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Drug Policy Alliance: DEA Impeded, Rejected Science on Medical Marijuana for 4 Decades

By Ethan Nadelmann
Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance

For four decades, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has systematically obstructed medical research and rejected scientific evidence. It’s increasingly clear that entrusting decisions involving medical science to the DEA is akin to leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse. And what’s most striking is how little scrutiny the DEA has faced from Congress or other federal overseers.

Wednesday, members of Congress, scientific experts, medical marijuana patients and others will join us in a teleconference that will accompany the release of a new report co-published by MAPS and the Drug Policy Alliance called “The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science”.

Since the days of the Nixon administration, federal officials have described the drug classification process as based on science and evidence. But the DEA’s actions strongly indicate that their decision-making has everything to do with politics and little to do with science.

Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, the DEA’s powers include not just the ability to enforce federal drug laws, but the authority to schedule drugs and license facilities for the production and use of scheduled drugs in federally-approved research. The DEA is statutorily required to make its determinations based on scientific data. There is no indication in the legislative record that the CSA intended for drug classification to be a one-way ratchet, with only tighter controls ever envisioned. Nor was there any indication that the DEA’s decision-making process was intended to be an entirely political process.
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Former Informant Opens Up About Experience Infiltrating Islamic Terrorists

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Emad Salem was one of the FBI’s most valuable government informants.

Now the 64-year-old who helped put Islamic terrorists behind bars is speaking out publicly for the first time in years and is selling his first self-published book, “Undercover,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Born in Egypt, Salem emigrated to the U.S. in 1987 and soon was recruited by the FBI to monitor suspected Russian mobsters. In the 1990s, his undercover assignments focused on Islamic terrorism.

Salem infiltrated the terrorist group behind the first World Trade center bombing in 1993.

Salem said he blew through $1 million he received from the U.S. government.

“I’m tired of all that,” Salem told the Washington Post. “It is time for me to talk now. I was shut up for 20-some years.”

FBI Missed Opportunity to Keep Dad Away from Children Before He Killed Self, His Sons

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At least 17 months before he killed his children and his staff, Josh Powell was the subject of an FBI investigation in which agents found child porn, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

At the time of the deaths, the FBI was actively investigating the disappearance of Powell’s wife and the discovery of child porn.

An attorney for parents of the wife, Susan Powell, expressed frustration that the investigation was not shared with the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, which could have stopped the dad’s visits with the children.

Instead, Josh Powell lit a fire at his rented home in Graham, Wash., in February 2012 and killed himself and his two sons. Powell’s wife has been missing since 2009.

The FBI declined to comment on the case.

Justice Department to Taken Inventory of All Federal Agencies Whose Agents Carry Guns

FBI stock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

How much heat does the federal government pack?

The Justice Department plans to find out by taking an inventory of all federal agencies whose agents carry weapons and make arrests, Newsmax reports.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics will collect the data.

“It’s certainly proper for every agency to have an accurate accounting of what firearms it has,” said Dave Workman, communications director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “After all, these guns don’t belong to the agents. They belong to the taxpayers. We paid for that stuff.”

In 2008, the last time such an inventory was undertaken, the Justice Department found that 120,000 government employees were armed at 73 agencies.

Border Patrol Agent Saves Two Drowning Men from Rio Grand River in Texas

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Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent saved the lives of two men who were struggling to swim across the Rio Grande River in Texas, KSAT.com reports.

The rescue happened after three people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally jumped into the river in an attempt to get back to Mexico.

But two men struggled, so an agent jumped in and retrieved both suspects.

The Border Patrol saved the lives of about 200 people so far this fiscal year.

CBP Removes Head of Internal Affair in Search of More Aggressive Watchdog

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of internal affairs at Customs and Border Protection was removed from his position Monday following criticism that he wasn’t aggressive enough with agents accused of using inappropriate force, the Los Angeles Times reports.

James F. Tomsheck, whose job is to root out corruption among the federal government’s largest law enforcement workforce, has been given a temporary assignment.

In the meantime, the CBP asked the FBI to assign a senior agent to investigate the abuse, in what the Times described as an unusual move.

The shakeup comes after mounting criticism about widespread abuses at the county’s borders.

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Border Patrol Cracks Down on Agents’ Use of Personal Technology After Alarming Photos Turn Up

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Photos that were leaked from overcrowded Border Patrol processing centers has prompted the federal agency to ban agents from using personal technology in some areas, TownHall.com reports.

The photos show children sleeping in cramped areas surrounded by chain-linked cages.

“Due to the recent unauthorized use of a personally owned electronic device in the Nogales Processing Center, the use of such devices will be restricted to locations outside of detention areas,” Lawson wrote in a June 6 memo to all employees at the Nogales station. “Effective immediately, the use of personally owned cellular phones, cameras, or recording devices in the Nogales Detention Facility and the Nogales Processing Center is strictly prohibited. All personnel working or visiting detention facilities at the Nogales Station will be required to turn off these electronic devices and store them in a locker other secure location prior to entering the detention area.”

The agency also has threatened to fire any employees responsible for leaking the photos.

“Apparently they are so ticked over these photos that they are going to fire the person that leaked them,” one source said.

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FBI Director Comey, Wife Serve As Emergency Foster Parents to Stay Centered

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey deals with a lot of bad people – terrorists, mobsters, rapists, murderers.

To stay centered, Comey told a group of new recruits recently that he and his wife are emergency foster parents, NPR reports.

“You’re gonna get to see a lot of bad things in this work, a lot of pain you’re gonna absorb,” Comey said. “You’re gonna help a lot of people and in the course of helping them you’re going to be touched by some of the pain and suffering they’ve endured. I need you to look after yourselves.”

When asked what he does to stay centered, Comey said he and his wife have been helping foster children.

“Little boy who came to us born a month premature in a homeless shelter to a drug-addicted mother and born in very very difficult circumstances so we got him right out of the hospital,” Comey said.

The baby is doing much better and has been placed with an adoptive mom.

“And we’ve stayed very close. We’ll look after him his whole life,” Comey said. “It is absolutely true that as a foster parent that you in a lot of ways get more out of it than you put into it.”