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Archive for December, 2015

Sentinel & Enterprise Editorial: Secret Service Needs ‘Drastic Culture Change’

secret-service-3By Editorial Board
Sentinel & Enterprise

Given the apparently bottomless divide separating Republicans and Democrats in Washington these days, anything the two parties agree on must be painfully obvious. One such truth, apparently, is that the U.S. Secret Service is a mess and needs an immediate and drastic culture change.

This is the overarching conclusion of a scathing report issued Thursday by the bipartisan congressional probe of the inner workings of the Secret Service. The arm of government charged with protecting the president, the people who want to be president and other top officials was described by House investigators as an “agency in crisis.” That’s an understatement. Secret Service was once considered an elite protective force, but it has suffered a number of black eyes in the last few years, including humiliating security lapses, and the exposure of scandalous and wildly inappropriate behavior of agents on duty.

If all of this “crisis” talk rings a bell, it’s understandable. In 2014, Joseph P. Clancy was sent in to direct the agency and to facilitate the needed culture shift. Clancy made promises, but the report indicates that House investigators could not see much progress toward reform.

In fact, the report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform detailed security breaches since 2013 that hadn’t been previously disclosed.

For example, at an awards dinner last fall, a man pretending to be a member of Congress walked into a secure backstage area without being properly screened and spoke with President Barack Obama. Five days later, a woman walked backstage unchecked at a gala dinner where Obama was a featured guest. And the list goes on.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Finds That San Bernardino Shooter Pledged Support for Islamic Jihad on Facebook

Tashfeen Malik

Tashfeen Malik

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has discovered that Tashfeen Malik, one of the two shooters involved in the San Bernardino massacre, pledged support for Islamic jihad in at least two Facebook messages to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, UPI reports. 

Investigators made the discovery while trying to determine whether they received help from anyone.

The first message was sent out before Malik received a K-1 fiancee visa in 2014 to come to the U.S.

Immigration officials don’t typically review social media posts as part of the background check.

FBI: Man Who Threatened to Kill Police May Have Ties to Domestic Terrorism

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI suspects that a Washington state man who is in federal custody for allegedly threatening to kill law enforcement officers has links to domestic terrorism, Q13 Fox reports. 

A judge on Monday refused to release Schuyler Barbeau from federal custody after he was charged with possessing an unregistered firearm.

The FBI believes he may have links to domestic terrorism because he threatened to kill police.

Barbeau has boasted on social media that he loves guns and dislikes the government.

According to a prosecutor, the former Marine told a woman, “I have guns and body armor and I am going to shoot and kill.”

The FBI also said there’s evidence that he hid explosives in the woods.

Border Patrol Supervisor Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Secretly Videotaping Co-Workers

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol supervisor who secretly videotaped his female co-workers in the bathroom was sentenced to 21 months in prison, NBC San Diego reports. 

Armando Gonzalez, 46, admitted to recording seven women in the bathroom at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station and then lying to cover up his actions.

U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez said Gonzalez’s actions were “egregious” and “a violation of trust.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano urged the judge to show no mercy.

“When Armando Gonzalez put a video camera down the drain of a women’s restroom, he also put his career, his honor and his freedom down that drain,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in a statement. “This is a fitting sentence for a man who sullied his badge with such despicable behavior.”

Chief Patrol Agent Richard A. Barlow issued this statement: “The U.S. Border Patrol has cooperated fully with this investigation from the onset and we are satisfied to see the criminal justice system move swiftly to bring this case to a close. Mr. Gonzalez has tarnished the image of every Border Patrol agent who works tirelessly protecting America night and day. Border Patrol agents are held to the highest standards and we remain committed to rooting out unacceptable behavior to ensure that those who commit such acts are held accountable.”

Homeland Security Considers Plan to Check Social Media During Visa Reviews

visasBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson decided in early 2014 to continue barring immigration officials from reviewing social media posts of people trying to enter the U.S. on a visa, The Hill reports. 

Johnson’s reasoning was that proponents of civil liberties would denounce checking social media and that the practice would cause “bad public relations.”

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security for intelligence and analysis, told ABC News.

But beginning in the fall of 2014, Homeland Security began vetting social media for some foreigners applying for a visa as part of a pilot program.

