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FBI Director Mueller Faces Tough Questions in Final House Committee Meeting


Robert Mueller

Steve Neavling
ticklthewire.com 

FBI Director Robert Mueller is expected to undergo tough questions today as he nears the end of his 12 years at the helm, the Associated Press reports.

In what likely will be his final appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller likely will be grilled about the Boston Marathon bombings investigation, the Benghazi attacks and the recent disclosure of massive government surveillance on millions of Americans.

“Over the past few years, we have witnessed troubling national security leaks and have learned that the Obama administration seems to be bending the rules in place that protect the freedom of the press in its investigations,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said.

 

NSA Director Defends Surveillance Programs As Critical Tools in Fight Against Terrorism

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The director of the National Security Agency forcefully defended the surveillance programs Wednesday that kept tabs on Internet activity and collected millions of telephone records, the Associated Press reports.

The once-secret programs, which was disclosed this month to an incensed public, were invaluable tools in the fight against terrorism, said NSA Director and Army Gen. Keith Alexander.

But Alexander declined to disclose any details of the thwarted terrorist attacks during the congressional hearing, the AP wrote.

“I do think it’s important that we get this right and I want the American people to know that we’re trying to be transparent here, protect civil liberties and privacy but also the security of this country,” Alexander told a Senate panel.

 

Feds Ready to Endorse Monitor over NYPD If Stop-And-Frisk Is Ruled Unconstitutional

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

If a judge declares that the New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices are unconstitutional, the U.S. Justice Department says it would strongly support a federal monitor to oversee reforms to change that practice,  the New York Times reports.

The so-called statement of interest was filed Wednesday in Federal District Court.

“The experience of the United States in enforcing police reform injunctions teaches that the appointment of an independent monitor is a critically important asset,” the department said.

The statement added: “A court-appointed monitor in this case would help the court ensure that, if any pattern or practice is found to exist, it is effectively and sustainably remedied.”

The Times wrote that the court is expected to make a ruling in the coming months.

Border Patrol Agents Save More than 175 People in Scorching Arizona Desert

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

More than 175 people trying to find freedom in America were rescued while trying to traverse the scorching Arizona border over the past month, the Associated Press reports.

Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector made the rescues.

The AP wrote that more than 250 agents also are trained as EMTs and first-responders.

Border Patrol has 22 rescue beacons in the area, the AP reported.

Defense Opens Trial Telling Jurors ‘Whitey’ Bulger Was Never an FBI Informant

Whitey Bulger/fbi

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger was never an FBI informant, his attorney said during opening statements in a trial that alleges 19 counts of murder, U.S. News & World Report writes.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney said Bulger never worked as an FBI informant against Italian mob rivals.

“Number one, James Bulger is of Irish descent,” Bulger’s defense attorney J.W. Carney said in court. “And the worst thing an Irish person could consider doing is becoming an informant.”

Bulger was arrested in June 2011 after spending 12 years on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list.

B. Todd Jones Steps Up to the Plate and Faces Tough Questions in Confirmation Process

Todd Jones

 
By Sari Horwitz and Ed O’Keefe
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The national debate over gun control has died down, but there were moments of high tension Tuesday as the Senate began considering the appointment of a director to the federal agency that regulates firearms and investigates gun and explosives crimes.

The Judiciary Committee finally held a confirmation hearing for B. Todd Jones, the part-time acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who also serves as the U.S. attorney for Minnesota. ATF has not had a full-time director in seven years; President Obama nominated Jones to head the agency five months ago as part of his guns initiative after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The confirmation hearing came the same week that gun-control advocates, including parents of children killed in Newtown, are pushing lawmakers to reconsider Obama’s stalled legislative package, particularly the bill expanding background checks for firearm purchases. Senate Democratic aides said there are no imminent plans to revive the bill or other elements.

Prospects for Jones also appeared dim as the crowded hearing got off to a fiery start.

To read the full story click here. 

Internet Companies Call For More Disclosure of Surveillance

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Microsoft, Twitter, Google and Facebook are calling for more disclosure of secret requests to hand over date of users, The Guardian reports.

“Permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including Fisa orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues,” Microsoft said in an emailed statement.

The federal government issues national security letters to demand access to computer data.

It’s currently against the law to disclose how many secret requests were turned over under the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Two Virginia Friends Accused of Stealing FBI-Issued Machine Gun from Trunk

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Virginia friends thought it would be fun to test out a machine gun they are accused of stealing from the trunk of an FBI agent in Alexandria, The Washington Examiner reports.

Jonathan Cowden, 26, a security guard and Nate Whilden, a music instructor, face up to 10 years in prison on charges of possessing a machine gun.

Whilden is accused of breaking into the FBI sedan and stealing a black bag that contained an agency-issued Heckler and Koch MP5/10mm machine gun and body armor marked with the bureau’s letters.

“Oh, crap, what did I do,” Whilden is accused of saying after becoming aware he had stolen an FBI machine gun, The Washington Examiner reported.

Cowden is described as an “avid collector of exotic guns.”

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