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Archive for November 17th, 2008

U.S. Marshals Nab Fugitive Ex-Priest As He Exits Church in San Francisco

The U.S. Marshals knew former priest Wilputte Sherwood didn’t have a prayer of staying on the lamb forever.

Bay City News Service
A fugitive former Catholic priest convicted in 1993 of sexually abusing underage boys in Arizona was arrested while leaving church Sunday in San Francisco’s Castro District, federal authorities announced today.
Wilputte Alanson Sherwood, 63, had been sought for fleeing his probation out of the Phoenix area in 2005. He was subsequently named the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department’s most wanted sex offender, the U.S. Marshals Service reported.
U.S. Marshals spokesman Matt Hershey said Sherwood’s capture was considered a high priority for the service, which is tasked with tracking down unregistered sex offenders under the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.
Hershey said reports out of Arizona alleged Sherwood may have had sexual encounters with thousands of individuals, including hitchhikers and runaways.
“We would consider him a major case,” Hershey said.
For Full Story

Scientist In Va. Pleads To Selling Rocket Technology to China and Bribery

Yes it is rocket science, and yes scientist Shu Quan-Sheng is in big trouble.

AMAC Intl.

AMAC Intl. in Newport News

By DENA POTTER
The Associated Press
NORFOLK, Va. — A Virginia scientist pleaded guilty Monday to selling rocket technology to China and bribing Chinese officials to secure a lucrative contract for his high-tech company.
Shu Quan-Sheng , 68, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the federal Arms Control Act and one count of bribery at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.
Shu is president of AMAC International Inc. of Newport News. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Shanghai.
Prosecutors said Shu, an expert in cryogenics, sold technology to China for the development of hydrogen-propelled rockets.
For Full Story

Read Statement of Facts

Judge Orders Feds to Release Documents on Wrong Anthrax Suspect

Court documents may give us some insight as to why the government doggedly went after the wrong suspect, scientist Steven Hatfill,  for so many years.

Scientist Steven Hatfill

Scientist Steven Hatfill

By Jesse J. Holland
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Monday ordered the Justice Department to release the information it used to persuade the courts to let it search the home of a former Army scientist who was exonerated in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said the government’s search warrants and supporting documents relating to former Army scientist Stephen Hatfill and his then-girlfriend Peck Chegne should be made public.
The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times asked for the materials to be released, contending the public has a right to know why investigators wanted to search Hatfill’s home and on what basis the courts agreed to allow those searches.
“The anthrax investigation was one of the most complex, time-consuming and expensive investigations in recent history,” Lamberth said. “As a result, the American citizens have a legitimate interest in observing and understanding how and why the investigation progressed in the way that it did.”
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Obama Needs To Fix Shortcomings of Dept. of Homeland Security

In these exciting transition times after the election it is good sport to speculate on what might be coming with the new President’s government. Already there is buzz about another New Deal. That may be a good thing when you consider the problems facing Federal law enforcement. The net result of years of mission creep and unfunded mandates has left its mark on Federal law enforcement. The old complaint about having more mission than people has never been truer.

The creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the wake of 9/11/01 was a shock to the system from which Federal law enforcement has yet to recover. In creating DHS, the Bush Administration combined the failed managements of Treasury’s Customs Service and Justice’s Immigration and Naturalization Service. Consequently, the DHS succeeded in creating an agency that has yet to find a coherent identity. Another “Fed Frankenstein” is Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The media is full of stories from this DHS quadrant, particularly about the shortcomings of the Air Marshal’s Service and the airport screeners.

Perhaps the Obama Administration “New Deal” might provide some relief here. Its transition teams should make certain no good budget dollars follow bad ones and management fixes internal control weaknesses in these organizations. A top to bottom analysis of DHS should determine a new strategic plan to bind this cabinet department together. Some agency pieces may need to be jettisoned or returned to other Executive Branch departments. The DHS needs to have a common sense organization that benefits the Nation rather than the bureaucratic lash up of today. A litmus test for the transition team is to review the DHS of today against the findings of the 9/11 Commission and determine if there are still homeland security gaps to be filled.

