Archive for Wednesday, September 28, 2011

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom discusses balance of fighting terrorism, protecting civil rights during Rotary Club visit

September 28, 2011


United States Attorney Barry Grissom was the guest speaker for the Lawrence Central Kansas Rotary on Wednesday at The Eldridge, 701 Mass.

United States Attorney Barry Grissom was the guest speaker for the Lawrence Central Kansas Rotary on Wednesday at The Eldridge, 701 Mass.

After speaking at the rotary luncheon, United States Attorney Barry Grissom, center, chatted with George Brenner of Lawrence.

After speaking at the rotary luncheon, United States Attorney Barry Grissom, center, chatted with George Brenner of Lawrence.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom showed members of the Lawrence Central Rotary Club on Wednesday a list of his office’s top priorities.

First was stopping terrorism, and listed at number two: protecting people’s civil rights.

“When you’re fighting terrorism you’ve got to also make sure that you’re not stepping on anyone’s civil liberties,” Grissom said at the club’s meeting at The Eldridge, 701 Mass. “It’s a real tough balancing act.”

The top federal prosecutor in Kansas said his office had worked with the Islamic Center in Wichita on strategies for protecting Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. That relationship also could prove beneficial in terrorism investigations.

“That’s a relationship that we’ve been working to nurture, and so far I think we’ve had a good relationship in that regard,” said Grissom, a 1977 Kansas University graduate whom President Barack Obama appointed and the Senate confirmed to the post in 2010.

Grissom said Kansans often think of terrorism as an “East Coast or West Coast problem,” but said terrorists in some of the most infamous attacks had a connection to the state. Jordanian Eyad Ismoil, the van driver in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was an engineering student at Wichita State University.

“We didn’t even know he was in the country from a law enforcement standpoint in 1993,” Grissom said. “Today we would know that.”

And Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and his co-defendant Terry Nichols conspired in Kansas before the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 that killed 168 people.

Grissom said since 9/11 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have improved sharing of communication and intelligence with one another and look out for suspicious people. He said agencies are still concerned about a “lone wolf” attack in which one person carries a bomb or other weapons into a heavily populated public place, such as a sports stadium.

“Now we have to try and be there before the crime to take the steps necessary so the crime doesn’t happen,” he said.

Grissom also discussed other topics Wednesday.

• He is hosting a prescription drug summit Thursday at KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., among physicians, nurses, pharmacists and law enforcement officers to discuss how to best combat illegal use and misuse of prescription drugs.

“The use of heroin is on the increase because we have an epidemic in this country of people who are now illegally using prescription drugs,” he said.

Grissom advised people to properly dispose of old prescription drugs that contain Oxycontin, for example, to keep it from falling into the hands of teenagers. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will play host to another prescription drug take-back day for the public with a collection site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 29 in the courthouse parking lot, 1100 Mass. Officers will turn over to the Drug Enforcement Administration all prescription drugs collected.

• Grissom also said his office did not expect to file any more charges in connection with five-year ticket-stealing scheme that cost Kansas Athletics Inc. at least $2 million. Four former athletic officials and one consultant all pleaded guilty and were sentenced to serve federal prison terms.


smitty 6 years ago

...listed at number two: protecting people’s civil rights...but no news coverage on civil rights except for terroism spin.

Was USA Marietta Parker involuntarily retired during the YH case?

Why was USA Terra Moorehead removed from the YH case?

It is common procedure for the defense attorney, not the prosecuting attorney, to file motions for incompetency. Why did your 10th circuit prosecutors take the action to have Guy Neighbors ruled incompetent?

Is it normal for one of your 10th circuit prosecutors to declare in court proceedings that the defendant "needs to be taught a lesson," then proceed to incarcerate both C and G Neighbors during the federal mental health evaluations....both of them?

Did this action respect civil rights by *your * standards of the federal system?

Why did your prosecutors, Parker and Moorehead, press the 10th circuit court for an incompetent ruling for Guy and Carrie Neighbors?

What actions do you take to insure that civil rights are respected by the 10th circuit prosecutors?

How useful has FBI agent Walter Bob Schaefer been to your civil rights endeavor?

jhawkinsf 6 years ago

Can my comment be deleted for what I'm thinking?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

The number of "sneak and peak" warrants authorized under the Patriot Act for drug investigations is more than 100 times greater than the number for terrorist investigations.

The number of "sneak and peak" warrants authorized under the Patriot Act for fraud investigations is nearly 10 times the number for terrorist investigations.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Actually, it has everything to do with civil liberties. Not that civil liberties mean anything to you.

Ken Lewis 6 years ago

These guys are masters at rhetoric. As long as they tell you they care.....they dont actually have to care and you still believe it. The federal govt could not care less about your "rights". And most of your "rights" have been turned into privalages to make them easy to trample on.

I have not seen the US prosectuors in this area do much but chase prostitutes and pornographers and drug users. When was the last terrorism case in KS?

edmclinn 6 years ago

Well I hope he's a good attorney because they are about to get sued for Warrentless Taps used in Douglas County KS. They need a lesson when it comes to Civil Rights!

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Massive military campaigns accompanied by like bombing campaigns do not insure safety for americans. There are 5 bombing campaigns underway as we speak.

The USA has over 900 military bases abroad = does not bring peace and tranquility.

Stop the Wars

Stop the Bombing

Shut down USA military bases in the oil rich countries and Africa = positive dialogue!

Bring the troops home!

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

The current regime sure does like bombing people!

ivalueamerica 6 years ago

Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.

Benjamin Franklin.

I agree.

I believe that our nation has the obligation and the ability to figure out how to protect liberty without destroying it in the process.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.