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News Story

FBI Director Mueller Invokes Name of Hockey Great Gretzky in Terrorism Speech

By Allan Lengel
tickelthewire.com
WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III invoked the name of hockey great Wayne Gretzky during a speech on terrorism Monday before the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Hockey great Wayne Gretzky was once asked how he consistently managed to be at the right place on the ice at the right time,” he said, according a text of the speech. “He said that while some players skate to where the puck has been, he skates to where the puck will be.”
“The same is true for those of us in the FBI. We need to know where the threat is moving, and we need to get there first.”

Mueller also said “our primary threat continues to come from the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. But we are seeing persistent activity elsewhere from the Maghreb and the Sahei to Yemen.”

He said world events seem to have a “ripple effect” around the globe.

“The fall of Communism opened the door to a virtual army of cyber thieves. The integration of cultures around the world has facilitated state-sponsored espionage, a thriving child pornography market, as well as heightened gang activity.”

To Read Full Text

Mueller Says a Militant in Somalia Attacks Adopted Extremist Beliefs in U.S. (N.Y. Times)

Houston Fed Judge Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Justice

Judge Samuel Kent/official photo

Judge Samuel Kent/official photo

Sometimes when you’re guilty it’s best to grab a plea rather than go through an embarrassing trial that will end with a guilty verdict anyways. Judge Sam Kent had probably seen enough trials to figure that one out.

By MARY FLOOD
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice today and retired from the bench, avoiding a trial on that charge and five others accusing him of sexually abusing two female employees.

Kent was scheduled to see a jury selected this morning for his trial on all six felony counts.

Few federal judges ever go to trial, but his would have been the first in which a federal judge was accused of sexual charges.

“Judge Kent believes that this settlement is in the best interest of all involved,” his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said after this morning’s hearing.

“A trial would have been long, embarrassing and difficult for all involved,” DeGuerin added. He said Kent has retired from the bench.

Kent faces up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction charge. Prosecutors have suggested he be sentenced to three years in prison, but the judge is not bound by that recommendation.

For Full Story

Ex-Lawmaker Gary Condit Could Have Been More Honest With FBI and Police Investigators in Chandra Levy Case

Allan Lengel-editor of ticklethewire.com
Allan Lengel-editor of ticklethewire.com

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Sadly, in the end, ex- California Congressman Gary Condit got a raw deal in the Chandra Levy case. Sadly he brought it on with his arrogance and deceit. I say all this,  now that suspect Ingmar Guandique – who is already in prison on another case– is about to be charged in the slaying of the 24-year-old intern.

Back on June 7, 2001, as a reporter at the Washington Post, I wrote that a fairly obscure California Congressman , Gary Condit had told D.C. police that missing intern Chandra Levy had stayed over night on occasion at his apartment in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood . When police pressed him about having an affair, he said something to the effect: “You figure it out.”

The story caused a firestorm. Condit’s attorney wrote a letter to the Washington Post demanding a retraction. His chief of staff in Modesto called me and demanded a retraction. I had four sources confirm the story. I was on solid ground. So I told his chief of staff to call the D.C. police public information office. Often for politicians, I said, they would make public statements correcting or clarifying an erroneous media report. I knew they wouldn’t correct the story because it was true.

He blurted out: “How dare you suggest we get special treatment.” The paper backed me up. The story stood. Condit quickly became a person of interest in the case.

Months later, the same staff member apologized and said none of the staff ever asked Condit point blank about the affair. They just believed what he spouted publicly.

Now, with word that someone else is expected to be charged this week, people are speaking out on Condit’s behalf.

Read more »

FBI Probes Washington National GM For Bonus Skimming

Jim Bowden/washington nationals photo
Jim Bowden/washington nationals photo

The FBI is keeping busy with baseball these days.  Agents are looking into whether pitching star Roger Clemens lied to Congress. They just got all-star shortstop Miguel Tajeda to plead to lying to Congress. They’re gearing up for the Barry Bonds’ steroid trial on March 2. Heck. They might as well just replace the umpires with FBI agents.

By Melissa Segura
Sports Illustrated
A federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses given to baseball prospects from Latin America is looking at Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden as far back as 1994, when he was GM of the Cincinnati Reds, according to a baseball executive familiar with the investigation.

Two sources inside baseball say that a long-time scout in Latin America, Jorge Oquendo, 47, is the man who links the FBI’s investigations of Bowden and his special assistant Jose Rijo to that of former Chicago White Sox senior director of player personnel David Wilder.

