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Tag: Justice Department

DOJ Report: Justice Dept. Temporarily Lost Track of 2 Suspected Terrorists in Witness Protection Program

By Fox News

The Justice Department temporarily lost track of two known or suspected terrorists who were in the witness protection program — and allowed others on the no-fly list to board commercial flights — according to a watchdog report which fueled criticism of the administration.

“This is gross mismanagement — pure and simple,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

The allegations were made in an inspector general report released Thursday. The report found agencies in the department did not properly share the new identities of some in witness protection — the lapse meant those new names were not updated in the no-fly list.

To read more click here.

 

Atty. General Eric Holder Says He Recused Himself in Justice Department Leak Probe Involving Associated Press

By Sari Horwitz and William Branigin
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Tuesday that he recused himself from involvement in a Justice Department leak investigation that secretly acquired telephone records of Associated Press journalists.

But in response to questions at a news conference, he defended the department’s conduct in probing what he described as one of the damaging leaks he has seen.

Holder said he testified in June 2012 that he was interviewed by the FBI in connection with the probe into a leak of classified information to the AP. “To avoid any potential appearance of a conflict of interest,” he said, “I recused myself from this matter.”

Since then, he said, the investigation has been conducted by the FBI under the direction of the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and the supervision of the deputy attorney general, James M. Cole.

Read the full story click here.

Justice Department Secretly Monitored Phone Calls at Associated Press in “Unprecedented Intrusion”

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Calling it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion,” the Justice Department covertly collected two months of telephone records from reporters and editors at the Associated Press, CNN reports.

The records came from the work and person phone numbers reporters and other at the AP.

It’s uncertain what officials are looking for, but one theory is that investigators are interested in an AP story about a foiled terror plot, the AP wrote.

“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know,” Pruitt said.

Even members of Congress were dumbfounded.

“The First Amendment is first for a reason,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “If the Obama administration is going after reporters’ phone records, they better have a damned good explanation.”

Experts Say Too Many High-Level Justice Department Jobs Are Vacant

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Experts are worried about numerous vacancies in the criminal and national security divisions of the Justice Department, Sari Horwitz of the Washington Post reports.

“There is no question that the vacancies always have an effect,” Robert Raben, an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration, said. “Senior leadership matters in policymaking, responsiveness to Congress and making cases.”

The Washington Post wrote that high-level positions for appointees and department heads create a security threat, according to former Justice Department officials.

But Max Stier, president and chief executive of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, said those kinds of positions often take time to be filled during the beginning of a president’s second term.

“It’s critical to have these positions filled,” Stier said. “It’s very difficult even when there are capable acting or career people in those jobs because the organization just doesn’t operate in the same way.”

Justice Department Makes It Easier for Law Enforcement to Obtain Personal E-Mails

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Justice Department has abandoned it’s long-standing opposition to requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before gaining access to certain e-mails, the Washington Post reports.

The department had objected to law enforcement accessing e-mails that are 180 days old or less if they had been unopened, the Post reported.

“There is no principled basis” to treat e-mails differently based on age, said Elana Tyrangiel, acting assistant attorney general in the department’s Office of Legal Policy, said Tuesday while testifying before a House Judiciary Committee.

Tyrangiel also said opened and unopened mail should be treated no differently.

Currently law enforcement may obtain older or opened e-mails with just a subpoena, the Post reported.

Key Republican Congressman Wants Answers on Report of Racism at Justice Department

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A report that chronicled “hostile, racist and inappropriate behavior” among Justice Department employees has prompted a senior Republican in Congress to question why the workers are still employed, the Washington Times repots.

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s inquiry follows an alarming report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who found ideological differences that were disrupting the Civil Rights Division.

The Washington Times wrote that the report detailed the premature dismissal of a case against the New Black Panthers.

The report details problems dating back to President Clinton and persisting through the administrations of George W. Bush and Obama.

Justice Department: Violence Against Women Plummeted Over Past Decade

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The rate of women and girls 12 or older who are being sexually assaulted has decreased 64% over the past decade, the Justice Department reported Thursday, CBS News reports.

In 2010, for example, 270,000 rapes or sexual assaults were investigated, compared to 560,000 in 1995 CBS News wrote.

The biggest drops occurred between 1995 and 2005. Since then, the figures have remained relatively stable.

“We have a ways to go,” Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, told ABC News. “It is clear there is still too much violence and too many are fearful to report it.”

Indictments Flow in FBI Probe of Prison “Culture” of Covering Up Inmate Beatings

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — The correctional staffers met at a McDonald’s restaurant to get their stories straight. Having already lied to investigators probing the brutal March 2008 beatings of inmate Kenneth Davis at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, saying they knew nothing about the incident, they needed to make sure they maintained that fiction—even consulting books about interview techniques to help them mislead truth-seekers. A lieutenant, now charged with obstructing justice for helping facilitate the cover-up, had provided the books and shared officers’ home phone numbers in order to set up the meeting away from work.

The jailers’ coordinated cover-up efforts in the aftermath of the Davis beatings are alleged in federal court documents filed in a quickly mounting Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division prosecution based on an ongoing FBI probe. Two federal grand jury indictments for conspiring to beat Davis and cover up the crimes were handed down Feb. 27 against nine current and former Maryland corrections staffers, with other criminal conspiracy charges filed previously against another four.

So far, four current corrections employees—lieutenants Edwin Stigile and Jason Weicht, sergeant Josh Hummer, and correctional officer Walter Steele—and nine former officers have been charged. Three former officers and a former sergeant, Lanny Harris, were charged previously via criminal informations, which are filed with the defendants’ consent and usually indicate a guilty plea is imminent; three of them—Ryan Lohr, Dustin Norris, and Philip Mayo—have already pleaded guilty. The other indicted former officers are James Kalbflesh, Jeremy McCusker, Tyson Hinckle, Reginald Martin, and Michael Morgan. Those indicted face maximum sentences of between 25 and 55 years in prison.

To read full story click here.