A private prison in Idaho is under fire for possible criminal wrongdoing.
Top Democratic lawmakers in the state are urging the FBI to investigate Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company based in Tennessee, because the state lacks the manpower and expertise to handle such a large inquiry, the Associated Press reports.
The company admitted last year that it understaffed the Idaho Correctional Center, the largest prison in the state, and that employees falsified records to cover up the vacancies.
“We request that the FBI investigate whether CCA, its employees, or its officers and leadership engaged in criminal conduct and defrauded the state of Idaho and our citizens by falsifying time sheets over many years to hide chronic understaffing. We also ask that you use your expertise to define the nature and scope of any investigation since the full nature of the potential criminal activities is, at present, unknown,” a group of lawmakers wrote.
A Border Patrol agent became so enraged when his wife wouldn’t kiss him that he threatened his family with a gun, shoved his wife and then shot their dog, Las Cruces Sun-News reports.
Carmelo Diaz Jr., 44, of Las Cruces was charged with three felonies, including aggravated assault against a family member and extreme animal cruelty.
His wife told police that when she refused to kiss her husband Wednesday, he pinned her to the ground and then threatened to commit suicide with a .40-caliber handgun.
Soon after, Diaz is accused of pointing the gun at his wife and their teenage son.
When they fled, he shot and paralyzed the family’s mixed-breed dog, which had to be euthanized.
“Girls” star and creator Lena Dunham was detained by the TSA recently for possessing what she considered a “cute little cat” at Los Angeles International Airport, Today reports.
Dunham was carrying a “self-defense key chain.”
“It’s shaped like a cat — it goes over your knuckles,” she told Seth Meyers on “Late Night” on Thursday, “but I guess the two ears could gut somebody.”
TSA agents conducted a criminal background check and refused to let Dunham make calls while they investigated.
“I understood sort of intellectually it could be used as a weapon,” she added, “but really all I thought was like, What a cute little cat!”
The DEA wasn’t barking up the wrong tree when agents raided a doggy daycare in Washington state.
King 5 News reports that Arlington Doggy Daycare was selling heroin out of its business in Arlingotn.
Busted was 42-year-old David Funk, who was charged this week with knowingly and internationally distributing heroin.
Funk also lives in a mobile home on the property of Arlington Doggy Daycare.
His relationship with the business wasn’t immediately clear.
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST
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- Border Patrol Kills Bandits, Injures Mirant in Desert Attack
- TSA Agent Was Going to Reject Washington D.C. Driver’s License
WASHINGTON — After running nearly 40 undercover storefront stings in the last five years, the ATF’s deputy director says no such operations are now underway and that improvements in oversight have been made in the wake of botched operations nationwide.
Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon testified Thursday before the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, and acknowledged significant deficiencies in undercover storefront stings saying there was no justification for having the wrong people charged, as happened in Milwaukee, or the lack of outside cover teams to ensure armed felons didn’t leave.
He called locating an undercover gun-buying operation in Portland, Ore., across the street from a middle school “a mistake” and said it “wasn’t great judgment” for agents there to pay two teens to get tattoos depicting the fake storefront’s logo of a giant squid smoking a joint.
He said the young men requested the tattoos — testimony that conflicts with the account of events described in court by the prosecuting attorney.
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Update: Thursday, 4:30 p.m. — Attorney Gen. Eric Holder was released from the hospital this afternoon. The Justice Department issued a statement:
“The Attorney General has been discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He was taken there earlier today as a precaution, after experiencing lightheadedness and shortness of breath during a senior staff meeting at the Justice Department in Washington.
“The Attorney General arrived at the hospital at approximately 10:30 am, and was treated for an elevated heart rate. He received medication that quickly restored his heart rate to a normal level, and after successfully completing a full range of tests, doctors were satisfied that the Attorney General could be discharged.
“He departed the hospital at 1:15 pm. He walked out without any assistance, and has returned home, where he is resting comfortably.By Allan Lengel ticklethewire.com
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has a stressful job, and perhaps the stress peeked its head on Thursday.
The Justice Department reported that as a precaution after feeling faint and being short of breath Thursday during a morning staff meeting, Holder was taken MedStar Washington Hospital Center by ambulance. He appears to be doing fine.
The Justice Department issued a statement saying:
“During his regular morning meeting with senior staff, the Attorney General began experiencing symptoms including faintness and shortness of breath. As a precaution, the Attorney General was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center to undergo further evaluation. He is currently resting comfortably and in good condition. He is alert and conversing with his doctors. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.”
He will remain in the hospital for testing, the station reported.
A former head of the Office of Inspector General’s Atlanta office faces charges of making false statements to a bank to obtain a mortgage loan and conspiring to obstruct an investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta said Thursday.
Herschell Harvell, Jr., 53, made his initial appearance in federal court in Atlanta. Harvell’s co-defendant and nephew, Tavus A. Wright also made his initial appearance on federal charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury.
He is accused of obstructing an investigation into his real estate transactions by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG). He was terminated last year.
“As a federal law enforcement officer, Harvell was entrusted with supervising mortgage fraud investigations,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. in a statement“It is particularly troubling that someone responsible for investigating mortgage fraud is charged with committing it and with obstructing justice to cover up his crimes.”