Last May the White Sox fired Wilder and two Dominican-based scouts after allegations surfaced that they had pocketed money earmarked for player signing bonuses. Oquendo worked for Wilder in 2006 and 2007, as well as for Bowden with the Reds in 1994 and again with the Reds from 2000 through 2003. Oquendo left Cincinnati in 2005, two years after Bowden was fired. (Bowden became Nationals GM in 2004.)
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Missouri U.S. Atty. John Wood Leaving For D.C. Wall Street Law Firm

U.S. Atty. John Wood/doj photo

U.S. Atty. John Wood/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com
The exodus of U.S. Attorneys continues around the country with the latest, John F. Wood of the Western District of Missouri, who will step down Saturday to take a job at a Washington Wall Street firm, Hughes Hubbard  & Reed.

Wood, a Bush appointee, began serving in April 2007.
Before becoming U.S. Attorney, he was the chief of staff for U.S. Homeland Security.

During his tenure, his office handled a number of large scale cases including the indictment of two Chinese companies and their top executives for alleged export of tainted pet food ingredients to the U.S.

He has also served on the Attorney General’s advisory committees on Terrorism & National Security and White Collar Crime.

“Service as U.S. Attorney for the Western District has been the highest honor of my professional career,” he said in a prepared statement.
.

Family Charged in Pittsburgh Slaying of FBI Agent Claims Harassment

Whether they have a legit beef or not, this family may not get a lot of public sympathy considering the central crime: killing an FBI agent who was serving an arrest warrant.

By Paula Reed Ward
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Slain FBI Agent Sam Hicks

Slain FBI Agent Sam Hicks

PITTSBURGH — Since three members of Christina Korbe’s family were arrested earlier this month, they have stepped up claims of being subjected to harassment and intimidation by local and federal law enforcement.

“Everything [police] have done to this point is to exact revenge, not justice,” Mrs. Korbe’s brother-in-law, George Waksmunski, said in a news release. Police respond that they are merely following leads as they investigate the fatal shooting of FBI Special Agent Samuel Hicks on Nov. 19 at Mrs. Korbe’s Indiana Township home.

It’s a case of a strikingly tone-deaf public relations campaign vs. the grim determination by law enforcement to thoroughly investigate the death of one of its own.

Christina Korbe, 40, is charged with killing Agent Hicks on Nov. 19, when he and a team of officers arrived at the couple’s home to serve an arrest warrant on her husband, Robert Korbe.

Already charged in connection with a large-scale cocaine ring, Mr. Korbe, 39, is also accused of faking a burglary at his home to collect $29,000 in insurance money.
For Full Story

Feds Interview Sen. Roland Burris in Chicago About ex-Gov

Sen. Roland Burris/official photo

Sen. Roland Burris/official photo

Whether he’s done anything wrong or not,  Sen. Roland Burris’ name is increasingly being associated with a not-so flattering word:  “scandal”.  Can he hold on to the coveted Senate seat he sought?

By John Chase and Jeff Coen
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — U.S. Sen. Roland Burris was interviewed by federal authorities for several hours Saturday as part of the ongoing corruption investigation into charges that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to sell a Senate seat for personal or political profit, sources familiar with the talks said.

Burris’ interview, which had been delayed for weeks, took place at his attorney’s offices in downtown Chicago. He has been informed he is not a target of the probe, the sources said.

Burris acknowledged a week ago that federal investigators wanted to talk to him about the circumstances surrounding his appointment by Blagojevich, which occurred three weeks after the former governor was arrested on federal corruption charges.

Among the charges filed against Blagojevich are allegations he tried to peddle the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama in exchange for a Cabinet post, an ambassadorship or high-paying private positions for him and his wife.
For Full Story

Tv Station Reports that Police Are Close to an Arrest in Chandra Levy Murder

Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — NBC’s Washington affiliate is reporting that D.C. Police are close to making an arrest in the slaying of intern Chandra Levy, whose remains were found in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington in 2002 one year after she vanished.

WRC-TV reported that police have submitted evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington seeking an arrest for long-time suspect  Ingmar Guandique, who is serving a 10- year sentence for attacking two female joggers in Rock Creek Park.

No arrest warrant has been issued at this point, and nothing is expected to happen until at least after the weekend, sources told ticklethewire.com. The U.S. Attorney’s office, which needs to review the materials and have a judge sign off on the arrest warrant,  declined comment Saturday morning.

ABC News had reported Saturday morning that an arrest could come as early as today in the murder of the 24-year-old intern who hailed from Modesto, Calif.

However, police chief Cathy L. Lanier in an telephone interview with ticklethewire.com denied that report that there would be an arrest today.  She declined to comment beyond that only to say that new detectives had been assigned to the cold case about a year ago, and that the department had been actively pursuing the investigation and had  regular contact with Chandra’s parents, Bob and Susan Levy.

WRC-TV reported that an inmate serving time with Guandique told investigators that Guandique had confessed to him about the murder.

One source familiar with the case said that the investigation had been heating up for some time.

The investigation eventually derailed the promising political career of ex-Congressman Gary Condit, who was a suspect after word surfaced that he had been having an affair with Levy. Eventually, law enforcement concluded that he had nothing to do with the case.