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AG Jeff Sessions Warns against ‘Harmful Federal Intrusion’ of Local Police

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Attorney General Jeff Sessions
USA Today

Violent crime is surging in American cities. To combat this wave of violence and protect our communities, we need proactive policing. Yet in some cities, such policing is diminishing — with predictably dire results.

In Chicago, arrests have fallen 36% since 2014 to the lowest level in at least 16 years. Last year, they fell in every major crime category, and they fell in every single district in the city. To put that in perspective, out of more than 500 non-fatal shootings in early 2016, only seven resulted in any sort of arrest. That’s 1%. Not surprisingly, as arrest rates plummeted in those years, the murder rate nearly doubled. Meanwhile in Baltimore, while arrests have fallen 45% in the past two years, homicides have risen 78%, and shootings have more than doubled.

Yet amid this plague of violence, too much focus has been placed on a small number of police who are bad actors rather than on criminals. And too many people believe the solution is to impose consent decrees that discourage the proactive policing that keeps our cities safe.

The Department of Justice agrees with the need to rebuild public confidence in law enforcement through common-sense reforms, such as de-escalation training, and we will punish any police conduct that violates civil rights. But such reforms must promote public safety and avoid harmful federal intrusion in the daily work of local police.

To read more click here.

TSA: Southwest Airlines Pilot Caught with Loaded Gun in Carry-on Bag

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A pilot for Southwest Airlines was arrested Monday after security at Albany International Airport said they found a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag.

The TSA said Erick Gibson, 55, of New Orleans, was charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing a weapon.

The .380-caliber handgun, which was loaded with six bullets, was spotted at a security checkpoint.

The TSA said Gibson was released on $200 bail, and the flight to Chicago was delayed by four hours.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Gibson had the gun.

FBI, Justice Department Investigating Carter Page’s Role in Russia’s Meddling

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Justice Department have been investigating Carter Page, a former campaign foreign-policy adviser for Donald Trump, to determine whether he acted as a foreign agent.

Page is at at the center of an investigation into Russia’s tampering with the presidential election, McClatchy reports. 

Page has an extensive military background with intelligence experience.

“Let’s see what’s in this application (to the court) and we’ll see what comes out, because I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

What remains unclear is who brought Page into Trump’s campaign.

Page, who remains involved in Russia through his investment firm Global Energy Capital LLC, said he is willing to testify before Congressional panels conducting the Russia investigations.

FBI Helps Police Search for Cleveland Man Who Killed on Facebook Video

Steve Stephens, via Facebook.

Steve Stephens, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping Cleveland Police search for a gunman who shot and killed an elderly man and uploaded the video to Facebook on Sunday, prompting a manhunt that continued into Monday morning.

Police said Steve Stephens uploaded the video that shows him shooting the elderly man in the head. Stephens also claimed on the video that he killed about a dozen other people, but police said there’s no evidence of other murders.

The FBI quickly joined in the manhunt.

Police believe Stephens may have fled Cleveland and could be in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York or Indiana.

Arrests of Undocumented Immigrants with No Criminal Records Double

ice-agentsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Arrests of undocumented immigrants increased 32.6% in the first weeks of Donald Trump taking office.

Included in the arrests were thousands of undocumented immigrants who have no criminal record, the Washington Post reports. 

From January through mid-March, ICE arrested 21,362 illegal immigrants, compared to 16,104 during the same period last year.

Among those arrested, 5,441 had no criminal record, a two-fold increase.

“My sense is that ICE is emboldened in a way that I have never seen,” Dan Satterberg, the top prosecutor in Washington state’s King County, which includes Seattle, said Thursday. “The federal government, in really just a couple of months, has undone decades of work that we have done to build this trust.”

An ICE Spokeswoman said no illegal immigrant is safe from deportation.

ICE “focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said in a statement. “However, as [Homeland Security] Secretary [John F.] Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”

President Trump’s Administration at Odds Over Marijuana

marijuana-istockBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s administration has no consistent position on marijuana.

After Attorney General Jeff Session said marijuana is “only slightly less awful than heroin, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that pot “is not a factor in the drug war.”

Kelly said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that his agency is focusing on cocaine, meth, heroin and other opiates, which resulted 52,000 deaths in American in 2015. 

“It’s a massive problem. 52,000 Americans. You can’t put a price on human misery,” Kelly said. “The cost to the United States is over $250 billion a year.”

But “the solution is not arresting a lot of users,” the secretary added. “The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of goodwill. And then rehabilitation. And then law enforcement. And then getting at the poppy fields and the coca fields in the south.”

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FBI Director Warns about Fake News from Countries Like Russia

Cyber crime expert, via FBI.

Cyber crime expert, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey warned about fake news being produced in foreign countries in an organized disinformation campaign, the Associated Press reports.

Comey said that adversaries such as Russia “used all kinds of vectors to try and influence and undermine our own faith in our democratic processes.”

Comey told a crowd at Newseum event that the FBI would be vigilant in identifying fake news stories.

“The most important thing to be done is people need to be aware of the possibility that what they’re reading has been shaped by troll farms looking to push a message on Twitter to undermine our confidence” about the electoral process, Comey said.

The FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies said Russia tried to interfere in last year’s presidential election to make Donald Trump look like the favorable candidate. Part of the disruptive efforts included paid social media users, or “trolls.:

“One of the most important things we can do is be transparent about efforts to interfere with our process `cause then those interference efforts lose some of their force,” Comey said.