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Posts tagged ‘Office of Professional Responsibility’

U.S. Attorney Retaliated Against Fast and Furious Whistleblower.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

A former U.S. attorney in Phoenix leaked information to Fox News to discredit the main whistleblower in the failed “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking operation, Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said Monday.

Horowitz said the attorney, Dennis Burke, violated Justice Department policy when he gave a Fox News producer a memo concerning John Dodson, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent who testified before Congress, The Washington Post reports.

Burke was forced to resign from his U.S. attorney post on Aug. 30, 2011, and later admitted to leaking the memo. Horowitz has also asked the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility to determine if Burke violated the rules of professional conduct for state law boards.

His attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, said his client regrets his action, but claimed Burke did not intend to retaliate against Dodson.

Horowitz, though, in a 21- page report, found Burke’s actions were “particularly egregious” because of his efforts to undermine Dodson’s credibility about the failures of the gun operation.

In the memo Burke gave to Fox, a 2010 operation was detailed in which Dodson proposed acting undercover and delivering firearms to a suspected trafficker, but not to arrest anyone, in a plan similar to the Fast and Furious operation.

Fast and Furious began in Phoenix in 2009, with ATF agents attempting to track more than 2,000 weapons sold to drug traffickers in an effort to link the guns to a Mexican drug cartel. However, two of the guns were later found at the scene of a shootout in which a U.S. border agent was killed.

The operation led to a lengthy congressional investigation, during which Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was held in contempt for not disclosing documents about the Justice Department’s response.

Horowitz said Burke was already under investigation even before he gave Fox News the memo in June 2011, for leaking information to The New York Times. Just days before, he told Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole about his contacts with the Times, and was warned not to release other unauthorized information to the news media, Horowitz said in his report.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ex-U.S. agent who helped cartels gets 30 months in prison.

TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) – A former U.S. federal immigration agent was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Friday for accessing police databases and passing on sensitive information to family members with ties to Mexican drug cartels.

              Jovana Deas was accused of illegally obtaining and disseminating classified government documents while working as a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agent in Nogales, Ariz., a city on the border with Mexico. She also was charged with obstruction and lying to investigators.

              In February, she pled guilty to seven felonies and 14 misdemeanors in the case.

              “I ask my family to forgive me. I’m sorry for what I did. It was a horrible mistake. I feel like I betrayed my country and my agency,” a sobbing Deas told a federal court in Tucson before U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson handed down her sentence.

              “I’m asking for your mercy your honor, so I can go back to my family.”

              Prosecutors said Deas, who resigned from ICE last year, passed information pulled from restricted crime and immigration databases to her former brother-in-law, Miguel Angel Mendoza Estrada, a Mexican cartel associate with ties to drug traffickers in Brazil.

              Some of the information – concerning the prior criminal history and immigration status of a convicted Mexican national – was later discovered on Mendoza Estrada’s laptop by Brazilian police, according to court documents.

              U.S. Attorney James Lacey unsuccessfully pushed for a 10-year prison term, arguing that Deas’ crimes made her a “mini-Aldrich Ames” – a reference to the CIA agent who was convicted for spying for the Soviet Union and Russia in 1994.

              Deas’ career with the federal government began in 2003 when she became a U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector assigned to the Nogales port of entry. In 2008, she became an ICE special agent in the city.

              Also named in the indictment was Deas’ sister, Dana Maria Samaniego, a former Mexican law enforcement official with alleged ties to drug trafficking organizations who remains a fugitive.

              Corruption cases involving federal officers and agents have increased in recent years as the U.S. government has ramped up recruitment in a drive to secure the southwest border with Mexico.

              Between October 2004 and May of this year, 138 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents were arrested or indicted for corruption, including drug and illegal immigrant smuggling, money laundering and conspiracy, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

              Investigations by ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility last year resulted in the arrest of 16 ICE and U.S. Customs and Border protection employees. It was not clear how many of those cases have resulted in a conviction.

              (Editing by Tim Gaynor and Paul Simao)


ReutersBy Paul M. Ingram | Reuters 

Secret Service toughens rules of conduct after Colombia prostitution scandal.

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)The Secret Service, embarrassed by the Colombia prostitution scandal, moved Friday to avoid a possible repeat incident by toughening its “standards of conduct” with new restrictions on drinking alcohol, a ban on “patronizing of non-reputable establishments,” and a prohibition on agents bringing foreign nationals back to their hotel rooms.

