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Anthrax Case Is Up in Ashes

Bruce Ivins, the scientist authorities say was responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks, wanted to make sure his body was creamated and and scattered about. So he went to extraordinary steps to make sure it happened. 

By Scott Shane
The New York Times
FREDERICK, Md. – Six weeks after Bruce E. Ivins killed himself, the cremated remains of Mr. Ivins, the Army scientist and anthrax suspect, are stored at a funeral home here, awaiting the outcome of an unusual probate court proceeding.
In a will he wrote last year, a few months before the Federal Bureau of Investigation focused the anthrax letters investigation on him, Dr. Ivins wrote of his wish to be cremated and have his ashes scattered. But fearing that his wife, Diane, and their two children might not honor the request, he came up with a novel way to enforce his demand: threatening to make a bequest to an organization he knew his wife opposed, Planned Parenthood.
For Full Story

Justice Dept. Unveils Added Powers for FBI

Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey/doj photo

FBI agents will have more latitude in conducting surveillances and other matters. But some groups like the ACLU aren’t so happy.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — FBI officials yesterday briefed civil liberties advocates and religious groups on a plan to offer agents an array of tactics to track national security threats, as lawmakers prepared to demand more information at a pair of oversight hearings next week.
The ground rules, known as attorney general guidelines, have been in the works for nearly 18 months. Authorities say they are designed to harmonize the techniques that FBI agents can use to investigate ordinary crimes, collect foreign intelligence or pursue possible terrorist threats.
For Full Story
 

Ex-Council Aide Trying To Work Out Deal With Feds

An ex-city council aide who is accused of embezzling $145,000 is trying to work out a deal with the feds to try and stay out of prison. What will it take?

By Tomas Zambito
New York Daily
NEW YORK—  A former top aide to Brooklyn Councilman Kendall Stewart is negotiating a plea deal with the feds in the hopes of avoiding prison.
Asquith Reid’s attorney told a Manhattan federal judge Friday he has no plans to go to trial on charges that the former chief of staff embezzled more than $145,000 in public funds.
“This is a very sad case,” attorney John Moscow said. “This is not someone who enriched himself by the crime.”
 For Full Story

Seven Years Later Concerns About Airports Persist

The uniforms may look nicer, but complaints still persist seven years after 9/11 that the airports aren’t as safe as they should be. What’s it going to take?

By John Hilkevitch
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — The nation’s airport security screeners unveiled new uniforms Thursday on the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and as a congressional report blistered the federal government for failing “to provide the American people the security they expect and deserve.”
The report, titled “Wasted Lessons of 9/11,” cited poor progress toward identifying potentially dangerous airline passengers before they show up at the airport. It also questioned whether the Department of Homeland Security will meet a 2010 deadline to screen all cargo transported on passenger planes in the U.S.
For Full Story
 
 

Justice Dept. To Give FBI Agents More Power

Line agents woud get more power under a new plan to be unveiled today. Will the extra power help? Will it stir controversy? 

Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will unveil changes to FBI ground rules today that would put much more power into the hands of line agents pursuing leads on national security, foreign intelligence and even ordinary criminal cases.
The overhaul, the most substantial revision to FBI operating instructions in years, also would ease some reporting requirements between agents, their supervisors and federal prosecutors in what authorities call a critical effort to improve information gathering and detect terrorist threats.

For Full Story
Related Story: Judge Limits Searches Using Cellphone Data (Washington Post)

Economy Weighs Heavier Than Terrorism

Terrorism is no longer the catch-all phrase. What a difference seven years makes.

By Mathew B. Stannard
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO –Seven years ago today, the roar of exploding planes and the spectacle of collapsing buildings riveted the nation’s attention on a single topic, terrorism – and in the terrible aftermath, it seemed that focus would never waver.
But it has. Just 2 percent of Americans identified terrorism as their nation’s top problem in a Gallup survey in early August – the lowest level since the 2001 attacks. And in new poll results released Wednesday, just 38 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat worried that they or their families would become victims of terrorism – a nine-point drop since the question was asked last year and the lowest level since mid-2005.
For Full Story
 

Georgia Sheriff Acquitted of Perjury

   It was a happy day in Georgia for sheriff Winston Peterson who got off  on federal charges stemming from a federal  probe into judicial corruption.  

VALDOSTA, Ga (WALB-tv) – A South Georgia Sheriff is acquitted of three federal charges.

Sheriff Peterson/wabl tv

Sheriff Peterson/wabl tv

A jury found Clinch County Sheriff Winston Peterson not guilty Thursday morning of perjury and two counts obstruction of justice.
The charges are part of a federal probe into corruption in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit and the former Superior Court Judge Brooks Blitch.
Peterson was accused of tipping of Blitch to the identity of an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant.

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Too Much Of A Good Thing In The Homeland

Some towns are getting Homeland Security funds but spending them on things other than terrorism.

Barbara Carmen
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When the first Homeland Security dollars started trickling into Franklin County after Sept. 11, 2001, grants manager Donna A. Monell couldn’t spend it all.
“It was like, ‘Wow, how do we manage this?’ ” she said. “I believe I even asked for an extension.”
She was stymied on how to spend $300,000. Every county in America was vying for the same equipment. Orders were backlogged.
In 2009, her anti-terrorism team is expected to control $5.5 million. She said it could easily spend more, even if there is never a big attack.
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