Entries in Investigation (18)


British Police Have New Leads in Case of Missing Girl

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Police in Great Britain said they have identified new leads in the case of Madeleine McCann, the British girl who went missing in Portugal six years ago at the age of three.

Several persons of interest, as well as "both investigative and forensic opportunities" in the case, have been identified by Scotland Yard, authorities said.

Metropolitan Police said they were working with Portuguese police to determine the next steps, even though the missing girl's case is closed in the country.

"Our investigative review is ongoing and we are encouraged by the progress we are making," Metropolitan Police said in a statement, according to the BBC. "We are reviewing a significant number of documents and continue to identify potential lines of inquiry."

McCann was 3 years old when she vanished on vacation with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann and twin siblings in the Algarve region of Portugal. The girl's parents say they found Madeleine missing after having left the children in the home unsupervised while having dinner less than 500 feet away.

The review into the McCann case was opened last year after Prime Minister David Cameron responded to a plea from the girl's parents.

Kate and Gerry McCann have maintained a website and a 24-hour tipline to keep their daughter's case in the public eye.

On May 3, 2013, six years after Madeleine went missing, Kate McCann posted on the "Find Madeleine" website that the family was there "for the long haul."

"We still worry about her, we miss her as much as we ever did," McCann wrote. "We remain as determined as ever to find her and to know what has happened."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Navy Replaces Admiral Leading Mideast Strike Group Because of Ongoing Investigation

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In an unusual move, the Navy has replaced an admiral commanding an aircraft carrier strike group while it is deployed to the Middle East.  The replacement was prompted by an Inspector General’s investigation of allegations of inappropriate leadership judgment.

Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette, the commander of the USS John C. Stennis strike group, is being returned to the United States for temporary reassignment.

In a statement, the Navy said it had approved a request made by Vice Adm. John W. Miller, the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, to temporarily reassign Gaouette “pending the results of an investigation by the Navy Inspector General.”

The statement said Gaoutte would return to the carrier’s home port of Bremerton, Washington.

A Navy official familiar with the circumstances of the investigation said it involved allegations of “inappropriate leadership judgment” and stressed it was not related to personal conduct.

The Stennis group arrived in the Fifth Fleet’s area of operations on Oct. 17 to replace the USS Enterprise, which was on the final deployment of its 50 years of service.   The allegations are recent and were made within the last couple of weeks.

The Stennis returned to Bremerton in March from a seven-month deployment to the Middle East.  In July the Pentagon ordered the carrier to deploy in August — four months ahead of schedule — so a two-carrier presence could be maintained in the Middle East after the Enterprise finished its deployment.   The other carrier strike group currently operating in the Fifth Fleet is the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Gaouette’s Chief of Staff, Capt. William C. Minter, will lead the strike group until Rear Adm. Troy M. Shoemaker arrives to take command “until the matter is resolved.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


DOJ: No Charges in CIA Detainee Death Investigations

Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. government said Thursday that it had closed its investigation into the alleged torture of more than 100 detainees held by the CIA in overseas prisons, and the deaths of two men who died while in CIA custody, without prosecuting anyone.

The Justice Department's announcement Thursday that it would not bring charges in the deaths of terror suspects Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi formally ended a multi-year probe by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham into the CIA's controversial "enhanced interrogation" program.

"Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the Department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Rahman, a suspected Afghan militant, died in 2002 in a CIA prison known as the Salt Pit when he was left shackled to a cement floor in a near-freezing room. Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi died in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 only hours after he was captured by the military.

In a statement, ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer called the Justice Department's decision "nothing short of a scandal."

"The Justice Department has declined to bring charges against the officials who authorized torture, the lawyers who sought to legitimate it, and the interrogators who used it," said Jaffer. "It has successfully shut down every legal suit meant to hold officials civilly liable....Today's decision not to file charges against individuals who tortured prisoners to death is yet another entry in what is already a shameful record."

Former CIA director Michael Hayden applauded the decision to close the inquiry. "I am heartened that this is closed," said Hayden. "I am heartened by the outcome. I had confidence in Mr. Durham's fairness. I am sorry that CIA officers had to go through yet another review of their activities."

