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Archive for May, 2014

FBI Director James B. Comey Steadfast in Keeping Terrorism As Top Concern for Bureau

FBI photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When James B. Comey became the FBI’s new director last year, many observers believed he’d usher in a new era at the bureau by shifting some of the focus away from terrorism.

But the New York Times reports that Comey, a former Justice Department prosecutor who focused on gun cases, appears to have underestimated the threat still posed by terrorism.

“I didn’t have anywhere near the appreciation I got after I came into this job just how virulent those affiliates had become,” Mr. Comey said, referring to offshoots of Al Qaeda in Africa and in the Middle East during an interview with the Times at the J. Edgar Hoover Building. “There are both many more than I appreciated, and they are stronger than I appreciated.”

Comey said he therefore will keep terrorism as the main focus of the FBI.

President Obama appeared to indicate last year that the U.S. would move past terrorism soon and that “we have to recognize that the scale of the threat resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

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Weekend Series on Crime on TV: The FBI, Starring Efrem Zimblast Jr.

httpv://youtu.be/wZCf8tuLF6o

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cmzUKtipIc&list=PLy6oZKRGTPPCXiU4jMAJpEsytfAXBdiy0&feature=share

FBI Agents Raid Volunteer Fire Department in Connecticut Over Finances

www.middleburyfire.org

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents raided the volunteer Middlebury Fire House on Thursday morning, seizing computers and financial records from the firehouse in Connecticut, WFSB reports.

The search took about three and a half hours, according to Fire Chief Paul Perrotti, who said the department hires an independent auditor to review the books.

“This has always been a well-run department and these are allegations, and I think there not going anywhere. We still are solvent. We do our job and there’s no malfeasance here,” Perrotti said.

Perrotti said fire service won’t be disrupted.

New York Man Sentenced for Elaborate Lie Told to FBI About Sex Trafficking

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Calling it one of the most bizarre cases he’s ever handled, U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci Jr. sentenced the New York man to a year in jail for lying to the FBI.

The Elmira Star-Gazette reports that Brandon Todd lied and claimed he was a trafficker who had compelled women to join the sex trade.

Since the 20-year-old served most of his year awaiting sentencing, he soon will return to his home in Prattsburgh, which he shares with his grandparents.

The case started when a woman falsely accused Todd of forcing her into the sex slave, a lie that Todd decided to perpetuated.

“This is one of the more bizarre cases that I’ve ever really presided over, and I’ve presided over a lot of cases,” Geraci told Todd.

“You created a lot of havoc, not only for law enforcement but also for the victim in this case,” Geraci said. “… This did unleash a widespread investigation.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Offers ‘Fresh Start’ With Controversial Deportation Program

Jeh JohnsonSteve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In yet another sign that the Obama administration is planning to revise its immigration-enforcement priorities, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said a controversial deportation program needs a “fresh start,” the Washington Post reports.

Johnson said the program, Secure Communities, needs some revision but should not be scrapped.

The program, which started during President George W. Bush’s tenure, seeks to identify undocumented immigrants by teaming up local law enforcement with federal authorities.

The program has come under fire by immigrant advocates who say undocumented immigrants with minor no prior criminal record were being arrested.

FBI Agent Defends Use of Troubled Inmate in L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The lead FBI agent on the sweeping corruptions case involving the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies testified Thursday that it was important to document inmate abuse by smuggling a cell phone to a prisoner with a history of violence and lying.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the defendant Deputy James Sexton is accused of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for trying to hide inmate Anthony Brown from FBI handlers.

Sexton’s attorney grilled Agent Leah Marx about the wisdom of giving a contraband cellphone to an image with a checkered past.

“Did it concern you, Agent Marx, at that point that Mr. Brown … had been convicted of 15 felonies and sentenced to more than 400 years?” O’Brien asked.

Marx responded that criminal histories among informants is always a concern but in this case it was important to work with the inmate because of the seriousness of the corruption and abuse allegations against deputies in the L.A. County jails.

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Drug Policy Alliance: DEA Chief Michele Leonhart Should Resign Over Defiance

Michele Leonhart

By Bill Piper
Director of National Affairs for Drug Policy Alliance

For months Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart has openly rebuked the drug policy reform policies of Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama with one embarrassing statement after another. Now she is picking a fight with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Y) and other members of Congress over hemp. Meanwhile the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General has launched an investigation into multiple scandals plaguing the agency. It is clear that Leonhart lacks the ability to lead and should resign. Activists are using the Twitter hashtag #FireLeonhart.

The DEA created a political firestorm this week when it seized seeds bound for a Kentucky hemp research program that was approved by Congress. Even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has weighed in, telling Politico last night, “It is an outrage that DEA is using finite taxpayer dollars to impound legal industrial hemp seeds.” The Kentucky Agriculture Department is suing the agency. The seizure is the latest misstep by the agency, which is being investigated by the Department of Justice for numerous scandals.

Earlier this month the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector Generallaunched investigations into numerous DEA scandals, including the massacre of civilians in Honduras, the use of NSA data to both spy on virtually all Americans and to systematically fabricate evidence, controversial uses of confidential informants, airline passenger searches, and sexual misconduct. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart herself has been at the center of several scandals, including the House of Death scandal in which the DEA may have turned a blind eye to torture and murder, and the Andrew Chambers scandal, in which the DEA rehired a confidential informant with a history of lying.

Moreover, Leonhart is increasingly publicly opposing drug policy reforms being pursued by her bosses, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama, and both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. She publicly rebuked President Obama for admitting that marijuana is as safe as alcohol, told members of Congress that the DEA will continue to go after marijuana even in states where it is legal despite DOJ guidance stating otherwise, and has spoken out against bipartisan drug sentencing reform in Congress that the Obama Administration is supporting.

To read more click here.

Secret Service Searching for Media Relations Trainers to Combat Negative Press

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service, which has been beset with negative news over agent misconduct, is looking for some experts to help handle the media, the Washington Post reports.

After an embarrassing spate of bad news – misconduct, poor leadership, congressional investigation, the agency is looking to improve its reputation.

The agency is looking for a media relations training course for up to 30 top agency leaders.

Here is the posting:

“The Media Relations course prepares executives for television and radio interviews, and encounters with the media on routine matters as well as during crisis situations. The executive becomes more comfortable as they learn how to conduct themselves during interviews and press conferences and giving speeches, and deal with both positive and negative subjects as they learn the fundamentals of media and techniques. The course exposes the executive to the media environment – microphones, lights, cameras, tape recorders, news media personalities and their questions, so that they become more accustomed to that scene. In turn, they become more confident and less apprehensive in addition to becoming better prepared for an event with what they can say, and how they should say it.”

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