US Congress Implicates SGI in Illegal Criminal Record Antics

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cbra...@my-deja.com

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Jul 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/27/00
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If I were SGI lawyer Linda Johnson I would be sweating bullets right
about now


Internal Affairs A case raises serious issues about the safeguarding of
NCIC records. By Michael Isikoff

NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE
http://www.msnbc.com/news/438123.asp

July 26 — A team of lawyers and private investigators—spearheaded by a
friend of Attorney General Janet Reno—may have improperly obtained
confidential law enforcement information from a sensitive Justice
Department database as part of a wide-ranging effort to tar the
reputation of a Japanese religious leader, according to congressional
investigators.

THE PREVIOUSLY UNDISCLOSED incident raises new questions about the
ability of well-connected outsiders to obtain confidential data stored
in the FBI’s central computerized database, known as the National
Criminal Information Center (also referred to as the NCIC). It’s an
issue of longstanding concern to privacy advocates and civil liberties
groups. The case could also prove embarrassing to Justice officials.
Internal department records show that a Miami lawyer made repeated phone
calls to one of Reno’s senior aides and even obtained a meeting with the
Justice Department’s third-highest official, then associate attorney
general John Schmidt, to discuss obtaining access to internal department
records about the religious leader. The case is potentially serious,
according to congressional investigators, because it involves requests
for sensitive law enforcement information—in this case, involving
records of a decades-old alleged prostitution arrest—by private parties
who were conducting no legitimate government business. “Everybody is
concerned these days about privacy,” one investigator told Newsweek.
“This exposes the reality of the seeming underbelly of how this really
works.” The release of any information about the alleged arrest, which
had not resulted in any conviction, was “illegal” and that by failing to
investigate the incident, “the Justice Department and FBI have sent the
clear message that they do not value the sanctity of law enforcement
databases,” the staff of the Hosue Government Reform Committee concluded
in a report. The report, entitled “Felonies and Favors: A Friend of the
Attorney General Gathers Information,” is due to be released Thrusday at
a hearing of the government reform panel. John Hogan, Reno’s former
chief of staff, is due to testify. He agreed that any access by
outsiders to NCIC was improper. “NCIC should not be used in that way. If
this is true, that’s a problem,” Hogan told Newsweek. But Hogan
vigorously disputed that senior department officials played any role in
the unauthorized disclosure of information and emphasized that Reno had
recused herself from any involvement in the matter. Justice Department
spokesman Myron Marlin said: “There’s nothing to suggest that Reno had
anything to do with this.” The bizarre case dates back to 1994, when a
large Japanese Buddhist group called Soka Gakkai hired lawyers in the
United States to obtain criminal justice records about Nobou Abe, the
chief of a rival Japanese Buddhist faction. Both Japanese factions,
which have millions of members and extensive real estate holdings in the
United States and Japan, have been involved in obscure but protracted
legal battles with each other for years. Soka Gakkai also controls
Komeito, which is the fourth largest political party in Japan, according
to the report. Soka Gakkai members had been seeking information that
rival Abe had been arrested for solicitatiing a prostitute in Seattle
during a trip there in March, 1963. To verify the allegation, one of the
U.S. lawyers hired by Sokkai Gakkai in turn retained the services of
Jack Palladino, a flamboyant San Francisco private detective who had
been paid over $100,000 by the Clinton presidential campaign in 1992.
(Palladino had been hired to investigate women rumored to have had
sexual relations with President Clinton.) The congressional report
states that Palladino “apparently contacted a source in the Bureau of
Prisons who had access to NCIC,” the huge computerized FBI database that
stores millions of records of criminal arrests, police reports and
property thefts from throughout the country. The source reported that,
under Abe’s name, there was a listing that “a bald Oriental male” who
spoke no English had been detained by Seattle police in March, 1963, but
had been released two hours later with no charges having been filed.
Palladino today confirmed that he had been hired in the case, but flatly
denied contacting anybody at the Bureau of Prisons. He indeed found
information confirming the incident, he said, but he did it through
old-fashioned “shoe leather.” He interviewed over 200 Seattle police
officers and eventually found the two officers who detained Abe. “I’m
proud of my work on this,” he said. Whatever the origins of Palladino’s
information, Sokkai Gakkai members were not satisfied, and according to
the congressional report, sought additional confirmation. At that point,
they retained the services of a Miami lawyer, Rebekah Poston, with ties
to Reno. Poston worked for a large law firm, Steel Hector & Davis, where
Reno once worked; Poston’s sister had once worked as a secretary for
Reno when she was the state’s attorney in Miami. Although Poston has
described herself as a friend of the attorney general, Hogan said she is
more an acquaintance and she has never socialized with Reno. Poston did
not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. Poston then hired two
other private investigators: Philip Manuel, who heads a large Washington
D.C. area firm, and his then-Miami associate, Richard Lucas. According
to the report, Lucas and Manuel then both contacted their own sources
within the Justice Department to check internal NCIC records about Abe.
Barely a week after they had been hired, Manuel wrote a memo to Poston
reporting that a “source” had informed him there was a reference to
“Solicitation Prostitution, Seattle Police Department, March 1963.” But
Poston, concerned that Lucas had come up with less than Palladino,
pressed for more details. “Please get answers to as many of these as you
can and be specific,” she wrote in a Nov. 11, 1994 memo obtained by the
committee. “This is a matter of serious importance.” But Manuel and
Lucas were unable to learn anything more; Manuel wrote in a Dec. 22,
1994 memo that a “highly confidential and reliable source” had reported
that Abe’s entire file had by then “apparently been purged.” (A lawyer
for Manuel denied that his client had sought any information from NCIC.)
This prompted Poston to file a Freedom of Information request with the
Justice Department for all records relating to Abe. When the request was
denied, Poston made repeated phone calls to Hogan, Reno’s chief of
staff. Hogan insisted most of the calls were simply messages left with
his secretary and that he only talked to Poston a handful of times.
Poston and two of her associates finally obtained a June 15, 1995
meeting with then associate attorney general John Schmidt—the
third-highest official in the department—in which they pressed their
case for internal department information about Abe. What information the
Justice Department actually had about Abe is far from clear. After the
June 15 meeting with Poston, Schmidt ordered the FBI and the Executive
Office of the U.S. Attorney’s to check all records on Abe—a search that
yielded no information. Committee staffers speculate that the Justice
Department “sources” who had provided the earlier information to the
private investigators were worried that they might get caught and may
have deleeted the data about the 1963 arrest. Another possibility, they
said, was that the information had been improperly “planted” by a Sokkai
Gakkai sympathizer in the first place. Either way, the staffers said,
the case raises serious issues about the safeguarding of NCIC records.
It also may raise questions about the revolving door between the Justice
Department and a loose network of private investigators who often make
their living touting their access and knowledge of internal department
records. One of the officials the committee is investigating is Ben
Brewer, the FBI official who supervised the NCIC at the time of the
incident. Questioned today on the eve of the hearing, Brewer flatly
denied to a staff investigator that he had authorized the release of any
confidential NCIC data about Abe. But Brewer, who has since retired,
also acknowledged that he is now in the private consultant business.
Among his clients—whom he advices about the inner workings of NCIC—is
the Japanese Buddhist faction headed by Abe.

