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Watchdog Group Sues Justice Dept. For Failing to Release Investigative Documents on Tom DeLay

Ex-Rep. Tom DeLay

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A government watchdog group — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) — wants to figure out why ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was never prosecuted federally.

CREW filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in D.C. against the Justice Department for failing to release records of the FBI probe into DeLay. On Oct. 19, the watchdog group said it filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA)  with the Justice Department and the FBI for investigative records relating to DeLay, convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others, and reasons why authorities did not prosecute him.

“Rep. Tom DeLay spent years turning the House of Representatives into his personal casino, and yet shockingly was never federally prosecuted. The American people deserve to know why,”  CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement.

“The DeLay case is just one in a string of troubling instances where the Department of Justice has declined to prosecute blatantly corrupt politicians,”  Sloan said. “The department doesn’t even want the public to know why it didn’t prosecute. If Rep. DeLay’s actions really were not criminal, shouldn’t DOJ be happy to turn over its records and prove that? Why all the secrecy?”

Texas authorities convicted DeLay on state charges in a scheme in which he illegally helped funnel corporate contributions to Republican Texas legislative candidates. He was sentenced in January to three years in prison, but remains free pending his appeal.

CREW said in a press release that the Justice Department denied the FOIA request because the release of records would interfere with open law enforcement proceedings.

“Yet DOJ told Rep. DeLay in August 2010 it had closed its investigation of him. In addition, the FBI argued releasing records would violate Rep. DeLay’s privacy, failing to take into account that he was a government official and there has been significant public interest in his conduct, the investigation, and DOJ’s decision not to prosecute,” the release said.

The Justice Department on Wednesday morning did not immediately respond for comment.

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Justice Dept. Atty-Overseas Prosecutorial Development

Department of Justice Seal

EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY, GS-905-14/15
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
CRIMINAL DIVISION
OFFICE OF OVERSEAS PROSECUTORIAL DEVELOPMENT,
ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING
RESIDENT LEGAL ADVISORS IN BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
11-CRM-DET-003


The Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT), Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, seeks experienced Department of Justice (DOJ) trial attorneys or Assistant United States Attorneys or State Prosecutors to fill two (2) Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) positions in Bogota, Colombia, beginning in the spring of 2011. These assignments are for a period of one year with the possibility of an extension, contingent on additional funding. (These are reimbursable details.)

About the Office: The mission of the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) is to develop and administer technical and developmental assistance designed to enhance the capabilities of foreign justice sector institutions and their law enforcement personnel, so those institutions and their personnel can more effectively combat terrorism, organized crime, corruption, financial crimes, trafficking in persons and other types of crime, in a manner consistent with the rule of law, and can more effectively cooperate regionally and with the United States in combating such crime.

Responsibilities and Opportunity Offered: The RLAs will join others assigned to the U.S. Embassy Bogota representing the Department through its Justice Sector Reform Program, a major U.S. law enforcement program developed to assist the Government of Colombia strengthen its criminal justice system. The RLAs focus on trial advocacy, the transition toward an accusatory system, implementation of a new criminal procedure code, advancing the justice and peace process, human rights, asset forfeiture, and narcotics. The RLAs work closely with Colombian law enforcement and government officials, particularly Colombian prosecutors, to design and implement technical assistance and development projects. These projects include technical advice to the Colombian Prosecutor General’s Office on the development of major task forces, including those dealing with human rights violations, narcotics, money laundering and asset forfeiture, corruption, kidnapping and terrorism. RLAs manage assistance projects, including developing curricula, selecting experts, evaluating results, and reporting. When appropriate, RLAs personally provide assistance. RLAs interact with other U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, Customs, ATF, Secret Service, IRS and U.S. Marshals Service. The assistance and development projects managed by RLAs are closely coordinated with those of ICITAP, the police assistance entity of the Criminal Division. RLAs also have financial management responsibilities. The RLA would work under the direct supervision of the JSRP Manager in the U.S. Embassy in Bogota.

