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Blue Uniforms for TSA officers Getting Under Their Skin

Some of these folks look irritated enough just doing their job. Do they need this?

By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The new blue uniforms issued to Transportation Security Administration officers at hundreds of airports nationwide may have a snazzy look, but they have become a major irritant for some of those employees.
The new uniforms are causing rashes and other irritations among transportation security officers who screen passengers at airports, according to the union representing the workers.
“We’re hearing from hundreds of TSOs that this is an issue,” said Emily Ryan, a spokeswoman for the American Federation of Government Employees. Most of the complaints have been for skin rashes, but they have also included runny or bloody noses, lightheadeness, red eyes, and swollen and cracked lips, union officials say.
For Full Story

ABC’s ‘Homeland Security USA’ Show a Bomb

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — I just finished watching the first episode of ABC’s “Homeland Security USA” and I can honestly say the best thing about it was the Domino’s Pizza commercial about its new baked submarine sandwiches.
Simply put: ABC deserves a D.
The show falls flat.  Sure there’s some drugs seized and some illegal immigrants busted. But there’s just not that much to it.
At one point, cameras roll and  border agents at the San Ysidro checkpoint at the California -Mexico border draw guns on a car. They think they may have an armed and dangerous man. A woman gets out the car, kneels on the ground, puts her hands behind her head. Her husband eventually gets out of the car. She tells the officers they always mistake her husband for someone else. Guess what. She’s right. They’re wrong. Ooops.
Then there’s “Nora” the belly dancer from Switzerland who gets interrogated at LAX airport. She’s come to America to belly dance at local restaurants. But she doesn’t have working papers. Officers interrogate her.  What are your intentions? Do you realize you don’t have working papers? And oh yes: Would you like a cheeseburger or would you prefer a cup of noodles?
The show is between 8 and 9 p.m. every Tuesday. So are some much better shows: “House” and “The Daily Show” and “The Stephen Colbert Show”. And oh yes, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”, which I hate to say, at least at this point, may be a more befitting name for this ABC show.
And now about those baked submarine sandwiches….
Read  Review by Tom Shales of the Washington Post

TSA and Jet Blue Pay $240,000 To Man Who Was Prevented From Boarding Because He Wouldn’t Cover Up Arabic on T-shirt

The questionable judgment of TSA and the airlines is costing money.

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union said Monday JetBlue Airways Corp. and the Transportation Security Administration paid $240,000 to a man who claimed he was discriminated against based on his ethnicity and Arabic writing on his T-shirt.
Raed Jarrar alleged that the TSA and JetBlue officials prevented him from boarding a flight out of New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport in August 2006 until he agreed to cover his shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic. Jarrar also claimed JetBlue eventually allowed him on the flight, but then made him sit at the back of the plane.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Jarrar’s behalf in August 2007.
A JetBlue spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment on the settlement.
TSA and JetBlue agreed to settle the case for $240,000 late last month and delivered the settlement to Jarrar on Friday, the ACLU said.
For Full Story

Unsealed FBI Affidavit Provides More Gruesome Details in Blackwater Guard Killings in Iraq

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – An FBI affidavit unsealed Monday provides a few new details of gruesome allegations against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards charged in the 2007  shootings in Baghdad that left at least 14 Iraqi civilians dead and 20 wounded.
Washington FBI agent John M. Patarini , in a 3-page affidavit, wrote that witnesses reported that a convoy of four “heavily armored Blackwater vehicles entered the Nisur Square traffic circle just outside the International Zone in western Baghdad around noon on Sept. 16, 2007 and positioned their vehicles in a manner to stop the flow of civilian traffic from all directions.” The four vehicles were occupied by a total of 19 Blackwater Independent contractors.
While at the circle, according to witnesses, “one or more of the turret gunners in the Blackwater vehicles opened fire into a small white Kia sedan that had approached the intersection from the south, fatally wounding the driver,” the affidavit said.
“Heavy machine gunfire continued from the Blackwater convoy directed at the white Kia Sedan and other vehicles in the traffic lanes south of the circle and eventually toward unarmed civilians attempting to run to safety.”
“The witnesses also observed the convoy fired several grenades into civilian vehicles and over the fences of a nearby middle school. The white Kia sedan burst into flames and the two occupants of the vehicles were killed,” the affidavit said.
“As the convoy departed from the intersection, the witnesses observed the Blackwater independent contractors continue to fire at pedestrians to the east of the traffic circle, and at a red bus and unarmed civilians to the west of the circle. As the convoy proceeded back to the International Zone on a road to the north of the circle, other eyewitnesses observed members o f the convoy open fire again into the rooftops, windshields, and trunks of three vehicles, wounded at least three other civilians,” the affidavit said.

