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Archive for February, 2015

Judge: FBI Agents Should Not Have Posed As Internet Technicians in Gambling Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI crossed the line when agents cut off the Internet connection at a Las Vegas luxury villa and then posed as repairmen in order to access information from the computers of people suspected of running illegal betting operations, a federal magistrate said, Bloomberg reports.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen said in a non-binding recommendation to a district judge that Wei Seng Phua and his son Darren were subjected to a search based on false and misleading evidence that the FBI used to obtain a warrant.

“The investigators’ suspicions that Phua was engaged in illegal sports betting at Caesars Palace may be borne out by the evidence recovered in the execution of the warrant,” Leen said. “However, a search warrant is never validated by what its execution recovers.”

While requesting a warrant, agents never disclosed that they obtained the evidence by posing as repairmen.

Phua and others were arrested in charges of operating an illegal gambling hub involving World Cup games.

Ex-Miami Cop Charged with Extortion for Alleged Role in Illegal Gambling Ring

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Miami Police officer accused of protecting an illegal gambling operation in exchange for cash was charged Monday with two counts of extortion, the FBI announced.

Jerry Sutherland, 28, also is accused of “facilitating the theft of proceeds from a gambling operations.”

The investigation was handled by the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force and the Miami Police Department’s Internal Affairs Section.

Miami Police Chief Jerry Sutherland released the following statement:

I am disappointed and disheartened that Officer Jerry Sutherland has been arrested today by the FBI.  Officer Sutherland was attempting to obstruct, delay and affect commerce, as well as, to facilitate purported illegal activity, that is, a gambling operation, in exchange for receipt of cash payments.   The Miami Police Department’s Internal Affairs Section has assisted the FBI from the beginning of this investigation. Let me make it clear that we take these allegations very seriously. 

I will not tolerate any conduct that discredits this organization. Any time a law enforcement officer is accused of tarnishing the badge, it is an embarrassment to all the honest, hard-working members of this profession who work, day in and day out, to protect and serve with integrity.  

The allegations surrounding Mr. Sutherland are in no way a reflection of the hard working men and women of the Miami Police Department.

Defense: FBI Induced Man to Plot Suicide Bombing at Wichita Airport

Terry Lee Loewen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Terry Lee Loewen is accused of plotting a suicide bombing at a Wichita airport, but his attorneys said the idea originated from an FBI agent who radicalized their client and then induced him to follow through with an attack, the Associated Press reports.

Loewen was arrested during a sting operation in which prosecutors said he he tried to drive a van filled with inert explosives onto the tarmac at Mid-Continent Airport.

Bur his attorneys said Loewen knew nothing about explosives and never intended to hurt anyone until an undercover agent became involved.

Loewen, who pleaded not guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to use an explosive device to damage property and attempting to give material support to al-Qaida, was entrapped and should be set free, his attorneys argued.

Prosecutors said they plan to soon respond to the defense’s filing.

 

Justice Department Won’t Pursue Charges Against Murdoch-Owned Media Companies

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Justice Department investigation into Rupert Murdoch-owned media companies won’t result in charges following allegations of voicemail hacking and payments to public officials in the U.K., the USA Today reports.

News Corp. and 21st Century Fox were under investigation after hacking the voicemail accounts of sources, celebrities and politicians. They also were accused of bribing public officials.

It’s unclear why the Justice Department dropped the case without charges.

“We are grateful that this matter has been concluded and acknowledge the fairness and professionalism of the Department of Justice throughout this investigation,” according to a statement released Monday by Gerson Zweifach, general counsel of News Corp and group general counsel and chief compliance officer of 21st Century Fox.

Other Stories of Interest


Complaints: U.S. Citizens Increasingly Harassed at Border Patrol Checkpoints

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Jennifer Weaver couldn’t believe what happened when she told a Border Patrol agent at a checkpoint in Texas that she had two pistols in her glove compartment with the proper concealed-handgun license in her purse.

The Arizona Republic reports that Weaver was forced to the ground and was held for an hour while agents ran gun checks and thoroughly searched her vehicle.

The same thing happened two weeks later, she said.

Her complaint is nothing new. The scores of checkpoints on roads and highways near the U.S. are intended to check on the immigration status of passers-by.

But privacy proponents say the checkpoints “have become an invasive catch-all for general law enforcement, and that they subject residents who pass through them to harassment and unconstitutional search and seizure,” the Arizona Republic reported.

 

Washington Post Editorial: GOP Flirts with Disaster by Threatening Homeland Security Funding

By Washington Post
Editorial Board

How far will Republicans in Congress take their reckless flirtation with undermining government this time?

Will they, as seems increasingly likely, fail to pass a bill that the president can sign ensuring adequate funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its 280,000 employees before the agency’s support expires Feb. 27? Are they ready to let funding lapse, secure in the knowledge that Border Patrol officers, Secret Service agents, airport security personnel and other so-called essential employees would still have to report to work — even though they would not be drawing paychecks?

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers clearly believe that denying funding to the nation’s premier organ of domestic security is no big deal, as long as the move expresses the GOP’s anger about President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

As Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) put it to Politico: Letting the department’s funding lapse would not be “the end of the world.”

Mr. Diaz-Balart’s complacency may come as news to Americans concerned about the risk of terrorism in the wake of attacks in Paris, Ottawa, Sydney and elsewhere. It certainly came as news to Homeland Security SecretaryJeh C. Johnson, as well as his three predecessors — Democrat Janet Napolitano and Republicans Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge — all of whom have warned GOP lawmakers not to conflate essential funding for the department with the political fight over immigration.

 

House Republicans were deaf to such appeals. Last month, they passed a bill furnishing the department with $40 billion in funding through September, the end of the current budget year. But they attached provisions to that bill, certain to draw a presidential veto, that would kill the administration’s plan to temporarily protect several million undocumented immigrants from deportation and repeal a program, in force since 2012, that offers a similar shield to people brought here illegally as children.

There is room for legitimate debate over the president’s most recent unilateral moves on immigration, which we happen to agree represent executive overreach. If congressional Republicans want to attack those actions responsibly, with discrete legislation, they are free to try — though they are unlikely to muster the votes to override a presidential veto.

However, it is another thing to wield their frustration over immigration as a cudgel, holding hostage an entire department of government that is critical to the nation’s security. That is as irresponsible as it is politically ill advised.

To read more click here.

Democrats Hope to Block Republican Measure to Defund President’s Immigration Plan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s a big week for Homeland Security.

Funding is on the line as Senate Democrats prepare to block a House-approved measure driven by Republicans to defund President Obama’s executive action on delaying deportation of millions of illegal immigrants, The Hill reports.

The Senate needs 60 votes to advance the DHS bill. The first procedural vote is scheduled for Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

If Democrats are able to block the bill, Republicans will be forced to craft an alternative plan.

Feds Investigate Homeland Security Agent for Firing Weapon at Man in Parking Garage

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Feds are investigating the actions of a Homeland Security special agent who fired his agency-issued gun after he said he believed he was being carjacked in a parking garage in Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia CBS reports.

The suspected carjacker fled and was later detained.

Wilmington police said there’s not enough evidence to show the 32-year-old intended to carjack anyone.

ICE is handling the internal investigation.

Other Stories of Interest