Picks of the Week: Hacking, Rangel and Bad Loans
Each week, the editors at The Post's Investigations blog comb through in-depth and investigative reports from news outlets across the country and select notable projects of the week.
This week's top picks:
Security Breaches Plague NASA
A yearlong investigation by BusinessWeek found that hackers and foreign operatives -- many allegedly linked to China -- have been breaking into NASA computers for years, stealing secret information on satellites, rocket engines and the Space Shuttle from the nation's military and scientific institutions.
BusinessWeek's Keith Epstein and Ben Elgin found internal NASA documents that showed cyber-burglars had "slipped into the digital network of NASA's supposedly super-secure Kennedy Space Center east of Orlando." Hackers apparently based in Taiwan went undetected and eventually broke into a NASA satellite control complex in suburban Maryland and to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, home of Mission Control.
Rangel Protected Donor To Lawmaker's Project
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) worked to protect a tax shelter for a company whose chief executive was pledging $1 million to the lawmaker's fund-raising project, The New York Times found.
The Times' David Kocieniewski reports that congressional records and interviews show that Rangel was "instrumental in preserving a lucrative tax loophole that benefited an oil-drilling company last year, while at the same time its chief executive was pledging $1 million to the project, the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at C.C.N.Y."
The chief executive of the oil firm Nabors Industries, Eugene M. Isenberg, pledged $200,000 to the school. Last year, the company won congressional approval to preserve its tax shelter in the Caribbean, saving Nabors tens of millions of dollars annually and depriving the federal treasury of $1.1 billion in revenues over a decade, according to a Congressional analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.
"There was no quid pro quo," Isenberg told The Times.
New Century's Earnings Info at Center of Justice Probe
As the subprime lending industry began to falter in the wake of billions of dollars in bad loans in November 2006, Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. disclosed that four executives had sold nearly $20 million of their company stock in the previous four months, six times as much as they had sold over the previous 12 months. One analyst asked during an earnings conference call whether there was anything investors should know. "It's just part of their personal financial diversification plan," the firm's chief executive, Brad A. Morrice, said.
Those executive stock sales, however, have emerged as a central element in the Justice Department's criminal investigation of New Century, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Conducting its own review of the executive stock trades and analyzing Securities and Exchange Commission filings, The Times found that six top executives either enacted plans or made trades on the same dates as other executives, which legal experts say could raise questions about whether they were acting in concert on inside information.
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Posted by: bigmikecraft | December 1, 2008 3:58 PM