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FBI Downplays Terror Group’s Calls for Attacks on Malls in U.S

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security are downplaying a threat by a Somali-based terror group to attack shopping malls in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom, CNN reports.

U.S. officials said there are no credible threats of an attack, but still cautioned shoppers to be careful.

“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today,”  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “they’ve got to be particularly careful.”

The Minnesota mall was alluded to in a video by Al-Shabaab, which called for the attacks.

Mall of America said it is on the look out.

“We take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately,” the Minnesota mall said in a statement. “We have implemented extra security precautions; some may be noticeable to guests, and others won’t be.”

 

 

Obama Adminstration Slow at Cracking Down on Border Patrol Shootings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Obama administration’s pledge to discipline Border Patrol agents who use excessive force is nearly a year old and hardly any progress has been made, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Shooting cases remain unresolved and undisciplined. A review panel tasked with making recommendations has yet to do so. And internal affairs’ top two jobs are vacant.

The administration responded that the reforms are caught up in union rules and red tape.

In the past five years, Border Patrol agents have shot and killed two dozen people along the Southwest border, The Times wrote. None of the shootings led to disciplinary actions or charges.

“I’m not sure we will reach a level of satisfaction with the public on every one of those cases,” said R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency for the Border Patrol. “But we will be much more thorough, much more accountable and we will be much more transparent … going forward.”

 

FBI’s Obsession with ‘Louie Louie’ Made the Song an Anthem for Rebellious Youths

 
By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The song “Louie Louie,” which turns 60 years this year, may not be as popular today if not for the FBI’s obsession with it during the 1960s.

The Tampa Tribune recalls the bureau’s countless hours spent trying to find something profane in the lyrics.

“Agents at the Tampa FBI office managed to find time in February 1964 to spend hours each day listening to a version of the song ‘Louie Louie’ recorded by the Portland, Oregon, band The Kingsmen,” the Tribune wrote.

“Looking back, it’s funny,” said Dick Peterson of The Kingsmen. “But the FBI was serious. They wanted to prove the song was dirty and they wanted to punish us for it. Even funnier of course is there was nothing dirty about it.”

When the public became aware of the FBI investigation,  people in the counter-culture made the song “an anthem in their protest against a controlling government.”

“There is no way the band would have been this big without that controversy,” Peterson said. “The song sounded horrible but the investigation turned it and our band into a huge success.”

 

Transportation Security Officers Closer to Working Without Paychecks

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If Congress doesn’t fund Homeland Security by Friday, transportation security officers will be forced to go to work without pay.

NPR reports that officers won’t get paid until lawmakers find a way to fund the department amid a budget showdown with President Obama over his immigration plan. http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2015/02/23/388338500/for-tsa-officers-congress-inaction-on-funding-could-hit-home

DHS employees who are considered essential for “the safety of human life and protection of property” are required to work even during a shutdown. And that is most DHS employees.

“Look at the last shutdown. I think 85, 90 percent of all of the DHS workers were declared ‘essential,’ and came to work and they all got their paychecks,” said House Republican Matt Salmon of Arizona.

Other Stories of Interest


Weekend Series on Crime: The Gambino Crime Family

httpv://youtu.be/e5Op6iij5KM

FBI Agent Shot by Own Gun at Firearms Training in California

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent was shot in the leg by his own gun Thursday during a firearms training in California, U-T San Diego reports. 

Officials said they still aren’t certain if the gun malfunctioned or was accidentally discharged.

The unidentified agent was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The accident happened about 10 a.m. at the San Diego Regional Firearms Training Center.

White House Didn’t Invite FBI Director to Conference on Curbing Violent Extremists

Director James B. Comey.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A three-day conference on quelling violent extremism this week did not include the nation’s most senior official tasked with preventing terrorist attacks – FBI Director James B. Comey.

The reason the White House didn’t invite him: The administration doesn’t want too much of the focus on law enforcement, The New York Times reports.

Oddly, the administration still invited Comey’s Russian counterpart, Aleksandr V. Bortnikov, the director of the Russian Federal Security Service, the post-Soviet K.G.B.

The meeting in Washington D.C. “has been criticized as ineffectual and irrelevant, and not focused on immediate and tangible solutions to stop terrorists,” The Times wrote.

An administration official defended the actions.

“While the F.B.I. works tirelessly to keep the country safe, this conference was not centered on federal law enforcement.”

So what was the focus?

Anti-terrorism efforts “are premised on the notion that local officials and communities can be an effective bulwark against violent extremism, and most of the participants — spanning community leaders, local, law enforcement, private sector innovators, and others — reflected this bottom-up approach.”

The FBI declined to comment.

 

FBI Agent Became Addicted to Heroin After Dependence on Pain Meds

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent accused of stealing heroin from evidence in cases to feed his addiction was first hooked on pain medication, The Washington Post reports.

Matthew Lowry, 33, of the Washington Field Office told investigators that he first took heroin in 2013 after stealing a small amount obtained during an undercover sting.

He said he became addicted to pain medication in 2012 for reasons that aren’t clear.

Lowry’s eventual dependence on heroin led him to steal heroin from suspects, authorities said in reports. The theft resulted in the dismissal of charges for 28 defendants because the evidence was deemed tainted.

Lowry has been suspended but not charged.