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Tag: Congress

Column: Ex-FBI Official Says Naming Next FBI Director a Rare Opportunity for a Nonpartisan Appointment

Kathleen McChesney

By Kathleen McChesney, Ph.D.
FBI Executive Assistant Director (ret.)

As Robert S. Mueller III completes the final year of his ten-year term as the Director of the FBI, President Barack Obama and the United States Senate will have the critically important responsibility of nominating and confirming his successor.

This selection process should be devoid of the political posturing and gamesmanship that has surrounded the recent appointments of key government leaders and judges – but can only be so if the participants fully understand why the role of FBI Director is significantly different from other leadership positions.

While the FBI Director is not a political persona, the man or woman in this job exercises tremendous influence on international law enforcement issues and leaders.

The Director frequently makes crucial decisions on matters of national security and federal criminal investigations. He or she must be free to make decisions without fear of political consequences – especially in those cases involving public officials.

Read more »

Congressman’s Wife Pleads Guilty in False Tax Return Case

Rep. John Tierney

Rep. John Tierney

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Under the category of “certainly can’t help husband’s re-election bid” comes the guilty plea of Patrice Tierney, who’s Democratic husband Rep. John F. Tierney is running for re-election in Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe reports that she pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Boston  to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns for her brother, who is a federal fugitive facing illegal gambling and money laundering charges.

“I take full responsibility for what my part in this was,” Patrice Tierney told U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young, according to the Globe.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston charged that Patrice Tierney helped her brother, Robert Eremian “manage a bank account that collected more than $7 million in illegal gambling profits over seven years,” the Globe reported.

Authorities also alleged that she paid bills for his three children and ailing mother and gave a tax preparer information that resulted in a false tax return.

The Globe said Tierney’s brother ran a large-scale illegal gambling business in the United States from the early 1980s through the beginning of 2010.

IG Says FBI Misled Public and Congress About Surveilling Anti-War Rally in 2002

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI including the director gave inaccurate and misleading statements to Congress and the public about reasons why an agent conducted surveillance at an anti-war rally in 2002 at the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, according a report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

The report concluded that the FBI had no legitimate basis to believe that someone in a terrorism investigation would be present at the rally, contrary to what the FBI said in statements and the testimony Director Robert S. Mueller III delivered before Congress.

“We do not believe that the Director intentionally misled Congress,” the report concluded. “We found no evidence that he received information that should have given him reason to doubt the accuracy of the briefing material he relied on in preparing to testify.”

“Yet, it is clear that FBI personnel took insufficient care to ensure that Director Mueller was given accurate information. In this case, the Director was poorly served by those responsible for the contents of routing slip and press response.”

The FBI on Monday referred to a Sept. 14 letter written by FBI Deputy Director Timothy P. Murphy included in the report, which said: “The FBI regrets that incorrect information was provided regarding this matter.”

But it also applauded the findings of the overall report, which focused  on the FBI’s investigations on certain domestic advocacy groups.

“We are pleased the Report concludes the FBI did not target any groups for investigations on the basis of their First Amendment activities,” the letter said. ” As noted in your Report, (t)he FBI’s investigations of these individuals were generally predicated on concerns about potential criminal acts by these individuals, not their First Amendment rights.”

To read report click here.

Read Washington Post story

Column: Ex-Senators Say We’re Still Not Ready For Bioterrorism Attack

Ex- senators Bob Graham, a Democrat from Florida, and Jim Talent, a Republican from Missouri, served as the chair and vice chair of the Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.

Ex-Sen. Bob Graham/gov photo

Ex-Sen. Bob Graham/gov photo

By Bob Graham and Jim Talent
Washington Post Op-Ed Page

The two of us — at the request of Congress and in the service of two presidents — have for the past 30 months led a bipartisan effort to assess the danger of a WMD attack and recommend steps to reduce it.

In December 2008 the commission we led on the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism unanimously concluded that unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack by the end of 2013 — and that a biological attack is more likely than nuclear. This conclusion was publicly affirmed by then-Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell.

