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NYT Film Review: ‘(T)error’ Documentary ‘Leaves Too Much Unverified’

By Ken Jaworowski
New York Times

If you assume everything said in “(T)error” is true — and for the most part, I do — it’s a sobering story. Still, though the film gains your trust, it leaves too much unverified.

The movie, billed as the first documentary to embed filmmakers in an F.B.I. counterterrorism operation, follows Saeed Torres, a former Black Panther and self-described “civilian operative” who says he works as a paid undercover informant.

Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, the directors, travel with Mr. Torres to Pittsburgh, where Mr. Torres says his mission is to befriend Khalifah al-Akili, a man who may have, among other things, posted pro-Taliban statements online. Mr. Torres, who is untrained, is supposed to gauge the potential for terrorist activity and help the F.B.I. build a case against Mr. al-Akili.

Mr. Torres meets Mr. al-Akili several times (none of those encounters, nor any with the F.B.I., are shown, only mentioned) and concludes that he isn’t a serious threat. Despite this, Mr. Torres says, he is told to press on, which casts suspicion on the F.B.I.’s investigation and, by association, its use of informants.

While the agency’s methods appear dubious, the film’s approach is sometimes lacking. No F.B.I. agents, current or retired, are interviewed for context or corroboration; an ending note says only that the agency did not respond to a request for comment.

To read more click here. 

FBI Foils 4 Attempts by Russian-Linked Gangs to Smuggle Nuclear Material

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 8.38.05 AMBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has foiled four attempts by Russian-linked gangs to smuggle nuclear material to other countries, the Guardian reports. 

In February, a smuggler seeking an Islamic State buyer offered undercover agents a large mount of radioactive caesium.

But a recent Associated Press investigation found that some of the alleged smugglers have resumed their activities after getting short prison sentences.

The gangs were in the European country of Moldova, and authorities suspect the materials came from Russian hospitals.

“We can expect more of these cases,” said Constantin Malic, a Moldovan police officer who investigated all four cases. “As long as the smugglers think they can make big money without getting caught, they will keep doing it.”

FBI to Set Up New Office in Atlanta As Part of Lease Deal in 2017

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is getting a new field office in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that a developer has been tapped to build a 151,000-square-foot building beginning in 2016 and lease it to the bureau at a yet-to-be disclosed location.

The building is expected to be open in 2017

The newspaper was unable to get detailed information.

“Our team is thrilled to be awarded this monumental lease,” FD Stonewater executive Claiborne Williams said in the release. “GSA and FBI are going to be great partners in this endeavor and we are truly excited about the opportunity to deliver a new field office which will meet FBI’s mission for the next 20 years and beyond.”

The bureau’s office is currently housed in Century Center office park in DeKalb County.

FBI Blasted for Biased Bids Favoring Motorola for Two-Way Radio System

Logo-MotorolaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI – again – violated procurement rules in awarding a bid to Motorola Solutions for a new two-way radio system, the Government Accountability Office has concluded.

The Sun Herald reports that the GAO determined that the FBI solicited bids based on features that only Motorola can provide.

The contract was worth $335 million.

Lawyers for the GAO urged the FBI to cancel the solicitations after Motorola rival Harris Corp. protested.

The FBI has been trying to replace its 30-year-old Motorola system.

Justice Department to Begin Tallying Number of Killings by Police Nationwide

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For the first time, the federal government is tallying the number of killings by police around the country.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a pilot program Monday to begin an open-source system to accurately account for every death at the hands of American law enforcement, the Guardian reports. 

The move comes after activists and lawmakers have called on the federal government to keep better track of the police killings.

The tracking program has begun but will be fully active at the beginning of 2016.

The Bureau pf Justice Statistics will run the program.

Border Patrol Falls Far Short of Goal of Hiring 1,600 Women As Agents

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol went on a hiring spree for more female agents but came far short of its goal of hiring up to 1,600 women.

The agency wanted to hire more women because of the tens of thousands of parents and children who crossed the border last year.

By last week’s deadline, the Washington Post reports that only 50 women have been selected.

We are really looking to ramp up,” said Stacy King, Supervisory Human Resources Specialist for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, “but recruitment, hiring and retention of female law enforcement officers continues to be a challenge for us.”

It’s not easy work, said Adriana Palacios, 36, an operations officer and recruiter for the Border Patrol station in Texas.

“You work by yourself,” Palacios said. “You could be alone in the dark and your partner is a mile down the river.”

Homeland Security Reopens Internal Investigation of Secret Service Leak

Joseph Clancy

Joseph Clancy

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service’s efforts to discredit a congressman has prompted another investigation by Homeland Security’s internal watchdog, the Associated Press reports. 

The move comes after Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy changed when he said he learned about agents investigating the background of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a frequent critic of the agency.

Still, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson expressed confidence in Clancy.

Clancy originally said he first heard about the leak of Chaffetz information on April 1. But Clancy has since changed his story, saying he heard unsubstantiated rumors about Chaffetz in late March.

Other Stories of Interest

Philadelphia Universities Warned of ‘Unspecified’ Threat of Violence Today

Via University of Pennsylvania website.

Via University of Pennsylvania website.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI warned of an “unspecified” threat of violence at universities in Philadelphia.

The USA Today reports warned students and faculty of threats made against “an unspecified university near Philadelphia.”

The FBI and ATF are monitoring the threats and issued the warnings.

Alerts were sent to students and faculty at the University of Philadelphia, Temple University and Drexel University.

The schools plan to operate normally but students were warned on university websites to be vigilant.

“Although the FBI has assured us there is no specific threat to a particular college or university, we are taking this very seriously and are taking extra precautions to protect the Drexel community,” a statement read on Drexel University’s website.