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Tag: women

Homeland Security Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Hiring First Female Secret Service Agents

Swearing-in ceremony for the Secret Service’s first female special agents on Dec. 15, 1971.

By Steve Neavling

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of women joining the ranks of the Secret Service.

Five women were appointed to become the agency’s first female special agents on Dec. 15, 1971. 

“We didn’t have an alternative other than to do it; to do it right, to jump a little higher, to try a little harder to shoot a little straighter,” Kathryn (Clark) Childers, one of the first five women sworn in, said, WDVM reports. “I am pleased and proud of the Secret Service for making gender a non-issue.”

Childers was joined by Laurie Anderson, Sue Ann Baker, Holly Hufschmidt and Phyllis Shantz, all of whom served in the Executive Protective Service, now called the Uniformed Division. 

Since then, virtually ever leadership position in the agency has been held by a woman. Some of the top leaders were Director Julia Pierson, Deputy Director Barbara Riggs, and Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations Kimberly Cheatle. 

Today, women make up 24% of the Secret Service. 

“What I am hoping for is that we continue the momentum of recruiting, hiring and retaining and advancing women in the Secret Service,” first Latina Deputy Assistant Director Darnelly DeJesus said. 

Watch the ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary.

Lawsuit: Women Sexually Harassed During FBI Training in Quantico

Training academy in Quantico, Va., via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the FBI tries to increase its ranks of female agents, 16 women have sued the bureau, claiming they were sexually harassed at the FBI’s training academy in Quantico, Va.

The lawsuit alleges the academy is a “good-old-boy network” that exposes women to a hostile work environment, inappropriate jokes and sexual advances beginning in 2015, The New York Times reports.

The suit also claims some of the women were discriminated against based on their race or disabilities. One African American trainee alleges an instructor called her “spaghetti head” because of her braids.

The lawsuit zeroed in on the mock town known as Hogan’s Alley, where trainees learn about tactical training with fake criminals and terrorists. This phase of training resulted in many women being kicked out of the academy.

“The real purpose of the suit is to change the culture of the F.B.I.,” said David J. Shaffer, the lawyer for the women.

Seven of the 16 women still work for the FBI.

The women are asking for more female training instructors, an examination of the training evaluation process and $300,000 each for emotional stress.

The FBI wouldn’t publicly comment on the lawsuit but told the New York Times in a statement that the bureau was “committed to fostering a work environment where all of our employees are valued and respected.”

Trump Considers Appointing First Woman to Lead 82-Year-Old FBI

Fran Townsend, via Twitter

Fran Townsend, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump is reportedly considering appointing the first woman to head the FBI after firing Director James Comey earlier this month under suspicious circumstances.

Politico confirmed that Fran Townsend, the former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, was approached by the Trump administration about the coveted job. 

“I’ve talked to folks in the administration about it,” she said.

Acknowledging that her candidacy is “history-making,” Townsend would be the first woman to take the helm of the FBI since the bureau was founded in 1935. “The fact that women are in that mix says a lot about how far we’ve come. That hasn’t been true before,” she said. “Regardless of whatever decision is made, we have begun to shatter a glass ceiling about what is the population of people who are qualified and competitive to hold such a position.”

Asked whether she’d take the job if its was offered, Townsend dodged the question.

As for whether she’d take the job if offered, the former Bush official demurred: “You know what? I learned in the White House I don’t do hypotheticals,” she said, “but I will say I was quite honored and quite flattered to be approached.”

CIA’s New Deputy Director Is First Female Spy to Hold Position

CIA headquarters

CIA headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The CIA has its first career female officer serving as deputy director.

The White House appointed Gina Haspel, a 31-year veteran of the agency who will served under CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Retired intelligence chiefs applauded the appointment, the Miami Herald reports.

Michael Hayden, a former Air Force general who headed the agency from 2006 until 2009, said Haspel is “a wonderful choice” who knows how to maneuver the “sometimes opaque corridors of American espionage.”

Morale has plummeted at the CIA since the presidential election, when Donald Trump began slamming intelligence agencies. 

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Appoints Its First Woman to Serve As Deputy Chief

Border Patrol Deputy Assistant Carla Provost.

Border Patrol Deputy Assistant Carla Provost.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol has its first female deputy chief.

Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan has selected Deputy Assistant Carla Provost to serve as deputy chief, which makes her responsible for more than 23,000 employees, El Paso Proud reports. 

Provost, who will lead daily operations, is now the highest-ranking woman in the 92-year history of Border Patrol.

“I am deeply honored,” said Provost. “I realize it’s historic but I wasn’t aiming to do this. I never set out to be in this position, I’ve just focused on doing the best job in the position I’m in, and not looking at the next one. Doing my best has always led to that next position.”

Women only account for about 5% of the Border Patrol agent force.

Other Stories of Interest

Two Female Senators Urge FBI to Collect More Data on Domestic Violence, Stalking Crimes

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two female senators are calling for the FBI to collect more information on domestic violence and stalking crimes.

“The seriousness and devastating effects of these crimes, as well as the propensity for repeat victimization, expose a dangerous gap in the FBI’s crime data collection programs,” Sens.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) wrote in a letter sent Monday to FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, The Hill reports. 

The senators wrote that the FBI collects data on crimes ranging “from homicide to loitering … but no data are collected on stalking and very limited data are collected on domestic violence.”

The senators said a quarter of women are victims of domestic violence, and one in six women are victims of stalking.

“The FBI is already authorized by law to collect data on new crimes without congressional approval, and it has already done so multiple times,” the senators wrote.

“For example, in January 2016, the FBI began collecting crime data on animal cruelty, with the justification that animal cruelty is an early indicator of violent crime,” they added.

Border Patrol Fails at Meetings Its Goal of Hiring 1,600 Women as Agents

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol has struggled to hire female agents to help fight illegal immigration.

Between October 2014 and September 2015, the federal agency received more than 6,200 applications for Border Patrol job vacancies. But according to the Albuquerque Journal, only 54 women where fired – far below the goal of hiring 1,600 female agents. 

Women are vital to the Border Patrol because of the influx of Central American women and children immigrants over the past two years. The agency has said female agents are often better equipped to deal with immigrants who are women and children.

Women represent about 15% of the workforce in federal law enforcement agencies. But only 5% of Border Patrol’s agents are women.

“They are working hard,” WIFLE executive director Cathy Sanz, a retired agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said of Border Patrol. “They are trying. Other federal agencies are watching what they are doing” – i.e., looking for signs of success in attracting women to the force – “because others are thinking they might want to go down this road.”

Jane Burrell, the First CIA Officer to Die in the Agency’s Service

Jane Burrell

Jane Burrell

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Jane Burrell became the first CIA officer to die while working for the agency when the plane in which she was riding – an Air France DC-3 – crashed while it was approaching the Le Bourget airport near Paris on Jan. 6, 1948.

Small Wars Journal reports that Burrell was a CIA counterintelligence officer at a time when most women in intelligence were “clerk typists.”

“The way that Jane entered into US intelligence and eventually into CIA was through her intellectual ability combined with her mastery of the French language,” Small Wars Journal wrote.

Burrell held several intelligence jobs before the plane accident.

But at the time of the accident, little was known about her. At the time, the U.S. said she had been on vacation.