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Archive for May 1st, 2009

Justice Drops Spy Case Against Pro-Israel Lobbyists

aipacThis case was plagued with troubles. It’s best that the government dropped it. Taking it to trial could have been a disaster. And that’s something the Justice Department doesn’t need at a time it’s trying to upgrade its image and correct the mistakes of the past.

By NEIL A. LEWIS
New York Times
WASHINGTON – The Obama Justice Department moved Friday to drop all charges against two former pro-Israel lobbyists who had been charged under the Espionage Act with improperly disseminating sensitive information.

The move by the government came in a motion filed with the federal court in Alexandria, Va. which was to be the site of the trial that was scheduled to begin June 2.

The prosecution’s case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman suffered several setbacks in rulings from the trial judge. At the same time, the case was fraught with deep political dimensions, as it raised delicate issue of behind-the-scenes lobbying over Middle East policy and the role played by American Jewish supporters of Israel.

Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman, who were lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a leading pro-Israel lobby, were charged with violating the World War I-era Espionage Act. The indictment said they violated the law by disseminating to journalists, fellow Aipac employees and Israeli diplomats information they had learned in conversations with senior Bush administration officials.

For Full Story

Ex-Secret Service Agent Contracted Swine Flu During Presidental Trip to Mexico

secret-service-logo1Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — A former U.S. Secret Service agent from Maryland, who traveled to Mexico with President Obama last month “probably contracted swine flu and infected several members of his family in Anne Arundel County”, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Marc S. Griswold, who had left the Secret Service a while ago and is an employee of the Department of Energy, was serving as a lead advance agent for Energy Secretary Steven Chu on the presidential trip, authorities said Friday morning. He told the post that a minor cough turned into the swine flu, but that he has recovered.

Griswold said the disease has created problems for his family, which had endured stares and mean jokes, the Post reported.

“We’re not the Typhoid Mary family, for goodness sake,” Griswold told the Post. “We’ve been told we’re not contagious. We’re already past the seven-day mark for that.”

Griswold did not get close to the President during the trip, the paper reported.

OTHER STORIES  OF INTEREST

John Malcolm Bales Named Interim U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Texas

texasBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. has named John Malcolm Bales the interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

He replaces Rebecca Gregory, who stepped down to join the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Bales, 54 of Nacogdoches,Tex., will take the post on Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Bales had previously served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney and most recently as chief of the criminal division, the office said.

The District includes 43 counties stretching from the Oklahoma border to the Gulf of Mexico.

Bales, a former FBI agent, graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and became an assistant U.S. Attorney in 1989, according to a press release.