Attorney General Mukasey Recognizes Department Employees and Others for Their Service at Annual Awards Ceremony

WASHINGTON , Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey recognized 250 Department employees for their distinguished public service today at the 56th Annual Attorney General Awards Ceremony. Twenty-two other individuals...


The Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service was also presented to a team in New York for their work during the investigation and trial of Bonanno family acting boss Vincent Basciano and the prosecution of the gangsters who served him. Recipients were, from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York , Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg D. Andres , John D. Buretta , Amy L. Busa and Winston Y. Chan ; Samantha E. Ward , Paralegal Specialist; and Special Agents from the FBI New York Division, Michael T. Breslin , Stacey G. Bowery , Eileen O'Rourke and Jude E. Tarasca . Basciano's conviction was the product of a lengthy investigation into the Bonanno family, which has resulted in the incarceration of every major leader of this violent criminal enterprise.

The Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service was presented to another group, honored for the exceptional results they achieved in pursuing justice in the United Nations Oil for Food scandal. Their commitment to pursuing justice in this case resulted in the convictions of numerous high profile businessmen, companies, United Nations officials and diplomats; allowed the return of tens of millions of dollars to the Iraqi people; and served as the catalyst for administrative reforms at the United Nations. Members of the team were, from the FBI New York Division, Supervisory Special Agent Benjamin Berry ; Special Agents Kathleen M. Diskin , Meghan E. Miller , Frank C. Manzi , Richard Kariewicz, Duane Kuizema , and Nicolas Panagako ; Financial Analysts Pauline Tai and Herbert M. Gastelu ; and Language Specialist Samira Y. Rizkalla ; from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York , Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward C. O'Callaghan and Michael E. Farbiarz ; and from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania , Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen A. Miller .

Another Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service was presented to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth R. Chadwell and Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Straus , both from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan . Chadwell and Straus received the award for their accomplishments in the prevention of terrorism and promoting the national security of the United States . They managed a three-year investigation and prosecution, which resulted in the discovery and elimination of vulnerabilities to the nation's security within the intelligence community and the U.S. military; uncovering numerous compromises in classified national security investigations into the activities of the designated foreign terrorist organization, Hezbollah; and dismantling significant portions of Hezbollah's U.S. fundraising apparatus.

Nine individuals were awarded the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service for their work on the Military Commissions Act and the Detainee Treatment Act. The group worked tirelessly on these important cases, briefing and arguing complex questions of constitutional and administrative law, responding to motions filed by more than 100 detainees, and closely coordinating with numerous client agencies and Department components. Members of the group from the Civil Division of the Department of Justice include, Jonathan F. Cohn , Deputy Assistant Attorney General; Robert M. Loeb , Appellate Counsel; Matthew M. Collette , Catherine Y. Hancock and August E. Flentje , Trial Attorneys; Jennifer A. Paisner , Senior Litigation Counsel for the Office of Immigration Litigation; individuals from the Office of the Solicitor General include, Gregory G. Garre , Solicitor General; Eric D. Miller and Nicole A. Saharsky , Assistants to the Solicitor General.