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Archive for October 26th, 2009

FBI Rescues 52 kids from Prostitution and Arrests 60 Pimps

missing-and-exploited-logo

By Caitlin Osborne
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The FBI announced Monday that it had rescued 52 children involved in underage prostitution over the past three days and arrested nearly 700 people including 60 pimps.

Dubbed “Operation Cross Country IV”, the FBI said it teamed up with local and state police law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to save the children.

“It is repugnant that children in these times could be subjected to the great pain, suffering and indignity of being forced into sexual slavery for someone else’s profit,” Assist. Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division said in a statement.

The operation, part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, targeted truck stops, casinos, websites and “street tracks” in 36 cities around the country. Street tracks are locations where the children are merchandised and offered to customers.

The Lost National Initiative was formed in 2003 by the FBI, NCMEC and Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenities Section.

Since then, nearly 900 kids have been rescued, and more than 500 pimps have been prosecuted, according to Ernie Allen, President and CEO of NCMEC.

“We are honored to be the FBI’s partner in this effort,” he added. “I truly believe that what they are doing is historic.”

Allen said this marks the first time in American history that federal leadership has taken on such a predominant role in ending child prostitution.

NCMEC estimates that over 100,000 children in the U.S. are victims of sexual trafficking.

FBI Agent Mike Kortan is new Chief FBI Spokesman- Replacing John Miller

Michael Kortan (left) talking to ex-FBI Dir. Louis Freeh in 2008/fbi photo
Michael Kortan (left) talking to ex-FBI Dir. Louis Freeh in 2008/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Agent Michael P. Kortan, the number two person in the FBI office of public affairs at headquarters, is replacing John Miller as the chief FBI press spokesman.

Miller announced his resignation in August and recently left to become assistant deputy director of intelligence analysis for the Office of Director of National Intelligence.

Kortan, a veteran of the press office, who last held the title of Deputy Director of Public Affairs, now assumes the title of Assistant Director for the Office of Public Affairs.

Inspector Gen. Report Says FBI Still Not Reviewing All Material in Counterterrorism Case

Page from old arabic book

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The FBI is still not reviewing millions of electronic files and thousands of hours of wiretapped conversations collected in counterterrorism cases, and needs to hire more translators, according to a report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General released Monday.

The report by Inspector General Glenn Fine, also noted that the “FBI cannot accurately determine the amount of foreign language material it collects and reviews because it lacks a consolidated collection and statistical reporting system.”

The report concluded that “not reviewing such material increases the risk that the FBI will not detect information in its possession that may be important to its counterterrorism and counterintelligence efforts.”

Read more »

3 DEA Agents Among 10 Dead in Afghan Helicopter Crash

afghanistanBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Three DEA agents were among 10 Americans killed Monday in a helicopter crash in the western part of Afghanistan, authorities said.

The Associated Press reported that the agents were in a a helicopter that went down after leaving a firefight. Seven U.S. service members were also killed. Additionally, 11 American service members, one U.S. civilian and 14 Afghans were injured.

In another incident Monday, two U.S. Marine helicopters – one UH-1 and an AH-1 Cobra – collided in in the southern province of Helmand, killing four American troops and wounding two more, the AP reported.

Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, which is the key ingredient in heroin. Authorities say the Tabliban has been trafficking in opium to help finance operations.

A DEA spokesman said Monday afternoon that the agency was not commenting.

Read N.Y. Times Story

Worlds Colliding for N.Y. Fed Prosecutor — Thanks to Dad and Bernie Madoff

In the Seinfeldian world, George Costanza complained of “worlds colliding” when his girlfriend started hanging out with Elaine. In N.Y., Richard Zabel, chief of the criminal division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, has seen worlds collide with his father over a case tied to Bernie Madoff.  It has created a sticky situation for his office. Here’s the details.

George Costanza complained about "worlds colliding". Prosecutor Richard Zabel has the same problem.

George Costanza complained about “worlds colliding”. Prosecutor Richard Zabel has the same problem.

By Mary Jacoby
Main Justice
WASHINGTON — Two weeks ago Richard Zabel, the new criminal chief of the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s office, recused himself from the Bernard Madoff investigation because his father represented an investor accused of being the biggest beneficiary of the $65 billion fraud.

On Sunday, William D. Zabel’s client was found dead at the bottom of his pool at his mansion in Palm Beach, Fla. The Palm Beach Police Department said it was conducting an investigation of the death of investor Jeffry Picower, who was 67, as is “standard operating procedure in any drowning.”

The sudden death of this alleged key figure in the Madoff scheme underscores some potentially thorny management issues for the new U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara. Bharara named Zabel his criminal chief on Oct. 6, calling the former Akin Gump criminal defense attorney a “legal All-Star.” Zabel also served eight years as an SDNY prosecutor in the 1990s.

Although Bharara’s pick for criminal chief quickly recused himself from all Madoff-related matters, line prosecutors now may have little choice but to attempt to seek information from his father, insofar as attorney-client privilege allows.

For Full Story

Bernie Kerik to Stay Behind Bars For Now

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Bernie Kerik/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One-time national hero Bernie Kerik, the former N.Y. City Police commissioner, will remain behind bars in the Westchester County Jail for now.

A 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge in New York denied his request “to stay the revocation of his bail on pending trial in corruption charges, but granted an expedited hearing on the merits of the former NY Police Commissioner’s appeal,” Courthouse News Service reported. The hearing is set for this Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson of White Plains tossed Kerik in the can last week after revoking his $500,000 bond and calling him a “toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance.” He is now known as inmate 210717.

The judge declared that Kerik had violated a court order by sending confidential information to a fund raiser for his defense fund.

Kerik, who became a national hero after 9/11 as the N.Y. police chief, faces three trials on a host of charges including conspiracy, tax fraud and corruption.

His first trial was set to begin today, but has been postponed.

Madoff Investor Found Dead in Palm Beach Pool

palm-beach-map

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The Bernie Madoff story has no happy ending. In fact, at this point it has no ending.

The latest twist came Sunday when philanthropist Jeffry M. Picower, 67, who is accused of earning about $7 billion from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, was found dead in his Palm Beach mansion pool, the New York Times reported.

The Palm Beach Police, which posted no press release on the matter on its website, said the cause of death had yet to be determined, the Times reported. He had a history of cardiac issues and Parkinson’s disease.

Last December, Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, a French investment manager who had big bucks invested with Madoff, was found sitting at his desk with both wrists slashed.

To read more click here.

Accused Spy For Israel Had Been Busted for Overbilling NASA

No question Stewart D. Nozette was a smart scientist. But a smart criminal? He pleaded guilty in January to overbilling NASA. You’d think once you’re on the government’s radar you’d avoid — or least be careful — about doing foolish things. You’d think.

Stewart Nozette/nasa photo

Stewart Nozette/nasa photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Stewart D. Nozette, the Chevy Chase scientist accused last week of attempted espionage, pleaded guilty in January to overbilling NASA and the Defense Department more than $265,000 for contracting work, according to court records unsealed Friday.

Nozette, 52, was arrested last week by federal authorities and accused of selling sensitive government secrets for $11,000 to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence operative. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted of attempted espionage.

For Full Story