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Tag: Attorney General

Ex-Fed Prosecutor James Baker Named General Counsel for FBI

James Baker

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

James A. Baker, a former federal prosecutor,  has been named the general counsel for the FBI.

Baker, a University of Michigan Law School graduate, clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman in Detroit before joining the Department of Justice with the Criminal Division through the Attorney General’s Honors Program in 1990. He worked as a federal prosecutor with the division’s Fraud Section.

In 1996, he joined the former Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), which later became part of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

From 2001 to 2007, he served as counsel for intelligence policy and head of OIPR.

Back in 2006, Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post reported  that in 2004 Baker discovered “the government’s failure to share information about its spying program had rendered useless a federal screening system that the judges had insisted upon to shield the court from tainted information. He alerted (U.S. District Judge Colleen)  Kollar-Kotelly, who complained to Justice, prompting a temporary suspension of the NSA spying program.”

From 2008 to 2009, Baker was assistant general counsel for national security at Verizon Business. He then returned to the Justice Department and from 2009 to 2011, served as an associate deputy attorney general where he worked on a range of national security issues, including cyber security.

He last worked as associate general counsel for  Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge fund firms based in Connecticut.

“Jim’s experience as a career prosecutor and as a national security official, as well his experience in the private sector, make him an excellent fit for his new position here at the FBI,” FBI Director James Comey said in a statement.

 

Judge: AG Eric Holder Must Participate in Contempt Case And Can’t Appeal It

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A federal judge put an end to Attorney General Eric Holder’s request to appeal his contempt case following the bungled gun-running Operation Fast and Furious, Politico reports.

Monday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson potentially puts Holder on the hot seat.

The ruling means the Justice Department likely will be forced to show a log of the events surrounding the botched sting.

A protracted legal battle is expected.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling.

AG Holder to Speak at Funeral of First TSA Agent Killed in Line of Duty

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder plans to speak at the funeral today of the TSA agent killed in a shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena for Gerardo I. Hernandez, who became the first TSA worker killed in the line duty.

In addition to Holder, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers, TSA Administrator John Pistole and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are expected to speak.

“We are hurting,” Hernandez’s wife, Ana, said. “I am truly devastated.”

Republican Lawmakers Plan to Remove AG Eric Holder From Office

attorney general/doj file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Republicans are planning to remove AG Eric Holder from office by year’s end, Rep. Tod Yoho, R-Fla., told the Gainsville Sun.

“It’s to get him out of office — impeachment,” the Florida freshman said, adding “it will probably be when we get back in [Washington]. It will be before the end of the year. This will go to the speaker and the speaker will decide if it comes up or not.”

Among the reasons for removal is the botched “Fast and Furious” operation, which allowed guns to be placed in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The group plans to take the plan to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, when the lawmakers return from break.

OTHER STORIES OF OFFICE


AG Holder Says Justice Department Is ‘Broken,” Needs to Handle Racial Inequalities

Holder speaks in Philadelphia/doj photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Attorney General Eric Holder reflected on his life as a black man in a Queens neighborhood, Huffington Post reports.

Holder said the experience shed light on the challenges facing African Americans, many of whom ended up in jail when he was growing up.

“Kids who I grew up with, who I played ball with, basketball, baseball, and went to parties with — for whatever reason — they ended up in a fundamentally different place than I did,” Holder said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “I’m the attorney general of the United States and they are ex-felons. At some point, usually in high school or maybe a little later, they ran afoul of the law and had to serve time.”

Holder said the system is “broken” and needs to be reformed.

Editorial: Justice Department Wrong to Ignore Federal Pot Laws

The Post-Journal
Editorial
 
Marijuana is illegal under federal law. Yet Attorney General Eric Holder has decided not to interfere in any way with two states where recreational use of the drug has become permissible.

Colorado and Washington decriminalized marijuana last fall. Many states allow its use for medicinal purposes, but the two western states in essence allow anyone who wants to get high to buy the drug.

Proponents of legalizing marijuana for recreational use were delighted by Holder’s decision. “The message to the people of the other 48 states … is clear: Seize the day,” exulted Neill Franklin, of one pro-legalization group.

To read more click here.

Joint Task Force Nabs 7 Detroit Building Inspectors in Alleged Bribery Scandal

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After high-profile corruption cases against Detroit officials, including ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a joint task force that includes the FBI announced charges Thursday against seven building inspectors accused of accepting bribes for phony inspections, the Detroit News reports.

The charges stem from an FBI probe dating as far back as 2007.

According to authorities, the scheme involved seven inspectors who accepted bribes to forge building inspections and even covered up potentially dangerous code violations.

“When you violate the public’s trust, it’s a big deal,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said. “When you endanger lives and families, it’s a big deal. You can’t close your eyes to it.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Department Launches Probe into Report That NSA Supplied DEA with Domestic, Non-Terrorism Intelligence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Federal lawmakers are calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to respond to a Reuters report that showed the NSA was supplying the DEA with surveillance information about domestic, non-terrorism cases, Reuters reported Monday evening.

Five Democrats in the Senate and three congressmen want to know if the DEA – as reported – passed NSA intelligence to other agencies, including the FBI, IRS and Homeland Security. The instructions: Never reveal your source, even in court, according to Reuters.

“These allegations raise serious concerns that gaps in the policy and law are allowing overreach by the federal government’s intelligence gathering apparatus,” wrote the senators – Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

The Justice Department confirmed it is investigating.