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Tag: Homeland Security

Second Shooting Spree at Fort Hood Raises Question: Should Military Leaders Carry Guns at Bases?

Ford Hood Darnall HospitalSteve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After two deadly shooting rampages at Ford Hood in Texas, some congressional members said military leaders should be permitted to carry firearms on the base, the New York Post reports.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul called it “a common sense idea.”

“That would be a deterrent, No. 1 — and No. 2, a way to have a quick response to any shooter that comes on these bases,” McCaul said on “Fox News Sunday.”

But both the White House and Pentagon are opposed to changing bans on service members carrying personal firearms on bases.

 

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Secret Service Director Defends Subordinates on Capitol Hill Following High Profile Mishaps

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service’s first female director was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss the misbehavior of her male subordinates.

CNN reports that Secret Service Director Julia Pierson brushed off allegations of widespread problems among employees, saying  recent highly publicized allegations were unusual.

“These are isolated incidents of misconduct and we’re working every day to correct our behavior,” Pierson told reporters Tuesday after leaving a closed meeting with top senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Three agents were recently sent home after they were found drunk at a hotel in the Netherlands.

“We’re human and we make mistakes,” Pierson said when asked why the agency continues to be plagued by such problems.

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Report: FBI Is Too Slow When Placing Suspects on Federal Terrorism Watch List

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI takes 44 days on average to place suspects on the federal terrorism watch list when they are referred by another agency, The Washington Times reports.

It takes even longer – 78 days – to remove cleared suspects from the list, according to an audit of the bureau.

The audit also found that the FBI takes 17 business days to add its own suspects to the list – if they are ever added.

To blame are “redundant and inefficient processes” at FBI headquarters, Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in the audit.

“The report shows that the FBI has given its field offices too much latitude in terms of timeliness to add people to the watch list,” said Marshall Erwin, a research fellow and counterterrorism specialist at the Hoover Institution who has helped lead investigations for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Times wrote.

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Homeland Security Details Takedown on Web Exploitation Ring That Victimized 250+ Children

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Homeland Security Department helped bring down an international child exploitation ring involving as many as 27,000 people victimizing at least 251 children online, the New York Daily News reports.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson called the bust “one of the largest-known online child exploitation operations in history.”

Authorities alleges that a Louisiana man created a subscription-based website that disguises the identity and location of its users.

“So far, investigators have identified 251 minor victims in 37 states and five foreign countries: 228 in the United States and 23 in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Belgium. Eight of the victims were female and 243 were male. The majority of victims, 159, were 13 to 15 years old. Fifty nine victims were 16 and 17; 26 victims were 10 to 12; four victims were 7 to 9; one victim was 4 to 6; and two victims were 3 years old or younger,” the agency reported.

Congressmen to Introduce Bill That Would Improve Oversight of Homeland Security, Border Patrol

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Department of Homeland Security and its agencies, including the Border Patrol, would be subjected to greater oversight and accountability under a bill promoted by a pair of congressmen representing districts on the Mexican border, the Global Post reports.

The goal of the Border Accountability and Stakeholder Engagement Act is to create mechanism for monitoring, checking and evaluating federal agents.

The bill is expected to be introduced later this week or early next week by Republican Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

“Our offices receive frequent reports from our constituents and those close to them about agents’ excessive use of force and other unjustified conduct,” O’Rourke spokesman John Meza said.

L.A. Times Editorial: It’s the U.S.-Mexico Border, not the Wild West

By L.A. Times
Editorial 

Now we have an idea why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service was keeping secret an independent report of its encounters at the Mexican border. Because it has something to hide.

As The Times’ Brian Bennett reported last week, an independent report by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum sharply criticized the agency for a “lack of diligence” in investigating fatal encounters involving its agents. The report, based on internal case files of 67 shooting incidents leading to 19 deaths between January 2010 and October 2012, also faulted some of the agents’ practices, including positioning themselves in the “exit path” of fleeing vehicles apparently as a pretext for opening fire in self-defense. Not only is that contrary to commonly accepted policing practices, but it endangers passengers in the car as well as the agents, since a dead driver can’t control a moving vehicle.

The report also reinforced earlier findings by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General on the even more bizarre practice of agents firing across the border when people on the other side throw rocks at them. Yes, a thrown rock can cause significant damage, including death if it strikes an unprotected head. But to respond to rock throwing with live ammunition across an international border — on 22 occasions in 2012 — strikes us as excessive. Was there really no other way to address the problem?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Homeland Security Department, is the biggest police agency in the nation. It has doubled in size since 9/11 and now employs more than 43,000 Border Patrol agents and customs officers.

Certainly there are dangers involved in patrolling the border, and agents must be able to protect themselves. But the agency must also train its employees to operate professionally and not to respond to aggression with excessive force.

Click here to read more.

Homeland Security Is Shedding Air Marshal Jobs Because of Deep Budget Cuts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Budget cuts have forced Homeland Security to reduce the number of Federal Air Marshals whose job is to protect aircrafts from terrorists, CNN reports, citing internal emails.

The department declined to say how many marshals the department has lost in the past three years.

Critics blasted the department for its secrecy surrounding the issue.

It’s believed that the agency had about 3,500 air marshals about two years ago.

Air Marshal Director Robert Bray said the agency’s budget has been slashed from $966 to $806 million over the past three years.

Government Activist Wins Battle to Parody NSA, Homeland Security with T-Shirts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A government activist named Dan McCall has been selling T-shirts that make fun of the NSA and Homeland Security by using the official seals.

One shirt read, “U.S. Department of Homeland Stupidity.” Another: “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.”

After discovering the re-appropriated logos, the federal agencies tried to get McCall to stop and even accused him of committing a crime, the Washington Post reports.

But now both agencies have reached a settlement with McCall, conceding that he has a right to parody the government, even if he is using the official logos.