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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Dept. Reports Says U.S. Was “Safe Haven” For Nazis and Their Collaborators

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A 600-page, never-released Justice Department report concludes that the American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the U.S. for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, the New York Times reports.

“It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible,” the New York Times reported.

It also discusses the successes and failures of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, created in 1979 to deport Nazis, the Times reported.

The Times reporter Eric Lichtblau writes:

“Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.”

To read more click here.

To read full report click here.

Ex-LA U.S. Atty. Writes Check After Getting Busted for Ripping Off Taxpayers: He’s 1 of 5 U.S. Attys Cited in IG Report

Thomas O'Brien/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Former Los Angeles U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O’Brien says he wrote a check this week reimbursing the government in instances where he stayed in hotel rooms that cost more than the government-approved rate, the Los Angeles Times reported.

O’Brien was one of five U.S. Attorneys cited in a Justice Department Inspector General report released Monday who went beyond the government approved rate on different occasions. The report, which covered the years 2007 to 2009, did not identify the U.S. Attorney’s by name.

But two others names identified in media reports included former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is now governor of New Jersey,  and former Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.

Mary Beth Buchanan

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which identified Buchanan, reported that the violators weren’t required to reimburse taxpayers because rules at the time allowed U.S. Attorney’s to approve their own travel.

The report found that some of O’Brien’s claims for reimbursement were “inappropriate and egregious violations” of the travel policies, the Times reported. It said the total overage amounted to $903.

The Times reported that O’Brien, now in private practice, denied any misconduct, but takes “full responsibility” for any oversights.

The Times reported that O’Brien said all his travel was approved by Washington and that he was not asked to repay for the overages,, he did so on Tuesday, one day after the report was released.

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette wrote that Buchanan had overages of $4,221.

The Post-Gazette reported that in June Buchanan said she had always followed department rules if she had gone over the government rate.

Gov. Chris Christie/state photo

Chris Christie

“I can assure you the process was followed each and every time,” she said, according to the paper.

As for Christie, the report, which identified him only as “U.S. Attorney C”, said :  “These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.”

He has publicly declined to comment on the report.

The report said Christie — considered a rising star in the Republican party – stayed at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for $449 per night and the $475-per-night Four Seasons Hotel in Washington at a cost of more than double the government rate for those cities.

The website Main Justice was the first to identify Christie as a violator.

Read report.

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Atty. Gen. Holder Says “Close to Decision” on 9/11 Trial

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Here’s a controversial issue that won’t go away: Where to hold the 9/11 trial.

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., who has often been treated like a pinata by Republican members of the Senate Judiciary when confronted about the issue, says the government is “close to a decision” on how to try Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his fellow co-defendants, the New York Daily News reported.

“We have been working on it, and I think we’re close to a decision,” Holder told reporters.

The Daily News reported that Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said: “I urge Attorney General Holder not to hold any 9/11 trials in New York or anywhere in the U.S,”

“The trial should not and will not be in New York,” added Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the News reported.

Column: U.S. Attys Rip Off Taxpayers on Hotel Rooms

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The words “offensive” and “disgusting” and “criminal” best describe the findings of a Justice Department Inspector General report this week which found that five U.S. Attorneys stuck taxpayers with hefty hotel bills.

In other words, they went far beyond the allotted allowance for rooms.

And the worst offender, the report said, was the New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie — who is now the state’s governor — who has crusaded against corruption. This sounds rather corrupt to me.

He was U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2008.

“After reviewing the travel documents and interviewing the U.S. Attorney’s secretary, we found insufficient justification for exceeding the government rate with respect to 14 of the 15 trips,” the report said of Christie.

“These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.”

The report said Christie — considered a rising star in the Republican party – stayed at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for $449 per night and the $475-per-night Four Seasons Hotel in Washington at a cost of more than double the government rate for those cities.

Guess what. Go to Orbitz right now. Punch in hotels for  Boston and Washington.

The St. Gregory Luxury Hotel at 20th and M Streets NW in D.C. — a pretty darn nice neighborhood and a four-star hotel — is going this week for $211 a night. And guess what, it’s right near a Four Seasons Hotel where Christie spent $475 a night. And the five-star Langham hotel in Boston is going for $257 a night — far less than the $449 a night he spent at the Nine Zero Hotel.

