Dec. 13 News: USA Today Continues Revelations on DOJ

By Andrew Kreig / JIP Director's Blog

USA Today continued last week with its important investigative series about how the Justice Department poorly monitors misconduct by its personnel. Meanwhile, significant developments occurred in the New Jersey and Connecticut cases that our Justice Integrity Project has probed. Listed below are links to this and other articles of recent days, with excerpts.

USA Today, Misconduct at the Justice Department, Kevin McCoy and Brad Heath, USA TODAY, Dec. 11, 2010. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Kent unexpectedly found himself in the legal cross hairs in 2003…."The so-called ethics police violated the same rules they falsely accused me of violating," says Kent, now 66 and retired. "They created false evidence and hid exonerating evidence. How can that system be trusted?"  The case spotlights questions about the Office of Professional Responsibility, the Justice Department watchdog agency that can save or ruin a federal prosecutor's career as it enforces legal and ethics rules.  For full USA Today series begun on Sept. 23, 2010, see Index
Media & Security
Huffington Post, J'Accuse: Sweden, Britain, and Interpol Insult Rape Victims Worldwide, Naomi Wolf, Dec. 13, 2010. How do I know that Interpol, Britain and Sweden's treatment of Julian Assange is a form of theater? Because I know what happens in rape accusations against men that don't involve the embarrassing of powerful governments.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is in solitary confinement in Wandsworth prison in advance of questioning on state charges of sexual molestation. Lots of people have opinions about the charges. But I increasingly believe that only those of us who have spent years working with rape and sexual assault survivors worldwide, and know the standard legal response to sex crime accusations, fully understand what a travesty this situation is against those who have to live through how sex crime charges are ordinarily handled -- and what a deep, even nauseating insult this situation is to survivors of rape and sexual assault worldwide.

National Whistleblowers Center, NWC Calls for Correction of Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act: "Poison Pill" in Senate Bill a "Tragic Setback for Taxpayers," Dec. 13, 2010.
Today, the National Whistleblowers Center released a letter sent to the House and Senate sponsors of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, calling for the elimination of a poison pill inserted into the Senate version of the bill (S. 372). S. 372 cleared the Senate on Friday by unanimous consent and could be voted on by the House this week.

Huffington Post, Ron Paul Defends WikiLeaks On House Floor (VIDEO) Jason Linkins Dec. 10, 2010. In the wake of the recent WikiLeaks document dump, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), the self-styled libertarian crusader who's spent the past half-decade building up a massive grassroots following, has emerged as a principal voice in support of the transparency that WikiLeaks has provided.

Civil Beat/Huffington Post Internet Press Vulnerable After WikiLeaks, Dec. 10, 2010. [T]he WikiLeaks case exposes the vulnerability of any publisher on the Internet….We're talking about how democracy can be diminished when government uses its power to silence a voice it disagrees with. Even more worrisome is how this case has exposed how foreign governments may be able to use their own criminal investigations to hurt and potentially silence journalists beyond their own borders.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The media's authoritarianism and WikiLeaks, Glenn Greenwald, Dec 10, 2010. After I highlighted the multiple factual inaccuracies in Time's WikiLeaks article yesterday (see Update V) -- and then had an email exchange with its author, Michael Lindenberger -- the magazine has now appended to the article what it is calling a "correction." In reality, the "correction" is nothing of the sort; it is instead a monument to the corrupted premise at the heart of American journalism.

Political Prosecutions: New Jersey Big Rig III Investigation

The controversial trial of former New Jersey assemblyman Harvey Smith on federal corruption charges is expected to go soon to a jury in Newark. The prosecution is part of the 46-defendants Bid Rig III corruption case initiated by Chris Christie when he was the Bush Justice Department’s U.S. attorney. JIP reports on the case include: “

Christie's Corruption Case Shows Horrid Legacy of 'Loyal Bushies,' Cover-ups.”   On Dec. 12, the Hudson Reporter published an analysis quoting JIP as follows:

Hudson Reporter, Group criticizes political corruption probe, Ricardo Kaulessar, Dec 12, 2010.  While a former assemblyman became the latest local politician to stand trial last week as one of dozens of local politicians caught in a political corruption sting, a national organization criticized the very same sting.  Andrew Kreig, director of the Justice Integrity Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization looking into “selective prosecutions” by the federal government, said in an interview with the Jersey City Reporter last week that the U.S. Attorney’s sting operation that ensnared 43 local officials in July, 2009 was “very unusual and disturbing.”

Radio host Bob Carson invited me to rejoin him on WRRC-107.7 FM Carson’s Corner at 3:45 p.m. (ET) Dec. 13.  The show broadcast from central New Jersey is available nationally by Internet. Its listener call-in is: 1-877-900-1077.

Connecticut’s New Attorney General Rewards DOJ’s Dannehy With New Post
Connecticut’s Democratic attorney general appointed as his deputy the career federal prosecutor who helped both the Bush and Obama administration whitewash the DOJ’s internal probe of the notorious Bush political purge of U.S. attorneys nationwide.She is longtime Connecticut federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, right.  Illustrating diminished oversight from the media, Connecticut’s leading newspaper didn’t mention her role leading the purge investigation. JIP’s report last month in the Daily Censored, "
Justice Department Probe of CIA Torture Evidence: Another Whitewash?”is one of our reports on Dannehy showing how the DOJ uses prosecutors like Dannehy who have themselves been found guilty of misconduct to help whitewash internal investigations of others.

Hartford Courant, Jepsen Names Nora Dannehy As Deputy, Jon Lender, Edmund Mahony, Dec.  11, 2010.  Attorney General-elect George Jepsen on Friday named Nora R. Dannehy — the veteran federal prosecutor who handled the corruption cases of former Gov. John G. Rowland and former state Treasurer Paul Silvester, who both served prison terms — as his top deputy.

National Politics
For mainstream pundits, the focus Friday was that former President Clinton reveled in again holding forth at the White House Friday as he implored Democrats to back the President Obama’s tax-cut deal with Republicans. Left unmentioned, however, is the rarity at least in modern times of president seemingly so disengaged as to invite a predecessor to make a major policy argument and then leave the room.

Reading the White House tea leaves is important to civil rights advocates trying to understand why Obama has been so disengaged in legal reform, except in such targeted areas as cracking down on whistleblowers and on perceived national security leaks. For example, Obama has so far left in office Alabama's Middle District U.S. attorney Leura Canary, left. Canary is one of the nation’s most notorious federal prosecutor appointed by President Bush. Her office led the frame-up of the state's leading Democrat, former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, along with many other controversial prosecutions of primarily Democrats in controversial official corruption cases. She is now approaching a decade on the job despite a U.S. tradition that presidential appointees resign upon a change of administration.

Ralph NaderThe Hill/Common Dreams, Nader: I am Looking for Someone to Challenge Obama in 2012, Dec. 10, 2010, Elise Viebeck.Perennial third-party candidate Ralph Nader, right, predicted on Wednesday that President Obama's tax deal with Republicans will earn him a primary challenge in 2012….."He's a con man. I have no use for him," Nader said.
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