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Archive for December, 2015

North Carolina Official Proposes Ban on Gun Purchases for Suspected Terrorists

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Congressional Republicans blocked an effort to prevent suspected terrorists on the federal government’s database from buying guns.

But that isn’t stopping North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper from urging state lawmakers to support a similar ban in his state, the Citizen-Times reports. 

“Stopping terror suspects from getting weapons that could harm our state and its people makes common sense,” Cooper said in a news release. “Even if Washington won’t act, we can.”

But whether Cooper has enough support is another question. Some GOP leaders accused Cooper of gun control.

State GOP Chairman Hasan Harnett accused Cooper of “stripping our citizens of their constitutional rights and denying them due process” to score points with his like-minded supporters.

DHS Chief Plans to Launch Refined Terror Advisory System

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The terrorism advisory system is being modified to reflect a “new phase” in the global fight against extremism, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday, the Washington Post reports.

The current National Terrorism Advisory System, which was launched in 2011, has two levels – elevated throated and imminent threat.

But Johnson, citing new unknown risks from people who are radicalized at home, plans to add a new level – intermediate, which means officials don’t necessarily know the source of a threat.

The secretary said the United States is entering “a new phase in the global terrorist threat that involves not just terrorist directed attacks from overseas but also terrorist inspired attacks here on the homeland and in other countries.” In this environment, he said, “having not had a specific credible piece of intelligence reflecting a specific plot is not the end of the story because we’re dealing with the prospect of terrorist inspired attacks by someone who may be below our radar and who could act on a moment’s notice.”

Former Secret Service Agent Who Stole Bitcoins During Probe Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

bitcoin_bigBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Secret Service agent who illegally accessed the now-defunct Silk Road website and stealing bitcoin was sentenced Monday to nearly six years in prison and ordered to pay $1 million for the siphoned currency, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Shaun Bridges, 33, pleaded guilty to felony charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Officials pegged the value of the bitcoin at $350,000 when the currency was stolen.

Bridges sold the currency for $820,000.

Bridges’ attorneys urged the judge to sentence him to three years in prison.

President Obama Assures Americans That ‘Evolving’ Terrorism Threat Is Beatable

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Speaking from the Oval Office for only the third time, President Obama told Americans that the U.S. is prepared to combat the “evolving” threat of terrorism, NBC News reports. 

Obama said there are “growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds” of home-grown attackers are evolving.”

“As a father to two young daughters who are the most precious part of my life, I know that we see ourselves with friends and co-workers at a holiday party like the one in San Bernardino. I know we see our kids in the faces of the young people killed in Paris,” Obama said.

“And I know that after so much war, many Americans are asking whether we are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure,” he said, before answering: “The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it.”

Obama also called ISIS a “cult of death” that “does not speak for Islam.”

To read the full transcript of the address, click here. 

U.S. on Pace for Record Number of Background Checks for Firearms This Year

handgun-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

So many Americans are buying guns that the FBI is on track for a record number of firearm background checks this year, CNN reports. 

Since the end of November, the FBI processed 19.8 million background checks this year – the highest number ever recorded through the first 11 months of a year.

The FBI began operating the National Instant Background Check System, or NICS, 17 years ago. Since then, the bureau has processed 222.4 million background checks and denied 1.3 million of them.

The background checks are the most reliable way to determine approximately how many guns are sold in the U.S.

CNN reported that the gun industry is doing well, with major gun makers seeing surging stock prices.

Justice Department to Announce Civil Rights Investigation of Chicago Police Department

ChicagoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After a disturbing dash cam video surfaced of a white police officer fatally shooting a black teen 16 times, the Justice Department is planning to launch an investigation into the Chicago Police Department, USA Today reports. 

Citing an anonymous source familiar with the upcoming investigation, USA Today wrote that the announcement of a probe is expected very soon.

The department’s Civil Rights Division plans to investigate whether cops were responsible for a patter of biased policing.

The state’s attorney general, Lisa Madigan, recently called for an investigation, despite initial resistance from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who originally called a federal probe “misguided.” He has since changed course.

“We will let the Department of Justice address what action they will or will not choose to take, but as was made clear last week, we welcome the engagement of the Department of Justice as we work to restore trust in our police department and improve our system of police accountability,” said Emanuel’s spokesman, Adam Collins.

   

Terrorism Nearly Impossible to Stop in U.S., Says House Homeland Security Chairman

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said Sunday that the U.S. cannot completely eradicate terrorism in this country, as evidenced by the attack in California last week that killed 14 people, the New York Post reports. 

“We didn’t see this one coming. There were no warning signs or flags,” McCaul (R-Texas) admitted to “Fox News Sunday.”

McCaul said the problem is that ISIS is a well-oiled propaganda machine, working to recruit people through social media and encrypted messages.

“We’ve stopped a lot of bad things from happening, but you just can’t stop it all when you have 200,000 ISIS tweets per day on the Internet coming into the United States to kill,” the Texas Republican said.

He added, “The volume is so high and the chatter is so high that it’s almost impossible to stop it all.”

In the meantime, the committee will try to determine whether federal investigators missed an opportunity to identify the threat posed by the San Bernardino shooters.

“There’s a serious investigation ongoing into what she was doing in Pakistan and in Saudi, including if she attended the red mosque in Islamabad, which is a very radicalized mosque,” McCaul said. “We think that she had a lot to do with the radicalization process and perhaps with Mr. Farook’s radicalization from within the United States.”

First Time Since 1920, New York Times Runs Editorial on Its Front Page

ATF photo

ATF file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The New York Times, which has long pushed for tougher restrictions on gun sales, used a major exclamation mark this time, putting a strongly worded editorial Saturday on its front page about tougher gun regulations.

The paper noted that the last time it ran an editorial on the front page was 1920 when it lamented the nomination of Warren G. Harding as the Republican presidential candidate.

Here’s part of the editorial Saturday:

All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.

But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

To read more click here.