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News Story

Lawmakers Annoyed Over No Masks in Swine Flu Outbreak

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers didn’t mask their annoyance Thursday during a subcommittee hearing with Homeland Security’s undersecretary of management Elaine C. Duke.

“Your excuses are lame when you say you’re following the medical advice,” the subcommittee chairman, Stephen F. Lynch, (D-Mass.) told Duke, according to a report in the Washington Postmask.

The flap was over masks.

Lawmakers criticized the department for failing to authorize protective face masks for employees working the U.S.-Mexico border during the swine flu outbreak, the Post reported.

“Some suggested that the department had placed bureaucratic considerations ahead of the health and safety of its workers,” the Post reported.

Duke said Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano made the decision not to issue masks based on recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies.

Now It’s Getting Interesting: Karl Rove Scheduled to Answer Questions in Criminal Probe into U.S. Atty Firings

Karl Rove

Karl Rove

Karl Rove, who surely had his hand in shaping much of the Bush administration’s business and ideology, can shed some light on the controversial U.S. Atty. firings if he wants to. But that’s the real question: Does he want to? A frequent commentator on Fox News, we’ll see if  he can be  fair and balanced when it comes to answering these questions.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Former top White House official Karl Rove will be interviewed tomorrow as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration, according to two sources familiar with the appointment.

Rove has remained in the news as a commentator and political analyst since departing the White House. In an essay in today’s Wall Street Journal, he criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), arguing that she may have misled the public about her knowledge of detainee interrogation tactics that critics assert are torture.

As a senior adviser to President George W. Bush, Rove emerged at the center of numerous policy and political debates. He will be questioned tomorrow by Connecticut prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy, who was named last year to examine whether any former senior Justice Department and White House officials lied or obstructed justice in connection with the dismissal of federal prosecutors in 2006.

Robert D. Luskin, a lawyer for Rove, declined comment this afternoon on the imminent interview. So did Tom Carson, a spokesman for Dannehy.

For Full Story

Ex-FBI Agent Mark Rossini Gets Slap on Wrist: One Year Probation in Case Where he Leaked Secret Document to Actress Linda Fiorentino

Mark Rossini (left)/YouTube

Mark Rossini (left)/YouTube

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — In the end — after all the drama —  it came down to a slap on the wrist.

In relatively quick fashion, a federal magistrate judge Thursday morning in Washington sentenced ex-FBI agent Mark Rossini to one year probation and a $5,000 fine for illegally accessing FBI documents and leaking one of them to his lover, actress Linda Fiorentino.

Fiorentino  passed the document on to an attorney for rogue detective Anthony Pelicano, who was eventually convicted of illegally spying on some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and received a 15 -year prison term.

“I am so profoundly and deeply ashamed and remorseful,” said Rossini, 47, as a he stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola.

The sentence fell far short of what was already considered by some to be a lenient recommendation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of five years probation and a $10,000 fine.

Rossini left the courtroom without comment along with his brother and his attorney who simply said they were grateful to “have it behind us.”

Rossini, a flamboyant agent who became fodder for the N.Y. tabloids after he started dating actress Linda Fiorentino, had friends in high places in the FBI and had a successful 17-year career.

On Dec. 8 that all came to an end when he pleaded guilty to five counts of criminal computer access for illegally accessing the FBI Automated Case Support System (ACS) more than 40 times for personal use in Washington and New York in 2007.

Read more »

Fla. Fed Judge Sentences 2 to Death in Drug-Related Slayings of 2 Boys and Their Parents

west-palm-beach-map

By DAPHNE DURET
Palm Beach Post
WEST PALM BEACH – A judge has sentenced Daniel Troya and Ricardo Sanchez Jr. to die for the 2006 murders of two boys killed along with their parents at the side of Florida’s Turnpike.

U.S. Senior District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley handed down the death sentences for Troya this morning (Wednesday) and Sanchez this afternoon.

Troya also received five consecutive life sentences and an additional 25 years in prison in connection with the drug ring that ultimately claimed the lives of the Escobedo family. Sanchez got an addtional four consecutive life sentences and another 45 years in prison.

Troya addressed the court briefly before he was sentenced, apologizing to the victims’ families, his own family and the judge before asking for Hurley’s help in relaxing the high restrictions placed on him in lockup since before the trial began.

In a brief statement before he was sentenced, Sanchez asserted his innocence and addressed the mothers of Jose and Luis Escobedo, the grandmothers of 4 and 3-year-old Luis Julian and Luis Damian Escobedo.
For Full Story

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Ex-FBI Agent Ali Soufan Tells Senate Torture Doesn’t Work

U.S. Border Authorities Bust Canadian Scientist With 22 Vials Used in Ebola Research

The good news is that the materials were supposedly non-infectious. The bad news is that, as we learned from the anthrax attacks, some labs around the world still lack proper security measures to prevent materials from being removed.  Consider this case another warning.

ebola virus/photo bio.davidson.edu

ebola virus/photo bio.davidson.edu

By Philip Ling
Canwest News Service

A Canadian scientist was stopped at the U.S. border last week after authorities found 22 vials used in Ebola research from Canada’s National Microbiology Lab in his possession, officials said Wednesday.

The incident has sparked controversy and serious questions about security protocols at the Winnipeg lab that contains some of the world’s deadliest pathogens.

Konan Michel Yao, 42, was apprehended by U.S. officials as he attempted to cross the border at Pembina, North Dakota, from Manitoba on May 5. Yao faces U.S. criminal charges for smuggling.

Yao was carrying unidentified biological materials in vials wrapped in aluminum foil inside a glove, wrapped in a plastic bag in the trunk of his car, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Mike Milne told Reuters.

For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Leads Candlelight Vigil for Fallen Law Enforcement Officers and Agents

photo by Allan Lengel/ticklethewire.com

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — On a perfect spring night, with temperatures hovering in the 60s, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder lead a candle light vigil for thousands of law enforcement officers and family members who gathered Wednesday night in Washington to commemorate the passing of 387  officers and federal agents killed in the line of duty.

“As we dedicate these 387 names to the walls of this Memorial we reflect on the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect our safety and to defend our freedoms,” Holder said as he stood at the National Law Enforcement Memorial near the FBI Washington Field Office and D.C. Police headquarters.

Of those officers, 133 were killed in 2008.

The candlelight vigil is an annual ritual during Police Week, which runs through this week. The event attracts law enforcement officers from around the country.

DEA Agent Indicted on Charges of Lying that Resulted in 17 Wrongly Charged

cleveland

This has the makings of an ugly ugly public relations mess.

By John Caniglia
Cleveland Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND – An agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was indicted today on charges that he lied repeatedly in a botched 2005 drug case that caused 17 people to be wrongly charged.

Lee Lucas, a 19-year veteran, was charged in U.S. District Court in Cleveland with perjury, making false statements, obstruction of justice and violating a person’s civil rights involving a case that resulted in 26 arrests in Mansfield.

A federal grand jury spent 17 months investigating Lucas’ role in the Mansfield case, a case that years later prompted judges and juries to drop charges against 23 of the people arrested.

Lucas, 41, was known for his intense work ethic, especially when teaming up with Cleveland police narcotics officers. He led a DEA task force that swooped up cocaine and sent scores of people to prison.

But his career, which began in Miami and later Bolivia, often was clouded with controversy and questions about his credibility.

For Full Story

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