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Spy case to open can of FBI worms (State Department)
| Ian Hoffman,
Posted on 04/27/2003 8:20:49 PM PDT by heyhey
Spy case to open can of FBI worms Probe into dealings of Los Angeles socialite could expose bureau tactics, lax operations
Twelve years ago, a team of U.S. counterintelligence operatives flew into frigid southern Manchuria to assess Chinese spying on American diplomats. Instead, the U.S. agents came to believe their own team was tracked by China's Ministry of State Security every step of their mission, which is still classified today.
The first clue was an odd elevator encounter in remote northeast China, an FBI agent bumping into a California nuclear-weapons scientist suspected of stealing neutron bomb secrets.
Counterintelligence agents are no believers in coincidence. Their suspicions drew them to Katrina Leung, a Southern California businesswoman, GOP activist and salaried FBI spy. Leung would go on to spy for the bureau for more than a decade.
Yet two weeks ago, the FBI arrested Leung, 49, and her former handler of 20 years, retired agent James "J.J." Smith, 59, charging her with copying bureau secrets and him with gross negligence. Another retired agent, Bill Cleveland Jr., 60, a handsome stalwart in China counterintelligence and son of a former FBI assistant director, resigned his post at Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab, stripped of his security clearances.
Leung, a vivacious Los Angeles socialite, is accused of serving as a Chinese double agent who had affairs with the FBI's top China spycatchers on the West Coast and beguiling Smith out of FBI secrets, charges that cast doubt on 20 years of political intelligence that she and Smith supplied on China's top leaders.
Yet as prosecutors unravel the pair's tangled loyalties, the Leung-Smith case could well put the FBI itself on trial, dredging up old cases and exposing bureau secrets as well as lax oversight inside an agency now reinventing itself for the war on terror.
"FBI headquarters clearly knew what was going on," said Smith's attorney and former federal prosecutor Brian Sun.
"To the extent there were warning signals, the bureau was just as culpable as my guy. And if you're going to go after J.J. Smith, you should go after the Enron, in this case the FBI."
In fact, the FBI launched probes last week of its Chinese counterintelligence operations, its Los Angeles field office and its running of spies. FBI director Robert S. Mueller III already has stripped a veteran counterterrorism executive of her post for not moving the Leung-Smith investigation swiftly enough. On April 9, he called the arrests of Leung and Smith "a sad day for the FBI" and said it "warranted a strong response."
Troubles with agents and informers are common in U.S. intelligence agencies, but most are dealt with quietly. Not the FBI. The bureau arrests its own. Prosecutors already have taken the first step -- declassifying Leung's role as a key FBI asset, code named "Parlor Maid" and paid $1.7 million since 1982.
Their evidence is simple: FBI documents seized inside Leung's San Marino home, or that she surrendered to investigators from her bedroom safe. They include a secret 1997 FBI memo on Chinese fugitives, plus FBI directories for the China squad and a contact list for agents and surveillance-team members working on "Royal Tourist," the FBI investigation of Peter Hong-Yee Lee, a defense scientist at TRW Inc., Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos labs.
FBI surveillance of Peter Lee in Beijing, where he gave a May 1997 talk at China's lead weapons design institute, played a major role in compelling his confession to giving up then-classified data on laser fusion and microwave radar to Chinese scientists in the 1980s and '90s.
But the Leung and Smith cases also will turn heavily on events in 1990 and 1991. That's when FBI executives first learned "Parlor Maid" was delivering information to China's intelligence service and probably was a double agent -- yet they chose to keep sending her to China as a spy. Katrina Leung was judged a gamble worth taking for national security.
"They trusted her, they had every reason to trust her and she fulfilled that trust," said Leung's attorney Janet I. Levine.
In early December 1990, the team of FBI agents and diplomatic security officers touched down on an icy runway at Shenyang, a Soviet-style industrial city of more than 4 million and home to a U.S. consulate, close to the North Korean border.
As the State Department team checked in at their hotel, they were amazed to see former Lawrence Livermore lab weapons scientist Min Gwo Bao, a spy suspect who lived in Danville, stride into the hotel lobby. No one was more bowled over than the FBI agent who had pursued Min for much of the 1980s.
Supervisory Special Agent Bill Cleveland had tried, but failed, years before to wring a confession out of Min. Working on a tip, the FBI was convinced Min, an analyst of missile basing and defenses, had given away design secrets to Livermore's W-70, the warhead for the Army's Lance missile.
