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Tag: Attorney General

Justice Department Launches Plan to Identify Radicals with U.S. Passports As ISIS Threat Grows

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department opened a new front on the war against radicals.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced plans to identify radicals with U.S. passports.

The idea is to identify Americans before they travel abroad.

“We have established processes for detecting American extremists who attempt to join terror groups abroad,” Holder said.

Holder has said that dozens of Americans are joining terrorists in Syria.

“In the face of a threat so grave, we cannot afford to be passive,” he said in Oslo two months ago.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: DOJ Investigation Must Go Beyond Ferguson

By St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Editorial Board

A few numbers indicate a civil rights investigation of the Ferguson Police Department is long overdue. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Department of Justice will begin such an inquiry. This is an important and positive step forward, but we suspect when he gets into the numbers, and examines the reality of North St. Louis County, Ferguson will play but a small role in a larger investigation.

First, those numbers:

• As we noted Aug. 10, the day after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, blacks in Ferguson were 37 percent more likely to be pulled over in 2013 than whites, as a percentage of their respective populations. Those black drivers who were pulled over were twice as likely to be searched for contraband, such as drugs, than white drivers, even though police found contraband, percentage-wise, more often in the cars of white drivers.

• In a city that is two-thirds black, only three of its 53 police officers are black.

• And this, from a recent report from Arch City Defenders: “Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of $2,635,400. In 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court disposed of 24,532 warrants and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.”

None of these things, on their own, are proof positive of institutional racism or civil rights violations. But together, they help paint a picture that explains why tens of thousands of African-Americans in the St. Louis region have taken to the streets in anger, not just over the shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer, but over years of being subject to different rules when dealing with the justice system partly, if not mostly, because of the color of their skin.

To read more click here.

Attorney General Eric Holder Expresses Sympathy for Black Americans Who Distrust Law Enforcement

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder understands why many black Americans distrust police , he said in Ferguson where protesters have been rallying since an officer shot an unarmed black teen, Fox News reports.

Holder met with about 50 community members to talk about law enforcement issues.

Holder said his trip was meant to reinforce that the federal government is concerned about civil rights issues.

“I understand that mistrust,” Holder said. “I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.”

Holder relayed a story of being stopped twice and having his car searched.

“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” Holder said.

 

AG Eric Holder Pledges to Bring Justice in Case of Beheaded Journalist

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The extremist from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will be held accountable for beheading American journalist James Foley, Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday, CBS DC reports.

“Those who would perpetrate such acts need to understand something,” Holder said. “We have long memories and our reach is very wide and we will not forget what happened. People will be held accountable one way or another.”

What remains unclear is whether the U.S. will change its approach to handling American kidnappings.

“The president’s rhetoric was excellent, but he didn’t outline steps to stop the slaughter,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of Obama’s harshest foreign policy critics, said in a telephone interview. “The strategy should be to launch all-out air attacks in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIL,” he said.

Attorney General Eric Holder Visits Ferguson

Justice Department: More than 40 FBI Agents Conducting Investigation in Ferguson

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that more than 40 FBI agent are investigating the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed white teen who was shot by an officer in Ferguson.

Holder issued the following statement Monday after President Obama held a briefing.

“As I informed the President this afternoon, the full resources of the Department of Justice are being committed to our federal civil rights investigation into the death of Michael Brown.

“During the day today, more than 40 FBI agents continued their canvassing of the neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot. As a result of this investigative work, several new interviews have already been conducted.

“Moreover, at my direction, an additional medical examination is being performed on the body of Michael Brown. This autopsy is being performed today by one of the most experienced medical examiners in the United States military. I am confident this additional autopsy will be thorough and aid in our investigation.

“In addition to updating the President on these developments, I informed him of my plan to personally travel to Ferguson Wednesday. I intend to meet with FBI investigators, and prosecutors on the ground from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office officials about the ongoing investigation.

“I realize there is tremendous interest in the facts of the incident that led to Michael Brown’s death, but I ask for the public’s patience as we conduct this investigation. The selective release of sensitive information that we have seen in this case so far is troubling to me. No matter how others pursue their own separate inquiries, the Justice Department is resolved to preserve the integrity of its investigation. This is a critical step in restoring trust between law enforcement and the community, not just in Ferguson, but beyond.

“In order to truly begin the process of healing, we must also see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson. Those who have been peacefully demonstrating should join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters and others seeking to enflame tensions.

“To assist on this front, the Department will be dispatching additional representatives from the Community Relations Service, including Director Grande Lum, to Ferguson. These officials will continue to convene stakeholders whose cooperation is critical to keeping the peace. Furthermore, as the President has announced, Ron Davis, our Director of the COPS office, will arrive on the ground in Ferguson Tuesday. Ron has been in touch with local and state officials since last week, providing technical assistance on crowd control techniques and facilitating communications between Missouri officials and other law enforcement officials whose communities have faced similar challenges in the past.”

Attorney General Holder Urge Global Allies to Adopt Anti-Terrorism Tacts Used by FBI

attorney general/doj file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Calling the Syrian conflict a “global crisis in need of a global solution,” Attorney General Eric Holder urged U.S. allies to use tactics employed by the FBI to root out extremists before they strike, Huffington Post reports.

Speaking to Norwegian officials in Oslo, Holder suggested that other countries adopt pre-emptive counterterrorism tactics that include enticing suspects into developing terrorist attacks.

