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Homeland Security on High Alert After London Attacks But No Credible Threats

Homeland Security helicopter, via Homeland Security.

Homeland Security helicopter, via Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in London, Homeland Security said Sunday there’s no evidence of “a specific, credible terror threat in the United States.”

Still, the federal agency is remaining vigilant and monitoring the situation, the USA Today reports. 

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was on high alert, and critical response units have been placed in “particularly prominent” locations throughout the city.

“That means New Yorkers today will see a heavier presence at key locations around the city,” he said Sunday while speaking to reporters. “You will see a stronger police presence, including our counter-terror forces, which are heavily armed and heavily geared.”

Still, he said, this “is not a cause for alarm – that is a cause for comfort, to see the NYPD out in strength to protect u against any situation,” the mayor said.

So far this year, there have been 500 terror attacks that lead to 3,500 deaths “and many more physically and mentally wounded” said Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Homeland Security has cautioned U.S. citizens in London to “maintain security awareness.”

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Breaking into Secret Service Vehicle Near Trump Visit

Cleveland Cooley Jr.

Cleveland Cooley Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Florida man who broke into a Secret Service vehicle in Palm Beach County has pleaded guilty to theft of government property.

Cleveland Cooley Jr., 36, broke into a Secret Service car that was parked at a Courtyard by Marriott while President Trump was visiting in March.

The Riviera Beach man faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 30 in U.S. District Court, according to CBS 47. 

Authorities said Cooley stole a wireless modern, a First Aid trauma kit, two Toughbook tablets and a tripod kit. He then tried to sell one of the tablets.

Cooley told authorities that he was assisted by two people he identified as “Arties” and “Trey.”

No additional arrests have been made. 

Weekend Series on Crime History: Bob Woodward Comments on Comey Firing and Watergate

Former FBI Analyst Says Trump’s Firing of Comey Shocked, Saddened Bureau

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Nora Ellingsen
Lawfare

On May 9, immediately after the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CBS that the administration fired Comey, at least in part, because “rank-and-file” FBI employees had lost confidence in the Director—a claim that Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe later disputed when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee a few days later.

I know a little something about rank and file FBI employees, having been one myself. I worked at the FBI for five years as an analyst in counterterrorism investigations before going to law school, and I still have a lot of friends and former colleagues there.

So Benjamin Wittes asked if I would write a short piece on morale at the Bureau following the firing. For the record, given what follows, let me stress that he didn’t ask for a puff piece about Comey. He asked what I could glean about the disparity between the White House’s account of the matter and McCabe’s. What is the mood like, he asked? And is there anything to be said for Huckabee Sanders’ claim?

I was hesitant to post on the subject. I am no longer an employee of the FBI, and even if I were, I would have concerns about presuming to speak on behalf of the more than 35,000 employees. I wasn’t sure I could write a fact-based post that would be able to capture or do justice to the mood of a massive and diverse organization. I’m not a pollster, after all.

But here’s the thing: opinion on the subject within the Bureau is not, as far as I can glean anyway, diverse at all. I spoke about my concerns with a friend and former coworker, explaining that I was worried that if I were to write on the subject, the post would devolve into a weepy love letter to Director Comey. My friend’s response went a long way towards summing up what, I believe, is actually the overwhelmingly consistent reaction of FBI employees to the firing of the director: “But how could the post be anything except a weepy love letter?”

Because the basic truth is that while Comey was a controversial figure in the larger political system and among Justice Department officials, he was not a controversial figure at the FBI at all. Nearly everyone loved him. In any other piece, I would caveat this statement as obvious hyperbole and oversimplification of the situation, but the degree of consensus on this point as I have talked to people has been incredible. In the most literal sense of the word, it’s almost hard to believe.

Report Suggests Justice Department Mishandled Sexual Misconduct Cases

justice-dept-photo-with-woman-and-court1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has mishandled sexual harassment and misconduct cases because of sloppy management, according to the department’s Office of Inspector General.

