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Archive for February, 2010

Column: Ex-FBI Agent Says Prosecuting Terrorists in Civilian Courts is “Often More Effective”

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Ali Soufan was an FBI special agent from 1997 to 2005.

By ALI H. SOUFAN
New York Times Op-Ed

SINCE Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York announced that he no longer favored trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind, in a Manhattan federal court because of logistical concerns, the Obama administration has come under increasing attack from those who claim that military commissions are more suitable for prosecuting terrorists. These critics are misguided.

As someone who has helped prosecute terrorists in both civilian and military courts — I was a witness for the government in two of the three military commissions convened so far — I think that civilian courts are often the more effective venue.

In fact, the argument that our criminal justice system is more than able to handle terrorist cases was bolstered just last week by revelations that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Christmas bomber, is cooperating with the authorities.

To read more click here.

Islamic Ruling Forbids Muslims From Going Through Airport Body Scanners

airport scanner 2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

And now for the latest complications in airport security.

The Detroit Free Press reported that a body of Islamic scholars known as the Figh Council of North America has issued a religious ruling that forbids Muslims from passing through airport body scanners.

The paper reported that the ruling, known as a “fatwa”, was issued this week and says that going through a scanner “would violate Islamic rules of modesty.”

“It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women,” reads the fatwa issued Tuesday, according to the paper.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: Ex-Atty Gen. Mukasey Continues to Offer Criticism About Christmas Day Bomber

Michael Mukasey is a former N.Y. federal judge who served as the U.S. Attorney General from November 2007 to January 2009.

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

By Michael B. Mukasey
The Washington Post

It seems to me unlikely that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will be known to future generations of lawyers for generating any groundbreaking legal principle or issue. But when it comes to illuminating our public discourse about the “global war on terror,” he is right up there with Clarence Earl Gideon, Ernesto Miranda or even Jose Padilla. His case presents in one tidy package virtually all the issues that arise from the role intelligence plays in this struggle and compels us to examine what the law requires and what it doesn’t.

When Abdulmutallab tried to detonate a bomb concealed in his undershorts, he committed a crime; no doubt about that. He could not have acted alone; no doubt about that either. The bomb was not the sort of infernal device readily produced by someone of his background, and he quickly confirmed that he had been trained and sent by al-Qaeda in Yemen.

What to do and who should do it? It was entirely reasonable for the FBI to be contacted and for that agency to take him into custody. But contrary to what some in government have suggested, that Abdulmutallab was taken into custody by the FBI did not mean, legally or as a matter of policy, that he had to be treated as a criminal defendant at any point.

To read more click here.

Senate Confirms U.S. Attys. for D.C., NY and Calif.

D.C. nominee Ronald Machen

D.C. nominee Ronald Machen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Chalk up three more confirmations of U.S. Attorneys around the country.

The news website Main Justice reports that the Senate on Thursday confirmed Ron Machen for the District of Columbia; Andre Birotte Jr. for the Central District of California and Richard Hartunian for the Northern District of New York.

Main Justice reported that the Senate has confirmed 34 U.S. Attorneys so far.

There’s  plenty more to go. In Texas, for instance, there are four U.S. Attorney spots that have not been filled by the Obama administration.

FBI Raids Southern Christian Leadership Conference

dayton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI on Thursday searched the offices of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Dayton, Ohio and the home of the national chairman Rev. Raleigh Trammell, who has been under investigation for allegedly embezzling $569,000, All Headline News reported.

The news service noted that the raid came “a few days after the SCLC national board had accused Trammell of mishandling funds.”

It also said agents “seized a computer and several boxes from Trammell’s home and also seized similar items during a search of his daughter’s home.”

Mike Douglas’ Son Faces Tough Jail Time After Bust by DEA

Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If Cameron Douglas acts as if he’s really really worried, he’s not really acting.

The 31-year-old son of actor Michael Douglas, and grandson of actor Kirk Douglas, faces some tough jail time when he gets sentenced April 27 in U.S. District Court in New York.

The Associated Press reports that he faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison.

Late last month, the younger Douglas pleaded guilty to selling large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine while staying at Hotel Gansevoort, a trendy Manhattan hotel. He was busted by the DEA.

The AP reported that he also pleaded guilty to heroin possession after his girlfriend tried to smuggle the drug to him in an electric toothbrush while he was under house arrest.

To read more click here.

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Jury to Begin Deliberating in Trial of Ex-Miami DEA Chief Tom Raffanello

miami map istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

And now comes the jury deliberations.

A Miami jury will begin deliberating Thursday in the trial of Tom Raffanello, the former head of the Miami DEA, who is accused of conspiracy and obstructing an SEC investigation by shredding thousands of records to protect his boss — accused swindler Allen Stanford, according to the Miami Herald.

Rafanello, the former chief of security for Stanford Financial group, is on trial along with the company’s technology officer Bruce Perraud. He has denied wrongdoing.

To read the full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Student Detained at Philly Airport for Arabic Flash Cards Sues FBI and TSA

philly airportBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some Arabic flashcards are at the center of a lawsuit against the FBI, police and the Transportation Security Administration.

The Associated Press is reporting that a student is suing the agencies after he was handcuffed at Philadelphia International Airport in August and questioned about his Arabic flash cards.

The AP reported the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on Wednesday on behalf of Nick George, 22, of Wyncote, Pa.

It alleges that George, who studies Arabic at Pomona College in California, was detained for four hours and missed his flight to California even after it became apparent he was no threat, the news service reported.