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Lawyer: Others possibly leaked FBI files
From: William Knowles <wk () c4i org>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 04:24:54 -0500 (CDT)


By Jeff German 
<german () lasvegassun com>
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
C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org

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