Read more »

The Job Market May Suck But There’s a “Hiring Blitz” at the FBI With About 3,000 Job Openings

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — In these gloomy days of cutbacks and layoffs and what not, it may sound a bit strange to hear an organization announcing a “Hiring Blitz”.
Well, those are the words being bandied about at the FBI these days.
The agency announced a “Hiring Blitz” Monday to fill more than 2,100 professional staff vacant positions which includes everything from auto mechanics to language specialists and nursing and counseling professionals.
On top of that, the agency plans to fill about 850 FBI agent jobs, most of which were vacant as a result of attrition, the agency said.
The agency said Monday that it needs to maintain a certain number of employees. It said the jobs need to be filled by the end of the fiscal year, which is Sept. 30.
Aside from the agent jobs, the FBI  said it has openings for the followings posts: administrative/clerical, automotive mechanic, compliance and quality assurance professionals, electronic technicians, engineering professionals, fingerprint examiners, general education and training professionals, finance/accounting/budget analysis professionals, IT/computer science professionals, intelligence/analytical professionals, language specialists, management and program analysis, nursing and counseling professionals, physical/natural/social science professionals, records management professionals, security professionals, physical surveillance professionals and human resources professionals.
The agency said it has special needs for people with skills in such languages as Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Pashto, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, Somali and Vietnamese.
Anyone interested in applying for these jobs should go online at fibjobs.gov.
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mobster John Gotti Jr. Wants Out on Bail; Motion Says He Quit Mob Years Ago

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com

Attorneys for John Gotti Jr. filed a motion Monday saying their client quit the mob years ago and deserves to be free on bail pending trial in New York on allegations of cocaine trafficking, murder, extortion, jury tampering and kidnapping.
The 14-page motion filed in U.S. District Court said Gotti is not threat to the community and the government has ignored its own evidence on wiretaps which show “Gotti had in fact withdrawn from his former life”.
The motion, filed by attorneys Charles Carnesi and Seth Ginsberg, cites a  February 2004 government wiretap in which Gotti tells someone that he’s done with the mob.
“I’m a nobody,” Gotti says. ” I walked away from this six and half years ago. I’ve been doing nothing for six and a half years. I’ve been stranded on an island by myself.”
The motion also notes that there is no evidence, contrary to the government’s charges, that Gotti was involved in three murders between 1998 and 1991.
In other motions filed Monday, the government noted that it had a key informant John Alite, Gotti’s right hand man,  who along with others, provided solid information that lead to the Aug. 2008 indictment.
Gotti was arrested Aug. 5, 2008 at his Long Island home.

Read Gotti’s Motion

Federal Agencies Must Learn: Twitter and Facebook Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore

With all the forms of communication these days, federal agencies need to keep up with the “New Media”.

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief
WASHINGTON — The State Department continues to lead the way among federal agencies making use of new media tools. Colleen Graffey, deputy assistant secretary for public diplomacy, published a column (“A Tweet in Foggy Bottom”) in the Washington Post yesterday outlining why she has set up a Twitter account.
“Not that long ago,” Graffey writes, “communicating diplomat-to-diplomat was enough. Agreements were reached behind closed doors and announced in a manner and degree that suited the schedule and desires of the governments involved, not the general population. In fact, the public was by and large an afterthought. But the proliferation of democracies and the emergence of the round-the-clock media environment has brought an end to those days. Now, governments must communicate not only with their people but also with foreign audiences, including through public diplomacy. … Simply put, Twitter is just one more tool through which we can connect, and by linking my messages to video and photos, I can inform whole new audiences about U.S. views and ideas in a format with which they feel comfortable.”
Simply put, Twitter is just one more tool through which we can connect. Well put.
For Full Column

S.C. Trooper Pleads in Fed Court to Kicking Suspect in Head After Highway Chase

The trooper was caught on video abusing the suspect. It might make the public wonder what would have happened had there not been an official video.

By MEG KINNARD
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A former South Carolina trooper caught on video kicking a suspect in the head after a highway chase pleaded guilty Monday to violating the man’s civil rights, according to federal court documents.
John B. Sawyer faces up to 10 years in prison. A few months earlier, a jury acquitted another trooper of the same charge, depriving a man of his right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer, in a different incident also captured on video.
The videos were among several the South Carolina Department of Public Safety released last year showing troopers acting aggressively. The videos were made public in response to media requests.
Sawyer was indicted in July after the state released a May 2006 video that showed him kicking Sergio Caridi in the head several times. Caridi, who is from New York, had led troopers and sheriff’s deputies on a 30-mile chase on Interstate 95 in a dump truck.
For Full Story

Read Brief Indictment