Bulger defense says prosecutor gave immunity

October 25, 2012

The Boston Globe on October 25, 2012 released the following:

“Alleged deal was made decades ago

By Travis Andersen and Milton J. Valencia

Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger have identified the late federal prosecutor Jeremiah O’Sullivan as the federal agent who allegedly gave the notorious gangster immunity to commit his reign of terror.

Attorney J.W. Carney Jr. of Boston made the bombshell allegation in a court filing late Wednesday in which he again called for a US District Court judge to recuse himself from presiding over the case. He said the judge has an apparent conflict of interest as a former prosecutor who worked at the same time as O’Sullivan, a former US attorney who died in 2009 at age 66.

Carney said he may call US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns and other former prosecutors as witnesses to testify about the leeway that the leadership within the US attorney’s office gave Bulger and about their failure for years to charge him with any crimes, which he said would speak to the immunity agreement that Bulger alleges that he had.

Stearns was a former federal prosecutor and chief of the criminal division during part of Bulger’s alleged reign of terror in the 1970s and 1980s. But the judge was not part of the New England Organized Crime Strike Force that had an apparent relationship with Bulger at the time and he has maintained he did not know Bulger was the target of any investigation.

Carney argued there was no line dividing work between the Strike Force and the US attorney’s office, and so prosecutors from both units shared and were aware of investigations.

The judge refused an initial request to recuse himself in ­July, citing the high standards that must be met for a judge to have to recuse himself for conflict of interest concerns.

“I have no doubt whatsoever about my ability to remain impartial at all times while presiding over the case,” Stearns said in his ruling, maintaining he had no knowledge “of any case or investigation” in which Bulger was “a subject or a target.”

But Carney said Bulger’s reputation was well known, or should have been, particularly among leaders in the US attorney’s office.

He also said that the notorious gangster, now 83, will testify to support his assertion. He said Bulger will provide “a detailed account of his receipt of immunity by O’Sullivan,” who was a member of the strike force and at one point its chief.

In one example, Carney said, Bulger will discuss a time when O’Sullivan allegedly ordered Bulger be removed from a list of targets in a horse race-fixing scheme in the early ’80s.

Brian T. Kelly, one of the prosecutors in the case, wrote a letter to Carney on Friday in which he said the government has given defense counsel ample materials pertaining to O’Sullivan, as requested, calling it typical procedure in the case.

He offered on his own, however, that “the First Circuit has already held that O’Sullivan was unaware of any promise of immunity.”

He added, “O’Sullivan himself testified under oath before Congress that he never extended immunity to either James Bulger or Stephen Flemmi.”

Carney added that, in addition to Stearns, he would call other Department of Justice leaders to testify as to why Bulger was never charged by the federal government. Those leaders would include FBI director Robert Mueller, who served as a federal prosecutor and chief of the criminal division in Massachusetts in the early 1980s, and with whom Stearns has a close relationship.

Carney said he will introduce evidence from a courthouse ceremony where Mueller characterized Stearns as a “friend and mentor,” and in which Stearns called the FBI director’s speech “the greatest tribute that a friend could pay.”

Bulger’s lead lawyer questioned whether Stearns could remain impartial in deciding whether he and Mueller could be called as a credible witness to testify about the immunity agreement, which has emerged as Bulger’s main point of defense in a trial that could trigger the death sentence.

“Federal law mandates in this situation that Judge Stearns recuse himself from this case,” Carney said in a 24-page motion filed late Wednesday. “The law — and common sense — says that a person cannot be both judge and witness. . . . To do so otherwise will put an irreparable taint on the public’s view of the fairness of the defendant’s trial, and allow citizens to believe that the infamous cover-up of misconduct by past members of the Department of Justice, the United State’s attorney’s office, and the FBI is continuing.”

Carney said Bulger wasn’t accused of any crimes in a US indictment until after Stearns, Mueller, and O’Sullivan left office, and he argued their testimony will focus on why that didn’t happen. That should be up to a jury to decide, he said.

Bulger was one of America’s Most Wanted until his arrest in June 2011 after 16 years on the lam. He is accused in a federal racketeering indictment of participating in 19 murders.