© 2000 Newsweek, Inc.


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Richard W. Torgerson

unread,
Jul 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/30/00
to
>>July 26 — A team of lawyers and private investigators—spearheaded by a
friend of Attorney General Janet Reno—may have improperly obtained
confidential law enforcement information from a sensitive Justice
Department database as part of a wide-ranging effort to tar the
reputation of a Japanese religious leader, according to congressional
investigators.<<

One man's opinion: If SGI's shenanigans in this matter help to elect the
Republicans to the White House this November it will be undeniable and
empirical proof that their talk of 'kosen rufu' and world peace are nothing but
self-serving delusions.

Regards,
Richard
http://www.butsuryushu.org/
(to reply via e-mail, remove nospam from the address)

Cody

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Jul 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/30/00
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rtorg...@aol.comnospam (Richard W. Torgerson) wrote:
>
>One man's opinion: If SGI's shenanigans in this matter help to
elect the
>Republicans to the White House this November it will be
undeniable and
>empirical proof that their talk of 'kosen rufu' and world peace
are nothing but
>self-serving delusions.
>
>Regards,
>Richard

For once, Richard, we are in total agreement, although I think
Dick Cheney will do more for the Democrats with his heartbeat
away problem.

Cody


-----------------------------------------------------------

Got questions? Get answers over the phone at Keen.com.
Up to 100 minutes free!
http://www.keen.com


Jim Cub 3D

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Jul 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/30/00
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In article <8lqfvl$bvp$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, cbra...@my-deja.com writes:

>
>If I were SGI lawyer Linda Johnson I would be sweating bullets right
>about now
>
>
>Internal Affairs A case raises serious issues about the safeguarding of
>NCIC records. By Michael Isikoff

What we have here seems to be:

1) the Gakkai hired a lawyer
2) the lawyer knew someone who knew someone;
3) that someone learned that the Seattle police had inquired about Abe;
4) another lawyer knew someone else;
5) by the time THOSE people got to the database, all records may have been
purged.

