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Archive for April 22nd, 2011

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy Talks About the JFK

Ooops! Sealed Court Info Was Accessible in Ala.

U.S. Atty. Leura Canary/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ooooops!

Alabama U.S. Attorney Leura Canary was “appalled” to find out an error allowed the public access to sealed confidential information filed by federal prosecutors on PACER, the online federal court records system, according to The Smoking Gun website. The system is accessed by defense attorneys,  reporters, investigators, researches and government officials.

TSG website reported that in the past nine months 40 separate sealed court applications were mistakenly made public in the Middle District of Alabama, which is based in Montgomery, Ala. The applications were made by ten prosecutors and included requests to install hidden surveillance cameras, examine Facebook records, obtain credit information on certain individuals, procure telephone records, and attach devices on phone lines to track incoming and outgoing calls, TSG reported.

TSG reported that one of its own reporters  discovered the breach and notified the Justice Department and the court in the Middle District of Alabama.  The matter was quickly rectified.

TSG reported that it was impossible to  determine if the sensitive information was viewed by other PACER users.

“Prosecutors were incredulous when told that law enforcement sensitive information was available on PACER. A Justice Department source termed it a ‘disastrous situation’ for which prosecutors were not responsible.” TSG wrote. “One government lawyer said they were “shocked” to discover that details from sealed court applications were essentially sitting in plain sight.”

In a statement  to TSG, the Middle District’s chief judge, Mark Fuller said:  “The confidential information has been sealed. I regret the error was not identified earlier and have adopted procedures to ensure that it will not occur in the future.”

Mafia Boss Testifies That he Hopes to Die Outside Prison

Joseph Massino/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mafia snitch Joseph Massino, the first N.Y. crime boss to ever testify in court as government witness, said Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn that he hopes his cooperation gives him a chance to die outside of prison, Newsday reported.

“I am looking for a little light at the end of the tunnel,” Massino, 68, the ex-head of the Bonanno crime family, said on the fifth and final day on the witness stand, the Long Island newspaper reported.

Massino, who is serving two life sentences for his role in eight murders, testified against his former crime captain Vincent “Vinny From The Bronx” Basciano, 50, who is charged in the murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo in late 2004, Newsday reported.

Massino began cooperating with the feds, in good part, to help his wife, daughters and mother, Newsday reported.

He worked out a deal that they could keep certain real estate, Newsday reported. He was forced to forfeit more than $12 million in assets including millions in cash he hid at his Howard Beach home, Newsday reported.

Rumors are That Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger Died; FBI Says No Proof It’s True

New Salt Lake City FBI Building Going Green

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Salt Lake City FBI is going green.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) broke ground on Thursday for a new green-certified, four-story FBI building at 5425 West Amelia Earhart Drive in Salt Lake City, the FBI said. The building will be made of at least 30 percent recycled content.

The office serves Utah, Montana and Idaho.

Authorities said materials for the 160,000 square-foot building will come from matter extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site. GSA said the building will also save or create 500 construction jobs, most of which will be filled by folks in the local community.

The building is expected to be completed by late summer of 2012. The current building is in downtown Salt Lake City.

“This is a significant occasion for the citizens of Utah, Montana, and Idaho, as well as the employees of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office,” James McTighe, special agent in charge, said in a statement. “The completion of this state-of-the-art, stand-alone facility will enhance the FBI’s ability to protect Americans from national security and criminal threats by increasing our efficiency and capacity to collaborate with our federal, state, and local partners. ”

The new building is  part of the FBI- GSA 10-year acquisition program aimed at replacing or modernizing 39 FBI field offices and four major resident agency facilities across the country, the GSA said.

In recent years, new field offices have been built for the FBI’s Baltimore division and for the  suburban Washington agents.

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