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$600,000 Houses for Border Patrol Agents Comes Under Investigation by Homeland Security

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Opening an investigation into the costly price tag for housing for Border Patrol agents in Arizona, the Homeland Security Department has sent inspectors to the former mining town, the Arizona Republic reports.

The $15 million housing project caused an uproar among residents, who say the federal government spent far too much money on the project in a city that has an abundance of low-cost housing.

The project ended up costing $600,000 for each of the 21 modest homes.

 

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Sen. McCain Slams Protection of Border, Calls for Better Way to Monitor Effectiveness

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Sen. John McCain, one of the leading voices in the immigration debate, sharply criticized how the border is patrolled, the Washington Times reports.

The Arizona Republican said Homeland Security needs to devise a way to measure the effectiveness of its border protection.

“I have concluded that not only is the border unsafe, but it is patrolled ineffectively,” Mr. McCain said in a letter to new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “Whether it be a lack of necessary equipment like night vision goggles, or a requirement to sit idle for hours at forward operating bases (FOBs) due to unnecessarily restrictive overtime rules, bureaucratic red tape and flawed administrative procedures prevent agents from maintaining border security.”

Former Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano resisted efforts to implement measurements, according to the Washington Times.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

 

Owner of Washington Nationals Wants to Build New FBI Headquarter in Landover

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the primary owner of the Washington Nationals gets his way, the Landover Mall will become the new site of the FBI’s headquarters.

The Washington Post reports that Lerner Enterprises, a development firm run by the Nationals owner, has submitted the 88-acre site for consideration as the bureau’s new headquarters.

Sears is the only remaining tenant in the mall, and Sears is on its way out.

“With Sears closed the confusion that existed as to the availability of the entire site should be eliminated. We would hope to attract a major user or users to the site possibly the FBI. In that regard we have submitted the site to the GSA,” Alan H. Gottlieb, chief operating officer of Lerner Enterprises, told the Post in an e-mail.

It Could Be a Smooth Nomination for Obama’s Choice for Inspector General of Homeland Security

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

President Obama’s choice for inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security appears poised for a relatively quick nomination with bipartisan support, the Washington Post reports.

John Roth, who has led the Food and Drug Administration’s criminal investigations division for the past year, is hoping to replace former acting head Charles K. Edwards, who stepped down last moth in disgrace amid allegations of nepotism and hiding a Secret Service sex scandal.

“One of the things that I’ve found in agencies that have morale problems and have these kind of warring camps is a lack of focus on mission,” Roth said. “I think it’s very important to refocus people on the very important mission that the inspector general’s office has.”

Michigan Rap Group, Insane Clown Posse, Sues FBI over Designating Fans as Criminal Gang Members

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Saying the FBI has unfairly targeted fans of a Michigan rap group as criminal gang members, attorneys for Insane Clown Posse filed suit against the bureau Wednesday, the New York Times reports.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit claims the gang designation was unwarranted and has lead to harassment by law enforcement.

Four of the fans, known as Juggalos, also filed suit, saying they were unfairly targeted because of the music they like.

One of them, Brandon Bradley, of California, said he was pulled over by police several times because of his Juggalo tattoos and clothing.

“I’m a peaceful person and I try to live my life right,” he said.

The FBI declined to comment on the lawsuit, but in the past said Juggalos have a history of violence.

FBI Investigates Death Threats Against Group Auctioning Off Permit to Kill Endangered Black Rhino

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A rare permit to kill an endangered black rhino has incensed wildlife advocates to the point that a hunting club is getting death threats, the Associated Press reports.

Now the FBI finds itself trying to hunt down the anti-hunters.

“The FBI is aware of the threats,” FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont said. “If a violation of federal law is determined, additional action or investigation as necessary will take place.”

The Dallas Safari Club set off a firestorm after announcing that it would auction off a permit to hunt the endangered rhino in Namibia in Africa.

A Homeland Security College? Senator Pushes Idea for Syracuse University

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An effort is afoot to make Syracuse University the first college with a curriculum based around emergency management and homeland security.

