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FBI Definition of Rape to Include Men for First Time

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For 85 years, the official definition of rape did not include men.

That’s changing.

The FBI is changing that definition to include sexual assault of males, USA Today reports.

“Under the current definition, established 85 years ago, many of the sex crimes alleged in the ongoing prosecution of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky would not be counted in the bureau’s Uniform Crime Report, one of the most reliable measures of crime in the United States,” USA Today’s Kevin Johnson writes.

USA Today reports that the rape is currently defined as “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.”

To read more click here.

Memorial Fund Established for NY ATF Agent John Capano

John Capano/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A memorial fund has been set up for ATF agent John Capano of New York who was killed New Year’s Eve day while attempting to stop an armed robbery of a pharmacy in Long Island where he had gone to fill a cancer medication for his ailing father.

The primary purpose of the fund is to provide monies for his son’s and daughter’s college education. His son is attending Northeastern University and his daughter is a high school student.

Individual and corporate donations can be made out to Special Agent John Capano Memorial Fund and sent to the Federal Drug Agents Foundation, 380 North Broadway, Suite 203, Jericho, NY 11753. Donations to the fund are tax deductible.

Authorities suspect that Capano was killed by friendly fire from a retired cop who had come to his rescue after he began struggling with the robber.

The funeral is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. at the St. William the Abbot Roman Catholic Church in Seaford, N.Y. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. is scheduled to speak at the funeral.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

More Shakeups at ATF Over Fast and Furious

By Danny Fenster and Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Now comes more shakeups at ATF over the controversial program Fast and Furious.

ATF confirmed Thursday that three officials have been detailed to headquarters in non-operational positions pending the outcome of an Inspector General report into the Fast and Furious program, which encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen, all with the hopes of tracking the weapons to the cartels. Some guns surfaced at crime scenes, causing a furor on Capitol Hill.

The latest shakeup was first reported by the website Sipsey Street Irregulars.

Those transferred to headquarters included: William Hoover, the acting head of the Washington Field office; Mark Chait, head of the Baltimore field division,  and  William McMahon, the deputy assistant director of the ATF’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations.

Scot Thomasson, chief spokesman for ATF issued a statement on the matter, saying:

“Taking into consideration the depth and breadth of the Fast and Furious investigation a decision to detail ATF Deputy Assistant Director William McMahon, Special Agents in Charge William Hoover and Mark Chait from operational positions with oversight responsibilities to non-operational positions was made by the Deputy Director Thomas Brandon. These new assignments will remain in effect pending the outcome of the OIG investigation.”

Interestingly, the three had already been transferred once before as a result of Fast and Furious.

Before the first transfer, Hoover was the acting Deputy Director of the ATF, the number 2 spot;  Chait was the Assistant Director in Charge of Field Operations and McMahon was Deputy Assistant Director of Field Operations.

The Fast and Furious Operation is still stirring controversy in Washington.

US Attorey General Eric Holder is expected to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding Operation Fast and Furious on Feb. 2.

Mexcan Drug Lord Pleads Guilty in San Diego

Border fence along Juarez-El Paso border/istock photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The one-time Mexican leader of “one of the most notorious multi-national drug trafficking organizations to ever exist” pleaded guilty to a variety of charges in a federal court in San Diego on Wednesday, according to the FBI.

Benjamin Arellan-Felix was the leader of the Tijuana Cartel/Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO) from 1986 until his arrest in Mexico in 2002. He was extradited last April 29 from Mexico to the U.S.

The group controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs into the Unites States from the border towns of Tijuana and Mexicali, says the FBI, with operations extending south into Mexico and Colombia as well.

“The plea today marks the end of the Arellano-Felix drug trafficking organization as we know it,” said William R. Sherman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA in San Diego. The plea is the latest in a string of convictions against members of the AFO, including Arturo Paez-Martinez in 2002, Ismael and Gilberto Higuera-Guerrero in 2007, Javier Arellano-Felix in 2007 and Jesus Labra-Aviles in 2010.

“The AFO has been effectively dismantled and no longer poses the same threat to the people of the United States or Mexico,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy.

Slain ATF Agent Honored at Childhood Schools

John Capano/atf photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The flags flew at half mast this week at the school district where  ATF John Capano attended.

Capano was fatally shot Dec. 31 when he tried to interfere with a robbery occurring at the Long Island pharmacy where he was picking his father’s cancer medication. Authorities suspect he was accidentally shot by a retired cop who came to his rescue.

In the Seaford School District, in Seaford, New York, Capano was honored as all U.S.  flags were placed at half-mast, the Massapequa Patch reports. At a Seaford Board of Education meeting on Thursday night, a moment of silence is also planned in honor of the former ATF agent.

Brian Conboy, Seaford Superintendent of Schools, told the Patch he remembers growing up with Capano, running into him in recent years at a local 7-11 and catching up on old times.

“He had very strong ties to the community,” Conboy said. “He comes from a very community-minded family.” The two attended school together at the former Seaford Avenue Elementary school and were in Boy Scouts and Little League together, according to Patch.

