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Tag: Chicago

Blago Attys Claim FBI Tape of Rahm Emanuel Missing

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

He’s back.

Ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich — a man who never saw a microphone he didn’t like — has filed a pretrial motion seeking what he says is missing evidence including records of a phone call between  Blagojevich aide John Harris and then White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, the Associated Press reported.

Blagojevich is set to face a second trial in Chicago  on public corruption charges April 20. The first one ended in an embarrassment for prosecutors who got a conviction on only one of 24 counts — lying to an FBI agent. The jury deadlocked on the rest.

AP reports that the motion claims the missing telephone conversation took place just a day before Blagojevich’s December 2008 arrest.

AP reported that the motion says the conversation could help the defense.

To read more click here.

Column: Ex-FBI Agent Rowley “Secretive, Unaccountable” Homeland Security Turning Inward on Americans

Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent and legal counsel in the Minneapolis field office, wrote a “whistleblower” memo in May 2002 and testified to the Senate Judiciary on some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures. She retired in 2004 and is now a writer and speaker.

FBI Agent Colleen Rowley/ photo ia.ucsb.edu

By COLEEN ROWLEY
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

A secretive, unaccountable, post-9/11 homeland security apparatus has increasingly turned inward on American citizens.

The evidence includes everything from controversial airport body scanners to the FBI’s raids last September on antiwar activists’ homes in Minneapolis and Chicago. A federal grand jury investigation in Chicago was recently expanded.

Unless the erosion of proper legal safeguards is halted, we risk a return to Vietnam-era abuses on the part of the FBI and other security agencies.

Agents are now given a green light, for instance, to check off “statistical achievements” by sending well-paid, manipulative informants into mosques and peace groups.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Rep. Mike Rogers — Ex-FBI Agent — Criticizes Dir. Robert Mueller For Going to Az

Rep. Mike Rogers/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mi.), a former FBI agent, criticized the decision by President Obama to dispatch FBI director Robert S. Mueller to Arizona after the mass shooting on Saturday, according to the radio station WHMI in Livingston County, Mi., outside Detroit.

“He didn’t need to be in Arizona to be updated frequently and this is a very serious matter and I just hope…We don’t to overreact to the full implementation for successful investigation,” Rogers told WHMI.

“They are fully capable of doing it without the Director himself being on the ground in Arizona,” said Rogers who was an FBI agent in Chicago from 1988-1994 where he investigated public corruption.

Rogers also told the station it makes his “blood boil” when pundits try to implicate Sarah Palin in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Az) because of her website which included bulls eye on lawmakers who supported the Obama healthcare.

Read ticklethewire.com Column Praising Mueller’s Trip to Az

Neo-Nazi on Trial Also Targeted Miami Herald Columnist Leonard Pitts, FBI Agent Testifies

file photo/ art by sean mccabe

ticklethewire.com file art/art by sean mccabe

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent testified Tuesday that a Neo-Nazi on trial in federal court in Chicago once posted potentially harmful information about a popular African American Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The agent’s testimony came in the trial of Neo-Nazi William White, who is charged with advocating violence on his website overthrow.com against Chicago juror Mark Hoffman, who helped convict white supremacist Matt Hale in 2004, the paper reported.

White wrote that Hoffman was a “gay, Jewish anti-racist” who wrongfully helped convict Hale, who had ordered his head of security — who turned out to be an FBI informant — to kill U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, the Sun-Times reported. At some point, two family members of Judge Lefkow’s were murdered by a disgruntled litigant not affiliated with a white supremacist group, the Sun-Times reported.

In the case of Leonard Pitts, White criticized his column, used the n-word and posted personal information about Pitts including his wife’s name and a home address, according to testimony reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The FBI agent testified that when the Miami Herald managing editor asked White of Roanoke, Va., to take the info down, White replied by email: “Frankly, if some loony took the info and killed him, I wouldn’t shed a tear.”

To read more click here.

Chicago Tribune Editorial: U.S. Needs Mexico to Be More Aggressive in War Against Drug Cartels

By The Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Jack Riley left El Paso, Texas, to become the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s top man in Chicago. Even though he’s 1,500 miles from the border now, Mexico’s war against drug cartels still matters to him.

It should matter to all of us. More than 90 percent of the marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the Chicago area enters the U.S. from Mexico. Drug rings are expanding into the Midwest to control distribution with violence a good bet to follow.

“If we’re going to be successful, Mexico needs to be successful,” Riley says. “We can’t do it without them.”

Sadly, Mexico is falling short.

Mexico’s occasional triumphs are starting to seem more and more hollow as the death toll of the 4-year-long drug war tops … 30,000. Every day seems to bring another horrific tale — most recently, cameras rolled while masked gunmen mowed down anti-crime activist Marisela Escobedo as she held vigil at the doorstep of the Chihuahua governor’s palace.

If the mayhem continues unabated, we worry that Congress will lose the will to renew the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative — an infusion of U.S. equipment and training to combat international drug trafficking and other organized crime — when it expires in about a year.

To read more click here.

While Blago Awaits Retrial He Pushes Nuts

Gov Blagojevich in happier days/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some of his constituents have called him a nut, so perhaps the latest act of federal defendant Rod Blagojevich makes sense…or at least some cents.

Blagojevich joins Snooki, comic Lewis Black, and “Keyboard Cat” as a pitchman in the Wonderful Pistachios’s “Get Crackin'” ad campaign, the Chicago Reader reports.

Meanwhile, the disgraced ex-governor of Illinois awaits a retrial in April in U.S. District Court in Chicago on federal corruption charges. Blagojevich embarrassed prosecutors when he was convicted on only one of 24 corruption counts. The jury deadlocked on the remaining charges and a mistrial was declared.

Last week, at a hearing in Chicago, prosecutors said they were working on a questionnaire for jurors, the Associated Press.

His charges include allegations that he tried selling Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH6B5s4uWEQ

White House Nominates Andrew Traver to Head Up ATF

Andrew Traver/zerocancer.org photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As expected, the White House gave the nod on Monday to Andrew Traver, a 23-year-veteran of ATF, as the nominee to head the agency.

Traver has headed the ATF Chicago field division since 2004. From 2001 to 2004, he served as an assistant special agent in charge of the San Francisco office and  supervised criminal enforcement offices in the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.

From 2000 to 2001, he served as the assistant special agent in charge of the New Orleans division and from 1998 to 2000 he was a criminal investigator in the Office of Inspection at ATF headquarters in Washington.

Before that, from 1993 to 1998, Traver worked as a group supervisor in the Philadelphia. He joined ATF in 1987 and first worked in the Chicago office.

Kenneth Melson, a former federal prosecutor, has been in charge of ATF on an interim basis.

Father and Son Team Want Off Blago Case

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The father and son legal team that represented chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich have asked a judge to release them as the lawyers in the case, the Associated Press reports.

A hearing is set for Friday in downtown Chicago  in preparation for the retrial for the for Blagojevich, who was convicted on only one of 24 counts. The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 23.

AP reported that the father and son team of Sam Adam Jr. and Sam Adam Sr. did not specify why they want to be released, but said they want to remain as advisors.