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Tag: Holocaust Museum

James Comey: Why I Require FBI Agents to Visit Holocaust Museum

FBI Director James Comey

By James Comey
FBI Director  

I believe that the Holocaust is the most significant event in human history. And I mean “significant” in two different ways.

It is, of course, significant because it was the most horrific display in world history of inhumanity, one that simply defies words and challenges meaning. I was born into an Irish Catholic family in this great, wonderful and safe country, but the Holocaust has always haunted me, and it has long stood as a stumbling block to faith.

How could such a thing be? How is that consistent with the concept of a loving God? How is that in any way reconcilable with the notion of a God with a role in human history? How could there possibly be meaning in life, when so many lives were snuffed out in such a fashion?

I have asked those questions since I was a young teenager. I have asked them my entire life. I asked the same questions standing in the pit at Ground Zero in early 2002. I have asked those questions many times as I have confronted unimaginable suffering and loss.

And I know I am in good company asking such questions. Last month, on a flight home from Eastern Europe, I reread Viktor Frankl’s wrenching “Man’s Search for Meaning,” in which he seeks to find meaning in suffering and loving, among other things.

And going much farther back, back before I was a religious studies major in college, I recalled the voice from the whirlwind in the Book of Job, rebuking us for even asking the question “Why?” “How dare you!” the voice seems to say. “It is not for you to ask, it is not for you to know.”

And yet I ask, as so many of us do. And I still don’t know.

But I do know this: I know it is our duty, our obligation, to make sure some good comes from unimaginable bad. Not so we can comfort ourselves by saying, “Oh, that was worth it then.” That’s nonsense. That would be perverse. It will never be “worth it.”

Instead, I believe it is simply our duty to do that, and I believe this is truth no matter where you come from on a philosophical or religious spectrum. Our obligation is to refuse to let bad win, to refuse to let evil hold the field. As Abraham Lincoln said on a field of unimaginable pain and loss, it is essential “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” Our resolution does not justify the loss, but we simply cannot be alive and give up.

To read more click here. 

New FBI Agents Will Be Required to Visit Martin Luther King Memorial

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New FBI agents are already required to tour the Holocaust Museum.

FBI Director James Comey is adding another required visit in Washington D.C. – the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the USA Today reports.

“I think it will serve as a different kind of reminder — one more personal to the bureau — of the need for fidelity to the rule of law and the dangers in becoming untethered to oversight and accountability,” Comey said.

The move marks quite a departure from the bureau’s attitude toward King prior to his 1968 assassination.

The FBI conducted secret surveillance of the civil rights figure in an effort to discredit him.

The requirement to visit the Holocaust Museum has been in place since the late 1990s.

Comey said the MLK memorial tour will remind agents that “we will be judged not only on whether we succeed in defeating crime and terrorism, (but) on whether we do so while safeguarding the liberties for which we are fighting.”

Report: Holocaust Museum Shooter Targeted White House’s David Axelrod

James von Brunn/facebook photo

James von Brunn/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Weeks after a white supremacist shot and killed a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington in 2009, White House senior adviser David Axelrod showed up at his favorite Chicago Jewish deli with an entourage of Secret Service agents.

In the past, he had no protection. But in July 2009, it was different. He was spotted with the added protection at Manny’s, a cafeteria-style deli on South Jefferson Street.

At the time, few knew why he suddenly was getting protection, though it was clear plenty of citizens around the nation were up in arms over President Barack Obama’s push for health care reform.

But now Time magazine reports that the Holocaust museum shooter, James von Brunn, who shot and killed an African-American guard, also had someone else on his list: David Axelrod. The magazine suggests the threat prompted the new protection detail.

To read more click here.

About 1,000 FBI Agents To-Be Visit the Holocaust Museum Each Year For Training

fbi photo

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The old saying goes: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The FBI, pointing to a lesson in history when power corrupted, has been taking about 1,000 special agents each year from the FBI Training Academy to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington as part of a lesson on “what can happen when law enforcement loses sight of what is right,” according to a story posted on the front page of the FBI website. The program has been going on for 10 years.

The “Lessons of the Holocaust” is a joint partnership between the Anti-Defamation League and the museum. The ADL often works closely with the FBI.

