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Border Patrol Agents Rescue Father, Toddler Swept Away in Canal

Agents and residents helped save the life of a father and son.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents are credited with saving the life of a father and his two-year-old boy who were swept away in a canal by strong currents in Yuma, Ariz. 

An air interdiction agent who was piloting a helicopter spotted the father and son struggling to swim in the Salanity Canal on Monday evening. The pilot threw rescue lines to the father, but to no avail. 

A Yuma Station agent removed his uniform and jumped into the canal, rescuing the boy with the help of other agents and citizens, who also pulled the 23-year-old father from the water. 

The father and son were treated for hypothermia at a local hospital. 

CBP said the father was an undocumented immigrant. 

FBI, Homeland Security Warn of Potential Plot to Seize Control of Capitol Today

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned that domestic extremists “discussed plans to take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4,” the date that far-right conspiracy theorists believe former President Trump will be sworn in for a second term. 

The agencies sent a joint intelligence bulletin, titled “National Capitol Region Remains Attractive Target for Domestic Violent Extremists,” to local and state law enforcement agencies late Tuesday, NBC News first reported.

After the U.S. Capitol Police issued a similar warning, House leaders canceled Thursday’s legislative session. The Senate still plans to meet.

Extremists, emboldened by the Jan. 6 insurrection, may “exploit public gatherings either formally organized or spontaneous to engage in violence,” the memo states. 

According to adherents of QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy group that believes a secret cabal of Satan worshipers is running a global child sex-trafficking ring, former President Trump will be sworn in for a second term for the “true Inauguration Day” on March 4. 

Homeland Security Special Agent Charged with Bribery for Allegedly Helping Organized Crime Figure

By Steve Neavling

A former Homeland Security special agent is accused of accepting at least $122,000 and other gifts to help an organized crime figure evade authorities. 

Felix Cisneros Jr., 46, was arrested Tuesday and charged with conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official, bribery and 26 counts of money laundering. 

Between 2015 and 2016, while he was a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, Cisneros is accused of accepting cash, checks, private jet travel, luxury hotel stays and meals. In exchange for the bribes, Cisneros used highly restricted law enforcement data bases to keep the crime figure informed about investigations, according to a Justice Department news release.

Cisneros also is accused of removing information about a German citizen with a criminal record from a government database to help him enter the country. In addition, Cisneros allegedly tried to help get a relative of the crime figure into the U.S. from Armenia. 

Cisneros also is accused of warning the crime figure about law enforcement actions. 

The crime figure wasn’t identified in the indictment. 

Cisneros faces up 20 years in prison. 

The FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation and Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General continue to investigate. 

The case is behind handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth C. Pinkel of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section. 

Retired FBI Agent to Lead Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards And Training

By Steve Neavling

A retired FBI agent has been tapped to lead Oregon’s police safety certification and training agency. 

Gov. Kate Brown appointed Jerry Granderson to serve as director of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, The Oregonian reports reports.

Granderson, 57, who retired from the FBI in April, starts his new job on March 22 and will be paid $162,216 a year.

The agency has more than a $55 million budget and is tasked with developing training and certification/licensing standards for more than 41,000 public and private safety professionals. The professionals include police officers, corrections officers, parole and probation officers, liquor control regulatory specialists, emergency dispatchers, criminal justice instructors, private security providers, private investigators, and polygraph examiners.

At the FBI, Granderson investigated narcotics, domestic terrorism and organized crime in Illinois. He also was a program manager for the bureau’s international law enforcement training academies in Botswana, Hungary, El Salvador and the United Arab Emirates.

“His background in law enforcement and public safety—with a blend of field, training, program management, and leadership experience—makes him uniquely suited for this position,” Brown said in a statement. “I look forward to his leadership, especially as we work collaboratively to improve the training and certification of Oregon law enforcement officers and as we answer the resounding calls from Oregonians for much-needed racial justice and police accountability reforms.”

