Ex-National Guard officer charged with espionage

Thursday, February 6, 2003

SPOKANE, Wash. -- FBI agents have arrested a former Washington Army National Guard officer and his ex-wife on espionage charges alleging they attempted to sell national security secrets.

Officials would not give details Wednesday. The indictment includes a reference to a North Carolina lawyer who has represented the Ku Klux Klan and militant anti-tax leaders.

Rafael Davila, 51, and Deborah Davila, 46, were arrested Tuesday and ordered held without bail.

Representatives of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., the U.S. attorney's office in Spokane and the FBI refused to elaborate on the charges.

"Clearly we can't comment on those things for national security reasons," said Ray Lauer, an FBI spokesman in Seattle.

In court Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks had said the "case involves the sale of 'top secret' and 'secret' documents involved with the defense of the United States."

NTSB: Control tower, pilot missed communications

DENVER -- A pilot told air traffic controllers his plane was transmitting its altitude to them even after a controller said the signal didn't register just moments before a fatal collision with another plane over a busy neighborhood, investigators said.

The pilot of the Piper Cheyenne also never acknowledged a controller's warning that a Cessna 172 was straight ahead, according to a preliminary report issued Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB reported earlier that it was investigating the fact that the Piper's transponder wasn't transmitting altitude information and what role that may have played in the collision between the two small planes on Jan. 24 over northwest Denver.

The crash killed all five people on the planes and rained debris over a 24-block area. The Cessna crashed into a house, which exploded after a gas line erupted.

Judge sets hearing date for Nichols on bombing

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A hearing will start May 5 to determine whether enough evidence exists to try Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols on 160 counts of murder, a judge said Wednesday.

District Judge Charles Allen McCall, the third named to preside over pretrial proceedings, said he hoped to conclude the hearing by the end of June.

Nichols, already convicted of federal involuntary manslaughter charges and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the bombing, faces the death penalty if found guilty on the state charges.

The hearing had been set to start on Monday but was postponed after District Judge Ray Dean Linder stepped down Nov. 22. Linder presided for 27 months before he recused himself, citing frustration with the slow pace of the case.

Linder replaced Associate District Judge Robert Murphy Jr. of Stillwater, who was disqualified from the case in 2000 at the request of prosecutors.

The April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building killed 168 people and injured more than 500.

N.C. lawmaker OK with World War II internment

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- A congressman who heads a homeland security subcommittee said on a radio call-in program that he agreed with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

A fellow congressman who was interred as a child criticized Coble for his comment on Wednesday, as did advocacy groups.

Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., made the remark Tuesday on WKZL-FM when a caller suggested Arabs in the United States should be confined.

Coble, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said that he didn't agree with the caller but did agree with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who established the internment camps.

"We were at war," Coble said. "For many of these Japanese-Americans, it wasn't safe for them to be on the street."

Like most Arab-Americans today, Coble said, most Japanese-Americans during World War II were not U.S. enemies.

--From wire reports

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