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President Obama Praises Newly Confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama lauded new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as “a strong leader” who will “play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks.”

The statement follows Monday’s Senate confirmation of Johnson, a former general counsel at the Pentagon.

The president’s full statement:

“I am pleased the Senate has confirmed Jeh Johnson as our next Secretary of Homeland Security with broad bipartisan support.

“In Jeh, our dedicated homeland security professionals will have a strong leader with a deep understanding of the threats we face and a proven ability to work across agencies and complex organizations to keep America secure. Jeh has been a critical member of my national security team, and he helped to shape some of our most successful national security policies and strategies.

“As Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh will play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks, adapt to changing threats, stay prepared for natural disasters, strengthen our border security, and make our immigration system fairer — while upholding the values, civil liberties, and laws that make America great.

“I look forward to Jeh’s counsel and sound judgment for years to come.”

ATF Joins Investigation of Mammoth Fire at Apartment Building Site in Colorado

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents are joining an investigation into a suspicious Colorado fire over the weekend that was so hot that flattened the apartment building and melted cars parked across the street, the Denver Post reports.

The 11 p.m. Saturday fire broke out in an apartment building that is under construction in Glendale, which is surrounded by Denver.

“We don’t know if it is arson,” Denver Fire Department Division Chief Joseph Gonzales said, “but we start every investigation to eliminate arson as a cause.”

No one was injured in the three-alarm fire, which caused an estimated $12 million in damage.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Levinson Family Wants to Meet with New FBI Director After News That He Worked for CIA

 

Robert Levinson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of former FBI agent Robert Levinson wants to meet with the new agency’s new director following recent reports that he was working for the CIA when he vanished, CNN reports.

FBI Director James Comey was supposed to meet with the family before the recent revelations but has delayed his meet-up, the family attorney, David McGree, said.

That meeting will still take place, the FBI said, once Comey become more available after extensive traveling since taking over in September.

Levinson, now 65, was in Iran in 2007 when he went missing.

Iranian authorities insist they don’t have Levinson or know where he is.

New Generation of FBI Agents Adds Youth, Passion to Fight Global Terrorism

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It hasn’t been long since the FBI’s primary focus was putting away bank robbers, kidnappers and gang members.

That focus has dramatically shifted in the post-9/11 era, creating a new generation of counterterrorism experts who know the ins and outs of al Qaeda and Hezbollah, Newsweek reports.

Most of the counterterrorism experts are in their mid- to late-40s – a relatively young age for agents with their responsibilities.

“The last generation was more reactive,” an intelligence expert said, “and the current guys are extremely proactive. I think they will initiate things just to find out if there’s something there, as opposed to waiting and seeing.”

Leading the group of experts is Andrew McCabe, head of the FBI’s National Security Branch. He’s 45 and rose to the top by acquiring in-depth knowledge of terrorism, Newsweek wrote.

The FBI’s Most Popular Post on Its Website Involved a Famous Art Heist

By Alan Stamm
ticklethwire.com  
 
The FBI uses the news area of its website to post arrests, convictions, awards and requests for crime-solving tips. The most-viewed post of 2013, the bureau tells a journalism blogger, is a March 18 item offering a $5-million reward for help cracking a notorious 1990 art theft.

The cold case is the two-man heist of 13 paintings from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. Without specifying how many online visitors saw it in nine months, the bureau says the multimillion-dollar bounty announcement is this year’s most popular post.

It was shared 2,857 times on Facebook and tweeted by 93 visitors to fbi.gov, stats on the site show. The multimedia post has a news release, videos in which two agents and others “discuss the case and their renewed efforts to recover the priceless art,” and a link for sending tips. The hefty reward from the feds and the museum is posted “to get the attention of those who might have or know the whereabouts of the 13 stolen works of art,” the FBI says.

Cleveland blogger Bill Lucey, an ex-newspaperman, contacted the FBI for a roundup headlined “Most Viewed News Stories of 2013.” The Boston case reward earns a spot Monday alongside coverage of Edward Snowden, the Boston Marathon bombing and May’s rescue of three Cleveland women held captive since 2002 and 2004.

 

FBI Intervenes in Cases Before Mass Shootings by Getting Mental Health Professionals Involved

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is known more for combating crime than preventing it.

But behind-the-scenes, the FBI has been busy trying to prevent mass shootings and violent attacks by getting mental health professionals involved, the Associated Press reports.

Behind the effort is the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which has worked for years with state and local law enforcement to identify potential threats. A division of that unit, the Behavioral Threat Assessment Center, has handled 148 of these cases since January of this year, the AP wrote.

“The people around that subject often become fearful that that outcome is catastrophic act of violence, such as an active shooting or some type of mass attack,” said Andre Simmons, unit chief of the center.

 

Iranian Official: No Trace of Ex-FBI Agent Who Vanished in Country 6 Years Ago

 

Robert Levinson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The case of the former FBI agent who went missing in Iran six years ago remains a mystery.

There’s no evidence that Robert Levinson is in Iran, the country’s Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Associated Press.

“What we know is that he is not incarcerated in Iran,” Zarif said. “If he is, he’s not incarcerated by the government and I believe the government runs the, pretty much, good control of the country.”

It was revealed last week that Levinson was actually working for the CIA when he disappeared.

Study: Active Shooting Incidents Triple in 3 Years, But Go Largely Unnoticed Nationally

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More people are opening fire on crowds with the intent of mass murder, Scripps News reports.

The disturbing trend was revealed, in part, by a Texas State University researcher exclusively retained by Scripps News.

Click here to see the interactive map of active shooters.

According to the data, active shooter incidents have tripled in the past recent years.

“There is a higher number of people being shot and a higher number of people being killed,” said special agent Katherine Schweit, head of the FBI’s active shooter team which formed after last year’s rampage in Newtown.

What’s more, these incidents often go unnoticed outside of the communities where they occur, leaving the impression that they aren’t as common as they are, Scripps reported.