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Column: Department of Homeland Security Still Misunderstood

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief
WASHINGTON — I am still a bit surprised when I hear this question: How many terrorists has the Department of Homeland Security caught? Probably for most employees at DHS, it’s an odd question. Which is why it’s a critical public relations matter. Most Americans still don’t understand the mission of DHS.

Why is it an odd question? It’s not DHS’s job to catch terrorists, per se.

Yes, DHS has as its mission the goal of preventing another terrorist attack on American soil. So catching terrorists would seem like an obvious part of that.

Except it’s not. Prevention is the key word. The job of the folks at DHS is not so much to catch terrorists but to prevent them from successfully implementing a terrorist operation. Catching and preventing may at times overlap, but more often than not, for the majority of cases, they do not.

The FBI is the primary agency responsible for investigating and bringing individual terrorists to justice.

To Read the Rest

Appeals Court Rules Feds Illegally Seized Drug Tests of Major League Baseball Players

istock photo

istock photo

Things have not gone so well when it comes to the federal government’s probe into illegal use of steroids in major league baseball. The Barry Bonds case appears to be going nowhere. And this ruling could hurt other possible cases.

By Maura Dolan and Lance Pugmire
Los Angeles Times

The federal government illegally seized confidential drug test results of dozens of Major League Baseball players and must now return the records, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

“This was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government in an effort to seize data” it was not entitled to have, Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

During an investigation of illegal steroid sales by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a private lab in Northern California known as BALCO, the government sought the results of confidential drug tests of 10 players, including former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

For Full Stories

Read Court Opinion

U.S. Agents Recruit Mexican Drug Dealers as Informants; Local U.S. Law Enforcement Sometimes Left in Dark

U.S. federal agents are recruiting Mexican drug traffickers as informants. That may be a nice break through in the battle against the violent activity, but it’s causing friction with local law enforcement, which is often left in the dark. That’s the situation with Jose Daniel Gonzalez, a drug trafficker who was living in El Paso.

el-paso-map-istock

By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
EL PASO, Tex. — José Daniel González was living the sweet life in America. He bought the $365,000 two-story Mediterranean with the tile roof and swimming pool. He started a trucking company, was raising a family. But on a Friday night in May, he was executed in his front yard — eight shots, tight pattern, close range.

According to police detectives, González knew the man who ordered his killing. He also knew the man who stood on his lawn and watched him die. These things are often personal, especially among high-level drug traffickers.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Indiana Man Charged With Burning Cross at Inter-Racial Home

hate-photo-of-handBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
For some hate-minded folks like Bruce Mikulyuk, cross burnings never go out of style.

Federal authorities on Wednesday announced that they had indicted Mikulyuk of Mishawaka, Ind., on charges of burning a cross in September 2007  in the front yard of a home occupied by an African American man and a white woman.

At some point, the indictment says, Mikulyuk “returned with a knife and made threats.”

Trial is set for Nov. 3.

Read Indictment

Court Allows Key Figure in U.S. Atty Firings to Practice in D.C.

Kyle Sampson-roxbury news

Kyle Sampson-roxbury news

It’s not clear why Kyle Sampson, the Bush era figure who played a prominent role in the U.S. Atty firings, was granted a waiver to practice in D.C. by the court when the whole firing mess is under criminal investigation.

Zachary Roth
Talking Points Memo

Kyle Sampson, the Bush Justice Department staffer who played perhaps the most active operational role in the U.S. attorney firings, has been granted a rare waiver to practice law in Washington D.C., despite an ongoing criminal investigation into the scandal.

Sampson, who was chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, last year had his application for a law license rejected, pending the result of the criminal investigation, by the D.C. Committee on Admissions.

The committee referred to a “cloud” over Sampson’s “moral character,” citing his prominent role in the firings, as documented by two DOJ reports. Among other things, Sampson has been shown to have miseld Congress about the White House’s role in the firings.

For Full Story

Fed Prosecutor Who Got Loan from N.J. Ex-U.S. Attorney Christie Resigns

This has been a tough governor’s race and ex-U.S. Atty Chris Christie has been knocked around. But he has a shot at winning if he can keep his little controversies to a minimum. In this case, an ex-colleague resigned Tuesday to help the cause.

new-jersey

By Josh Margolin and Claire Heininger
Newark Star-Ledger
TRENTON — The federal prosecutor at the center of the controversy over a loan made by Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie resigned today.

Michele Brown, the acting First Assistant U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, said in her resignation letter it has been an “honor and privilege” to serve, but she does not want to be “a distraction” for her colleagues.

The surprise departure came only eight days after it was revealed Brown had borrowed $46,000 from Christie while Christie was her boss as U.S. attorney.

For Full Story

Lawsuit in Border Patrol Shooting Blames Agency’s Hiring Practices

The Border Patrol has had its share of problems and bad publicity. Now the family of a man killed by an agent is pursuing a lawsuit. This doesn’t help.

Border Patrol

By TIM HULL
Courthouse News Service
TUCSON — The family of a man who was shot to death by a Border Patrol agent says the agency’s hiring practices are partly to blame for the death.

Francisco Dominguez-Rivera’s family says the agency should have known of Nicholas W. Corbett’s history of “ethnic hatred” before allowing him in the field.

Corbett was tried twice in 2008 on charges of killing Francisco Dominguez-Rivera, a 22-year-old immigrant who was making his way back to Mexico through the desert near Douglas when Corbett arrested him.

After nearly hitting Dominguez-Rivera and three others with his vehicle, Corbett arrested the group and, without provocation, shot Dominguez-Rivera “execution style, within a firing range of approximately 3 to 12 inches,” according to the federal complaint.

For Full Story

U.S. Marshals Arrest Disgraced ex-NBA Ref Tim Donaghy After He Violates Halfway House Rules

Tim Donaghy/nbc sports
Tim Donaghy/nbc sports

Ex-Ref Tim Donaghy, who disgraced the NBA in a betting scandal, thought it would be ok to go to a health club instead of work. The U.S. Marshals thought differently.

By WILLIAM BENDER
Philadelphia Daily News

Tim Donaghy, the ex-NBA referee who served time in a federal prison camp for betting on basketball games, got called for a traveling violation Monday – and it cost him a trip to the county prison.

The Delaware County native, who has been living at a Tampa, Fla., halfway house since he was released from the prison camp in mid-June, thought it was perfectly OK to visit a local health club Friday, according to his lawyer.

The feds thought otherwise, and decided Monday morning to toss him into the Orient Road Jail for the unauthorized trip.

For Full Story