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Ex-FBI Attorney James Baker Joins Twitter As New Deputy General Counsel

Former top FBI attorney James Baker

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James Baker, the former top attorney for the FBI, has joined Twitter as the social media company’s new deputy general counsel.

Twitter’s general counsel, Sean Edgett, tweeted the announcement Monday.

“Thrilled to welcome @thejimbaker to @Twitter as Deputy General Counsel,” Edgett said. Jim is committed to our core principles of an open internet and freedom of expression, and brings experience navigating complex, global issues with a principled approach.”

The move is certain to infuriate Trump. As general counsel for the FBI during the bureau’s investigation of Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Baker played an integral role in the probe, which the president has called a “witch hunt.”

Baker, whom The Washington Post described as “one of the most trusted, longest-serving national security officials in the government,” was reassigned in December 2017. Baker resigned from the FBI in May 2018 and joined the Brookings Institute.

Trump has clashed with Twitter when the social media company began fact-checking some of his tweets.

Harvey Goldstein: A Reimagined Police Force Must Be A Win/Win To Make A Difference

The author is an organizational development consultant, psychologist, trainer, and speaker for public safety, non-profit, and private sector entities.

By Harvey Goldstein

George Floyd.

The lurid almost macabre murder of George Floyd will not easily dim from our minds eye. Our nation cannot and should not turn away from transfixed horror and moral revulsion at indifference in taking a life. This and a string of recent incidents has raised the heat from a simmering stew of social injustices to a boiling caldron of suppressed and unattended grievances. Against a backdrop of rising hate crime, the broad coalition of protesters have unleashed a reservoir of ill will toward police as a lightning rod for institutional distrust and disgust. In a civil society, innocent loss of life is always tragic and matters. The broad-based firestorm of protest springs from a blatant visual that confirmed the worst fears of all peoples. This betrayal of “legitimacy “by four police officers has ignited the most negative portrait of police service. Acts of seeming retribution and displaced anger at police leaves us all at a crossroads.

Gandhi suggested that “we must be the change we want to see in the world.” The public outrage at malign police intent ought not be ascribed to the entire police profession with a broad brush. To do so resonates with the same venal tone as the racism that is being railed against. What is certain is that the explanation of “a few bad apples “will no longer quell long standing, high profile grievances about unequal treatment of minorities.

The Issues Are Not Just Black And White

Harvey Goldstein (Linkedin photo)

In the role of a civilian police psychologist for four decades I bear witness that the vast majority of the law enforcement community is comprised of professional, decent, incredibly giving, kind, brave, helpful and compassionate people. Most are repulsed by a policeman totally bereft of the humanity that so many labor daily to protect. To demonize them would be a further travesty of justice. If you ask a police officer if they are racist, they are likely to say that there isn’t a racist bone in their body. Past studies on the police population suggest having spontaneous negative biases doesn’t necessarily result in discrimination. I believe that there are biased automatic precursors to behavior that sometimes result in outright racism and sometimes not. Regulating the underlying catalyst for aggressive escalation is what needs to be targeted in training scenarios and assessments.

The outcry for “defunding “police springs from raw and earnest anger but portends no real viable alternative. Defunding smacks of self-defeating naivete. It can only hurt the law-abiding people in communities when you don’t have good cops to respond to crime.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the solution. However, the bathwater needs refreshing, and the tub does need a sound scrubbing. A wider lens reveals another side to the story.

When considering “police reform” will that include the “oversight” institutions that have failed us mightily, leaving law enforcement without clarity, more defined limits or corrective guidance? Instead, the “parental” institutions have provided wide berth and cover for extreme behaviors with scant accountability.

“Police officers don’t face justice more often for a variety of reasons — from powerful police unions to the blue wall of silence to cowardly prosecutors to reluctant juries. But it is the Supreme Court that has enabled a culture of violence and abuse by eviscerating a vital civil rights law to provide police officers what, in practice, is nearly limitless immunity from prosecution for actions taken while on the job. The badge has become a get-out-of-jail-free card in far too many instances.”