Grandson received a fine arts degree and a master’s degree in international relations from Western Illinois University. He also served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and 12th Special Forces Group of the Army Reserves. 

FBI Agents Association Encouraged by Senators Calling for More Bureau Resources

By Allan Lengel

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the growing and challenging problem of domestic terrorism in the U.S., prompting the FBI Agents Association to applaud Senators who called for more resources for the bureau.

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Capitol Hill

“Today’s Senate hearing called attention to the growing number of dangerous threats that FBI Special Agents are working to thwart, and the FBIAA was encouraged to hear some Senators call for providing more resources to the Bureau, including expanding the ranks of Special Agents,” the association’s President Brian O’Hare said in a statement on Tuesday following Wray’s testimony.

“FBI Director Christopher Wray described the rising threat of domestic terrorism to the public and our democracy. Senators on both sides of the aisle urged action to address the threat of domestic extremism,” O’Hare said. “The FBIAA calls on Congress to ensure the Bureau has the tools it needs by immediately passing legislation to attach penalties to the existing definition of domestic terrorism in the federal criminal code. “

Wray defended the FBI’s dissemination of intelligence before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and told the committee “we have significantly grown the number of investigations and arrests.”

He warned that domestic terrorism “has been metastasizing around the country for a long time now, and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

Wray to Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee about Capitol Attack, Domestic Extremists

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and senators are expected to grill him about the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as well as the rising threat of domestic terrorism. 

The committee hearing marks his first testimony since the insurrection, which led to the deaths of at least five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

The FBI has come under fire for missing warning signs before the riot. 

Since the attack, the FBI has arrested more than 280 people accused of participating in the attack. 

Wray also is expected to be asked about the rising threat from white nationalists and other violent domestic extremists. 

During Wray’s last testimony before a congressional committee in September, he spoke about domestic extremists. 

“Trends may shift, but the underlying drivers for domestic violent extremism – such as perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach, sociopolitical conditions, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and reactions to legislative actions – remain constant,” Wray said told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Dennis Rice Tapped to Lead FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office

Special Agent Dennis W. Rice

By Steve Neavling

Dennis W. Rice has been named the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office. 

Before the appointment, Rice was serving as deputy assistant director for the Enterprise Cybersecurity Office at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

His career with the FBI began in 1997 in the St. Louis Field Office, where he investigated violent crime, organized crime, counterintelligence and cyber cases. In 2005, Rice was promoted to chief security officer and was the information systems security officer. Then in 2012, Rice became supervisory special agent of the counterintelligence and technical programs in St. Louis.

He also served as the crisis management coordinator and led a year-long active shooter training initiative in St. Louis.

In 2015, Rice was promoted to assistant section chief in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters, where he created the first joint operational section between the Cyber and Counterintelligence Divisions.

In 2016, Rice became assistant special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence and Cyber Division in the Los Angeles Field Office and was in charge of the West Covina Resident Agency.

Rice was promoted in 2018 to section chief in the Counterintelligence Division at headquarters and led several joint operations with USIC partners. 

In 2019, he became deputy assistant director of the Enterprise Cybersecurity Office in the Information Technology Branch at headquarters.

At Eastern Kentucky University, Rice received a bachelor of science degree in police administration. He also earned graduate degrees in computer resources and information technology and in security management from Webster University in Missouri. 

Before joining the FBI, Rice worked in the Somerset Police Department in Kentucky.

Committee to Vote Today on Advancing Merrick Garland for AG Confirmation

Judge Merrick Garland, via White House.

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote today on advancing Merrick Garland, President Biden’s pick for attorney general, to the full Senate for confirmation. 

Garland has bipartisan support and is expected to receive the committee’s approval for a full Senate vote. 

Garland testified before the committee last week during a two-day confirmation hearing. 

Garland, 68, rose to national prominence in 2016 when President Obama nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Republicans denied him a hearing. 

Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997. 

Garland is a graduate of Harvard University’s college and law school.