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Archive for June, 2014

FBI’s Bomb Lab Helps Track Down Terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan

Steve Neavling
ticklethrewire.com

Step inside the FBI’s bomb warehouse outside of Washington, where experts analyze bombs used to injure and kill thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Businessweek reports that 700 people work at the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center.

It’s not easy work. Most of the bombs are assembled with objects like radios, cell phones, sandals, circuit boards, burlap sacks, egg timers, wristwatches, and kitchen utensils, according to Businessweek.

They are industrious—they make bombs out of everything,” bomb analyst Ruel Espinosa told CNN.

The analysts have helped identify more than 1,700 people with terrorist ties, lifting a total of at least 6,000 fingerprints.

“Exploiting the intelligence from explosive devices has proven critical to saving American lives in war zones,” says Robert Mueller III, director of the FBI when the lab was created in 2003.

ACLU Lawyer: Border Patrol’s Repeated Abuse of Children Must Stop

By James Lyall, ACLU attorney
Huffington Post

Detainees wrested from sleep every 30 minutes, the lights in their frigid cells never turned off. One detainee told by officials, don’t lie or you’ll be raped. Another detainee sexually abused by guards. Detainees forced to stand in stress positions. Others denied adequate food, water, and medical treatment and held in dehumanizing conditions. “Welcome to hell,” one guard told a detainee, a good metaphor for what occurs across these sites of torment.

These incidents don’t come from military prisons in Iraq or Afghanistan or CIA black sites. This has been happening for years along the Southwest border in U.S. government facilities run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and its Border Patrol. The victims: children, some as young as infants, as documented in a recent complaint filed by a group of immigrant rights advocates who interviewed 116 unaccompanied children previously held in CBP custody.

Just as appalling, government agencies have known about these abuses for a long time, but failed to take action. Now, more children are vulnerable to harm in Border Patrol custody than ever before. Since October, 47,000 children have left their homes in Central America, mainly in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, for the United States. They flee destabilizing violence and crime fomented by criminal syndicates and gangs, more often than not without a loved one leading the way. With their fate far from certain, they make an arduous, perilous trek, sometimes spanning thousands of miles, in search of refuge in America. They risk it all, not so much in search of a better life, but simply to live.

Once here, many of these brave and resourceful children — who have already suffered abuse many times before throughout their lives — encounter not compassion and empathy from U.S. immigration officials but abuse. The most vulnerable are once again taught a cruel lesson: There’s nowhere safe for them to lay their heads down and just be children.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Privacy Groups Want Audit of Facial Recognition Technology Before Database Goes Live

From ivs-biometrics.com

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the FBI prepares to begin using a controversial facial recognition system later this year, more than 30 privacy groups are urging the Justice Department to conduct a long-pledged audit of the database, the National Journal reports.

Groups are worried about the privacy of American citizens and said the lack of oversight “raises serious privacy and civil-liberty concerns,” according to a joint letter sent Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder.

“The capacity of the FBI to collect and retain information, even on innocent Americans, has grown exponentially,” the letter reads. “It is essential for the American public to have a complete picture of all the programs and authorities the FBI uses to track our daily lives, and an understanding of how those programs affect our civil rights and civil liberties.”

The Next Generation Identification program includes a biometric database that scans irises, palm prints and faces.

“One of the risks here, without assessing the privacy considerations, is the prospect of mission creep with the use of biometric identifiers,” said Jeramie Scott, national security counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, another of the letter’s signatories. “it’s been almost two years since the FBI said they were going to do an updated privacy assessment, and nothing has occurred.”

FBI Investigates Underage Prostitution Ring at El Paso Schools in Texas

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether middle school and high school students throughout El Paso are part of an underage prostitution ring, the El Paso Times reports.

The probe focuses on Ysleta Independent School District, which was notified of the probe beginning in December 2012.

“Due to student confidentiality laws, the Ysleta Independent School District is prohibited from disclosing specific details of the alleged underage prostitution ring currently under investigation by the FBI,” YISD officials said in a statement. “However, officials at Ysleta High School were notified in December 2012 that an investigation into underage prostitution was under way at local middle and high schools.”

The news comes just days after claims that a 16-year-old Ysleta High School student was used as a prostitute on the website Backpage.

“At that time, the FBI requested that Ysleta High School officials not discuss the matter with anyone, including district administration,” the YISD statement said. “After this meeting with the FBI, Ysleta High School officials were approached by the student for assistance with issues outside of the investigation that cannot be disclosed. No other details are available at this time, YISD will continue to cooperate fully with local law enforcement agencies in their investigation.”

FBI Agents Were Justified in Fatal Shooting of Suspect in New York


Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents were justified in fatally opening fire on a shooting suspect in Herkimer, New York, the Herkimer County district attorney has ruled, according to the Associated Press.

Agents gunned down Kurt Myers, 64, in March 2013 after he was accused of fatally shooting four people.

Myers was barricaded inside an abandoned building after the shootings and fatally shot a K-9 unit when authorities came looking for him. Four agents fired back, striking Myers multiple times.

The agents did nothing wrong, said Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter.

FBI Urges Judge to Dismiss Lawsuit by Insane Clown Posse, Saying They Have No Right to Sue

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is urging a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by the rap duo Insane Clown Posse, claiming the have no right to sue the bureau over its decision to classify fans of the musicians as members of a “loosely organized hybrid gang,” the Guardian reports.

Lawyers for the federal government claim the bureau should not be held responsible for how local law enforcement used the FBI’s report on gangs, which included an assessment of the fans known as “Juggalos.”

The band is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The Juggalos are fighting for the basic American right to freely express who they are, to gather and share their appreciation of music, and to discuss issues that are important to them without fear of being unfairly targeted and harassed by police,” Michael Steinberg of the Michigan ACLU said when the case was brought. “Branding hundreds of thousands of music fans as gang members based on the acts of a few individuals defies logic and violates our most cherished of constitutional rights.”

The FBI argued that the FBI only labeled a “subset” of the fans a members of a criminal gang.

Homeland Security Chief Defends Handling of Growing Crisis Involving Central American Children

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is defending the agency’s handling of tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrants from Central America who were photographed in squalid, overcrowded conditions.

The McClatchy Washington Bureau reports that Johnson also rejected Republican demands for the National Guard to respond to the crisis.

Johnson unveiled a plan to handle the influx, saying the agency will work to dismantle smuggling operations and get out word to Central American parents not to send their children to the U.S.

“I believe we will stem this tide,” Johnson testified before the House Homeland Security Commission.

Since October, more than 85,000 children have entered the country without an adult.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

TSA Agent Arrested on Felony Charges of Manufacturing, Selling Drugs in South Florida

tsa.gov

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA agent in South Florida has been arrested on felony charges of manufacturing and selling drugs from her home, South Florida 6 reports.

During a search of Latwana Daniels’ home, authorities said they found 111 grams of cocaine and 39 grams of marijuana. They also found scales and materials to make crack cocaine near her TSA uniforms, investigators said.

Also recovered was a loaded Beretta PX4 handgun, which investigators said wasn’t secured from her four children.

Neighbor Ismael Morales expressed shock.

“I come and see a lot of cops there,” Morales said. “Over here we never see something like that.”