"You wouldn't believe who I just ran into -- Min Gwo Bao!" Cleveland told his fellow agents.
Cleveland intercepted Min by the elevators. Now owner of his own trading company, Min said he was there "on business" and mentioned something about it being "nice to run into Californians."
"I'm not so sure you're glad to see me," Cleveland replied. Min never was charged, but the investigation cost his job at Livermore lab and his security clearance, the death knell for a career in U.S. defense science.
In response to Cleveland's questions, Min said he was leaving on the same flight as the U.S. team. But when they departed a few days later, he was nowhere to be seen. The entire incident was perplexing: What were the odds of running into an American nuclear spy suspect 6,000 miles from home, in a nation of 1.2 billion?
A week or so after the U.S. team came home, Cleveland listened to a wiretap recording and heard a woman named "Luo" spilling U.S. secrets to a suspected Chinese intelligence officer known as "Mao." Cleveland knew the woman's voice. Unbeknownst to Smith, Cleveland had been intimate with Katrina Leung for at least two years.
Revealed team's itinerary
In fact, just before he'd gone to China for the State Department, Cleveland had questioned her closely on Chinese intelligence facilities in the cities where the U.S. embassy and consulates were located. He had, in effect, revealed the team's itinerary to her.
Leung was a live wire. She was cutting financial deals and flowing money to as many as 16 overseas bank accounts, raising thousands for former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and other California Republicans, lobbying for Northern Telecom in China and for Chinese-Americans back home -- all while spying for the FBI and, the bureau alleges, the Ministry of State Security. She was known for her lavish lifestyle and high-level ties on the Chinese mainland. Cleveland's colleague in Los Angeles, FBI special agent Smith -- "J.J." to all -- had recruited her as an intelligence asset, a spy, for her knowledge of key figures in "Tiger Trap," the FBI code name for Cleveland's neutron-bomb case at Livermore.
Smith used a common recruitment pitch: Spy for the FBI, we'll pay you and both America and China will be the better for it. In a statement last weekend, Leung's family said "Katrina always did what the FBI wanted, believing it was in the interest of America and the Chinese people" and described her as a "tireless, idealistic believer in, and worker for, the improvement of relations between China, the country of her birth, and the United States, her adopted country that she loves."
Smith and Leung, both married, started a sexual affair soon after the recruitment, often meeting at her house in San Marino. It is in those encounters, the FBI alleges, that Leung pilfered FBI documents from Smith's open briefcase and either made notes or photocopied them.
When Cleveland called in 1991, Smith didn't know his colleague also was sleeping with Leung and had been since 1989.
Smith hastened to meet Cleveland in San Francisco and was "visibly upset," according to FBI affidavits based in interviews with Cleveland. The agents now had three data points: Leung's knowledge of the State Department trip, Min popping up in remote Shenyang and now Leung's conversation with a suspected Chinese intelligence officer. Technically, Min's appearance was ambiguous. Who would dream of sending a Chinese-American spy suspect to watch them? But as the coincidences piled up, suspicions soared and the odds favoring an innocent explanation fell fast.
Smith confronted Leung with the wiretap transcript, and Leung admitted she had reported details of the U.S. team's trip to her Ministry of State Security handler. In a San Francisco hotel room, Smith had her apologize to Cleveland. Cleveland still sounded angry when he called the leader of the U.S. team on an open, unsecure phone line.
"They knew we were coming before we even left," Cleveland told I.C. Smith, chief counterintelligence investigator for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
"I could tell he was upset and irritated," said Smith, who later retired as chief of FBI intelligence analysis, budget and training. He is unrelated to J.J. Smith.
Spycatchers are skilled actors, used to deceptions. In briefing the Tiger Trap case to fellow agents later, Cleveland would laugh off the Shenyang encounter, saying the nervous Min looked like he thought Cleveland was still trailing him. But in 1991, Cleveland and Smith were looking at potentially big trouble. Leung's seeming parallel life as "Luo Zhongshan" -- a typically male name meaning "mountain at the center" -- was reason enough for the FBI to drop her and investigate her.
"I just assumed she would have been closed and they would have probably opened a counterintelligence investigation of her," said I.C. Smith. "Here she had violated the relationship and was providing information to the PRC (People's Republic of China). I was somewhat flabbergasted to find she had been operating all these years."
Cleveland and Smith reported the problem to superiors in California, then in Washington. Smith at least was called to headquarters in May 1991 for what could prove to be a critical meeting.
