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Archive for February, 2015

The Hill: Real Reason FBI Director Wasn’t Invited to Summit on Combating Extremism

James Comey

By Kate Pavlich
The Hill

The much-anticipated White House summit on combating generic extremism is over, and outside of a handful of feel-good statements and speeches, little was accomplished.

A number of activists from various organizations were present for discussion, but one person was noticeably absent from the summit: FBI Director James Comey.

The FBI is one of first lines of defense in combating extremism — Islamic terror in particular — and keeping Americans at home and abroad safe. FBI input about root causes of terrorism at the White House summit would have been beneficial not only to its mission, but to ultimately defeating the enemy we face.

“It’s our top priority — protecting the U.S. from terrorist attacks,” the FBI website states. “Working closely with a range of partners, we use our growing suite of investigative and intelligence capabilities to neutralize terrorist cells and operatives here in the U.S., to help dismantle extremist networks worldwide, and to cut off financing and other forms of support provided by terrorist sympathizers.”

Comey wasn’t at the White House last week because he wasn’t invited. The reason why can be found by taking a look at the summit guest list, which included a variety of groups whose members have urged Muslims in America to shut the FBI out of their communities and to be non-cooperative with terrorism investigations.

The Council on American–Islamic Relations is once of those groups, and has a long history of telling its supporters in Muslim communities in the U.S. to avoid working with the FBI on counterterrorism and intelligence-gathering operations. In 2011, CAIR published a poster on its website showing slammed doors in the face of an FBI agent walking through a predominantly Muslim neighborhood.

“Build a wall of resistance,” the poster read. “Don’t talk to the FBI.”

To read more click here. 

San Diego Park Improvements Become Impediments for Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Enhancements at a San Diego park have caused an unusual rift between the Border Patrol union and city park officials.

NBC San Diego reports that wooden bollards were placed around the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park in 2013 to prevent cars from driving into the park.

But those roadblocks are now impeding border protection, the union claims, because law enforcement officials can’t get around them.

“It looks to me the design is there in the middle of the roads to keep the Border Patrol agents off those roads where we ordinarily patrol,” said Border Patrol Union Representative Gabe Pacheco.

 

Now Border Patrol worries that illegal immigrants will use the barriers to their advantage.

But park officials said the bollards are important.

“Bollards are used for 2 main reasons: (1) Public Safety- Protect trail users from vehicular traffic; (2) Stewardship of Public Lands- Protect areas that are environmentally or culturally sensitive,” park’s department spokeswoman Shannon Singler told NBC.

Report: FBI Mishandled Communication During Sony Pictures Hack

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The major hacking of Sony Pictures drew remarkably little consultation or collaboration between Sony and the FBI despite the high-profile attack, Fortune reports.

As agents and company executives scurried to respond to the attack, they did so internally.

The FBI, for example, withheld information and didn’t advise Sony on how to handle the hack.

According to Fortune, the “disarray around the hack led to each stakeholder making high-profile decisions without fully consulting the others: theaters refused to show The Interview, the film fingered by the hackers as offensive; that decision led Sony to delay the film’s release; the White House felt forced to make a statement supporting free speech in response to the delay. All the while, federal officials told theater owners that there was no threat to them even as it admitted that it didn’t know.”

Bloomberg View: Republicans Must Prevent Halting of Homeland Security Budget

John A. Boehner

House Speaker John A. Boehner

By Bloomberg View 
Editorial 

Now that they’re back in Washington after a weeklong break, Senate Republicans should make their first order of business something they’ve been wanting to do for a long time anyway: saying goodbye to their least favorite member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, Attorney General Eric Holder.

The problem is that giving Holder a proper send-off requires confirming his replacement, Loretta Lynch. And approving Lynch means acknowledging that they cannot block Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Those actions have since been put on hold by a federal judge, although the administration plans to appeal. At any rate, it’s clear that Senate Republicans do not have the votes to pass a bill preventing the Department of Homeland Security from carrying them out. So they are blocking Lynch instead, mostly out of sheer frustration.

In other words: The fight over Obama’s immigration order is over. Republicans have lost. Holding Lynch hostage — or even defeating her nomination, as Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are urging — will not change this central fact. Republicans are now in charge of Congress, and the Department of Homeland Security is funded only through the end of the month. This is their problem to solve.

To read more click here.

Obama Administration Refuses to Label ISIS Terrorists As Islamic Radicals

American war reporter James Wright Foley was beheaded by ISIS.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Obama administration has done away with the term “radical Islam.”

President Obama and others in his administration refused to use the term during a White House summit on combating what they preferred to call “violent extremism,” The Washington Times reports.

On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson defended the administration’s position, saying the terrorists do not deserve to be labeled as Muslims.

“It seems to me that to refer to ISIL as occupying any part of the Islamic theology is playing on a battlefield that they would like us to be on. I think that to call them some form of Islam gives the group more dignity than it deserves,” he said.

No matter what the extremists are called, Johnson said, ISIS – or ISIL – is a serious danger.

“From my perspective, whether it is referred to as Islamic extremism or violent extremism, what it comes down to is ISIL is a terrorist organization that represents a serious potential threat to our homeland that has to be addressed militarily and through a whole-of-government approach,” he said.

FBI Downplays Terror Group’s Calls for Attacks on Malls in U.S

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security are downplaying a threat by a Somali-based terror group to attack shopping malls in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom, CNN reports.

U.S. officials said there are no credible threats of an attack, but still cautioned shoppers to be careful.

“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today,”  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “they’ve got to be particularly careful.”

The Minnesota mall was alluded to in a video by Al-Shabaab, which called for the attacks.

Mall of America said it is on the look out.

“We take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately,” the Minnesota mall said in a statement. “We have implemented extra security precautions; some may be noticeable to guests, and others won’t be.”

 

 

Obama Adminstration Slow at Cracking Down on Border Patrol Shootings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Obama administration’s pledge to discipline Border Patrol agents who use excessive force is nearly a year old and hardly any progress has been made, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Shooting cases remain unresolved and undisciplined. A review panel tasked with making recommendations has yet to do so. And internal affairs’ top two jobs are vacant.

The administration responded that the reforms are caught up in union rules and red tape.

In the past five years, Border Patrol agents have shot and killed two dozen people along the Southwest border, The Times wrote. None of the shootings led to disciplinary actions or charges.

“I’m not sure we will reach a level of satisfaction with the public on every one of those cases,” said R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency for the Border Patrol. “But we will be much more thorough, much more accountable and we will be much more transparent … going forward.”

 

FBI’s Obsession with ‘Louie Louie’ Made the Song an Anthem for Rebellious Youths

 
By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The song “Louie Louie,” which turns 60 years this year, may not be as popular today if not for the FBI’s obsession with it during the 1960s.

The Tampa Tribune recalls the bureau’s countless hours spent trying to find something profane in the lyrics.

“Agents at the Tampa FBI office managed to find time in February 1964 to spend hours each day listening to a version of the song ‘Louie Louie’ recorded by the Portland, Oregon, band The Kingsmen,” the Tribune wrote.

“Looking back, it’s funny,” said Dick Peterson of The Kingsmen. “But the FBI was serious. They wanted to prove the song was dirty and they wanted to punish us for it. Even funnier of course is there was nothing dirty about it.”

When the public became aware of the FBI investigation,  people in the counter-culture made the song “an anthem in their protest against a controlling government.”

“There is no way the band would have been this big without that controversy,” Peterson said. “The song sounded horrible but the investigation turned it and our band into a huge success.”