on to say that “the Stanford Financial Group, which provides wealth management services to customers in some 140 countries, is under FBI investigation.”

It  mentions that Allen Stanford, chief investment officer, was charged Feb. 26 with obstructing a separate investigation involving the Security and Exchange Commission.

The FBI press release then asks for information from anyone who suspects they’ve been swindled.

The press release says the FBI needs:
* Your basic contact information (name, address, country, telephone numbers, e-mail address);
* Your investments/losses with Stanford Financial Group or its affiliated companies: Stanford Capital Management, the Stanford Group Company, the Stanford International Bank, the Stanford Trust Company, and the Bank of Antigua;
* Whether or not you can verify your investments/losses by providing your most recent financial statements; and
* Any additional information that may be helpful.

Detroit FBI Agent Paul Sorce Killed in Car Crash

Agent Paul Sorce

Agent Paul Sorce

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Detroit FBI special agent Paul M. Sorce, an 18-year veteran of the bureau, was killed Monday in a car accident while on duty, the FBI  in Detroit said.

Sorce, 44, was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Detroit, where he passed away, the FBI said.

WXYZ tv in Detroit reported that the agent was driving a minivan that was hit by another car in Harper Woods, a  bordering surburb of Detroit.

Sorce joined the FBI in May 1991. He served in the Milwaukee field office before going to Detroit in 1995, the FBI said.

Congressman Blasts FBI Response to Questions About Islamic Group

Rep. Frank Wolf was a little insulted by the “insufficient” response he got when he asked the FBI about specifics behind its decision to cut off ties to the Islamic group CAIR.  At this point, the FBI can ignore him or reply with a more detailed answer. Thing is, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for the FBI to tick off a Congressman who has been a big supporter of the agency.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism
WASHINGTON — A U.S. Congressman who serves on a committee controlling the FBI’s budget is blasting the Bureau’s response to a set of questions regarding an FBI freeze on contacts with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The Investigative Project on Terrorism reported January 29 that evidence tying CAIR and its founders to a U.S.-based Hamas support network prompted the Bureau to sever routine outreach meetings with the organization. That evidence was part of the government’s prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which ended in November with the conviction of five former officials on 108 counts.

“[I]f CAIR wishes to pursue an outreach relationship with the FBI, certain issues must be addressed to the satisfaction of the FBI. Unfortunately, these issues cannot be addressed at the local level and must be addressed by the CAIR National Office in Washington, D.C.,” an October letter from Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge James E. Finch said. Similar letters were issued in other states.

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, (R-VA), wrote to the FBI on Feb. 2 asking for details about the FBI move. He addressed his questions to Michael Heimbach, an assistant director for the Counter Terrorism Division. Among them: whether there were conditions that could end the freeze, and what were the “certain issues” referenced by Finch that needed to be addressed by CAIR.

FBI spokesman John Miller responded in a four-paragraph letter dated today, but hand-delivered last Friday:

To Read More

Fed Judge in Va. Says Justice Dept. May Have Hoodwinked Defendant

If true, this is another black eye for the Justice Department, which has been trying to dig its way out of allegations of misconduct in another high profile case — Sen. Ted Stevens. Are these isolated incidents? A good question for someone to ask.

MATTHEW BARAKAT
The Associated Press
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Justice Department may have hoodwinked a defendant in a high-profile terrorism case into thinking his plea bargain would protect him from furthe

Sami Al-Arian

Sami Al-Arian

r prosecutions, a federal judge said Monday.

Monday’s hearing in U.S. District Court was the latest in which Judge Leonie Brinkema questioned the Justice Department’s tactics in pursuing a criminal contempt case against former professor Sami Al-Arian, once accused of being a leading Palestinian terrorist.

Brinkema gave Al-Arian’s lawyers 10 days to file papers seeking dismissal of the case on the grounds that prosecutors failed to keep promises made under the plea bargain. She acknowledged that the protections Al-Arian wants enforced may not have been explicitly outlined in the original agreement.

“But I think there’s something more important here, and that’s the integrity of the Justice Department,” she said.
For Full Story

FBI and Other Agencies Hitting Roadblocks in Pakistan

This latest development doesn’t bode well for the cooperation between the U.S. and the nation of  Paskistan, which is central to the war on terrorism.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — — U.S. efforts to identify and thwart the growing threat posed by Pakistani extremists who enjoy easy access to the United States — and already have a significant presence here — are being undermined by the government of Pakistan, according to current and former U.S. and Western counter-terrorism officials.

After the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, in November, which killed more than 170 people, the FBI and other U.S. agencies went on high alert, searching without success for evidence of plotters in the United States.

But they were essentially shut down in efforts to work the Pakistan side of the investigation, not only to find additional plotters but to learn more about the Al Qaeda-affiliated Pakistani militant group suspected of orchestrating the attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and its global network of cells, the officials said.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III flew to Islamabad last week, in part to press for better cooperation. But the FBI and other U.S. officials have been denied access to about 20 members of Lashkar, including about six senior officials also suspected of heading the group’s global operations and fundraising.

For Full Story

First Black Atty. Gen. and Gov. Wallace’s Daughter Celebrate Voting Rights March

George Wallace

George Wallace

If ever there was a symbolic meeting of two different worlds, this was it. This nation’s come a long way.

By PHILLIP RAWLS
Associated Press Writer
SELMA, Ala. – The nation’s first black attorney general and Gov. George C. Wallace’s daughter celebrated the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march Sunday – 44 years after state troopers from her father’s administration beat marchers as they started the landmark journey.

Peggy Wallace Kennedy introduced Attorney General Eric Holder at a historic Selma church filled to overflowing.

“It’s reconciliation and redemption,” Wallace’s daughter said.
For Full Story