Some effort must be focused on the DHS mission. The schizophrenic Immigration enforcement laws and regulations need to be addressed. These laws need to be free from political manipulation and grounded in fairness and uniformity, particularly when it comes to the protection of the border.

Perhaps the national service idea (besides Armed Forces duty) that President-elect Obama articulated during the campaign as a way for young citizens to earn college tuition credit might include helping fulfill some of the broad mission of DHS. In any case, DHS is definitely a place for a “New Deal.”

Cleveland City Council Prez Mum About FBI Subpoenas

Here in the Midwest, in a city once known as the Mistake on the Lake, city council president Martin Sweeney isn’t taking chances by saying the wrong thing as a public corruption probe heats up.

Council Pres. Martin Sweeney/official photo

Council Pres. Martin Sweeney/official photo

By Henry J. Gomez
Cleveland Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND — Martin J. Sweeney offered few clues Friday as to why his name has surfaced in the corruption probe targeting Cuyahoga County.
But subpoenas obtained last week by The Plain Dealer indicate that federal investigators are curious about the Cleveland City Council president’s possible ties to Blaze Building Corp. and Lopat Development Co.
“I haven’t seen — I wasn’t aware of any subpoenas, and I won’t have any further comment about it,” Sweeney said Friday in a brief phone interview. “That’s my on-the-record statement.”
The subpoenas, served on Blaze and Lopat in July, requested documents showing any communications between Sweeney and the contractors. Investigators also demanded any evidence of financial relationships that Sweeney and others might have with Blaze and Lopat.
For Full Story

BET to Feature In Depth Show on J. Edgar Hoover

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

WASHINGTON — Love him or hate him, we can’t seem to get enough of the guy.
The BET network this Thursday at 10 p.m. will feature an in depth look at the legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover on its “American Gangster” show.
In promoting it’s upcoming segment, BET said:
“The first and most famous director of the FBI, Hoover consolidated his power through a combination of brilliant public relations moves and compromising personal files he kept on politicians who held his fate in their hands. Positioned as an avowed and implacable enemy of Communism, Hoover was often at odds with left-leaning Black leaders throughout his reign, including Marcus Garvey and Paul Robeson.
In recent weeks, reports surfaced that Hoover kept his eye on such notable authors as Norman Mailer and David Halberstam.
Documents recently released also showed that he not only kept tabs on investigative columnist Jack Anderson, but despised him.

Obama Moving With Caution Before Picking New Homeland Security Chief

The names of a number of possible candidates to head Homeland Security continue to circulate in this town. But the Dems are moving cautiously to make the pick.

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON— As Democrats for the first time take over the five-year-old Department of Homeland Security, the watchword for Obama transition aides is caution.
The next secretary will inherit the politically perilous tasks of securing the nation’s borders against illegal immigration, as well as leading the federal response to natural disasters. He or she will take the helm of a $40 billion, 200,000-worker bureaucracy still in the throes of the most complex government merger since World War II, while contending with more than 80 congressional oversight committees and subcommittees.
Above all, the new secretary must help prevent the next terrorist attack on American soil, whatever form it might take.
Little wonder that Democrats are treading carefully.
For Full Story

FBI Honing in on Some Muslim Leaders in Phoenix Area

Several incidents have prompted the FBI in the Phoenix area to take a closer look at the Muslim community.

By Sean Holstege and Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX — The FBI has sharpened its scrutiny of some Phoenix-area Muslim leaders because of their links to two controversial incidents and a federal probe into the financing of terrorist groups.
No Arizonan has been accused of supporting terrorist groups or actions. However, a Mesa man was charged with lying to the FBI during the financing investigation.
The events that triggered the stepped-up scrutiny were the federal probe into a Muslim charity accused of funneling money to the Palestinian group Hamas; a target-shooting episode in Phoenix this year involving a large group of Muslim men and boys firing hundreds of rounds from AK-47s and other guns; and the high-profile removal in 2006 of six Arizona-bound imams from a jetliner after passengers and crew complained of their behavior. Click here to find out more!
Although some Islamic leaders say they understand the scrutiny, they also view it as another sign that innocent Muslims unjustly fall under suspicion because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
For Full Story