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Archive for August 7th, 2014

Judge Admonishes FBI for Silly Argument for Not Releasing Public Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s argument for resisting an inmate’s Freedom of Information Act request is “transparently implausible,” a federal judge said in admonishing the bureau, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The FBI made the bizarre argument that the “FOIA request need not be disclosed because they reside on two CDs and a thumb drive.”

The FOIA requests by Gregory Bartko, who is serving prison time for conspiracy, mail fraud and selling unregistered securities, seek records involving the federal prosecutor who handled his case.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg said the FBI must turn over the documents.

“The Bureau’s rationale seems to be that the electronic media in question are not ‘records’ for FOIA purposes because they are physical items that were presented to prosecutors as evidence,” Boasberg wrote. “Why this reasoning would exclude CDs that hold documents in digital form but not, say, the printer paper that will eventually hold this Opinion is beyond the Court.”

“In any case,” Boasberg continued, “no sophistry is necessary here, as Congress, with commendable technological foresight, amended FOIA in 1996 to cover records ‘maintained by an agency in any format, including an electronic format.’”

FBI Director Comey Pledges to Help St. Louis Crack Down on Violent Crime

FBI Director James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While visiting the bureau’s St. Louis office, FBI Director James Comey pledged to help police chiefs in the region combat violent crime, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson asked for help with chronic gun offenders.

“Missouri, in my opinion, has some of the more lax gun laws of all the 50 states,” Dotson said.  “So when we encounter individuals that consistently use fire arms to commit crimes, can the FBI help us develop cases that we can take to the U.S. attorney and get prosecution on a different level and keep the community safe?”

Comey said the field office plans to help.

Comey was visiting the office as part of a planned tour of all 56 of the agency’s field offices.

The visits, he said, are used to “both learn about how it’s going and to talk to my partners, especially to say what are we doing well here, what can we do differently; are there things I can take from this community and try to spread elsewhere.”

Gunmen Accused in Fatal Shooting of Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent Suspected of Crime Spree

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two gunmen accused of murdering an off-duty Border Patrol agent in front of his family during a fishing trip in Texas are expected to soon be charged in connection with a series of robberies and carjackings at secluded fishing spots in Cameron County, Fox News reports.

The man are believed to be tied to the Gulf Cartel.

Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, were charged Tuesday in the murder of Javier Vega Jr. in Willacy County. They also were charged with the attempted murder of Vega’s father, who was shot in the hip.

Border Patrol released this statement on Wednesday:

“Words cannot express our sorrow for the loss of our brother, when we lose one of our own, it feels as if we’ve lost a beloved member of our own family,” said Chief Patrol Agent Kevin Oaks. “I wish to express to his family and friends my deepest condolences. May the peace that comes from the memories of the time you shared together, comfort you now and in the difficult days ahead.

“Prior to joining the Border Patrol, Agent Vega served his country as a Marine. His service in the Marine Corps and in the Border Patrol is a true testament to the type of man he was. His character, work ethic and desire to help others are commendable. His death is not only a loss for RGV Sector and the U.S. Border Patrol, but for our entire community.

“The Kingsville Station is at a loss,” said Kingsville Station Acting Patrol Agent in Charge Arnold Perez. “Not only did Javier strive to be the best agent and K-9 handler, but he also made it a point to develop and truly care about his friendships.”

“In the days that have followed this devastating loss, the impact has been immediate and sorrowful. In the many comments and thoughts expressed by those who knew him best, his family and friends were an obvious priority and focus in his life. His co-workers say he was a good man, devoted to his family, particularly his wife, Paola, and sons, Javier Vega III, Jiovanni, and Jarod. He was a beloved son and brother, and had a passion for life.”

TSA Employee Busted in Sex Sting That Started on Craigslist

tsa.gov

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA employee is accused of trying to solicit sex with a mother and her young daughter on Craigslist, the San Francisco Gate reports.

George Hristovski, 54, of Sacramento, faces federal child pornography charges after a sheriff’s investigator spotted an ad seeking a mother and daughter for sex.

The investigator posed as a 30-year-old woman with a 13-year-old daughter. The two exchanged dozens of emails.

Hristovski, an inspector, also thought he was emailing the 13-year-old girl, whom he tried to solicit sexual information and photos, authorities said.

The TSA suspended Hristovski.

“TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and expects all TSA employees to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism,” said TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein. “These alleged crimes are egregious and intolerable.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Under Gov. Perry, Texas Creates Own Version of Border Patrol with Game Wardens

Tex. Gov. Rick Perry/official photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The primary responsibility of Texas game wardens used to be pretty routine – crack down on drunken boaters and investigate fishing tournament cheaters.

Now a team of them is patrolling the Rio Grande in search of suspected smugglers and undocumented immigrants, trading in their white cowboy hats for camouflage, the New York Times reports.

It’s part of Gov. Rick Perry’s effort to create his own version of the Border Patrol along the state’s 1,200-mile border.

State officials say the effort has paid off, netting thousands of arrests and tens of millions of dollars in drug seizures.

Critics argue that Perry is exaggerating the problem and wasting public resources.

“It’s not something the federal government has asked him to do,” said Veronica Escobar, El Paso’s county judge. “It is such a waste of taxpayer resources, especially when so many fundamental needs are underfunded by the very state leadership that proposes and promotes this waste.”