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Judge: FBI Had No Right to Pose As Internet Repairmen to Get Evidence

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents crossed the line when they posed as Internet repairmen to get access to computers in a Las Vegas Strip hotel last summer during an investigation into online gambling, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon in Las Vegas dismissed the evidence collected during the sting, leaving federal prosecutors with a potentially dead investigation, the Associated Press reports. 

The evidence won’t convict Malaysian businessman Wei Seng “Paul” Phua, defense attorneys David Chesnoff and Thomas Goldstein said.

“There’s no more evidence from anywhere,” said Chesnoff, who has alleged investigative and prosecutorial misconduct and cast the case as a fight for people in their homes to be free from prying eyes of the government.

U.S. attorneys declined to comment.

It’s not yet whether the case will survive without the evidence .

FBI Director Comey Tells Police How to Join Dialogue about Race

Director James B. Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey met privately with Connecticut police chiefs Tuesday and encouraged them to become a part of the dialogue about policing and race, the Associated Press reports.

Comey described the discussion as productive but declined to discuss specifics.

“As you would expect in the Nutmeg State, it was a thoughtful and rich conversation,” said Comey, who still considers Connecticut home after working in the past for Westport-based Bridgewater Associates.

It was Comey’s second visit to the New Haven field office since taking the helm nearly two years ago.

Comey said he is trying to make the FBI more diverse but the bureau has struggled to get  enough applicants.

“We’re in a good place in Connecticut,” Comey said. “It was mostly a positive discussion about how they perceive law enforcement relationships to have improved particularly under the leadership I now have and have had for two years here in Connecticut, and that’s a good thing.”

 

Lawsuit: Does U.S. Constitution Protect Mexicans in Their Home Country?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Is a Mexican boy shot in his home country protected by the U.S. Constitution?

The question is at the center of a lawsuit filed by the family of a Mexican teenager who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent near Nogales, Sonora, in 2012, the Associated Press reports.   

The 16-year-old’s mother said her boy was just walking home near the border fence when an agent shot him. Border Patrol counters that the boy was among a group throwing rocks at agents.

The attorney for the agent who fired the fatal shots argued Tuesday that the lawsuit has no merit because the boy wasn’t protect by the Constitution.

The FBI is investigation the shooting.

FBI Agent Who Took Down Madoff Becomes Goldman Sachs’ New Cop

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who has been integral in dozens of insider-trading convictions and oversaw the Bernie Madoff trial is now working for Goldman Sachs Group, Bloomberg reports. 

Patrick Carroll, 50, who spent nearly 25 years with the bureau, has become the vice president of Goldman Sach’s compliance, surveillance and strategy group.

Carroll played a central role in securities-fraud cases.

“It’s really about how Goldman is reacting to the tidal wave of litigation that now seems to be part of the ongoing government toolkit for regulating banks,” said Roy Smith, a professor of finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a former Goldman Sachs partner. “It can help to have some people who know how government prosecutors and investigators think, some guy who has the mindset of an alligator.”

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to discuss Carroll’s role with the company.

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Gerrymandering opinion

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Smalley Suspension Notice 2014

Smalley Dumping Backproperty owner (dragged)

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Fergusonpdf

terrorist

 

FBI Investigates Anonymous Phone Threats Against Commercial Airliners

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is investigating anonymous telephone threats against commercial airliners Monday that involved at least six international flights and prompted at least one U.S. military escort, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators believe the calls were connected but not credible.

Still, authorities took precautions. For example, threats of a chemical weapon aboard an Air France flight into New York prompted U.S. military jets to escorted the jet.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Air France flight number 22 was escorted to John F. Kennedy airport by U.S. Air Force fighter jets following a phone threat,” the FBI said in a statement. “There were no incidents or hazards reported on board the flight by either the passengers or its crew. The plane has been cleared.”

In some cases, the threat involved planes that were already in the air. Others had not taken off yet.

 

Border Remains Open Despite Border Patrol’s Best Efforts

Bob Casimiro of Bridgton is former executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform.
 
By Bob Casimiro 
Bangor Daily News.

It’s a cat-and-mouse game, and the mouse is still winning. In spite of the best efforts of our Border Patrol agents, drugs and humans keep coming across our border with Mexico.

I recently returned from my seventh trip to the border. Our Border Patrol agents are trying to do their job, but they are being hampered by bureaucrats and “open border” initiatives put in place by President Barack Obama’s administration.

On this trip, I went out with two local groups, the Arizona Border Defenders and Arizona Border Recon, both comprising activist citizens who want to help us secure our borders by augmenting what the Border Patrol does.

The Arizona Border Defenders are from Tucson. Their members come down on weekends to service cameras they have placed in the desert that transmit live video images when the camera’s sensors detect movement, which may be cattle, illegal aliens or Border Patrol agents. They see the video images on their cellphones, wherever they may be, and alert the Border Patrol if they see anything suspicious.