Information has since come to light about the possibility that one or more nation-states may choose to provide sophisticated biological weapons to terrorist groups. The scenario that would result is not that of more than two dozen people becoming ill and five dying, as happened after the anthrax mailings in October 2001, but a much darker picture, as described in a November 2009 National Security Council document.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

4 Ex-U.S. Attys. Win Republican Primary Bids; Fifth Gets Trounced

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four ex-U.S. Attorney’s won Republican primary bids Tuesday for public office. But perhaps in the most interesting race,  a  fifth ex-U.S. Attorney, Republican Mary Beth Buchanan —  a controversial figure during her reign as the top Pittsburgh prosecutor — got trounced in a contentious battle for the 4th Congressional District seat.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Buchanan was defeated by a relative unknown, attorney and ex-Bush official Keith Rothfus. The paper called it an upset that “was the culmination of a surprising campaign characterized by stinging attacks on both sides.”

Buchanan blamed her defeat on the anti-incumbent sentiment in the nation, even though she was not an elected official, the Post-Gazette reported. She was appointed by President Bush and stayed on for a while under the Obama administration. She got about a third of the votes.

Tom Corbett/ pa. state photo

Tom Corbett/ pa. state photo

Elsehwere around the country, according to the website Main Justice, which closely tracks U.S. Attorneys, former Arkansas U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin won the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District in Arkansas.

Three former Pennsylvania U.S. Attorneys won their contests in that state, according to Main Justice.  Pennsylania Attorney General Tom Corbett, a former U.S. Attorney,  won the Republican bid for Pennsylvania governor; Pat Meehan was unopposed in the Republican primary for a Congressional seat held by Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, who defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in the primary; and  Tom Marino won his bid in the Republican primary for a Congressional seat.

House Ethics Report Shows More than 30 Lawmakers Under Investigation

Rep. John Murtha/gov photo

Rep. John Murtha/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Perennial skeptics of Congress won’t  be particularly shocked to learn that more than 30 lawmakers and several aides are being scrutinized by House ethics investigators.

For those who had more faith in Capitol Hill, well, sorry bout that. Some of the lawmakers have been under FBI investigation as well.

The Washington Post reports that a 22-page “Committee on Standards Weekly Summary Report” was inadvertently placed on a publicly accessible computer network.

Some of the Congress members in the report include John Murtha (D-Pa.)  Peter Visclosky (D-Ind), C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W. Va.) who has been under federal investigation for failing to report all his real estate holdings.

To read more, click here and here for two separate articles in the Post.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

County Dem Chairman Wants Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan to Resign

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan
Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh continues to stir up controversy in her waning moments in office.

Allegheny County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn wants Buchanan to resign after reports surfaced that she is considering a bid for Congress, the Associated Press reports. He feels it’s a conflict of interest to remain in office while she considers a bid for Congress.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Buchanan, who was appointed by Bush in 2001, is considering a bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire next year. The AP said Buchanan has not commented on the report.

The Dems are in the process of finding a replacement for Buchanan, who had little chance of ever remaining as U.S. Attorney despite her hopes that she would.

Buchanan has been somewhat of a controversial figure during her reign. This past summer she was sharply criticized for implying that  a county medical examiner was guilty after she dismissed the charges that he used his office to financially benefit. The Justice Department launched a probe into the complaints.

Baseball Shortstop Miguel Tejada Gets Probaton for Lying to Congress

Miguel Tejada- webchannel4com21

Miguel Tejada- webchannel4com21

As expected, and as recommended by the prosecution, Miguel Tejada got probation. It’s probably the right call this time.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Former Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada today was sentenced to one year of probation, fined $5,000 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service for lying to Congress about his knowledge of performance-enhancing drug use in baseball.

Tejada, 34, pleaded guilty last month to making a misrepresentation to Congress, admitting that he lied to congressional staffers during an interview in a Baltimore hotel room in 2005 that focused on the prevalence of steroids in the game.

Tejada apologized for his actions during brief hearing this morning in the District’s federal courthouse. “I take full responsibility,” he said. “I apologize to the Congress and to the court and especially to the kids.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

D.C.’s Marion Barry Owes $277,000 in Back Taxes: Feds Want Him Jailed (By Del Quentin Wilber -Washington Post)