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Column: The Unfair Treatment of Man Who Wanted Nothing More Than to Be An FBI Agent

Herman Groman is a retired FBI agent whose work included investigating public corruption and organized crime.

Justin Slaby

 
By Herman Groman
For ticklethewire.com

I’m not one to easily pick up a cause. I’ve seen too many situations when after all of the hype and the dust settles, somehow the “cause” was found to be flawed.

So when I heard about FBI Agent trainee Justin Slaby being drummed out of the FBI training academy at Quantico, Virginia, I was certain after looking into it, there would be more to this story. It would all make sense.

You see Justin Slaby is a former US Army ranger and he served three tours of duty serving his country in Afghanistan and Iraq. He left the military only after his left hand was blown off by a grenade.

His life-long ambition was to become an FBI Special Agent, but with his amputated left hand it seemed unlikely his dream would be realized. Still, he was hopeful.

He got some encouragement along the way from an FBI recruiter he met, and decided as improbable as it might be, he would continue his quest. The first obstacle he faced however, wasn’t his missing hand. He had a state of the art prosthesis and could just about do anything he could before he lost his hand. He had to get a college degree.

So the married father went to college at night full-time and worked during the day. All the while he kept his sights on his dream to become an agent. Eventually, he landed a job with the elite FBI hostage rescue team as a support employee.

Not an easy accomplishment by itself, but he still wasn’t an agent. Fortunately, when it came to firearms, he was an expert shot and he was right handed. But knowing that the FBI firearms training required that some shooting be done with the “weak hand” (in his case his left hand with the prosthesis) he even learned to shoot with the prosthesis for this limited shooting. Eventually, his determination paid off.

After enduring the grueling application process, countless interviews and an extensive background investigation, he was offered a position as an FBI Special Agent trainee at Quantico Va.

Herman Groman

He was where he had dreamed of being since he was boy. Against all odds, he had made it to the FBI Academy. He was doing well in the academics, and the physical part of it was a cake walk given his Army Ranger training.

In firearms training he was doing well, but the technique he developed for shooting with his prosthesis in his “weak hand” wasn’t in conformance established FBI firearms guidelines.

It wasn’t pretty, but he got the job done. After several weeks into the training, he noticed that he would be called out of classes and summoned to the firearms unit. He was tasked to do things that the other trainees were not asked to do.

Things like draw a can of pepper spray and his weapon at the same time and pull  a 250-pound man around with one arm. One of the instructors even callously blurted out to one of his classmates, “What’s next? Guys in wheelchairs?”

Still, he was willing to endure whatever they asked of him in order to accomplish his goal of becoming a special agent.

After a few weeks, in spite of his satisfactory performance, he was dismissed from the FBI Academy because of his unconventional “weak hand shooting technique.”

He formally requested to be reinstated to the academy and his request was denied.

Slaby has filed a federal law suit and the trial is scheduled to begin on Monday July 29th in Stafford Va.

I for one hope he prevails. He has already demonstrated that he has guts, focus, drive and integrity: the qualities that make an outstanding FBI Special Agent.

FBI: Agents Used Drones 10 Times in U.S. Airspace for Criminal Investigations, National Security

 

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has flown drones in U.S. airspace 10 times since 2006, the FBI told Sen. Rand Paul, The New York Times reports.

The bureau admitted it uses drones for aerial surveillance in “very limited circumstances.”

Drones were used eight times for criminal cases and twice for national security, according to the Times report.

“The FBI does not use (unmanned aerial vehicles) to conduct ‘bulk’ surveillance or to conduct general surveillance not related to an investigation or assessment,” Kelly wrote.

In one of the cases, the FBI used a drone to help rescue a 5-year-old boy who was being held hostage in an underground bunker in Alabama, The Times reported.

Obama’s Choice for Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Denies Abusing His Influence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

President Obama’s nomination for second in command at the Department of Homeland Security fended off allegations Thursday that he helped Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brother get a special visa for foreign investors, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas is important because he could become the temporary replacement for Janet Napolitano, who plans to leave in September for another job.

The department’s inspector general is trying to determine whether Mayorkas abused his position by helping Gulf Coast Funds Management, run by Anthony Rodham, get a visa visa for a Chinese investor who was twice denied a visa.

“I have never in my career used undue influence to influence the outcome of a case,” Alejandro Mayorkas, the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told a Senate panel considering his nomination, The LA Times wrote.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

NSA Surveillance on Domestic Calls Narrowly Dodged a House Plan to End the Controversial Practice

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House narrowly rejected a plan that would have limited the controversial collection of telephone records on domestic calls Wednesday after the extent of the surveillance was leaked last month, the USA Today reports.

The 217-205 vote means the NSA can continue collecting domestic surveillance without as much as a warrant.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., proposed the amendment and managed to round up a group of conservatives, libertarians and liberals to support it.

The move would have required NSA to collect data more discriminately by focusing on individual suspects.

But critics said the amendment would have killed a powerful tool to keep the country safe from terrorism.

‘Whitey’ Bulger Henchman: Feds Allowed Mob Boss to Continue Breaking Law

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Corrupt FBI agent John Connolly urged the feds against prosecuting him and James “Whitey” Bulger so they could continue delivering information about rival gangs, a former henchman for the accused mob boss testified Wednesday, The Boston Globe reports.

Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi testified that Connolly helped them avoid indictments at a time when other gangs were being prosecuted.

“Jim Bulger and myself were taken out of the indictment,” Flemmi testified. “That’s what John Connolly told me and that’s what Jim Bulger told me.”

Instead of being charged, Flemmi testified that he and Bulger continued to commit crimes with the FBI’s knowledge, The Globe reported.

Denver FBI Division Celebrates High Honors For It Forensic Laboratory

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI’s Denver division received honors for its forensic laboratory, becoming internationally accredited, the Denver Post reports.

Officials of the Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory celebrated Wednesday after getting accreditation from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors.

The laboratory opened in 2006 and allows full-service digital forensics, the Denver Post reported.

“Today, we celebrate not only our accreditation as one of 43 forensic laboratories in the world to attain international program accreditation in the digital and multimedia evidence discipline. We also celebrate the outstanding partnerships that have made every service provided at this laboratory possible,” said Thomas Ravenelle, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Denver division in the release.

How Realistic is Breaking Bad? Show Creators Consult with Experts in Chemistry, Government

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fans of Breaking Bad, a breathtaking show on AMC about a suburban meth dealer, have long praised it for its authenticity and seemingly strong sense of chemistry. 

Turns out, reports The Dallas Morning News, show leaders have been consulting with a chemist at the University of Oklahoma.

The show also uses an unnamed government agent to keep the show realistic, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“[Because] Walter White was talking to his students, I was able to dumb down certain moments of description and dialogue in the early episodes which held me until we had some help from some honest-to-god chemists, said show creator Vince Gilligan. We have a [chemist] named Dr. Donna Nelson at the University of Oklahoma who is very helpful to us and vets our scripts to make sure our chemistry dialogue is accurate and up to date. We also have a chemist with the Drug Enforcement Association based out of Dallas who has just been hugely helpful to us.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Vincent Lisi Becomes New Agent in Charge of Boston FBI Office

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Vincent Lisi, who has served in numerous jobs as an FBI agent since 1989, has been named the new leader of the agency’s Boston office, the Associated Press reports.

FBI Director Robert Mueller announced Wednesday that Lisi would replace Richard DesLauriers, who is retiring after more than 26 years with the FBI.

Most recently, Lisi served as deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division in Washington D.C.

He also helped investigate the 2001 Anthrax attacks and served as a legal attache in Yemen.

DesLauriers headed the office during the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.