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Tag: Congress

FBI Director Comey: ISIS May Try to Take More Hostages to Gain Concessions

American war reporter James Wright Foley was beheaded by ISIS.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said he’s worried that more Americans are at risk of being kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, CBS News reports.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety and security of American citizens worldwide,” Comey said in his written testimony ahead of a hearing in front of the House Homeland Security Committee. “ISIL and other foreign terrorist organizations may continue to try to capture American hostages in an attempt to force the U.S. government and people into making concessions that would only strengthen ISIL and further its terrorist operations.”

ISIS has already beheaded two American journalists.

Unlike some European countries, the U.S. does not pay ransoms.

“The U.S. policy of not paying ransom to kidnappers is longstanding and it is sound. It would be a mistake of strategic proportions to change that policy,” Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the CIA and a CBS News national security analyst, said last month. “If we were to do so, many more Americans would be kidnapped…and we would be become an ATM for militant groups around the world.”

FBI Director Says Memo about Turf Battles Among Agencies ‘Made My Head Explode’

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey expressed no patience with reported turf battles between the FBI and other federal agencies, Politico reports.

Comey said he was rattled after reading a memo about the turf battles.

“That report made my head explode,” Comey said at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday. “I shared that head explosion with every leader in the FBI, to let them know how I think about it, which is that the FBI does nothing alone….The American taxpayer should have no patience for turf battles. I got none.”

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-South Carolina, said he’s concerned.

“I appreciate y’all’s communication. I’m concerned about the communication where the rubber meets the road. And that’s where the communication needs to happen. And if you’ve got turf wars going on, I’m afraid that information may not be shared appropriately,” Duncan said.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he met with Comey on Wednesday to discuss cybersecurity.

“One of our challenges is to make sure that what you refer to doesn’t happen, because that doesn’t do any good for the American people, for our government, for the taxpayers, to see us engaged in turf wars. So we have committed to setting the example at the top and instilling that example in the rank and file in our leadership,” the secretary said.

Other Stories of Interest


Inspector General: FBI Routinely Delays Investigations by Failing to Turn Over Records

Michael Horowitz

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is routinely denying federal investigators timely access to documents for audits and reviews, the Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz complained to members of Congress on Tuesday.

The Associated Press reports that the FBI’s failure to cooperate has caused delays in investigations, so much so that Attorney General Eric Holder has had to intervene.

They only way to ensure compliance, he said, may be through congressional action.

Under a 1978 law, inspectors general are entitled to government records to investigate mismanagement and fraud.

The FBI denied delaying investigations.

Retired-ATF Agent Jay Dobyns Open Letter to Congress

Jay Dobyns

To the Honorable Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

My name is Jay Dobyns. In January of this year, I retired from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after twenty-seven years of decorated service.

Today is the six-year anniversary of the arson of my home. My wife and two children were inside when the fire was set. They were lucky to escape and survive, although my home and all of our belongings were destroyed by that criminal act.

Leading up to that conclusive and somewhat predictable event, my family and I had already endured years and dozens of credible and validated death and violence threats issued from violent crime suspects and based on my work as an ATF Agent. Each time those events were summarily dismissed by ATF’s leadership as unworthy of attention.

After investigating the August 10, 2008, arson, two of the nation’s leading arson investigators determined that I was not involved. ATF’s leadership, both nationally and locally, ignored the determinations of their own experts and maliciously pursued me as the sole suspect, implicitly categorizing me as an ATF agent willing to murder his own family by fire. The managers and executives involved were known to be corrupt, despised by ATF agents, and among those who planned and implemented ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious.

Those mangers ignored real-time investigative leads and true suspects while instead illegally recording my telephone calls and attempting to gather intelligence on me. None was to be found because I was not involved and innocent. One of ATF’s investigators, an Agent trusted to investigate the Olympic Park bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine High School massacre, the 9/11 terrorist attack and countless other crime scenes told ATF – “I’ve investigated Jay, he’s clean, let me go find the people who did this.”

