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FBI Used Drones to Investigate Dog Fighting, Drug Trafficking, But Mum on Other Flights

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI uses controversial drone technology in the U.S. but has refused to identify how often agents deploy the unmanned planes.

Motherboard.com reports that the obscurity of the drone missions has irked privacy advocates.

But now, some of the missions have come to light thanks to documents obtained by MuckRock.

The FBI has used drones to investigate dog fighting operations and drug trafficking and to search for some of the bureau’s 10 most wanted fugitives.

Unfortunately for transparency advocates, the records don’t indicate details of a lot of other cases.


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Medical Privacy Laws Hampering Law Enforcement’s Efforts to Crack Down on Drug Deaths

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement is struggling to crack down on growing drug abuse because of a lack of recent data on drug deaths, especially from heroin overdoses, NBC News reports.

The problem, which was raised at a gathering of law enforcement Wednesday to discuss drug abuse, is that patient privacy laws are making it difficult for authorities to gather information on patient deaths.

“I don’t care about the names of the individuals, I just need the numbers!” Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsay said at the Police Executive Research Forum.

Information also is lacking on what is sometimes referred to as “drop-offs” at emergency rooms.

Of particular concern is opiate-related deaths because of large spikes in the past two decades.


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Newly Uncovered E-Mails: IRS’ Lerner Discussed Targeting ‘Political’ Groups with DOJ

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New evidence has emerged to indicate that Lois Lerner, the central figure in the IRS scandal, was communicating with the Justice Department about pursuing groups trying to get a tax exempt status, Fox News reports.

E-mails between Lerner and the FBI raise questions about the extent to which the Obama administration was involved in the targeting.
In one email from May 2013, Lerner expounded on the possibility of pursuing tax-exempt groups that lie about their political activity.

“I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ,” Lerner reportedly wrote to the office of Steven Miller, the agency’s acting director at the time. “He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who ‘lied’ on their 1024s — saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures.

“DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS.”


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Secret Service on Hunt for More Hispanics to Become Sworn Agents to Diversify Agency

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Wanted: Hispanics to join the Secret Service.

Saying he wants to diversify the agency’s staff, which protects the president, vice president and others, Secret Service Senior Special Agent Clarence Jorif said only 7% of the 4,400 sworn agents are Hispanic, the Dallas Morning News reports.

“We are looking at affording the opportunity to the Hispanic community to become part of the Secret Service,” said Jorif, who works out of the agency’s Dallas field office.

In Dallas County, where his office is, 38.9% of the population is Hispanic.

It’s not yet clear how the agency will attract more diversity.


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FBI Believed Hitler Fled to Argentina After WWII And Didn’t Commit Suicide in Berlin Bunker

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While most of the world believed Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker in April 1945, the FBI’s director, J. Edgar Hoover, wasn’t buying it.

So, according to the Daily Caller, Hoover called for a mission to track down Hitler in Argentina, according to recently declassified FBI documents.

Agents sent to Argentina were told: “He is suffering asthma and ulcers, and has shaved off his moustache.”

An informant warned that the dictator was inside a heavily guarded bunker.

Whatever the case, most historian agree that Hitler killed himself in Germany as Soviet troops surrounded him.

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Canadian Officials Share Mental Health Records with FBI, Border Patrol

Steve Neavling
ticklethwire.com

U.S. authorities are using mental health records of Canadians to deny them entry into the U.S., the Digital Journal reports.

Canadian police departments have been uploading the information to a database used by the FBI and Border Patrol.

Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s privacy commissioner, said police are uploading information such as attempted suicides.

In one case, a Canadian woman was denied access to the U.S. because of her mental health records.

It’s unclear how depression is a national security risk.


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Airline Passenger Tries to Board Plane with 8.5-inch Knife Hidden in Enchilada

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

This wasn’t your ordinary enchilada.

In addition to the ordinary ingredients of this Mexican staple, a homemade enchilada contained an 8.5-inch kitchen knife.

The New York Daily News reports that TSA agents discovered the alarming blade covered in a deep red sauce in a passenger’s carry-on luggage.

“The woman said she had made the enchilada over the weekend and she really didn’t know how the knife got into the bag,” TSA spokeswoman Nico Melendez said.

The passenger was questioned and then allowed to continue traveling.

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FBI’s Facial Recognition System Catches Criticism from Civil Liberties Advocates

From ivs-biometrics.com

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s plan to soon launch its facial recognition system has worried civil liberties advocates because the bureau won’t say whether it has any limits on its use.

The Huffington Post reports that the FBI plans to soon use 52 million photos in its biometric database, but where those photos came from and the accuracy of the facial recognition searches are unknown.

“There should be congressional oversight of this, and there should be rules,” said Jennifer Lynch, an Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney.
For example, Lynch asked, “How do you get your picture out of the database once it’s in there? And how do you even find out that it’s in there?”

The database, called the Next Generation Identification, is going to be shared with state and local agencies to help in investigations, the FBI said earlier.

The FBI said the database is a critical tool to preventing terrorism.


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