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Archive for June 18th, 2015

FBI Assures Congress That Planes Aren’t Used for Mass Surveillance

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI assured Congress that its plane surveillance program is not intended to perform mass surveillance or bulk intelligence collection, the Associated Press reports. 

The FBI, however, declined to answer some questions about its planes, including how often they are used and how much they cost.

The briefing comes two weeks after the Associated Press revealed that the AP used fake company names to acquire at least 50 planes.

Most of the planes, the FBI said, don’t have high-definition cameras and rely on binoculars.

The planes were used only five times to track cellphones from the sky, according to the FBI.

Border Patrol Agents: Government Making It Impossible to Nab Drug Dealers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents said the federal government is making it impossible to make drug busts, a move that has contributed to a “morale crisis,” the Los Angeles Times reports. 

“We lack the political will to enforce the law and allow our agency to be effective,” said National Border Patrol Council spokesman Shawn Moran in a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

Shane Gallagher, an agent in the San Diego sector, said the agency has been very successful at nabbing border crossers with drugs.

“Now the port of entry has to explain who was in the primary lane, what actions were taken, if the vehicle was inspected, so you can see there’s a whole host of implications,” he said.

Gallagher said fewer agents are responsible for drug busts.

“There was a lot of pressure for us to get out of the [drug] interdiction game,” Gallagher said.

 

New York Man Accused of Stabbing FBI Agent Facing Attempted Murder Charges

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A New York man accused of attacking an FBI agent with a large kitchen knife has been charged with attempted murder of a federal employee, CNN reports. 

Fareed Mumini, 21, allegedly tried to stab the agent several times during a search of a Staten Island home in connection to a terrorism investigation on Wednesday.

Agents swarmed the home and told Mumini to move from a couch in the living room.

But investigators said Mumini “ignored the officer’s commands and instead suddenly lunged at the officers with a large kitchen knife.”

One of the FBI agents was stabbed with the knife several times, but the knife never penetrated the agent’s body armor and the agent suffered only minor injuries.

FBI Joins Investigation of Mass Shooting at Historic Black Church in South Carolina

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is joining the investigation into the mass shooting at historic black church in Charleston, S.C., late Wednesday.

The Associated Press reports that the shooting was being called a hate crime, one reason the FBI was asked to help.

FBI Special Agent in Charge David Thomas attended a news conference early this morning to discuss the shooting, which killed nine people at the Emanuel AME Church.

Also killed was the church’s pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pickney.

Authorities were still searching for the shooter this morning.

LA Times: Border Patrol Needs to Be Held More Accountable

One of the Border Patrol agents at the scene.

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

Two years ago, a scathing independent report by law enforcement experts found that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency had failed to fully investigate all 67 uses of deadly force, including 19 killings, by its agents from January 2010 through October 2012, most occurring along the southwest border with Mexico. That report, which accused the agency of a “lack of diligence” in its investigations, put federal officials on the defensive and sparked an internal review.

But when the review was finally completed last month, it absolved virtually all the agents in virtually all the shootings. Oral reprimands were apparently issued to two agents, and one case remains open; other than that, no discipline was meted out.

Is that reasonable? An agent who killed an unarmed 15-year-old Mexican boy by shooting him in the face after a rock-throwing incident near El Paso, Texas, was cleared. So was an agent who killed a rock-throwing 17-year-old near Nogales, Ariz.

It’s hard to know whether the agency’s decisions were reasonable. Were it not for leaks to journalists, little of this would even be known, because the Customs and Border Protection agency has tried to keep the report’s findings and the subsequent reviews under wraps. The initial report was released only after the Los Angeles Times reported on its existence. And the internal reviews ended a month ago, yet that fact just came to light — and there are still few details available. That opacity is unacceptable in an open society. How can the public assess government actions if the details are hidden? How are Americans to determine whether justice is served when there is no public accounting?

To read more click here.

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