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Supreme Court to Take on Case Involving Secret Service and Free Speech

secret service photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Supreme Court will step into a very interesting issue involving the U.S. Secret SErvice.

Bloomberg news reports that the court will consider whether Secret Service agents can be sued for keeping protesters blocks away from the president during public appearances.

Bloomberg says the case comes down to security issues versus free speech.

Bloomberg writes:

Seven Bush critics say the Secret Service showed favoritism toward the former president’s supporters during his October 2004 campaign stop inJacksonville, Oregon. The seven people say that, unlike pro-Bush demonstrators, they were forced to move two blocks from the hotel where the president was dining. A federal appeals court let their claims against two agents go forward.

 

New ATF Director B. Todd Jones Has a Plate Full of Challenges

Todd Jones

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Over the years, ATF, like other federal agencies, has had its scandals and controversies and challenges getting respect. It has battled the National Rifle Association, had to deal with morale issues and public criticism from within.

NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports that the agency’s new leader B. Todd Jones,the former U.S. Attorney from Minnesota, is now taking on the challenge of steering the ship to calm waters.

After years of having failing to get a permanent director, Todd is now the permanent guy.

“There’s a sort of collective sigh of relief that not another person’s going to show up here for a bit,” Jones tells. “You know, they had five acting directors in the seven-year span since they made it subject to Senate confirmation, which is difficult for any organization to build momentum or have continuity.”

He’s had to deal with the fallout of the failed “Fast and Furious” undercover operation.

Johnson writes:

By all accounts since then, Jones has cleaned house at the ATF. He replaced virtually all of the top managers at headquarters and put nearly two dozen new agents in charge of field offices around the country. Over the next five years, some of the ATF’s most experienced agents — about 40 percent of the workforce — will be retiring. So the time to focus on the future and groom young talent, Jones says, is now.

To read more click here.

 

U.S. Calls for Release of Former FBI Agent Held Since March 2007 in Iran

Robert Levinson/photo helpboblevinson.com

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It seems like a long shot.

The U.S. is calling for the release of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who Monday became the longest-held American hostage ever, the Associated Press reports.

Levinson has been missing since a business trip to Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007.

“It is our view that all of these Americans should have the opportunity to come home,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. “The U.S. government has made a respectful request of the Iranian regime during this holiday season to consider on humanitarian grounds releasing these three Americans, or at least releasing the two Americans we know are detained and locating the whereabouts of the third, Mr. Levinson.”

Levinson’s release became a topic as the U.S. began negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.

His release sure would make the holidays brighter for his family.

Anti-Defamation League: FBI Hate Crime Statistics Have Serious Flaws

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI issues statistics every year for hate crimes in the U.S.

This year, hate crimes fell 7%. Good news, right?

Not exactly, according to the Anti-Defamation League, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The annual statistics come from law enforcement agencies that voluntarily release the information. About a quarter of the nation’s law enforcement agencies don’t even particate.

“Especially disappointing is the fact that the report contains no data from jurisdictions that had been models for national response in the past,” ADL National chairman Abraham Foxman said. “The Justice Department and the FBI should use every resource at their disposal to push harder to obtain this missing data, urging those cities and states that still have not provided their 2012 hate crime data to do so as quickly as possible.”

Democratic Lawmakers Call for More Study to Determine Fallout of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Congresswoman is calling for the Justice Department to study the racial impact of “Stand Your Ground” laws, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Cleveland, and a group of Democratic lawmakers sent a letter Tuesday to AG Eric Holder to plead for more documentation and study of the laws that permit people to use deadly force before retreating. More than two dozens states have laws similar to “Stand Your Ground.”

The letter states that “Stand Your Ground” laws “are contributing to increases in homicides and firearm injuries and are exacerbating racial disparities in the criminal justice system.”

Congressional Members Want Answers from CBP About Use-of-Force Policies

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CBP’s decision not to implement key reforms within the department has prompted calls from members of Congress for more explanation, the Arizona Star reports.

Twenty two members of Congress wrote a letter to CBP acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski. “The Border Patrol has not been as forthcoming as possible about how it uses force in the name of public safety, and that needs to change,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, said in a news release.

“If the American people don’t believe the Border Patrol will answer honest questions about its conduct, the mission will suffer,” he added.

One of the reforms that wasn’t implemented was the restriction of deadly force when agents are attacked by rocks.

At least 19 people have died in CBP-related deaths since 2010, according to the Arizona Star.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


Ex-Prosecutor Convertino Fails Again to Get Detroit Reporter to Disclose Sources

David Ashenfelter

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT –– Ex-federal prosecutor Richard Convertino has once again failed in his bid to get ex-Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter to disclose his sources.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland ruled Monday that Ashenfelter, who recently retired from the Free Press, had the right to invoke his Fifth Amendment privileges, according to a court document filed Monday.

It was third time in the protracted legal battle that a federal judge ruled against Convertino in his bid to get Ashenfelter to sing. Convertino, now a private attorney, is suing the Justice Department, claiming it illegally leaked information about him to Ashenfelter.

To read more click here.

Ex-FBI Agent Becomes Longest-Held American Hostage Ever After Disappearing in Iran in 2007

Robert Levinson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Robert Levinson vanished 2,456 days ago.

That makes the retired FBI agent the longest-held American hostage, according to the New York Daily News.

Journalist Terry Anderson was held hostage for 2,454 days. He was freed in 1991 by the Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to the Daily News.

Levinson worked at the FBI’s New York Field Office for 28 years.

He disappeared in March 2007 when was working as a private investigator in Iran, looking into cigarette smuggling.