Terrorism cases receive intense scrutiny from U.S. officials

(Brian Yocono/WPRI)

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Terrorism cases, like the one involving a Warwick man, pose “unique challenges” and reach the highest levels of the Department of Justice, according to Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha.

The case against Nicholas Rovinski, 24, of Warwick, is being handled by prosecutors in Boston, but Neronha said he was made aware of the probe.

“It obviously crossed district lines so we were in communication with the Boston U.S. attorney’s office,” Neronha said during a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers.

Neronha said the U.S. Attorney General has prioritized terrorism cases for each district in the country.

“In the Department of Justice there is something called the National Security Division,” Neronha said. “Whenever there is a national security case, there is a very strong consultation between whatever district is handling the case and the National Security Division to make sure the information used in the case is appropriately used.”

He said the ultimate decision to prosecute is made by the local offices but “Washington wants to know how the case is going to play out and ultimately has to weigh in.”

There is a specially-trained prosecutor dedicated to handling terrorism cases in the Rhode Island U.S. attorney’s office, according to Neronha.

He said at a conference in May with prosecutors from across the country and FBI officials, the focus was on terrorism.

“One thing the [FBI] director said, and all of us acknowledged, is you can literally find one of these cases potentially in every district or every state in the United States.” Neronha said. “So as law enforcement we have to be vigilant, but the public needs to be vigilant as well.”

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