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Archive for August, 2015

ATF: Man Who Killed 2 Virginia Journalists Legally Purchased Gun in July

 Vester Lee Flanagan II

Vester Lee Flanagan II

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The gun used to killed two TV reporters in Virginia were purchased legally by the man who pulled the trigger, The Roanoke Times reports. 

Vester Lee Flanagan II bought the Glock 9 mm pistol in July from a federally licensed gun dealer in Virginia, an ATF official said.

ATF spokesman Tom Faison said a proper background check was conducted.

“I have no indication that anything was done illegally or improperly, or any shortcuts were made,” Faison said.

White House Renews Calls for Stricter Gun Control Laws After Shooting of Journalists in Virginia

gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The horrific shooting of two Virginia journalists while they were broadcasting live on the air prompted President Obama to renew calls for stricter gun control.

“This is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States,” the president’s press secretary, John Earnest, told reporters at his daily press briefing.

“While there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country, there are some commonsense things that only Congress can do that we know would have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country.”

Other politicians and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton joined the call for tougher gun laws.

“We have got to do something about gun violence. And I will take it on,” Clinton said. “There are many people who face it and know it, but then turn away.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also pledged to push for stronger gun control.

“I put it up again last year. It never sees the light of day,” McAuliffe, a Democrat, said during an interview with the Washington radio station WTOP. “Everyone who purchases a gun in the Commonwealth of Virginia should have to go through a background check. You go into the store, you hand your license over. It doesn’t take … but three, four, maybe five minutes maximum.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agent at Bureau’s Indianapolis Field Office Charged with Drunken Driving

fbi badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent found himself on the wrong side of the law after crashing his bureau-issued car into a motorcyclist in Indiana.

Robert Middleton, assistant special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of drunken driving in Hamilton county, the Indy Star reports. 

The agent was placed on administrative leave.

The Office of Inspector General also is investigating.

Police said Middleton was behind the wheel of a 2012 Dodge Charger that collided with a motorcycle stopped at a red light. The motorcyclist was taken to the hospital for minor head injuries.

Head of FBI in Minnesota: Rash of Terrorism Arrests Not Stopping Others from Joining ISIS

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Despite a rash of well-publicized arrests of American suspected of trying to join ISIS, the terror group continues to successfully recruit U.S. residents, the head of the FBI in Minnesota said Wednesday.

In the Minneapolis area, which is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S., six men were arrested recently for allegedly plotting to join ISIS.

Still, the FBI continues to investigate what appears to be an increasing number of ISIS sympathizers, said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Minnesota Field Office, Richard Thornton, said Wednesday.

“There are people in this community that are at various stages along the path to traveling as we speak,” he said. “I can’t tell you if there is one on an airplane as we speak, necessarily, but the arrests and the other activities have not stopped the activity across the board.”

FBI Informant Involving Garland, Texas, Suspect Speaks Out for First Time

Garland_TXBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI informant who spent four years working undercover to gather information on one of the eventual suspects in the Garland, Texas, shooting recounted his experience with ABC 15. 

“I was kind of a little nervous,” Dalba Deng, who was a paid informant working on a 2010 case involving one of the suspected shooters, said.

Deng worked undercover for four years to help the FBI build a case against Elton Simpson.

Deng said he posed as someone who wanted to learn more about Islam.

His goal was to save lives, he said.

“I did it from my heart,” he said. “I was trying to help because they were trying to kill some people.”

The undercover work provided the feds with hundreds of hours of recorded conversation with Simpson, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to convict Simpson.

Trailer: Whitey Bulger Movie, ‘Black Mass,’ Set for Release Sept. 18

American-Arab Advocate: More Transparency Needed Over FBI Spy Planes

fbi-logBy Fatina Abdrarraboh
for Detroit News

Earlier this month, The Detroit News reported about a series of missions by an FBI spy plane over Dearborn. The plane, which is outfitted with a night vision camera and listening device equipment, flew over a portion of Dearborn and Melvindale for multiple nights. Melvindale has a growing Arab-American population. The section of Dearborn that was flown over have two mosques around the flight pattern of this particular spy plane.

The FBI claims that the flights over this area were not for surveilling the community and are routinely used to track drug dealers and violent extremists. In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge of Metro Detroit Paul Abbate stated, “The FBI does not employ aviation assets to conduct mass surveillance, nor to target specific communities…Further, the FBI Detroit Field Office is not aware of any specific or credible threats within the local Detroit Metropolitan Area.”

Given a lack of transparency regarding what spy planes are really doing, as well as the FBI’s track record locally, a number of questions remain unanswered.

Since the FBI stated there were no specific or credible threats, why were they flying over one particular area for multiple nights? Given that the FBI has used the problematic practice of sending informants into mosques, are they also able to take pictures of cars in one location, like in a mosque parking lot? When using their listening equipment on the spy plane, are they listening and capturing private cell phone conversations?

In recent years, the ACLU uncovered a 2009 FBI memorandum stating that Dearborn was on their radar “because Michigan has a large Middle Eastern and Muslim population, it is prime territory for attempted radicalization and recruitment by terrorist groups.” There is no evidence to suggest that this mapping has ceased, even though there is not a single conviction involving a local Muslim going abroad to join an extremist group in the past decade from the community’s approximately 300,000 people.

Our respective organizations’ constituents, Metro Detroit, and indeed the country have much at stake in the pursuit to ensure individual rights and liberties are protected. We appreciate The Detroit News’ reporting, which provoked questions about the spy plane as well as similar issues prior to this. Investigative reporting is what differentiates open and democratic societies from totalitarian ones. It is media which helps to keep the nation’s citizenry informed in order that we can be more aware when holding our government accountable.

To read more click here. 

Fatina Abdrarraboh is director of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – Michigan.

 

Border Patrol Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Stealing Late Grandmother’s Social Security Benefits

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol supervisor in South Texas pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft of government property after stealing his late grandmother’s Social Security benefits, Click 2 Houston reports. 

James J. Doran faces up to 10 years in prison.

Doran was accused of failing to report his grandmother’s death so that he could collect her and her widow’s Social Security benefits.

Prosecutors said the money was deposited into an account that Doran shared with his grandmother.

Nearly $109,000 was collected since her death.