March 14, 2006 in Nation/World

Prosecutor to lead new Justice division

The Spokesman-Review

President Bush on Monday picked a veteran Washington prosecutor with extensive experience in post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism policy to head the new national security division of the Justice Department.

If confirmed by the Senate as assistant attorney general for national security, Kenneth Wainstein, 44, will run a unit pulled together from three sections of the department with the aim of centralizing counter-terrorism investigations and improving that sharing of information between intelligence-gathering agencies and law enforcement.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who introduced Wainstein at a morning briefing, said the reorganization will provide attorneys “with additional capacity to do their important job even better through increased coordination and cooperation.”

The national security division will oversee requests for search warrants from the secret court that monitors terrorism investigations involving people in the United States.


Bush censure sent to committee

Democrats distanced themselves Monday from Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold’s effort to censure President Bush over domestic spying, preventing a floor vote that could alienate swing voters.

A day of tough, election-year talk between Feingold and Vice President Dick Cheney ended with Senate leaders sending the matter to the Judiciary Committee.

“I look forward to a full hearing, debate and vote in committee on this important matter,” Feingold said in a statement Monday. “If the committee fails to consider the resolution expeditiously, I will ask that there be a vote in the full Senate.”

Feingold, a potential presidential candidate, said on the Senate floor, “The president has violated the law, and Congress must respond.”

Throughout the day, Feingold’s fellow Democrats said they understood his frustration, but they held back overt support for the resolution. Several said they wanted first to see the Senate Intelligence Committee finish an investigation of the warrantless wiretapping program that Bush authorized as part of his war on terrorism.


Friars settle sex abuse case

The Franciscan friars have reached a preliminary settlement of more than $28 million with about two dozen people who claimed they were sexually abused at a now-defunct Santa Barbara seminary and mission, officials said Monday.

Attorney Raymond Boucher, who represents eight of the plaintiffs, said the average payment would be about $1.27 million. The figure was confirmed by the Franciscans, who ran the seminary until 1987, when it closed for financial reasons.

“In making this settlement, we friars are trying to do the right thing and help bring about healing,” the Rev. Melvin A. Jurisich said in a statement. Jurisich is provincial minister for the Franciscan Friars, Province of Saint Barbara.


‘Press Your Luck’ host dies in crash

Peter Tomarken, host of the hit ‘80s game show “Press Your Luck,” was killed Friday along with his wife when their small plane crashed into the ocean.

The plane was on its way to San Diego to carry a patient to the UCLA Medical Center for Angel Flight West, according to a spokesman for the nonprofit organization. Tomarken was apparently a volunteer for the group. The FAA said the plane was registered to him and he was the pilot. Rescuers searched for a third person believed on board.

“Press Your Luck” was known for contestants shouting the slogan “Big bucks! No whammies!” Tomarken also was on “Bargain Hunters,” “Wipe-Out” and “Paranoia.”

Compiled from wire reports

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