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Archive for February, 2014

NSA’s Widespread Surveillance Even Includes Members of Congress, Their Staff Members

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Not even members of Congress are immune to the NSA’s wide surveillance reach.

During a House Judiciary Committee meeting Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole admitted that the NSA “probably” collects phone records of lawmakers and their staff, the National Journal reports.

But Justice Department official said the information isn’t used without a reason to search.

“We’re not allowed to look at any of those, however, unless we have reasonable, articulable suspicion that those numbers are related to a known terrorist threat,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said.

Details Emerge in Death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Whose Attack Revealed ‘Fast & Furious’ Controversy

Brian Terry

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Details of the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near the Arizona-Mexico border in 2010 were largely unknown – until now.

The Associated Press reports that armed men had sneaked into the U.S. to rob marijuana smugglers when the attack happened, according to an account given by prosecutors.

Watching the men from atop a small hill using night-vision gear, agents waited until the men got closer before yelling “police” in Spanish. The gunman opened fire, killing Terry.

“I’m hit,” Terry said, adding he couldn’t feel his legs.

Terry’s death revealed the government’s botched “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling operation.

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Marijuana Use Among American Teens on the Rise

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The use of marijuana by American teens continues to increase. Unlike use of other drugs and alcohol, which are either decreasing or remaining stable, the use by 8th and 10th graders went up 1.3 and 1.8 % in 2013, according to the Monitoring the Future study conducted by the University of Michigan of 40,000 to 50,000 teen agers in 389 private and public secondary schools.

Even more important than this result is the sharp decline among teens in the perception that marijuana use is risky. During the preceding eight years the percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who see great risk from regular pot use has gone down from 74 to 61%, 66 to 47%, and 58 to 40%, respectively.

Another significant finding is that, during the years 2012 and 2013 in states where medical marijuana is legal, one-third of the 12th grade users say that one of their sources is another person’s medical marijuana prescription.

The most encouraging result of the study is that the use of “synthetic” marijuana is decreasing significantly, and the use of bath salts remains stable at a relatively low level. Moreover, teens increasingly report that the risk of these synthetics is great. This result seems to credit the work of DEA, local law enforcement and other sources to publicize the significant dangers of these drugs, as well as the speedy scheduling and aggressive enforcement activity.

Drug use in decline among teens include: narcotics (other than heroin), OxyContin, Vicodin, and most hallucinogens. Alcohol use is also down, the lowest in over two decades. Drugs that are essentially stable in use include: heroin, LSD, amphetamines, Adderall, methamphetamine, Ketamines and steroids.

The study was funded by research grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. It was conducted by research professors at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. 2013 was the 39th year that the study has been conducted. The results will be published in a volume of Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use later this year.

 

Parker: Marijuana Use Up among American Teens on the Rise

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The use of marijuana by American teens continues to increase. Unlike use of other drugs and alcohol, which are either decreasing or remaining stable, the use by 8th and 10th graders went up 1.3 and 1.8 % in 2013, according to the Monitoring the Future study conducted by the University of Michigan of 40,000 to 50,000 teen agers in 389 private and public secondary schools.

Even more important than this result is the sharp decline among teens in the perception that marijuana use is risky. During the preceding eight years the percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who see great risk from regular pot use has gone down from 74 to 61%, 66 to 47%, and 58 to 40%, respectively.

Another significant finding is that, during the years 2012 and 2013 in states where medical marijuana is legal, one-third of the 12th grade users say that one of their sources is another person’s medical marijuana prescription.

The most encouraging result of the study is that the use of “synthetic” marijuana is decreasing significantly, and the use of bath salts remains stable at a relatively low level. Moreover, teens increasingly report that the risk of these synthetics is great. This result seems to credit the work of DEA, local law enforcement and other sources to publicize the significant dangers of these drugs, as well as the speedy scheduling and aggressive enforcement activity.

Drug use in decline among teens include: narcotics (other than heroin), OxyContin, Vicodin, and most hallucinogens. Alcohol use is also down, the lowest in over two decades. Drugs that are essentially stable in use include: heroin, LSD, amphetamines, Adderall, methamphetamine, Ketamines and steroids.

The study was funded by research grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. It was conducted by research professors at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. 2013 was the 39th year that the study has been conducted. The results will be published in a volume of Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use later this year.

 

TSA Agent Charged With Making Threats

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Washington Times Editorial: Obama Chooses Crook’s Errand Boy to Help Run Homeland Security

 

Christian Marrone

By The Washington Times
Editorial Page

Jeh C. Johnson, only recently confirmed as chief of the Department of Homeland Security, is off to an inglorious start. As our own Jim McElhatton and Kelly Riddell reported Monday, Mr. Johnson’s own right-hand man, Christian Marrone, was previously the right-hand man of a Philadelphia politician with a felonious bent.

The most ethical administration in history — just ask Barack Obama — knows how to pick ‘em.

As the chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Marrone now has 240,000 employees and a $60 billion budget to administer. That’s a lot of responsibility for someone tutored by one Vincent J. Fumo, a Democratic power broker in Philadelphia and master of pay-to-play politics.

Mr. Marrone married his daughter and soon after was rewarded with a series of patronage jobs, including operations director of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Corruption has been epidemic, perhaps even pandemic, at the turnpike. One former operations manager pleaded guilty to corruption last month and implicated several other employees, contractors and politicians, including Mr. Fumo.

Read more.  

FBI Busts Suspects at Center of Bold Craigslist Jewelry Heists Nationwide

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Craigslist has become a popular target for thieves.

Despite the risks, people will travel around the country to sell expensive items like Rolex watches and diamond rings.

The FBI recently broke up 18 heists from all over the country, CBS Sacramento reports.

The scheme often involved buying the seller a plane ticket and renting a limo before robbing the victim at gunpoint. Stolen were Rolex and Cartier watches ranging from $10,000 to $200,000.

 

Union Calls for Repeal of Homeland Security’s Suspension of Overtime Pay

Jeh JohnsonSteve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association is urging Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to reconsider his department’s decision to suspend a troubled overtime program, the Washington Post reports.

The overtime was halted last week after a federal investigation found widespread abuse of the “administratively uncontrollable overtime” – as it’s called.

The pay was intended for agents who do urgent, unexpected work.

An internal investigation found that abuse of the pay cost taxpayers between $8 million and $37 million a year, the Post reported.