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Archive for February 22nd, 2011

U.S. Marshals Prison Transport Plane Returns to OK Airport Because of Smoke

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Marshals Service prisoner transport plane taking off from Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport Tuesday morning and headed to various stops, had to return to Oklahoma after experiencing problems, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney told the Oklahoman that the MD-80 airplane returned after pilots noticed smoke in the cabin. There were no injuries.

Lynzey Donahue, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service, told the ticklethewire.com that the plane had more than 100 people aboard, most of whom were prisoners. She said the plane planned to stop at multiple destinations, but never made it to the first stop because of the problem.

For security purposes, she said, the agency was not disclosing the destinations of the plane.

ICE Dir. John Morton Vows to Go After Mexican Gunmen Who Killed One Agent and Wounded Another

Dir. John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on Tuesday vowed to go after the gunmen who fatally shot ICE agent Jaime J. Zapata and wounded agent Victor Avila in an ambush along a road in Mexico last week.

“Together, the United States and Mexico will bring the long, hard arm of the law down on Jaime and Victor’s shooters,” Morton told a crowd at the funeral of Zapata’s at the Brownsville Events Center in Brownsville, Tex. Agent Avila was shot twice in the leg.

“Together we will look after our people. Together we will continue to see that Jaime and Victor’s work is done and that the rule of law triumphs over lawlessness and empty violence. There is no other way. Acquiescing to the rule of criminals consigns our children, Mexico’s children to a hopeless and empty path. My friends: no retreat, no compromise. Our cause is just, our cause is right, there is no other way.”

Morton, who was joined by other dignitaries including Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, continued, according to the text of his speech:

“Jaime died at the hands of gunmen on a highway in the state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, a long, long way from home. His death was a dark moment – an unspeakable loss for his parents, for his four brothers, for his fiancé Stacye. It was also a dark day for ICE and all of Jaime’s fellow agents and officers.”

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata /ice photo

“I submit to you, however, that as dark as this moment is, Jaime’s life is really all about light. Everyone in this room will eventually meet his or her Maker, and the real question on that day won’t be how we died but how we lived. When it’s my turn, I want to say that I lived like Jaime.”

Nearly 1000 mourners filled the Brownsville Events Center for the mass, according to The Brownsville Herald.  Zapata came from a family of law enforcement members. His father was in law enforcement and one brothers works at ICE and , another in Customs and Border Protection.

Attorney General Holder remarked: “Like so many others who serve this nation in law enforcement, Agent Zapata could have chosen an easier path through life.

“But he was always drawn to public service – and to the work of protecting his fellow citizens and defending America’s security. And he was willing to give what Abraham Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion” to the nation that he loved – and to the struggle for peace and the cause of justice, within and beyond our borders.”

Column: America Needs to Better Educate Citizens on Basic Counterterrorism

Erroll G. Southers is the Associate Director of the DHS National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) and adjunct professor of homeland security and public policy at the University of Southern California. He is also the Managing Director of Counter-Terrorism and Infrastructure Protection for the San Jose-based international security consulting firm TAL Global Corporation.

By Erroll Southers
Guest Contributor for Security DeBrief

QUIZ: Two crowded restaurants, each one in a different country; two unattended bags, each near the door of one of the restaurants. In one restaurant, patrons ignore the bag. In the other restaurant, a patron reports the bag to an employee. Name the location of each restaurant.

One such location could be the United States. In America, very little counter-terrorism education occurs and terrorism awareness is low.

The public is informed in a reactive, viral delivery, the result of the latest video terror threat or subsequent to the next thwarted plot (if we remain lucky). The current government’s messaging either scares people or tells them nothing. They need neither.

The other location could be the United Kingdom. There, the government, homeland security professionals, educators, and municipal leaders engage in a constant, intelligent awareness and action dialogue with their constituents. Citizens at all levels become better informed with the key element of societal resilience – meaningful information.

The point America has been missing is the engagement of its biggest and best resource: the public.

To read more click here.

Fed Prosecutors Say Case Should Move Forward Against Pitching Legend Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens/file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. is essentially telling a federal judge it’s time to play ball and move forward in the prosecution of legendary baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, who is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 about his steroid use.

Prosecutors filed a brief on Friday in Washington saying the defense has offered no good reason to dismiss charges and is “wrong legally and factually,” according to the Associated Press.

AP reported that Clemens claimed in a motion filed last month that the  indictment is vague and contains far too many separate accusations of lying in one count.

Trial is set for July.

Read Government Filing

Legal Wrangling in ex-Cong. Jefferson’s Conviction Continues; Oral Arguments Set for May

file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nearly six years after the FBI launched a sting and 1 1/2 years after he was convicted on public corruption charges, the legal wrangling goes on and ex-New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson remains a free man.

The latest: Oral arguments for Jefferson’s appeal in the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., have been set for the week of May 10, according to Bruce Alpert of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The paper reports that, according to experts, a three-judge panel could issue a ruling by the summer, but that’s not likely to resolve the matter considering the losing side will appeal that ruling.

Jefferson was convicted in August 2009 of 11 of 16 corruption-related counts and was subsequently hit with a 13 year sentence. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria, Va., has allowed Jefferson to remain free pending his appeal.

The paper also reported that the 4th Circuit granted a Justice Department request to allow its attorneys 21,000 words in the appellate brief instead of the normal 14,000 word limit.