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Archive for October, 2015

Justice Department to Let Loose 6,000 Prisoners in Largest One-Time Release

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Marking the largest one-time release of inmates, the Justice Department is releasing 6,000 prisoners to reduce overcrowding and help correct harsh sentences imposes on drug offenders over the past three decades, the Washington Post reports. 

The department’s Bureau of Prisons is setting the inmates free between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, when about two-thirds will end up on supervised released after being placed in home confinement and halfway houses.

An additional 46,000 of the approximately 100,000 drug offenders also could be released early under a chance in sentencing guidelines.

“The number of people who will be affected is quite exceptional,” said Mary Price, general counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, an advocacy group that supports sentencing reform.

FBI Expands Probe of Clinton’s Private E-Mail to Include Second Company

hillary-clintonBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hoping to recover deleted e-mails, the FBI has expanded its investigation into the security of Hilary Clinton’s use of a private server when she was secretary of state.

The Washington Post reports that the FBI has found a second private technology company that is willing to provide the bureau with data preserved from Clinton’s account.

Connecticut-based Datto Inc. helped manage Clinton’s e-mail system by providing backups.

The FBI is trying to determine whether classified information was accessed through Clinton’s private server.

FBI Director Expressed Frustration Over Federal Government’s Failure to Track Police-Involved Shootings

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey expressed frustration Wednesday’s with the federal government’s failure to better track police-involved shootings, The Washington Post reports. 

Comey told a gathering of about 100 politicians and law enforcement officials that it’s embarrassing and frustrating that the bureau doesn’t have better data on police shootings than databases kept by some media.

“It is unacceptable that The Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper from the U.K. are becoming the lead source of information about violent encounters between police and civilians. That is not good for anybody,” Comey said.

“You can get online today and figure out how many tickets were sold to ‘The Martian,’ which I saw this weekend. ... The CDC can do the same with the flu,” he continued. “It’s ridiculous — it’s embarrassing and ridiculous — that we can’t talk about crime in the same way, especially in the high-stakes incidents when your officers have to use force.”

Homeland Security Director Urges Republican Presidential Candidates to Tone Down Rhetoric

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Frustrated with the fear-mongering rhetoric of Republican candidates for president, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said it’s time for more “responsible dialogue,” the Washington Post reports. 

“All of us in public office, those who aspire to public office and who command a microphone owe the public calm, responsible dialogue and decision-making,” Johnson said at a conference hosted by Latino lawmakers. “Not overheated, over simplistic rhetoric and proposals of superficial appeal. In a democracy, the former leads to smart and sustainable policy. The latter can lead to fear, hate, suspicion, prejudice and government overreach. These words are especially true in matters of homeland security and they are especially true in matters of immigration policy.”

Johnson said illegal border entries continue to fall, despite public opinion that it’s on the rise.

The rhetoric, Johnson said, is causing unnecessary fear and calls for extraordinary measures.

“Building a wall across the entire Southwest border is not the answer,” Johnson said.

Providence Journal: Secret Service Needs to Be Held Accountable for Attack on Congressman Chaffetz

secret-service-3By Editorial Board
Providence Journal

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the bombastic Republican congressman from Utah who recently announced his candidacy for speaker of the House, has made something of a name for himself in his role as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. There, he’s led high-profile investigations of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, Planned Parenthood, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Secret Service, among other organizations.

Evidently, some in the Secret Service didn’t like being the subject of a congressional investigation. (You’ll recall that the agency, which is tasked with protecting the president, has suffered a recent spate of embarrassments and security breaches — most notably, when it failed to prevent an intruder from actually entering the White House last year.) But rather than submit to a fully warranted investigation by Congress to get to the bottom of the safety snafus, higher-ups in the Secret Service instead decided to go after Representative Chaffetz personally.

The Washington Post published the disturbing details last week. “An assistant director of the Secret Service urged that unflattering information the agency had in its files about a congressman ­critical of the service should be made public,” the Post reported, “two days later, a news Web site reported that . . . Jason Chaffetz . . . had applied to be a Secret Service agent in 2003 and been rejected.” Some 45 secret service employees, including supervisors, viewed Mr. Chaffetz’s personal file, the Post noted, which, by law, was supposed to be kept private.

Representative Chaffetz is not totally blameless in this situation. He should have disclosed to the public his relationship with the agency that he was tasked with investigating. But there is simply no excuse for an allegedly nonpartisan government body accessing and releasing private information about one of the people’s representatives.

People within the Secret Service need to be held to account for this chicanery.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

First Female FBI Agent Killed in Line of Duty 30 Years Ago This Month

Robin Ahrens

Robin Ahrens

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Thirty years ago this month, the first female FBI agent was killed in the line of duty.

Robin Ahrens had only been a special agent for six months when she died following a shootout on Oct. 5, 1985, the Hudson Star-Observer reports. 

She was just 33 years old.

Ahrens was staking out a Phoenix apartment complex when she was shot by two other agents who falsely believed she was the girlfriend of an armed robbery suspect.

Hundreds of people, including FBI Director William Webster, attended the funeral.

Other Stories of Interest

NYT Film Review: ‘(T)error’ Documentary ‘Leaves Too Much Unverified’

By Ken Jaworowski
New York Times

If you assume everything said in “(T)error” is true — and for the most part, I do — it’s a sobering story. Still, though the film gains your trust, it leaves too much unverified.

The movie, billed as the first documentary to embed filmmakers in an F.B.I. counterterrorism operation, follows Saeed Torres, a former Black Panther and self-described “civilian operative” who says he works as a paid undercover informant.

Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, the directors, travel with Mr. Torres to Pittsburgh, where Mr. Torres says his mission is to befriend Khalifah al-Akili, a man who may have, among other things, posted pro-Taliban statements online. Mr. Torres, who is untrained, is supposed to gauge the potential for terrorist activity and help the F.B.I. build a case against Mr. al-Akili.

Mr. Torres meets Mr. al-Akili several times (none of those encounters, nor any with the F.B.I., are shown, only mentioned) and concludes that he isn’t a serious threat. Despite this, Mr. Torres says, he is told to press on, which casts suspicion on the F.B.I.’s investigation and, by association, its use of informants.

While the agency’s methods appear dubious, the film’s approach is sometimes lacking. No F.B.I. agents, current or retired, are interviewed for context or corroboration; an ending note says only that the agency did not respond to a request for comment.

To read more click here. 

FBI Foils 4 Attempts by Russian-Linked Gangs to Smuggle Nuclear Material

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 8.38.05 AMBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has foiled four attempts by Russian-linked gangs to smuggle nuclear material to other countries, the Guardian reports. 

In February, a smuggler seeking an Islamic State buyer offered undercover agents a large mount of radioactive caesium.

But a recent Associated Press investigation found that some of the alleged smugglers have resumed their activities after getting short prison sentences.

The gangs were in the European country of Moldova, and authorities suspect the materials came from Russian hospitals.

“We can expect more of these cases,” said Constantin Malic, a Moldovan police officer who investigated all four cases. “As long as the smugglers think they can make big money without getting caught, they will keep doing it.”