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Archive for December, 2015

San Bernardino Shooters Buried at Traditional, FBI-Guarded Funeral

koranBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino, killing 14 people, were buried in a traditional funeral guarded by the FBI, Reuters reports. 

Many members of the mosque that the couple attended did not go to the funeral.

The bodies were buried in a Muslim cemetery hours away from San Bernardino in a funeral that followed traditional Islamic rituals.

It took a week to find a cemetery that would accept the bodies, Reuters wrote, citing a funeral attendee and another person familiar with the preparations.

Islamic tradition calls for burying bodies within 24 hours of death, but the bodies weren’t released by law enforcement in time.

FBI: No Evidence That San Bernardino Couple Was Part of Terrorist Cell

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has found no evidence so far that the San Bernardino couple that killed 14 people during a holiday party massacre were part of a terrorist cell, The Huffington Post reports. 

Investigators, however, believe the couple was inspired by ISIS, but received no orders or directions from the terrorist group.

ISIS has “revolutionized” terrorism by using social media, encrypted messages and propaganda to inspire small-scale attacks.

“Your parents’ al Qaeda was a very different model than the threat we face today,” Comey told a counterterrorism conference in New York.

Ferguson Close to Reaching Deal with Justice Department to Force Changes in Police Department

Ferguson protest.

Ferguson protest.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Officials in Ferguson, Mo., are close to reaching a deal with the Justice Department to overhaul the city’s Police Department and head off civil rights lawsuits, the New York Times reports. 

But there are challenges to closing the deal, which would require a federal police monitor and an influx of money to pay for it.

Since Ferguson is struggling financially, a tax increase may be necessary to afford the oversight and changes, and that would require approval from voters.

The agreement calls for new training for police and better record-keeping.

The pact between the two governments comes after a Justice Department report in March discovered that police often stop and arrest people without cause, and excessive force was almost exclusively against blacks, the New York Times wrote.

“We have made tremendous progress. We’re very close,” Mayor James Knowles III told the Times.

“We’re at a point where we have addressed any necessary issues, and assuming it is not cost prohibitive, we would like to move forward,” Mr. Knowles said.

Suspended Secret Service Officer Was Shot and Killed in Washington

Secret-Service-BadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Secret Service officer who was suspended following a domestic dispute case was shot and killed in Washington on Tuesday, CNN confirmed Wednesday. 

Arthur Baldwin, 30, was found unconscious in the 4700 block of 1st Street after being shot multiple times. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Authorities, who are offering a $25,000 reward for information on the killing, are searching for three men in connection with the shooting.

“The Secret Service is aware of this information — we express our condolences to the family of our employee,” agency spokeswoman Nicole Mainor said Wednesday. She referred questions about the incident to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Baldwin was placed on administrative leave earlier this year after he was charged with first-degree attempted burglary destruction of property during a domestic dispute.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Names New Special Agent in Charge of San Juan Division

fbi-logBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Douglas A. Leff, who began his career with the FBI in 1996 and later cross-designated as a special assistant U.S. attorney, has been named as the special agent in charge of the San Juan Division, the bureau announced Tuesday. 

Most recently, Leff was an inspector assigned to FBI’s headquarters in Washington D.C., where he reviewed cases and operations across all FBI programs.

Leff will begin his new role in late January.

According to the FBI:

Mr. Leff was promoted to supervisory special agent of a squad in the New York Field Office Organized Crime Branch in 2007. Between 2003 and 2009, Mr. Leff was also cross-designated as a special assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of New York. During this time, he litigated organized crime, narcotics trafficking, Internet fraud, and terrorist financing prosecutions.

In 2005, Mr. Leff received an Attorney General’s Award for his work on a series of complex money laundering and terrorist financing prosecutions.

In 2009, Mr. Leff was promoted to unit chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit in the Financial Crimes Section at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 2012, Mr. Leff was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the New York Field Office, where he was responsible for the Complex Financial Crimes Branch, which includes several squads responsible for investigating securities fraud, financial institution fraud, corporate fraud, money laundering, identity theft, Internet fraud, and asset forfeiture.

Mr. Leff continues to provide regular instruction on criminal and terrorist financing investigations for the Department of Justice and other state and local law enforcement agencies.

Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Leff served as an assistant district attorney in New York, where he handled the investigation and prosecution of white collar and violent crime cases.

Familiar Face Will Return As Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Omaha Office

Randall Thysse

Randall Thysse

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Randall Thysse, who began his FBI career fighting white-collar crime in Omaha in 1989, will return to the office as special agent in charge, Omaha.com reports. 

Thysse will be responsible for overseeing FBI employees in Nebraska and Iowa.

In February, Thysse will replace Thomas Metz, who retired from the FBI in late November to join the private sector.

Thysse most recently oversaw crime reduction and terrorism prevention for the FBI’s Operational Program Branch of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

Congressional Bills Calls for $390M to Jumpstart FBI’s New Headquarters

Current FBI Headquarters

Current FBI Headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Congressional leaders proposed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that includes $390 million to build a new FBI headquarters, the Baltimore Sun reports.

“I’m fully behind the FBI and fully behind Prince George’s County as home to the new headquarters,” said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the top Democrat on theSenate Appropriations Committee. “With more than 40 percent of FBI employees already living in Maryland, Prince George’s is the right place and has the right stuff.”

The bill, which is aimed at preventing a government shutdown, also includes modest pay raises for federal employees.

The FBI plans to leave its aging headquarters in downtown Washington D.C. and move to a new headquarters in Maryland or Virginia.

“The Hoover building is dated and dysfunctional,” Mikulski said. “It’s sinking, leaking and flooding and doesn’t even meet the FBI’s own security requirements. It’s too small for the FBI’s needs, so workers are scattered across 14 leased offices impeding efficiency and effectiveness.”

The $390 million would pay for design and pre-construction expenses. The total cost is expected to exceed $2 billion.

Hillary Clinton Rolls Out 5-Point Plan to Combat Radicalization in the U.S.

hillary-clintonBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton unveiled a five-part plan to thwart the growing threat of domestic terrorism in the U.S. on Tuesday.

Clinton spoke at the University of Minnesota’s campus in Minneapolis, saying the San Bernardino massacre has shaken Americans, CBS News reports.

“San Bernardino felt different,” Clinton said. “Maybe it was the timing, coming so soon after the Paris attacks. Maybe it was how random it seemed.”

She added: “It made us all feel it could have been anywhere at any time.”

Clinton’s strategy largely focuses on shuttering the online recruiting and training systems used by ISIS by increasing intelligence sharing and carefully vetting social media sites.

“Our security professionals need to track and analyze ISIS social media posts and map jihadist networks,” Clinton said, referring to a flaw in the vetting process of one of the San Bernardino shooters. “Companies should double their efforts to maintain and enforce their own service agreements and other necessary policies to police their networks, identify extremist content and remove it.”

Clinton proposed sending agents to “high risk countries” to “better investigate” visa applicants.

“Anyone who has traveled in the past five years to a country facing serious problems with terrorism foreign fighters should have to go through a full visa investigation,” Clinton said, “no matter where they’re from.”