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November 2008


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for November, 2008

Columinist: Anthrax Probe Not FBI’s Prouder Moment

The long, drawn out anthrax investigation is sure to be sliced and diced by critics for years to come. Gabriel Schoenfeld of Commentary Magazine takes a shot.

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Gabriel Schoenfeld
Commentary Magazine

The FBI’s investigation of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks was the most complex and important in the bureau’s history. Immense resources were invested in the search for the perpetrator, whose actions killed five people, sickened 17 others, sowed panic in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and caused taxpayers to spend extraordinary sums on a crash program to protect the nation against the danger of biological terrorism.

Yet for all that, the “Amerithrax” investigation, as the FBI dubbed the case, dragged on for seven years and, until quite recently, got nowhere. If Bruce E. Ivins, the Ft. Detrick, Md., microbiologist who died in an apparent suicide last week, was indeed the perpetrator, the prime suspect was directly under the FBI’s nose for years, practically sporting a scarlet “A” on his forehead. If he was not the perpetrator, as many of his fellow scientists at Ft. Detrick are insisting, we’re back at square one.

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Sen. Boxer’s Aide Charged With Kiddie Porn

Now that the election is over, it’s time for more scandal on Capitol Hill. Here’s the latest.

Henry K. Lee
San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
WASHINGTON –An aide to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has been charged in federal court in Virginia with receiving and distributing child pornography.
Jeff Rosato, 32, of Arlington, Va. was arrested Friday on a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia. Boxer’s office fired him the same day.
Rosato was released from custody pending a future court appearance and was told not to leave the Washington, D.C., area without permission. A judge ordered him not to contact any children or have access to computers and told him to undergo medical or psychiatric treatment.
For Full Story

Read FBI Affidavit

Read Criminal Complaint

Feds Indict Mississippi Biz Man and Local Politico In Bribery Scheme

Nothing says “I Love You” more than big paper bags full of money. Well the feds say that’s how the love was shown here down in the deep south in Greene County.

By WLOX-tv
GREENE COUNTY, Miss — A Greene County Supervisor and a Lucedale businessman are accused in a bribery scheme over Katrina debris removal contracts. District Three Supervisor Earnest Holder faces up to 15 years in prison following his indictment on federal charges of bribery and perjury. Thomas Allen Landon, the president and owner of Mid South Pipe, Inc. faces a one count of bribery and five counts of currency reporting violations.
U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton says Landon’s company was awarded debris removal contracts by the George County Board of Supervisors and that Holder solicited and accepted bribes.
For Full Story

Read County Supervisor Indictment

Air Marshals’ Crimes On the Rise — A little Scary

We depend on them to keep our flight from getting hijacked. But some of these guys should be in handcuffs, not on our planes with guns.
By Michael Grabell

Shawn Nguyen bragged that he could sneak anything past airport security using his top-secret clearance as a federal air marshal. And for months, he smuggled cocaine and drug money onto flights across the country, boasting to an FBI informant that he was “the man with the golden badge.”
Michael McGowan used his position as an air marshal to lure a young boy to his hotel room, where he showed him child porn, took pictures of him naked and sexually abused him.
And when Brian “Cooter” Phelps wanted his ex-wife to disappear, he called a fellow air marshal and tried to hire a hit man nicknamed “the Crucifixer.”
Since 9/11, more than three dozen federal air marshals have been charged with crimes, and hundreds more have been accused of misconduct, an investigation by ProPublica, a non-profit journalism organization, has found. Cases range from drunken driving and domestic violence to aiding a human-trafficking ring and trying to smuggle explosives from Afghanistan.
For Full Story

Read Air Marshals Survey

Major Overhaul of Justice Department Seen

The Justice Department’s image under A.G. Alberto Gonzales was seriously damaged. The Obama team will be working to repair it. It may take a while.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — As a transition team for the Obama administration begins work on a Justice Department overhaul, the key question is where to begin.
Political considerations affected every crevice of the department during the Bush years, from the summer intern hiring program to the dispensing of legal advice about detainee interrogations, according to reports by the inspector general and testimony from bipartisan former DOJ officials at congressional hearings.
Although retired federal judge Michael B. Mukasey, who took charge of the department last winter, has drawn praise for limiting contacts between White House officials and prosecutors, and for firmly rejecting the role of politics in law enforcement, restoring public confidence in the department’s law enforcement actions will be central, lawmakers and former government officials say.
For Full Story

Convicted Sen. Ted Stevens Slips Behind in Ballot Count

Convicted Sen. Ted Stevens, who has insisted he is innocent, has suddenly slipped behind in the race as ballots continue to be counted.

Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

By Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, a titan of Alaska politics convicted of felony charges last month, fell behind by three votes Wednesday as the count resumed in his re-election bid.
Democrat Mark Begich, the two-term mayor of Anchorage, began Wednesday down more than 3,200 votes but closed the gap as officials resumed counting early and absentee ballots. The tally was 125,019 to 125,016.
Neither side expected to be able to claim victory Wednesday. By late afternoon, officials had counted more than 44,000 of the roughly 90,000 outstanding ballots.
For Full Story

Justice Indicts Senior Swiss Bank Executive

As part of the ongoing crackdown on secret Swiss bank accounts, the Justice Department has come down hard on bank giant UBS.

By Lynnley Browning
New York Times
A senior Swiss executive at the banking giant UBS has been indicted in an investigation of the bank and its offshore private banking services for wealthy Americans, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The executive, Raoul Weil, oversaw UBS’s lucrative cross-border private banking operations from 2002 to 2007.
In a move that could spell bigger trouble for UBS, the indictment also referred to unindicted co-conspirators who “occupied positions of the highest level of management within the Swiss bank.” The individuals, the document said, sat on committees that oversaw legal, compliance, tax, risk and other issues. The indictment also referred to unindicted senior bankers, and the managers and “desk heads” who oversaw them.
For Full Story

More Financial News

Three Asian firms to Pay $585 Million in Fines For Price Fixing Liquid Crystal Display Panels (AP)

NYT and LA Times Ask Fed Judge To Release Gov. Documents On Wrong Anthrax Suspect

Scientist Steven J. Hatfill, who was once the obsession of the FBI during the anthrax probe, quickly became a footnote in the case when the government cleared him and pointed the finger at scientist  Bruce Ivins. Ivins ended up committing suicide. But now the focus is back on Hatfill, at least for the moment.

Scientist Hatfill wrongfully accused

Scientist Hatfill wrongfully accused

The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Two newspapers asked a federal judge Wednesday to make public several documents relating to a former Army scientist who was named as a person of interest in the 2001 anthrax attacks and later exonerated.
The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times want the government’s search warrants and supporting documents involving Steven Hatfill, who was eventually cleared in the anthrax attacks and was awarded $5.8 million in a lawsuit accusing the Justice Department of violating his privacy.
Normally, search warrants would be sealed for a person who has not been charged or indicted, lawyers said. But the public has a right to know why investigators wanted to search Hatfill’s home and on what basis the courts agreed to allow those searches, the newspapers argued in U.S. District Court.
“The public has a right to know why he was targeted,” said Jeanette Melendez Bead, lawyer for the newspapers.
For Full Story