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Archive for March, 2013

CPB Issues Furlough Notices to Employees to Offset Cuts from the Sequester

 

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

CPB employees will be furloughed for up to 14 days each because of the spending cuts known as the sequester, the Washington Post reports.

Employees will be issued official notices beginning Thursday, the Post wrote.

Union leaders of warned a serious impact.

“The smuggling organizations are keenly aware of what our operational capabilities are,” said Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, representing 17,000 non-supervisory agents, the Standard Examiner reported. “Once they see that we don’t have the manpower we had out on the border previously, they will take advantage.”Federal agencies are required to give 30-day notices before given unpaid leave.

CBP Deputy Protection Director David V. Aguilar said the agency would implement “only the absolute minimum number of furlough days required.”

CBP also plans to reduce overtime and halt hiring, the Post reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Indictments Flow in FBI Probe of Prison “Culture” of Covering Up Inmate Beatings

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — The correctional staffers met at a McDonald’s restaurant to get their stories straight. Having already lied to investigators probing the brutal March 2008 beatings of inmate Kenneth Davis at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, saying they knew nothing about the incident, they needed to make sure they maintained that fiction—even consulting books about interview techniques to help them mislead truth-seekers. A lieutenant, now charged with obstructing justice for helping facilitate the cover-up, had provided the books and shared officers’ home phone numbers in order to set up the meeting away from work.

The jailers’ coordinated cover-up efforts in the aftermath of the Davis beatings are alleged in federal court documents filed in a quickly mounting Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division prosecution based on an ongoing FBI probe. Two federal grand jury indictments for conspiring to beat Davis and cover up the crimes were handed down Feb. 27 against nine current and former Maryland corrections staffers, with other criminal conspiracy charges filed previously against another four.

So far, four current corrections employees—lieutenants Edwin Stigile and Jason Weicht, sergeant Josh Hummer, and correctional officer Walter Steele—and nine former officers have been charged. Three former officers and a former sergeant, Lanny Harris, were charged previously via criminal informations, which are filed with the defendants’ consent and usually indicate a guilty plea is imminent; three of them—Ryan Lohr, Dustin Norris, and Philip Mayo—have already pleaded guilty. The other indicted former officers are James Kalbflesh, Jeremy McCusker, Tyson Hinckle, Reginald Martin, and Michael Morgan. Those indicted face maximum sentences of between 25 and 55 years in prison.

To read full story click here.

Google: FBI Is Spying on Internet Users with So-Called National Security Letters

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has been demanding that Google divulge account information of up to thousands of its users to authorities without warrants, Wired.com reports.

Google revealed it has received numerous National Security Letters from the FBI since 2009.

Those letters, which the FBI has abused in the past, are written demands to compel internet service providers and others to divulge confidential information about their customers, Wired wrote.

Google is far from the only one receiving the letters. According to Wired, the FBI issued more than 16,500 National Security Letters in 2011.

The letters do not require court approval, and companies that receive them are prohibited from discussing them.

Congressman Urges FBI to Investigate Death of Openly Gay Mayoral Candidate in Mississippi

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Mississippi congressman is urging the FBI to join an investigation into the slaying of an openly gay mayoral candidate, the Associated Press reports.

Marco McMillian, 34, was running for mayor in Clarksdale when someone dragged him of out a car and beat him to death, the AP wrote.

The 22-year-old suspect has been charged but the motive is unclear.

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson wants the bureau to investigate to determine whether any federal laws – such as a hate crime against a gay man – were broken.

Mississippi’s hate crime statute doesn’t protect people for sexual orientation.

FBI Investigates After Pilot Spots Drone Near JFK

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a mysterious drone spotted Monday by a commercial pilot near the John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot “saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right at John F. Kennedy International Airport at about 1:15 pm,” according to an agency statement to Christian Science Monitor.

“The pilot did not take evasive action. The flight landed safely,” the FAA said.

The drone raises questions as more remote-controlled surveillance aircraft are being tested at airports.

President Obama to Appoint Veteran Secret Service Official to Oversee Agency

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

President Obama plans to appoint a veteran Secret Service official to oversee the agency, Reuters reports.

David O’Connor, a former assistant director of investigations who retired last year, is Obama’s pick for the post, which protects the president and other top federal officials, Reuters wrote.

Senate confirmation is not required.

Reuters wrote that O’Connor will replace Mark Sullivan, who retired in January after nearly three decades with the agency.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Lead FBI Agent in Rep.William Jefferson Case Speaks Out About the Victories and Near Misses


Lori Mody

By Gordon Russell
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Were it not for Virginia businesswoman Lori Mody’s skillful undercover work, William Jefferson would probably still be representing Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District in Washington, according to the FBI agent who oversaw the case against the longtime Democratic congressman.

It was Mody who first brought Jefferson’s corruption to the attention of federal investigators, Special Agent Tim Thibault says. And more importantly, it was Mody’s zeal for the case and mastery of hidden-wire work — as well as her willingness to put her own money at risk — that made the case.

Thibault conceded that Mody was an imperfect government operative, referring obliquely to her “personal issues.” What he didn’t say was that the FBI learned just days before Jefferson’s 2009 trial was to begin that she had slept with one of the case agents, causing federal authorities to decide to keep her off the witness stand. She had been penciled in as the star witness.

To read full story click here.

FBI Investigates Special Agent After Police Say He Used Badge to Avoid Arrest

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating one of its own after he allegedly used his badge to avoid arrest for drunken driving in Georgia, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

Fort Oglethorpe police say Special Agent Ken Hillman received special treatment after getting pulled over for drinking and driving.

For the first time, the FBI acknowledged its investigating Hillman, who also is under fire for allowing a civilian to work on the Northwest Georgia Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Free Press wrote.

“The FBI is aware of the allegations made against one of our special agents and we have launched an investigation into those allegations,” agency spokesman Stephen Emmett told the Free Press.