He is also the notorious gangster at the center of one of the most scandalous periods in the history of the FBI. A series of hearings in Boston in the ’90s exposed a corrupt relationship between him and his FBI handlers. During that time, he was allegedly allowed to carry out crimes including murders in exchange for working as a cooperating witness against the New England Mafia.

Carney has said that Bulger was granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation, though legal analysts have questioned whether anyone could have had a right to kill, as Bulger asserts.

US prosecutors, who have argued Stearns does not have to recuse himself, also deny Bulger had any claim of immunity.

O’Sullivan suffered a heart attack and several strokes in 1998 when he was slated to testify about Bulger and Flemmi before US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf. O’Sullivan was in a coma for a month.

In 2002, O’Sullivan was called before Congress during the Government Reform Committee’s investigation of the Boston FBI. He denied ever protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution for serious crimes.

O’Sullivan acknowledged dropping the pair from a 1978 race-fixing case against the Winter Hill Gang, of Somerville, because he said he considered them small-time players and was focused on gang leader Howie Winter.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

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————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


AG Holder and FBI Director Questioned in Leak Investigation

June 13, 2012

ABC News on June 12, 2012 released the following:

By Jason Ryan

“In what seemed to be an unusual disclosure, Attorney General Eric Holder today testified that both he and FBI Director Robert Mueller have been interviewed by FBI agents conducting the leak investigation into disclosures of the recent Al Qaeda bomb plot.

“In an abundance of caution — I’ll just say this — both the director and I have been already interviewed in connection with the knowledge that we had of those matters; at least of that matter,” Holder testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Agents from the Washington Field Office have been investigating the leaks about the averted attack, which was first revealed by The Associated Press. The FBI is also investigating the source of the leak over who revealed that the individual at the center of the plot was a double agent working for Britain’s MI-6 secret intelligence service and the CIA, along with Saudi Arabian intelligence assets.

“I can also tell you that I have been interviewed already and I can tell you that that interview was not some kind of pro forma, ‘take it easy’ interview. I mean, these were serious — a serious interview that was done by some serious FBI agents. The same thing happened to the director of the FBI, as well, because we were people who had knowledge of these matters and we wanted to make sure that with regard to the investigation that it began with us,” Holder testified

Holder was extensively questioned by Republican senators about why he has not appointed a special counsel to oversee the leak investigations into the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula bomb plot and the disclosures about President Obama ordering cyber-attacks against Iran with the Stuxnet computer worm that appeared in an article in the New York Times by David Sanger. Last Friday Holder appointed Ron Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Colombia, and Rod Rosenstein to lead the criminal investigations.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., drew a connection of the leaks to the White House in his questioning of Attorney General Holder, citing Sanger’s book on Obama’s foreign policy, “Confront and Conceal.”

“Mr. Sanger clearly has enjoyed great access to senior White House officials, most notably to Thomas Donilon, the national security adviser. Mr. Donilon, in effect, is the hero of the book as well as the commentator of record on events. I don’t know what Mr. Donilon did, but according to this review and from my reading of excerpts of the book, somebody at the highest level of our government has been talking about programs that I think are incredibly sensitive,” Graham said.

“I think they are extremely serious,” Holder said about the damaging effect of the leaks but defended his appointment of the two U.S. attorney’s to lead the cases.

“The two people, I have appointed to look into these matters, are first-rate prosecutors, who will do, I think, a great job. And as we look at the history of what U.S. attorneys, who have been appointed in these kinds of cases, I think we can feel a great deal of comfort,” Holder said.

Graham said it was a double standard that Holder has not appointed a special counsel yet when compared to the leak investigation of CIA Officer Valerie Plame, which focused on the Bush White House.

“Vice President Biden was on TV morning, noon and night, urging the Bush administration to appoint a special counsel in the Valerie Plame case,” Graham said.

“As attorney general, I am seized with the responsibility of looking at allegations, controversies and making the decision on the basis of what I think is best for a successful investigation and potential prosecution,” Holder said.

In the Plame case then Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the investigation when it appeared the White House may be involved. Several months after the initial investigation began then Deputy Attorney General James Comey appointed U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as special counsel.

