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Archive for November, 2017

FBI: Air Controller Jailed on Charges of Possessing a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Paul George Dandan, via police

Paul George Dandan, via police

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A air traffic controller at Charlotte Douglas International Airport is in jail after the FBI alleged he was in possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

Paul George Dandan, 30, was arrested Friday in Charlotte and charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, WCNC-Charlotte reports. He’s in jail under a $45,000 bond.

The FBI, which is helping Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police investigate the case, said they don’t expect federal charges to be filed at this time.

The FAA terminated Dandan’s access to the airport following his arrest.

Authorities have not described the type of weapon Dandan possessed.

Border Patrol Losing More Agents Than It Can Replace, Underscoring Hiring Challenges

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol is losing more agents than it can replace, causing “significant challenges” in hiring and training new personnel.

Two eye-opening reports from the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security and the Government Accountability Office underscore the difficulties of meeting ambitious hiring goals set by President Trump, the Los Angels Times reports

The GAO report indicates that staffing levels fall below the 2011 congressional mandate of 21,370 agents. As of May, the agency had 19,500 agents, or 1,870 fewer than required.

Between 2013-16, Border Patrol hired an average of 523 agents a year to replace the annual exodus of 904.

The reports indicate fewer agents are hired because of better pay at competing agencies, a difficult hiring process that requires a polygraph exam and assignments that involve working in remote location near the border.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI’s Gun Background Checks Are Missing Millions of Problematic Cases

background checkBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Millions of people who should be barred from legally buying guns may still be eligible to purchase a firearm because government agencies are failing to alert the FBI’s background-check system of citizens with criminal convictions and mental illnesses.

The Air Force, for example, acknowledged it erred by failing to notify the FBI of the Texas church shooter who killed 26 people earlier this month. The gunman had been court-martialed on charges of beating his wife and child. He also escaped a mental health institution after threatening to kill superiors.

The Air Force’s failure to flag the former airman is part of a larger systemic breakdown in which government agencies are failing to forward criminal records and mental health diagnoses to the FBI gun background checks, the Washington Post reports

The FBI is uncertain how widespread the problem is, but the NRA estimates about 7 million records are missing from the system, according to a 2013 report by the nonprofit National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. The reported found that “at least 25% of felony convictions … are not available” to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Lies and Watergate

FBI Missed Critical 48-Hour Window to Open Church Shooter’s iPhone

IPhone 6By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI failed to ask Apple to help unlock the iPhone of the Texas church shooter in the two days following the massacre that left 26 people dead.

Apple, which has refused to offer help unlocking encrypted phones in the past, said it offered to assist the FBI but agents never reached out, Business Insider reports

“Our team immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference Tuesday that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone,” Apple said in a statement. “We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us.”

The phone, instead, was sent to a lab for analysis.

As a result, the FBI lost 48 hours without locking the device by using the finger prints of the shooter, Devin Kelley, if the phone was fingerprint-access enabled.

That’s significant because iPhones locked with a fingerprint for 48 hours or more require the user’s passcode.

The FBI declined to comment.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuits Requiring More Thorough Search of Clinton’s Emails

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge for the second time has dismissed a pair of lawsuits that would have required the State Department and FBI to do more to track down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled the FBI has done all it reasonably can to recover Clinton’s emails, the Washington Times reports

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2015 by two watchdogs, Judicial Watch and Cause of Action, demanded a more thorough effort to recover all of Clinton’s emails, claiming she violated open-records laws by failing to retain her messages.

“Those efforts went well beyond the mine-run search for missing federal records … and were largely successful, save for some emails sent during a two-month stretch. Even then, the FBI pursued every imaginable avenue to recover the missing emails,” wrote Judge Boasberg, an Obama appointee to the court.

It was the second time the case was dismissed, but a higher court reversed the original findings, saying the government had a responsibility to “shake loose a few more emails.”

Alert Off-Duty FBI Agent Busts 4 Suspects Breaking into Cars in Michigan

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An alert off-duty FBI agent busted three teenagers and an adult who were breaking into cars in the Detroit suburb of Lyon Township.

The agent called Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies after he spotted suspicious-looking occupants of a Ford Taurus peering into parked cars and checking to see if the doors were unlocked, The Oakland Press reports

Arrested were two 17-year-old girls, a 17-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man.

Deputies searched the car with permission from the owner and found several wallets, work boots, a backpack, medical equipment and a concealed-weapon permit.

Authorities believe two of the suspects were involved in a string of other vehicle break-ins.

Air Force Admits Missing Chances to Prevent Church Shooter from Buying Guns

airforceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Air Force took responsibility for not alerting the FBI to the Texas church shooter’s domestic violence-related convictions, a failure that allowed former Airman Devin Kelley to purchase guns.

Had the Air Force reported the incidents to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, he would have been barred from buying a firearm.

“The offenses for which the shooter in Texas was court-martialed should have been reported, and that’s why we launched a full-scale review of this case, and all others like it,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson told reporters on Thursday, ABC News reports.

The failure has prompted several investigations. In addition to the Air Force’s internal probe, the Department of Defense Inspector General is investigating all military branches to see if there is a pattern of failing to report violent crimes to NCIC.

“We are looking at all of our databases, and if we have problems that we find, we’ll fix them,” Wilson said. “Our approach here is to act in accordance with our values, which include integrity and excellence, and that’s the way we’re proceeding.”

In 2012, Kelley was court-martialed while serving in the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child. He served a year in confinement and received a bad conduct discharge.

That information was never passed on.