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Albany’s New FBI Agent in Charge Has Extensive Background Investigating Terrorism

Andrew Vale

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent with extensive experience in counterterrorism is taking over the bureau’s Albany Division, the Associated Press reports.

Andrew Vale has been named agent in charge of the division, which is responsible for investigations in northern New York and Vermont, the AP wrote.

Vale began his career with the FBI in 1991, when he started investigated terrorism and civil rights in Newark, N.J.

Vale also served in Washington beginning in 2001 and became involved with domestic terrorism investigations.

Vale continued similar work in the Albany Division beginning in 2006, the AP wrote.

FBI Plans To Begin Scanning Eyes of Paroled Inmates in Trial Using New Technology

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI plans to launch new technology later this year that would scan images of criminals’ eyes.

Nextgov.com wrote that agents will begin using the iris scans to verify the identities of release convicts and those on the lam.

The eye-scanning trial will last about a year, Nexgov.com wrote.

The launch follows the trial introduction of the FBI’s nationwide facial recognition trial last year.

Both technologies are part of a $1 billion upgrade to the FBI’s fingerprint ID system, Nexgov.com reported.

FBI Data: Background Checks for Gun Purchases Spiked After Connecticut School Shooting Last Month

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the month since a shooting at a school in Connecticut killed 20 children and six adults, gun purchases appear to be rapidly on the rise, Reuters reports.

Background checks for firearm purchases spiked since the Dec. 14 mass killing, Reuters wrote.

Of the 10 most popular days for background checks in the past five years, nine have come since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Reuters reported.

The FBI runs the National Instant Criminal Background System.

Gun Lobby Makes It Difficult for President Obama to Appoint New ATF Director

Todd Jones

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The gun lobby is making it difficult for President Obama find a new permanent director of the ATF, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Obama had to give up  on his previous nomination Andrew Traver, who headed the ATF office in Chicago, after pressure from the gun lobby made it impossible to get Senate confirmation.

Since 2006, when a confirmation was required, the gun lobby has blocked every nomination, the Tribune reported.

The new nominee is B. Todd Jones, the U.S. attorney in Minnesota who has been acting director of ATF since 2011.

Jones is facing fierce opposition from the Senate because of his ties to the failed gun-smuggling investigation, Operation Fast and Furious.

FBI Investigates Florida Physicians Over Probe of Performance-Enhancing Drugs to MLB Players

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new string of positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs among professional baseball players has prompted the FBI to investigate a Florida supplier, the New York Daily News reports

Physician Anthony Bosch, who has worked closely with Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, is the target of the probe, along with his father Pedro Bosch, according to the Daily News.

Major League Baseball reported the physicians, who are popular among Latin players in South Florida, to the FBI.

The names of players who suspected of using synthetic testosterone have not been released.

In 2012, three current major leaguers – rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal, outfielder Melky Cabrera and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

New Book: FBI Manufactures Terrorism Cases

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks, the FBI has blundered the war on terrorism, manufacturing cases to create the appearance that the country is safer, Trevor Aaronson alleges in his new book, “The Terror Factor: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism.”

The book claims the FBI has arrested 500 so-called terrorists since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a review by Blog Critics.

Most of those cases were against disgruntled or confused Muslims who had no ability to carry out an attack, according to the book.

The author – through interviews with current and former FBI agents – alleges that undercover agents create the illusion that the suspects were on the verge of killing people.

Secret Service Dog Plunges to Death Following Event Involving Vice President Biden in New Orleans

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Secret Service dog fell to its death from a parking garage in New Orleans Saturday while on guard for an event featuring Vice President Biden, The Hill reports.

Biden was speaking at a fundraiser for Sen. Mary Landrieau when the dog fell.

“It was a tragic accident,” Secret Service spokesman Max Milien told The Hill Sunday.

The age and name of the Belgian Malinois has not been released.

The dog was part of the Secret Service’s K-9 division called Canine Explosives Detection Unit, which sniffs out firearms and bombs, the Hill reported.

Despite Reputation for Strong Gun-Control Laws, Massachusetts Refuses to Provide Mental Health Records for Federal Background Checks

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Massachusetts has a good reputation with strong gun-control laws – until it comes to mental health records.

The Boston Globe reported Monday that a 43-year-old law prohibits the state from sharing mental health records with the FBI database for gun background checks.

The FBI processed about 1.6 million background checks of Massachusetts residents since 1999 without having access to mental health records, according to the Globe.

Although some state officials warn about the dangers of mentally ill people carrying guns, the state Legislature has rejected two efforts by Gov. Deval Patrick to make the records available.

“You have to have state legislation to authorize the release of that information,” Patrick told the Globe. “I’ve filed legislation in the past, and I filed it again last week.”