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FBI Accelerates Terrorism Arrests After ISIS Concerns But Risks Rushing Cases

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears of an ISIS-inspired attack has prompted the FBI to accelerate the arrests of terrorism suspects, not unlike after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Trouble is, many of the terrorism suspicions immediately following the 2001 attacks were unfounded, and some cases went nowhere, The New York Times reports. 

As a result, the FBI took a more patient approach, investigating suspects longer to gather more evidence.

Now that ISIS is a concern, the FBI has accelerated its arrest of suspected terrorists again.

The Times wrote:

In recent months, the F.B.I. has apprehended people suspected of being Islamic State sympathizers soon after they came onto the government’s radar. The F.B.I. has arrested and charged at least 25 people in the past three months with having ties to the Islamic State or other terrorist groups, compared with 20 people arrested over the previous year, according to court records.

House Passes Bill to Reform Beleaguered Secret Service with More Oversight, Agents

US CapitolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House approved legislation Monday aimed at reforming the beleaguered Secret Service, which has been beset by lax security, poor management and scandals.

The House passed the Secret Service Improvement Act by a 375-16 vote and gained almost universal support from both parties, the Washington Examiner reports. 

The bill calls for more oversight, more training and reforms to the agency’s vulnerabilities.

The Secret Service also will be able to hire at least 80 new agents and 200 additional division officers.

One big change under the bill: The senate must approve the Secret Service director, who previously was appointed exclusively by the president.

“The person entrusted to not only protect the president, but to also head a $1.5 billion federal law enforcement agency, should be subject to the same process of advice and consent of the Senate as his counterparts at other comparable agencies,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who authored the bill.

Over-the-Top Flirting Raises Suspicions, Leads Border Patrol to $134K Worth of Cocaine

cocaine mercedes

Cocaine found in Mercedes, via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A jet-setting model thought she’d distract Border Patrol officers by flirting with them, but her actions were so over-the-top that they raised suspicions and ultimately led to her arrest.

Fox News Latino reports that they found $134,000 worth of cocaine insider the 39-year-old woman’s Mercedes at an Arizona border crossing.

Anett Pikula, 39, made officers suspicious because she was “overly talkative” during a preliminary inspection.

“Flirtation was what was going on” said Customs and Border Protection spokesman Garrett Reinhart.

A drug-sniffing dog led investigators to a secret compartment in the engine of her car, where 13 pounds of cocaine was bricked and shrink-wrapped.

“My whole life.. romance, suspense, drama, action, cartoons. Are true stories;) real life!!” she wrote on the top of her Instagram account.

Family Seeks Justice for Muslim Leader Killed by FBI in Michigan 5 Years Ago

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of a Muslim leader killed by the FBI in Dearborn, Mich., wants to know what happened and who shot him more than five years ago because relatives suspect a cover-up.

The Detroit Free Press reports that family of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, of Detroit, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case.

Abdullah was shot 20 times in October 2009 as part of an counterterrorism sting over what the FBI characterized as his extremist views and an illegal trafficking scheme.

The FBI has said it acted properly, but family and supporters believe he was a victim of an overzealous war on terrorism.

According to the official account, four FBI agents opened fire on Abdullah after he shot the bureau’s dog.

Other Stories of Interest

First Hispanic to Run FBI’s Largest Field Office Keeps Low Profile

Diego Rodriguez

Diego Rodriguez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Before Diego Rodriguez became the first Hispanic person to run the FBI’s largest field office, he turned down an offer in the late 1980s to join the bureau.

“I’m really happy teaching. Thanks, but no thanks,” he recalled saying, the Associated Press reports.

But Rodriguez eventually decided to join the FBI and began working drug cases.

More than 25 years later, Rodriguez oversees about 2,000 agents working on cases raining from terrorism and insider trading to cyber fraud and public corruption. He is the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York office.

Rodriguez has kept a low profile.

“I genuinely care about their cases, but I’m not a micro-manager,” Rodriguez, 50, said in a recent interview in his lower Manhattan office. “They’ve got their own chain of command. The head of the office doesn’t need to be meddling in certain things.”

The Associated Press wrote:

Rodriguez’s modesty is rooted in humble beginnings: He was born in Colombia and moved to New York City with his family as an infant. He spent his childhood in working-class Queens, where his father turned him in to a lifelong soccer fan by taking him to see the legendary Pele play for the New York Cosmos.

After graduating from St. John’s University and teaching middle school Spanish, he made his career switch and landed his first FBI assignment in a taskforce investigating money laundering by South American and Mexican drug rings. Over the years, he held various investigative and supervisory positions in Puerto Rico, Miami and Washington before being appointed in 2010 to head the New York office’s criminal division.

At the time, the division was immersed in the groundbreaking investigation of Wall Streetmagnate Raj Rajaratnam and his multi-billion-dollar Galleon hedge fund. It marked the first time the bureau had turned to a method familiar in mob and drug cases — wiretaps — to capture conversations about insider trading. The wires sunk the talkative and boastful Rajaratnam, who’s serving an 11-year prison term.

Newly Released FBI Files Show ex-Sen. George McGovern Was Pursued for Years

George McGovern

George McGovern

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In April 1975, Sen. George McGovern wanted to know whether the FBI had collected any information on him in case he ended up on the presidential ticket.

McGovern was most concerned that the FBI possessed information about a child he fathered as a young man, the Argus Leader reports. 

Hoping to work out a compromise with the bureau, McGovern met with FBI officials and was told the bureau had information that he fathered a child.

According to new FBI records released on McGovern, the senator “made no comment nor asked any questions about the statement that the allegation concerning the illegitimate child had been verified during the special inquiry investigation.”

The FBI last month released nearly 1,4000 pages in McGovern’s FBI file, showing that he was often pursued by the bureau.

The records show that McGovern fathered a child before he was married in 1943 and that the information somehow ended up with President Nixon’s re-election campaign.

Former NSA Director Speaks Out Against FBI Head’s Call for More Surveillance Powers

Michael Hayden

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey has been lobbying hard for legislation that would require technology companies to create a back door to access encrypted communications by terrorists.

The plan is so controversial that the former head of the NSA and CIA told The Daily Beast that he is opposed to it.

“I hope Comey’s right, and there’s a deus ex machina that comes on stage in the fifth act and makes the problem go away,” retired Gen. Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA and the NSA, told The Daily Beast. “If there isn’t, I think I come down on the side of industry. The downsides of a front or back door outweigh the very real public safety concerns.”

According to investigators, recruiters of terrorists use encrypted systems such as WhatsApp.

“We need,” Comey said, “to be able to get access to the information in those targeted individual cases.”

The problem, however, is that opening up a door for the FBI also allows access to others, such as hackers.

“A hole is a hole,” Hayden said. “Given that reality, Americans are well-served by a high water level of security for everyone.”

Dog the Bounty Hunter Says Escaped ‘El Chapo’ Is Likely ‘Out of My League’

guzmanBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dog the Bounty Hunter is not known to back down.

But when it comes to chasing down escaped Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the reality star admits he’d have little chance of chasing down the world-famous fugitive, the New York Daily News reports.

“He probably would be out of my league,” the tough 62-year-old fugitive tracker told FOX411.

“In order to take him down, number one, you better have a fully automatic weapon,” he said. “With my weapon, you have to get really close to him — and you couldn’t get that close to him because he probably has five or six guys with him at all times.”

Guzman broke out of a maximum security prison last month, leaving Mexican officials puzzled about his whereabouts.

Guzman first escaped prison in 2001 and managed to be on the run for 13 years before he was captured in February 2014.