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Secret Service Permitted to Track Cell Phones without Warrant from a Judge

cellphone-tower-photo2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the event of a nonspecific threat to a president or someone else under protection, the Secret Service won’t be required to get a warrant to use cellphone-tracking technology, the Associated Press reports. 

A House subcommittee learned about the new policy from Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Seth M. Stodder.

The devices, known as Stingrays, have been criticized by civil libertarians and privacy advocates as too intrusive.

The Justice Department introduced a similar policy in September. That policy includes the FBI.

Federal law requires authorities to get a signed warrant from a judge before using Stringrays, but exceptions have been made for “exigent circumstances.”

Homeland Security Allows Nearly 100 Employees to Collect Pay without Working

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Nearly 100 Homeland Security employees are collecting pay while not working, the Washington Post reports. 

Auditors made the discovery and expressed concerns about the go-to strategy of placing employees accused of misconduct on administrative leave.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is unhappy and wants to know why so many employees are paid without being required to work.

“DHS also failed to explain why such extended amounts of time were needed to conduct investigations into security issues, misconduct, or fitness for duty,” Grassley wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.

FBI Director: Fewer Americans Trying to Join ISIS Abroad As Crackdown Continues

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fewer Americans are traveling abroad to join ISIS, FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday.

The remarks before the House Homeland Security Committee are welcoming news after investigators saw an uptick in ISIS involvement, The Associated Press reports. 

In the past three months, the FBI is aware of six people who tried to join ISIS, compared to an average of nine a month.

Comey said he wasn’t certain why fewer people were joining, but he said the FBI has stepped up efforts against ISIS recruiting Americans.

In just the past year, dozens of Americans have been arrested for allegedly supporting ISIS.

Other Stories of Interest

Probation Officer in Massachusetts Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI Agent

fbi badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A probation officer in Massachusetts who is accused of mistreating a woman on probation pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to lying to an FBI agent, the Boston Globe reports. 

Lawrence Plumer, 46, reached an agreement with prosecutors that could mean he dodges jail and is instead sentenced to a year of probation.

Plumer is accused of showing pornography to a woman serving probation, among other allegations that have not been made public.

Prosecutors said the “mistreatment” involved the deprivation of the woman’s rights.

In addition to pleading guilty, Plumer agreed to resign from his job as probation officer in Suffolk Superior Court, the Boston Globe wrote.

Joseph Sizoo, Special Agent of FBI for 25 Years, Died at Age of 95

Joseph M. SizooBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Joseph M. Sizoo, who served as an FBI agent for 25 years, has died.

He was 95.

Sizoo worked in the Domestic Intelligence Division at FBI headquarters, working behind the scenes to prepare documents for internal use and to alert governments of security issues, according to his obituary published in the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily. 

Sizoo was a graduate of George Washington University in D.C., and he served in WWII from 1941 to 1946 in the Army Air Corps.

Federal Court Blasts DEA’s Interpretation of Recent Medical Marijuana Bill

medical marijuanaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal court in California criticized the DEA’s interpretation of a recent medical marijuana bill in a ruling that could compromise federal prosecutions of marijuana cases, the Washington Post reports. 

The court blasted the DEA’s interpretation of a bill that barred the federal government from using federal funds to “prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

But the DEA, in an interpretation of the bill that the court said “defies language and logic,” contended the amendment did not prevent actions against individuals and businesses.

Marijuana advocates said the ruling may finally end the federal crackdown on marijuana in states that prohibit its use for medicine.

“It’s great to see the judicial branch finally starting to hold the Justice Department accountable for its willful violation of Congress’s intent to end federal interference with state medical marijuana laws,” said Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority.

Mexican Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for His Role in Border Patrol Agent Terry’s Death

Brian Terry

Brian Terry

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Mexican man was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his part in killing Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010, Reuters reports.

Rosario Burboa-Alvarez, who pleaded guilty in August to first-degree murder, hired six men to rob marijuana smugglers and retrieve a cache of weapons near the border.

The men ended up in a gun battle that claimed the life of Terry.

“Agent Terry’s murder was a tragically foreseeable consequence of Defendant’s recruitment of a ‘rip crew’ to engage in armed robberies,” prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum.

Some of the weapons left behind were traced to the U.S. government’s flawed “Fast and Furious” gun-running probe.

ATF Investigates Rash of Arsons at Black Churches Near Ferguson

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF investigators are searching for a suspect they believe is responsible for setting six black churches on fire near Ferguson, the New York Daily News reports. 

The arsons began on Oct. 8, with the most recent occurring this weekend.

ATF stopped short of saying the motive was racial or religious.

“We believe this fire-setting activity is meant to send a message,” ATF spokesperson John Ham wrote in a statement announcing a $2,000 reward Tuesday. “We believe this activity may be the result of stress experienced in the subject’s life.”

No one was inside the churches when they were set afire.

“This is a spiritually sick person,” Rev. David Triggs, a pastor with the New Life Missionary, said.

Other Stories of Interest