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$100M added to Congress’ Spending Plan to Fully Fund Border Patrol with New Employees, Perks

By Steve Neavling

The federal government’ $1.5 trillion spending bill includes $100 million to hire 800 new Border Patrol personnel, along with perks for CBP employees, according to Border Report.

Passed by Congress, the bill would enable CBP to be fully funded with 19,555 Border Patrol agents, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said. 

The funding includes perks for the heavily demoralized agency, including $5 million for tuition assistance, $23 million for onsite mental heath assistance, $6 million for caregivers and childcare services, and $20 million for improvements for border processing facilities. 

“We’re trying to provide Border Patrol not only the moral support but the actual funding to hire more people,” Cuellar said.

The funding comes at a time when CBP is dealing with record migrant apprehensions and encounters. 

Ex-AG William Barr Says He Won’t Back Trump if He Runs in 2024

By Allan Lengel

Ex-Attorney William Barr, out on media circuit promoting his new book “One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General,” said Sunday that he won’t back his ex-boss Donald Trump if he runs in 2024.

During an interview with Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” Barr said that Trump surrounded himself with yes men, and dealing with the president was like “wrestling an alligator.”

Watch the full interview.

Emmett Till’s Family Calls for a Renewed Investigation of the Teen’s 1955 Lynching

Emmett Till

By Steve Neavling

Relatives and supporters of Emmett Till are calling on authorities to reopen the investigation of the Black teenager’s 1955 lynching. 

The Justice Department reopened the investigation in July 2018 after a central witness in the case, Carolyn Bryant Donham, changed her account of what happened.

She is now in her 80s, so time is running out to bring justice in the case, relatives said, The Associated Press reports.

“Time is not on our side,” Til’s cousin, Deborah Watts said during a news conference last week. 

Donham originally accused Till of grabbing her and asking her for a date. She later said she was not physically assaulted by the 14-year-old boy, who was abducted, tortured and killed.

About 250,000 people signed a petition asking for a renewed investigation. 

Secret Service K-9 Awarded Distinguished Service Medal for Stopping Intruder at White House

Former Secret Service K-9 Office Hurricane. Photo via Secret Service

By Steve Neavling

A former Secret Service K-9 Officer known as “Hurricane” was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for stopping an intruder who had scaled the White House fence in October 2014. 

The Belgian Malinois was seriously injured but still managed to keep the intruder on the ground until Secret Service agents arrested him. Another K-9, Jardan, was also seriously injured. 

“On every shift of every day, we at the Secret Service strive to uphold five core values; Duty, Honor, Loyalty, Justice, and Courage,” Uniformed Division Assistant Chief Michael Buck said during a recent Animals in War and Peace ceremony. “They are the five points of our agency’s star, and on a dark night in October 2014, they were embodied by a very good boy named Hurricane.”

Six other dogs were recognized during the ceremony, which was hosted by Angeles Without Wings, Inc./Animals in War and Peace, the Livingood Group LLC, and the U.S. War Dogs Association.

14 Months After Jan. 6 Attack, FBI Still Hunting for More than 350 People For Committing Violent Acts

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo via Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

More than 14 months since the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the FBI is still seeking the public’s help in identifying more than 350 people still wanted for committing violent acts during the insurrection. 

Of those, 250 are believed to have assaulted police officers, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The Justice Department also announced that more than 200 people have pleaded guilty so far to charges related to the riot. About 195 have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and 29 have been convicted of felonies. 

Six defendants have been sentenced to prison for terms ranging from 41 months to 63 months. 

Although 14 months have passed, the Justice Department said the investigation is moving at “an unprecedented speed and scale.”

“The Department of Justice’s resolve to hold accountable those who committed crimes on Jan. 6, 2021, has not, and will not, wane,” the department said.

The Justice Department said the FBI is urging the public to help identify the suspects. 

“Citizens from around the country have provided invaluable assistance in identifying individuals in connection with the Jan. 6 attack,” the DOJ said. “The FBI continues to seek the public’s help in identifying more than 350 individuals believed to have committed violent acts on the Capitol grounds, including over 250 who assaulted police officers.”

