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138Lawsuit to Silence Alleged Source of Hank Documents

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  • Al Giordano
    Dec 25, 2000
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      This is a New York Times story on a lawsuit against
      the man who allegedly leaked government documents
      to newspapers.

      The document, by a joint task force of FBI, DEA,
      Customs, CIA and Interpol, defined the Hank family
      as "drug traffickers," "money launderers," and
      "a significant threat to the United States."

      Interestingly, the NY Times broke the story, which
      was leaked to their Dallas bureau.

      US: Suit Filed Over Leak Of Report On Mexican

      URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00/n1200/a01.html


      Author: Richard A. Oppel Jr.

      SUIT FILED OVER LEAK OF REPORT ON MEXICAN

      DALLAS, Aug. 15 -- A college professor in Ohio has drawn the
      unwelcome attention of one of Mexico's most powerful families.

      Lawyers for a bank controlled by the family of a Mexican billionaire,
      Carlos Hank Gonzalez -- a former mayor of Mexico City -- say that
      Donald E. Schulz leaked a secret Justice Department document last
      year that described the Hank family as a "significant criminal
      threat" and linked it to large-scale drug trafficking and money
      laundering. A lawsuit, filed late today in federal court in
      Cleveland, alleges that Mr. Schulz, who is now chairman of the
      political science department at Cleveland State University, leaked
      copies of the report to newspapers last year.

      The plaintiffs in that suit are Laredo National Bancshares Inc. of
      Laredo, Texas, and the bank's president and chief executive officer,
      Gary G. Jacobs. The bank's chairman and controlling shareholder is
      Carlos Hank Rhon, the eldest son of Carlos Hank Gonzalez. He is not
      a plaintiff in the suit, however.

      The suit, which asks for unspecified damages, is an early salvo in
      what is expected to be a long and coordinated counterattack by the
      Hank family, one of the wealthiest and most politically influential
      clans in Mexico, against allegations that it is involved in the
      illegal drug trade. The family also faces scrutiny by regulators at
      the Federal Reserve, who are examining Carlos Hank Rhon's ownership
      of the Laredo bank.

      The report, which was produced by the National Drug Intelligence
      Center, an agency within the Justice Department, was cited last year
      in articles in newspapers including The Washington Post and The
      Dallas Morning News at a time when Congress was debating the Foreign
      Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The law, which Congress later
      passed, gives the government the power to freeze bank accounts and
      other assets of persons it labels significant drug traffickers.

      The report alleged the Hank family was involved in money laundering
      and drug trafficking, and implied that it was protected because of
      its strong ties to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, according
      to the news reports. Known as PRI, the political machine dominated
      Mexican politics until this year, when the National Action Party's
      candidate, Vicente Fox, defeated the PRI's candidate in the
      presidential election.

      After the report was disclosed, the Hank family mobilized to rebut
      the allegations, hiring high-profile lawyers including Warren Rudman,
      the former New Hampshire senator.

      Earlier this year, Attorney General Janet Reno disavowed the report
      after Mr. Rudman wrote to her to complain about its dissemination.

      Ms. Reno, in a letter to Mr. Rudman, said that the subject matter
      in the report was beyond the "substantive expertise" of the authors,
      that the report's characterizations were not adopted as government
      policy and that the document had never received proper vetting from
      government officials.In the lawsuit filed in Cleveland, lawyers for
      the bank and Mr. Jacobs allege that an official of the National Drug
      Intelligence Center gave a copy of the report to Mr. Schulz, who was
      then a professor at the United States Army War College in Carlisle,
      Pa., and that Mr. Schulz then leaked the document to reporters.

      The lawsuit also said that Mr. Schulz has denied to government
      investigators that he leaked the document. Telephone calls to Mr.
      Schulz's residence in Cleveland were not returned.

      Mr. Jacobs, in an interview, said he was upset by any allegations of
      wrongdoing."What I am outraged about is that I have always been an
      honest, law-abiding and compliant banker," he said. "I believe my
      constitutional rights have been violated. They are doing it with
      reckless abandon and they should be held accountable for their
      actions."