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Archive for December, 2016

NTSB Blames Air Traffic Controllers, Pilots for Deadly Crash in San Diego in 2015

national border patrol councilBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A deadly mid-air collision between two planes in San Diego in 2015 was the fault of pilots and air traffic controllers, the National Transportation Safety Board reports.

The new report lays most of the blame on air traffic controllers, 10 News reports. 

Moments before the collision between a Sabreliner jet and a Cessna, which killed five people, an air traffic control trainee was overwhelmed while getting on-the-job training.

A controller is limited to handling seven aircraft, but on this day, the workload was nine. NTSB concluded that the controller told the pilot of the Cessna to make a 360-degree turn, which resulted in the collision.

Some of the blame also belongs to the pilots, who could have avoided the collision, the report states. The pilots should have shown more “situational awareness,” which would have enabled them to “take evasive action in time to avert the collision.”

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Apprehensions Plummeted 93% in California Since 1996

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of people caught trying to slip across the border from Mexico to California has declined a whopping 93% since 1996.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Border apprehensions in the area dropped from roughly 550,000 in 1996 to 39,000 in 2015, citing data from Homeland Security. 

Illegal immigration has plummeted everywhere along the Mexican border, largely because of increased enforcement.

According to the Pew Research Center, more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than flocking here.

Ex-Bush Aide Is Trump’s Top Contender for Homeland Security And Counterterrorism Adviser

Tim Bossert

Tim Bossert

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump’s top contender for homeland security and counterterrorism adviser is Tom Bossert, a former top George W. Bush aide, two senior transition officials told Politico

Trump met with Bossert at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Thursday. He was joined by national security advisor Michael Flynn, incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

If appointed, he would replace Lisa Monaco, who holds the position under President Obama.

Bossert currently is a fellow at the Atlantic Council. 

Under Bush, Bossert served as deputy homeland security adviser.

DEA Survivor Benefit Fund Helps Son of Deceased Task Force Cop Become St. Louis County Officer

sbf-dea-badge-web

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In November 1993, St. Louis Police officer Stephen Strehl, 35, was killed in a helicopter crash during a training operation in Jefferson County with the DEA. He was a passenger and a member of the DEA task force.

On Dec. 13, Strehl’s son Joseph Strehl graduated from the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy at the Maritz Center in Fenton, Missouri, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was two at the time of his father’s death.

In the audience was his mother and almost  two dozen DEA agents, known as Group 32. Some of the agents knew the elder Strehl and others “only knew the stories of Steve Strehl,”  DEA analyst Tony Wagner, who once supervised Strehl as the lieutenant of the city’s narcotics division, tells the newspaper.

Part of the story is also that the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund ended up helping Joseph Strehl pay for his education after his father’s passing.

In 2014, Joseph wrote:

My dad was a police officer for the city of St. Louis when he was killed in the line of duty while attached to a DEA task force back in 1993. His death happened 6 days before my third birthday and having grown up without a father early on in my life was especially hard on me seeing friends spending time with their dads and having them come to school events like field trips and sporting events. It wasn’t until 9 years later when my mom remarried and my brothers had a father figure in our lives.

When it came time to start applying for colleges in high school, I began to wonder how I would pay for my education like most of my friends. I had asked my parents what I had to do so I could attend a university in the state when my mom told me that I wouldn’t deal with financial aid. She then showed me the DEA’s Survivors Benefit Fund and what the organization does along with explaining to me that my education was covered due to the fact that my dad had been a task force officer.

I am very grateful to the Survivor’s Benefit Fund for making it possible for me, as a student, not to have to worry about how I will pay for my education. With my tuition and book costs covered by the SBF, I can concentrate solely on my classes and earning good grades along with not having to worry about loans or other debt when I graduate from college.

I miss my dad every day and I know that there isn’t anything in the world that can bring him back but with the Survivor’s Benefit Fund we can always remember that there are good people willing to help out families like mine when they lose a loved one. As a junior attending Missouri State University studying Criminology hoping to someday make it to grad school, I wanted to thank everyone at the SBF and supporters for giving me the opportunity to advance my education and future endeavors.

 

FBI: Ex-Gymnastics Team Doctor Found with 37,000 Images, Videos of Child Pornography

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents found at least 37,000 images and videos of child pornography on hard drives in the garbage can of a longtime USA gymnastics doctor in the Lansing, Mich. area.  

The FBI also found videos that showed 53-year-old Larry Nassar sexually assaulting girls under the age of 12, the USA Today reports. 

The former Michigan State University doctor was charged with two counts of child pornography in federal court.

Nasser was the team physician for USA Gymnastics until he was fired in September.

An MSU spokesman said in a statement, “The current (federal) charges do not relate to Nassar’s employment at MSU. Also, according to MSU Police, the investigation into the child pornography charges has not revealed any images of victims in the complaints of criminal sexual conduct that the department also is investigating.”

Homeland Security Analyst Pleads Guilty to Making Illegal Gun Silencers

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Homeland Security analyst who carried a gun, knife, handcuffs, pepper spray and an infrared camera into the agency’s headquarters in June pleaded guilty Wednesday to making illegal silencers.

Jonathan Wienke faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after authorities also found explosives and gun silencers at his Martinsburg home in West Virginia, the Associated Press reports. 

Wienke likely won’t serve anywhere close to 10 years in prison because of a deal with prosecutors for a reduced sentence.

Authorities said there was “no indication” that Wienke planned violence in the workplace.

Greenbelt, Maryland Eyed As Location of New FBI Headquarters in 2017

Current FBI headquarters

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new FBI headquarters likely will be built in Maryland in 2017, a source on Capitol Hill told FOX 5

Maryland and Virginia were under consideration for a new headquarters to replace the current one, which is cramped and not equipped to handle modern-day technology.

The new location would be Greenbelt, Maryland. 

Congress approved $834 million for the new building, which is expected to cost $2.1 billion.

FBI Agent’s Leaks to Media May Have Upended Case Against Las Vegas Gambler

Las Vegas gambler William Walters on 60 Minutes.

Las Vegas gambler William Walters on 60 Minutes.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s case against Las Vegas gambler William Walters may be derailed after a federal agent admitted leaking confidential information to reporters.

A judge on Wednesday criticized the agent and indicated that Walters’ lawyers would file a motion to dismiss the major insider trading case, the New York Times reports. 

“To say I was shocked would be an accurate statement,” Judge P. Kevin Castel of Federal District Court in Manhattan said of the leaks.

Walters is accused of raking in $40 million by using illegal stock tips.

An FBI agent admitted to prosecutors that he was a “significant source of confidential information” for reporters writing about the investigation.