Under questioning from Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Holder hinted today that he may have to recuse himself at some point.

“Could you specifically tell us whether either David Axelrod or the president or Jay Carney have a valid basis for reaching the conclusion that the case does not present a conflict of interest? Can they really say that at this point knowingly?” Kyl asked.

“Well, I would say on the basis of what I know at this early stage of the investigation, there is not a basis for a conflict determination. But it is something that we are monitoring on an ongoing basis. Director Mueller and I have both set up in place at the Justice Department and the FBI a mechanism so that we can be advised on the possibility of a conflict. And if, at some point, the people who have been given that responsibility indicate to Bob — to Director Mueller or to me that we are in a conflict situation, we will act appropriately,” Holder said.

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who had called for Holder’s resignation during the hearing, asked Holder if he was concerned that U.S. Attorney Ron Machen, who is heading up one of the criminal leak investigations, had made $4,600 in political donations to the Obama campaign in 2007 and 2008 before he was appointed U.S. attorney.

“Would it surprise you to know that he is a political contributor to President Obama’s campaign and indeed serves as a volunteer in ‘Obama for America,’ and assisted in the vetting of potential vice presidential candidates?” Cornyn asked.

“I am confident that he has the ability, the capacity to investigate this case in a non-partisan, independent, thorough and aggressive way,” Holder responded.

Following Holder’s hearing Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced a resolution in the Senate calling for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the string of recent national security and intelligence leaks.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Eric Holder appoints 2 US attorneys to lead leaks probe

June 9, 2012

Boston Herald on June 9, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two U.S. attorneys are taking over separate FBI investigations into leaks of national security information that critics have accused the White House of orchestrating to improve President Barack Obama’s re-election chances, a claim Obama calls “offensive” and “wrong.”

Recent news articles contained details of U.S. involvement in a partially successful computer virus attack on Iran’s nuclear program and on the selection of targets for counterterrorism assassination plots. The leaked information generally painted Obama as a decisive and hands-on commander in chief.

“The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It’s wrong,” Obama told reporters at a news conference Friday. “And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office.”

Obama promised investigations into the source of leaks about U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran and drone strikes on suspected terrorists.

“We’re dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the American people, our families or our military personnel or our allies, and so we don’t play with that,” he said.

Hours later, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that two U.S. attorneys will lead a pair of criminal investigations already under way into possible unauthorized disclosures of classified information within the executive and legislative branches of government.

Holder said he was confident the prosecutors would follow the facts and evidence wherever they led.

“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information can compromise the security of this country and all Americans, and it will not be tolerated,” he said.

Holder assigned Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, to direct separate probes that are already being conducted by the FBI.

Three weeks ago, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the bureau had launched an investigation into who leaked information about an al-Qaida plot to place an explosive device aboard a U.S.-bound airline flight. Separately, calls from Capitol Hill have mounted urging a leak probe into a New York Times [NYT] story a week ago about U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran.

Obama said his administration has “zero tolerance” for such leaks and that there would be an internal administration probe.

“We have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences,” the president said. “In some cases, it’s criminal. These are criminal acts when they release information like this. And we will conduct thorough investigations, as we have in the past.”

Leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees said Thursday they were drafting legislation to further limit access to highly classified information and possibly impose new penalties for revealing it. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said he will investigate recent leaks.

Lawmakers have pointed to recent stories by The New York Times, The Associated Press and other news organizations that contain previously secret information and cite anonymous U.S. officials.

The strongest claims came Tuesday from Obama’s 2008 election opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“They’re intentionally leaking information to enhance President Obama’s image as a tough guy for the elections,” McCain said after taking to the Senate floor to list some of the alleged breaches. “That is unconscionable.”

McCain called on the administration to appoint an outside special counsel to investigate.

In a statement Friday, McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Holder’s decision “falls far short of what is needed” and repeated McCain’s call for a special counsel.

The House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said his committee would formally investigate the leaks but that he was concerned about the level of cooperation he would get from two government agencies.

“Just today, the CIA informed the (committee) that it cannot respond to our request for information regarding the leaks, a very troubling event indeed,” Rogers said.

