Monday, March 15, 2010

A Sad, Sad Day in Santa Ana, California

 Last week, we wrote about a DEA employee in Boston that lied and accessed sensitive criminal information on a DEA computer and then manipulated the data in an attempt to harass an ex-girlfriend. We asked, who says federal agents don't lie?

The Rove Republican Racket succeeded in manipulating the law and targeting the innocent in part with the help of federal agents.

Now comes another tale of inappropriate access of federal computer files from Santa Ana, California. The Orange County Register reports this afternoon:

An FBI agent who used to head the agency's white-collar crime unit in Santa Ana has resigned in the wake of a criminal charge that accuses him of overstepping his authority to illegally get information. Peter H. Norell Jr. pleaded not guilty Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Block to a misdemeanor count of illegally accessing a government agency computer sometime between Aug. 23 and Sept. 2, 2005. Norell faces up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine if convicted of the charge, which was filed Wednesday.

Norell "did intentionally access a computer of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in excess of his authorization to do so ..." and obtained information from the FBI, according to the information. The filing gave no additional details on the accusation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Finigan declined to comment on the case. During Monday's hearing, FBI agents filled the courtroom in a show of support for Norell. He pleaded not guilty, but is expected to plead guilty at a future date.

After the hearing, Norell declined to comment. His attorney, Thomas S. McConville, said Norell resigned from the FBI, but declined to give any information on the accusation. Norell was with the agency for 14 years, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiler." It's a sad, sad day,'' McConville said. "We'll let this case see its way through the justice system."