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Archive for September, 2008

Schumer Gives Homeland Security Poor Grade

 Homeland Security couldn’t get into a good college with this grade. Sen. Schumer gives the department a C-.

Sen. Schumer/senate photo

Sen. Schumer/senate photo

By Julian Vachon
Newsday
The United States has failed to close dangerous gaps in domestic security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as the Bush administration continues “dragging its feet” in enforcing new security measures, Sen.  Charles Schumer said yesterday.
 In his annual Homeland Security Report Card, Schumer (D N.Y.) said the country is at greater risk for an attack than it has been in previous years, and he lowered his grade for the government’s overall effort to a C-, from a C last year.
“We had a real focus on homeland security in the first two or three years following 9/11,” Schumer said, “but unfortunately it has faded.”
For Full Story

Islamic Group Working To Radicalize Youth

 Authorities in Britain and U.S. fear that an Islamic group is working to radicalize young men to promote terrorism. The FBI says the group has a presence in the U.S. 

Duncan Gardham
The Daily Telegraph
 LONDON — The leaders of the July 7, July 21 and liquid bomb plots all attended mosques and meetings run by the group Tablighi Jamaat, which is planning to build a large mosque near the site of the 2012 Olympics.
 The organisation works on a missionary basis, travelling from mosque to mosque in small groups or “jamaat” to encourage followers to return to the basic teachings of Islam. Tablighis follow a strain of Islam which has been associated with the Taliban in Afghanistan and with a terrorist group in Pakistani Kashmir. It has its largest presence in Mewat, India and Raiwind, Pakistan.
For Full Story
Related Story: Chertoff  Says Good Liquid Bomb Detector Still In The Works

The Abramoff Probe: A Case That Keeps Giving

 In a case that keeps on giving, a close associate of corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff was indicted today in Washington. The question begs: How many more indictments are there? 

By Carrie Johnson and Del Quentin Wilber
Washingnton Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — Former congressional aide Kevin A. Ring was charged with conspiracy, fraud and obstruction of justice for allegedly providing lawmakers and officials with gifts to win favors for lobbying clients, according to an indictment unsealed today.
Ring, 37, a close associate of disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has been under federal scrutiny for years as part of the wide-ranging public corruption probe that centered on Abramoff, who was sentenced to four more years in prison last week. A former aide to retiring Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.), Ring went on to work for Abramoff at lobbying firms in the District. Together the men lavished congressional and executive branch government officials with sports tickets, meals and golf vacations in a bid to secure favors for their clients, the 10-count indictment alleges
For Full  Story

Trial Starts Today For Ex-FBI Agent

A disgraced FBI agent from Boston allegedly provided information the feds say helped set up a murder in Florida. Jury selection begins today. 

By Kurt Anderson
Associated Press
MIAMI — John J. Connolly was hundreds of miles away in 1982 when gambling executive John Callahan’s bullet-riddled body was discovered in the trunk of his Cadillac at Miami’s airport.
The admitted shooter says he never met Connolly, the disgraced ex-FBI man at the heart of the agency’s sordid dealings with Boston’s Winter Hill Gang.
Yet Connolly will stand trial on murder and conspiracy charges this month as if he had pulled the trigger himself, because prosecutors say he secretly gave information that was crucial in setting up the hit. Jury selection is to begin Monday.
For Full Story

Skeptics Remain In Anthrax Probe

Bruce E. Ivins

Bruce E. Ivins

  After focusing on scientist Steven Hatfill for years, the FBI finally did an about face and said the real anthrax culprit was scientist Bruce Ivins. But not everyone is buying that including some key members of Congress. 

By Scott Shane and Eric Lichtblau
The New York Times
WASHINGTON — A month after the F.B.I. declared that an Army scientist was the anthrax killer, leading members of Congress are demanding more information about the seven-year investigation, saying they do not think the bureau has proved its case.
In a letter sent Friday to Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Democratic leaders of the House Judiciary Committee said that “important and lingering questions remain that are crucial for you to address, especially since there will never be a trial to examine the facts of the case.
For Full Story

FBI Probing Maryland State Politico

 Democratic state Sen. Nathanial Exum is the target of an FBI probe into an auto repair shop and state car inspections

By Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — The FBI has launched an inquiry into Maryland Sen. Nathaniel Exum (D-Prince George’s), questioning a now-retired state police captain and a fellow senator about Exum in recent months.
Robert F. Bambary, who retired after 35 years with the state police July 1, said he was interviewed by an FBI agent in June about Exum’s advocacy on behalf of a Prince George’s automobile repair shop that sought to resume Maryland state automobile inspections four years after its license to do so was revoked because of fraudulent practices.
For Full Story
 
 
 

Federal Authorities Crack Down At LAX Airport

   Immigrant smuggling has prompted federal authorities to take a second look at security at LAX airport in Los Angeles.

By Dan Weikel
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Airport officials and federal authorities said Thursday that they have tightened security at Los Angeles International Airport because of the recent arrest of an elevator mechanic suspected of smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States.
Officials for LAX and U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the measures included security adjustments at the federal inspection area inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
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Arrests Made In Connection With Slain DEA Agent

Agent Byrne/DEA photo

Agent Byrne/DEA photo

A Houston DEA agent in New Orleans was robbed and murdered while attending a conference on organized crime drug enforcement. Two people are now behind bars in connection with his death last Saturday.

By Peggy O’Hare
Houston Chronicle
Authorities have arrested two people linked to credit cards stolen from a Woodlands federal agent who died after he was severely beaten during an apparent robbery in New Orleans last week.
Thomas Joseph Byrne, 40, of The Woodlands (Tex.), who worked as a supervisory special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Houston office, died Saturday in a New Orleans hospital from injuries he suffered in an assault and robbery Aug. 28, officials said.
For Full Story
Read obituary/Washington Post