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Archive for August 30th, 2010

FBI Challenges NY Times Story on Civil Rights Era Murder Investigations

fbi logo largeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI’s chief spokesman fired off a letter editor to the New York Times challenging a story the paper published that was critical of the bureau’s efforts to solve cold case murders from the civil rights era.

“I am concerned that ‘Despite F.B.I. Fanfare, Time Runs Out on Cold Civil Rights Cases’ (front page, Aug. 24) shortchanges readers on the efforts by dedicated FBI agents and Department of Justice prosecutors in this unprecedented undertaking to determine the facts in more than 100 unsolved civil-rights-era homicides,” FBI chief spokesman Michael P. Kortan wrote in a letter that appeared in Sunday’s edition.

“Although all the details cannot be shared publicly, investigators are confident that they now know what happened in each of the 57 cases that have been closed.”

“Of those, six cases have been referred for state prosecution, and in 36 others, families have been told the results of the investigation. They deserve to know the truth, even when prosecution is not possible.”

“Investigating decades-old murder cases can be both difficult and frustrating, but this has not deterred the commitment of investigators and prosecutors. Work continues in the remaining cases to bring prosecutions when possible, and closure for families when it is not.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

60 Minutes Shows FBI Surveillance Video in Chinese Spy Case

Lawyer Accuses Feds of Misconduct in Gambino Crime Family Case

mafia33By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A defense lawyer is accusing the feds of misconduct,  alleging in federal court in New York that authorities helped promote teen prostitution, a crime the Gambino Crime family is accused of, the New York Times reports.

The paper reports federal authorities have charged the crime family with sex trafficking with girls as young as 15. The prosecutors at one point called it ”a new low for the Gambino family.”

But defense attorney Gerald J. McMahon, who represents one of 14 defendants in the case, said in newly filed court papers that one person operating the sex ring, who was a convicted sex abuser “had a cooperation agreement as a federal witness,” the New York Times reports.

”A reasonable person might wonder,” Mr. McMahon wrote, according to the Times, ”whether the government — in its zeal to make a racketeering case against the Gambino family — allowed a 15-year-old girl to be shamefully and criminally exploited.” He’s asked that the case be dismissed for “outrageous government misconduct.”

Federal prosecutors, declined comment and had yet to respond to the filing, the Timews reported.

FBI spokesman James Margolin, an F.B.I. spokesman in New York, told the Times: ”This office would not — and did not — approve of any criminal activity involving a minor, much less the sexual exploitation of a minor.”

To read more click here.

Column: Reporter Bashes NY Times For Bashing FBI

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. Kessler has authored several books including “The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI”.

Ronald Kessler

Ronald Kessler

By Ronald Kessler
Newsmax.com

When it comes to the FBI, The New York Times has the same story line: The bureau is either incompetent, over-reactive, or spying on innocent Americans.

In most cases, the paper manages to convey those points by omitting key facts or downplaying them. For example, in revealing President Bush’s NSA intercept program, the paper used such trigger words as “eavesdropping” and “domestic spying” to suggest a massive program with sinister motives. Not until the 22nd paragraph did the story say that the intercept program targeted only calls with an overseas nexus.

But the Times reached a new low with a story this week by Shaila Dewan. Headlined “Despite FBI Fanfare, Time Runs Out on Cold Civil Rights Cases,” the story suggested that the FBI is not aggressively pursuing unsolved civil rights cases from years ago.

The story cited Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ declaration in February 2007 that the FBI had started the Cold Case Initiative to bring to justice the perpetrators of civil rights crimes. Since then, there have been no federal indictments, the paper said.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Tries to Restore Trust in Public Integrity Section With Appointment of Jack Smith

trustBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will try and restore the trust and integrity of its Public Integrity Section with the appointment of career  prosecutor Jack Smith, the Associated Press reported.

“I have the best guy I could have in that job. I’m looking for a natural leader, someone with tremendous energy, someone with tremendous judgment,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, head of the Criminal Division, told the Associated Press.

The unit’s reputation took a serious hit last year when the Justice Department vacated the public corruption conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens because of prosecutorial misconduct.

To read more click here.

Washington Post Editorial: Why is Justice Dept. Dragging Feet on Prison Rape Issue?

jailBy The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — “THIS IS SOMETHING that I think needs to be done, not tomorrow, but yesterday.”

Those were the words of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in March to a House subcommittee on the subject of preventing sexual abuse in prison.

Five months have passed since then, and two have passed since the June 23 deadline for Mr. Holder to approve the guidelines set forth by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission.

His “yesterday” is long past.

A report released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the situation remains grim.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST