The Delaware U.S. Attorney’s office is looking into allegations that Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell has used funds from her failed Senate campaigns to pay personal expenses, the Associated Press reported.
The AP reported that the office confirmed it is reviewing a complaint about O’Donnell’s campaign spending made this year by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. However, officials in the office headed by U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly have declined to say whether a criminal investigation is taking place.
CREW has claimed she improperly used more than $20,000 in campaign funds to pay her rent and other personal expenses, the AP reported.
O’Donnell has denied the misuse of campaign funds and has said her campaign staff and lawyer have not been informed of a federal investigation.
She said the accusations are politically motivated and driven by Vice President Joe Biden, who was a senator from Delaware for more than 30 years. Biden in 2008 ran simultaneously for re-election to the Senate and for vice president; he faced O’Donnell in the Senate race and defeated her with 65 percent of the vote. He later resigned the seat to become vice president.
Posted in News | Comments Off
The Justice Department has stepped up its enforcement of intellectual property rights, deploying prosecutors overseas to focus on the issue, training lawyers in U.S. Attorneys’ offices on IP investigations and prosecutions and approving the hiring of more FBI agents to focus on IP crime, according to the Obama administration’s new strategic plan on IP enforcement unveiled Tuesday.
Attorney General Eric Holder joined Vice President Joseph Biden and Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel at the White House Tuesday morning to announce the plan, which came out of a meeting held in December.
“Whether we’re talking about fake drugs that hurt…or knock off car tires that fall apart at 65 miles per hour causing injury and death, counterfeits kill. Counterfeits kill,” Biden said.
According to the plan, the DOJ will focus on the investigation of intellectual property theft involving health and safety; trade secrets and economic espionage; and commercial online piracy and counterfeiting.
Since the DOJ’s first IP enforcement initiative in 1999, intellectual property investigations and prosecutions have increased 800 percent, the report found.
The DOJ has 220 federal prosecutors in U.S. Attorneys’ offices who are specially trained to deal with intellectual property issues under the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) coordinator program. Each U.S. Attorney’s office has at least one CHIP prosecutor, and 25 offices have a CHIP unit, the report said.
DOJ also has deployed two federal prosecutors as part of the Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator program — one to Bangkok, Thailand who will focus on IP enforcement in Southeast Asia, and another to Sofia, Bulgaria who will work on enforcement issues in Eastern Europe.
As part of the plan, the FBI will hire about 50 special agents by the end of fiscal 2010. The new agents will focus on IP investigations and operate out of field offices around the country and four enhanced intellectual property squads.
Holder, accompanied to the White House by Deputy Chief of Staff James Garland, did not speak at the announcement Tuesday, but said in a statement that the Justice Department “worked closely with Administration officials to develop key aspects of this strategic plan to better protect our nation’s ability to remain at the forefront of technological advancement, business development and job creation.”
The Department of Justice “is confronting this threat with a strong and coordinated response at home and abroad to ensure American entrepreneurs and businesses continue to develop, innovate and create,” Holder said.
In a statement, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) applauded Espinel’s work on the strategic plan.
“The plan highlights the importance of effective and efficient enforcement of American intellectual property rights, which in turn protects American jobs and promotes economic growth,” Leahy said.
The strategic plan is embedded below. The portion concerning the Justice Department begins on page 32.
The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will play a big part in the Obama administration’s plan to reduce the impact of illegal drugs on the America, according to a draft copy of the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy produced by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
According to a draft version of the plan obtained by Newsweek, the Justice Department will head up several initiatives aimed at addressing drug trafficking on the Mexican border, combating doctor shopping and working with international partners to stop drugs from entering the U.S. (The link to the PDF of the draft version of the plan was pulled from Newsweek’s website, but a copy is embedded below.)
Under the plan, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will assist states with addressing doctor shopping — where patients seek prescriptions from several different doctors — and shutting down pill mills, which dispense prescriptions with little medical oversight. The agencies also are charged with cracking down on several rogue pain clinics in Houston, Los Angeles and Southern Florida.