The idea is to stop homegrown terrorists before they travel to Syria.

“If we wait for our nations’ citizens to travel to Syria, to become radicalized, and to return home, it may be too late to adequately protect our national security,” Holder said.

Holder lauded the FBI’s role in cracking down on terrorism.

“We have found undercover operations -– which the Federal Bureau of Investigation pioneered in fighting transnational organized crime -– to be essential in fighting terrorism as well,” Holder said in the speech. “In the United States, the FBI has already conducted undercover operations that have identified individuals with intentions to travel to Syria. These operations are conducted with extraordinary care and precision, ensuring that law enforcement officials are accountable for the steps they take -– and that suspects are neither entrapped nor denied legal protections.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Launches Innovative Program Around the State to Battle Heroin Tied to Mexican Cartels

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane

By Jeffrey Anderson

An emerging crime initiative by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane is deploying mobile street crimes units to small cities and towns in her state to tackle an escalating heroin problem tied to Mexican drug cartels.

The strategy, quietly launched last year with the help of a $2.5 million state appropriation, is based on street-level busts by agents with the Bureau of Narcotics Investigations who are embedded for months in a single location, where they build from the ground up a database that allows them to go after larger, more organized criminal elements that have taken over struggling, post-industrial municipalities along the I-80 and I-81 trucking corridors, conveniently located to major drug hubs such as New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

After a 5-month deployment in Hazleton, PA, that concluded in February, the Mobile Street Crimes Unit, which received cooperation from the DEA and the FBI, netted 35,000 bags of heroin, 120 arrests, 97 criminal cases and confiscation of guns, vehicles, cash, and jewelry – in a town of 33,000 which has just 38 police officers.

Before decamping for a new location to work with another set of local law enforcers, the unit, identified on their vests only as “POLICE,” leaves behind the criminal database it has built along with its more sophisticated drug enforcement strategies for the locals to employ.

Congressman Lou Barletta,  a Republican from Pennsylvania’s 11th District — and former mayor of Hazleton —  who is on the House Homeland Security Committee and the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, predicts that Pennsylvania could be the vanguard for a new way of thinking about the use of state resources to confront what is ultimately a national — if not international — problem.

“For anyone in Congress who has been a mayor, they understand very well how these things are tied to drug cartels,” Barletta says. “They know damn well that it’s an endless battle, and that if you take a drug dealer off the street there’s three more waiting to take his place. It’s like drinking water through a firehose.

“The biggest challenge now is to give the local chief of police the resources he needs to keep going, because these cities are cash-strapped,” Barletta continues. “That’s where the feds can play a role. I think we can do a better job there. The unit is going to get attention. And when other states see what is happening they’ll want to replicate it.”

State Senator John Yudichak, a Democrat who represents Carbon County and parts of Luzerne County, says that in 2013, just 60 percent of the 99 cities in the area with a population less than 5,000 had a full-time police force. Today just 6 percent of those same cities do.

“It’s perfectly suited for a drug distribution network, with such a limited presence of law enforcement,” says Yudichak, who championed the initiative in the State Capital with support from Rep. Barletta and others. “We wanted to take the ‘D’ and the ‘R’ of politics out of it and we needed state and federal assistance. We needed to break down silos and get the community engaged. People were in a bed of denial.”

The force behind the initiative is Attorney General Kane, a former street level prosecutor in Lackawanna County, who came into office promising a fresh approach to beating back the ravages of heroin that had overcome towns such as Hazleton.

With 2,500 municipalities splashed across a mostly rural state of 12.7 million people, Kane describes Pennsylvania as a “good place for drug cartels to do business.”

Early on, however, she saw a lack of coordination between local and federal agencies that had created a vacuum for those cartels to exploit.

“No one played well together,” she says. “It was like a T-ball game, where everyone jumps on the ball and parents are cheering with delight. Those days are over. We’re cultivating an environment that puts ego aside. It’s not about credit for a bust. We can’t go on simply chasing dealers off the street then stop.”

While neither a typical drug task force nor simply a community-based approach, the unit nonetheless is a grassroots idea that Hazleton Police Chief Frank DeAndrea says cuts against the grain of “what everyone else is doing.”

DeAndrea says that in the past, the DEA and FBI have utilized his officers as members of a task force that generates proceeds from seizures to fund future investigations, all while his city is drowning under a wave of heroin being fed by cartels and powerful street gangs.

“We have 39 gangs and 38 officers,” he says. “We’re broke, and overmatched. It’s like a high school team going up against an NFL team.”

DeAndrea insists that he wasn’t “seeing the ball move” with the FBI and DEA – until Kane and the Mobile Street Crimes Unit came into the picture.

The feds have expressed support for the idea and have collaborated with the unit, but any partnership is still a work in progress. A Washington-based spokesman for the DEA says, “We don’t have the resources to focus on small-time local yokels that produce limited impact. Our resources are limited too. We have to be careful when evaluating a potential investigation to get a bang for the buck.”

The full story is posted on Lawdragon.com. Click here to read.

 About the author: Jeffrey Anderson is a veteran feature writer and award-winning investigative reporter from Washington, D.C. He previously has worked at the Los Angeles Daily Journal, L.A. Weekly, Baltimore City Paper and The Washington Times. He can be reached at byjeffreyanderson@gmail.com.