One of the leaders of the effort is Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, who said he has been quietly nudging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and SU to embrace the idea, Syracuse.com reports.

“It was our proposal from the Senate that ignited this mention in the State of the State,” DeFrancisco said after a speech in Albany. 

He cautioned that a campus in Syracuse is still far off.

“The governor’s got to be convinced,” DeFrancisco said.” And I hope he will be.”

Stejskal: “Mark From Michigan”: Dumb and Dumber

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

Mark Koernke

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com
Mark and I never really hit it off.

I first met Mark Koernke in the late ‘80s. Gene Ward, a fellow FBI agent, had asked me to accompany him on an interview of Koernke. We met with Koernke in his basement office at Alice Lloyd Hall, a University of Michigan dormitory, where he was a janitor.

Ward was investigating a potential hate crime, the painting of some racial epithets on a home. It had been suggested that Koernke might know something about it. Koernke denied that he had any knowledge, and we concluded that he most probably had no connection to the graffiti painting.

During the course of the interview, Koernke made it known that he had been an intelligence officer in the Army, and in addition he was a counter intelligence expert. He said, he continued to train US military units regarding tactics of foreign militaries. I made no secret of my skepticism of Koernke’s background and questioned some of his conspiracy theories he apparently felt compelled to share with us.

This all pre-dated Koernke’s semi-notoriety, later he would have a national following as “Mark from Michigan” and his own radio show “The Intelligence Report.”

He was an early purveyor of the “New World Order,” which he believed was a world-wide conspiracy. As best as I’ve been able to understand, the New World Order involves the takeover of the US by the United Nations which is fronting for some insidious international cabal that wants to institute international socialism. Part of this conspiracy was the building of secret concentration camps in the western US to house those who would be unwilling to accept the New World Order. Among other things, “black helicopters” were being used to spy on Americans.

The black helicopters and Mark from Michigan became synonymous. The New World Order was supposed to have happened by now, but it hasn’t and maybe that’s because Koernke has been on watch. I think Koernke perceived himself to be the “intellectual” underpinning of the militia movement – sort of a latter day Thomas Paine.

Anyway our paths continued to cross. There were the times I saw him surveilling the federal building parking lot. I guess he was trying to log our movements for intelligence purposes. I would wave to him, and he would hide.

During the late 80s and early 90s the militia movement grew dramatically. The high-water mark came soon after the bombing of the Murray federal building in Oklahoma City.

Many people in the movement were shocked and disgusted by the slaughter of innocent people including children. They did not want to be identified with a philosophy that condoned such acts. (In contrast Koernke espoused the theory that the government actually did the bombing to set-up Timothy McVeigh and to destroy records that proved the “Gulf War Syndrome” was real. He didn’t really explain why those records were in Oklahoma City.)

As the militia movement diminished, there were some internal conflicts.

In 1997, in Michigan, one member of the militia was murdered and other members were charged with the murder. Although Koernke was never believed to be involved, he was subpoenaed to be a witness. When a process server showed up on Koernke’s porch, an argument ensued.

Greg Stejskal

Apparently Koernke threatened the server with a rifle resulting in Koernke being charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. Koernke’s trial date was in May, 1998, but Koernke didn’t appear for the trial, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. In June a federal fugitive warrant for Koernke was issued based on my affidavit stating there was reason to believe he had fled from Michigan.

While Koernke was a fugitive, he continued his shortwave radio broadcasts from various undisclosed locations. He mentioned me several times in unflattering terms. He also said, that unless the federal charges were dropped, “a lot of their (FBI) people might get hurt.”

The following July a Michigan State Police helicopter was searching for marijuana growing plots in rural Barry County (just north of Battle Creek, Michigan). The helicopter crew observed a pickup truck, a man and a woman near an abandoned mobile home.

When the helicopter came in for a closer look, the man, Koernke, began running. I don’t know if the helicopter was black, but it must have been unsettling for Koernke to have a helicopter seemingly coming for him. Koernke then jumped into a shallow lake where only his head was showing. (Presumably Koernke was looking for a hollow reed so he could breathe while submerged like in so many old movies.)

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