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Archive for September, 2014

Opinion from the Boston Globe: Secret Service Should Not Cordon Off White House After Jumper Incident

By Kathleen Kingsbury
Boston Globe

 Last Friday, a man with a knife was able to jump the White House fence on Pennsylvania Avenue and make his way into the president’s residence. The intruder allegedly had more than 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, a federal prosecutor said on Monday.

In response, the Secret Service is reportedly considering expanding the security perimeter around the White House — possibly even making tourists go through checkpoints when they’re several blocks away, according to the New York Times.

It’s terrifying to think that 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez, believed to be a war veteran suffering from PTSD, made it to through the White House’s unlocked front door unimpeded. But erecting a larger cordon around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — and restricting access to “the people’s house” — is an overreaction. The White House isn’t an ordinary private residence; it’s the president’s home only at the will of the electorate. The building and its grounds should be as open to the public as security allows. Regardless of which administration is in office, I always feel a little swell of patriotism every time I happen by it, when I’m walking or driving in Washington, D.C.

So perhaps a better plan would be to make sure the Secret Service does its job better. The episode raised serious questions about potential lapses by the agency, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. The harsh criticism aimed at it over the weekend is appropriate; so is the announcement that Secret Service will conduct an internal review. That will give time for perspective: It’s still worth remembering that agents put their lives on the line to protect the president. And given Gonzalez’s apparent mental illness, their response to the episode may have involved some warranted restraint.

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TSA Busted Canadian Woman with 2 Guns, Hundreds of Ammo, 33 Pounds of Marijuana

TSA confiscates drugs, guns, ammo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Canadian woman is accused of packing her checked luggage full with two guns, hundreds of rounds of ammo and 33 pounds of marijuana, NBC New York reports.

The TSA found the items stuffed into household items like baby wipes, lemonade mix and cat litter.

The 24-year-old woman from Scarborough, Ontario, was arrested and is expected to face drug and weapons charges.

Her flight was headed to Barbados.

It wasn’t immediately clear why she was carrying the guns, ammo and drugs.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Halts Sen. Rand Paul’s NSA Lawsuit

FBI Widens Investigation of Leaked Nude Celebrity Photos

DOJ Wants to Permit FBI to Hack into PCs of Tor, VPN Users

Media, Non-Residents Barred from DOJ Meeting in Ferguson

Study from 1990s Warned of Vulnerability of White House Fence


 

 

 

Fresh DOJ loss in ‘Fast and Furious’ Docs Fight

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder/doj photo

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has rejected Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to keep the courts from wading into the “Fast and Furious” documents dispute that led to him being held in contempt by the House last year.

In a ruling Monday night, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson turned down the Justice Department’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege to prevent some records about the administration’s response to the “Operation Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal from being turned over to Congress.

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Ex-Fed Prosecutor Alan M. Gershel Who Helped Convicted Detroit Police Chief is Named Head of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission

Alan M. Gershel

Alan M. Gershel, a law school professor and ex-federal prosecutor whose high-profile cases included the prosecution of Detroit Police Chief William L. Hart, has been named grievance administrator for the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.

The commission is the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the Supreme Court for allegations of attorney misconduct.

“Mr. Gershel has a focused vision for the future, decades of experience successfully managing a team of attorneys, and a reputation for professional integrity that will be a credit to the AGC,” Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr.  said in a statement.

Gershel resigned from Cooley Law School last Friday.

Gershel replaces interim administrator John Van Bolt.  Bolt was filling in after administrator Robert Agacinski, was fired earlier this year. Agacinski is suing Young and the Grievance Commission, alleging he was fired for reporting illegal misconduct of commission staff members.

Gershel was one of three prosecutors who convicted Chief Hart in May 1992 for embezzling funds earmarked for undercover operations.  Gershel also helped oversee an FBI sting involving local Detroit judges that resulted in a number of them pleading guilty in the late 1980s.

Gershel, a 1978 graduate of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, taught at Thomas M. Cooley Law School from 2008-2014. Before that, he worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for nearly 30 years, and was chief of the Criminal Division from 1989-2008.

 

Cities with Patterns of Civil Rights Abuses Still Receive Surplus Military Equipment

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Cities nationwide that are under investigation for alleged civil rights violations are still eligible to receive surplus military equipment, the Justice Department reports, according to the Associated Press.

The discovery raises questions about the controversial Pentagon program following the militarized law enforcement response in Ferguson, Mo.

The Pentagon responded that it would work closer with the Justice Department to prevent the weaponry from falling into the hands of problematic police agencies.

“We need to do a better job there,” Alan Estevez, a Defense Department official who oversees the program, said.

The Los Angeles Police Department, which has been under the oversight of the Justice Department because of substantiated cases of excessive force and fake arrests, continues to get militarized supplies.

The same goes for other troubled police departments across the country, the AP reports.

Border Patrol Official Says More than 4,300 New Officers Are Needed to Protect U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 

CBP needs more than 4,300 new officers to adequately protect the borders, acting Customs and Border Patrol Assistant Commissioner John P. Wagner, from the Office of Field Operations, told PJ Media.

With the increased dangers of ISIS and the influx of immigrants,

Wagner said a lot more manpower is needed.

“We’ve done an analysis and we have a need for 4,373 new CBP officers to staff all of the ports of entry across the United States,” he said. “Congress was generous enough to provide us with funding for 2,000 of those officers for this fiscal year and the [Obama] administration’s budget proposal for 2015 contains a request for another 2,373, so the answer is yes.

“A lot of those would be dedicated to the ports of entry at the southwest border as well as the gateway airports all across the United States.”

Wagner emphasized the importance of the manpower and said CBP is taking extra efforts to prevent terrorists from entering the country.

“CBP officers scan the traveler’s entry documents to perform queries of various CBP databases for exact or possible matches to existing lookouts, including those of other law enforcement agencies. For most foreign nationals arriving at U.S. airports, CBP officers collect biometrics – fingerprints and photographs – and compare them to any previously collected information,” Wagner said.

Border Patrol May Get More Surveillance Balloons Because of Success of Others

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are finding success with surveillance balloons that hover high above the Rio Grande and can zoom in on a license plate from miles away, the Valley Morning Star reports.

Border Patrol officials said more balloons are possible to keep more eyes in the sky.

The balloons are stationed in Rio Grande City, Penitas and near Falfurrias.

“We place them strategically in locations where there’s the most traffic,” agency spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. said. “Wherever the risk is greater, we focus resources and technology.”

The balloons, called aerostats, are surplus from the Army.

Secret Service Looks to Beef Up White House Security After Embarrassing Blunder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was an embarrassment and failure of the Secret Service.

An Army veteran with a pocketknife scaled the White House fence and entered the executive mansion Friday.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Secret Service is reviewing ways to better protect the White House.

The suspect on Friday, Omar J. Gonzalez, sprinted across the north lawn and reached the unlocked doors of the North Portico, raising serious concerns about the level of security.

One place to start may be portions of the fence that date back to 1818, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“If the Secret Service wanted to stop fence jumpers, it could close Pennsylvania Avenue and there wouldn’t be any,” one law-enforcement official said. “But that’s not reasonable.”

The issue is a delicate balance between security and preserving public access and architectural integrity, the Wall Street Journal wrote.

Other Stories of Interest