5/29/20, How the Supreme Court Lets Cops Get Away With Murder, New York Times

Unions who are effective defenders of salary and work conditions do harm to their profession when they defend any and all police actions as righteous. These messages all give oxygen to more extreme tactics towards those deemed non-compliant. If there is one thing you can count on in this life it is that a behavior reinforced is more likely to reoccur.

Read more »

Matthew R. Alcoke Named Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism Division of Washington Field Office

The FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Matthew R. Alcoke has been named special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division of the Washington Field Office.

Alcoke had been serving as a deputy assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Alcoke became a special agent for the FBI in 1997 and spent 15 years as a case agent on the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force in the Chicago Field Office. In addition, he served as Behavioral Analysis Unit coordinator in Chicago from 1999 to 2012 and as a SWAT operator from 2006 to 2012.

In 2012, Alcoke was promoted to supervisor of a Chicago Safe Streets and Gang Task Force in 2012 and served as the violent criminal threat program coordinator.

In 2015, Alcoke became assistant section chief in the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters, leading the operational analysis branch of the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force. In 2016, Alcoke transferred to the International Terrorism Operations Section 2 as an assistant section chief, providing program management oversight for counterterrorism investigations in Europe, the Middle East, and the Levant, as well as the Counterterrorism Fly Team.

In 2017, Alcoke became assistant special agent in charge of the Criminal Branch of the Atlanta Field Office before returning to headquarters as a section chief in the Office of Partner Engagement in 2018. He was promoted to deputy assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division in 2019.

Before joining the FBI, Alcoke served as a patrolman for the Cleveland Police Department. He graduated from the Miami University in Ohio.

James A. Dawson Named Special Agent in Charge of Criminal And Cyber Division of Washington Field Office

Washington Field Office, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James A. Dawson has been named special agent in charge of the Criminal and Cyber Division of the Washington Field Office, the FBI announced Monday.

Dawson had been serving as special agent in charge of the Mission Services Division in the same office.

In 1999, Dawson began serving as a special agent with the FBI, working with the Organized Crime and Drug Squad at the Milwaukee Field Office.

In 2001, Dawson was reassigned to the Kenosha Resident Agency, a satellite of the Milwaukee office, where he investigated multiple types of crimes. In 2003, his focus was primarily on public corruption at the McAlester Resident Agency of the Oklahoma City Field Office.

Dawson became supervisory senior resident agency of the Muskogee Resident Agency in 2011, where he oversaw four offices in eastern Oklahoma.

In 2015, Dawson was promoted to the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG), where he served as assistant section chief of the Surveillance and Aviation Section. A year later, Dawson was appointed to lead CIRG’s front office.

In 2017, Dawson transferred to the Washington Field Office, where he was assistant special agent in charge in the Criminal Division, supervising 12 squads, ranging those focusing on public corruption and financial crimes.

A year later, he returned to CIRG, serving as the section chief for the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Section.

In 2019, Dawson was promoted to special agent in charge of the Mission Services Division of the Washington Field Office.

Before joining the FBI, Dawson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a surface warfare officer.

William S. Sessions, FBI Director from 1987-1993, Died At Age of 90

Former FBI Director William S. Sessions.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

William S. Sessions, who served as the director of the FBI under three presidents, died Friday in San Antonio.

He was 90.

Sessions’ tenure from 1987 to 1993 was a rocky one, The New York Times reports.

A Republican with bipartisan support, Sessions was first nominated by President Reagan and confirmed with unanimous Senate support. Sessions was hailed for supporting racial and gender equality in an agency that had long been dominated white men.

Sessions also was heavily criticized for the FBI’s role in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, and he eventually admitted that agents had overstepped by spying on Americans rallying against government policies in Central America.

His 10-year term was cut short when he became the first FBI Director to be fired for ethical abuses, allegations he later denied.

The FBI on Monday issued a statement:

Our hearts are heavy upon hearing that former FBI Director William S. Sessions passed away on June 12 in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 90. Following his appointment to the federal district court, Judge Sessions served as Director of the FBI from 1987 to 1993, pioneering innovative ideas throughout his tenure.

