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August 2012


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Archive for August 14th, 2012

ATF Reinventing Itself After Reputation Damage

Todd Jones

By Evan Perez
Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives brings fewer than a hundred alcohol and tobacco cases a year. It now plays second fiddle to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on explosives. And its skill at catching firearms violators is in doubt after the flawed probe known as Fast and Furious.

No wonder the agency’s boss is looking to reinvent it, and maybe even change its name.

The ATF is a Washington oddity, stitched together in the 1970s from units going back to the age of Prohibition. Gun-rights supporters are wary of it, yet they are also loath to see firearms regulation move to the FBI.

So the ATF survives, and acting director B. Todd Jones has to figure out what to do with it. “We’re the entity that everyone loves to hate,” said the 55-year-old former Marine.

To read the full story click here.

Column: Ex-FBI Agent Says Law Enforcement Needs to Address Mental Illness

John Kerr, an FBI  agent for nearly 22 years, investigated violent crime and counterterrorism.  He retired from the bureau in Washington in December 2008. His column is in response to a column that commented on the mass shootings in this country and the need for law enforcement to look at mental illness as a crime problem.

By John Kerr

In the late 90’s in the Washington D.C. area, we started noticing an increase in the number of guns being seized that were in the hands of those with some very disturbing mental issues.

When we started digging into how can we prevent them from being able to purchase guns, we were surprised by two things: 1) How amenable ATF was in adding folks to their list and entering names into the system and 2) How reluctant mental health officials were in proclaiming an individual as a possible threat.

I think Law Enforcements attitude has been one of which that LE (law enforcement) is not qualified to make that determination, therefore we will wait until we are notified by the experts.

You are spot on in your assessment that this can no longer be the mindset. LE needs to address it as they did problems within a High School. Assign a school resource officer… He quickly learns who are the potential problem children and is able to get them help, prevent them from doing bad things or force the school to eliminate him. LE should go after the Mental Health community the same way. Force them to accept a shared responsibility in the effort.

Force them to change the policy of silence and privacy by giving them an individual or group to direct a name and render an opinion. I disagree that LE needs to wake up. This is something that they are acutely aware of … They have been held back by politics, law suits and a mental health community that has stuck it’s head in the sand.

The LE community needs to stop waiting for Drs and counselors to do the right thing and start forcing them to work together. You would have hoped that the Virginia Tech shootings would have stirred the debate more. The mental health community got a free pass again.

Justice Department May Release “Legally Innocent” Prisoners

Steve Neavling 

The U.S. Justice Department will no longer fight the release of prisoners who have been deemed “legally innocent,” the USA Today reports.

The department’s move, announced Monday, follows a USA Today investigation that found more than 60 people were imprisoned even though an appeals court later determined they did not commit a federal crime.

It’s unclear how many prisoners could be set free under the switch, but most of them likely are low-level offenders, according to the USA Today.

USA Today wrote:

The investigation found that the Justice Department had done almost nothing to identify those prisoners — many of whom did not know they were innocent — and had argued in court that the men were innocent but should remain imprisoned anyway.


Ex-FBI Cyber Security Expert Heads to Private Sector

Steve Neavling

 A former top FBI cyber security expert is headed to the private sector to join Kroll Advisory Solutions as the new managing director, Virtual-Strategy Magazine reports.

Timothy P. Ryan, former supervisory special agent and cyber investigations and security expert, will join a team of digital forensic specialists who to investigate cyber crime and the breaches.

“In response to the evolving challenges of digital commerce and globalization, we are continually looking to provide our clients with the best resources and skills to manage these risks,” Robert Brenner, Senior Managing Director and Practice Leader of the Investigations & Disputes Group in the Americas, told Virtual-Strategy Magazine. “Tim’s background and experience will augment Kroll’s global cyber and investigative capabilities.”

As a supervisor for the FBI’s largest cyber squad in the U.S., Ryan investigated malware outbreaks, corporate espionage and advanced computer intrusions, Virtual-Strategy Magazine reported.

Column: 30 Years Later Retired FBI Agent Still Tries to Keep U of M Football Team on the Straight and Narrow

Greg Stejskal  served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.


The author (right) Greg Stejksal and late Michigan coach Bo Schembechler

By Greg Stejskal

 In 1982 legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler called the FBI office in Ann Arbor. Bo wanted the FBI to talk to his team primarily about the perils of illegal sports gambling.

The Senior Resident Agent, Tom Love, agreed to make the presentation. Tom knew I had played (read mostly practiced) college football and asked me to help.

At the time Michigan’s football team was housed in a relatively small one story building that reminded me of a Quonset hut. Michigan’s transition from that modest building to the state of the art facilities they have today is emblematic of the change in Division 1 football in the last 30 years.

In our talk we explained how sports gambling worked. How it’s not about who wins. It’s about covering the point spread. How important it was for gamblers to get inside information as an edge to better divine how a team will perform, and if possible, have a cooperating player or ref with the ability to control the point spread, “point shaving.”

Sports gambling was and is a potential threat to the integrity of sports. The huge amount of money bet illegally in the US on sports is an incentive to gain an advantage in knowing or trying to control the outcome of a game. Recent estimates of the annual amount bet illegally in the U.S. are north of $300 billion.

When I started doing the FBI presentations, a D-1 college team, like Michigan, might be on TV once or twice a year. Now sports programing has become so pervasive that a dedicated fan or gambler can watch just about any game played anywhere in the country.

Read more »

FBI: Poor Food, Medical Care Instigated Deadly Prison Riot

Steve Neavling 

Inadequate medical care, poor food and overzealous guards was the catalyst for the deadly riot at a prison for illegal immigrants in Mississippi in May, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit, the Associated Press reports.

Inmates in the privately-run Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez pledged to disobey orders until demands for better conditions were met, according to the affidavit.

A guard was killed, but no details about the death or who is responsible emerged from the affidavit, the AP reported.

To blame for the riot are Paisas, an affiliated group within the prison.

Authorities: No Evidence Saints Eavesdropped on Opposing Teams

Steve Neavling

A joint investigation between the FBI and state police found no evidence that the New Orleans Saints or General Manager Mickey Loomis intercepted opposing teams’ radio communications, authorities announced Monday, the Associated Press reports.

“We found no corroborating evidence that Mickey Loomis or anybody in the Saints was engaged in wiretapping or eavesdropping,” Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police said.

Allegations first surfaced that the Saints were eavesdropping in April, prompting the investigation.

The team has hired the firm of former FBI director Louis J. Freeh to conduct an independent probe.


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