For 32 months, 23 members of a federal grand jury in Cleveland have investigated the local dealings of Jackie Presser, 58, the blunt-spoken, 300-lb. president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the nation's largest labor union. More than half a year has passed since the Justice Department's strike force in Cleveland recommended to its superiors in Washington that Presser be indicted for fraud and conspiracy. But the Justice Department seemed to be dragging its heels in asking for an indictment. Last week the jurors decided to take matters into their own hands. In an extraordinary move, they asked to examine a 100-page memorandum that the Cleveland strike force sent to Washington last January.
There is a suspicion that some Administration officials do not wish to see Presser indicted. He has cultivated ties with Administration figures, notably Attorney General Edwin Meese. Presser has also served as a much valued informer for the FBI on Teamsters-related matters. One Justice official said the department's approval of an indictment against Presser seemed certain until last month. "Up to then, the light was green," he said. "But then somebody threw a switch."TERRORISM Offering a Reward for Killers
The Administration's increasingly tough words about terrorism have seemed up until now just that: words. Last week, however, the U.S. invoked for the first time a section of a 1984 anti-terrorist law to help track down the gunmen who sprayed bullets into a San Salvador café last month, killing four Marines and two other U.S. citizens. Proclaimed the State Department: "The U.S. Government announces a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the effective prosecution and punishment of those responsible for the murders."
The announcement seemed partly directed at Nicaragua, which U.S. officials charge with supporting the leftist guerrillas thought to be responsible for the attack. Washington last week also issued a warning directly to the regime in Nicaragua, which was celebrating the sixth anniversary of its Sandinista revolution, saying that it would be held responsible for future attacks against Americans in the region. The State Department did not say why the first offer of a reward came in response to the Salvadoran shooting rather than to the hijacking of the TWA passenger jet to Beirut last month, after which a reward was discussed but never offered.ESPIONAGE A Family of Smugglers
To their upper-middle-class San Diego neighbors, Insurance Salesman Franklin Agustin and his travel agent wife Julie seemed a conventional, hardworking couple. But according to U.S. Customs Service and FBI agents who arrested the two last week, the Agustins were ringleaders of an international smuggling operation. For at least two years, the pair allegedly shipped stolen replacement parts for F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft to Iran, a country that has not legally received U.S. weapons since the takeover by Ayatullah Khomeini in 1979. Customs officials say an anonymous source tipped them to Franklin Agustin, an illegal alien from the Philippines.