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Archive for February 1st, 2011

Proceedings in Loughner Case Will be Held in Tucson Instead of Phoenix

Jared Loughner/pima county sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Proceedings in the case against Arizona mass shooter Jared Loughner will take place in Tucson instead of Phoenix, a judge ruled on Monday, the Arizona Republic reported.

However, U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns noted that the ruling didn’t nix the defendant’s right to move for a change of venue in the future, the Arizona Republic reported.

Prosecutors had asked that the proceedings be moved to Tucson to make it more convenient for witnesses and victims in the case.

The next hearing is set for March 9.

Sen. Grassley Accuses ATF of Being “Careless” in Gun Running Sting

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) is voicing concern that guns purchased in an ATF sting in Arizona may have been used by bandits in a gunfight that resulted in the death in December of  border patrol agent Brian Terry near the border town of Nogales, the Arizona Republic reported.

Grassley fired off a letter to the head of ATF Kenneth Melson on Thursday suggesting ATF was being negligent by letting criminals circulate the weapons after they purchased them during a sting.

“There are serious concerns that the ATF may have become careless, if not negligent, in implementing the Gunrunner strategy,” he wrote, according to the Arizona Republic.

The paper reported that Grassley said he had information that the AK-47s recovered at the shooting scene of the agent were traced to Project Gunrunner, a much touted gun-program aimed at curbing the flow of weapons to Mexico.

“Members of the Judiciary Committee have received numerous allegations that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers, who then allegedly transported these weapons throughout the southwestern border area and into Mexico,” the senator wrote in the  letter, according to the paper.

“According to the allegations, one of these individuals purchased three assault rifles with cash in Glendale, Arizona, on January 16, 2010. Two of the weapons were then allegedly used in a firefight on December 14, 2010, against Customs and Border Protection agents, killing CBP Agent Brian Terry,” he wrote.

Tom Mangan, an ATF spokesman in Phoenix, told he Arizona Republic that he was “unaware of any guns allowed to go south of the border,” either intentionally or inadvertently. “I am not aware of any internal investigation that’s going on regarding Project Gunrunner.”

Manuel Johnson, an FBI agent in Phoenix, declined to comment, as did the U.S. Border Patrol, the Republic reported.

Homeland’s Napolitano Says Crime and Illegal Crossings at Border Down

Janet Napolitano

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Despite the contentious political rhetoric, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said crime and illegal crossings along the Mexico-U.S. border have dropped sharply. She attributed the change to an intensified focus on border enforcement and a “smart and effective approach to enforcing immigration laws.”

“We have strengthened the Southwest border in a way that many would not have thought possible,” Napolitano said in a speech at the University of Texas in El Paso on Monday. “And our partnership with Mexico on border security is strong.

“That’s not to say we still don’t face challenges. We are deeply concerned about the drug cartel violence taking place in Mexico. We know that these drug organizations are seeking to undermine the rule of law in Northern Mexico and that we must guard against spillover effects into the United States.

“Nonetheless, it is inaccurate to state, as too many have, that the border is overrun with violence and out of control. This statement—often made only to score political points—is just plain wrong.”

She also said that violent crimes in Southwest border counties have dropped by more than 30 percent “and are currently among the lowest in the Nation per capita.”

Read Entire Speech

al Qaeda in Yemen Might be Plotting Attacks on Wall Street

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI officials are warning major Wall Street banks that al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen may be plotting to attack their institutions or top executives, NBCNewYork reported.

The TV station reported that intelligence officials stressed that the threats were general in nature and there was “no indication of a targeted assassination plot” against any Wall Street executives.

At the same time, NBCNewYork.com learned that authorities fear some executives names have popped up in discussions by terrorist.

The station reported that some of the information authorities gathered came from al Qaeda writings in places like “Inspire” magazine.

To read more click here.

Detroit Police Release Video of Gunman Shooting in 6th Precinct Station

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Washington Post Editorial: Prison Rape: Justice Dept. Still Has Long Way to Go to End It

By The Washington Post
Editorial

WASHINGTON — THE LATE SEN. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) did not agree on much. So it was remarkable when they joined to champion the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Enacted in 2003, the landmark law was meant to address the scourge of sexual abuse behind bars that for too long had been accepted as an unavoidable byproduct of incarceration. It is not. Incidences of sexual abuse represent egregious lapses in institutional order and security. They are inhumane and inexcusable violations that scar tens of thousands of adult and juvenile inmates each year, often complicating their ability to reintegrate into society.

Last week, the Justice Department took an important, long-overdue but still inadequate step toward fulfilling PREA’s promise. In releasing draft regulations to implement the landmark legislation, the department closely tracked many of the recommendations of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, the congressionally created panel that spent some six years studying the problem.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Bath Salt: The New Designer Drug?

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Ex-Head of Miami FBI Paul Philip to Evaluate Miami Police Dept.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The former head of the Miami FBI has been hired by the city to evaluate its police department on issues including morale, policy and emails written by the police chief, the Miami Herald reported.

Paul Philip, 63, who led the FBI office in the 1990s, has agreed to work 20 hours a week and get paid $33.50 an hour as a special advisor on public safety, the Herald reported.

Philip had also worked as an anti-corruption czar for then-Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas.

Philip is a partner at the security and consulting company Gaffney, Gallagher & Philip in Plantation, Fla.