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Archive for April 19th, 2022

TSA Stops Enforcing Mask Mandate After Federal Judge Strikes it Down

By Steve Neavling

By Steve Neavling

The TSA stopped enforcing its mask mandate on planes, trains and other forms of public transportation after a federal judge struck down the requirement. 

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the Middle District in Florida said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority and failed to adequately explains its reason for the mandate, Politico reports.

“It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of Covid-19,” Mizelle wrote. “In pursuit of that end, the CDC issued the mask mandate. But the mandate exceeded the CDC statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions. Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in the pursuit of desirable ends, the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate.”

The Biden administration has not yet determined how it will respond to the ruling, but for now, masks won’t be required on planes, trains and other forms of transportation. 

“Today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time,” an administration official said. “Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time. CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.”

Spencer Evans Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office

FBI Special Agent in Charge Spencer Evans

By Steve Neavling

Spencer L. Evans has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office. 

Before the appointment, he served as a deputy assistant director in the Human Resources Division at FBI headquarters.

Evans’ career with the FBI began in 2004, when he was assigned to the New Haven Field Office in Connecticut, investigating white-collar crime and health care fraud. He moved to the San Diego Field Office in 2008 to investigate health care fraud, international terrorism, issues stemming from Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and other violations. He also served as a crisis negotiator for the FBI and the San Diego Police Department.

In 2011, Evans became supervisory special agent and served a joint-duty assignment to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Fusion Center in Merrifield, Virginia. In 2012, he became unit chief in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters.

In 2014, Evans became supervisory senior resident agent for three offices under the Jacksonville Field Office in Florida. He oversaw bureau operations for 10 counties in northwest Florida, managing the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Child Exploitation Task Force, and Financial Crimes Task Force. He also was Jacksonville’s domestic terrorism program coordinator.

In 2016, Evans became assistant special agent in charge of the Oklahoma City Field Office, where he oversaw programs including cyber, intelligence, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, crisis response, and community outreach.

In 2019, he became section chief of the Office of Private Sector at FBI headquarters, where he oversaw the bureau’s strategic engagement with the private and academia sectors. 

In 2020, he was appointed to deputy assistant director of the Human Resources Division, where he was in charge of the sections responsible for employee health, performance, payroll, benefits, and leadership selection.

Before the FBI, Evans worked in the banking industry. He received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Brigham Young University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California.