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee authorized harsh tactics to interrogate captured al Qaeda members in a 2002 legal memo. A December 2004 memo rescinded that guidance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Durham was initially appointed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey in January 2008 to investigate the destruction of waterboarding videotapes by CIA official Jose Rodriguez. The tapes purportedly showed CIA agents using harsh interrogation techniques on terror suspects. No charges were filed at the conclusion of that investigation.

Attorney General Eric Holder expanded Durham's investigation in August 2009 to review harsh interrogation tactics and potential cases where CIA interrogators used tactics that had not been approved by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Former CIA directors and former Vice President Dick Cheney criticized Holder for expanding the inquiry.

Last year Durham informed Holder he was closing many aspects of the investigation but recommended convening a federal grand jury to investigate the deaths of Rahman and Al-Jamadi.

Jose Rodriguez said Thursday that he was "gratified to learn of today's turn of events."

"The decision announced today is consistent with similar decisions made during the previous administration," said Rodriguez. "The deaths of these two individuals many years ago were indeed unfortunate. It should be noted, however, that neither individual was involved in the controversial -- but in my view necessary and productive -- enhanced interrogation program."

In a message to CIA employees, current CIA director David Petraeus thanked them for their cooperation with the investigation.

Attorney General Holder said that he had asked Durham to undertake the expanded investigation because of the need for a "thorough examination of the detainee treatment issue," and that Durham had "satisfied that need." However, he also said that inquiry was limited to "whether prosecutable offenses were committed and was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Yasser Arafat's Death Becomes a Murder Investigation in France

AWAD AWAD/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- The 2004 death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is now a murder investigation in France.

Prosecutors agreed to look into the matter after Arafat's family pushed for an official investigation into the death of the former chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, who died in Paris at age 75.

Arafat fell into a coma at his Ramallah compound and was transported to France for treatment that failed to revive him.  His official cause of death was listed as a stroke resulting from a blood disorder.

However, a subsequent probe of Arafat's belongings uncovered what were described as "significant" traces of radioactive polonium-210 on his clothing.

The most famous example of someone dying from that toxic substance was former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with polonium-210 after obtaining political asylum in London in 2006.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


London Police Arrest Six on Suspicion of Terrorism

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Authorities in London have arrested six possible terrorists -- subduing one with a stun-gun -- as part of a months-long international terror probe.

The investigation that prompted Thursday's arrests by armed police has so far revealed no known connection to the Olympic Games set to begin later this month, although several arrests occurred near the main Olympic venue in London, according to a police statement and intelligence sources.

Separately, as authorities searched eight homes on Thursday, police near Birmingham stopped a budget intercity bus after a passenger spotted a man pouring something into his bag, and then saw smoke coming out.

In that incident, on the M6 Motorway, armed police escorted passengers off the bus in what was intially described as a "counter-terror response."  Staffordshire Police later issued a statement saying they are not treating this as a counter terrorism incident.

As armed police officers and bomb-sniffing dogs continued their investigation, passengers remained seated on the motorway, which was closed in both directions.  At least 12 fire trucks were on scene supporting the police operation.  The fire department appeared to have erected inflatable "Hazmat" tents.

The incident was unconnected to the arrests, authorities stated.

In the terror probe investigation, five men and one woman, ages 21 to 29, were arrested in several locations across London by officers from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command.

The arrests were the "executive action" phase of a long-running investigation led by British intelligence service MI-5.

The men and woman were all arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000, police said.  They were taken to a southeast London police station where they are in custody.

Authorities would not disclose further details of the case that might compromise their strategy for interviewing the suspects.  What they seized in the searches is unknown.

Police said the arrests in London are related to a possible plot involving Islamist extremists and potential targets in the United Kingdom.  The incident and arrests occurred days after two people were picked up on suspicion of plotting an attack on the London Olympic canoeing venue.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghanistan Koran Burning: Investigators Recommend Administrative Punishments

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Military investigators, called in after the burning of Korans at a U.S. base in Afghanistan earlier this year, have recommended that as many as seven U.S. military service members face administrative punishments for their role in the incident.  They are not recommending criminal charges, according to several Defense officials.

