- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 25, 2003

FBI questions Iraqis residing in U.S.

The FBI is questioning as many as 50,000 Iraqis living in the United States in a search for terrorist cells, spies or people who might provide information helpful to a U.S. war effort.

Agents have fanned out across the country to interview Iraqis in their homes and where they work, study and worship. A senior government official, describing the program to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said the interviews began about six weeks ago and will last several months.

The FBI is looking for people who might wish to harm the United States or whose visas have expired. The agency also is seeking those who might be interested in helping the United States overthrow Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president whose rule many of them fled.

About 300,000 people of Iraqi origin live in the United States, according to the Iraqi-American Council.

Bush budget gives vaccines a booster

It would be easier for some children to get free vaccines under the budget President Bush will present to Congress next month.

The plan also recommends building a stockpile of childhood vaccines to help get through periodic shortages.

The administration will ask Congress for about $175 million for 2004, officials said yesterday. The stockpile of vaccines will be built over four years, with an estimated cost of $707 million.

"The president's proposal will expand access to preventive health care for some of our most vulnerable citizens, our children," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said in a statement.

FBI investigating personal-data theft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Personal information on international students collected by the University of Kansas under Bush administration orders was stolen by hackers, and experts say the data could be useful for creating false identity documents.

FBI investigators yesterday were trying to track down whoever broke into the university's computer system a number of times last week. School officials worked to answer questions from about 1,450 international students whose personal information was taken.

That included Social Security, passport and university identification numbers, cities and countries of origin, and programs of study. It was collected by the university as part of new homeland security measures designed to more closely track the movements of foreigners in the United States.

Inmate freed from death row

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. A man on death row for 16 years was released from prison yesterday after prosecutors concluded they do not have enough evidence to retry him for the 1986 murder of a Tampa teenager.

"I'm on top of the world," Rudolph Holton, 49, said as he wiped away tears under his sunglasses.

Mr. Holton was convicted of raping and killing 17-year-old prostitute Katrina Graddy and setting her on fire in an abandoned drug house.

About 10 days before the slaying, Graddy told police another man had raped her. Mr. Holton's attorney was not given the police report. Because of that error, Florida's Supreme Court ruled in December that Mr. Holton deserved a new trial.

But prosecutor Mark Ober decided against another trial, citing the lack of physical evidence.

Super Bowl sweep results in 70 arrests

SAN DIEGO Nearly 70 foreign-born security guards and drivers working at or around the Super Bowl were arrested by immigration agents in a three-month operation designed to ensure the safety of fans, authorities said yesterday.

As part of Operation Game Day, the Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested 45 security guards and 24 cabdrivers. Of those, 34 had criminal convictions.

Those detained on immigration violations could be deported. Six face prosecution on federal criminal charges.

Religious leader pleads to child molestation

EATONTON, Ga. A day after pleading guilty to a pair of federal charges, the founder of a religious sect in central Georgia pleaded guilty yesterday to 77 state counts of sex crimes against children in the group.

Malachi York signed a plea agreement recommending 15 years in prison and 35 years of probation as an admitted sex offender. A sentencing date has not been announced. His federal sentence will be served concurrently.

The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors began in the early 1970s in New York City. After York and his followers moved to Putnam County, Ga., 10 years ago, they built Egyptian-style pyramids at the group's 476-acre complex.

York pleaded guilty yesterday to 40 counts of aggravated child molestation, 34 counts of child molestation, one count of child exploitation and two counts of influencing witnesses.

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