Extremist Recruiting

In Prisons Investigated

SACRAMENTO -- FBI agents nationwide have been ordered to conduct "threat assessments" of inmates who may have become radicalized in prison and could commit extremist violence upon their release, according to an FBI letter obtained by the Associated Press.

"The primary goal of these efforts is to assess and disrupt the recruitment and conversion of inmates to radicalized ideologies which advocate violence," according to a letter from the acting assistant chief of the FBI's Los Angeles office, Randy D. Parsons.

The FBI has been trying to identify potentially disruptive groups for "some time," according to the letter. "However, recent investigations have identified a clear need to increase the FBI's focus and commitment in this area," Parsons wrote in the letter, dated Friday. California prison officials confirmed receiving the letter.

The order comes as an investigation continues into whether a suspected Southern California terrorism plot originated in a state prison in Folsom, near Sacramento. Three Los Angeles area men, including a parolee from the California State Prison at Sacramento, are suspected of plotting attacks on Jewish and National Guard sites.

* The Army is investigating a Roman Catholic military chaplain on 12 charges of forcible sodomy and assault. The Rev. Gregory Arflack, 44, a chaplain with the 279th Base Support Battalion based in Bamberg, Germany, was suspended both by the Army and his Owensboro, Ky., diocese pending the results of the investigation.

* MEMPHIS -- State Rep. Chris Newton (R) pleaded guilty to taking bribes in exchange for legislative favors, and Shelby County Commission Chairman Michael Hooks Sr. was indicted in an expanding corruption investigation. Both were caught in an FBI sting.

* LINCOLN, Neb. -- Matthew Koso, 22, who is accused of impregnating a 13-year-old girl whom he later married with her mother's permission, pleaded not guilty to a charge he sexually assaulted the teenager. The girl, now 14, gave birth to their daughter last week. If convicted in a trial in October, Koso could face up to 50 years in prison.

* AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- President Bush nominated a new superintendent of the Air Force Academy -- Lt. Gen. John F. Regni, who has been commander of the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He will replace Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr. if he is confirmed by the Senate.

* DANDRIDGE, Tenn. -- Three middle-school students -- two 12 and one 14 -- were charged with plotting to kill a teacher for disciplining one of them and bringing a gun to school to carry out their plan, authorities said. The plot was foiled when the handgun discharged in a restroom at Maury Middle School as the boys were examining it.

* HARTFORD, Conn. -- A federal judge temporarily halted the national base-closings commission from recommending a realignment of a Connecticut Air National Guard base, which Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R) contends cannot be done without her approval.

* ATLANTA -- Six decades after she was executed for killing a white man she had been hired to care for, a black maid was granted a full and unconditional pardon. Lena Baker, 44, the only woman put to death in Georgia's electric chair, had maintained until she was put to death in 1945 that she shot E.B. Knight in self-defense. Members of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles said refusing to grant clemency was "a grievous error."

-- From News Services