Thursday, January 13, 2005

 

Serving justice, part 3

I've been going over my collection of case reviews and clippings that I have about and written by Mike Chertoff that I told you about a few days ago. At first, I was worried that after I went back and read some of his decisions and opinions on various Federal cases that I might be disappointed, and not as excited about having him as the Secretary of the DHS, but that ended up not being true at all. I fully endorse Mike Chertoff as Secretary, and I think he's the best man for the job.

I truly wish I could have gone to Harvard, which is the school that Chertoff attended for his undergrad and law school degree. His career started as a Law clerk for Hon. Murray Gurfein, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in 1978 through 1979. After that, he movied over to Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.'s court at Supreme Court of the United States, from 1979 to 1980, still working as a law clerk. He moved into the private sector in Newark, New Jersey from 1980 to 1983, working at the worlds largest private law firm,
Latham & Watkins.

He moved into law enforcement after getting used to litigating in open court. When the opportunity finally came up, he was sworn in as an
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1983 to 1987, and then First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the entire District of New Jersey from 1987 to 1990. Moving as high in the ranks as he could, he finished his tenure as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey from 1990 to 1994.

During the
Whitewater investigation, he acted as Special Counsel for Whitewater Committee in the U.S. Senate from 1994-1996, and he went back into private practice from 1994 to 2001 before taking a job as the Assistant Attorney General afor the U.S Department of Justice, starting in 2001 and running through 2003.

On March 5th, 2003, he was nominated by President Bush to serve as a Judge for the U. S. Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit. He was confirmed on June 10th, 2003.

After the terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda on September 11th, Chertoff played an important part in the development of the
PATRIOT Act, writing key parts and creating the blueprint for the Act. In a live address to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, he addressed exactly how the PATRIOT Act would dissolve the funding terrorists enable in order to raise money for terrorist acts. In the address, he stated:
As the members of this Committee are well aware, our country faces an extraordinary and grave threat to its national security and the safety of our citizens. As a result of the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, in which over 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered by terrorists in New York City, in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon, the United States is actively pursuing a world-wide antiterrorism campaign today. Osama bin Laden has told the world that "the battle has moved inside America." Let there be no doubt: He and the forces of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups intend to continue their heinous acts of terrorism.

Accordingly, preventing future terrorist attacks and bringing terrorists to justice is now the top priority of the Department of Justice. Law enforcement is currently engaged in a cooperative effort to identify, disrupt and dismantle terrorist networks. Terrorism requires financing, and terrorists rely on the flow of funds across international borders. To conceal their identities and their unlawful purpose, terrorists exploit weaknesses in domestic and international financial systems. As this Committee well knows, therefore, curtailing terrorism requires a systemic approach to investigating the financial links to the terrorist organizations.

The PATRIOT Act, which is hundreds of pages long, includes the sections on financial dealings, and how a cooperative effort must be pushed by all law enforcement agencies to disrupt terrorism. One of the greatest lies of all time, constantly raised by the left, is how "America has never prosecuted anyone associated with 9/11," in a meager attempt to highlight their "war for oil" mantra. Chertoff continues with:
At the same time we established the FRG, the Department created a task force of prosecutors to work with the FRG and other law enforcement entities in developing terrorist financing cases, with an emphasis on non-governmental organizations and charities that may be providing cover for terrorist activity. This Terrorist Financing Task Force, located in the Terrorism and Violent Crime Section of the Criminal Division, also includes representatives from the Criminal Division's Fraud, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering, and Appellate Sections, the Tax Division's Criminal Enforcement Sections, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys from Virginia, New York, and Colorado.

The FRG has made substantial progress in tracing financing related to the September 11th attacks as well as the financial underpinnings of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization.
Through financial information, we have established how the hijackers received their money, how and where they were trained to fly, where they lived and - perhaps most significantly - the names and whereabouts of persons with whom they worked and came into contact.

The Terrorist Financing Task Force and the FRG are working directly with the Anti-Terrorism Task Forces, or ATTFs, which the Attorney General created in each judicial district. The ATTFs are comprised of federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office, members of the federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the primary state and local law enforcement officials in each district. They coordinate closely with many of the existing FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs). The ATTFs form a national network, which is the foundation of our effort to coordinate the collection, analysis and dissemination of information and to develop the investigative and prosecutorial anti-terrorism strategy for the country.

The efforts of the FRG, the Terrorist Financing Task Force and the ATTFs, along with the work of the Treasury Department, have resulted in targeted law enforcement actions that are at the heart of the Administration's assault on terrorism. On November 7, 2001, the Attorney General announced a nationwide enforcement action against the al Barakaat network, including coordinated arrests and the execution of search warrants in Massachusetts, Virginia and Ohio. These actions were coordinated with Treasury's execution of blocking actions pursuant to the Executive Order 13224 against al Barakaat-related entities in Georgia, Minnesota and Washington State. More recently, on December 4, 2001, the President, along with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, announced the designation and blocking action against the Texas-based charity known as the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, alleged to be a North American "front" for the terrorist organization Hamas. These actions demonstrate that our fight against terrorist financing is a broad-based effort extending well beyond the al Qaeda network.

In addition to the coordinated shut-down of al Barakaat's operation on November 7th, the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts is prosecuting the principals of al Barakaat's Boston branch for operating an unlicenced money transmitting business. Between January and September 2001, while operating without a license under Massachusetts law, Barakaat North America knowingly caused the transfer of over $3,000,000 to banks in the United Arab Emirates. On November 14, 2001, a federal grand jury in Boston returned an indictment charging Liban Hussein, the president of al Barakaat, and his brother, Mohamed Hussein, with a violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 1960 (prohibition of illegal money transmitting businesses). Mohamed Hussein has been detained pending trial, and we are seeking to extradite Liban Hussein through a request made to Canada.
The bold font in the previous paragraphs were inserted by me to highlight the areas of interest in that rather long testimony.

Many people think of law enforcement being police officers or plain-clothes investigators who handcuff and take-in criminals. But, to continue the process and make sure the bad guys never get out are the prosecutors who work on a local, state, and federal level. Mike Chertoff has a ton of experience in that realm, and has led entire teams of federal agents in the area of criminal justice. Because of the reasons listed above, his background, his experience, and the testimony included in this column, I fully endorse Michael Chertoff for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

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