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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department Faces Serious Cuts If Sequestration Isn’t Avoided Today

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire

The Justice Department faces $1.6 billion in cuts – nearly 10% of it budget – if Congress and the White House can’t reach an agreement on the nation’s spending plan by later today, NPR reports.

Obama earlier warned of big cuts to federal law enforcement.

“FBI Agents will be furloughed,” Obama warned. “Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.”

Attorney General Eric Holder said a sequestration would be painful, NPR reported.

“Under sequestration, we’ll do the best that we can to minimize the harm that actually occurs as a result,” Holder said. “But the reality is that there is going to be harm. There is going to be pain, and the American people are going to be less safe. That is just a fundamental reality that people have got to get their heads around.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

Feds Won’t Investigate Whether DEA Agents Violated Human Rights in Honduras

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The state and justice departments have no intention of investigating complaints of human rights violations and other misconduct by DEA agents in Honduras, the Washington Times reports.

At issue is the May 2012 deaths of four Honduran villagers during an anti-drug operation along the Carribean coast.

Some lawmakers and human-rights groups have been demanding to know how much the DEA was involved in the deaths, the Washington Times reported.

More than 55 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have requested an investigation, but the Obama administration appears to be pleased with a report from Honduras that cleared the DEA of wrongdoing, the Washington Times wrote.

“There will be no separate investigation,” a U.S. official told The Washington Times this week.

New Orleans’ Top DEA Agent Jimmy Fox is the Target of an Internal Probe Over Possible Ethical Lapse

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Jimmy Fox III, head of the DEA in New Orleans, is the subject of an internal investigation, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

The paper reports he may have violated some ethics laws when he put in a bid to oversee sweeping reforms in the police department that had been ordered under a consent decree with the Justice Department.

The paper reported that he may have violated the federal government’s “revolving door” laws that deal with fed officials seeking new jobs.

“This matter is currently under internal review and I cannot comment further,” Dawn Dearden, a U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman, said in a statement published by the paper.

The paper reported that last summer  Fox  launched a businesses, Fox Security Services.  He uses his home as the business address.

To read the full story click here.

Justice Department Will Ignore Today’s Decriminalization of Pot in Washington State

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Washington state residents who smoke pot today in celebration of the first day of marijuana decriminalization better be on the watch for federal authorities, the Justice Department said Wednesday, the Washington Post reports.

“Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on Dec. 6 in Washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law,” said a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle on Wednesday evening.

Washington and Colorado voters approved decriminalization measures in November, but they conflict with federal law, which prohibits the use of marijuana.

Colorado’s law is expected to go into effect in a few weeks.

Justice Dept. Whacks BP: Company to Pay Record $4.5 billion Fine, and 3 People Criminally Charged

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department whacked BP Exploration and Production Inc.

The company agreed to plead guilty to felony manslaughter, environmental crimes and obstruction of Congress and pay a record $4.5 billion in criminal fines and penalties for its roll in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and caused the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday.

The 14-count information, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, charges BP with 11 counts of felony manslaughter, one count of felony obstruction of Congress, and violations of the Clean Water and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts.

“The $4 billion in penalties and fines is the single largest criminal resolution in the history of the United States and constitutes a major achievement toward fulfilling a promise that the Justice Department made nearly two years ago to respond to the consequences of this epic environmental disaster and seek justice on behalf of its victims,” said Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We specifically structured this resolution to ensure that more than half of the proceeds directly benefit the Gulf Coast region so that residents can continue to recover and rebuild.”

“The oil spill was catastrophic for the environment, but by hiding its severity BP also harmed another constituency – its own shareholders and the investing public who are entitled to transparency, accuracy and completeness of company information, particularly in times of crisis,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Enforcement. “Good corporate citizenship and responsible crisis management means that a company can’t hide critical information simply because it fears the backlash.”

Additionally,  Robert M. Kaluza, 62, of Henderson, Nev., and Donald J. Vidrine, 65, of Lafayette, La. – the highest-ranking BP supervisors onboard the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010 – were charged with allegedly engaging in negligent and grossly negligent conduct in a 23-count indictment charging violations of the federal involuntary manslaughter and seaman’s manslaughter statutes and the Clean Water Act.

David I. Rainey, 58, of Houston – a former BP executive who served as a Deputy Incident Commander and BP’s second-highest ranking representative at Unified Command during the spill response – is charged with obstruction of Congress and making false statements to law enforcement officials.

Read Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.’s Statement

 

John Kiriakou Plea Provokes Bitter Name-Calling Among Lawyers

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON –– Is John Kiriakou a leaker or a patriotic whistleblower? Some rare, public name-calling among lawyers close to the case has broken out over the question.

Some of the ex-CIA man’s most fervent supporters claim the government is persecuting a patriot who helped expose CIA water boarding and the other “enhanced interrogation techniques” many people equate with torture.

The Justice Department begs to differ, of course. It argues the case is simple: Kiriakou “repeatedly” disclosed classified information and the names of covert CIA employees to journalists.

To read more clickhere.

Violence Crime Surged Last Year Following Two Decades of Declines

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A nearly 20-year decline in violence has come to an end, according to a federal survey on crimes, the USA Today reports.

The violent crime rate rose 17% last year, while the rate of property crimes increased 11%, according to the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey.

Whether the rise was anomalous or part of a disturbing new trend remains unclear, criminal justice analysts told the USA Today.

“I wouldn’t make much out of it,” said University of Maryland criminologist Charles Wellford. “One year does not make a trend, and these institutional measures (the Justice survey and the FBI crime report) are best at measuring trends.”

Lawmakers Upset Over Rift Between Reno ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada

Sen. Grassley/official photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Three members of Congress are increasingly putting pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder to explain the U.S. Attorney’s  dysfunctional relationship with the Reno-based ATF office, Main Justice reports.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada has refused to prosecute ATF cases in the Reno office, leaving as many as a dozen cases untouched..

“The Justice Department has yet to respond to any of Congress’ questions about what happened in Reno for more than a year,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a a statement. “It’s an abdication of responsibility on the part of the Justice Department, and if these crimes weren’t prosecuted, whether because of actions of the U.S. Attorney or the ATF, the people of Nevada should know why.”

Two Nevada lawmakers joined the call for answers.

The cause of the strained relationship remains unclear, but agents have virtually abandoned the Reno, according Main Justice.