ACRU

The Justice Department Gets One Right

There is considerable complaining these days from the usual source — Congress — that the Justice Department is “broken” and simply cannot function under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. This is the same source that tells us just about everything else is “broken,” from our strongest-on-earth military to health care to the world’s climate. Saying these things are “broken” is a way of proposing that a cure is needed, a proposal inevitably made without telling us, in specifics, what’s wrong, what Congress would do to improve it, or, most importantly, how much the fix would cost and who will foot the bill. Perhaps “broken” has become such a gauzy and mischief-masking word that it’s earned a place in the Dictionary for the Politically Incorrect.

But I digress. The mantra that the Justice Department is dysfunctional is belied by an Associated Press story out today. The story relates that, after a grand jury investigation, one of the world’s top ten spammers has been arrested by federal authorites. The story is being carried by MSNBC, and I quote below its first several paragraphs:

“SEATTLE – A 27-year-old man described as one of the world’s most prolific spammers was arrested Wednesday, and federal authorities said computer users across the Web could notice a decrease in the amount of junk e-mail.

“Robert Alan Soloway is accused of using networks of compromised ‘zombie’ computers to send out millions upon millions of spam e-mails.

“‘He’s one of the top 10 spammers in the world,’ said Tim Cranton, a Microsoft Corp. lawyer who is senior director of the company’s Worldwide Internet Safety Programs. ‘He’s a huge problem for our customers. This is a very good day.’

“A federal grand jury last week returned a 35-count indictment against Soloway charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

“Soloway pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to all charges after a judge determined that — even with four bank accounts seized by the government — he was sufficiently well off to pay for his own lawyer.

“He has been living in a ritzy apartment and drives an expensive Mercedes convertible, said prosecutor Kathryn Warma. Prosecutors are seeking to have him forfeit $773,000 they say he made from his business, Newport Internet Marketing Corp.

“A public defender who represented him for Wednesday’s hearing declined to comment.

“Prosecutors say Soloway used computers infected with malicious code to send out millions of junk e-mails….”

While this story is good news both about the Justice Department’s continuing ability to catch crooks, and about what will be appearing in my in-box from now on, it has its downside as well. No longer will I have the opportunity to glom onto $50,000,000 or so left behind by some previously unheard-of African dictator, whose banker generously offers to deposit it in my very own account if I’ll just send him my account information.

Well phooey. Looks like I’ll have to keep my job after all. Thanks to the supposedly crippled Justice Department, my chance to live off a windfall would appear to be “broken.”