In Washington, managers of the FBI's China unit agreed Leung's unauthorized contacts with the Ministry of State Security were a problem. But they ultimately decided that "J.J. would handle it."
Placing such discretion in the hands of a single agent was unorthodox. Experts in counterintelligence call it deeply troubling. But there were reasons for the FBI to keep J.J. Smith and Leung at work.
"Parlor Maid" was judged exceedingly valuable inside the China unit. She claimed to be friendly with then PRC President Yang Shangkun and other Chinese leaders, including current president and premier Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. She was wired into the PRC embassy in Washington and all the consulates. In 20 years, she reported more than 2,100 contacts with PRC officials here and abroad, delivering their drinks-and-dinner talk to the FBI as high-level political intelligence.
Smith's handling of her won commendations, even the coveted National Intelligence Medal. He was a proven hand, one of the nation's top counterspies. Together with Leung, they delivered a trove of insight into a closed, communist government and its views on American policy and politics.
FBI supervisors in Washington knew Smith had cultivated close ties with her and were counting on those ties to keep her in check and under control.
Yet Smith and Cleveland never told their supervisors on the West Coast or in Washington that they were having sexual relations with Leung. Counterintelligence experts say that missing piece of information would have changed their mind about leaving Smith and Leung in place, essentially unsupervised.
"These were very intelligent, well-meaning people who worked hard," said a former FBI counterintelligence supervisor. "The question is, how do you evaluate information when there's a huge factor you don't know about?"
The agents had broken at least one cardinal rule of counterintelligence.
"It's as basic and fundamental as living and breathing itself," said I.C. Smith. "You don't establish personal relationships with sources. You always assume that your sources do not necessarily keep the confidentiality of the relationship. So you take, but you don't do any giving. You don't provide them with any information of value. And you don't tell them secrets."
Breaking the rules
Now, the bureau itself bent or broke other rules.
Agents running spies submit regular reports to their supervisory agent. But when J.J. Smith was promoted to supervisory special agent over the Los Angeles squad, he was allowed to keep Leung as his informant instead of handing her off to another agent or at least sharing her handling. In effect, this short-circuited the FBI's primary method of overseeing agent-informant relations.
Also, the FBI runs a special double-agent program out of headquarters specifically to assess which secrets can be safely handed to a foreign government. The program is intended to weigh keeping those secrets against tossing them to a foreign intelligence agency, as bona fides to boost a source's standing. Instead, it appears Smith was allowed to decide some or all of what to feed to Chinese intelligence.
"The FBI fed information to her and encouraged her to give it to the PRC in order to obtain the trust of the PRC and obtain information in return," Leung's attorneys Levine and John D. Vandevelde argued in a court filing. "The only secret items she could access were those provided to her or made available to her by her handler, Special Agent Smith."
The apparent failure of China unit managers to demand extra oversight marked a departure with prudent counterintelligence practice, and it now lends a powerful defense to both Smith and Leung as they face separate indictments early next month.
"If, in fact, the bureau was aware that she was passing information to the Chinese, the defense she can use is, 'That was what I was told to do,'" said Michael R. Bromwich, former inspector general for the U.S. Justice Department. "She can say, 'They knew what I was doing and I was approved to do it.' It's an authorization defense."
In court documents and public statements, family and attorneys for Smith and Leung call them true American patriots, even as they swap accusations of betrayal.
Smith's defense calls her a thief. Leung's family says Smith and Cleveland "embarrassed the FBI by taking advantage of Katrina" and lying to investigators.
FBI affidavits back them both up: Leung admitted in December to stealing documents out of Smith's briefcase during their trysts, usually while he was in the bathroom. Among other things, she filched the classified top-secret transcript of her conversation with "Mao."
"I think I sneaked it," she told agents, according to court records.
"If they can demonstrate that she was taking classified material from her handler without his knowing about it, it seems to me that undercuts her defense that 'What I was doing was fully authorized by my handler and therefore the FBI,'" Bromwich said.
Yet Smith evidently still was giving her information after his retirement in 2000. Last November, agents secretly searched Leung's luggage at Los Angeles International Airport and found a two-page fax from Smith, containing six photos of active and retired FBI agents. Leung flew to China, and the fax was missing when she came back.
At first, Smith refused to answer questions about his sexual relations with Leung, then outright denied the affair until agents played a recording of him and Leung having sex in an L.A. hotel.
