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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Congressman Rush Holt Wants an Anthrax Commission to Investigate the Investigation

Rep. Rush Holt
Rep. Rush Holt

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON – The anthrax caper just won’t go away.
Rep Rush Holt (D-N.J.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to create a Congressional commission to investigate the government’s response to the 2001 anthrax attacks that left five dead and sickened 17.

The legislation, the Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act of 2009, would set up a bipartisan commission that would make recommendations to the President and Congress on “how the country can best prevent and respond to any future bio-terrorism attacks”, according to Holt’s office.

“All of us – but especially the families of the victims of the anthrax attacks – deserve credible answers about how the attacks happened and whether the case really is closed,” Holt said in a prepared statement.

“The Commission, like the 9/11 Commission, would do that, and it would help American families know that the government is better prepared to protect them and their children from future bio-terrorism attacks.”

“Myriad questions remain about the anthrax attacks and the government’s bungled response to the attacks,” Holt said.

Debbie Weierman, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington field office, declined to comment on Wednesday on the bill.

The FBI spent years and millions of dollars following countless leads around the world centering on what turned out to be the wrong suspect- scientist Steven Hatfill. Internally, many in law enforcement circles privately blamed the lead FBI investigator for fixating on Hatfill and not looking beyond him.

That FBI investigator was eventually replaced and last summer FBI and Postal Inspectors began closing in on someone they believed was the real culprit — scientist Dr. Bruce Ivins. Ivins committed suicide before any charges were filed.

The deadly laced anthrax letters were apparently sent from a postal box in Rep. Holt’s district in Central New Jersey.

Nathan T. Gray Named Head of FBI’s Phoenix Office

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — Nathan T. Gray, a native Kansan and 18-year veteran of the FBI has been named special agent in charge of the bureau’s Phoenix Division.
Gray has served in various field offices including Houston and Cincinnati.
In 1997, he was promoted to a supervisory position in the Organized Crime Section at headquarters and was detailed to the CIA’s Crime and Narcotics Center, the FBI said.
In 2000, he became a supervisor of the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Squad in Columbus, Ohio.
After Sept. 11, 2001, he was temporarily posted in the Islamabad and Riyadh Legal Attache Offices, the FBI said.
In 2006, he was named special agent in charge of the Charlotte office.

More than a Dozen New Justice Attorneys Have Conflicts of Interest in Guantanomo Cases

As one might expect, new regimes that bring in private attorneys to do government work can bump up against conflict of interests. Here’s one of which I’m certain will not be the the last conflict of interest issue the Justice Department will have to deal with.

Joe Palazzolo
Legal Times
WASHINGTON – More than a dozen new Justice Department lawyers have come from private firms representing Guantanamo Bay detainees, creating potential conflicts of interest as the agency begins its review of roughly 245 men imprisoned at the military detention center.

The Justice Department has taken steps to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Ethics officials have advised lawyers — including Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. — to recuse themselves in matters involving detainees represented by their former firms.

“As a general rule, DOJ officials will not participate in reviews of specific detainees who their firms represented, consistent with ethics rules,” Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said in an e-mailed statement.

For Full Story

Results of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Program Not Good Report Says

This program has opened up the door for endless abuses. Local and state police officers, who are supposed to use this program to round up illegal immigrants committing serious crimes, are instead nabbing folks who urinate in public or speed. That’s not how the program was supposed to work.
By N.C. Aizenman
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Immigration officials have failed to develop “key internal controls” over a controversial program that trains state and local police to identify illegal immigrants involved in crime, so some departments are focusing on minor violations rather than on serious offenses, according to federal investigators.

A Government Accountability Office report released last night was requested by congressional oversight panels in advance of hearings on the program to be held today by the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Known as 287(g) after the legal provision authorizing it, the identification program has expanded rapidly in recent years, receiving $60 million between 2006 and 2008, training 951 state and local law enforcement officers in 67 agencies — including the police forces of counties including Prince William — and resulting in the arrests of at least 43,000 immigrants, almost 28,000 of whom ultimately were ordered out of the country.

For Full Story

El Salvador Man Charged in 2001 Chandra Levy Slaying

Ingmar Guandique

Ingmar Guandique

By Jon Perkins and Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — After years of bad and often frustrating leads, authorities charged a long-time suspect from El Salvador with first-degree murder in the slaying of intern Chandra Levy.

At a press conference attended by local and federal law enforcement, authorities said they had issued an arrest warrant for Ingmar Guandique, 27, an illegal immigrant who had been a prime suspect for about six years and is serving a 10-year sentence for attacking two female joggers in Rock Creek Park in Washington where Levy’s body was found in May 2002.

