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November 2022


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

FBI Director’s Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel W. Lee Rawls Dead at Age 66

W. Lee Rawls/ u of va. photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — W. Lee Rawls, who served as chief of staff and senior counsel to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III until 2009, died earlier this month of acute leukemia in Washington, the Washington Post reported. He was 66.

The Post reported that he had previously served as assistant attorney general for legislative affairs under President George H.W. Bush and, from 2003 to 2005, as chief of staff to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)

In the course of his career, Rawls also served as  vice president of the lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Kelly, and led government relations efforts for Pennzoil and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Post reported.

He also taught at the National Defense University in Washington and the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, the Post reported.

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Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Paper Fame Defends WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971,  defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“If I released the Pentagon Papers today, the same rhetoric and the same calls would be made about me,” Ellsberg said, according to the news organization Democracy Now! “I would be called not only a traitor—which I was then, which was false and slanderous—but I would be called a terrorist… Assange and Bradley Manning are no more terrorists than I am.”

Ellsberg, a former U.S. military analyst who was working for the RAND Corporation, ignited a controversy when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top secret document that discussed government policy about Vietnam.

He was charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. He was put on trial in federal court in Los Angeles in 1973, but U.S. District Judge William Matthew Byrne, Jr. ended up dismissing the case due to government misconduct.


Atty. Gen. Holder Forcefully Defends FBI Stings in Terrorism Cases

Eric Holder Jr./ file photo

By Allan Lengel

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. delivered a forceful speech Friday night before the Muslim Advocates’ Annual Dinner in suburban San Francisco, strongly defending the FBI stings involving terrorism.

“Our nation’s law enforcement professionals have consistently demonstrated not just their effectiveness, but also their commitment to the highest standards of professional conduct, integrity, and fairness,” he said at a ballroom before hundreds of people.

Holder particularly honed in on an FBI sting in which a Somali born teen  Mohamed Osman Mohamud  tried to detonate a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., only to learn the plot was part of a sting.

“Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight – or do not have a full understanding of the law.”

“I make no apologies for the how the FBI agents handled their work in executing the operation that led to Mr. Mohamud’s arrest,” Holder said, according to a text of the speech distributed by the Justice Department.

“Their efforts helped to identify a person who repeatedly expressed his desire and intention to kill innocent Americans. As you may have read – and as the affidavit alleges – Mr. Mohamud chose the target location months in advance; provided FBI operatives with bomb components and detailed operational instructions; and repeatedly refused to change course when he was reminded that a large crowd – including children – would be in harm’s way.”

“Because of law enforcement’s outstanding work, Mr. Mohamud is no longer plotting attacks. He is now behind bars. And he will be brought to justice.

But he offered a conciliatory message as well, adding: ” But you also have my word that the Justice Department will – just as vigorously – continue to pursue anyone who would target Muslims, or their houses of worship.”

Holder then went on to defend law enforcement.

“Our nation’s law enforcement officials deserve our gratitude – and respect. Without their work – and their willingness to place public safety above personal security – government simply could not meet its most critical responsibility of protecting American lives.”

“Meeting this responsibility has never been more difficult. Our nation faces a determined and sophisticated enemy. As I’ve said repeatedly, I am committed to using every available tool to protect the American people. But I will not sacrifice or compromise our civil liberties.”

Read full text of speech

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover Discuss Supreme Court

WikiLeak Lawyer: Spy Charges Appear Imminent

Judges Urged to Suspend Fed Prosecutor’s License for Withholding Info

By Allan Lengel

An assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston is battling for his career.

The state Office of Bar Counsel in Massachusetts urged a three judge panel on Thursday to suspend Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn’s license for at least two years, claiming he deliberately withheld evidence in a high-profile Mafia case in the early 1990s, the Boston Globe reported.

But a lawyer for Auerhahn, Michael D. Ricciuti, a former federal prosecutor himself, argued that the suspension would be career ending and that it was an unintentional mistake made long ago, the Globe reported.

`There’s no one in this court who says that Auerhahn was the win-at-all costs, cut-the-corners kind of prosecutor,” Ricciuti said, according to the Globe. `There was no intentional violation of any rule.”

Ricciuti urged the federal judges to find that no professional misconduct occurred.

Auerhahn is assigned to  the antiterrorism and national security squad.

US District Judges Rya W. Zobel, William G. Young, and George A. O’Toole Jr. said they will review voluminous records in the case, the Globe reported.

The Globe reported that “in 2005, US District Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf released Mafia capo Vincent Ferrara from prison after finding that Auerhahn had improperly and possibly illegally failed to tell defense lawyers in the early 1990s that a key witness had tried to recant his assertion that Ferrara ordered the 1985 slaying of Vincent “Jimmy” Limoli in the North End.”

The Justice Department concluded that Auerhahn “engaged in professional misconduct and exercised poor judgment” and gave him a letter of reprimand.

Judge Wolf called referred the matter to the Board of Bar Overseers three years ago because he thought a letter of reprimand was inadequate, the Globe reported.

FBI Asks for Delay in Release of Anthrax Report by National Academy of Sciences

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel

The controversy surrounding the conclusion of the anthrax investigation is surfacing again.

The New York Times reports that the FBI has requested a last minute delay in the release of an independent scientific report by the National Academy of Sciences.

The delay prompted Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), a critic of the probe, to proclaim that the bureau “may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure” the academy’s scientific panel “to reach a conclusion desired by the bureau,” the Times reported.

Holt, a physicist, made the remarks in a letter Thursday to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, the Times reported. He said he found the delay disturbing.

The Times reported that the F.B.I. has told the committee that it wants to turn over an additional 500 pages of investigative documents even though the committee had requested all materials back in April 2009 when it began looking at the science involved in the probe that eventually pointed to scientist Bruce Ivins, a microbiologist at the Army’s bio-defense research center in Maryland. For years, investigators had mistakenly focused on another scientist from that laboratory, Steven Hatfill, who ended up successfully suing the government.

Ivins killed himself in July 2008 before federal authorities could file criminal charges.

FBI spokesman Mike Kortan said the FBI “continues to work with the National Academy of Sciences to support their ongoing review of the scientific approaches employed in the Amerithrax investigation,” according to the Times.

Prosecutor Drops Remaining Charges Against Miss. FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel

FBI agent Hal Neilson is no longer in trouble.

Federal prosecutor Richard Bourgeois on Wednesday dismissed three remaining counts the jury deadlocked on on Nov. 20, the Northeast Mississippi Journal reported.

The prosecutor indicated that U.S. can no longer “meet its burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Neilson, 49, of Oxford, Miss., was indicted Jan. 13 on five counts that he lied about his financial interests in the Oxford FBI building at 2106 University Ave., where he worked, the Journal reported.

“I am so happy to hear that,” said jury foreman Don Lambert of Booneville, Miss.

“Personally, I did not see enough evidence to convict him,” said Lambert, a resource officer for the Booneville schools, the paper reported.

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