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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Dept. Prosecutor Eli Rosenbaum Still Hunting Nazis

Eli Rosenbaum/doj photo

Eli Rosenbaum/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Many of them are dead and gone. Some are elderly and sickly.

But Justice Department prosecutor Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, continues to hunt down the elderly Nazis in the U.S.

“We’ve sent a loud, clear message that the U.S. is not willing to be the sanctuary for perpetrators of crimes against humanity,’ Rosenbaum, 54, told Parade magazine.

Some like tv commentator Pat Buchanan have criticized the unit, calling it a group of “hair chested Nazi hunters” who have devoted time hunting old guards, Parade reported.

John Demjanjuk/msnbc

John Demjanjuk/msnbc

But Rosenbaum tells Parade:”If you’re guilty, you can reasonably expect to be pursued for the rest of your life.” Rosenbaum joined the unit after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1980. He left in the mid-1980s and returned in 1988 and became director in 1994, parade reported.

Some of the suspected Nazis he’s gone after have included John Demjanjuk, Andrija Artukovic and Helmut Oberlander, Parade reported.

The magazine reports that the unit has won denaturalization or deportation against 107 accused Nazis in the U.S. It said later this year the unit will merge with another human rights enforcement unit at Justice.

To read the full article click here.

Fed Agents Going Undercover on Social Networks like Facebook

istock illustration

istock illustration

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department document asks the simple question: Why Go Undercover on Facebook, MySpace, etc.?

Then it goes on to explain: “Communicate with suspects/targets” … “gain access to non-public info” … “map social relationships/networks.”

The document, part of a Justice Department PowerPoint presentation, shows how some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals. The presentation recently surfaced in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court.

Some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals

“This is just the way people meet these days — electronically,” James Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told AOL News. “It wouldn’t be any different than calling someone on the phone, say, in an undercover capacity. If we can meet them on Facebook by creating a fictitious account, that’s great. ”

Even so, the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco filed the lawsuit in December against about a half a dozen federal agencies to create a public dialogue on the matter and make sure agencies have guidelines for agents, according to Marcia Hofmann, a senior staff attorney for the foundation. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, Treasury, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are included in the suit.

facebook-logo

Some agencies don’t readily appear to have guidelines and some have offered to produce them in coming months to satisfy the demands in the lawsuit, according to Hofmann.

“This on one hand is a very clever use of these tools, but it makes you wonder when enterprising agents come up with these ideas, what is appropriate and what is not,” she said. “I don’t want to speculate as to what they do and they don’t do. I do think there should be a public debate whether it’s ethically sound or not. There should be some transparency.”

Initially, social networks like MySpace, which first surfaced in 2003, and Facebook, which launched in 2004, and Twitter which arrived in 2006, were simply for hip high school and college-aged kids. As social media’s popularity soared, law enforcement began to realize that there was more to these networks than idle gossip and photos of cats, dogs, proms and beer parties.

Now, some federal agents privately talk, almost in amazement, about how much information is available on social networks and how careless criminals are. They say some information can be obtained without even going undercover.

In fact, they say some criminals — and noncriminals as well — fail to select the right security settings to block non-friends from seeing photos and other personal information on sites like Facebook. And besides, anyone can see a person’s friend list without “friending” the person.

twitter4

“It’s not like we have to dig very deep,” said one federal agent who has not created fictitious accounts but knows of others who have. “Facebook is the best. They videotape themselves. They have pictures with guns, posing with gang members. There’s addresses of homes. We tend to go after what’s there.”

Another federal agent says he’s amazed how freely some criminals post information on social networks.

“I’m surprised by the recklessness of it,” the agent said. “I would think they would be smarter. That’s why we only catch the stupid ones. ”

Still, even before the recent documents surfaced publicly about fictitious accounts, some federal law enforcement agencies readily admitted to being aware of criminals using the social networks.