Required and preferred Qualifications: Required qualifications: Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, duly licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of State, territory, or the District of Columbia and have at least three years of post-J.D. legal experience.

The applicant must have excellent interpersonal skills; possess the ability to function effectively in a Latin American environment; be mature and able to deal with delicate legal and political issues; be able to efficiently initiate and manage work projects; be able to handle stressful and time sensitive situations and projects. The applicant must have extensive prosecution experience in violent crimes and homicides and/or narcotics and complex criminal prosecutions. Experience in task force settings is desirable. The applicant must be a fluent Spanish-speaker and proficient in reading and writing in Spanish. The position will require frequent travel within Colombia and occasional travel back to the United States

Relocation Expenses: Relocation expenses are authorized.

Salary Information: Current salary and years of litigation experience will determine the appropriate salary. Compensation will be at either the General Schedule (GS)-14 or GS-15 level. Exact amounts of salary within these GS levels vary depending on the individual’s home office. The Washington, D.C. salary ranges for these levels during 2010 are: GS-14: $105,211 – $136,771 per annum; GS-15: $123,758 – $155,500 per annum. Locality pay tables for all U.S. locations during 2010 can be found at: http://www.opm.gov/oca/10tables/indexGS.asp

Application Process Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to Carlos F. Acosta, Acting Deputy Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean or Martin Fleming, Program Analyst. Faxed or e-mailed submissions are acceptable. The fax number is (202) 616-6770. The e-mail addresses are: Carlos.Acosta@usdoj.gov or Martin.Fleming@usdoj.gov or mail to the attention of:

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, Criminal Division
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 400,
Washington, DC 20004
ATTN: Martin Fleming, Program Analyst

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Internet Sites: For information about the Criminal Division, see www.usdoj.gov/criminal/index.html.

For other attorney vacancy announcements, see www.usdoj.gov/oarm/attvacancies.html

Department Policies: The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination based on color, race, religion, national origin, politics, marital status, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, status as a parent, membership or nonmembership in an employee organization, or personal favoritism. The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment. Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the United States Attorneys’ Offices. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, non-U.S. citizens may apply for employment with other organizations, but should be advised that appointments of non-U.S. citizens are extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department’s mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

There is no formal rating system for applying veterans’ preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans’ preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans’ preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the “point” system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service-connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

* * *

The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

FBI Still Uses Old Fashioned Cryptanalysts to Break Codes

A deciphered letter calling for a "hit"/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

You’d think the art of manually cracking codes written in traditional forms of communication like letters would have faded along ago with J. Edgar Hoover.

Not so.

The FBI has posted a feature on its website which shows that its Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Record Unit (CRRU) — part of the bureau’s Laboratory Division — is alive and well.

“That’s because criminals who use cryptography—codes, ciphers, and concealed messages—are more numerous than one might expect,” the FBI says. “Terrorists, gang members, inmates, drug dealers, violent lone offenders, and organized crime groups involved in gambling and prostitution use letters, numbers, symbols, and even invisible ink to encode messages in an attempt to hide illegal activity.”

The FBI used this example:

“The letter from a gang member in prison to a friend on the outside seemed normal enough. “Saludos loved one,” it began, and went on to describe the perils of drug use and the inmate’s upcoming visit from his children.”

“But closer inspection by examiners in our Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU) revealed that this seemingly ordinary letter was encoded with a much more sinister message: every fifth word contained the letter’s true intent, which was to green-light the murder of a fellow gang member.”

The FBI said breaking such “pen and paper” codes remains a necessary weapon in the Bureau’s investigative arsenal.

“We solve crimes,”Dan Olson, chief of the unit,  said. But we actually prevent more crimes than we solve.”

He said, according to the FBI site, that  breaking codes is an “old-fashioned battle of the minds” between code makers and code breakers. He said the unit is the only unit he knows of which deals exclusively with manual, and not digital, code breaking, according to the FBI side.

