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News Story

Looking Ahead for TSA After Study Found Serious Surveillance Issues

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Now that many see the TSA as a failure,  what’s next next for the beleaguered agency?

Give the task back to the airlines?

The Hill offers insight, saying private competition may drive down prices but you get what you pay for.

More than 13 years after 9/11, we are still struggling to ensure the continued security of America’s airliners, which suggests that this is not an easy task. Most of the problems seem to be in human performance. This is not because TSA agents are not up to the task. Screeners work hard to do their best, and they regularly uncover guns and other weapons that passengers attempt to conceal. Their failure is not owed to the fact that passengers have observed them taking breaks or occasionally joking with one another. The checkpoint is their workspace. Effective security does not require visible hardship or a scowling demeanor.

Screeners have a difficult task to perform under often terrible conditions. They have to deal with crowds of soon-to-be passengers, who are often apprehensive about flying or missing flights or complain about being told by some stranger to take off their shoes or their belts or empty their pockets. Every move the screeners make is watched by hundreds of people who view the screeners as adversaries.

Andrew G. McCabe Takes Over As Assistant Director in Charge of Washington Office

Andrew McCabe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Andrew G. McCabe, who recently held the FBI’s top national security post, has taken over as assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office.

McCabe now heads up the bureau’s second largest field division, which includes Northern Virginia.

McCabe’s FBI career began in 19996, when he was assigned to the New York Field Office. After collecting experience with organized crime, McCabe began to focus on counterterrorism when he was promoted to the Counterterrorism Division.

According to the FBI: 

In 2008, Mr. McCabe was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office’s Counterterrorism Division, where he managed several programs, including the National Capital Response Squad, Rapid Deployment Team, domestic terrorism squad, cyber‐ counterterrorism targeting squad, and extraterritorial investigations squad.

Mr. McCabe was selected as the first director of the High‐Value Interrogation Group in 2009. In 2010, the Director of National Intelligence certified Mr. McCabe as a senior intelligence officer.

In 2011, Mr. McCabe returned to the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters, where he served as deputy assistant director and assistant director.

Most recently, Mr. McCabe served as executive assistant director of the National Security Branch. Overseeing all FBI national security programs, including the Counterterrorism Division, the Counterintelligence Division, the Intelligence Division, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, the Terrorism Screening Center, and the High-Value Interrogation Group, Mr. McCabe ensured the FBI successfully executed its primary mission to defend the United States against national security threats.

Before entering the FBI, Mr. McCabe worked as a lawyer in private practice. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and Juris Doctor from Washington University School of Law.

FBI: Officers Had No Clue What to Do After Tamir Rice Shooting

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI agent who tried to save Tamir Rice’s life after he was shot by a Cleveland police officer described the scene as chaotic and said cops had no idea what to do, Clevaland.com reports.

The agent was a paramedic and took charge because the others, he said, “I don’t think they knew what to do.”

The 12-year-old boy’s intestines spilled out of his torso.

The bureau declined to identify the agent, who served in the Marines and Air Force.

As he was helping Tamir, the boy “turned over and acknowledged and looked at me, and he like reached for my hand.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

Weekend Series on Crime: The Rise of the Super Drug Tunnels

FBI Investigates Death of Man Shot Multiple Times with Taser at Border Crossing

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether CBP agents went too far when they shot a man multiple times with a Taser at a San Ysidro border crossing, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. 

Francisco Cesena died after of cardiac arrest caused in part by multiple Taser shots after authorities said he attacked them. According to the federal government, Cesena was wanted on a warrant and attacked agents when they tried to arrest him.

An autopsy revealed seven pairs of puncture marks from a Taser. CBP’s use of force policy bars agents from delivering more than three “cycles” from an electronic weapon.

CBP declined to comment.

 

 

Senate Committee Approves Bill to Stop Federal Crackdowns on Medical Marijuana

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents would be barred from using tax dollars to crack down on medical marijuana operations in states where it’s legal.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 22-8 to approve the measure, which would block the Department of Justice and DEA from using federal funds to interrupt medical marijuana programs, Huffington Post reports. 

If passed, the bill would protect marijuana users and growers in 23 states and the District of Columbia, where medical cannabis is legal.

Despite the state laws, the federal government still does not recognize marijuana as having medicinal benefits.

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Accused of Using No-Fly List to Coerce Muslims into Becoming Informants

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is accused of removing people from the no-fly list in exchange for becoming informants.

Al Jazeera America reports that four law-abiding Muslim men were removed from the no-fly list just days before a federal district court in New York hears their case.

According to their lawsuit, Tanvir v. Lynch, the no-fly list is used to coerce Muslims to become informants.

“The fact that the government has confirmed that all four of our clients now can fly really affirms our claims in this lawsuit that the only reason they were ever on a no-fly list is … they were refusing to be informants. There was never any valid reason for their placement,” said Diala Shamas, a senior staff attorney at CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility) at the City University of New York School of Law, which brought the lawsuit along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Debevoise & Plimpton.

The lawsuit alleges Muhammed Tanvir, of New York City, was barred from flying after he refused to become an informant. Then agents offered to remove him if he helped provide information.

“Had Mr. Tanvir actually presented a threat to aviation safety, [FBI agent Sanya] Garcia would not and could not have offered to remove Mr. Tanvir from the list merely in exchange for his willingness to become an informant,” the suit states.

 

Wack: The FBI’s First Use Of Airplanes & The Original Pilot

Retired FBI Special Agent Larry Wack maintains a website as a tribute to the early FBI and the G-Men of the 1930s. More can be found at this website.

By Larry Wack

The FBI’s First Use Of Airplanes & The Original Pilot Retired FBI Agent, Murry C. Falkner was actually the only FBI Agent during the ‘30s who was an “authorized pilot.” Falkner became an FBI Agent in 1925.

He obtained his pilot’s license in 1936 at the Albuquerque Airport while assigned to the El Paso FBI office.

Most of his official flying duties were in the West Texas and New Mexico areas. Falkner recounted some of his career in a 1967 interview for the FBI’s internal magazine, “The Grapevine.”

Among other high profile cases, Falkner was involved in the Dillinger and Bremer kidnapping investigations and received a raise in salary along with others for their work.

He used his raise to learn how to fly. In 1939, he was on special assignment in Seattle and bought his first plane. Before delivery, he was transferred to San Francisco, FBI and then had to travel to Detroit to arrange delivery. After a short sprint in San Francisco, FBI he was transferred to Alaska but found problems financially in taking the plane with him. Falkner retired from the FBI in the ’60s and maintained a residence in Mobile, Alabama.

At the time of his retirement, he had a new career in mind – writing. In a recently found July, 1965 news interview with Falkner, it’s revealed “Writing is not new in the Falkner family.

He (Murry) is a brother of the late William Faulkner and John Faulkner, also a novelist. William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1949 and the Pulitzer prizes for fiction in 1955 and 1963.”

Said Falkner in the same interview, “I’m going to try to do some writing. I have no illusions that I have the talent my brothers had but I am going to try my hand at it.”

At the time, Falkner was 66 years old. Falkner retained the revised spelling of the family name when his brothers, on the other hand, restored the “u” dropped by their great-grandfather.