It took a total of four interviews before Cleveland acknowledged the full duration of his affair with Leung, running past his FBI retirement in 1993 and into his first six years as counterintelligence chief at Lawrence Livermore lab, protecting weapons scientists and their secrets.
Cleveland hasn't been charged and sources say there's no evidence he let any government secrets slip. He passed a polygraph test, they said, and is cooperating with the FBI. Cleveland apologized recently to his family and friends. Most believe he's guilty of bad judgment, not giving up secrets, and have forgiven him.
Despite the tactical split between Leung and Smith, they are likely to employ similar arguments. They will argue that Smith and Leung had every reason to trust each other and for the bureau to trust them, and that the information they provided the U.S. government was far more valuable than the few phone books and names that U.S. prosecutors allege were lost to China's Ministry of State Security.
In making their arguments, Leung and Smith will seek to introduce classified evidence on how the FBI recruits and runs spies; what dangers Leung encountered getting the intelligence; how the FBI tested the accuracy of the "Parlor Maid" material and blended it into analyses shared with the U.S. intelligence community, Congress and even the White House.
Under the Classified Information Procedures Act or CIPA -- the law that defense attorneys wielded to force prosecutors into retreat in the cases of Iran-Contra figure Joseph Fernandez and former Los Alamos weapons scientist Wen Ho Lee -- prosecutors are supposed to assess the risk of exposing secrets at trial and craft their charges to minimize the loss. Yet past espionage cases suggest federal prosecutors often underestimate that risk.
"I think in almost every case, even when they tried to scope it out in advance, there are always surprises because prosecutors frequently fail to anticipate all of the defenses that may be advanced," said Bromwich.
As the FBI races to learn more of the 1991 meeting, prosecutors could face a similar quandrary: How much did China get versus how many FBI secrets might be lost in open court?
TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: china; fbi; katrinaleung; leung; money; parlormaid; spies; spycases; statedepartment
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posted on 04/27/2003 8:20:49 PM PDT
FBI seeks manager over missing funds
BY JOHAN FERNANDEZ
NEW YORK: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking for a Malaysian manager of a Chinatown bank in connection with the embezzlement of over US$1mil (RM3.8mil) that caused a panic among thousands of depositors.
The FBI went to arrest Carol Lim, the branch manager of the Abacus Federal Savings Bank, to assist in their investigations but found she had disappeared from her home in Sunset Park, Brooklyn on Wednesday.
People known to the Lim family said they believed the woman, who had been working in the banking sector here for over 10 years, was still in New York.
Lim was sacked from the Abacus Federal Savings Bank's Canal Street branch two weeks ago after an internal audit revealed a number of irregularities in the accounts.
According to the chairman of the bank, Thomas Sung, Lim is alleged to have taken more than RM3.8mil through a complicated scheme using bogus accounts and falsified bank records.
Following a newspaper report of Lims sacking, rumours spread that the bank was in trouble and about to shut. This led to a mad scramble by depositors to withdraw their savings at the six branches of the bank.
The worst scenes were at the banks branches in Canal Street and Bowery Street in the Chinatown area that led to police being called in to control the crowd.
There were wild scenes as people scrambled to get into the bank. Police managed to get the crowd under control and allowed batches of 20 to enter the bank.
Besides withdrawing their money, clients also emptied their safety deposit boxes.
There were similar scenes, albeit on a smaller scale, at the banks branches in Brooklyn, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
The situation seemed to have improved later following reports that the federal office of Thrift Supervision, which regulates institutions like Abacus, confirmed that the bank was solvent, but had liquidity problems caused by the run on the bank. They appealed for calm.
Despite these assurances, customers were not convinced and more are expected to withdraw their savings.
posted on 04/27/2003 8:27:33 PM PDT
posted on 04/27/2003 8:29:19 PM PDT
Justice Department broadens investigation of FBI's DNA lab practices
Washington-AP -- An investigation into alleged wrongdoing by an F-B-I forensic technician has been widened to look into possible shortcomings within the lab itself.
The inquiry is expected to last several more months. It's already led to changes in the D-N-A unit.
Government officials say an F-B-I technician went undetected for two years as she failed to follow required procedure in analyzing D-N_A evidence.
The lab analyzes D-N-A in hundreds of crime cases a year. D-N-A evidence has become increasingly important in criminal cases and in appeals from old convictions before D-N-A evidence was widely used.
posted on 04/27/2003 8:30:06 PM PDT
Joe Lieberman cover his ass
Congressman asks FBI to see whether Chinese agent funneled money to campaigns
(04-27) 12:51 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman is asking for a federal investigation into whether an alleged double agent illegally funneled Chinese money into U.S. political campaigns.
Katrina Leung, a Southern California businesswoman who was paid $1.7 million as an FBI informant, also was a Republican activist and donor to candidates and the Republican Party. And she was arrested on April 9 as a suspected spy for China.
Court documents accuse Leung, 49, of a long list of security breaches including tipping off Chinese authorities to a search by U.S. agents for nuclear secrets in China and revealing names of FBI agents investigating Chinese spying in this country.
Lieberman, ranking Democrat on the Senate Government Affairs Committee, wrote a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller demanding an investigation into whether any of the money she gave was from the Chinese government. Under U.S. election laws, such donations are illegal.
Justice Department officials did not return calls for comment left Sunday.
Lieberman's Republican-controlled committee conducted an investigation in 1997 into whether Chinese government officials tried to influence the 1996 election with donations to Democratic candidates.
In the end, Lieberman said, the evidence was too blurred to determine what had happened. Evidence was presented, however, of contributions from people or businesses with close links to the Chinese government to the presidential campaigns, particularly that of President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
"The committee majority chose to focus its investigation almost exclusively on individuals who had raised or contributed money to the Democratic presidential campaign of 1996," Lieberman wrote in his letter, dated Monday.
"The FBI apparently believes that Ms. Leung acted as a spy for the Chinese government, including during the period PRC officials apparently were trying to influence American political campaigns," the letter said. The PRC is the People's Republic of China.
posted on 04/27/2003 8:34:38 PM PDT
Letters: Congress should block expansion of Patriot Act
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Congress should block expansion of Patriot Act powers
It is disgraceful that Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, seeks to repeal the sunset provisions of the so-called USA Patriot Act I ("Expand the Patriot Act? Instead, order a review," April 15 editorial). This act was passed in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, when Congress was running for cover. In fact, it was passed so quickly that most members of Congress failed even to read it.
Indeed, former Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia admits that he voted for it without reading it. He also admits that the act went too far in invading the privacy of citizens. Mr. Barr now has joined with ex-Rep. Dick Armey, R-Texas, and an unlikely ally, the ACLU, in an attempt to roll back some of the provisions, such as the one that gives the FBI the right to obtain from libraries and bookstores a list of customers and what they are reading.
As The Post indicated in its editorial, Patriot II goes even further. Why would President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft seek to obtain DNA from every person arrested in this country? In essence, they gain the DNA for not only one person but a connection to all of that person's blood relatives. Why?
It is mind-boggling that our representatives would seek to give more power to the FBI, which has a history of spying and blackmailing politicians, of spying on civil rights leaders, of attempting to frame Richard Jewell for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing and of giving a free pass to Whitey Bulger, who ordered the murders of dozens of people while acting as an FBI informant.
posted on 04/27/2003 8:42:17 PM PDT
New FBI lab hailed as 'best in the world'
Photo by Mike Morones / The Free Lance-Star
The FBI's Laboratory Division has completed its move into a new facility at Quantico from FBI headquarters in Washington.
Click for larger photo.
FBI officials dedicate new crime laboratory at Quantico Marine Corps Base.
By PAMELA GOULD
The FBI officially dedicated its new $130 million crime laboratory on the grounds of Quantico Marine Corps Base yesterday.
Calling it "the best laboratory of its kind in the world," Lab Director Dwight Adams told a crowd of roughly 1,000 that the facility has come a long way from its genesis 70 years ago with one $590 microscope.
The new structure--complete with $25 million worth of new equipment--is the FBI's first facility designed exclusively for analyzing crime-scene evidence. At 463,000 square feet, it provides the bureau's forensic scientists nearly triple the workspace they had while at FBI headquarters in Washington.
Renowned forensic scientist Henry Lee was among the guests attending yesterday's event and said he sees the new structure as the next step in the bureau's distinguished forensic history. Lee called the five-story structure "the most-modern facility ever built" in forensics.
"You need a good facility, good instrumentation and good scientists--now they have all three, and I'm sure they can serve the law-enforcement community much, much better because of it," said Lee, who is chief emeritus of the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory.
Yesterday's event honored past lab directors as well current and former employees. It also recognized the people remembered in its motto: Behind every case is a victim--man, woman or child--and the people who care for them.
