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Archive for April 6th, 2015

Al Jazeera: Border Patrol Agents Are Out of Control

istock photo

By Mary Turck 
Al Jazeera

On March 20, the Michigan Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit charged two U.S. Border Patrol agents with theft and misconduct while on duty. The two agents allegedly stole from a home while executing an agency-authorized search warrant. The case exemplifies the type of unchecked abuse and corruption that has become so rampant within the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

From 2010 to 2014 CBP agents  shot and killed 28 people. Other charges against CBP agents included drug trafficking, theft, assaults, kidnapping and rape. Investigative reports from multiple sources paint a picture of a law enforcement agency that is out of control. Even worse, most of its victims are people who cannot fight back — undocumented immigrants and refugees with limited or no access to U.S. courts.

Report after report recounts tales of unchecked abuse of power. Agents frequently respond to cross-border rock throwing with deadly force. Sometimes CBP officers step into the path of moving cars to justify shooting the drivers as a “response to deadly force.” The agency has refused to ban either practice, disregarding recommendations from a report that it commissioned. Other kinds of corruption also plague the agency. A 2011 internal study by the CBP found that the agency’s disciplinary system “does not foster timely discipline or exoneration.”

The story of failure traces back to 2001. After 9/11, any legislation to protect U.S. borders sailed through Congress. Need more agents? Done. More money? Done. Lawmakers were eager to support border enforcement. In 2003, they merged the previously understaffed Border Patrol with Customs enforcement and Department of Agriculture inspectors to create the CBP. The new agency now has more than 60,000 employees, a $12.4 billion annual budget and a reputation for corruption and abuse. On average, at least one agent is arrested daily for misconduct, according to Politico Magazine’s Garrett M. Graff.

What happened was predictable. But no one bothered to consult law enforcement experts. Effective law enforcement requires high standards, careful screening of candidates for criminal backgrounds and for psychological fitness, and intensive training by experienced officers. The rush to fill a lot of vacant positions meant inadequate screening and skimping on training.

To read more click here. 

House Committee Calls for Investigation of Secret Service Leak

secret service photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A House committee wants the Obama administration to investigate Secret Service employees who circulated personnel information that showed the panel’s chairman was denied a job as an agent, The Washington Post reports. 

The committee that oversees the Secret Service discovered last week that unflattering information about Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was circulated at the agency’s headquarters.

Chaffetz told the Post in an interview that he was denied a job for the Secret Service in a Wester field office around 2003.

Chaffetz said it was “disconcerting to say the least” that he was the butt of a joke.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson agreed an investigation is warranted.

“If and to the extent the matters reflected in this report are accurate, then the United States Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security owe the member of Congress an apology,” Johnson said. He added: “If true, those responsible should be held accountable.”

 

Three FBI Agents Injured After Suspect Shot at Drug Store in Georgia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Three FBI agents were injured after one of them shot a suspect at a CVS drug store in Forsyth, Ga.

The agents are recovering from non-life-threatening injuries following the incident Saturday.

Details are still murky, but the Forsyth News reports that the agents were part of a task force.

At some point, a suspect was shot before a car slammed into the agents’ vehicle.

The agents and the suspect were taken to the hospital.

The condition of the suspect was not immediately clear Monday morning.

FBI Agents Must Pass Fitness Test for First Time in 16 Years

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is requiring agents to pass a fitness test for the first time in 16 years.

“The lives of your colleagues and those you protect may well depend upon your ability to run, fight and shoot, no matter what job you hold,” James B. Comey, the FBI director, said in October in an internal memo to agents, reported by Economic Times. 

The fitness tests were launched by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Before the Sept .11 attack, agents had more time to stay fit.

The Economic Times wrote:

The tests are a response to concerns throughout the bureau about how its transformation after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has put more stress on the agents and given them less time for fitness.

After the attacks, many agents who were accustomed to working normal hours and had spent their entire careers investigating crimes like gang violence or drugs – work that took them into the field to make arrests – began working 20-hour days as the FBI changed its primary mission to fighting terrorism.

Around the same time, the bureau drastically expanded its efforts in two areas that emphasized long desk hours: cybersecurity and intelligence. Many agents were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. The increased demands manifested themselves in different ways. Some agents put on weight, while some suffered from anxiety and depression.

Former Lead FBI Hostage Negotiator Joins George Washington University Task Force

Chris Voss

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Chris Voss, a former lead hostage negotiator for the FBI, was named a senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.

Voss will join the center’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Task Force, according to PR Newswire.

“I am honored to become a Senior Fellow with the CCHS as they remain on the cutting-edge of counter terrorism thinking and leadership,” Voss said.

Voss worked for the bureau for 24 years.

Chris brings extensive knowledge from the real world of hostage negotiation and applies them, successfully, to the business and academic worlds. Voss is a Harvard graduate, USC Marshall School of Business Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Professor, Speaker, and Author.

As a recognized international negotiations expert, Chris is frequently interviewed by major media on headline news such as the recent Germanwings crash, Ferguson riots, Boston Bombings, Somali Pirates and hostage negotiations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Panama, Colombia, Gaza, and Haiti.

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