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ICE Dir. John Morton Vows to Go After Mexican Gunmen Who Killed One Agent and Wounded Another

Dir. John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on Tuesday vowed to go after the gunmen who fatally shot ICE agent Jaime J. Zapata and wounded agent Victor Avila in an ambush along a road in Mexico last week.

“Together, the United States and Mexico will bring the long, hard arm of the law down on Jaime and Victor’s shooters,” Morton told a crowd at the funeral of Zapata’s at the Brownsville Events Center in Brownsville, Tex. Agent Avila was shot twice in the leg.

“Together we will look after our people. Together we will continue to see that Jaime and Victor’s work is done and that the rule of law triumphs over lawlessness and empty violence. There is no other way. Acquiescing to the rule of criminals consigns our children, Mexico’s children to a hopeless and empty path. My friends: no retreat, no compromise. Our cause is just, our cause is right, there is no other way.”

Morton, who was joined by other dignitaries including Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, continued, according to the text of his speech:

“Jaime died at the hands of gunmen on a highway in the state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, a long, long way from home. His death was a dark moment – an unspeakable loss for his parents, for his four brothers, for his fiancé Stacye. It was also a dark day for ICE and all of Jaime’s fellow agents and officers.”

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata /ice photo

“I submit to you, however, that as dark as this moment is, Jaime’s life is really all about light. Everyone in this room will eventually meet his or her Maker, and the real question on that day won’t be how we died but how we lived. When it’s my turn, I want to say that I lived like Jaime.”

Nearly 1000 mourners filled the Brownsville Events Center for the mass, according to The Brownsville Herald.  Zapata came from a family of law enforcement members. His father was in law enforcement and one brothers works at ICE and , another in Customs and Border Protection.

Attorney General Holder remarked: “Like so many others who serve this nation in law enforcement, Agent Zapata could have chosen an easier path through life.

“But he was always drawn to public service – and to the work of protecting his fellow citizens and defending America’s security. And he was willing to give what Abraham Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion” to the nation that he loved – and to the struggle for peace and the cause of justice, within and beyond our borders.”

Column: America Needs to Better Educate Citizens on Basic Counterterrorism

Erroll G. Southers is the Associate Director of the DHS National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) and adjunct professor of homeland security and public policy at the University of Southern California. He is also the Managing Director of Counter-Terrorism and Infrastructure Protection for the San Jose-based international security consulting firm TAL Global Corporation.

By Erroll Southers
Guest Contributor for Security DeBrief

QUIZ: Two crowded restaurants, each one in a different country; two unattended bags, each near the door of one of the restaurants. In one restaurant, patrons ignore the bag. In the other restaurant, a patron reports the bag to an employee. Name the location of each restaurant.

One such location could be the United States. In America, very little counter-terrorism education occurs and terrorism awareness is low.

The public is informed in a reactive, viral delivery, the result of the latest video terror threat or subsequent to the next thwarted plot (if we remain lucky). The current government’s messaging either scares people or tells them nothing. They need neither.

The other location could be the United Kingdom. There, the government, homeland security professionals, educators, and municipal leaders engage in a constant, intelligent awareness and action dialogue with their constituents. Citizens at all levels become better informed with the key element of societal resilience – meaningful information.

The point America has been missing is the engagement of its biggest and best resource: the public.

To read more click here.

Fed Prosecutors Say Case Should Move Forward Against Pitching Legend Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens/file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. is essentially telling a federal judge it’s time to play ball and move forward in the prosecution of legendary baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, who is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 about his steroid use.

Prosecutors filed a brief on Friday in Washington saying the defense has offered no good reason to dismiss charges and is “wrong legally and factually,” according to the Associated Press.

AP reported that Clemens claimed in a motion filed last month that the  indictment is vague and contains far too many separate accusations of lying in one count.

Trial is set for July.

Read Government Filing

Legal Wrangling in ex-Cong. Jefferson’s Conviction Continues; Oral Arguments Set for May

file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nearly six years after the FBI launched a sting and 1 1/2 years after he was convicted on public corruption charges, the legal wrangling goes on and ex-New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson remains a free man.