A Defense official says as many as six Army soldiers and one sailor face administrative punishments that could range from letters of reprimand to reductions in pay.

Several Defense officials say the investigation’s results have been forwarded to the Army and Navy secretaries.  It will be up to them to determine if they will agree with the investigation’s recommendations or decide if a tougher or lighter punishment is in order.   A Defense official says the investigation’s recommendations for disciplinary action are “pending review” and no decisions have been made.

In February, the burning of Korans in a garbage pit set off rioting in Afghanistan and was likely the reason for the subsequent killings of two Army officers.  At the time Gen. John Allen, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, apologized for the incident. Officials labeled it inadvertent.

In the wake of the incident, NATO instituted new training so troops in Afghanistan could learn about the proper handling of religious materials.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Was Air France Captain With a Woman When Flight 447 Was in Trouble?

Air France(PARIS) -- In the final chaotic moments before Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, it took the captain of the aircraft, who was on a scheduled break, more than a minute to return to the cockpit, despite his two co-pilots’ frantic calls for help, black box recordings showed.

Although it was never revealed what delayed Capt. Marc Dubois, two independent sources told ABC News that the 58-year-old veteran Air France pilot was traveling socially with an off-duty Air France flight attendant named Veronique Gaignard.

Jean-Paul Troadec, the director of BEA, the French authority conducting the investigation into the Flight 447 crash, told ABC News that Gaignard was not part of their investigation because the agency was “not interested” in the “private life of the pilot.” Troadec added that he did not think Dubois’s alleged relations with Gaignard aboard the plane would have played a role in the accident.

Air France 447 was on an overnight trip from Rio de Janiero to Paris on May 31, 2009 when it vanished. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of June 1, 2009.

Black box tapes recovered from the wreckage two years later, in April 2011, revealed that Capt. Dubois left the cockpit for a scheduled nap about four hours into the flight, around the same time Flight 447 was about to enter a severe thunderstorm that other flights had avoided.

Once in the storm, the plane’s pitot tube, a critical piece of equipment that tells the pilot the aircraft’s air speed, failed, likely from ice crystals forming on it, according to BEA officials who inspected the wreckage. When the pitot tube fails, the Airbus A330′s automatic pilot system disengages, shifting control back to the pilot.

According to the tapes, First Officer Cedric Bonin, a 32-year-old pilot who had fewer than 5,000 flight hours under his belt, was at the controls but had never been in this situation before at high altitude. Bonin made the fatal mistake of pulling the plane’s nose up, which caused it to go into a deep stall.

Within seconds, the plane was plummeting about 120 miles an hour in the dark, belly first, with the nose slightly elevated.

“It seems that the pilots did not understand the situation and they were not aware that they had stalled,” Troadec said.

The co-pilots asked where the captain was and called for help several times before Dubois returned to the cockpit, the black box tapes showed. When Dubois burst in, he found a scene of utter confusion.

“What’s happening?” Dubois was heard saying on the black box recordings.

“I don’t know what’s happening,” one of the co-pilots replied.

“I have a problem…I have no more displays,” Dubois said.

They never regained control of the plane, and in the confusion, co-pilot Cedric Bonin thought his instruments were wrong. He was so befuddled that he was heard asking, “Am I going down now?”

All 228 passengers and crew aboard Air France flight 447 were killed.

BEA will release its final report on the investigation into the crash on July 5.  Air France declined ABC News’ request for an interview, pending the July release of the final report from France’s investigation.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mystery Over Death of British Spy Intensifies as Inquest Begins

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- It's a case worthy of a Sherlock Holmes story. The mystery over the death of a British spy has only deepened as new details emerged this week at the official inquest into how he died.

The naked body of Gareth Williams, 31, was found curled up inside a locked duffle bag in the bathtub of his London apartment on Aug. 16, 2010. Scotland Yard has so far failed to solve the case in an investigation that has lasted nearly two years.

At the time of his death, Williams was working as a codebreaker at Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, or SIS, also known as MI6.

Police investigators told the inquest that there was no indication of a break-in at the apartment, and nothing to suggest that evidence at the scene was destroyed.

