Joseph Webber, the senior Immigration and Customs agent in Houston, was investigating whether a local man was raising money for al-Qaida. He needed a wiretap and went to the FBI, but the bureau did nothing for months.
''Seven hundred communications with a suspected nexus of terrorism were not intercepted,'' Webber complained.
Now two federal watchdogs are looking into the delay, which lasted at least four months, and whether it shows FBI reluctance to adjust to post-9/11 law enforcement changes emphasizing cooperation.
The inspectors general at the Justice and Homeland Security Departments are investigating this and 10 other cases in which the FBI has taken over investigations begun by ICE. In one of those cases, the FBI delay allowed a suspect to leave the country, according to a congressional investigator who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak for the record.
The above is from the Associated Press article entitled "Watchdogs Probing F.B.I. Changes After 9/11" which Lloyd e-mailed about. I'm not seeing it in the print edition, doesn't mean it's not there. It is available at the Times' web site.
Note Liza Featherstone's "EPA says race, income shouldn't be environmental-justice factors" (Grist Magazine):
It may surprise some people to hear that the Bush administration's EPA just drafted a strategic plan on environmental justice. Insidiously, and perhaps less surprisingly, advocates say, the move threatens to redefine that term into irrelevance.
The agency's new plan defines environmental justice as "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies."
That sounds uncontroversial enough on the surface, but the trouble lies in the word regardless. The field of environmental justice is based on the idea that some people -- specifically, racial minorities and the poor -- are more affected by environmental problems than others. It's an idea based on substantial evidence, which has been accumulating for decades. For example, in the early 1980s, a landmark U.S. General Accounting Office study found that three out of four landfills in the Southeast were located in communities of color. A 1992 National Law Journal study found that Superfund offenders paid 54 percent lower fines in communities of color than in white communities. And recent studies have found that Latinos and blacks are much more likely to develop -- and die of -- diseases related to pollution, like asthma.
Note Kari Lydersen's "Women’s Work: Female union members are gaining clout, but are still shut out of top labor positions" (In These Times):
The lingering stereotype of a union member may still be the burly Teamster or longshoreman. But increasingly the face of organized labor today is female. The service industry is the fastest growing unionized sector, and many of these janitors, food service workers and the like are women, many of them women of color. In 2002, women made up 42 percent of union members, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to 19 percent in 1962.
However, union leadership has changed very little to reflect this. Out of 56 unions in the AFL-CIO, only two--the Screen Actors Guild and American Nurses Association--are headed by women. Women are equally unrepresented in other top union jobs, making up less than a fifth of top leadership. And the potential flight of major unions from the AFL-CIO probably will do little to change this; though the chair of the Change to Win coalition is a woman, its leadership is composed mostly of white males.
Check out the Iraq Coalition Casualities.
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