David Montoya, Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said in a statement: “It is a regrettable day for the dedicated, hard-working men and women of our organization. We cannot tolerate or condone the abuse of trust and the violation of the very laws that Mr. Harvell was sworn to investigate and that is why I brought this matter to the attention of the U.S. Attorney. I am profoundly disappointed at that break down of our former employee’s ethical and moral compass.”
A press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta stated:
Between 2007 and 2012, Harvell served as a supervisory Special Agent in several HUD-OIG offices, including as a Special Agent in Charge in Fort Worth and Atlanta. Harvell also owned residential homes in the Atlanta area as investment properties. During 2007 and 2008, he acquired and refinanced several more homes with mortgage loans. In addition, in January and February 2008, Harvell purchased a Precision Tune automobile care franchise, incurring significant expenses in connection with that purchase.
On March 25, 2008, Harvell refinanced one of his rental homes and received over $23,000 in cash. Harvell’s loan application represented that he had a $70,000 certificate of deposit and that he received $6,180 in monthly rental income from six residential homes. The indictment alleges that these representations were false. It is alleged that Harvell had cashed in the certificate of deposit more than a month before, during the time period that he was purchasing the Precision Tune Franchise. In addition, it is alleged that Harvell’s houses were not rented or producing the rental income as stated on his loan application. For example, it is alleged that Harvell in fact received less than $900 in rent in March 2008 and for the year to date, had received less than $6,000 total in rental income.
The indictment alleges that during the course of the HUD-OIG investigation of the accuracy of Harvell’s loan application, Harvell’s nephew, Tavus Wright, provided false information to agents and perjured himself before the grand jury about whether he had signed a document used to demonstrate to Harvell’s lender that one of his houses was rented.
A state investigation into the mysterious fatal shooting of a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerian Tsaranev during an FBI interview is expected to be released next month.
The Boston Herald reports that Florida state Attorney Jeffrey Ashton anticipates releasing the report by the end of March.
The Florida investigation is one of three into what happened to 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev when he was being interview by FBI agents and state police at his Orlando apartment.
Mythili Raman, the Justice Department’s top criminal attorney, is leaving the agency next month following high-profile cases of corporate misdeeds, Reuters reports.
Raman is a 17-year veteran of the department and once acted as chief after her predecessor, Lanny Breuer, stepped down last year.
Raman said she’s not sure what’s next in her career.
A Senate panel today is expected to consider Breuer’s replacement, Leslie Caldwel, a former federal prosecutor who helped prosecute Enron Corp.
A special congressional panel will investigate revelations this week that the FBI was in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in the early 1990s, the Washington Times reports.
The agency’s close contact with bin Laden was never included in the official investigations of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but the Washington Times disclosed the existence of a mole Wednesday after being tipped off about an old employment case that happens to divulge the information.
The investigation will be taken up by a special panel that was recently authorized by Congress to review FBI reforms following the terrorist attacks.
Budget cuts have forced Homeland Security to reduce the number of Federal Air Marshals whose job is to protect aircrafts from terrorists, CNN reports, citing internal emails.
The department declined to say how many marshals the department has lost in the past three years.
Critics blasted the department for its secrecy surrounding the issue.
It’s believed that the agency had about 3,500 air marshals about two years ago.
Air Marshal Director Robert Bray said the agency’s budget has been slashed from $966 to $806 million over the past three years.
Agents left their guns behind in bathroom stalls, at a hospital, outside a movie theater and on a plane, according to the records, obtained Tuesday by the news organization under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
In December 2009, two 6-year-old boys spotted an agent’s loaded ATF Smith & Wesson .357 on a storm sewer grate in Bettendorf, Iowa. The agent lived nearby and later said he couldn’t find his gun for days but didn’t bother reporting it — until it hit the local newspaper.
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The FBI had direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and learned that he was trying to finance terrorist attacks inside the U.S., according to the Washington Times.
The information about the al Qaeda leader quietly emerged from an employment dispute case involving an FBI agent in 2010 and escaped the attention of the media.
“It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al Qaeda, directly involved,” Edward J. Curran, a former top official in the FBI’s Los Angeles office, told the court in a case by former agent Bassem Youssef.
Members of the Sept. 11 commission and experts in terrorism expressed surprise when told of the discovery.
“I think it raises a lot of questions about why that information didn’t become public and why the 9/11 Commission or the congressional intelligence committees weren’t told about it,” said former Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, who chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2004 through 2007 when lawmakers handled the fallout from the 9/11 Commission’s official report.
Automatic spending cuts last year resulted in the elimination of more than 2,000 FBI jobs and a freeze on training for new agents.
Now the FBI is ready to hire and restart training, the Washington Post reports.
FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that he’s authorized the opening of 700 positions throughout the country’s field offices.
And there’s even better news: He plans on hiring even more.
“We’re going to be doing more of that in the form of agents, intelligence analysts and support personnel,” he said during a brief news conference at the FBI’s Omaha field office in Nebraska. “We’re trying to figure out now where those should go, based on where the need is and the highest unaddressed risk is. That was actually part of my conversations here today with the (local) leadership — what are their needs and what are their gaps where they might use more resources.”