Linda Katz, Chandra’s aunt, who lives in Maryland, said upon hearing the news: “I hope justice is served, and if he is proven guilty,  he gets the maximum penalty under the law.” The penalty for the crime is 30 to 60 years.

In a statement, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said: “Just as I promised the family of Shaquita Bell, I promised the Levy family that I would renew efforts to find the person responsible for her death. I now believe we have the person in custody that is responsible for her murder.”

The evidence, according to a police affidavit, centered around statements from several unidentified people who said Guandique confessed to strangling and sexually assaulting Levy. Authorities said the slaying appeared to be a random act of violence.

According to a police affidavit in support of an arrest warrant, one witness told detectives during a 2008 interview that in 2003 they communicated with Guandique many times through letters.

Read Police Affidavit

Read more »

Exclusive: Authorities to Announce Murder Charge Today Against Long-time Suspect in Chandra Levy Case

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — Authorities are expected to  announce today that a long-time suspect has been charged in the death of intern Chandra Levy, according to sources.
Charges are being filed against Ingmar Guandique, who is already serving a 10 year sentence for attacking two joggers in Rock Creek Park where Chandra Levy’s body was discovered in 2002.

One law enforcement source said authorities had built a cirumstantial case that included information from at least one person who knew Guandique. The charges were expected to be filed in D.C. Superior Court.

Levy, 24, disappeared in the Spring of 2001, triggering a summer full of stories and speculation about then-Congressman Gary Condit (D-Calif.), who had been carrying on an affair with the intern.

Authorities focused on Condit for quite a while, but eventually concluded that he had nothing to do with her disappearance. The publicity and the way Condit handled the matter — not very well — ended up derailing his promising political career which included aspirations to one day be California governor.

Susan Levy, Chandra’s mother, was contacted at her home shortly after noon Tuesday, but said she was too busy to talk at the moment.

Linda Katz, Chandra’s aunt, who lives in Maryland, said upon hearing the news: “I hope justice is served, and if he is proven guilty,  he gets the maximum penalty under the law.”

Read Allan Lengel’s Comments on Gary Condit

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson Trying to Discredit Key Witness By Getting Psychiatric Records

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s defense in his upcoming public corruption case is becoming clearer. For one, he insists any of his actions to drum up business for himself was not done under the official capacity of a Congressman. And two, he plans to discredit the sanity of a key witness, Lori Mody, a wealthy business woman who wore a wire after telling the feds that she was being shaken down for cash.

Regardless whether he can prove that the witness is mentally unstable, he’s got an uphill fight in that area. The government has videotape of him taking money from Mody and audio tapes of him talking to her, sounding more like a mobster than a Congressman, acting paranoid about the FBI and trying to avoid the mere mention of the word “cash”.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — If a key government witness against former Rep. William Jefferson has “qualms” about producing mental health records and answering questions “it is the charges that must yield, ” not Jefferson’s “right to defend against them, ” his attorneys say.

Documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., where Jefferson is scheduled to go on trial May 26 on 16 corruption charges, also reveal previously unreleased transcripts of FBI recorded conversations with the witness, Virginia businesswoman Lori Mody. The tapes describe her as worried about a possible stalker and having “a lot of personal issues” at the time she and Jefferson worked together on a Nigerian telecommunications project.

In the papers, Jefferson’s attorneys said that at some of the meetings between Mody and the congressman “considerable amounts of wine was consumed.” They also said the Justice Department had revealed in a previously sealed document that Mody was undergoing something (the phrase is redacted by court order) that affected her ability “to concentrate.”

The attorneys said they are entitled to raise these issues to challenge the credibility of Mody, who they describe as the key witness against the nine-term New Orleans Democrat.

For Full Story

Read One of Jefferson’s Motions for Pyschiatric Records of Witness

Judge Orders Dick Cheney to Give Deposition in Lawsuit Against Secret Service Agents

Just when you thought ex-V.P. Dick Cheney had rode off into the sunset, never to be heard again. Now he’s going to have to testify in a case. Some how you get the feeling he’s probably not too thrilled about this.

NEW York Times
DENVER – Former Vice President Dick Cheney will have to give his account – under oath, in a legal deposition – of what happened at a Colorado ski resort in June 2006 when a man stepped up to protest the Iraq war and was arrested, a federal district judge ruled Monday.

The protester, Steven Howards, sued five Secret Service agents in Mr. Cheney’s security detail after the encounter at the Beaver Creek resort. Mr. Howards’s lawyers have argued that Mr. Cheney’s version of events is crucial to getting at the truth.

Mr. Cheney’s lawyers had responded – successfully until Monday’s ruling by Judge Christine M. Arguello in Denver – that a deposition was unnecessary. A federal magistrate agreed with Mr. Cheney last April; Judge Arguello’s ruling reversed that decision.

For Full Story

Read Ruling on Cheney Deposition