FBI Shut Down Because They Can't LIE!?
WAU California - http://pages.prodigy.net/acab
FBI Operations in Oregon on Hold
By TERRENCE PETTY
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - For nearly a year, the FBI and other law
enforcement agencies have been handcuffed in Oregon, constrained from
launching undercover operations as basic as sending an agent to buy drugs
from a suspected dealer..
The reason is an Oregon Supreme Court ruling that all attorneys -
prosecutors included - must abide by state ethics rules against the
use of deceit..
Under Justice Department policy, undercover activities by federal agents
must be approved by prosecutors in the U.S. attorney's office. Since the
Aug. 17 ruling, the U.S. attorney's office in Portland has suspended some
undercover operations and has not approved any new ones for fear of
disciplinary action from the Oregon State Bar, which can disbar members..
"I consider this the single greatest challenge as U.S. attorney in
Oregon..It's a terrible problem," said Mike Mosman, interim U.S. attorney..
The FBI said the cases hampered include an undercover operation against
Russian mobsters, an investigation of adults who go into Internet chat
rooms to try to lure children into having sex, and a probe of a check
fraud scheme involving more than $1 million in losses in four states..
Beth Anne Steele, an FBI spokeswoman in Portland, said that because of
the ruling, if the FBI wanted to bust a drug dealer, ``we'd have to walk
up and say: `I'm an FBI agent. Here's $10,000. I'd like to buy some
The ruling was triggered by an ethics case that had nothing to do with
prosecutors. In 1998, the bar ruled that an attorney had violated ethics
rules by posing as a chiropractor while preparing a lawsuit against an
The rules say lawyers must not engage in ``dishonesty, fraud, deceit or
The state Supreme Court backed the bar last August. But the court went
even further..Before the ruling, the Justice Department had asked the
court to grant an exemption for prosecutors to get involved in undercover
operations. But the court said the ethics rules apply to all members of
the bar without exception..
Now, it's not just federal agents who are feeling the squeeze..
The state Attorney General's office has suspended undercover operations by
its consumer fraud and organized crime units..
County and city prosecutors are not directly involved in undercover
operations as often as federal prosecutors. But many are not even giving
advice to local law enforcement agencies about undercover operations..
``I can't even allow my deputy DAs to advise the local drug team on proper
ways to use an informant,'' said Joshua Marquis, district attorney for
Clatsop County and president of the Oregon District Attorneys Association..
Some private attorneys say the Justice Department has itself to blame
because it pressed the high court for an exemption to the no-deceit
``They went rumbling for a fight. They got kicked,'' said John Henry
Hingson III, an Oregon City defense attorney..
A task force representing law enforcement and private attorneys is trying
to work out a solution acceptable to the court..
In January, the bar recommended to the high court that the code of
ethics be rewritten to allow prosecutors to supervise or give advice on
covert activities. But the court rejected the proposal, with several
justices saying it was too broad and could negate the responsibility of
all lawyers not to engage in dishonest conduct..
The Legislature this year passed a bill saying prosecutors can use
covert activities, even if deception is required. But the law does not
alter the wording of the state bar's ethics code, and prosecutors say they
are still subject to disciplinary action..
The U.S. attorney's office has sued the bar to block it from bringing
any disciplinary charges against prosecutors for undercover operations..
Many defense attorneys say prosecutors should not be granted privileges
they themselves do not have. ``Having special rules for prosecutors to a
certain extent casts the impression they are permitted to be outlaws,''