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Archive for December 24th, 2008

Va. Gov’s Brother-in-Law Candidate for U.S. Attorney Post

Gov. Kaine/official photo
Gov. Kaine/official photo

Candidates around the country are floating their names and vying for the dozens of U.S. Attorney jobs. In Virginia, the governor may have a particular interest in the Alexandria position.

By Jerry Markon and Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writers
ALEXANDRIA — Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s brother-in-law is among the candidates for U.S. attorney in Alexandria, a key law enforcement job that is supposed to be free of political considerations, legal and political officials said yesterday.
Kaine (D) said he has discussed the position with Dwight C. Holton, an assistant U.S. attorney in Oregon and the brother of Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton. Dwight Holton also is the son of former governor A. Linwood Holton Jr.
Kaine said he referred his brother-in-law to U.S. Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), whose office will help recommend candidates to the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama. At least five other current or former prosecutors are candidates for the job, officials said.
“All I have done with him is to say there is a process and that process involves getting hold of the senior senator,” Kaine said. The governor added that Holton “is very qualified” and “has had some significant experience” in more than a decade as a federal prosecutor.
For Full Story

Homeland Security May Search the Internet for Terrorist Threats

The Internet has become the wild wild west and Homeland Security wants to be the sheriff. Can the agency pull that off? Is the universe small enough to police?

By Thomas Frank
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The Homeland Security Department may soon start scouring the Internet to find blogs and message boards that terrorists use to plan attacks in the USA.
The effort comes as researchers are seeing terrorists increasingly use the Internet to plan bombings, recruit members and spread propaganda. “Blogging and message boards have played a substantial role in allowing communication among those who would do the United States harm,” the department said in a recent notice.
Homeland Security officials are looking for companies to search the Internet for postings “in near to real-time which precede” an attack, particularly a bombing. Bombings are “of great concern” because terrorists can easily get materials and make an improvised-explosive device (IED), the department said.
“There is a lot of IED information generated by terrorists everywhere – websites, forums, people telling you where to buy fertilizer and how to plant IEDs,” said Hsinchun Chen, director of the University of Arizona’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Chen’s “Dark Web” research project has found 500,000,000 terrorist pages and postings, including tens of thousands that discuss IEDs.
For Full Story

L.A. Times Editorial Page Calls Bush Reign “Lawless”

The paper’s editorial page has hammered away at the Bush administration over time. Today is no different. Do you agree?


By The Los Angeles Times
Editorial Page

Whatever its other legacies, the Bush administration will be remembered for its contemptible disregard for the law in the post-9/11 war on terrorism. From the wiretapping of Americans without a court order to the waterboarding of suspected terrorists to the refusal to abide by the requirements of the Geneva Convention, many of the administration’s policies can fairly be described as lawless.
But were they also criminal? Should officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, be put on trial, either in a court of law or in a forum like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission? As the Bush administration nears its end, calls for such a reckoning are coming from civil libertarians and some supporters of President-elect Barack Obama. Some even argue that President Bush should be indicted.
This editorial page has been uncompromising in its criticism of the Bush administration’s flouting of international and domestic law. The administration was wrong to evade courts in seeking warrantless surveillance of Americans, wrong to establish the Guantanamo Bay detention center, heinous in its acceptance of torture. But we are wary of either the criminal prosecution of administration officials or some South-Africa-style process.

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Battle in Motown to Force a Reporter to Reveal Sources Continues

The battle to force a reporter to disclose sources continues in Detroit. Here’s the latest.

By ED WHITE
Ex-Prosecutor Convertino

Ex-Prosecutor Convertino

Associated Press Writer
DETROIT — A lawyer asked a judge Tuesday to declare a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter in contempt for refusing during a court-ordered deposition to reveal unnamed sources who leaked information about a terrorism prosecutor.
A lawyer for former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino asked that reporter David Ashenfelter of the Detroit Free Press be fined $500 to $5,000 per day until he divulges who in the U.S. Justice Department helped him with a 2004 story about an ethics investigation.
Ashenfelter, 60, invoked the First Amendment and the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a deposition Dec. 8. Two federal judges had ordered him to comply with a subpoena for information.
“It is important that Mr. Ashenfelter’s defiance come to a very rapid end,” Convertino’s attorney, Stephen Kohn, said in a filing in federal court.
“This discovery dispute has gone on for nearly 18 months, during which time Mr. Ashenfelter has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to make frivolous and unfounded arguments whose only purpose is to cause delay and drive up costs,” Kohn said.
For Full Story
Read Convertino’s Motion

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Is TSA Airport Screening Over the Top or Not?

NY Man Pleads To Providing Satellite Feeds to Hezbollah

It’s obvious that Javed Iqbal wasn’t supplying transmission feeds of Seinfeld. The feds found no humor in this programming.

CNN NEWS SERVICES
A Staten Island man pleaded guilty Tuesday to providing satellite television transmission services to the Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah, which the United States has branded a terrorist organization, legal authorities said.
In exchange, Javed Iqbal, also known as John Iqbal, received thousands of dollars, according to Lev L. Dassin, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Dassin said Iqbal admitted he had provided material support and resources to Hezbollah’s television station, Al Manar, which means ”The Beacon.”
Hezbollah uses the station to attract support, including raising funds and recruiting volunteers for attacks, according to the criminal complaint against Iqbal and statements he made in federal court.

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Obama Report Says Nothing Offered to Gov. Blagojevich For Senate Seat

One of the worst kept secrets has been the Obama generated report on the his team’s contact with Gov. Blagojevich. On Tuesday the report was finally released.

By Jill Zuckman and John McCormick
Chicago Tribune
WASHINGTON – A report issued by Barack Obama’s transition concluded that the president-elect had no contact with Gov. Rod Blagojevich or his office and no one acting on Obama’s behalf tried to offer any “quid pro quo” arrangement to benefit the governor in exchange for filling the vacant Senate seat with a candidate of Obama’s choosing.
The report was put together by attorney Greg Craig following Blagojevich’s arrest for engaging in a scheme to sell the vacant U.S. Senate seat, as well as other state appointments and services.
Craig said Obama, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and his adviser, Valerie Jarrett, all submitted to interviews with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald last week. Craig said neither Jarrett nor David Axelrod, another senior adviser, had any contact with Blagojevich or his office.
The report did say that Dr. Eric Whitaker, a close friend of Obama’s, was approached “by a member of the Governor’s circle” for information.Obama has portrayed himself as taking a hands-off approach to the governor’s decision about who to appoint to his Senate seat. In fact, the report noted that he was very much interested in who would succeed him in the Senate.
For Full Story
Read Full Report