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The Nation

Special government strike forces that for decades have battled the Mafia face being dismantled by Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh, the New York Times reported. Thornburgh said in an interview he believes fighting organized crime can best be done by local U.S. attorneys rather than the 24 regional organized crime strike forces. Thornburgh said the problem with strike forces “is that they are an independent field office of the Department of Justice that competes with the U.S. attorneys.” The proposal is supported by most of the nation’s 94 U.S. attorneys but is meeting resistance from about 130 strike force attorneys who argue that U.S. attorneys have limited resources for combatting organized crime and that they lack personnel familiar with such activity. The local U.S. attorneys are pressing for a system similar to one already in use in the Southern District of New York, where the strike force attorneys were merged into the local office and no longer report directly to Washington. Supporters of the New York system credit it for allowing former U.S. Atty. Rudolph W. Giuliani to successfully prosecute several Mafia cases.


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