The news comes after the discovery that one of the San Bernardino shooters pledged allegiance to Islamic jihad on Facebook.

“Had they checked out Tashfeen Malik … maybe those people in San Bernardino would be alive,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, who supports a program for reviewing social media sites of foreigners applying for a visa.

Feds, Tribal Officials Bust Up Meth Trafficking on Reservation with 34 People Charged

Mescalero Apache Reservation, via Wikipedia.

Mescalero Apache Reservation, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA and tribal officials cracked down on methamphetamine trafficking on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico following an 18-month investigation, filing drug charges against 34 suspects, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports. 

The sting dismantled there drug trafficking organizations and led to the seizure of more than 22 pounds of methamphetamine.

The investigation began after an increase in drug-related violent crime on the reservation of 4,000 people.

“Given the disproportionate negative impact that methamphetamine has on our tribal communities, the significance of the results of this investigation cannot be overstated,” U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said. “More than 75 percent of law enforcement agencies that work in Indian Country identify methamphetamine as the greatest drug threat faced by tribal communities.”

A whopping 40% of the violent crimes committed on the reservation involved meth, Martinez said.

Other Stories of Interest

Updated: Washington Post Reports That Story About Escaped Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Threatening to ‘Destroy’ ISIS Is a Hoax

'El Chapo' Guzman

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

Updated: Monday, 11:37 a.m. — The Washington Post reports that a number of publications including Forbes, New York Post and Fox News Latino, were duped when it reported that escaped Mexican Drug Lord  Drug Lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman had fired off an angry email to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The paper reports that the story started as joke and apparently spun out of control. Ticklethewire.com reported the story, using information from Forbes.

The paper reported:

Most English-language accounts of the story trace its origins to Cartel Blog, a small publication which published a report detailing Guzmán’s alleged email to Baghdadi on Monday. “It turns out a Mexican blogger leaked the message after it was sent email encrypted directly to the Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, a prominent ISIS leader,” the unnamed author of the post writes. “The blogger has intimate ties with actual Sinaloa cartel members, so it looks as if the warning is indeed legit.”

The Post goes on to report:

However, it appears that the email appeared first on an American website called Thug Life Videos on Nov. 30, a website that publishes a mixture of music videos, news and satire. The story is quite clearly the latter. “We write funny ‘satire’ stories occasionally which we assume are taken as jokes, and generally they are,” Steve Charnock, a writer for Thug Life Videos, told Snopes.com. “Maybe I didn’t make this El Chapo story funny or weird enough, though. Or I just have an uncanny ability to ape how Mexican drug cartel kingpins talk.”

____________________________________

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It sounds like the plot of an action-packed movie: An escaped Mexican drug lord is threatening to take on the world’s most hated terrorists.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the escaped boss of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel, has threatened to eliminate ISIS for destroying drug shipments to Middle East countries, Forbes reports. 

Guzman reportedly sent a harshly-worded email to the head of ISIS, Abu Bakd Badhdadi, threatening to wipe out the terrorist group.

“My men will destroy you. The world is not yours to dictate. I pity the next son of a whore who tries to interfere with the business of the Sinaloa Cartel. I will have their  heart and tongue torn from them.”

He added: “You [ISIS] are not soldiers. You are nothing but lowly p *ssies. Your god cannot save you from the true terror that my men will levy at you if you continue to impact my operation.”

Federal investigators have not yet been able to authenticate the threat.

“I don’t have any information to weigh in either way,” DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne told Forbes.

ISIS is opposed to drug use and reportedly has destroyed shipments wending their way through Iraq and Syria.

FBI Investigates Mentally Unstable Friend of San Bernardino Shooters

San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a friend of the San Bernardino shooters to determine whether he was involved or assisted in the attack, the Washington Post reports.

Soon after the holiday party massacre, Enrique Marquez checked himself into a mental-health facility.

Authorities said he is cooperating and that Marquez acknowledged he was planning an attack with Syed Rizwan Farook in 2012 but backed off after four local men were arrested for plotting to kill Americans in Afghanistan.

Officials don’t believe he had prior knowledge of the holiday party attack, but he still faces the possibility of being charged.