To read more click here.

Atty. General Holder to Testify on Fast and Furious

Atty. Gen. Holder on the Hill/ttw photo via C-Span

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is it Groundhog Day — as in the Bill Murray film?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will once again testify on Feb. 2 before Congress where he’s gotten a grilling in the past several months on ATF’s controversial gun walking operation “Fast and Furious.”

Rep. Darrell Issa’s office fired off a press release announcing the appearance, and indicated it’s the first one for Holder that will be exclusively focus on  Fast and Furious. In previous appearances, he’s also addressed other issues.

This is the third time Holder will have testified before congressional panels since November.

Holder will appear before Issa’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“The Department of Justice’s conduct in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious has been nothing short of shameful,” said Issa in a statement.

“From its initial denials that nothing improper occurred, to efforts to silence whistleblowers who wanted to tell Congress what really happened, to its continuing refusal to discuss or share documents related to this cover-up, the Justice Department has fought tooth and nail to hide the full truth about what occurred and what senior officials knew. Attorney General Holder must explain or reverse course on decisions that appear to put the careers of political appointees ahead of the need for accountability and the Department’s integrity.”

To read more click here.

 

Connecticut to Ramp-Up Racial Profiling Reporting Following Justice Dept. Report

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Things are about to change in Connecticut.

Following the Justice Department’s discovery of a pattern of discrimination in one town, law enforcement officials have announced they will ramp up efforts to crack down on racial profiling, Fox News Latino reports.

Police Departments are supposed to track potential racial profiling by officers based on a 1999 law, but for years, says FOX, many departments in Connecticut did not submit reports.

Now, Connecticut officials are promising to ramp up enforcement following the recent release of details of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that found discrimination against Latino residents by East Haven Police.

The governor, Dannel P. Malloy, said he is directing his staff to collect required traffic stop data including the race and ethnicity of those pulled over, then submit that to “an appropriate outside evaluator” to analyze. Only one such report has been done in 10 years in Connecticut.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

 

At FBI, Hope for Injured Soldiers Returning Home

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

It was an IED that did it for Povas Miknaitis.

After an initial deployment to Iraq in 2008, he was later sent to Afghanistan as a Marine rifleman. In Afghanistan, an IED blast sent shrapnel flying; some hit his arm and abdomen; larger pieces struck his face, shattering his jaw and blowing his right ear clean off of his head.

“Part of my mouth was missing,”  Miknaitis tells ticklethewire.com. “It just broke my jaw completely.”

It was in a hospital, recovering from the blast in 2009, that Miknaitis heard about an FBI training program for injured soldiers called Wounded Warriors. He began filling out paperwork and initiating the process of joining the bureau’s Wounded Warriors internship program. In 2011, when the program was launched, he landed a spot in a program that seems to be taking off.

So far, so good.

Of the 21 soldiers who have completed various internships, two have been hired full time; one as a clerk and another in IT. Another 43 are currently serving as interns, 78 are being processed and more are in line pending a funding evaluation, says FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson. Interns work in a variety of capacities, from logistics, intelligence, investigations to computer- and technology-focused jobs.

“Our goal is to give them working experience and the clearances they need,” to get back to work, says Thoreson. “We think this is a really wonderful program. It’s really helping people get their lives back.”

The San Diego field office, where Miknaitis interned, is among the few offices that are participating in the program. Others include the Washington Field Office, Sacramento, Charlotte and the FBI’s International Operations Division, Operational Technology Division, and Laboratory.

As expected, landing a spot with the FBI — even a temporary one — requires an intensive background check.

“This was not the same background check I went through for the military,” says Miknaitis. Agents called friends and family of his. “I had relatives calling me from Chicago asking if I was okay, saying the FBI had called asking questions about me,” he recollects.

Once Miknaitis was cleared, he began he began an internship researching cases for ongoing FBI investigations. “I was always interested in law enforcement,” he says, “and the internship program really let me learn a lot more about it. It got me employed while I was still recovering.”

Miknaitis still spends much of his time at a San Diego hospital. “It takes a while to go through the treatment, for the doctors to make sure they have done absolutely everything they can,” he says.

The program had its genesis in November of 2009, when president Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518. That order focused on employing veterans in the federal government. The following July, president Obama signed Executive Order 13548, which focused on increasing the number of federal employee hires with disabilities.

As for Miknaitis, he’s grateful for the experience, but learned that the FBI might not be for him.

“I want to be able to go home and talk about my work,” he says, “not to have to say, ‘well, I really can’t talk about that honey, that’s classified information.”

After much physical therapy and plastic surgery, Miknaitis is doing well and poised to begin school in the fall, possibly for sports medicine, he says.

“I actually got pretty lucky,” he says. “If you saw my face and my body after the injury, you would not think I would have come out looking this good afterword.” He remains deaf in his right ear, but he and his doctors have spoken about cochlear implants in the future.

More than 47,000 soldiers have been injured in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.