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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Dept. Probing to See if Blackwater Bribed Iraqi Govt.

blackwaterlogo2
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The infamous Blackwater Worldwide comapny may have changed its name a while ago, but it hasn’t managed to erase its troubled past.

The New York Times reports that the Justice Department is investigating “whether officials of Blackwater Worldwide tried to bribe Iraqi government officials in hopes of retaining the firm’s security work in Iraq after a deadly shooting episode in 2007, according to current and former government officials.”

The Justice Department’s fraud section opened up the inquiry late last year, officials told the Times.

The company, which garnered so much bad publicity in recent years, changed its name to XE Services last year, though many still refer to it as Blackwater.

For Full Story

FBI and Justice Dept. Employee Alice J. Manning Dead at Age 82

justice logo2

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Alice J. Manning, 82, who was featured in a Washington Post article in 1946 along with her seven brothers and sisters, and who worked as a secretary for the FBI and an administrative assistant for the Justice Department, died in Baltimore last month, the Washington Post reported Friday. She had Alzheimer’s.

The Post reported that Manning and four of her sisters worked as secretaries for the FBI. She eventually worked for the CIA and State Department before “spending the bulk of her career with the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, where was an administrative assistant. She retired in 1987.”

She was born in Bolton, Mass., and attended Emmanuel College in Boston and Catholic University, the Post wrote.

The Post said she enjoyed dancing and attended Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington, Md. She is survived by two sisters and two brothers..

Justice Dept. Considering Putting Guantanamo Inmates on Trial in Brooklyn and Other Places

brooklyn bridgeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department may end up not only holding trials for Guantanamo prisoners in a Manhattan court, but also in Brooklyn and eventually D.C. and Alexandria, according to a report in the New York Times.

The Times reported that authorities were close to deciding whether to hold trial for some Guantanamo Bay inmates in the Brooklyn federal courthouse. Justice officials have not publicly disclosed who would go on trial there.

Right now the Justice Department has plans to hold trial in lower Manhattan for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and four of his cronies.

That decision drew criticism from some people who felt it endangered the folks of New York City. They also said defendants should go before a military tribunal, not a civilian court.

A decision to hold trial in other civilian courts is likely to draw more criticism. Stay tuned.

Justice Dept. Gets a Little Hipper with Facebook and Twitter and Slick Website

justice-department-website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — It used to be — not all that long ago — that only teens and the terminally hip used the social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

No more. The U.S. Justice Department, not particularly known for being terminally hip, is getting into the act.

Reporter Joe Palazzolo of the website Main Justice reports that the Justice Department has not only created a slick looking website but “in less than a month, the Justice Department has gained about 92,000 followers on the microblogging site Twitter, 1,400 Facebook fans, and 500 MySpace friends. The department was the fifth federal agency to join Twitter.”

“Had we done something like this under Attorney General Ashcroft and President Bush, the howls would be deafening,” Mark Corallo, who served as spokesman for Attorney General John Ashcroft and now works at his consulting firm, The Ashcroft Group told Main Justice. But as Corallo scanned the new site, he added: “This is truly professional. This is really well done.”

To read the full story click here.

Head of Rocky Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section Takes New Post

The unsettled Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section continues to go through some unsettling times. Here’s the latest, but not likely, the last of the unsettling news. Welch is moving. He and five other members of his unit are still under criminal and internal investigation. In other words, it’s kind of a mess.

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By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — William M. Welch II, head of the Justice Department’s public integrity unit, will step aside and return to Massachusetts, where he spent the bulk of his career exposing corruption in state government, according to two sources familiar with the move.

Welch reached the decision after consulting with authorities about his family responsibilities and professional opportunities in his home state, the sources added. Welch notified subordinates in the public integrity unit late Monday. He will remain an employee of the department’s criminal division.

The unit, which leads some of the Justice Department’s most explosive investigations of political figures, came under fire earlier this year when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. abandoned the conviction against former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), citing multiple lapses by the prosecution team in evidence-sharing.

For Full Story

Justice Dept. Hopes to Avoid Another Ted Stevens Disaster

Assist. Atty. Gen. Lanny Breuer says he doesn’t think there’s widespread prosecutorial misconduct. Still, problems with sharing evidence with the defense has surfaced far too often. At least the department acknowledges that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Justice Department leaders are pressing ahead with reforms to prevent lapses by prosecutors in sharing evidence in criminal cases, a series of changes spurred by failures that led the federal government to take a highly unusual step earlier this year and abandon the conviction of former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

The reforms come as new allegations emerge that cast doubt on the credibility of the key witness in the Alaska political corruption scandals, including the botched prosecution of Stevens.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer outlined in an interview and at a judges’ meeting in Seattle this week the fresh safeguards, such as new training programs for federal prosecutors on their evidence-sharing obligations and the hiring of an official at headquarters to review the process.

For Full Story

Justice Dept. to Review Mandatory Waivers of DNA Testing for Some Fed Convicts

This is an interesting issue. The bottom line is: No one should have to waive their right to DNA testing if there’s any remote possibility that it will prove their innocence. It’s called the justice system. Why should we take something away that can provide justice? If we can prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, why not go for it?

DNA code analysis

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has ordered a review of a little-known Bush administration policy requiring some defendants to waive their right to DNA testing even though that right is guaranteed in a landmark federal law, officials said.

The practice of using DNA waivers began several years ago as a response to the Innocence Protection Act of 2004, which allowed federal inmates to seek post-conviction DNA tests to prove their innocence. More than 240 wrongly convicted people have been exonerated by such tests, including 17 on death row.

The waivers are filed only in guilty pleas and bar defendants from ever requesting DNA testing, even if new evidence emerges. Prosecutors who use them, including some of the nation’s most prominent U.S. attorneys, say people who have admitted guilt should not be able to file frivolous petitions for testing. They say the wave of DNA exonerations has little impact in federal court because all those found to be innocent were state prisoners, and the waivers apply only to federal charges. DNA evidence is used far more frequently in state courts.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Review of CIA Detainee Abuse to Focus on Small Number of Cases

This will continue to be a political hot potato. But it seems that the Justice Dept. should look into cases in which CIA employees went beyond the guidelines of interrogation.

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By Carrie Johnson, Jerry Markon and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s review of detainee abuse by the CIA will focus on a very small number of cases, including at least one in which an Afghan prisoner died at a secret facility, according to two sources briefed on the matter.

On Friday, seven former CIA directors urged President Obama to end the inquiry, arguing that it would inhibit intelligence operations in the future and demoralize agency employees who believed they had been cleared by previous investigators.

For Full Story