The CIA has come under fire for allegedly sharing with Hollywood filmmakers classified details of last year’s U.S. raid into Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.

A Justice Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information, said that some officials in the department’s national security division recused themselves from one of the leak probes but that the department overall was investigating.

There are at least three investigations ongoing into disclosures of classified information.

Before becoming U.S. attorney, Machen helped lead the white-collar and internal investigation practices at the prominent Washington law firm of WilmerHale. He served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1997 to 2001.

Machen is leading a high-profile political corruption probe of officials in the District of Columbia. The latest development in that investigation came this week when District of Columbia Council chairman Kwame Brown resigned after being charged with lying about his income on bank loan applications and violating a city campaign law.

Brown pleaded guilty Friday.

Rosenstein was an associate independent counsel who worked for Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr from 1995 to 1997. He was co-counsel in the fraud trial of Jim and Susan McDougal, the former real estate partners of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Both of the McDougals were convicted in a trial that also resulted in the conviction of then-Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said he hopes that the Justice Department brings “the full force of the law against these criminals.”

“We need to send a clear message to anyone who considers leaking sensitive information and putting Americans at risk: If you leak classified information, you will face jail time,” Smith said in a statement.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called Machen and Rosenstein “strong, capable, independent prosecutors” and said the Justice Department’s consultation with the Judiciary and Intelligence committees was an aid to congressional oversight.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


New FBI Probe of Bomb Plot Highlights Administration’s Tough Stance on Leaks

May 18, 2012

National Journal on May 16, 2012 released the following:

“By Yochi J. Dreazen and Olga Belogolova

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the Associated Press had first reported that a recent bomb plot had been foiled by an undercover Saudi Arabian intelligence operative. That was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

The FBI has launched a criminal probe designed to identify the government officials who leaked key details of a foiled al-Qaida bomb plot, the latest indication of the Obama administration’s unrelenting push to find and punish those sharing classified information with the media.

FBI Director Robert Mueller, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, said that the agency was trying to identify which officials had spoken to reporters about the foiled attack, helping the Associated Press report that the scheme was part of an al-Qaida plot to down a U.S.-bound airliner with an sophisticated underwear bomb. The agency is also looking for who told media outlets that the plot was broken up with the help of an undercover agent working for the Saudi Arabian intelligence service, a detail first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

The Saudi assistance doubtlessly saved significant numbers of American lives, and Mueller — like other Obama administration officials — warned that future cooperation could be hampered by the disclosure of the Saudi role.

“Leaks such as this threaten ongoing operations, puts at risk the lives of sources, makes it much more difficult to recruit sources, and damages our relationships with our foreign partners,” Mueller said. “And consequently, a leak like this is taken exceptionally seriously, and we will investigate thoroughly.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, pressed Mueller on whether the information had been leaked by the administration for political gain, likening the details on the bomb plot to what he described as the “authorized leaks from the White House about the operation to kill Osama bin Laden.” The FBI director declined to answer the question.

The hearing offered an unusually vivid illustration of the Obama administration’s hard-line approach to the news media.

The administration took office with a promise of unprecedented transparency, including – in a sharp change from the Bush administration — posting the names of those visiting the White House onto its website. The White House also offered strong support for a so-called shield law preventing reporters working national-security stories from being forced to identify confidential sources.

But those moves have been increasingly outweighed by the administration’s aggressive effort to crack down on those responsible for sharing classified information with the news media.

The White House’s main tool has been the Espionage Act, a 1917 law passed during the height of World War I as a way of finding and punishing officials passing useful information to enemy countries. The legislation had been used to bring cases against suspected leakers a grand total of three times in the previous 91 years; the Obama administration has invoked it to prosecute six such cases in the past three years alone. If the FBI believes it has found the official or officials who spoke to the AP, that tally will increase to seven.

The first case brought under the Espionage Act targeted Thomas Drake, a whistle blower from the National Security Agency who was indicated for giving a reporter information detailing massive waste, fraud, and inefficiencies at the secretive agency. The Justice Department’s case against Drake fell apart days before the trial was set to begin last summer, highlighting the difficulties of winning convictions in such cases.