On Jan. 27, for example, the Drug Enforcement Administration in Los Angeles issued a press release about the indictment of 20 suspected members of the Riverside Street Gang with ties to the Mexican Mafia. The release noted that the members use “MySpace.com to communicate about gang business, and they use rap music videos and recordings to deliver a message of violence and intimidation.”

myspace-images3

DEA Agent Sarah Pullen of the Los Angeles office said of the probe, “Any time you have visual evidence that is available, it is extremely helpful in conducting an investigation. It would be the same as a piece of mail or a photo; anything that shows evidence of a crime.”

In Washington, federal law enforcement agencies have responded to the issue of agents creating fictitious undercover accounts with carefully worded responses.

“The Department of Justice and our agents follow applicable laws, regulations and internal guidelines for investigations, regardless of whether those investigations occur online or on the street,” Laura Sweeney, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in a statement to AOL News.

“Just as we’ve done successfully in identifying and prosecuting child predators online, we will continue to use publicly available information individuals post online about their illegal activities, or false statements to law enforcement officials, in our investigations. To do otherwise would be negligence on our part,” Sweeney said.

Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesman, noted, “Simply said, law enforcement needs to be able to constantly adapt to the changing world around them while maintaining its ability to use all lawful and available tools at its disposal to gather potential leads to solve crimes.”

Interestingly, the Internal Revenue Service provided a document in the San Francisco lawsuit that states employee guidelines for the Internet. “You cannot obtain information from websites by registering … fictitious identities,” the document said.

“I think it’s interesting the IRS has drawn the line, and the Justice Department has not,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Hofmann said.

There has been limited public outcry about the prospects of agents creating undercover accounts since the Justice Department document surfaced.

But Hofmann mentioned the La Crosse, Wis., police department, which reportedly created a fake Facebook page using an attractive, blond-haired woman to lure students and find out about underage drinking. The department did not return a call for comment.

The La Crosse Tribune reported in November that Adam Bauer, a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse sophomore, had nearly 400 friends on Facebook and added the attractive woman. Shortly after, police had Facebook photos of him drinking, and he was fined $227.

After his court appearance in November, Bauer told the paper, “I just can’t believe it. I feel like I’m in a science fiction movie, like they are always watching. When does it end?”

Your Facebook Friend Could Be an Undercover Fed

facebook-logoBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department document asks the simple question: Why Go Undercover on Facebook, MySpace, etc.?

Then it goes on to explain: “Communicate with suspects/targets” … “gain access to non-public info” … “map social relationships/networks.”

The document, part of a Justice Department PowerPoint presentation, demonstrates how some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals. The presentation recently surfaced in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court.

Some federal and local law enforcement agents are quietly creating fictitious accounts on social networks like Facebook and MySpace to get dirt on suspected criminals

“This is just the way people meet these days — electronically,” James Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told AOL News. “It wouldn’t be any different than calling someone on the phone, say, in an undercover capacity. If we can meet them on Facebook by creating a fictitious account, that’s great. ”

Even so, the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco filed the lawsuit in December against about a half a dozen federal agencies to create a public dialogue on the matter and make sure agencies have guidelines for agents, according to Marcia Hofmann, a senior staff attorney for the foundation. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, Treasury, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are included in the suit.

For Full Story

Ex-Dep. Atty General David Ogden Said Dropping Ted Stevens Case Was “Painful”

Who will replace ex-deputy David Ogden?

Who will replace ex-deputy David Ogden?

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-Deputy Attorney Gen. David Ogden, who returned to private practice after a brief stint in the Obama Justice Department, said Tuesday that the government’s decision to drop the Sen. Ted Stevens case in 2009 after he’d been convicted was “painful”, according to the website The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.

Speaking at American University Washington College of Law, he said the department had “abandoned a case it believed in on the merits” and it hurt morale.

But he defended the decision, the website wrote.

“I believe it was the right thing to do based on the circumstances of that case,” he said. Ogden said the action showed that the Justice Department will respect the rights of defendants at all costs.

ex-Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

ex-Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

Stevens was convicted in October 2008 of failing to report roughly $250,000 in gifts.  The Justice Department found that the prosecution had withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense during trial and moved to dismiss the case. An FBI agent in the case also raised allegations of government misconduct.

