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Archive for Wednesday, May 29, 2002

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May 29, 2002

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Boston: Former FBI agent convicted on racketeering charges

A former FBI agent who spent years cultivating mob informants was convicted Tuesday of protecting gangsters and warning three of them they were about to be indicted.

John J. Connolly Jr., 61, was found guilty on four of the five counts he faced, including racketeering, accepting bribes and lying to the FBI. He was acquitted of obstruction of justice.

He could get up to 45 years in prison at sentencing Aug. 7. He was released on $200,000 bail.

Connolly once was considered a star in the FBI's efforts to dismantle the New England Mafia. But prosecutors said he got too close to informants, including James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, leaders of an Irish crime syndicate that ran loansharking, gambling and drug operations in the Boston area.

Washington, D.C.: FBI to unveil reorganization

FBI Director Robert Mueller will announce a reorganization of the agency today that envisions a major retreat from the agency's past commitment to fighting drug crime as it focuses on preventing future terrorist attacks, sources in the Justice Department and Congress said.

The shift, which includes moving 400 agents out of anti-drug work, is aimed at bolstering the bureau's counter-terrorism operations, including improving the agency's ability to analyze intelligence and the creation of "flying squads" of agents, who would be on call to pursue terrorism investigations around the world.

Some 1,770 field agents would be permanently assigned to counter-terrorism duty, versus 1,151 before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Washington, D.C.: Libya offers to compensate Pan Am bombing victims

In a bold attempt to get off the U.S. terrorism list, Libya is offering $10 million in compensation for each victim of the 1988 midair bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people, U.S. officials and lawyers for the families say.

The Libyan offer to pay a total of $2.7 billion in compensation is also contingent on the lifting of sanctions that have been imposed by the United States and the United Nations, U.S. officials said.

Under the plan, the government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi would pay $4 million per victim when the U.N. sanctions are lifted, $4 million with the removal of the U.S. sanctions and the final $2 million when Libya is taken off the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Germany: Al-Qaida activity noted

German security officials said Tuesday that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network is still active in the country, regrouping and recruiting new militants to carry out terrorist attacks.

At a gathering of European security officials in Bonn, senior members of Germany's security services echoed recent U.S. government warnings that a threat of fresh attacks remains.

The head of Germany's national police said thousands of al-Qaida members are active worldwide and a "noteworthy number" are in Germany.

"We believe that they are living undetected among us and are prepared to participate in strategically planned terror attacks as dictated by their leaders," said Manfred Klink.

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