That hasn’t stopped the administration from trying. In January, the Justice Department indicted John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer accused of providing classified information about waterboarding and other controversial interrogation methods to journalists and misleading the agency while trying to get permission to publish a memoir about his time there. The case is ongoing.

The others facing potential prison time for their dealings with the media are former FBI translator Shamai Leibowitz, State Department contractor and analyst Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, and Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking thousands of classified military and State Department documents to online whistle-blower WikiLeaks. Leibowitz was sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2010 for leaking classified information to a blogger regarding Israel’s efforts to influence Congress and public opinion; the other cases are continuing.

The new investigation began earlier this month when news leaked that the CIA had helped to foil a Yemeni-based attempt to use a sophisticated underwear bomb to bring down a Western airliner. The Los Angeles Times soon reported that an undercover Saudi agent had penetrated the al-Qaida affiliate there, volunteered for the supposed suicide mission, and then secreted the bomb safely into the hands of other intelligence operatives.

The leak infuriated the Saudis, who said it put the agent at risk and endangered other undercover operatives elsewhere in the field. The unnamed agent and his family were subsequently placed into protective custody. The anger was felt just as fiercely in Washington, where an array of powerful lawmakers warned that disclosing the source and method of the information would make the Saudis less likely to work with the U.S. in the future and make it harder to foil new plots.

The AP has defended its reporting, with spokesman Paul Colford saying in a written statement that the news service “acted carefully and with extreme deliberation in its reporting on the underwear bomb plot and its subsequent decision to publish.”

That argument fell on deaf ears on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, with Mueller saying that he didn’t want to say the leak would have a “devastating” impact on U.S. intelligence gathering efforts — but then effectively saying just that.

“The relationship with your counterparts overseas are damaged and which means that an inhibition in the willingness of others to share information with us where they don’t think that information will remain secure,” he said. “So it also has some long-term effects which is why it is so important to make certain that the persons who are responsible for the leak are brought to justice.”

Those who leaked the new information may or may not be caught. But the ferocity of Mueller’s comments mean that the administration’s war against those who disclose such information won’t wind down anytime soon.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Mueller confirms preliminary probe of JPMorgan

May 16, 2012

Associated Press on May 16, 2012 released the following:

“By PETE YOST
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday the bureau has launched a preliminary investigation of JPMorgan Chase & Co. following a $2 billion trading loss at the bank.

Mueller’s comment at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was the first on-the-record confirmation of the probe.

On Tuesday, a law enforcement official said that the FBI’s New York office is heading an inquiry into the JPMorgan loss.

“All I can say is we’ve opened up a preliminary investigation,” Mueller told the Senate panel. Mueller said that opening a preliminary investigation “depends on a number of factors,” which he did not enumerate.

Under attorney general guidelines for FBI operations, a preliminary investigation may be initiated on the basis of any allegation or information indicative of possible criminal activity. Time limits are set for completion of preliminary investigations – usually six months, although six-month extensions can be granted. Extensions of preliminary investigations beyond a year must be approved by FBI headquarters.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Mueller: Plot shows need for surveillance power

May 9, 2012

Associated Press on May 9, 2012 released the following:

“PETE YOST
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director Robert Mueller urged Congress on Wednesday to renew wide-ranging surveillance authority to thwart terrorism plots like the latest one in which an al-Qaida-engineered explosive device was to have been detonated on a U.S.-bound airline flight.

Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee the FBI is examining the device and said the scheme hatched in Yemen demonstrates that it’s essential for Congress to reauthorize counter-terrorism tools enacted in 2008. Some of these programs expire at year-end.

The provisions allow the government to target electronic surveillance on foreign persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States.

The amendments up for reauthorization this year “are essential in our efforts to address” the terrorism threat, said Mueller.

The FBI director said the law allows the FBI to identify those both within the United States and outside the United States “who would hurt us.”

Mueller told the panel that “we’ve seen over the last several days” that terrorism should be “our No. 1 priority.”