It was one of the most storied sports moments in history – Muhammed Ali defeating heavyweight champion Sonny Liston 50 years ago today.
But was the fight fixed?
The Washington Times asks this question after receiving four-decade-old records that show the FBI believed the fight may have been decided by a Las Vegas figure, Ash Resnick, who is tied to organized crime and Liston.
The most eye-opening evidence comes from a 1966 interview with Houston gambler Barnett Magids.
“On one occasion, Resnick introduced Magids to Sonny Liston at the Thunderbird, [one of the Las Vegas hotels organized crime controlled],” the memo states. “About a week before the Liston and Clay fight in Miami, Resnick called and invited Magids and his wife for two weeks in Florida on Resnick. Magids‘ wife was not interested in going, but Magids decided to go along, and Resnick was going to send him a ticket.
“Two or three days before the fight, Magids called Resnick at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami to say he could not come,” the memo states. “On this call, he asked Resnick who he liked in the fight, and Resnick said that Liston would knock Clay out in the second round. Resnick suggested he wait until just before the fight to place any bets because the odds may come down.
“At about noon on the day of the fight, [Magids] reached Resnick again by phone, and at this time, Resnick said for him to not make any bets, but just go watch the fight on pay TV and he would know why and that he could not talk further at that time.
“Magids did go see the fight on TV and immediately realized that Resnick knew that Liston was going to lose,” the document states. “A week later, there was an article in Sports Illustrated writing up Resnick as a big loser because of his backing of Liston. Later people ‘in the know’ in Las Vegas told Magids that Resnick and Liston both reportedly made over $1 million betting against Liston on the fight and that the magazine article was a cover for this.”
Virginia Seitz, the leader of an influential Justice Department office that handles surveillance and security, quietly resigned from her job after less than three years on the job, NPR reports.
Seitz received Senate confirmation in 2011, taking over the unit responsible for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
Sources told NPR that Seitz was well-liked but the job was demanding, and she’s grieving from the loss of a close friend last year.
“Ms. Seitz served for 2 1/2 years in one of the most demanding jobs at the department and was deeply admired throughout the building. Her reasons for leaving were entirely personal, and we respected that,” said Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon.
The Border Patrol agent who pulled the trigger in a deadly shooting along the California-Mexico border last week had just over two years on the job, ABC 10 News reports.
Agent Daniel Basinger is now back on duty.
The shooting happened around 6:40 a.m. on Feb. 18 after two agents split up to capture fleeing suspects who were trying to cross the border into the U.S. That’s when a third suspect was spotted.
Basinger “ordered the man to stop in English and Spanish but he fled on foot,” Giannantonio said. “The agent chased after him, following him down a ravine and back up the opposite hillside.”
The agent then came under attack from fist-sized rocks thrown by the suspect.
“One of the larger rocks struck the agent in the head,” he said. “Fearing that another rock strike to the head could kill or incapacitate him, the agent fired his duty pistol at least twice at the man, striking him.”
The DEA issued a statement Monday applauding the arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera while playing down statements made by retired DEA agents like Phil Jordan.
The DEA statement said:
Remarks made by retired Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Phil Jordan and those of other retired DEA agents do not reflect the views of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera was a significant achievement for Mexico and a major step forward in our shared fight against transnational organized crime, violence, and drug trafficking. We congratulate the Mexican people and their government on the capture of the alleged head of the Sinaloa Cartel. The DEA and Mexico have a strong partnership and we will continue to support Mexico in its efforts to improve security for its citizens and continue to work together to respond to the evolving threats posed by transnational criminal organizations.
Jordan had told CNN of the arrest:
“It is a significant arrest, provided he gets extradited immediately to the United States. If he does not get extradited, then he will be allowed to escape within a period of time.
“When you arrest the most powerful man in the Americas and in Mexico, if you talk to any cartel member, they’ll say that he’s more powerful than Mexican President Peña Nieto. This would be a significant blow to the overall operations not only in the Americas, but Chapo Guzman had expanded to Europe. He was all over the place. If he is, in fact, incarcerated, until he gets extradited to the United States, it will be business as usual.”
“It was too easy,” said a young woman of model height, her back to the sea, her eyes fixed on the 12-story condominium where Mexican marines and United States agents grabbed him early on Saturday morning. “No shootout, no final stand?”
The takedown this weekend of the world’s most wanted man — the chief executive of what experts describe as the world’s most sophisticated narcotics enterprise, the Sinaloa cartel — upended long-held assumptions about the impunity of Mexican mobsters.
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For decades, FBI agents and other law enforcement in New York who were illegally parked faced little to no consequences.
But now the New York Times reports that the city’s police department is beginning to tow hundreds of cars belonging to agencies such as the FBI.
In 2013, the city towed 1,855 cars that were illegally parked but had identifying plaques displayed in their windows. Of those, 311 were federal vehicles; 361 were police vehicles; and 242 were from the Fire Department.
Although fines aren’t paid, it is a time-consuming hassle. Agents must go to Police Headquarters and explain that they were on official business before going to retrieve the car in the tow pound.