Automaker Daimler to Pay $185 Mil in Fines for Bribing Foreign Officials in at Least 22 Countries

Mercedes_logo
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — German carmaker Daimler has apparently been up to no good.

The New York Times, attributing information to “a person familiar with the case”, reports that Daimler will pay $185 million in fines and and two of its subsidiaries “will plead guilty to bribing foreign government officials, to settle a multiyear corruption investigation.”

The Justice Department, in documents released Tuesday, accused Daimler of bribing foreign officials “in at least 22 countries, including Russia and China, between 1998 and 2008,” the Times reported.

The New York Times reported that the government alleged that the company ”made hundreds of improper payments worth tens of millions of dollars to foreign officials” in return for assistance ”in securing contracts with government customers for the purchase of Daimler vehicles worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Consequently, the company pocketed at least $50 million in profits from the schemes, the Times reported.

For Full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: Justice Dept. & Law Enforcement Should Decide on 9/11 Trial Venue — Not Politicians

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and in total  worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker

The decision of where and in what forum—civilian court or military commission—to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants has sparked a political firestorm of debate.

“Conservative” politicians and pundits have managed to cast the debate in terms of rights of enemy combatants versus the legitimate security needs of the United States. In other words, which is more important, the lives of Americans or the rights of terrorists? When put that way, it is easy to tell which hand has the chocolate.

The administration has been dithering and straddling on the issue. Reports have it that the President’s advisers are recommending a shift to the predominant or even exclusive use of military commissions and that his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is discussing a deal with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

All of this partisan posturing obscures and politicizes a question which should be decided by law enforcement and Justice Department professionals according to the needs and circumstances of a particular case. Why should we eliminate as an option the criminal justice system which has so successfully resulted in hundreds of double digit prison terms for those convicted of terrorism-related violations?

Read more »

U.S. Sends a Message and Cracks Down on Foreign Business Bribes

Unfortunately, in so many foreign nations, bribes are an accepted, and often necessary part of doing business. But the Justice Department isn’t accepting the business as usual. The Washington Post Carrie Johnson takes a snapshot of the latest effort to crackdown on the practice.

Pocketing Some Cash

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Federal authorities want companies to know that the cost of paying bribes to win overseas contracts is growing steeper by the day.

Long a priority of the FBI and the Justice Department, efforts to police corrupt business payments have intensified in recent weeks, with multimillion-dollar corporate settlements and coordinated arrests of individual executives accused of attempting to grease the skids.

On Friday, BAE Systems, the world’s second-largest defense contractor, agreed to pay $400 million to resolve decade-old allegations that it misled the Defense and State departments about its efforts to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The law bars companies from bribing government officials to win lucrative contracts and other favorable treatment.

The BAE deal came weeks after the FBI unveiled its first FCPA sting operation, which culminated in the arrests of nearly two dozen businessmen employed in the defense and law enforcement equipment industry.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Conducting Routine Probe of FBI Fatal Shooting of Imam in Michigan

michigan11By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has launched a routine investigation into the fatal FBI shooting in Michigan of a Muslim imam in October, the Detroit News reported.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who had asked the Justice Department to probe the matter, announced the news at a press conference Tuesday.

The paper reported that Justice Department spokesman Alejandro Miyar confirmed the investigation, but said it would have happened regardless of Conyers’ request.

“The FBI’s inspection division conducted a review,” Miyar said, according to the Detroit News. “The civil rights division has received the FBI’s report and is now conducting an independent review of the shooting.”

An autopsy report on Monday showed Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah was shot 21 times during a raid on a Dearborn warehouse. The FBI was conducting a probe of the trafficking of stolen goods.

The FBI says that the imam opened fire first and shot an FBI dog before agents returned fire.

Read Autopsy Report