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Archive for December 17th, 2009

FBI Contract Linguist Pleads Guilty to Leaking Top Secret Documents to a Blog

top-secret
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An FBI contract linguist with top security clearance, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to providing classified documents to an Internet blog, which published some of the information.

Shamai Kedem Leibowitz, 39, of Silver Spring, Md., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md., to disclosing to an unauthorized person 5 “Secret” FBI documents that contained classified information, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

His plea agreement calls for a sentence of 20 months in prison, but the sentencing judge does not have to accept the agreement.

The one-page criminal information did not disclose any details of the documents that related to communication intelligence activities of the U.S.

“As a trusted member of the FBI ranks, Leibowitz abused the trust of the FBI and the American public by using his access to classified information for his own purposes,”  FBI special agent in charge Richard McFeely of Baltimore in a prepared statement.

Leibowitz worked as an FBI contract linguist in the FBI’s Calverton, Md. office from January to August 2009.

Obama U.S. Atty. Appointments Now Outnumber Bush Appointees

It’s taken a while to get to this point, and frankly, it wouldn’t hurt to speed up the process. Each U.S. Attorney office deserves to have the stability that often comes with a permanent appointment.

One of the new Obama U.S. Attorneys Paul Fishman of NJ
One of the new Obama U.S. Attorneys Paul Fishman of NJ

By Joe Palazzolo
Main Justice

WASHINGTON – For the first time in this administration, Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys nominated by President Barack Obama outnumber Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys nominated by former President George W. Bush.

As of the end of November, more than 10 months into Obama’s presidency, the score was 24 Obama U.S. Attorneys to 21 Bush U.S. Attorneys, according to a review of Justice Department and congressional records. And of the 48 acting and interim U.S. Attorneys, just seven were appointed during the Bush administration.

The figures represent a watershed for the Obama administration, which has made halting progress filling the nation’s 93 U.S. Attorneys positions amid political resistance and a crowded legislative agenda.

For Full Story

Blago’s Attorney Could Call Pres. Obama as a Witness in June 3 Trial

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The realty-TV feel of the ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich public corruption case could get all the more intense if the defense calls President Barack Obama as a witness.

One of Blagojevich’s attorneys, Samuel Adams, on Wednesday hinted of the possibility of calling the President as a witness during trial, saying it would be “an awesome experience in any career” to question the leader of the Free World, according to Associated Press.

But Adams said it was too soon to tell whether it will be necessary, the AP reported. The President-elect had been interviewed by the FBI after allegations surfaced that the colorful Blagojevich was trying to sell Obama’s vacated senate seat. Obama is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Blagojevich, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, faces a 19-count indictment that  includes allegatations of trying to sell the senate seat and fundraising abuses.  Trial is set for June 3.

Drug Trafficker Had Surgically Altered All 10 Fingers to Obliterate Prints

fingerprint-smaller-versionBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

From all outward appearances, William Wallace Keegan’s sentence in Phoenix last week was nothing out of the ordinary: a big time drug dealer getting hit with a life sentence after a long career in the drug trade.

But what made his case stand out was the evidence at trial in June which showed that the 62-year-old (aka Richard Alan King) of Harbor, Fla., had all 10 fingers surgically altered in the 1990s to obliterate his fingerprints above the first joint, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Despite his unusual effort, a DEA press release said an agency forensic print analyst was still able to “match the lower joint fingerprints” to confirm his true identity.

Evidence during trial also showed that Keegan, along with others,  obtained cocaine in Arizona and transported most of it via the U.S. Postal Service to New York between November 2005 and January 2008.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton sentenced him to five concurrent life sentences for drug trafficking and 240 months for money laundering.

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