According to the plan, DOJ, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have produced a large volume of information about Mexican-based drug-trafficking organizations, but the information resides in different databases. Under the plan, the Justice Department will work with other agencies to make sure information from federal databases is accessible to state and local law enforcement officers who work on drug trafficking issues along the border.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s plan calls for the full implementation of the Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy, issued in June 2009, which was produced by the Office of the Deputy Attorney General and the Department of Homeland Security. The plan calls for increased coordination with local and state agencies, intensified efforts to stop the flow of weapons and money from the U.S. to Mexico and close collaboration with the Mexican government.
Additionally, DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which administers juvenile mentoring grants, will conduct a new mentoring training initiative for the children of incarcerated parents, specifically aimed at those with drug and alcohol problems. The plan also calls on the Office of Justice Programs to promote diversion strategies, which send drug offenders to alternative programs for substance abuse treatment.
The draft version of the plan, obtained by Newsweek, is embedded below.
National Drug Strategy v2
Posted in News | 4 Comments »
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder emphasized the importance of enforcing intellectual property rights during a trip to Brazil on Wednesday, saying that preventing IP theft is a “priority concern” for the Attorney General and President Barack Obama.
Holder’s speech comes a day after U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel requested input from the public on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in a White House blog post and less than two weeks after the Justice Department announced the creation of the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property.
That task force was announced after a December meeting in which Vice President Joe Biden pledged that the Obama administration would work to combat piracy in the rapidly changing technological age. The December meeting featured several high ranking government officials including Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and FBI Director Robert Mueller, as well as entertainment industry executives.
At the Rio de Janeiro Prosecutor General’s Office, Holder said that Brazil and the United States “need strong enforcement of criminal laws to protect intellectual property rights if we are to continue to foster innovation and creativity, safeguard consumers, and create economic growth.”
The task force “will help develop and implement a multi-faceted criminal enforcement strategy with our federal, state and international partners to effectively combat IP crime,” Holder said. “Through this new task force, we will seek creative and aggressive enforcement strategies — under both the civil and criminal laws— to combat the ever-growing threat to intellectual property worldwide.”
Holder’s prepared remarks:
“Thank you very much for your warm welcome, and good morning to my distinguished fellow panelists and to all members of the audience. Thank you, Ambassador Shannon, for that kind introduction, and thank you, Prosecutor General Lopes, for graciously hosting today’s event.
“I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to meet with my Brazilian enforcement colleagues to discuss the challenges both our countries face in protecting the intellectual property that is so vital to our economic infrastructure and security. Our countries each need strong enforcement of criminal laws to protect intellectual property rights if we are to continue to foster innovation and creativity, safeguard consumers, and create economic growth.
“Intellectual property is a critical component of the economies of both Brazil and the United States. If we cannot provide strong protection of intellectual property rights, our creative industries will suffer. There will be less research and development to foster innovation, and fewer technological advances in computer software and consumer products. And we risk falling behind in achieving much needed advances in new medicines and medical care that our scientists, universities and corporations develop.
“Thanks to advances in technologies — in particular the increasing accessibility of the Internet and improvements in manufacturing, transportation and shipping — digital content such as business software and movies can be distributed to a worldwide market almost instantaneously. Even small businesses have unprecedented opportunities to market and distribute their goods and services around the world.
“Unfortunately, the success of this worldwide, digital marketplace has also attracted criminals who seek to exploit and misappropriate the intellectual property of others. The same technologies that have created unprecedented opportunities for growth in legitimate economies have also created global criminal organizations that are eager to steal the creativity and profits from our domestic industries and workers. As Attorney General, I dedicate much of my time and attention countering the threats posed by these transnational criminal syndicates. These groups, who do not respect international boundaries or borders, have developed sophisticated, efficient and diverse methods for committing almost every type of intellectual property offense imaginable, including:
- widespread online piracy of music, movies, video games, business software and other copyrighted works;
- well-funded corporate espionage;
- sales of counterfeit luxury goods, clothing and electronics, both on street corners and through Internet auction sites; and
- increased international trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other goods that pose a substantial risk to the health and safety of our consumers.
“In the United States, we consider the theft of intellectual property to be a threat to our nation’s economic security, as I know you in Brazil do as well. This is a priority concern for President Obama and for me. The Obama Administration has taken a number of significant steps to ensure that protecting intellectual property rights remains a cornerstone of our country’s strategy for economic growth and prosperity. In 2009, President Obama appointed the first-ever Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator to serve in the White House and to work closely with an Advisory Committee composed of high level officials from all federal agencies across the United States. The IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, will work with the Advisory Committee to develop a government-wide strategic plan to combat intellectual property violations. The plan will focus on all areas of intellectual property, including copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets, both in the United States and abroad, and will include input from the public and from a broad cross-section of industries affected by IP theft.
“Last December, Vice President Biden further demonstrated the Administration’s commitment to IP protection by convening an IP summit of high-level cabinet officials, including myself, as well as leaders of many of the IP industries, where he emphasized the importance of stronger enforcement of IP rights and improving government coordination.
“And just two weeks ago, I announced the creation of a Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property. This task force will help develop and implement a multi-faceted criminal enforcement strategy with our federal, state and international partners to effectively combat IP crime. Through this new task force, we will seek creative and aggressive enforcement strategies—under both the civil and criminal laws— to combat the ever-growing threat to intellectual property worldwide. Let me be clear again- this is a priority matter for my government.
“We are also expanding our efforts to attack IP crime by incorporating the legal tools that we use to attack other types of economic crime, such as with criminal laws against smuggling, money laundering, and fraud. Moreover, because of its high profits and international scope, IP crime has increasingly become the province of international organized crime. That is why I incorporated intellectual property crime into the Department’s International Organized Crime Strategy, a strategy that seeks to identify and target the most serious criminal groups operating throughout the world. The International Organized Crime strategy and initiative bring the best our law enforcement agencies have to offer, working toward a common purpose: to dismantle the most serious organized crime groups wherever they are located throughout the globe, whatever their source of income. Increasingly, our investigations show that many of these crime groups are financing their illicit activities through the theft of intellectual property and sale of counterfeit goods. This poses a significant threat to all our economies, and it challenges us to work together even more to combat global organized crime.
“At home, our experience has shown that the increasingly sophisticated and diverse methods of committing intellectual property crime demand a more creative enforcement approach that better targets the skills and resources of our law enforcement community. The Department therefore has created two highly-specialized groups of criminal prosecutors who are devoted to the unique challenges of intellectual property enforcement. The first group is the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, in the Department’s Criminal Division. This group of 40 prosecutors and four highly-skilled Cybercrime Lab specialists focuses exclusively on computer and intellectual property crime. These attorneys prosecute many of the largest criminal IP cases that have international sources or that require multi-district coordination. They also help develop and implement the Department of Justice’s overall IP enforcement strategy nationwide, working closely with federal prosecutors in U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country.
“The second group of specialized prosecutors exists in the dedicated network of more than 230 Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) coordinators and Assistant U.S. Attorneys nationwide who are located in each of our 93 United States Attorney’s Office’s across the country. These CHIP prosecutors receive highly-specialized training and unique resources with which to effectively combat the wide variety of IP crimes committed in their districts.
“Of course, prosecutors are only part of the equation. Without skilled and dedicated investigative agents, there would be no cases to prosecute, and certainly fewer cases prosecuted successfully. Therefore, the Department works hand-in-hand with our law enforcement investigative partners in a variety of ways, including through the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). The IPR Center is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and includes investigators and analysts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, all working together to combat counterfeiting and online piracy.
“We work hard to ensure that our prosecutors, agents and analysts have the training, technical and legal expertise to keep pace with the IP criminals. We measure our success by the quality of our prosecutions and the deterrent impact they achieve by convicting and jailing these offenders.
“And our enforcement efforts require constant vigilance. The theft of a single trade secret can completely destroy a small up-and-coming company that seeks to profit on its creativity and ideas. When the trade secret is stolen to benefit another foreign power, our competitiveness in the world economy – and even our national security – can be threatened. Counterfeit drugs that are intended to treat serious illnesses and health conditions attack the very foundations of public health and safety in our countries. This is simply unacceptable.
“Of course, we all know that the international scope of IP crime is very wide, and its penetration into our societies is deep. We thus have a responsibility to work with our law enforcement colleagues in other countries to disrupt the production and smuggling of counterfeit and pirated goods from their source organizations and illegal businesses. To that end, the Department partners with our foreign law enforcement counterparts whenever possible.
“I am pleased that we have also worked so well with our colleagues here in Brazil over the course of many years. For example, in December 2008, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division worked closely with Brazilian law enforcement to present a series of well-attended training programs in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia, which focused on the technical aspects of investigating IP crime – especially computer forensic analysis. The program appeared to have been well received, and we appreciated the opportunity to share ideas on computer forensic examinations and online investigative techniques.
“We have also worked well together in the area of cybercrime and electronic evidence collection. While it will be difficult to leave Rio, I am looking forward to traveling to Brasilia tomorrow to attend the REMJA meeting of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the Americas under the Organization of American States (OAS). We have worked hard through this organization’s Working Group on Cybercrime to develop stronger, harmonized laws to facilitate the collection and exchange of electronic evidence in all areas of the law, including computer and intellectual property crime. We appreciate Brazil’s contributions to the Working Group and to the numerous seminars the Working Group has organized throughout the Americas.
“Like the United States, I know well that Brazil has also suffered the effects of IP crime. Counterfeit products and pirated versions of copyrighted works directly undermine your economy and creative industries. But Brazil is rising to face those challenges through the groundbreaking work of the National Council to Combat Piracy & Counterfeiting (CNCP). Our colleagues on the CNCP bring creativity and hard work to bear on the task of protecting IP rights. Since 2004 you have increased enforcement actions; you have helped to amend the law to reflect the new and changing relationship between IP and technology, and you have conducted public awareness and education campaigns to make Brazilian citizens aware of the economic harm and personal risks associated with counterfeit goods and pirated works.
“I also want to acknowledge the enforcement efforts of our hosts today from the Office of the Prosecutor General for Rio de Janeiro. The state of Rio is a shining example of how law enforcement officials can reduce the flow of fake goods in our economies through targeted actions that have a large deterrent effect, and make criminals aware that IP crimes are treated no less seriously than narcotics or firearm offenses, or frauds and other economic crimes.
“We applaud those efforts and the significant results they have achieved. But we can and must do more. We are not close to all that we can, and should, do. Brazil and the United States have taken leadership roles in the world in tackling the problems of counterfeiting and piracy, and as leaders we should work together at every opportunity to reach our goals. It is against this backdrop, that I am very excited to work with Brazil on developing a regional approach that brings together law enforcement experts from across the Americas with a mutual goal of increasing international cooperation in combating IP crime in the region. I look forward to finding additional opportunities to collaborate on the protection of intellectual property rights and other areas of shared interest.
“Thank you, again, for your gracious hospitality today. I look forward to working with all of you in the months and years ahead and build a stronger partnership between our great two nations.
Posted in News | 1 Comment »
In dueling interviews this morning with ABC’s This Week and NBC’s Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Dick Cheney traded shots on the Obama administration’s decision to try self-confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court in New York, and to treat the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal suspect rather than a military prisoner.
Biden defended the decision to turn over Abdulmutallab to the FBI, and drew parallels with the Bush Administration’s treatment of Richard Reid, who tried to blow up an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami in December 2001 with explosives hidden in his shoes.
Here’s Biden on NBC:
‘Let me choose my words carefully here. Dick Cheney’s a fine fellow. He’s entitled to his own opinion. He’s not entitled to rewrite history. He’s not entitled to his own facts. The Christmas Day Bomber was treated the exact way that he suggested that the Shoe Bomber was treated. Absolutely the same way. .
under the Bush administration there were three trials in military courts. Two of those people are now walking the streets. They are free. There were 300 trials of so-called terrorists and those who have engaged in terror against the United States of America who are in federal prison, and have not seen the light of day, prosecuted under the last administration.
.. Dick Cheney’s a fine fellow, but he is not entitled to rewrite history without it being challenged. I don’t know where he has been. Where was he the last four years of the last administration?’
Cheney has argued that Abdulmutallab’s actions should have treated as an act of war.
Cheney told ABC’s Jonathan Karl this morning: “I do see repeatedly examples that there are key members in the administration, like Eric Holder, for example, the attorney general, who still insists on thinking of terror attacks against the United States as criminal acts as opposed to acts of war, and that’s a — that’s a huge distinction.”
An interesting exchange came when Karl asked Cheney about the Reid parallels. Cheney first argued that the military commission infrastructure had not been ready at the time. Then he acknowledged disagreements within the Bush administration over which approach to take.