The latest: Oral arguments for Jefferson’s appeal in the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., have been set for the week of May 10, according to Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The paper reports that, according to experts, a three-judge panel could issue a ruling by the summer, but that’s not likely to resolve the matter considering the losing side will appeal that ruling.

Jefferson was convicted in August 2009 of 11 of 16 corruption-related counts and was subsequently hit with a 13 year sentence. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria, Va., has allowed Jefferson to remain free pending his appeal.

The paper also reported that the 4th Circuit granted a Justice Department request to allow its attorneys 21,000 words in the appellate brief instead of the normal 14,000 word limit.

Atty. Gen. Holder Says Slain Dep. Marshal Hotsinpiller Inspired

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Before a massive crowd at the Simpson Baptist Church in Bridgeport, W. Va., Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. on Monday offered condolences at the funeral of slain Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller.

“At just 24-years-old, Derek had become an important part of the Marshals Service team – and a proud member of what he called “the nation’s greatest law enforcement agency,” Holder said, according the text of his speech.

“And though we grieve for all that Derek could have – and surely would have – become, there is much to celebrate in the life that he lived, in the example that he set, and in the inspiration that he will continue to provide us.

“Derek’s career, like his entire life, was distinguished by a passion for serving others; for helping people in need; and for using his intellectual and athletic gifts to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

“As a teenager at Bridgeport High School, Derek was already dreaming of a career in law enforcement and of a life spent using his talents to assist and empower others.”

“Like his father, Lieutenant Jim Hotsinpiller, who for three decades was a proud member of the Bridgeport Police Department; and like his brother, Detective Dustin Hotsinpiller – Derek set his sights on serving others and improving the community that he loved.”

Thousands showed up for the funeral, and hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the country watched the service on closed circuit TV at a local high school, according to the State Journal newspaper. Others watched the service at local teachers.

Hotsinpiller was shot and killed by a man who was wanted on drug charges. He and two other deputy Marshals had gone to the house to serve a warrant.  The other two deputies were shot and wounded and the suspect was shot dead.

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Recent Deaths of 3 Fed Agents Highlight Growing Danger of the Job

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The shooting deaths of two federal agents last week and three in two months highlight the heightened risk to federal investigators who are confronting increasingly violent fugitives, drug traffickers and other criminals, authorities said.

The killing of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in Mexico on Tuesday was followed by the slaying of a deputy U.S. marshal in West Virginia on Wednesday, an unusual confluence of events that left officials deeply troubled. A Border Patrol agent was fatally shot in Arizona in December.

The killings, while not connected, come amid a broadening federal role in fighting violent crime that was once left mainly to state authorities, investigators said. Federal-state task forces on violent crime have multiplied since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, bringing federal agents in closer contact with dangerous criminals. And the government says it is pouring resources into fighting drug trafficking and other crimes along the border with Mexico.

“You’re seeing feds playing a much more active role in fighting violent crime, and that’s putting us in harm’s way,” said Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

To read more click here.

Names Released of 2 Dep. Marshals Wounded in W. Va.

Dep. U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The two deputy U.S. Marshals wounded last week in West Virginia while serving a warrant have been identified as Supervisory Deputy Marshal Alex Neville and deputy marshal Fred Frederick, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.

A third deputy Marshal, Derek Hotsinpiller, was killed, as was the gunman Charles E. Smith, who was wanted on drug charges. Hotsinpiller was shot in the neck.

The paper reported that Neville underwent surgery Wednesday at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown and was expected to full recovery. Frederick was treated at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins and released.

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Blago Attorneys Move to Bar All FBI Recordings in 2nd Trial

Blagojevich as governor/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

We’re starting to enter the Rod Blagojevich Zone when the motions start flowing in, when the news heats up as the second trial approaches for the former Illinois government.

The latest: Blagojevich’s  attorneys  on Monday asked a federal judge in Chicago to bar all FBI wiretapped conversations in trial, saying they are unreliable and out of context, the Associated Press reported.

Lawyers argue that the recordings made days before his Dec. 9, 2008 arrest contain gaps that put things out of context.

The trial, which promises to be another circus, is set for April 20 in downtown Chicago. Blagojevich was convicted in  the first trial on only one of 24 counts — lying to an FBI agent. The case was an embarrassment to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.

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