Terrorism Probe Focuses on Chertoff Advice

Chiquita, now under investigation, sought counsel, got nowhere
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 2, 2007 1:05 PM CDT
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff takes a question about port security during a news conference on cargo screening radiation scanning technology at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif.,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Chiquita is under investigation for supporting terrorism, but the company lays the blame on Michael Chertoff. In 2003, Chiquita met with Chertoff, then assistant AG, and admitted to paying protection money to a Colombian paramilitary force on the US list of terror groups. Chiquita's lawyers say they sought advice, the Washington Post reports, and Chertoff never got back to them.

The allegation involves the Homeland Security secretary in a probe of violations for which Chiquita has already agreed to pay a $25 million fine. The focus now is on current and former company officials, and lawyers argue that the investigation unfairly singles out the firm for its honesty and openness despite a failure of leadership by the government.