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Column: ATF Doesn’t Need to Be Dissolved; It Needs to be Properly Funded, Managed

Dan Thomasson
Las Vegas Sun

Here we go again. Rather than fund the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, let’s tear it up and hand it over to the FBI. The cost of that, of course, would be four to six times what just giving the maligned agency the kind of support it needs to carry out its statutory authority would amount to.

That’s the latest attack on the chief federal bulwark against gun violence. What makes this unusual is that it doesn’t come from conservative sources like the Republican right, but from one on the liberal side normally aligned with the Obama administration. The Fund for American Progress, a think tank, has issued a lengthy report that seems to be based more on interviews with ATF’s regulatory officers than those charged with enforcing the law.

Over the decades, ATF agents have faced increasing difficulties in carrying out their mission because of underfunding, lack of direction at the top, harassment from a Congress that would rather have no interference with Second Amendment rights, a policy that has seen the proliferation of firearms from Saturday night specials to the battlefield variety, and a steady increase in the number of Americans who lose their lives each day to firearms.

Examples of that kind of horrific violence have played out in schools, shopping centers, movie theaters and college campuses and on the nation’s streets. Among supposed civilized nations, America has become the chief model of mindless and deadly social disruption supported by constitutional fiat that has no relevance in today’s world. The latest blood bath recently took place in a Texas restaurant jam-packed with motorcycle thugs who reportedly had gone there for recruiting purposes. Before the Waco police, Texas Rangers and state police could get it settled, nine were dead, a number wounded and 170 or so arrested.

The only visible federal law enforcement presence was represented by those with the big ATF acronym on the backs of their jackets. Only a few days earlier, these men and women had been called to the scene of a mysterious fire in an upscale neighborhood where the bodies of four people were found — three adults and a 10-year-old. It took only a short time for ATF’s arson experts to determine the fire was deliberately set obviously in a botched attempt to hide the slayings. This kind of expertise has been developed over years of dedicated hard work.

To read more click here. 

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Investigators: American Accused of Trying to Join ISIS Threatened to Kill FBI Agents

Mohamed Abdihamid Farah

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Minnesota man arrested for allegedly trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS told an informant that he’d kill FBI agents if he felt threatened, CBS reports. 

Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 21, was among six Minnesota men arrested last month on charges of conspiring to provide material support to foreign terrorists.

According to authorities, Farah even discussed tweeting FBI agents upon arrival in Syria. In a recorded conversation, he said he would kill FBI agents “if our backs are against the wall.”

Daud’s attorney, Bruce Nestor, said the allegations are nonsense because his client never intended to commit any of the crimes.

“Many of the alleged statements are simply youthful boasting which, like the so-called conspiracy, were encouraged and facilitated by a government informant who himself tried to join ISIS and repeatedly had lied to the government,” Nestor said.

 Other Stories of Interest



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FBI Agent Shot Trying to Rescue 9-Year-Old from Kidnapper

Jessie Williams, 24

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent was shot and wounded while trying to rescue a 9-year-old girl from a kidnapper in a Louisiana hotel Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. 

The agent was struck in the leg and will survive. The 24-year-old kidnapping suspect, however, died after a member of the FBI task force shot him.

An investigation into the kidnapping of the Texas girl led authorities to a Days Inn near Shrevoport, La.

“They encountered the suspect and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, an FBI agent was shot,” a brief FBI statement said.

The suspect was identified as Jessie Williams.


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Judge: FBI Had No Right to Pose As Internet Repairmen to Get Evidence

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents crossed the line when they posed as Internet repairmen to get access to computers in a Las Vegas Strip hotel last summer during an investigation into online gambling, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon in Las Vegas dismissed the evidence collected during the sting, leaving federal prosecutors with a potentially dead investigation, the Associated Press reports. 

The evidence won’t convict Malaysian businessman Wei Seng “Paul” Phua, defense attorneys David Chesnoff and Thomas Goldstein said.

“There’s no more evidence from anywhere,” said Chesnoff, who has alleged investigative and prosecutorial misconduct and cast the case as a fight for people in their homes to be free from prying eyes of the government.

U.S. attorneys declined to comment.

It’s not yet whether the case will survive without the evidence .


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FBI Director Comey Tells Police How to Join Dialogue about Race

Director James B. Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey met privately with Connecticut police chiefs Tuesday and encouraged them to become a part of the dialogue about policing and race, the Associated Press reports.

Comey described the discussion as productive but declined to discuss specifics.

“As you would expect in the Nutmeg State, it was a thoughtful and rich conversation,” said Comey, who still considers Connecticut home after working in the past for Westport-based Bridgewater Associates.

It was Comey’s second visit to the New Haven field office since taking the helm nearly two years ago.

Comey said he is trying to make the FBI more diverse but the bureau has struggled to get  enough applicants.

“We’re in a good place in Connecticut,” Comey said. “It was mostly a positive discussion about how they perceive law enforcement relationships to have improved particularly under the leadership I now have and have had for two years here in Connecticut, and that’s a good thing.”

 


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Lawsuit: Does U.S. Constitution Protect Mexicans in Their Home Country?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Is a Mexican boy shot in his home country protected by the U.S. Constitution?

The question is at the center of a lawsuit filed by the family of a Mexican teenager who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent near Nogales, Sonora, in 2012, the Associated Press reports.   

The 16-year-old’s mother said her boy was just walking home near the border fence when an agent shot him. Border Patrol counters that the boy was among a group throwing rocks at agents.

The attorney for the agent who fired the fatal shots argued Tuesday that the lawsuit has no merit because the boy wasn’t protect by the Constitution.

The FBI is investigation the shooting.


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FBI Agent Who Took Down Madoff Becomes Goldman Sachs’ New Cop

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who has been integral in dozens of insider-trading convictions and oversaw the Bernie Madoff trial is now working for Goldman Sachs Group, Bloomberg reports. 

Patrick Carroll, 50, who spent nearly 25 years with the bureau, has become the vice president of Goldman Sach’s compliance, surveillance and strategy group.

Carroll played a central role in securities-fraud cases.

“It’s really about how Goldman is reacting to the tidal wave of litigation that now seems to be part of the ongoing government toolkit for regulating banks,” said Roy Smith, a professor of finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a former Goldman Sachs partner. “It can help to have some people who know how government prosecutors and investigators think, some guy who has the mindset of an alligator.”

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to discuss Carroll’s role with the company.


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FBI Investigates Anonymous Phone Threats Against Commercial Airliners

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is investigating anonymous telephone threats against commercial airliners Monday that involved at least six international flights and prompted at least one U.S. military escort, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators believe the calls were connected but not credible.

Still, authorities took precautions. For example, threats of a chemical weapon aboard an Air France flight into New York prompted U.S. military jets to escorted the jet.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Air France flight number 22 was escorted to John F. Kennedy airport by U.S. Air Force fighter jets following a phone threat,” the FBI said in a statement. “There were no incidents or hazards reported on board the flight by either the passengers or its crew. The plane has been cleared.”

In some cases, the threat involved planes that were already in the air. Others had not taken off yet.

 


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