“It makes our people think about morality, ethics, and how to maintain those during turbulent times,” FBI special agent Douglas B. Merel, who teaches the Academy’s ethical leadership course for new agents that includes the museum program, said in the FBI story. “It shows how important it is for law enforcement to maintain their core values.”

The story goes on to talk about a recent 4-hour visit on a Friday morning by about 50 agents-to-be and how they talked about what separates them from the law enforcement officers in Germany during the Nazi era.

“It’s really our hope that the law enforcement officers who come to the museum see this program, see this history, and really reflect on their professional core values and their role in society today,” Marcus A. Appelbaum, who coordinates the museum’s community and leadership programs, said in the story.

White Supremacist Indicted in Holocaust Museum Shooting Could Face Death Penlalty

This has been one of the more brazen, biszare hate-crime incidents. At age 89, he could face the death penalty. But at that age, he’s not likely to get it. Any prison sentence will be a life sentence.

Scene of the Crime
Scene of the Crime

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury indicted an elderly white supremacist Wednesday on charges that could earn him the death penalty in the fatal shooting of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Hate crimes charges were added to the case against James von Brunn, who has been in a hospital since the shooting last month.

Officials say the 89-year-old shot and killed museum guard Stephen T. Johns on June 10. Von Brunn was shot in the face by other guards but survived.

For Full Story

Read von Brunn Indictment

D.C. ATF Agent Faced With Choice: Pull Gun or Call For Help and Chase Suspects

Most law enforcement agents and officers are faced with the dilemma at some point or another: pull out the gun and fight it out or call for back up and follow the suspects. ATF Agent Bill Crummett had to make that decision.

capitol1By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Bill Crummett had just spent hours organizing federal agents to investigate a fatal shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum when an unrelated burst of gunfire flashed before his eyes.

It happened June 10, hours after the museum violence, as Crummett’s car was stopped at a light a few blocks north of the Capitol.

Two pedestrians in a crosswalk at First and M streets NW pulled out semiautomatic handguns and opened fire on a third man, who was wounded and scrambled for cover behind a sport-utility vehicle. The assailants then hid their weapons in their waistbands, leaving Crummett to make a split-second decision: Engage and risk a firefight or call for help.

For Full Story

FBI Was Aware of Holocaust Museum Shooter But Had No Open Investigation

FBI's Joseph Persichin Jr./ticklethewire.com photo
FBI’s Joseph Persichin Jr./ticklethewire.com photo

With economy in the dumps and the election of a first African American president, we can expect to see more of the white supremacist movement. We need to keep a closer eye on these groups and individuals who continue to spew hate. As a side note, it’s sad that an 88-year-old man missed the point of life and continued to hate so late in life.

In a statement yesterday, Joseph Persichini Jr., head of the FBI’s Washington field office said: “The FBI did not have an open investigation on Mr. von Brunn, but we were aware of him and that he had a website that espoused hatred against various groups and government entities. Law enforcement is challenged every day to balance the civil liberties of U.S. citizens against the need to investigate activities of possible criminal conduct. No matter how offensive to some, we are keenly aware that expressing views by itself is not a crime and the protections afforded under the Constitution cannot be compromised.”

By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — The FBI was “aware” of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting suspect and his history of hateful writings about religious and ethnic minorities, but authorities had not opened a criminal investigation of him before Wednesday’s deadly attack, officials said yesterday.

The case of James W. von Brunn, who had a decades-old felony conviction for storming the Federal Reserve headquarters in a bid to kidnap board members and propagate his views against blacks and Jews, underscores the challenge that a rising tide of Web-based white supremacists poses to law enforcement, which walks a fine line between policing potential violence and respecting free speech, experts say.

Authorities including the Department of Homeland Security and police in New York and Los Angeles asked for help from Jewish leaders and maintained heightened patrols yesterday around synagogues and universities.

In an e-mail alert to state and local agencies Wednesday after von Brunn allegedly shot and killed a Holocaust museum guard, Homeland Security and the FBI wrote that “this appears to be an isolated incident” involving a lone suspect that appeared to have no connection to terrorism. In a statement yesterday, the FBI called the shooting a case of “domestic terrorism,” and Homeland Security said the earlier statement was premature.

For Full Story