[ISN] Lawyer: Others possibly leaked FBI files

From: William Knowles (wkat_private)
Date: Thu Jun 21 2001 - 02:24:54 PDT

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    By Jeff German 
    June 20, 2001 
    The lawyer for a Las Vegas FBI employee charged with selling criminal
    case files said this morning that others in the local field office,
    not his client, may have been leaking sensitive information.
    Barry Levinson said his client, James J. Hill, a 51-year-old FBI
    security analyst arrested in Las Vegas last week, did not steal any
    FBI files.
    Levinson blamed Hill's arrest on former FBI agent Mike Levin, a Las
    Vegas private investigator who reportedly has been cooperating in the
    investigation of Hill.
    "Mike Levin is the bad guy here," Levinson said. "My guy never took
    any files."
    Levinson said Levin, who had befriended Hill, was soliciting sensitive
    information from Hill and other acquaintances at the local FBI office
    as part of his private investigative duties.
    "Not only was he bothering my guy for information, but he was
    bothering other people in the office," Levinson said. "There could
    have been other people who were giving him information."
    The FBI this morning refused to discuss the investigation or confirm
    that Levin, who reportedly was forced to resign from the bureau
    several years ago, was cooperating in the probe.
    But in a six-page complaint filed against Hill in New York last week,
    the FBI said a confidential informant it described as a private
    investigator had told agents following his own arrest that he had been
    buying classified information from Hill since November 1999.
    The New York complaint alleged that Hill, an Air Force veteran who has
    worked for the Las Vegas FBI office for several years, had access to
    national security and electronic surveillance information, as well as
    confidential informants and witnesses data stored in the FBI's
    national computer system.
    "CI (confidential informant) admitted that the defendant has provided
    CI with classified FBI records pertaining to organized crime
    investigations, white collar crime investigations and investigations
    involving international alien smuggling, which CI sold to members of
    organized crime and other criminal targets," the complaint said.
    The informant paid Hill $25,000 "hundreds of different classified FBI
    records and documents pertaining to criminal cases and grand jury
    investigations," the complaint said.
    Hill faced a 2:30 p.m. detention hearing today in the courtroom of
    U.S. Magistrate Lawrence Leavitt. Federal prosecutors planned to ask
    Leavitt to keep him behind bars because of the potential threat he
    poses to the community.
    Levinson said his client has a clean record.
    "My guy is retired military with an honorable discharge." Levinson
    said. "He's a family man who has never been in trouble before in his
    life. He has had no money problems."
    A former FBI agent who worked with Hill said he was shocked at the
    charges against the analyst.
    "He was a very nice guy and a hard worker," the former agent said.
    "I'm very surprised and disappointed about the information I've
    Levinson said it was "hogwash" to believe that Hill had been providing
    secret information to Levin since November 1999.
    Levin, the attorney said, didn't even start meeting with Hill until
    the end of 2000.
    Levin, who has developed a reputation within the private investigative
    community for living in the fast lane, has worked for the defense on
    high-profile cases in the last two years.
    He participated in the defense of reputed Buffalo mob member Robert
    Panaro, who last year was acquitted on charges of killing underworld
    figure Herbie Blitzstein in 1997. Panaro was convicted, however, on
    related racketeering charges.
    Levin also has been a defense investigator in the FBI's
    well-publicized Operation Jade Blade case, which smashed a nationwide
    prostitution ring that had been smuggling Asian women into the United
    The FBI, meanwhile, continued today to review the damage allegedly
    caused by Hill and Levin.
    Grant Ashley, chief of the Las Vegas FBI, said earlier this week the
    bureau was conducting a "national security damage assessment."
    FBI and Justice Department officials in Las Vegas, Washington and New
    York would not discuss how the review was going.
    "Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
    without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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