He brought the FBI into the 21st century through the introduction of emerging science and technology and fostering a sense of diversity and inclusion so we were better equipped to carry out our mission of upholding the Constitution and protecting the American public. We will always hold the utmost respect and gratitude toward Judge Sessions for his inimitable contributions to our great institution.

First-Year Border Patrol Agent Found Dead While on Patrol in New Mexico

Border Patrol Agent Johan Jordan, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A rookie Border Patrol agent was found dead while patrolling a remote desert in southwestern New Mexico.

Johan Mordan, a 26-year agent working out of the Lordsburg Station, was found unresponsive on a trail after other agents lost contact with him in the desert of Bootheel of New Mexico, where he was on foot patrol, El Paso Times reports.

The agents tried to resuscitate him, but to no avail.

An autopsy is underway to determine the cause of death.

“It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Border Patrol Agent Johan Mordan of El Paso Sector,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan tweeted.

“He served his country and community with honor. Our thoughts are with his loved ones and the entire Border Patrol community during this time.”

Ex-U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard Jr.: ‘This Is Not the Day or Time to Be Quiet’ After the Death of George Floyd

The author was U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2004. He is currently a partner at the firm, Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

By Roscoe C. Howard Jr.

Roscoe Howard Jr.

When I was growing up in ‘50’s and early 60’s, I visited my Mother’s home town in the Northern Neck of Virginia, and sat around while the adults discussed other family members and indulged in shell and fish foods that came from the nearby Rappahannock River.

As a child it would shock me to learn that African Americans from the area had been lynched in recent times. It was hard for me to even comprehend a violent death, but it was just as hard to understand how calmly it would be discussed by relatives and neighbors in that small Virginia town. My extended family seemed to be numb to the fact that such a murder was common place. I, on the other hand, thought I would never recover from hearing the stories.

Now, I don’t have to hear the stories because I read them. I think I would be derelict to not discuss the tragic event in Minneapolis, where forty six year old African American was pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer who put his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck in an effort to detain him.

George Floyd.

Despite audible pleas, the officer did not relent, choked him and directly caused Mr. Floyd’s death. At my age I am becoming numb to news of African American joggers killed in Brusnwick, Georgia, to a young African American man being shot during a police encounter outside of St. Louis, to the countless other senseless killings of young African American men when confronted by white law enforcement officers or those who think that they are.

It is not an apology or money that any parent, friend or concerned citizen of these victims want. What we all want is for it to stop. I feel like my relatives on those summer evenings in Northern Neck of Virginia where I was so many years ago – I am numb. But, I am the father of two young African American men, so I feel compelled to bring this to our collective attention.

Silence No Longer 

This is not the day or time to be quiet. I would ask of all of us to have the courage and conviction to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. I ask you not to countenance this outrage when it is senselessly defended by those who believe these young men bring this kind of abuse and death on themselves. I ask that you help make sure that no other African American mother outlives her son because of this sort of unjustified violence visited upon him.

I ask that in any way you can try to be that voice. In any way you can help the moral arc of the universe, although long, bend toward justice. In any way you can help a man like me recover from the nightmares of the stories I heard all those many summers ago.

Appeals Court to Consider DOJ’s Order to Dismiss Criminal Case Against Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal appeals court in Washington D.C. will consider the Justice Department’s order to dismiss the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser who previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Flynn and the Justice Department are calling on the appeals court to compel U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to dismiss the case and force the judge to cease examining the DOJ’s decision to drop charges against Flynn, The Washington Post reports.

Last month, Sullivan gave outside parties an opportunity to weigh in on the Justice Department’s unusual request.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

The Justice Department’s unusual decision to request the dismissal of the case has drawn fierce criticism of Attorney General William Barr. In May, nearly 2,000 former Justice Department employees on Monday urged Attorney General William Barr to resign in an open letter that says he “once against assaulted the rule of law” when he intervened in Flynn’s case.