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Washington Times Editorial: ATF Breaks Law to Enforce It

By Washington Times
Editorial Board

When President Obama rewrote inconvenient parts of his very own Obamacare law, he undermined more than health care. The attitude of “we can do what we want” trickles down to the lowliest federal agencies. That’s what several federal judges are saying about the schemes of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The ATF is the Rodney Dangerfield of law enforcement; among its peers it “don’t get no respect.” So the agency devises creative ways of proving itself, if only to itself. For example, ATF agents posing as cocaine couriers in poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Los Angeles boasted of big plans to steal the narcotics they were supposed to deliver. They did this to goad “small-time crooks” into joining a high stakes fake “stash house” raid to obtain fake cocaine. The hoods would then be arrested.

Agents are allowed to infiltrate a criminal enterprise, but this sting constituted what a federal judge called an outrageous fishing expedition. “In these stash-house cases,” said U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II, “the Government’s ‘participation in the offense conduct’ is what makes them particularly repugnant to the Constitution. Everything about the scheme — and therefore almost everything bearing upon a defendant’s ultimate sentence — hinges solely on the Government’s whim.”

Threatened with stiff drug penalties, few perps challenge the charges, and federal prosecutors add easy convictions to their trophies. No drugs were taken off the street. “That’s the problem with creating crime,” observed Judge Wright, “the Government is not making the country any safer or reducing the actual flow of drugs.” The judge dismissed all charges against defendants, saying: “The time has come to remind the Executive Branch that the Constitution charges it with law enforcement — not crime creation.”

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Nearly 2 Weeks Later, FBI Asked to Help Investigate Disappearance of Malaysia Jet

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Nearly two weeks after a Malaysia Airlines jet went missing, the FBI has finally been asked to help.

CBS News reports that Malaysian investigators and the FBI are trying to restore files that were deleted from the home flight simulator of the pilot aboard the plane.

Investigators said Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah is considered innocent until proven guilty. His family is cooperating, CBS News reported.

CBS News wrote that it has confirmed the FBI was provided with electronic data to analyze from the flight simulator.

Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the FBI is prepared to help.

Hoping to Save on Fare, Man Impersonates Secret Service Agent

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s one way to avoid paying fare.

A man is accused of impersonating a Secret Service agent on a the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail in hopes of not being asked to pay, Boston.com reports. The Secret Service is investigating.

“We’re aware of the incident and we are investigating it,” Special Agent in Charge Stephen Marks told Boston.com. “Impersonating a federal agent or officer is a crime… we’re taking the report seriously [and] looking to get to the bottom of it.”

Should Border Patrol Agents Wear Body Cameras? ACLU Says Yes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ACLU is urging CBP to require its agents to wear body cameras to improve accountability and transparency, Valley Central reports.

In the past four years, CBP agents have killed about 19 people.

“We know there is a lack of oversight, accountability and training at the same time and that should be taken care of”, ACLU Advocacy Coordinator Astrid Dominguez said.

The call comes less than a week after a Border Patrol agent killed himself after assaulting three immigrants.

“When this type of incident happened, like everybody just keeps on asking questions,” Dominguez said. “In this case you know the agent is not here anymore, but what about the solutions to avoid or to prevent this type of incidents in the future.”

Homeland Security Details Takedown on Web Exploitation Ring That Victimized 250+ Children

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Homeland Security Department helped bring down an international child exploitation ring involving as many as 27,000 people victimizing at least 251 children online, the New York Daily News reports.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson called the bust “one of the largest-known online child exploitation operations in history.”

Authorities alleges that a Louisiana man created a subscription-based website that disguises the identity and location of its users.

“So far, investigators have identified 251 minor victims in 37 states and five foreign countries: 228 in the United States and 23 in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Belgium. Eight of the victims were female and 243 were male. The majority of victims, 159, were 13 to 15 years old. Fifty nine victims were 16 and 17; 26 victims were 10 to 12; four victims were 7 to 9; one victim was 4 to 6; and two victims were 3 years old or younger,” the agency reported.

Report Cites Slow Response, Communications Breakdown During LAX Shooting Rampage

tsa.gov

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Paramedics and others took too long to respond to last year’s shooting rampage at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to an independent report.

The report indicates that paramedics took 33 minutes to get to Transportation Security Agency officer Gerardo Hernandez, 39, who was killed in the shooting.

He died between two minutes and five minutes after he was shot, becoming the first TSA agent killed in the line of duty.

The report cites communications breakdowns and a lack of coordination.

The American Federation of Government Employees responded by saying the government needs to create a new unit of armed TSA officers to protect airport checkpoints.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Agent Narrowly Escaped Death After SUV Tumbles Down Interstate Embankment

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An FBI agent escaped almost certain death Monday after an out-of-control SUV tumbled down an embankment and onto his car on southbound Interstate 805 in southern California, NBC 7 reports.

Police said a woman in a Jeep Grand Cherokee crashed into a hydrant and drove down the embankment, turning her car into a virtual pancake.

The SUV struck the car of an off-duty FBI agent, who taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

Congressmen to Introduce Bill That Would Improve Oversight of Homeland Security, Border Patrol

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Department of Homeland Security and its agencies, including the Border Patrol, would be subjected to greater oversight and accountability under a bill promoted by a pair of congressmen representing districts on the Mexican border, the Global Post reports.

The goal of the Border Accountability and Stakeholder Engagement Act is to create mechanism for monitoring, checking and evaluating federal agents.

The bill is expected to be introduced later this week or early next week by Republican Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

“Our offices receive frequent reports from our constituents and those close to them about agents’ excessive use of force and other unjustified conduct,” O’Rourke spokesman John Meza said.