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U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Asks Ill. House to Hold Off Subpoenas in Gov Probe

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald may want Gov. Blagojevich out of office, but he doesn’t want the state messing with his investigation.

U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald

U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald

By CARYN ROUSSEAU
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO — The Illinois House committee investigating a possible impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich won’t subpoena two incoming White House advisers, the committee chairwoman said Saturday, shutting down a request from the governor’s attorney.
In a letter received by the committee Friday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald asked the special investigative committee specifically to not subpoena President-elect Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Nils Larsen, a Tribune Co. executive vice president.
Fitzgerald said any such subpoenas “would interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation into the activities of Governor Rod Blagojevich and others.”
Blagojevich’s attorney Ed Genson had asked the committee earlier in the week to issue the subpoenas.
“The ball is in Mr. Genson’s court,” committee chairwoman state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, told The Associated Press on Saturday. “We’re not interested in undercutting the U.S. Attorney’s criminal investigation.”
For Full Story

Tangled Tale of How Private Spy Firm Helped the Feds Bust An Afghan Heroin Trafficker and Got Screwed

Well, as the old addage goes, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. In this case, the spy firm, Rosetta Research and Consulting, helped the feds make their case, then got screwed.

Feds Hold Press Conference in 2005 After Arrest of Noorza/dea photo

Feds Hold Press Conference in 2005 After Arrest of Noorza/dea photo

By Richard Leiby
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — After a federal jury in New York swiftly convicted a major Afghan heroin trafficker and Taliban supporter named Haji Bashir Noorzai, the government promptly issued the usual celebratory news release thanking the men and women of the DEA and FBI for their “countless sacrifices” in making the case.
Left out was any credit to the party most responsible for the government’s victory: an unusual three-man private intelligence firm called Rosetta Research and Consulting.
At the instigation of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rosetta agents lured Noorzai to America and delivered him right into the feds’ hands. He spent 11 days in an Embassy Suites Hotel in Manhattan in 2005, enjoying room service and considering himself a guest of the U.S. government — until he was arrested. He was imprisoned for three years awaiting his trial, which concluded in September. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced in January.
For Full Story

Investigators Checking Offshore for Bernie Madoff’s Cash

One thing for sure: Bernie Madoff made a lot of money. One
Bernard Madoff/youtube

Bernard Madoff/youtube

thing that is unclear: Where the hell is that cash?

By James Doran
The Observer
NEW YORK
— The hunt for funds allegedly cheated out of investors by Bernard Madoff, who faces fraud charges in New York, has turned to offshore tax havens where investigators believe he may have salted away hundreds of millions of dollars.
Stephen Harbeck, chief executive of America’s Securities Investor Protection Corporation (Sipc) and official receiver of Madoff’s now defunct brokerage business, said the hunt for funds was likely to spread all over the world. “We will trace funds wherever the trail goes,” he said on the steps of the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Sources close to the investigation said forensic accountants examining Madoff’s books believed he had regularly sent large sums of money to offshore accounts in the Caribbean and Europe. “There are accounts at New York Mellon Bank that we have been looking at that appear to have sent and received money from offshore locations,” a senior source said. Tracking down the money investors entrusted to Madoff is likely to be one of the longest and most complicated financial investigations on record.
For Full Story

More Stock Fraud Going Undetected in Bush Years

As the country worried about terrorist attacks, the Bush adminstration seemed to take its eye off of Wall Street. The result: Fraud and more fraud and people losing life savings.

By ERIC LICHTBLAU
New York Times
WASHINGTON – Federal officials are bringing far fewer prosecutions as a result of fraudulent stock schemes than they did eight years ago, according to new data, raising further questions about whether the Bush administration has been too lax in policing Wall Street.
Legal and financial experts say that a loosening of enforcement measures, cutbacks in staffing at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a shift in resources toward terrorism at the F.B.I. have combined to make the federal government something of a paper tiger in investigating securities crimes.
At a time when the financial news is being dominated by the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that Bernard L. Madoff is accused of running, federal officials are on pace this year to bring the fewest prosecutions for securities fraud since at least 1991, according to the data, compiled by a Syracuse University research group using Justice Department figures.
For Full Story

Prosecution to Court of Appeals: Enough Delays in Rep. Jefferson’s Public Corruption Trial

Congressman William J. Jefferson has apparently never met a court delay he didn’t like. The prosecution says enough is enough.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors are asking a Virginia appeals court not to further delay U.S. Rep. William Jefferson’s corruption trial, saying the government “should be afforded an opportunity to proceed with its prosecution” in a case first brought more than 18 months ago.
Prosecutor Mark Lytle said such a delay would result in “further prejudice” to the government’s case against the nine-term New Orleans Democrat.
The brief, filed this week, came in response to a motion by Jefferson’s attorneys asking the court to delay implementing its ruling that rejected their plea to throw out 14 of the 16 charges pending against the congressman. If the appellate court delays what is called the “issuance of a mandate,” the district judge presiding over the case could not schedule a trial.
For Full Story

Read Prosecution’s Motion

Read Jefferson’s Reply

Campaign Contribution by Father Trips Up Pardon

Pardoning the pardon isn’t easy to do. But the Bush folks have obviously learned from history how embarrassing a bad pardon can be.

By KEN BELSON and ERIC LICHTBLAU
New York Times

The ties that bind fathers and sons come in all shapes and sizes, including 10-foot-high chain-link fences.
That is one of the many connections between Robert Toussie and his son Isaac, who was pardoned and unpardoned by President Bush this week, decisions that set abuzz the normally sedate Brooklyn community of Manhattan Beach.
Neighbors say the elder Mr. Toussie built the fence a decade ago to keep rabble-rousers away from the shoreline promenade on the Rockaway Inlet that abuts his family’s waterfront homes, including one where Isaac lives.
While Mr. Toussie’s fence, which has No Trespassing signs in English and Russian, has largely kept the derelicts at bay, it has also alienated neighbors who might otherwise have little bad to say about him.
It also shines light on the complex relationship between Mr. Toussie and his son, who pleaded guilty in 2001 to using false documents to have mortgages insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in 2002 to mail fraud, admitting that he had persuaded officials in Suffolk County to overpay for land.

For Full Story

Piece of History: Nixon Talks To J. Edgar Hoover in 1971 About N.Y. Cop Killers and Mocks N.Y. Times

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z_If_ViZJk

Homeland Security Forecast For Five Years: More Scary Threats

DHS Sec. Chertoff/official photo

DHS Sec. Chertoff/official photo

The assessment of the terrorist threats offers no shocking revelations. The forecast comes down to this: Possible scary threats coupled by more scary threats.

By EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The terrorism threat to the United States over the next five years will be driven by instability in the Middle East and Africa, persistent challenges to border security and increasing Internet savvy, says a new intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press.
Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks are considered the most dangerous threats that could be carried out against the U.S. But those threats are also the most unlikely because it is so difficult for al-Qaida and similar groups to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots, according to the internal Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013.
The al-Qaida terrorist network continues to focus on U.S. attack targets vulnerable to massive economic losses, casualties and political “turmoil,” the assessment said.
Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction remains “the highest priority at the federal level.” Speaking to reporters on Dec. 3, Chertoff explained that more people, such as terrorists, will learn how to make dirty bombs, biological and chemical weapons. “The other side is going to continue to learn more about doing things,” he said.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

CIA Using Viagra in War on Terrorism (Washington Post)