Joint Task Forces Help New Special Agent in Charge Reduce Crime in Washington D.C. Region 

FBI’s Washington D.C. Field Office. Photo: FBI

By Steve Neavling

About six months after he was appointed special agent in charge of the Criminal/Cyber Division of the Washington Field Office, Wayne A. Jacobs is making an impact by increasing partnerships with federal agencies and local police. 

Federal authorities and D.C. police recently formed joint task forces and created a command center to increase collaboration in a city where jurisdictions overlap, The Washington Post reports.

 Having “all federal partners sitting in one shared place” helps law enforcement respond more quickly to crime,” Jacobs said. One priority, he said, is “making sure we are operating in the right areas and pursuing the folks who are driving a large percentage of the crime. How are we identifying those individuals, and how are we dedicating the resources to making sure that we hold those individuals accountable?”

The collaborations helped the FBI and local police arrest three three people involved in a rash of robberies. 

CBP Agent Convicted of Using Excessive Force at Border Crossing

CBP officer (Photo: CBP via Twitter)

By Steve Neavling

A CBP officer who yanked a driver from his car and shoved him to the ground at a border crossing was convicted Wednesday of using unreasonable force. 

A federal jury found Marcos Valenzuela guilty of deprivation of rights under color of law and falsification of records in a federal investigation. 

The incident occurred on Aug. 16, 2019, when Valenzuela was assigned to primary vehicle inspection at the Calexico West Port Entry between Mexico and Southern California. A driver got out of his car to confront a motorcyclist for cutting in front of his vehicle. 

Valenzuela instructed the man to return to his car or he would “throw him to the ground.” The driver complied, but Valenzuela continued to yell at him and eventually ordered him to get out of his car. While the driver was turning off his vehicle, Valenzuela pulled him out of the car and threw him to the ground, causing minor injuries to his neck forehead and forearm. 

Valenzuela handcuffed the driver and told officials in the security office that the driver was the aggressor. Valenzuela also made numerous false statements in a follow-up report, prosecutors said. 

“The jury has found that Marcos Valenzuela used excessive force and deprived a United States citizen of his right under the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable search and seizure,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office takes every allegation of excessive force by law enforcement officers very seriously, and where those allegations are supported by the evidence, we will take the appropriate action to ensure that the transgressors are held accountable.  Along with our law enforcement agency partners, we are dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of all members of our community.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner added, “Today’s guilty verdict demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to holding everyone accountable for their criminal actions, regardless of the position they hold.”

Valenzuela is scheduled to be sentenced on July 8. 

“CBP employees and officers take an Oath of Office, a solemn pledge that conveys great responsibility and one that should be carried out at all times with the utmost professionalism,” Elizabeth Cervantes, special agent in charge of the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility in San Diego, said. “CBP employees who disregard that oath and instead choose to violate the trust of the citizens they swore to protect will be held accountable.  CBP will continue to work with our partners at other agencies to seek out and investigate any instance of abuse. This layered approach and collaboration among federal agencies is critical to the mission of professional integrity. Although the percentage of prosecutions for abuse is very small, no incident is tolerated.”

FBI Pledges to Continue Searching for Answers about Robert Levinson on 15th Anniversary of Disappearance

Former FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared while in Iran.

By Steve Neavling

On the 15th anniversary of Robert Levinson’s disappearance on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray pledged to continue searching for answers about the mystery of his whereabouts. 

Levinson, whose 74th birthday is today, disappeared while on Kish Island, a tourist spot off the coast of Iran. He worked part-time for the CIA, and U.S. officials believed he died while in Iranian custody.  

“Fifteen years passed since Bob disappeared in Iranian territory, but no matter how much time goes by, Bob will forever remain part of our FBI family,” Wray said in a statement. “The FBI and our partners in the U.S. government will continue to seek answers for Bob’s wife, children, and grandchildren. We remain steadfast in our mission to bring Bob home where he belongs, and we will continue to pursue every lead to accomplish that mission, including calling on Iran to assist with Bob’s return.”

Levinson was an FBI special agent for 22 years. 

The FBI renewed its calls to Iran to share information that could lead to Levinson’s return and said the bureau would “hold those responsible for Bob’s disappearance accountable.”

In 2019,  the Department of State Rewards for Justice Program offered a reward of up to $20 million for information that leads to Levinson’s “location, recovery and return.”