“Gentlemen do not read one another’s mail.” So said Secretary of State Henry Stimson (at least according to myth) in 1929 as he shut down the famous Black Chamber MI-8 code-breaking operation. But this time it seems to be more a problem of funding than of honor. Keystone Kops Alert from AP, with thanks to Anon:
WASHINGTON – Mail for convicted terrorists and other dangerous federal inmates isn’t being fully read by prison authorities, and that is a risk to national security, a Justice Department review concluded Tuesday.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is supposed to translate and screen all mail to and from the highest-risk inmates “” including terrorists, gang members and spies “” for evidence of criminal activity. But that target was not being met consistently at 10 federal prisons and detention centers surveyed by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
“The threat remains that terrorist and other high-risk inmates can use mail and verbal communications to conduct terrorist or criminal activities while incarcerated,” concluded the report by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. It urged the Bureau of Prisons to correct quickly the security gap, including putting tracking systems in place to ensure all high-risk inmate mail is read and analyzed.
A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said the agency agrees with the review’s recommendations in whole or in part. But it is largely too cash-strapped to afford enough staff to sort through the thousands of letters and other pieces of mail federal prisons receive each week “” what Bureau of Prisons Director Harley G. Lappin described to inspectors as searching for “a needle in a haystack.”
Experts fear that a new generation of homegrown terrorists is being bred in prison and, after release, they will seek guidance from Islamic extremists still behind bars.
The Justice Department’s mail investigation was spurred, in part, after three convicted terrorists at a federal maximum-security prison in Florence, Colo., were found to have written an estimated 90 letters between 2002 and 2004 to Islamic extremists “” some with links to the March 11, 2004, attacks on commuter trains in Madrid. Some of the letters later surfaced in the hands of a terror suspect who used them to recruit suicide operatives.