Booze is off-limits 10 hours before an agent’s shift starts and should be consumed only “in moderate amounts” while off duty. When the official to be protected arrives, the consumption of alcohol is entirely forbidden.

Here is the list of the new rules, which Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary provided to Yahoo News:

The following enhanced standards of conduct are effective immediately.

1. Standards of conduct briefings will be conducted for all protective visits, events and NSSEs, as well as prior to foreign car plane departures.

2. The U.S. Department of State Regional Security Officer will work with the USSS advance team to provide intensified country-specific briefings upon arrival in a foreign country.  The briefings will update personnel on safety issues, off-limit zones and off-limit establishments for USSS personnel, and any country-specific rules imposed by the Ambassador.

3. Foreign nationals, excluding hotel staff and official counterparts, are prohibited in your hotel room.

4. Patronization of non-reputable establishments is prohibited.

5. Alcohol may only be consumed in moderate amounts while off-duty on a TDY assignment and alcohol use is prohibited within 10 hours of reporting for duty.

6. Alcohol may not be consumed at the protectee hotel once the protective visit has begun.

The following measures relating to foreign car plane staffing are effective immediately.

1. Car planes will be staffed with two GS-15 supervisors — one from the Office of Professional Responsibility and one from the field.

2. The car plane supervisors will be responsible for briefing the standards of conduct expectations prior to departure to the destination country, as well as for enforcing these standards while in the foreign country.

3. All personnel traveling will have to have completed relevant LMS-based ethics training in order to be eligible for protective travel.

4. The Security Clearance Division will intensify country-specific briefings covering all pertinent topics prior to departure for the destination country.

5. Laws of the United States shall apply to Secret Service personnel while abroad.


By Olivier Knox | The Ticket 

Three Secret Service personnel tied to Colombia prostitution scandal to leave agency.

Click image to see more photos. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)Click image to see more photos. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)The Secret Service announced late Wednesday that three of its personnel connected to the Colombia prostitute scandal–two supervisors and one agent–will leave the agency while eight more remain under investigation.

The agency is carrying out a full probe into the incident, including lie detector tests and witness interviews in Colombia, the assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service Office of Government and Public Affairs, Paul Morrissey, said in a statement.

“Although the Secret Service’s investigation into allegations of misconduct by its employees in Cartagena, Colombia, is in its early stages, and is still ongoing, three of the individuals involved will separate or are in the process of separating from the agency,” said Morrissey, whose office is running the probe.

One supervisor was allowed to retire from the agency. Another “has been proposed for removal for cause,” triggering a process in which that person can hire a lawyer and challenge the case against him. And one agent has resigned.

“The remaining eight employees continue to be on administrative leave. Their security clearances remain suspended,” Morrissey said.

“The Secret Service continues to conduct a full, thorough and fair investigation, utilizing all investigative techniques available to our agency. This includes polygraph examinations, interviews with the employees involved, and witness interviews, to include interviews being conducted by our Office of Professional Responsibility in Cartagena, Colombia,” he said.

[Related: Escort says Secret Service agent offered her just $30 for sex]

“Since these allegations were first reported, the Secret Service has actively pursued this investigation, and has acted to ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is effected. We demand that all of our employees adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards and are committed to a full review of this matter,” Morrissey said.

Meanwhile, ABC News’ Jake Tapper obtained a letter from the Republican chairman and Democratic ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to Secret Service director Mark Sullivan warning that the agents, who allegedly brought prostitutes to their rooms at the Hotel Caribe, may have brought the escorts “into contact with sensitive security information.” Congressmen Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings also requested a range of details from the agency, including a determination as to whether the women involved were all over 18 years of age.

In their letter, Issa and Cummings bluntly told Sullivan that “your task is to restore the world’s confidence in the U.S. Secret Service.”

“Our nation’s capacity to protect the President, the Vice President, and visiting foreign leaders, among others, is dependent on the character and judgment of the agents and officers of the U.S. Secret Service. The actions of at least 11 agents and officers in Colombia last week showed an alarming lack of both,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter obtained by ABC.

“The facts as you described them raised questions about the agency’s culture,” they wrote. “The incident in Cartagena is troubling because Secret Service agents and officers made a range of bad decisions, from drinking too much, to engaging with prostitutes, to bringing foreign nationals into contact with sensitive security information, to exposing themselves to blackmail and other forms of potential compromise.”


By Olivier Knox | The Ticket

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