The FBI director’s comments follow revelations that al-Qaida completed a sophisticated new, non-metallic underwear bomb last month and that the would-be suicide bomber actually was a double agent working with the CIA and Saudi intelligence agencies.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Scottish prosecutor, FBI chief discuss Lockerbie

May 2, 2012

Fox News on May 2, 2012 released the following:

“Associated Press

LONDON – A senior Scottish prosecutor and the head of the FBI have traveled to Libya to discuss the investigation into the 1988 Pan Am bombing that killed hundreds over Lockerbie.

Scotland’s public prosecution office said in a statement Wednesday that Scotland’s most senior legal officer Frank Mulholland and FBI director Robert Mueller traveled to Tripoli to meet Libyan prime minister Abdurahim el-Keib to discuss the case.

It says the meeting took place on April 25 but was not publicized at the time for security reasons.

Only one man, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, has been convicted of the bombing. He was freed from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds in August 2009, suffering from cancer. The Libyan authorities have said they will cooperate in investigations on the bombing.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI director Robert Mueller tells Miami Chamber: Mortgage fraud and other white-collar crimes rate high priority

April 5, 2012

The Miami Herald on April 5, 2012 released the following:

“FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Chamber of Commerce audience that the agency remains committed to solving major financial crimes prevalent in South Florida

BY MARTHA BRANNIGAN

The FBI has remade itself in the post-9/11 era to focus on counterterrorism, but the agency continues to battle major financial fraud in key areas familiar to South Florida, like mortgages and healthcare as well as corporate and securities violations, FBI director Roberts Mueller told a lunch audience at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001 triggered a new emphasis on cooperation among agencies and the use of intelligence to drive traditional white-collar crime investigations, Mueller told the gathering of 350 business and government officials at the Jungle Island luncheon.

“We have not neglected our criminal responsibilities,’’ he said. “What has changed is that we make greater use of intelligence and partnerships to focus our limited resources.’’

With tighter lending standards in the wake of the housing meltdown, mortgage fraud has morphed into “schemes aimed at distressed homeowners, such as loan modification scams and phony foreclosure rescues,’’ said Mueller, who became the FBI’s top cop on Sept. 4, 2001, the eve of the terror attacks.

Mueller said so-called “rescue services’’ hold out hope of helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, but instead extract big fees and personal information from victims, who sometimes are swayed “to sign away the deeds to their homes.’’

Among other priorities for the new FBI, Mueller said, is targeting rampant healthcare fraud. “Providers bill the government and insurers for excessive or unnecessary services and even for services they never provide,’’ he said, citing the recent case against officials at South Florida-based American Therapeutic Corp., who manipulated patients to receive unneeded treatment and padded bills to Medicare.

Another FBI focus — corporate and securities fraud — is also a familiar phenomenon to South Florida, Mueller said, citing the case of Scott Rothstein, the Fort Lauderdale attorney who led a $1.6 billion Ponzi scheme that hinged on selling interests in the proceeds of judgments from non-existent lawsuits.

In summing up, the FBI director urged chamber guests to take action when they see financial shenanigans. “You can learn to recognize financial fraud and unscrupulous business practices to better protect yourself and your companies. And you can alert us wehn you see these activities take place,’’ he said.

Chamber president Barry Johnson said the FBI and the chamber worked for two years to schedule Mueller’s visit. “He was interested in talking to South Florida, given the level of financial fraud operating in our part of the world. And they were looking for a business venue,’’ Johnson said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI Taught Agents They Could ‘Bend or Suspend the Law’

March 28, 2012

Wired on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“By Spencer Ackerman

The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes “bend or suspend the law” in their hunt for terrorists and criminals. Other FBI instructional material, discovered during a months-long review of FBI counterterrorism training, warned agents against shaking hands with “Asians” and said Arabs were prone to “Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums.”

These are just some of the disturbing results of the FBI’s six-month review into how the Bureau trained its counterterrorism agents. That review, now complete, did not result in a single disciplinary action for any instructor. Nor did it mandate the retraining of any FBI agent exposed to what the Bureau concedes was inappropriate material. Nor did it look at any intelligence reports that might have been influenced by the training. All that has a powerful senator saying that the review represents a “failure to adequately address” the problem.

