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Homeland Security Official Grilled Over Screening Visas for Potential Terrorism Ties

lvisasBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Homeland Security official was grilled by a House committee over the lack of social media screening for people trying to enter the U.S. on visas for refugees, The San Francisco Gate reports. 

Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that checking social media in refugee cases often yields little results.

Congress wants to know how thoroughly the U.S. examines the backgrounds of people seeking to come to the country.

The issue has taken on an urgency after it was discovered that one of the San Bernardino shooters came to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé visa in July 2014 after passing multiple background checks.

The FBI said Tashfeen Malik never publicly posted her allegiance to jihad on Facebook but instead sent private messages.

Editorial: ATF gun-trace records Are ‘Horribly Outdated’

By Editorial Board
Capital-Journal

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issued a report to support the contention 90 percent of guns used in United States crimes could be traced to 5 percent of gun dealers.

To emphasize the point, the Washington, D.C., gun-control advocacy organization released a list of the 50 “most despicable” dealers among 3,000 bad apples in the business. The Kansas business on the roster was Shawnee Gun Shop Inc. Allegedly, 588 guns were traced to the store during a five-year period.

There is a glaring problem with the list touted by the Brady Center. It is horribly outdated. Gun traces involving Shawnee Gun Shop and noted by the Brady Center occurred from 1996 to 2000. The location of the store on Robinson Street in Johnson County is now home to a different entity: Bullet Hole Shooting Range.

The Brady Center can’t legitimately anchor policy advocacy on information so antiquated. It is not remotely fair.

The solution is for Congress and the president to repeal a federal law named for former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt. The Kansas Republican authored the Tiahrt Amendment, which blocks public release of specific federal crime gun data under the Freedom of Information Act. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives performs traces on firearms at request of law enforcement agencies. The information has been beyond reach of anyone other than investigators or prosecutors involved in criminal inquiries since the early 2000s.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Enrique Marquez, Friend of San Bernardino Terrorist, Charged in California

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 6.33.36 PM

By Lee Ferran
ABCNEWS.com

Four years before Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people at an office party in San Bernardino, Farook plotted with his old friend and neighbor Enrique Marquez to kill as many people as possible during a “rush hour” attack on a highway in California, according to the FBI.

The late 2011 or early 2012 plot was detailed for the first time today in a criminal complaint filed against Marquez, who authorities said admitted the plans during a 10-day questioning session with the FBI after the San Bernardino shootings earlier this month.

According to the complaint, Marquez told the FBI that he had converted to Islam in 2007 and was pushed towards radical Islamic material by his friend and neighbor Farook. In late 2011, the two decided to strike in the U.S., and discussed whether they should attack a local community college and busy California highway, SR-91.

Marquez allegedly pointed out to federal agents exactly where the attack on the highway was supposed to have taken place and how it would go down.

To read the full story click here.

A Chat With A DEA Official About Detroit’s Drug Trade and the Influence of the Mexican Cartels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Carlos L. Mitchem II knows about the drug trade.

He’s been a Drug Enforcement Administration agent since 1991, and has been posted in places like Chicago and Tucson and in some of the world’s hot spots,  Mexico and Colombia, where major drug cartels have flourished.

More than four years ago, he came to Detroit where he was named an assistant special agent in charge.

Times have changed over the years in Detroit. The big drug gangs like Young Boy Inc. no longer exist. Mitchem says the gangs are smaller and try to fly under the radar of law enforcement.

Mitchem, who sat down the other day with Allan Lengel, talks about the rise in popularity of heroin in the area and the presence of Mexican cartels in town.

FBI Director: San Bernardino Shooters Did Not Publicly Support Jihad on Social Media

San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James B. Comey sought Wednesday to clear up confusion about reports that at least one of the San Bernardino shooters used social media to promote jihad.

Comey said the husband and wife were “showing signs in their communication of their joint commitment to jihad and to martyrdom” in private messages, not publicly posted ones, the Washington Post reports. 

“Those communications are direct, private messages,” Comey said during a news conference here. “So far, in this investigation we have found no evidence of posting on social media by either of them at that period in time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seensome reporting on that, and that’s a garble.”

Comey’s comments contradict assertions made during the Republican presidential debate Tuesday and a report by the New York Times that one of the shooters “talked openly on social media” about jihad. 

Comey declined to say which social media sites were used to pass on private messages.

San Bernardino Shooters Buried at Traditional, FBI-Guarded Funeral

koranBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino, killing 14 people, were buried in a traditional funeral guarded by the FBI, Reuters reports. 

Many members of the mosque that the couple attended did not go to the funeral.

The bodies were buried in a Muslim cemetery hours away from San Bernardino in a funeral that followed traditional Islamic rituals.

It took a week to find a cemetery that would accept the bodies, Reuters wrote, citing a funeral attendee and another person familiar with the preparations.

Islamic tradition calls for burying bodies within 24 hours of death, but the bodies weren’t released by law enforcement in time.

FBI: No Evidence That San Bernardino Couple Was Part of Terrorist Cell

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has found no evidence so far that the San Bernardino couple that killed 14 people during a holiday party massacre were part of a terrorist cell, The Huffington Post reports. 

Investigators, however, believe the couple was inspired by ISIS, but received no orders or directions from the terrorist group.

ISIS has “revolutionized” terrorism by using social media, encrypted messages and propaganda to inspire small-scale attacks.

“Your parents’ al Qaeda was a very different model than the threat we face today,” Comey told a counterterrorism conference in New York.

Ferguson Close to Reaching Deal with Justice Department to Force Changes in Police Department

Ferguson protest.

Ferguson protest.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Officials in Ferguson, Mo., are close to reaching a deal with the Justice Department to overhaul the city’s Police Department and head off civil rights lawsuits, the New York Times reports. 

But there are challenges to closing the deal, which would require a federal police monitor and an influx of money to pay for it.

Since Ferguson is struggling financially, a tax increase may be necessary to afford the oversight and changes, and that would require approval from voters.

The agreement calls for new training for police and better record-keeping.

The pact between the two governments comes after a Justice Department report in March discovered that police often stop and arrest people without cause, and excessive force was almost exclusively against blacks, the New York Times wrote.

“We have made tremendous progress. We’re very close,” Mayor James Knowles III told the Times.

“We’re at a point where we have addressed any necessary issues, and assuming it is not cost prohibitive, we would like to move forward,” Mr. Knowles said.