KARL: But you still had an option to put him into military custody.
CHENEY: Well, we could have put him into military custody. I don’t — I don’t question that. The point is, in this particular case, all of that was never worked out, primarily because he pled guilty.
KARL: Now, I’d like to read you something that the sentencing judge reading the — giving him his life sentence read to Richard Reid at the time of that sentencing. Here it is. He said to Reid, “You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. We do not negotiate with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.”
The judge in that case was a Reagan appointee. Doesn’t he make a good point?
CHENEY: Well, I don’t think so, in a sense that it — if it — if you interpret that as taking you to the point where all of these people are going to be treated as though they’re guilty of individual criminal acts.
KARL: Now, on that question of trying, you know, dealing as enemy combatants or through the criminal justice system, I came across this. This is a document that was put out by the Bush Justice Department under Attorney General Ashcroft…
KARL: … covering the years 2001 to 2005. And if you go right to page one, they actually tout the criminal prosecutions…
CHENEY: They did.
KARL: … of terror suspects, saying, “Altogether, the department has brought charges against 375 individuals in terrorism- related investigations and has convicted 195 to date.” That was 2005. Again, seems to make the administration’s point that they’re not doing it all that differently from how you were doing it.
CHENEY: Well, we didn’t all agree with that. We had — I can remember a meeting in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing of the White House where we had a major shootout over how this was going to be handled between the Justice Department, that advocated that approach, and many of the rest of us, who wanted to treat it as an intelligence matter, as an act of war with military commissions.
We never clearly or totally resolved those issues. These are tough questions, no doubt about it. You want my opinion, my view of what ought to happen, I think we have to treat it as a — as a war. This is a strategic threat to the United States. I think that’s why we were successful for seven-and-a-half years in avoiding a further major attack against the United States.
In his interview, Biden also responded to criticism from Cheney about Holder’s decision to try Mohammed in New York federal court. That decision has not only raised the ire of Republicans but also of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the state’s congressional delegation.
Biden reiterated the administration’s claim that Mohammed’s trial would result in a guilty verdict. ”That decision as to where and when…is being considered right now,” Biden said, adding: “he will not be acquited, he will be found guilty, he will be in jail, and he will stay there.”
Biden did not rule out moving Mohammed to a military commission.
The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed today two top Justice Department nominees whose nominations had languished on the Senate Executive Calendar for much of last year.
However, the panel lost its quorum — and its ability to conduct business — before it could consider the most high-profile nomination, that of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel.
At the end of 2009, the Senate returned all three nominations to the White House. President Obama promptly renominated them in January.
The panel today voted to report out of committee Tax Division nominee Mary L. Smith by a 12-7 vote. The committee endorsed Office of Legal Policy nominee Christopher Schroeder by a 16-3 vote.
As they did in her first committee vote last June, Republicans unanimously voted against sending Smith’s nomination to be Assistant Attorney General to the Senate floor. Republican senators have complained that Smith has virtually no tax law experience. The committee initially approved her last June 11 on a party line vote of 12-7.
“The Assistant Attorney General is not the kind of position that you probably would want someone learning on the job,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said at the committee meeting today.
Democrats defended Smith, noting her past work as an in-house counsel at Tyco International and as a DOJ trial attorney.
“She has more litigation, management and Justice Department experience than previous Tax Division nominees,” said Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin. He added that litigation is the “bread and butter” of the Tax Division.
On Schroeder’s nomination to be Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Policy, the Republican vote was split, with only Jon Kyl (Ariz.), John Cornyn (Texas), and Tom Coburn (Okla.) voting against Schroeder, who would be vetting judicial nominations if he is confirmed.
Schroeder, a Duke University law professor, has been a critic of President George W. Bush’s national security policies, which is a source of concern for some Republicans. The panel first reported him out of committee by voice vote on July 28, 2009.
“I find it very troubling that someone with those views would be vetting the judges nominated by the president,” Kyl said.
Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the panel’s ranking Republican, said Schroeder, a former chief counsel on the committee to then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), said the professor is a “strong partisan.” But the Republican senator said Schroeder’s views shouldn’t disqualify him from leading the Office of Legal Policy, because the office “has some political component to it.”