“This is not an effective way to protect the United States,” Sen. Richard Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the FBI, tells Danger Room about the inappropriate FBI counterterrorism training. “It’s stunning that these things could be said to members of our FBI in training. It will not make them more effective in their work and won’t make America safer.”

At the least, Durbin adds, “those responsible for some of the worst parts of this should be reassigned. I want FBI agents who were exposed to some of these comments to at least have a chance to be spoken to and given valid, positive information that can help them.”

One FBI PowerPoint — disclosed in a letter Durbin sent to FBI Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday and shared with Danger Room — stated: “Under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” An incredulous Durbin told Danger Room, “Time and time again when that is done, it has not made us safer.” Like other excerpts from FBI documents Danger Room reviewed for this story, it was not dated and did not include additional context explaining what those “circumstances” might be.

FBI spokesman Christopher Allen did not dispute the documents’ authenticity. He said he would not share the full documents with Danger Room, and was “unable to provide” additional information about their context, including any indication of how many FBI agents were exposed to them.

“Of the approximately 160,000 pages of training material reviewed, less than one percent contained factually inaccurate or imprecise information or used stereotypes,” Allen told Danger Room. “But mistakes were made, and we are correcting those mistakes. Through this review process, we recognized that we lacked a centralized process to ensure all training materials were reviewed and validated. We are addressing that gap so this does not happen again.”

The FBI’s counterterrorism training review was prompted by a Danger Room series revealing the Bureau taught agents that “mainstream” Muslims were “violent“; that Islam made its followers want to commit “genocide“; and that an FBI intelligence analyst compared Islam to the Death Star from Star Wars. The review led the bureau to remove hundreds of pages of documents from its training course.

On Friday, the FBI announced the results of its internal review. After six months of internal inquiry, it released a statement instructing that “training would conform to constitutional principles” and “emphasize the protection of civil rights and civil liberties.” Written materials “must be reviewed carefully by supervisory-level personnel possessing an appropriate level of understanding of relevant topics.”

No one who prepared any of the “factually inaccurate or imprecise” instructional material faced disciplinary action. “All FBI employees who prepared inaccurate, imprecise, or stereotyped materials were interviewed,” Allen said. “It was made clear to them what was wrong with the materials and why they were not acceptable for FBI training.”

That’s left Sen. Durbin dissatisfied.

On Tuesday, Durbin wrote to FBI Director Mueller objecting to the FBI’s plans not to disclose the results of the inquiry; not to discipline those responsible for the offending documents; to exclude “FBI intelligence analyses of Islam and American Muslims” from the inquiry’s purview; and not to retrain agents who were exposed to the shoddy instructional material.

“If the FBI does not identify agents who received inaccurate information and take steps to retrain them, there is a real risk that agents will be operating on false assumptions about Arab Americans and American Muslims,” Durbin wrote to Mueller. “This could harm counterterrorism efforts by leading FBI agents to target individuals based on their religion or ethnicity, rather than suspicion of wrongdoing.”

A sample of that possibly harmful training comes from a document on “Establishing Relationships,” which instructed: “Never attempt to shake hands with an Asian. Never stare at an Asian. Never try to speak to an Arab female prior to approaching the Arab male first.”

Another document, titled “Control and Temper,” contrasted the “Western Mind” with that of the “Arab World.” The “Western” mind possessed an “even keel” and “outbursts” of emotion were “exceptional.” In the “Arab World,” by contrast, “Outburst and Loss of Control [is] Expected.” A bullet point below asked, “What’s wrong with frequent Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums?”

Many U.S. Muslims have been under government surveillance since 9/11, even without suspicion of a crime. The FBI has created “geo-maps” of where Muslims around the U.S. congregate and do business, untethered to specific criminal investigations. The New York Police Department has performed similar surveillance on Muslim communities in New York City, as an extensive Associated Press inquiry has revealed.

Durbin said he wants to give Mueller, with whom he has a “positive working relationship,” a chance to respond to his letter before taking any further steps with the Judiciary Committee to compel additional FBI action. But he expressed surprise that the FBI could have taught its agents that “bending or suspending” the law was sometimes acceptable.

