- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2002

Immigration fails to check visitors

Even after the September 11 attacks, U.S. immigration officials fail to consistently check the passport information from foreign visitors entering the United States without visas against terrorist watch lists, a new federal study found.

The report, by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, said some immigration officials acknowledged that terrorists and criminals believe they would face less scrutiny entering the country under a special tourism program, the so-called “visa waiver program” of 1986.

Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person so far to face criminal charges in connection with the terror attacks, flew from London to Chicago on Feb. 23 and did not require a visa to enter the United States because of his French citizenship.

Gore re-emerges, forms new PAC

Democrat Al Gore, largely out of the public eye since his presidential defeat in 2000, stepped back on the political stage yesterday by forming a committee to help elect Democratic congressional candidates in November.

Mr. Gore said his “Leadership ‘02” political action committee will raise funds to help Democratic congressional, gubernatorial and other candidates this year and train a new generation of Democratic activists.

“In this critical election year, I look forward to standing with Democratic candidates all across the country,” Mr. Gore said.

Lawmaker facing trial sues government

CLEVELAND U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., facing a bribery trial next week, has sued the government for $250 million, claiming his civil rights were violated.

Mr. Traficant, an Ohio Democrat who plans to defend himself on the criminal charges despite the lack of a law degree, also asked for a postponement Wednesday in U.S. District Court in his hometown of Youngstown.

He said that federal agents conspired against him in retaliation for his acquittal in 1983 on federal corruption charges.

Police charge boy, 15, for porn Web site

INDEPENDENCE, Ky. A 15-year-old boy was charged with 692 felony counts of distributing child pornography on a Web site he operated from his parents’ home.

The boy faces up to 45 days in jail for each count if convicted. He is set to go to trial Feb. 22.

“It’s just very disturbing to see this.” Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson said.

Police said the FBI began investigating the boy in July, after a high-traffic child pornography site was discovered operating in the area.

The site included hundreds of images of infants, children and animals in sex acts, police said.

Enron officials flying company jets to hearings

Enron executives have continued to use the bankrupt company’s corporate jets for purposes such as travel to hearings in New York and Washington, ABC News reported last night.

The trips cost tens of thousands of dollars each compared with commercial tickets that cost about $350, aviation executives said in the report.

An Enron spokesman confirmed eight corporate jet trips since the company’s Dec. 2 Chapter 11 filing, and said travel on company jets was more efficient than commercial travel.

Ecoterrorists set fire at Minn. school lab

ST. PAUL, Minn. A shadowy environmental group that has sabotaged a ski resort, luxury homes and logging companies claimed responsibility for a weekend fire that damaged a University of Minnesota research facility, school officials said yesterday.

The group, the Earth Liberation Front, sent an e-mail to the school saying its members started the blaze early Saturday that damaged heavy equipment and a trailer being used to build a plant genetics laboratory, Associate Dean Judson Sheridan said.

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