So I guess the question is: who could have purged the records?

"One of the officials the committee is investigating is Ben
Brewer, the FBI official who supervised the NCIC at the time of the
incident. Questioned today on the eve of the hearing, Brewer flatly
denied to a staff investigator that he had authorized the release of any
confidential NCIC data about Abe. But Brewer, who has since retired,
also acknowledged that he is now in the private consultant business.
Among his clients—whom he advices about the inner workings of NCIC—is
the Japanese Buddhist faction headed by Abe."

That's a question that may never be answered!

"One of the officials the committee is investigating is Ben
Brewer, the FBI official who supervised the NCIC at the time of the
incident. Questioned today on the eve of the hearing, Brewer flatly
denied to a staff investigator that he had authorized the release of any
confidential NCIC data about Abe. But Brewer, who has since retired,
also acknowledged that he is now in the private consultant business.
Among his clients—whom he advices about the inner workings of NCIC—is
the Japanese Buddhist faction headed by Abe."

Never!

(You guys ought to really read stuff before you post it. So far you've let us
know that the Seattle police DID have a run in with Abe, and that the guy in
charge of the database, from which Abe's records were possibly purged, now
works for Abe.

And meanwhile, there is nothing about any wrong-doing by the Gakkai. They
hired a lawyer. The lawyer went to the Justice Department, and the JD bent a
few rules. It's the officials of the JD who are being investigated and may be
in trouble. As you know.)

Jim
Visit <bekkoame.or.jp/~bone>
Visit <homestead.com/justicevictory

Richard W. Torgerson

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Jul 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/30/00
to
>>And meanwhile, there is nothing about any wrong-doing by the Gakkai. They
hired a lawyer. The lawyer went to the Justice Department, and the JD bent a
few rules. It's the officials of the JD who are being investigated and may be
in trouble. As you know.)<<

Oh sure. So if you should, say, hire OJ to bump off someone, it won't be your
fault if it happens right?

Jim Cub 3D

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Jul 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/30/00
to
RICARD says:

>
>>>And meanwhile, there is nothing about any wrong-doing by the Gakkai. They
>hired a lawyer. The lawyer went to the Justice Department, and the JD bent a
>few rules. It's the officials of the JD who are being investigated and may
>be
>in trouble. As you know.)<<
>
>Oh sure. So if you should, say, hire OJ to bump off someone, it won't be
>your
>fault if it happens right?
>

No version of the story said word one about any Gakkai leader or member being
questioned or investigated. Let me know when you hear that one has been called
to testify before congress. The committee, as you can plainly read, is
interested in the JD employees,not in the Soka Gakkai.

Cody

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Jul 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/30/00
to
jimc...@aol.com (Jim Cub 3D) wrote:
>>Oh sure. So if you should, say, hire OJ to bump off someone,
it won't be
>>your
>>fault if it happens right?
>>
>
>No version of the story said word one about any Gakkai leader
or member being
>questioned or investigated. Let me know when you hear that one
has been called
>to testify before congress. The committee, as you can plainly
read, is
>interested in the JD employees,not in the Soka Gakkai.
>
>Jim

Or so you hope.

Mr T

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Jul 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/30/00
to
In article <0080fd68...@usw-ex0102-015.remarq.com>, Cody
<iesNO...@ciberia.com.invalid> wrote:

> jimc...@aol.com (Jim Cub 3D) wrote:
> >>Oh sure. So if you should, say, hire OJ to bump off someone,
> it won't be
> >>your
> >>fault if it happens right?
> >>
> >
> >No version of the story said word one about any Gakkai leader
> or member being
> >questioned or investigated. Let me know when you hear that one
> has been called
> >to testify before congress. The committee, as you can plainly
> read, is
> >interested in the JD employees,not in the Soka Gakkai.
> >
> >Jim
>
> Or so you hope.
>
> Cody
>

Really, Jim can't stop dancing, can he?

--
Kurt

anti-spam measure:
to reply send to: martman at primenet dot com

Paul Julian Gould

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Jul 31, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/31/00
to
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Well, as Bureau Chief, he'd be out of a job if he admitted any
possibility that his group just might be wrong, wouldn't he?

Pity.

Regards and Gassho,

Paul Julian Gould
Panorama City, California, USA
Myohoji Nichiren Shoshu Temple
West Hollywood, California, USA

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