ATF’s manager George Gillett (of Fast and Furious infamy) immediately removed that agent and his partner from the case. Their investigation did not fit his agenda.

ATF intentionally scuttled their investigation before contaminating a hand-off to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Under the guidance of the Department of Justice, the most flagrant destruction of one federal agent’s career and reputation ever publicly known took place. Now six years later the trail has gone cold and the real arsonist(s) remain at large having attempted to murder a federal agent and his family without pursuit.

When that conduct was challenged in court, both agencies used every tactic available to them, some illegal, some merely unethical and despicable, to cover-up their conduct. Attorneys for the government were fired for their actions in this case; their bad acts never acknowledged or remedied. The unethical tactics used by the government included the destruction and withholding of critical evidence and providing false sworn testimony at depositions and at trial.

The highest levels of leadership at each of these agencies are fully aware of the truth, yet they continue efforts to ensure it is never exposed. That is the system now firmly entrenched at the United States Department of Justice and at ATF – do anything necessary to do to keep your job, displace blame onto others, and if you must, hide and misrepresent the facts and truth from public and courtroom examination.

I respect the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches defined by our Constitution. As I await the findings of the court with patience and hope, I honor those laws. The truth is going to come out, whether ATF, DOJ, and their leaders Eric Holder and B. Todd Jones, care for it or not.

My biggest disappointment is that facts and evidence revealed during my lawsuit have been publicly available and brought to your attention for a considerable amount of time. Our nation’s elected officials, appointed Justice Department and ATF leaders, mid-level managers, federal prosecutors, and every internal ethics mechanism within those agencies, just doesn’t care.

Read more »

Border Patrol, ICE on Pace to Run Out of Money Before New Budget Year Begins

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ICE and Border Patrol are set to run out of money if Congress doesn’t approve a $3.7 billion request for emergency funds from President Obama, the Arizona Republic reports.

ICE expects to run out of money by mid-August, while Border Patrol said it could be penniless by mid-September.

Both agencies blame the border crisis on the funding shortage.

The new budget year begins Oct. 1.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson  told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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AP: Border Patrol Has Plenty of Agents During Crisis, But They Are in Wrong Places

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol may have enough employees to handle the flood of immigration, but the Associated Press found that the agency places too many agents in the wrong places.

The AP report indicates that many agents are stationed in areas where crossing activity is slow because of the “constantly shifting migration patterns.”

For example, the San Diego sector has about 2,500 agents, who detained 97 immigrants illegally crossing the border on June 14. On the same day, 1,422 immigrants were captured in the Rio Grand Valley, where 3,200 agents are stationed.

The mismatched border protection comes as President Obama plans to ask Congress for more than $2 billion to address a growing crisis on the Texas border where an increase of Central Americans crossings is causing cramped, squalid conditions.

Border Patrol officials said immigrants often shift migration routes depending on the abundance of agents on the border.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Michigan Congresswoman Calls on President Obama to Dispatch National Guard to Address Immigration Crisis

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Michigan congresswoman is urging President Obama to dispatch the National Guard to address a growing humanitarian crisis involving tens of thousands of children illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Fox News reports.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, a Republican, urged the president in a letter to address the overcrowding along the border.

“I strongly urge you to call upon the National Guard to assist our overwhelmed border agents in not only addressing the unfolding humanitarian crisis, but also to assist our agents in defending our border against the violent drug cartels who are increasing smuggling operations as a result of this crisis,” wrote Miller, who is vice chair of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Since October, border patrol officials have apprehended more than 47,000 children – nearly twice the number captured this time last year.

“Rather than carrying out their regular duties, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents are put in the position of providing basic child care,” Miller said in her letter. “This diversion away from normal patrol responsibilities will result in an increase of drugs and migrants illicitly crossing our border.”

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.
To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST