Monday, June 04, 2007

Terra, Terra and "Mickey" Mauskopf

Call me just another filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but whenever I hear anything any more involving U.S. attorneys, I automatically get suspicious; such is what Abu Gonzales and Monica Goodling with her pretend law degree from Pat Robertson U have done to that vital government function.

I say that after reading this story in the New York Times about the plot to detonate fuel storage tanks and pipelines and set fire to Kennedy International Airport. And while I applaud those involved who sniffed this out, so to speak, I still cannot help but wonder about Roslynn R. Mauskopf, the United States Attorney in Brooklyn, NY, particularly after this quote…

“Had the plot been carried out, it could have resulted in unfathomable damage, deaths and destruction…The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded are just unthinkable.”
Leading with “the horror” in the best (worst?) Bushco tradition, I see, though the following tidbit seems to have been lost in the fine print somewhere…

(Ms. Mauskopf noted in her news release that the “public was never at risk” and told reporters that law enforcement “had stopped this plot long before it ever had a chance to be carried out.”)
So let’s hear from another law enforcement perspective here, OK?

Neal R. Sonnett, a defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor who was chief of the criminal division in the United States attorney’s office in Miami, congratulated the F.B.I. for fine police work in what was clearly “a prosecutable case.”

But he said: “There unfortunately has been a tendency to shout too loudly about such cases.”

“It has a bit of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight to it,” Mr. Sonnett said. “It would have served the federal government well to say that.”

“To the extent that you over-hype a case, you create fear and paranoia,” he said. “It’s very difficult for prosecutors and investigative agencies to remain calm.”
As also noted in the Times story…

At its heart was a 63-year-old retired airport cargo worker, Russell M. Defreitas (three other defendants were named in the criminal complaint, as the story notes), who the complaint says talked of his dreams of inflicting massive harm, but who appeared to possess little money, uncertain training and no known background in planning a terror attack.

“Capability low, intent very high,” a law enforcement official said of the suspects.
All of this made me wonder a bit about Ms. Mauskopf, so I did some checking.

As noted here, she ended up being named for the job of U.S. Attorney at the request of former Gov. George Pataki back in March of 2001. And the story notes the following precedent…

For 18 years, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat, and Alfonse M. D'Amato, a Republican, had a power-sharing agreement. Three out of every four appointments belonged to the senator of the same party as the president, and the fourth went to the senator of the opposing party.
In the case of Mauskopf, however, Dubya (who had been in office for all of two months at that point) bypassed the two Democratic senators from New York when seeking a recommendation (Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer) and went with Pataki’s choice, who was Mauskopf.

And as this Village Voice story from that time notes…

The candidate, State Inspector General Roslynn Mauskopf, is the best friend of the legendary Zenia Mucha, who now lives in Los Angeles and is the six-figure communications director for Disney. Until recently, Mucha held the same title for Pataki. Before that, she was D’Amato’s eyes, ears, and mouth. Several sources knowledgeable about the appointment process say that Mucha has been pushing hard for the 44-year-old, Albany-based Mauskopf, who for years has stayed in Mucha’s Manhattan apartment whenever she’s in the city. Mucha declined to talk to the Voice when informed of the specific nature of this story, as did Mauskopf.

In the nearly six years that Mauskopf has been charged with investigating improper conduct by state officials, she has not pressed a single case against a top Pataki appointee, though her predecessors did force the resignations of high-level (aides to former Governor Mario Cuomo). Charles Gargano, the longtime D’Amato fundraiser and state economic czar under Pataki, was the target of Mauskopf’s most widely publicized case. But that investigation—which she conducted jointly with Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau—was recently closed without any charges being brought.
The Times story on Pataki’s influence in Mauskopf’s nomination notes that she “helped break up organized crime control of trucking in the garment industry, and rose to the post of chief of the Frauds Bureau,” so that should be noted also.

I have no basis on which to question Mauskopf’s skills as an attorney; she may be quite good and suited for the job. However, based on all of this, I think it’s plain that she knows how to “blow her own horn” for the purposes of serving her Repug benefactors.

Maybe this isn’t earthshaking stuff, but it still makes me question the motives of U.S. attorneys in general anymore.

Heckuva job, Abu and Monica.


profmarcus said...

you might be interested to read what a contributor to my blog, jim burke, an engineer and someone who has experience at both jfk and with jet fuel has to say - further and more enlightened debunking...

doomsy said...

I just found it and left a comment - thanks for the heads-up.