“The nominee is smart and capable,” Sessions said.
The panel also held over several judicial nominations and DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics nominee James P. Lynch. The committee will consider Lynch and Johnsen at its meeting next Thursday.
“I must admit I am troubled by the number of nominations that get held,” panel Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) complained. “Vote them up, or vote them down.”
This report was updated at 2:02 p.m.
Posted in News | Comments Off
The Justice Department on Friday appealed a court decision dismissing charges against five former Blackwater guards involved in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqis dead.
Vice President Joe Biden announced the government’s intention to file an appeal last weekend, after a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
Prosecutors say the guards opened fire in a crowded Baghdad intersection without provocation, killing or wounding more than 30 Iraqis, including women and children. Attorneys for the guards say their clients, who were protecting U.S. diplomats, took fire from insurgents and responded in kind.
U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina in Washington dismissed manslaughter charges against the guards in a harshly worded Dec. 31 ruling, in which he faulted Justice Department prosecutors for using tainted evidence to build their case and for abusing the grand jury process.
Many Iraqis were outraged by the decision, viewing it as evidence that the U.S. was not accountable for bloodshed in their country. Iraqi leaders have been collecting signatures for a class action against the security contractor, which changed its name to Xe Services last year.
Urbina’s December ruling invited comparisons to the the botched prosecution of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), whose conviction was erased last year because of government missteps.
In that case, Judge Emmet Sullivan, who sits on same court as Urbina, criticized the government for failing to disclose materials that could have aided in Stevens’ defense. Sullivan dismissed the case at Attorney General Eric Holder’s request, and then appointed a counsel to investigate prosecutors for possible criminal contempt.
Urbina, however, made no formal finding of misconduct, and in a ruling earlier this month, he said the Justice Department could seek a new indictment against the men. Urbina said prosecutors acted with “disregard” but concluded that dismissing the case — without prejudice — was punishment enough.
The government has not yet filed a brief explaining the grounds for appeal. In pretrial hearings, prosecutors argued that interviews the guards gave to the State Department after the shooting were part of the normal course of their job and could be used against them. Urbina ruled that interviews were compelled, which immunized the guards.
Posted in News | 1 Comment »
Attorney General Eric Holder attended the funeral for the mother of Vice President Joe Biden today at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., USA Today reported.
Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden died Friday at the age of 92. She became seriously ill shortly before her death.
President Barack Obama and several administration officials were among the hundreds who filled the church for the funeral mass, according to the newspaper.
Vice President Joe Biden led a round table meeting of high ranking government officials and entertainment industry executives at the White House conference center today, where he pledged that the Obama administration would work to combat piracy in the rapidly changing technological age.
Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller were just two of the officials in attendance at the meeting, which the White House billed as the first of its kind. Others included Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.
“This is a problem that the United States cannot solve by itself,” said Holder. “We want to confront these nations, quite frankly, where too much of this occurs.”
Holder announced that the Justice Department would be setting up an intellectual property enforcement training and technical assistance program to provide resources to train state and local officials on how to investigate and prevent intellectual property crimes.
While the FBI has been offering such training previously, Biden said this was the first time the government had been making a coordinated effort, which he called “long overdue.”
Biden said he was offended by the violation of copyrights, which he called “flat unadulterated theft.” He said it was important to get the “all the major players in one place, in one room, with one overall, overarching strategy on how to deal with what is a serious, serious problem facing this country.
In a statement, the Motion Picture Association of America said: “We especially appreciate the Vice President’s long history of support for the protection of intellectual property, and thank him for his continued leadership defending American workers and businesses.”
“I’ve been in this battle with y’all since I don’t know how long,” said Biden. “The problem has gotten worse. Intellectual piracy is costing this country and all of you billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, and unless we better coordinate with all the resources of the federal government to deal with this problem, it’s likely to only get worse.”
Holder said he would reinvigorate a DOJ task force on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. “We want to convene an international meeting to start work with our international partners,” said Holder.
At the conclusion of the remarks by government officials, press members were escorted out of the room before the conversation with the industry officials began. CEOs declined to speak with a small group of reporters when they emerged over 50 minutes later, a half hour longer than anticipated.