Phyliss Silva, whose 16-year-old daughter Sofia was killed in 1996, attended the opening to support the scientists who last summer helped identify the teen's killer.
"I wouldn't have missed it," the Spotsylvania County woman said, her older daughter Pam seated beside her.
FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke yesterday of the importance of the scientists' work in helping "support freedom and the cause of justice" and the vision he has for the staff of 650.
"When it comes to forensic science, no one does it better than the people in the forensic laboratory," he said.
"I know many of you have seen CSI," he added, referring to the hit TV program about crime-scene investigators. "You can set it aside. These people are the real things."
Beyond complimenting the men and women for their past accomplishments, Mueller provided them a glimpse into his expectations for what he called "a new era."
"It is here," he said, "you will write the next chapters in forensic excellence."
posted on 04/27/2003 8:43:18 PM PDT
The Bureau is largely composed of top notch professionals.
Like everyone, it too has its share of superstars and bad apples.
Sep-11 and the accounting/legal scandals since then have harmed millions of productive, law-abiding Americans and have cost our economy over seven TRILLION dollars.
We simply cannot afford to allow slothful, corrupt, or otherwise incompetent individuals to infest our institutions of commerce and governance- ESPECIALLY law enforcement. Period.
Hopefully, the Bureau will continue to expel the bad apples and hold them accountable.
posted on 04/27/2003 9:08:56 PM PDT
Such slothful, corrupt or otherwise incompetent individuals also humiliate our nation's image and undermine our ability to lead by example. They are simply not worth protecting.
In fact, they are more dangerous than Al-Qaeda because they secretly undermine us from within. At least Al-Qaeda has the decency to openly declare hostile intentions.
posted on 04/27/2003 9:14:02 PM PDT
posted on 04/27/2003 9:20:12 PM PDT
by Nick Danger
(The liberals are slaughtering themselves at the gates of the newsroom)
There will always be some bad apples in the best and most well run organizations. It's more a matter of human nature than incompetence. However, when the bad apples are NOT weeded out, they just increase. Your organization winds up with enormous problems which will take a very long time to fix. Reno did a spectacular job of maiming the FBI.
posted on 04/27/2003 9:47:40 PM PDT
(UN Resolutions=Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
"The FBI apparently believes that Ms. Leung acted as a spy for the Chinese government, including during the period PRC officials apparently were trying to influence American political campaigns."
That WOULD explain why the FBI arrested her. Lieberman is just brilliant. Lightening quick mind there. Wish I could think like that. The man has a mind like a computer....
I'm goin to bed
posted on 04/27/2003 9:52:39 PM PDT
(UN Resolutions=Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
The Bureau is largely composed of top notch professionals.
The Bureau are the the cops for the world lets do America first
posted on 04/27/2003 10:02:31 PM PDT
Another jewel in the FBI's crown in general and in former FBI director William S. Sessions' crown in particular.
posted on 04/28/2003 1:35:41 AM PDT
"Leung, a vivacious Los Angeles socialite, is accused of serving as a Chinese double agent who had affairs with the FBI's top China spycatchers on the West Coast and beguiling Smith out of FBI secrets, charges that cast doubt on 20 years of political intelligence that she and Smith supplied on China's top leaders."
That 20 years spans Ronald Reagan, G. Bush Sr., and Bill Clinton - I don't doubt it for one second.
"Snort - Can Yu Beweeve it! - Snort - Snort" First Their Spies, Now Their Spypranes!
posted on 04/28/2003 1:42:20 AM PDT
(LIBERTY has arrived in Iraq - Now we can concentrate on HOLLYWEED!)
Probe of FBI's DNA Lab Practices Widens
1 hour, 50 minutes ago Add White House - AP Cabinet & State to My Yahoo!
By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - With defense lawyers stepping up challenges to genetic evidence, the Justice Department (news - web sites) inspector general is examining the FBI (news - web sites) lab unit that analyzes DNA in hundreds of cases a year after a technician was caught failing to follow proper procedure.
The inquiry, expected to last several more months, already has led to changes inside the lab's DNA unit in response to advice from outside scientists brought in by Justice investigators, government officials told The Associated Press.
The inspector general, an independent watchdog, is trying to identify any vulnerabilities in the lab after an FBI technician went undetected for two years as she failed to follow required procedure in analyzing DNA evidence, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.
DNA evidence has become increasingly important in criminal cases and in appeals from old convictions before such biological evidence was widely used.