Arizona Border Recon is a veteran-based organization. Tim Foley, the field operations director, and his communications director, “Spartan,” recently moved permanently to Sasabe, Arizona, less than a half mile from the Sasabe Port of Entry. Foley is a slender, chain-smoking, U.S. Army 82nd Airborne veteran who roams the smuggler trails with a shotgun in one hand and his dog, Rocko, complete with ABR K-9 jacket, close behind. “Spartan” handles communications with law enforcement.

On our second day we caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure disappearing down the back of a mountain inside the U.S. border; it was a cartel “scout.” The “scouts” operate on the mountains and monitor the movement of the Border Patrol and let the smugglers know when it is safe to bring across drugs and human cargo. Keep in my mind they operate in the mountains on U.S. soil as far as 100 miles inside our border.

Sasabe is in the Tucson Sector, which extends 262 miles from the New Mexico border in the east to the Yuma (Arizona) County line in the west. The Border Patrolapprehended 87,915 illegal aliens in fiscal year 2014 in this sector. In the same fiscal year, 479,371 illegal aliens were apprehended across the whole 1,954-mile length of the Southwest Border.

So, how many get through? Chris Cabrera, vice president of National Border Patrol Council #3307, estimates in a recent video that only 30 percent of illegal aliens coming across the border are apprehended.

In the time I was there, I noted the whole array of devices used at the border: Border Patrol and Arizona National Guard helicopters, an inspection station on Highway 286, “virtual fence” towers with radar and cameras sweeping the horizon, Border Patrol trucks racing up and down Highway 286 from their base in Tucson, quads on trailers used to go in the desert where other vehicles can’t, drones, sensors.

I was thinking about all this on my last day as Foley and I stood beside the 13-foot fence separating the United States from Mexico.

I asked him, in exasperation: “Why the hell aren’t we stopping everyone coming across the border?”

His answer: “We are waging a war with a shift mentality.”

He was referring to the fact that the cartels operate 24/7 while the Border Patrol, with shift changes, have gaps in their coverage. Border Patrol agents are further hampered by the Obama administration’s “open border” policy, such as theacceptance of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children last year; the suspension of the Secure Communities program in November 2014, the use of “prosecutorial discretion,” and the sharp decline in Interior Deportations from 236,000 in 2009 to 102,000 in 2014.

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Bloomberg: Time to Put ATF Out of Its Misery, Consider Folding into FBI

By Bloomberg 
Editorial Board

Many members of Congress seem to view the U.S.’s most deadly criminals — those who carry guns — as a protected class. For decades, they’ve tried everything imaginable to cripple the agency charged with enforcing federal laws against illegal gun buying, trafficking and possession. Meanwhile, advocates of stricter gun-law enforcement have fought a losing battle to strengthen the agency’s hand. Now, it may be time to admit defeat and change the strategy.

The ATF, as it’s known, is charged with overseeing federally licensed firearms dealers, most of which are responsible and law-abiding — but not all. Criminals know the difference, but even when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has figured it out, it has lacked the resources and leadership to crack down.

A new report by the Center for American Progress recommends that the ATF be merged into the FBI. It’s worth considering. It would be hard to do worse than the status quo.

The ATF has long been a political punching bag, maligned by gun-rights advocates as an unnecessary intrusion on the Second Amendment. Just last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would stop the ATF from requiring licensed gun dealers in four border states — where Mexican gun-running is a problem — to report when someone buys multiple semi-automatic rifles. Merging the ATF into the FBI wouldn’t stop this sort of meddling, but the FBI director would be in a stronger position to rebuff it.

The ATF has been a target for Republicans — and many Democrats, too — ever since 1980, when presidential candidate Ronald Reagan promised to abolish it. They’ve had plenty to shoot at: The agency has a record of poor management, although Congress is partly to blame for making the agency go years without an executive director. During President Barack Obama’s first term, when the ATF badly botched an investigation into gun trafficking across the Mexican border, criticism reached a fever pitch, and has barely abated since.

Merging into the FBI might push the ATF out of the congressional crosshairs. The FBI, for all its troubles, is generally well-regarded by both parties, and its reputation could give the enforcement of gun laws greater credibility.

True, a merger would carry risks. Layering a poorly run organization onto one that works reasonably well could lower morale and harm performance. It could also distract the FBI from its most important work, including counterterrorism. There’s no doubt it would be a mammoth management challenge, but the two agencies have missions that are largely compatible, and a merger would streamline their overlapping responsibilities. The FBI and ATF both target violent street gangs. They both oversee forensic training programs for explosives, and operate forensic labs to process evidence from violent crimes. They both have response teams trained to handle hostage and explosives-related investigations. And while the FBI operates the National Instant Criminal Background Check System used for guns sales by dealers, the ATF licenses the dealers.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The St. Valentines Day Massacre of 1929