One consumer group, Public Knowledge, said it was “extremely disappointed to learn of the White House meeting to be held later today on the issue of intellectual property and ‘piracy’,” according to Daily Finance.
“No consumer or public-interest groups, technology companies, technology associations or Internet service providers are on the guest list,” said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge. “No one who questions the need for draconian governmental policies on behalf of the privileged special interest group for whom this meeting is being held is on the guest list.”
UPDATE 12/16: The White House meeting came a day after DOJ Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer and John Morton, assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security, held a news conference to announce that authorities had seized $26 million in counterfeit goods earlier this month in a joint operation with Mexico.
The announcement about Operation Holiday Hoax took place at the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Crystal City, Va., on Monday. Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA); and Mitch Bainwol, his counterpart at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), were also on hand. Both entertainment industry groups have pushed hard for strong intellectual property enforcement.
List of Attendees
Main Justice obtained a list from the White House of those who were confirmed to be in attendance at the Tuesday summit:
The Honorable Joe Biden
Vice President of the United States
The Honorable Eric Holder
United States Attorney General
The Honorable Gary Locke
United States Secretary of Commerce
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
United States Secretary of Homeland Security
The Honorable Robert S. Mueller
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Honorable John T. Morton
Assistant Secretary, United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement
Department of Homeland Security
The Honorable David Kappos
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and
Director, United States Patent & Trademark Office
The Honorable Douglas A. Smith
Assistant Secretary, Office of the Private Sector
Department of Homeland Security
Senior Advisor and Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
The White House
Mark J. Sullivan
Director, United States Secret Service
Chairman & CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment
Executive Vice President, Time Warner Inc.
Chairman & CEO, Viacom
CEO, NBC Universal
General Counsel, NBC Universal
CEO, Warner Music Group
Vice President, Warner Music Group
President & CEO, Harper Collins
President & COO, Universal Music Group
Executive Vice President, Universal Music Group
Senior Vice President, The Walt Disney Company
Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Chairman & CEO, Motion Picture Association of America
Chairman & CEO, Recording Industry Association of America
International President, The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage
Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of
the United States
Kim Roberts Hedgpeth
National Executive Director, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
President, Directors Guild of America
President & CEO, National Music Publishers’ Association
National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator, Screen Actors Guild
Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President
Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Office of Management &
Domestic Policy Advisor, Office of the Vice President
Senior Advisor for Crime Policy, Office of the Vice President
Counselor to the Attorney General and Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Justice
President & CEO, Entertainment Software Alliance
President & CEO, Business Software Alliance
White House CTO
Posted in News | 14 Comments »
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy has picked up a veteran of the Clinton administration, Neil Kinkopf, a respected constitutional law scholar and former lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel. Kinkopf, who is leaving his teaching position at Georgia State University College of Law, will join the office as counselor to the assistant attorney general.
Kinkopf (Boston College, Case Western Law) has long-standing ties with Christopher Schroeder, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head OLP. The two were colleagues in the Justice Department under Janet Reno and have since collaborated on several projects. In 1999, Kinkopf was counselor to then-Sen. Joe Biden for the impeachment trial of President Clinton. Schroeder was Biden’s trial counsel.
Schroeder was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in late July, and congressional aides say they expect him to win confirmation easily once the Senate reconvenes.
Kinkopf was special assistant in OLC from 1993 to 1997. During that time he worked closely with Dawn Johnsen, then a deputy in the office and now the nominee to lead it; David Barron, who was an attorney-adviser and is now the principal deputy in OLC (and acting head of the office pending the outcome of Johnsen’s nomination); Martin Lederman, who was also an attorney-adviser in OLC and now is a deputy in the office; and Schroeder, who was a deputy in OLC.
Kinkopf, reached today, said he took the job on short notice. He received a call in July and formally accepted the position a couple weeks ago, forcing him to cancel his fall-semester classes. Kinkopf is leaving for Washington this evening. When asked about his duties at OLP, Kinkopf said, “I hope to figure that out tomorrow.”
OLP provides policy advice to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general. The office also coordinates with the Office of Legislative Affairs to push the department’s initiatives in Congress and shepherds judicial nominees through the confirmation process.
This original version of this post incorrectly stated that Amanda Miller is a deputy in the Office of Legal Policy.