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Justice Department leaks its own talking points to reporters
John Byrne
Published: Thursday February 15, 2007
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Leaked talking points scooped exclusives in New York Times, Washington Post and Denver Post

The US Department of Justice leaked its own talking points to Justice Department beat reporters Wednesday night -- apparently by accident, RAW STORY can reveal.

The talking points, intended for public affairs spokespersons, were sent to a Justice Department reporter Wednesday evening at 6:54pm. The reporter asked not to be named.

Notably, the talking points leaked stories that several major newspapers were going to report -- to reporters at other papers.

Probably the most infuriated today is the Denver Post, which intended to do an exclusive series on corporate fraud later this month and in early March.

"The Post is writing a series of stories leading up to the fraud trial of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio," the release said, "and will focus part of their coverage on the Department's overall corporate fraud efforts. The stories are expected to run later this month, and in early March."

It also identified a story slated to run in the New York Times and the Washington Post before the article ran in the papers.

"The New York Times and The Washington Post will run stories about Sue Ellen Wooldridge, former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and her shared ownership of a S.C. property with a lobbyist for Conoco Phillips," the release said.

The Justice Department's talking points follow in full.

#

-----Original Message----- From: USDOJ- Office of Public Affairs Sent: Wed 2/14/2007 6:54 PM To: USDOJ- Office of Public Affairs Subject: DOJ Daily News Wrap

PUBLIC AFFAIRS DAILY NEWS WRAP Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Contact: Brian Roehrkasse, Deputy Director, Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007

THURSDAY'S EXPECTED NEWS STORIES:

Deputy Attorney General Participates In Interview With Denver Post (OPA) Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty today participated in an interview with Andy Vuong of the Denver Post on the Department's corporate fraud prosecution efforts, and the Department's focus on corporate fraud matters looking forward. The Post is writing a series of stories leading up to the fraud trial of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio, and will focus part of their coverage on the Department's overall corporate fraud efforts. The stories are expected to run later this month, and in early March.

Essence Magazine Inquires Regarding NAACP Request For Investigation (Civil Rights) Essence Magazine has inquired about the NAACP's request for an investigation into two incidents regarding black public officials, one which resulted in death. Apparently, Bruce Gordon, head of the NAACP, has personally appealed to the Attorney General to expedite investigations of these matters. (Other members of the media have previously inquired about one incident or the other.)

Talking Points:

  • We are aware of the shooting death of Mayor-Elect Washington and the Department is receiving regular updates from the state police on the status of its investigation.

  • The FBI has initiated an investigation into the incident in which shots were fired into Mayor Lampkins' home.

  • If the evidence in either or both incidents suggests a prosecutable violation of federal civil rights statutes, the Department will take appropriate action.

Media To Publish Stories On Former Assistant Attorney General Wooldridge (ENRD)

Tomorrow, The New York Times and The Washington Post will run stories about Sue Ellen Wooldridge, former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and her shared ownership of a S.C. property with a lobbyist for Conoco Phillips.

  • With regard to the purchase of the property in S.C., Sue Ellen went through the proper channels in seeking advice from career ethics staff regarding the purchase of the property. They informed her that the purchase did not raise ethical issues.

  • Sue Ellen regularly sought ethical advice from appropriate officials and recused herself from cases where appropriate and where she was advised to do so. She was advised that she need not recuse herself from matters involving Conoco Phillips.

  • Conoco Phillips consent decrees were approved through the normal management channels and were presented to Sue Ellen with unanimous recommendations both from ENRD career staff and the staff at the Environmental Protection Agency. Sue Ellen did not play a personal role in any of the settlement discussions, which were conducted by career attorneys.

  • Conoco Phillips has been a defendant in numerous cases in which the Department has reached settlements - some of which were approved by the EES chief in his capacity.

U.S. Government Seeks To Permanently Bar Alleged Fraudulent Tax Return Operation (Tax) The United States filed has filed suit seeking to permanently bar Richard E. Almy and his company, REA Associates, Inc., from preparing federal tax returns, the Justice Department announced today. According to the complaint, filed in the Middle District of Florida, Almy and his company prepared tax returns that claimed overstated, duplicated, and fabricated deductions on their clients' tax returns. An examination by the Internal Revenue Service of 175 tax returns prepared by Almy and his company during 2003 found that all of them required audit adjustments that increased the tax owed.

U.S. Army Translator Pleads Guilty To Unauthorized Possession Of Classified Documents Concerning Iraqi Insurgency (USAO-Eastern District of New York) A U.S. Army contract translator pleaded guilty today in federal court in Brooklyn to illegally possessing national defense documents. The defendant, whose true name and identity remains unknown, was indicted on March 30, 2006, following an investigation by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force ("JTTF"). Previously, in November 2005, the defendant was indicted for using a false identity to procure his United States citizenship and to gain access to classified military materials, and he pleaded guilty to those charges on Dec. 20, 2005. When sentenced by United States District Judge Edward R. Korman, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 60 years of imprisonment on his two convictions.

Talking Points:

  • Safeguarding military plans and intelligence is vital to the security of our nation.

  • The defendant fraudulently obtained security clearances and then stole classified military information. He will now be held to account for his crimes.

THURSDAY'S EXPECTED EVENTS/RELEASES:

9:30 A.M. EST Assistant Attorney General Regina Schofield of the Office of Justice Programs will testify before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at an oversight hearing on the President's fiscal year 2008 budget request for tribal programs.

Russell Senate Office Building Room 485 Washington, D.C. OPEN PRESS

Press inquiries regarding logistics should be directed to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at 202-224-2251.