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Secret Service Director Takes Full Responsibility, Pledges Wholesale Changes

Julia Pierson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson accepted full responsibility for the recent White House intrusion and pledged to improve security at a House Oversight Committee hearing Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Pierson divulged that Omar J. Gonzalez, who was armed with a knife, made it deeper into the White House on Sept. 19 than previously thought.

Pierson said Gonzalez was able to make it so far because the White House had two open front doors that don’t automatically lock and a muted alarm system. Secret Service officers also decided to subdue the intruder instead of shoot him.

“Eight hundred million dollars a year…during your tenure…and that door was unlocked,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), referring to the Secret Service’s personnel budget.

“The door was unlocked at the time of Mr. Gonzalez’s entry, that’s correct,” Ms. Pierson said, adding that automatic locks have since been installed on the White House front doors.

“The fence failed, officers chased him, didn’t catch him, sniper was in position, no shots were fired, dogs were out there, weren’t released, countersurveillance, I’m understanding, is understaffed…nobody shot anything,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) said.

“It’s clear that our security plan was not properly executed,” Ms. Pierson said. “This is unacceptable and I take full responsibility. And I will make sure that it does not happen again.”

Elected officials said the meeting fueled concerns that the White House is vulnerable.

2 Mexican Nationals Indicted in Fatal Shooting of Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent

Javier Vega Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Mexican nationals were indicted on charges of capital murder and attempted murder in the shooting death of an off-duty Border Patrol agent, the Valley Morning Star reports.

Indicted were Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval, 30, and Ismael Hernandez-Vallejo, 40, who are accused of being involved in the Aug. 3 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr.

They also were indicted in connection with the nonfatal shooting of Javier Vega Sr., whose son was killed.

Both men face the possibility of the death penalty.

The Vegas were shot while on vacation and fishing with family in the Rio Hondo area. Vega Jr. fired back, authorities said, but did not strike anyone.

Customs And Border Protection Plans to Hire 2,000 Officers to Beef Up Security

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CBP plans to hire 2,000 officers by the end of the 2015 fiscal year, the Tucson News reports.

Most of the new officers will serve along the southwest border.

Some of the jobs entail checking passports at the border and enforcing immigration laws.

Applicants will undergo a thorough screening process to ensure their eligibility.

Applicants must also pass an entrance and fitness test, be a U.S. citizen and resident of this country for the past three years and be under the age of 37 at the time of applying.

Applications are available online.

TSA Officer Charged After Being Accused of Secretly Videotaping Female Coworker in Restroom

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A TSA officer is under fire after being accused of secretly videotaping a female coworker in an employee restroom at the Nashville International Airport, WJRN reports.

Daniel Boykin, 33, of Murfreesboro also is accused of entering the victim’s Nashville home several times to take information from her computers and electronic devices.

The investigation started after the victim said she saw images of herself on Boykin’s phone.

Investigators said Boykin appeared to be infatuated with the victim.

He is charged with aggravated burglary, wiretapping, unlawful photography, unlawful telephone recording and two computer crimes.

Boykin was arrested Monday and was lodged in jail on a $100,000 bond.

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Armed Intruder Makes It Deeper Inside White House Than Previously Disclosed

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Omar J. Gonzalez was armed with a knife when he managed to make it much deeper into the White House mansion than previously disclosed, the New York Times reports.

The 42-year-old made it to the ceremonial East Room after overpowering a Secret Service agent inside the North Portico entrance.

Gonzalez finally stopped after trying to enter the Green Room, said Rep. John Chaffetz, R-Utah.

The New York Times writes that the discovery “will set the stage for an explosive congressional hearing on Tuesday when lawmakers” plan to question Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.

The focus of the hearing is a series of security blunders over the past several years.

One law enforcement official told the New York Times that Secret Service officers failed to follow several protocols that made it possible for Gonzalez to nearly reach the Green Room.

Retired FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Obstruction in Case of $54M Military Contract

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice after prosecutors say he tried to derail an investigation into a $54 million military contract, the Associated Press reports.

Robert Lustyik Jr. was expected to start trail Monday in federal court but decided to please guilty at the last moment.

The 52-year-old, however, declined a plea bargain because he doesn’t want to implicate anyone.

Federal prosecutors say Lustyik was helping a company started by former soldiers. They are accused of using insider information to win a $54 million contract with the U.S. government.

Lustyik agreed to take a cut of the contract in exchange for disrupting the investigation by fabricating interviews.

Homeland Security Reaches Agreement with Washington Times After Improper Record Seizure

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security reached a rare settlement with a newspaper after seizing a reporter’s notes and records from her home while executing a warrant for information on guns allegedly possessed by her husband, the Washington Times reports.

The agency agreed to reimburse some of the legal bills accred by the newspaper and the reporter, Audrey Hudson, whose home was raided in August 2013 and her notes and records on the problems inside the Federal Air Marshal Service seized.

“While the settlement payments cover just a fraction of the legal bills we accrued, the fight was, in the end, about protecting a journalist’s right to keep her sources confidential and to engage in the First Amendment protected activity of reporting without unwarranted government intrusion,” said Larry Beasley, the president and chief executive officer of The Times.

Hudson said she hopes the settlement puts an end to similar seizures.

“The importance of this case was that we just were not going to let it stand, the idea that federal officers at will could confiscate a reporter’s notes without any sort of subpoena or search warrant seeking the notes or even directed at the reporter,” Ms. Hudson said.

Homeland Security also returned documents and other notes to Hudson.

Homeland Security did not return calls from the Washington Times for comment.

Republicans Accuse a Top DEA Official of Intimidation in Complaint to Inspector General

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did one of the top leaders of the DEA intimidate members of Congress while discussing a prescription drug bill?

That’s the claim by two Republicans – Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Tenn., and Tom Marino, Pa. – who say in a letter to the Justice Department’s inspector general that DEA Deputy Assistant Administrator Joe Rannazzisi accused them and their staff of “supporting criminals,” the Washington Post reports.

The Republicans want the inspector general to determine whether Rannazzisi’s “baseless accusations constitute serious misconduct by a Department official.”

“We believe an accusation of this nature from a DOJ official is totally unacceptable and does in fact constitute serious misconduct,” Blackburn and Marino wrote. “We have no other choice but to conclude that his statement was an effort to attempt to intimidate the United States Congress.”

The issue was over a bill that would offer a second chance for pharmaceutical distributors who violate federal regulations.

The DNA did not return the Posts’s request for a comment.

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