Bomb at Fed Building in Detroit Where FBI is Housed Sat For Weeks

Border Patrol Agent Kills 19 Year Old in Arizona

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Details are very sketchy, but one thing was clear: A Border Patrol agent shot and killed a 19-year-old man east of the Douglas port of entry Monday afternoon in Arizona, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson told the paper that the incident began when Douglas police went after a suspected drug dealer in a car.

The driver, Carlos La Madrid of Douglas, drove toward the border, and at some point, rocks were thrown, the paper reported.

At some point, the agent shot La Madrid three times.

ICE Official Gets One of the Toughest Sentences in Public Corruption Case: Nearly 18 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A senior attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles to nearly 18 years in prison, one of the harshest sentences ever handed down in the U.S. in a public corruption case.

Authorities said Constantine Peter Kallas, 40 of Alta Loma, Calif. was sentenced to 212 months for taking nearly one-half million dollars in bribes from immigrants who were seeking documentation to remain in the U.S.

On top of the prison term, Kallas was ordered to pay $296,865 in restitution after fraudulently receiving worker’s compensation benefits.

“Mr. Kallas has received one of the longest sentences ever seen in a public corruption case,”  U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. said in a statement. “Mr. Kallas took in hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes – money he obtained by exploiting his knowledge of the immigration system. The lengthy sentence reflects the seriousness of the crimes, which were a wholesale violation of the public trust.”

Last April, a federal convicted Kallas of three dozen felony counts – conspiracy, six counts of bribery, two counts of obstruction of justice, seven counts of fraud and misuse of entry documents, three counts of aggravated identity theft, nine counts of making false statements to the Department of Labor, four counts of making false statements to obtain federal employee compensation, and four counts of tax evasion.

“This case presents an epic display of a public official’s greed,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.

“As a corrupt prosecutor, [Kallas] calculatingly terrorized the idea of justice and the concept of public service,” the memorandum continued. “[Kallas] carried out his crime scheme through elaborate forms of manipulation, lies, and obstructive conduct.”

Authorities said Kallen has been in federal prison since August 2008, about two months after he was busted in an FBI sting and videotaped at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, Calif. “where he and his wife accepted a bribe from an immigrant”, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He accepted a series of bribes, some as high as $20,000, authorities said.

Authorities said court documents show that besides Kallas’ salary, the couple had deposited $950,000 in their bank accounts since 2000.

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Highest Ranking NY Cop on FBI’s JTTF Almost Transferred for Refusing to Share Classified Info With his Superiors at NYPD


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The top New York cop on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force almost got transferred from the unit after he refused to share classified info with his superiors in the police department, the New York Daily News reported.

But the FBI intervened and prevented the transfer of NYPD Deputy Chief James Shea, the Daily News reported.

The paper reported that Shea got in a jam after he backed a detective on the JTTF, who refused to share the info. The info is legally only supposed to be shared with people who have a security clearance.

The Daily News reported that Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne denied that Shea was supposed to be transferred. The FBI declined comment.

Ill. Man Says FBI Tried Getting Him to Go Undercover in Mosque to Get Off No-Fly List


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 31-year-old Illinois man claims the FBI said it could remove him from the no-fly list if he agreed to go undercover at mosques, the Associated Press reported. He refused the offer.

AP reported that Abe Mashal, a dog trainer from St. Charles, Ill., says the bureau said he landed on the list because he exchanged emails with a Muslim cleric who the FBI was watching.

AP reported that he sent an email to cleric asking about raising children in an interfaith family. He is Muslim, his wife is Christian.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security declined comment, AP reported.

Mashal, who discovered he was on the list last April, says he is an honorably discharged Marine, AP reported.  He is one of 17 plaintiffs in an ACLU-filed lawsuit over the list.

Mashal told AP he felt like he was being blackmailed by the FBI when the agency tried to get im to go undercover.

“I feel like I’m living in communist Russia, not the United States of America, for someone to jump into my life like that,” he said.

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