“We identified significant weaknesses in the Civil Division’s tracking, reporting, and investigating of the 11 sexual harassment and misconduct allegations that we reviewed” during fiscal 2011-2016, the report said, “as well as inconsistencies among penalties imposed for substantiated allegations.”

The report, revealed by the Washington Post, suggests that the Justice Department acted like the Catholic Church did when a suspected pedophile priest was reassigned to a new parish: The offenders were “flushed” to other offices.

In another case, a male attorney accused of spying on two female lawyers who were pumping breast milk was absolved by his male supervisor.

“The investigation into the allegation consisted of the male attorney’s supervisor speaking with him,” according to the report. “Thereafter, his supervisor accepted the male attorney’s explanation of the incident as an honest mistake and imposed on him an informal disciplinary action of oral counseling.”

The treatment of attorneys suspected of sexual misconduct left many women with the impression that the accused were lightly punished or even rewarded.

“What is alarming about the Civil Division and what rings true for the entire labor force is the lack of accountability for individuals committing acts of sexual misconduct due to the absence of punitive procedures,” said Wanda Killingsworth, president of Federally Employed Women. “Without any internal system to protect employees from sexual harassment the fight to effectively combat workplace sexual harassment is directly inhibited and the current report on the Department of Justice just proves that lack of awareness is a breeding ground for abuse.” The division’s cases, she added, “are not unique to any single agency, but nonetheless present in many sectors of the workforce.”

Homeland Security Chief: Many Immigrants Living Legally in U.S. May Be Forced to Leave U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Immigrants who fled their countries because of dangerous conditions and have been legally living in the U.S. are now in danger of being sent back to their homes, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Thursday.

Kelly told the Associated Press that immigrants with “temporary protected status” should not believe they have a permanent right to live in the U.S.

That could impact tens of thousands of people from Central America and Haiti.

“The point is not that there be a complete recovery of all ills in the country,” Kelly said. “The point is, whatever the event is that caused TPS to be granted — that event is over, and they can return.”

The vast majority of immigrations with temporary protected status are from El Salvador (263,000) and Honduras (86,000). Immigrants fled those countries because of natural disasters.

Kelly said the immigrants were not intended to stay in the U.S. permanently.

“The point is not that there be a complete recovery of all ills in the country,” Kelly said. “The point is, whatever the event is that caused TPS to be granted — that event is over, and they can return.”

Honduran National Dies in Federal Custody in California

Courtesy of ICE

Courtesy of ICE

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 46-year-old immigrant died while in federal custody in North Hollywood, a neighborhood in Los Angeles.

City News Service reports that the man died last week after collapsing while playing soccer at the Adelanto Detention Facility. 

Vicente Caceres-Maradiaga, a Honduran national, was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead after 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Caceres-Maradiaga was arrested on May 22.

“His removal case was pending before the immigration courts at the time of his death,” according to an ICE statement. “Records indicate that Mr. Caceres, who was never lawfully admitted to the U.S., has had two prior criminal convictions since 2011, one for DUI and one for fraud.”

Authorities said the preliminary cause of death was acute coronary syndrome.

Caceres-Maradiaga became the ninth ICE detainee to die in the agency’s custody during the 2016-17 fiscal year, which started on Oct. 1.

Other Stories of Interest

It’s On! Comey to Testify June 8 Before the Senate Intelligence Committee

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

Fired FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to step up to the plate on Thursday, June 8, and talk about President Donald Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The testimony is expected to draw wide-spread interest domestically and internationally, and is likely to create more problems for Trump, who privately had said disparaging words about Comey. Conversely, it was known in FBI circles that Comey was not a big fan of the president.

Comey has reportedly said that Trump tried to dissuade him from pursuing a probe into the president’s then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Senators are expected to grill Comey and try to determine how forceful Trump was during talks about Flynn, and whether he actually tried to derail the probe.

In any event, if can’t be good for Trump.