Christie’s press secretary did not return a call when I called for comment. Not surprising.  There’s no justification for ripping off the taxpayers.

What Christie and the other four U.S. Attorneys need to do is take out a check book and reimburse the taxpayers. They also need to remember, while they’re presidential appointees, they are not the PRESIDENT. They can stay at an Embassy Suites or a Hilton.

It’s all about doing the right thing.

Royal Dutch Shell and Other Firms Pay $236.5 Million in Fines for Foreign Bribes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Royal Dutch Shell PLC, a  Swiss freight company, four oil service companies and a U.S. shipping firm will pay a total of $236.5 million in criminal and civil fines for bribing foreign officials in 10 countries for favorable treatment, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The companies bribed officials for favorable treatment in customs duties, imports and taxes, authorities said.

Authorities said the break down of the fines were as follows: $156.5 million in criminal fines and about $80 million in civil fines and restitution.

For more details click “read more” below.

Read more »

Baltimore Cop Gets 5 Years In Beating of Handcuffed Juvenile

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Baltimore cop Gregory Mussmacher was convicted in state court of assault after he used his police baton to strike a handcuffed and shackled juvenile in the head and face.

But the conviction was reversed. So in stepped the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which convicted Mussmacher in May for the 2004 beating and obstructing justice by trying to cover the matter up, authorities said.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Baltimore sentenced the former  Baltimore cop to five years in prison, the Justice Department announced.

During its probe into the matter, the Justice Department also brought charges against  two officers, Guy Gerstel and Wayne Thompson,  who pleaded  guilty and testified against Mussmacher. Gerstel, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation, is set to be sentenced later this month. Thompson, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction charge, was sentenced in September to 6 months of home detention.

“The power that accompanies a police officer’s badge does not give the officer the right to violate the civil rights of those in his or her custody,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil rights Division. “The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute any officer who abuses their power and violates the public trust in this way.”

“Any police officer who abuses a suspect, writes false reports and obstructs justice must be held accountable,” added Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. “This case is an embarrassment to the many officers who earn our confidence by performing their duties with honor and integrity.”

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Civil Rights Commission Blasts Justice Dept. on Black Panther Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The New Black Panther Party voter intimidation controversy continues to haunt the Justice Department and the Obama administration.

A draft report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concludes that the Justice Department tried hiding the fact high-level political officials were involved in dropping most of the charges in the case in which members of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia stood outside a polling place trying to intimidate white voters, according to the website Talking Points Memo. One man was carrying a nightstick.

The commission will vote on the report Friday.

“[T]he record of communications within the Department appears to indicate that senior political appointees played a significant role in the decision making surrounding the lawsuit,” the report says, according to Talking Points Memo. “The involvement of senior DOJ officials by itself would not be unusual, but the Department’s repeated attempts to obscure the nature of their involvement and other refusals to cooperate raise questions about what the Department is trying to hide.”

The Justice Department disputed the allegations.

“The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved,” Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokeswoman said, according to the Talking Points Memo. “We are committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of the federal laws that prohibit voter intimidation.”

To read more click here.

Read report

U.S. Marshals Help Track Down Health Care Executive in Mexico

Rebecca Parrett/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sophisticated and a person of means, convicted health care executive Rebecca S. Parrett was one tough person to track down. She was on the lam for two years.

But the Justice Department announced Wednesday that Mexican authorities arrested Parrett, 62, Tuesday in the resort town of Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, thanks to information provided by the U.S. Marshals Service in Columbus Ohio. She was immediately deported to the U.S.

The capture came after the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies followed leads in more than a dozen states and several foreign countries, the Justice Department said.

Parrett fled in March of 2008 after a federal jury convicted her on charges stemming from her role in a $2.8 billion fraud that led to the collapse of National Century Financial Enterprise, based in Dublin, Ohio. It was one of the largest health care financiers in the nation.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years, and this was the most detailed and far-reaching investigation I’ve ever been a part of,” Drew Shadwick, deputy U.S. marshal in Columbus, Ohio told the Washington Post. “She was difficult to find, because she is intelligent, she was a woman of means and she had plenty of time to plan her escape.”

“She was living comfortably – making friends and going out dancing,” Shadwick told the Post.

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