The investigation, coupled with recent revelations of DNA irregularities in a few local crime labs that work with the FBI, could affect Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites)'s project to create a national DNA database to help law enforcers identify crime suspects through their genetic fingerprints.
Criminal defense lawyers are planning challenges to the database and to DNA evidence in cases involving the FBI lab technician or the local crime labs accused of wrongdoing.
"All of us are depending on DNA as a gold standard in forensics work innocence projects, prosecutors and defense lawyers. And now we don't have a gold standard. The gold has been tarnished," said Frederic Whitehurst, a lawyer and former FBI lab employee whose whistle-blower allegations led to major changes in the lab in the mid-1990s.
The AP reported this month that FBI lab technician Jacquelyn Blake quit while under investigation for failing to follow required scientific procedures while analyzing 103 DNA samples over the past couple of years, and a second lab employee was indicted for allegedly providing false testimony.
Inspector General Glenn Fine expanded the Blake inquiry to examine the FBI lab's broader practices in DNA cases. The FBI has been cooperating, the government officials said.
The officials said the goal of the investigation is to identify vulnerabilities in lab procedure that could affect the quality of the FBI's DNA analyses or permit a rogue employee to go undetected.
FBI Lab Director Dwight Adams, himself a DNA scientist, disclosed the existence of the wider Justice Department inquiry during recent briefings on Capitol Hill, law enforcement and congressional officials said.
Adams told lawmakers and their staffs the DNA section has put changes in place to deal with issues raised by the outside scientists brought in by the inspector general, the officials said.
"We want correct and unassailable results and objective testimony, and to do that we've got to be open to outside scrutiny and outside review," Adams told the AP.
The investigation is the broadest inspector general's review of the FBI lab since one concluded in 1997 that scientists in the lab's explosive units engaged in bad science and gave inaccurate testimony. Those findings led to an overhaul of the world-renowned forensics facility.
FBI officials also are facing questions about how to protect the bureau's national DNA database from a growing number of problems at local police crime labs.
The police lab in Houston is under grand jury investigation for its DNA work. A police lab in Fort Worth, Texas, is facing a criminal inquiry after revelations that a senior forensic analyst ignored proper DNA procedures. Florida is grappling with a state crime lab worker in Orlando who falsified DNA data.
FBI officials have pulled DNA samples from the Houston lab from its national database and said they will examine the allegations involving Fort Worth and Orlando to determine if any action is required to protect the national DNA registry.
The inspector general has pressed the FBI to conduct regular audits of state and local labs that put DNA evidence into the national registry. An audit in 2001 disclosed half the local labs examined were not in compliance with FBI DNA standards (news - web sites).
"No such audits of the DNA profiles in CODIS (the Combined DNA Index System) were being conducted at any level," the inspector general's report said.
"The FBI needs to improve its oversight ... to ensure the laboratories are in compliance with the act, the FBI's quality assurance standards and the FBI requirements for laboratories participating in the national index," it said.
On the Net: FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/
Combined DNA Index System: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/codis/index1.htm
posted on 04/28/2003 8:19:46 AM PDT
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Police Get Power to Check Prints On The Spot
Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian
Portland police may soon be asking for more than a license when making a traffic stop, but also requesting a motorist to stick out a thumb and forefinger.
Next month, more than a dozen officers will carry handheld devices on the street that will allow them to instantly verify a person's identity by analyzing their fingerprints.
The Portland Police Bureau was awarded a $250,000 federal COPS grant to equip each of its five precincts with a device and distribute another 10 to investigative officers in the detective, gang enforcement, drugs and vice, and tactical operations divisions.
The Minnesota-based Identix manufactures the technology, which captures fingerprints at the scene and remotely transmits them to a database. The Portland police will run the prints against the FBI's automated fingerprint database, and a database of seven Western states, known as the Western Identification Network.
If there is a match, the system returns the person's name, date of birth and mug shot directly to the officer's handheld terminal, the size of a Palm Pilot. Then the officer can check the person's criminal history and search for any outstanding warrants.
Manufacturers and police tout the time it could save officers, keeping them from needlessly transporting suspects to a police precinct or jail to fingerprint them.
"With shrinking budgets and shrinking staff, we need to capitalize on emerging technology," said Capt. Greg Hendricks, of the bureau's identification division.