“I cannot imagine that was actually said,” Durbin said, adding that the FBI provided him no context as to what circumstances might justify acting outside the law. “It creates a license for activity that could on its face be illegal, and certainly inconsistent with our values.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI Director Says Cyberthreat Will Surpass Threat From Terrorists

February 1, 2012

ABC News on January 31, 2012 released the following:

“Threats from cyber-espionage, computer crime, and attacks on critical infrastructure will surpass terrorism as the number one threat facing the United States, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified today.

Mueller and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, addressing the annual Worldwide Threat hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, cited their concerns about cyber-security and noted that China and Russia run robust intrusion operations against key U.S. industries and the government.

“I do not think today it is necessarily [the] number one threat, but it will be tomorrow,” Mueller said. “Counterterrorism — stopping terrorist attacks — with the FBI is the present number one priority. But down the road, the cyberthreat, which cuts across all [FBI] programs, will be the number one threat to the country.”

A report released in November by the National Counterintelligence Executive singled out Russia and China for their aggressive efforts to steal American intellectual property, trade secrets and national security information.

“The cyberthreat is one of the most challenging ones we face,” Clapper said. “Among state actors, we’re particularly concerned about entities within China and Russia conducting intrusions into U.S. computer networks and stealing U.S. data. And the growing role that nonstate actors are playing in cyberspace is a great example of the easy access to potentially disruptive and even lethal technology and know-how by such groups.”

“We foresee a cyber-environment in which emerging technologies are developed and implemented before security responses can be put in place,” Clapper said. U.S. officials estimate that there are 60,000 new malicious computer programs identified each day.

Last week the computer security firm Symantec released a report on a Trojan horse program dubbed “Sykipot,” which researchers say was traced to computer servers in China and was allegedly targeting firms in the defense industry.

“The Sykipot attackers have a long running history of attacks against multiple industries. Based on these insights, the attackers are familiar with the Chinese language and are using computer resources in China. They are clearly a group of attackers who are constantly modifying their creation to utilize new vulnerabilities and to evade security products and we expect that they will continue their attacks in the future,” Symantec noted in a blog posting.

In the past several years there has been a growing list of complex computer breaches that highlight the wide array of threats the officials were testifying about:
• The high-profile intrusions of Google’s Gmail by China in 2009 also targeted as many as 30 other high-tech companies including Yahoo, Adobe, Rackspace and Northrop Grumman. U.S. officials believe China was attempting to gain access to these firms’ networks to obtain intellectual property and source code information.
• China is also believed to be behind hacking into computer systems run by NASDAQ-OMX, the parent company of the NASDAQ stock exchange, and an intrusion last year into computers at the International Monetary Fund.
• Last year RSA, the security division of the EMC Corp., suffered a breach of the firm’s intellectual property, SecureID, which provides encrypted authentication services to defense contractors and the U.S. government, including the FBI. U.S. officials say Chinese entities compromised the RSA SecureID system to try to break into computers used by defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
• In 2007, Russia waged cyber-attacks against computer systems in Estonia and U.S. official have also cited Russia using cyber-capabilities in the conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008.
• Non-state entities such as the computer “hacktivist” group Anonymous have wreaked havoc recently with distributed denial of service attacks against the websites of the Justice Department, Universal Music, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and the FBI. Anonymous also has conducted sophisticated intrusions, breaching the computer systems of government contractor HB Gary, a cyber-security firm, in early 2011 when they downloaded more than 50,000 emails from the firm and posted private information about the CEO on his own Twitter account.

In the next month, Congress is expected to take up debate about pending cyber-security legislation that could possibly give the Department of Homeland Security new authorities to protect critical computer networks. Senators today on the Hill questioned the panel about why they have not done more to move forward on the issue.

“I can tell you that we are exceptionally concerned about that threat,” Mueller said, citing the establishment of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force that brings together the 18 intelligence agencies to work on various cyber threats.

“In the same way we changed to address terrorism, we have to change to address cybercrime.” Mueller said. “And so we have to build up the collective addressing of that threat in the same way that we did so and broke down the walls in the wake of September 11th .””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.