Williams' body showed no signs of struggle, nor that Williams had been drugged or poisoned. Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire said police had been working under the assumption that Williams could not have entered and locked the duffle bag by himself, and that a third party must have been involved. Sebire revealed Tuesday that "two minor components of another contributor's DNA" were found on the bag's zip toggle and padlock.

Williams' family said it believed that another person must have been involved in his death.

Also found at the dead man's apartment was a newspaper cutting of an article about the regrets commonly held by terminally ill patients in the last weeks of their lives. Headlined "Top Five Regrets of the Dying," the story was about a book of the same name written by an Australian nurse who'd spent several years working in palliative care and recorded the dying epiphanies of her patients. The regrets included "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me," "I wish I hadn't worked so hard," "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."

Closed-circuit TV images of Williams visiting luxury stores in West London in the days before he died do not suggest he was being followed. Police said thousands of dollars' worth of women's designer clothes were found at Williams' apartment, as well as wigs and makeup. Asked whether Williams was a transvestite, an old friend told the inquest that she did not believe so, and said the items were likely purchased as gifts.

It's not clear why it took a week for detectives to visit the apartment after the codebreaker failed to show up to work at the headquarters of Britain's intelligence service on Aug. 16.

Williams was working at SIS after he was transferred to the agency by Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, its secret electronic surveillance agency, where he had previously been employed. In April 2010, he successfully applied to return to GCHQ earlier than planned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colombian Prostitutes Are Interviewed by Investigators

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(CARTAGENA, Colombia) -- Some of the prostitutes who allegedly met with Secret Service agents in Colombia have been interviewed by investigators, but U.S. officials are still searching for others, ABC News has learned.

So far, one Secret Service supervisor implicated in the case has retired, and a lower-level official is resigning. The Secret Service is trying to fire one supervisor, but he is expected to appeal the removal.

The investigation is going full tilt, with the eight remaining Secret Service officials facing lie detector tests. More resignations are expected in the coming days as the probe goes forward, according to congressional leaders.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that the investigation is "moving with some speed," but he wouldn't say when it is expected to be done.

President Obama is getting regular updates, but he hasn't spoken recently with the Secret Service director, Carney said.

Carney said no staff members involved with the White House West Wing or the president's office were involved.

Meanwhile, the Colombian prostitute who sparked a fight with Secret Service agents that led to the scandal now has a more public identity. The New York Daily News Thursday published four photos of a 24-year-old mother who the paper said is the escort.

The night that the agents met the prostitutes, Secret Service officials booked a party space at a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia, before going out to nightclubs, ABC News reported Thursday. The men drank whiskey at a brothel, bragged about working for Obama, and brought women from the club back to their hotel after picking up more escorts, sources said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Queen's Estate Mystery Becomes Murder Investigation

Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The human remains discovered New Year's Day on the grounds of the London estate where Queen Elizabeth and the royal family are spending the holidays have likely been there for one to four months and are not the result of natural death or accidental injury, British police said Tuesday.

The discovery is being treated as a murder investigation, officials confirmed.

The human remains were discovered Sunday by a dog-walker in a woodland area at Anmer, a tiny village northeast of London that is part of the Sandringham Estate property used by the British family as a vacation retreat.

The body is that of a young adult female, detectives with the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team said Tuesday after conducting a post-mortem examination on the remains.

Without giving further specifics, officials involved in the examination said it is "highly unlikely" the death was a result of natural causes. Detectives also found no evidence of accidental injury, damage because of firearms or bladed weapon at the site.

Detectives said results from DNA samples taken from the body should be available within the next 24 hours, and they hope to provide more details on the cold case. Police also plan to resume their search of the area where the body was discovered Wednesday.

The human remains were found near the Royal Stud, where the queen oversees the breeding and training of race horses, and less than three miles from the queen's main residence on the estate, Sandringham House.

Sandringham House has served as a private residence for British monarchs since 1862 and is a favorite of the royal family's as a holiday retreat. The royals, including Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton, had gathered there with the queen and Prince Philip to celebrate Christmas this year.

The queen and Prince Philip had joined other royals in attending the traditional New Year's Day service at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the estate hours before the discovery was made.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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