Within a year, the bureau intends to expand the pilot purchase of 15 to more than 300 terminals for all patrol officers, under $650,000 set aside for the Portland police by the U.S. Department of Justice and recently approved by Congress.
The devices will also give officers on horseback, bicycles and motorcycles, who do not have the mobile computer terminals that patrol officers have at their fingertips, the ability to access information on people they stop.
"It speeds up the process for the officer to confirm who they've stopped, and reduces mistaken identities on arrests," said Sgt. Jeff Kaer of the bureau's identification division.
Next week, the bureau has invited representatives from 15 police agencies, sheriff's offices and federal law enforcement in the metropolitan area to learn about the handheld fingerprinting device and gauge if there's interest in integrating them into a regional database that could give officers in the field immediate access to criminal histories on suspects in a four-county region. The counties include Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Clark.
"If we integrated this system regionally, all of the agencies could share information with each other," Kaer said. "As you know, crime doesn't stop at the city line."
The City Council is expected to approve the bureau's contract with Identix at its meeting next week.
The same handheld device is also capable of facial recognition, a an emerging technology now used by a number of law enforcement agencies to find wanted criminals whose faces are in databases. Border patrol agencies have used the facial-recognition component to run the faces of people coming into the country against a database of photos of suspected terrorists.
posted on 04/28/2003 10:14:16 AM PDT
"The Bureau is largely composed of top notch professionals.
The Bureau are the the cops for the world lets do America first "
Agreed. Afterall, how can other countries possibly take us seriously as "a nation of laws" when we are being hypocrites and allowing crooked accountants, lawyers, and corrupt judges and officials to wreck us from within- and without even the fear of being held accountable?
Personally, I do not see why we should allow our country to be harmed like this just so a few thousand of these characters can play "bigshot" with monies they have embezzled from productive, law-abiding citizens.
posted on 04/28/2003 4:45:02 PM PDT
Second Former FBI Agent Quits U.S. Lab in China Spy Case
By Curt Anderson Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 11, 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) - A second former FBI agent who acknowledged an affair with a suspected Chinese double agent has resigned his sensitive security post at a California nuclear weapons lab, law enforcement officials said Friday.
William Cleveland Jr. worked in Chinese counterintelligence before taking a job at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He resigned Thursday as chief of security, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Livermore spokeswoman Lynda Seaver did not immediately respond to a message left early Friday morning.
Cleveland is one of two former FBI counterintelligence agents who acknowledged lengthy affairs with the alleged double agent, Katrina Leung. Leung is being held without bond on charges of passing secrets to the People's Republic of China while also an intelligence "asset" on the FBI payroll.
The other agent, James J. Smith, is free on $250,000 bond on charges of gross negligence for allegedly allowing Leung access to classified materials during their two-decade affair.
Cleveland is not charged and is not referred to by name in affidavits filed after Smith and Leung were arrested. But law enforcement officials confirmed he is the former agent referred to in the documents.
Throughout the affidavits, Cleveland is referred to as an unnamed supervisor in Chinese counterintelligence in the FBI's San Francisco office. Smith worked in Chinese counterintelligence in Los Angeles, where Leung is a prominent political activist and socialite.
The court documents say Cleveland acknowledged a lengthy sexual relationship with Leung that continued after he left the FBI and went to work at the Livermore lab. The documents also say that in 1991, he listened to a tape of Leung and her Chinese intelligence contact that made clear to him she was passing secrets to China.
After Cleveland confronted Smith about it, Smith insisted that he had addressed the problem - and nothing more was done until an investigation that began a few months after FBI Director Robert Mueller took office in September 2001.
The documents do not say whether Leung obtained any classified information from Cleveland. The items that she allegedly obtained from Smith include lists of FBI agents' names, a memo about Chinese fugitives and a telephone list involving an investigation into Peter Lee, an employee at defense contractor TRW Inc. who pleaded guilty in 1997 to passing secret information to China.
FBI officials say the investigation is continuing and that more charges are possible. They also say that so far, nothing has emerged to indicate that the information provided by Leung constitutes a major breach of national security.
In congressional testimony Thursday, Mueller called the case "an isolated event" and that ongoing changes at the FBI would ensure better oversight and management of intelligence sources.
"We as an organization must learn from the mistakes of the past so we do not repeat them," Mueller told a Senate appropriations panel.
posted on 04/29/2003 1:00:16 AM PDT
(Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
To: Jeff Head; Alamo-Girl
posted on 04/29/2003 1:05:10 AM PDT
(Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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