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Archive for May 25th, 2009

Immigration Officers Deporting Repeat Offenders Before Conclusion of Court Hearings

immigration-court-la-sublostop1

Immigration officials are angering some immigration attorneys, who say the agency is wrongly deporting immigrants before their court hearings are completed. Immigration officials say these immigrants violated previous deportation orders. Immigration attorneys say once the case goes before a judge, it’s up to the judge to decide what to do, not immigration officers.

By Anna Gorman
Los Angeles Times

Fernando Arteaga appeared last week in Immigration Court as part of a lengthy battle to stay in the United States. But just before the hearing began, immigration officers removed him from the courtroom, arrested him and took him into custody.

Several hours later, agents deported him to Mexico — even though his court case was still underway.

Arteaga, 44, is among a small number of immigrants picked up in recent weeks by immigration agents at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. All of the people arrested there had been previously deported and all had criminal records, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

Immigration agents are reinstating previous orders of deportation, Kice said, which “enables the nation’s immigration judges to focus on the cases of those aliens who have not had their day in court.”

For Full Story

Justice Dept. Attorneys Face Possible Sanctions In Calif. Wiretap Case

The government could get burned in this legal game of chess.

calif-mapdataEvan Hill
Law.com

Government lawyers trying to fend off a much-watched warrantless wiretapping case in federal court now face sanctions and the possibility of a judgment that the United States committed illegal surveillance, following an order filed on Friday by Northern District of California Chief Judge Vaughn Walker.

Walker, bringing to a head months of volleying between the government, the plaintiffs and himself, ordered Justice Department lawyers to explain why he should not essentially enter a default judgment against the government for violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by spying on the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation.

The government has refused to obey court orders by repeatedly stonewalling Walker’s attempt to move the case forward, Walker wrote.

If he rules as threatened, Al-Haramain would win without forcing the government to acknowledge surveillance.

“In some ways, this might be entirely satisfactory to the government,” said Jon Eisenberg, who represents the defunct Islamic charity.

For Full Story

FBI Stings-Informants Don’t Always Make For Good Domestic Terrorism Cases

Stings Not Always Fruitful
Stings Not Always Fruitful

Sting operations and anonymous informants are invaluable tools in the FBI’s major domestic terrorist operations. But it turns out sometimes these tools aren’t enough to make a case — or at least a legit one.

By Deborah Hastings
Associated Press
NEW YORK — It usually starts with a snitch and a sting operation, followed by a great deal of publicity and controversy.

Case in point: Four Muslim men charged last week with plotting to blow up synagogues and military planes. The informant is a convicted felon and Pakistani immigrant who turned informant seven years ago to avoid deportation. This wasn’t his first foray into undercover work for federal authorities.

With considerable fanfare, a steady stream of terrorism busts has been announced by the FBI since Sept. 11, 2001. And in most cases, accusations soon followed that the stings were overblown operations that entrapped hapless ne’er-do-wells. Federal authorities say such arrests save lives.

But what happens to these cases after the media spotlight fades and the noise dies down? And are the snitches involved reliable?

“Most of these guys don’t get tried,” said security analyst Bruce Schneier. “These are not criminal masterminds, they’re idiots. There’s huge fanfares at the arrest, and then it dies off.”

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Two Ex-N.Y. Times Journalists Said They Had Watergate Scandal Tip First; Former FBI Dir. Patrick Gray Cited as Source

L. Patrick Gray/fbi photo

L. Patrick Gray/fbi photo

It’s interesting to see that decades later we’re still learning about FBI leaks in the Watergate case, a story that gave journalism new direction and ushered in an era of great investigative reporting.

By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
New York Times

The Watergate break-in eventually forced a presidential resignation and turned two Washington Post reporters into pop-culture heroes.

But almost 37 years after the break-in, two former New York Times journalists have stepped forward to say that The Times had the scandal nearly in its grasp before The Post did – and let it slip.

Robert M. Smith, a former Times reporter, says that two months after the burglary, over lunch at a Washington restaurant, the acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, L. Patrick Gray, disclosed explosive aspects of the case, including the culpability of the former attorney general, John Mitchell, and hinted at White House involvement.

Mr. Smith rushed back to The Times’s bureau in Washington to repeat the story to Robert H. Phelps, an editor there, who took notes and tape-recorded the conversation, according to both men. But then Mr. Smith had to hand off the story – he had quit The Times and was leaving town the next day to attend Yale Law School.

Mr. Smith kept the events to himself for more than three decades, but decided to go public after learning that Mr. Phelps planned to include it in his memoir.

For Full Story