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Archive for February 20th, 2013

FBI Agents Association Warns of Dire Risk to Public Safety if Budget Cuts Kick In

Konrad Motyka/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI Agents Association on Wednesday warned of the potential risks to national security and public safety if across-the-board, automatic spending cuts kick in from the sequestration.

FBIAA President Konrad Motyka stated:

“The FBI Agents Association urgently calls on Congress and the White House to reach an agreement that would avoid sequestration and that would not undermine the important work done by FBI Agents to protect the public.

“Because the FBI budget includes both defense and non-defense expenditures, sequestration cuts could be more devastating to the Bureau and its Agents than any other federal agency.”

“According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, the $550 million across the board cuts to the Bureau ‘would have the net effect of cutting 2,285 employees – including 775 agents – through furloughs and a hiring freeze.’ These cuts would be ‘equivalent in size to closing the Bureau’s offices in Chicago, Miami and Baltimore.’

“These potential cuts would pose serious risks to national security and public safety. Director Mueller has stated that the FBI ‘would be required to do more with less in all its programs, including against al-Qaida and its affiliated groups, as well as the growing and sophisticated threats from cyberattacks, foreign intelligence and national and transnational criminal activities.

“Director Mueller also warned that the cuts would hurt the Bureaus ability to penetrate and disrupt terrorist groups prior to an attack, stall high priority investigations as workload is spread among a reduced workforce, and force the reduction of ‘in-theatre support in Afghanistan where U.S. military and coalition operations rely on FBI investigative and forensic programs.’

“FBI Agents are honored to serve and protect the public. Agents put their lives on the line to protect this country by combating a wide array of crimes ranging from street gangs to mortgage fraud, and from foreign spy cells to terrorist networks.

“Many Agents have forsaken more lucrative jobs in the private sector in order to serve their country and society. We do not seek elevated salaries and end of year bonuses, only the assurance of a reasonable and stable income.

“It’s time for Congress and the White House to negotiate an agreement that protects national security and public safety, and avoids devastating cuts to the Bureau that would hurt thousands of dedicated Agents and their families who faithfully and effectively serve the United States each and every day.”

 

Royce Curtain Who Led Fort Hood Investigation is New Head of FBI’s Norfolk Office

Royce Curtin/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Royce E. Curtin, who led the FBI’s Fort Hood shooting investigation in 2009, has been tapped to head up the agency’s Norfolk Field Office.

Curtin last served as chief of staff and special assistant to a high-ranking executive who oversees all FBI criminal, cyber, crisis response, and international operations.

Curtin joined the FBI in 1996 and investigated complex financial crimes in the Dallas Field Office.

In 2001, he joined a security detail to protect Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Two years later, he was promoted to the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG), where he served as a program coordinator responsible for the pre-deployment processing and training of all FBI and federal law enforcement personnel conducting investigative, intelligence, and force protection operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an FBI press release.

In October 2005, Curtin reported to the Las Vegas Division to serve as the Technical and Surveillance program coordinator and squad supervisor.

In 2007, he was named program coordinator and squad supervisor of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force programs.

In February 2009, he was named assistant special agent in charge of the Austin, Tex.

He served as on-scene commander and led the Fort Hood shooting investigation, and managed on-scene and bureau resources during the deliberate airplane attack into the IRS Building in Austin in February 2010, the FBI said in its release.

Before he joining he FBI, he served as a U.S. Army Aviation Officer; Apache attack helicopter pilot in command; Aviation Platoon Commander; Aviation Squadron Operations Officer; and Aviation Brigade Liaison Officer with the 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisi

Homeland Security Considers Replacing Military Aircraft with Commercial Planes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security may soon replace cheaper commercial planes with military aircraft to absorb 8.2% in budget cuts in March, Popular Science reports.

The department was exploring buying used aircraft from the military but discovered that it’s more inexpensive to use commercial planes, Popular Science wrote.

Commercial aircraft is more inexpensive because of the sheer number of available airplanes. Replacement parts are cheaper, and maintenance is more inexpensive, Popular Science reported.

One option is the Super King Air 350, which is fuel efficient, able to take off on short runways and has a 1,500-mile range, according to Popular Science.


FBI Probing Suspicious Trading of Heinz Options Just Before Purchase Announcement

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a series of suspiciously well-timed trades just before the $23 billion acquisition of H.J. Heinz Co., the New York Times reports.

The probe comes as the Security and Exchange Commission froze a Swiss account tied to possible insider trading.

The New York Times wrote that the well-timed options trades were purchased a day before Berkshire Hathaway and the investment firm 3G Capital agreed to buy Heinz.

Shares and the values of options soared after the announcement.

‘‘The FBI is consulting with the SEC to see if a crime was committed,’’ an FBI spokesman said in a statement.

FBI Destroyed Files It Kept on ex-New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger

Arthur Ochs-Sultzberger

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI kept files on former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger but destroyed them about 10 months before his death, the New York Times reports.

Sulzberger was heading the newspaper during the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which traced the U.S.’s doomed involvement in Vietnam.

The discovery was made by John R. Bohrer, a 28-year-old writer who is working on a book about the FBI’s former director, J. Edgar Hoover.

The National Archives destroyed the records on Dec. 11, 2011 – not long after Sulzberger died on Oct. 4.

“Had the actual file been kept and disseminated, it would have drawn a lot less attention than the eye-popping news that it was destroyed,” Bohrer told the Times. “Personally I am doubtful that there was anything about the Pentagon Papers.”

FBI Agent, Fugitive Injured in Shootout in Las Vegas Over Arrest Warrant

FBI stock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent and fugitive were both wounded in a frantic shootout in Las Vegas Tuesday afternoon, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

The agent, whose identity has not yet been released and who was wearing a protective vest, suffered injuries that are not life-threatening, the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote.

The suspect, whose name also wasn’t released, was seriously injured.

The FBI said a task force was executing an arrest warrant when a foot chase ensued for about a mile before the shootout.

Terrorism Suspect in Tampa Bay Was Under Watch by Sophisticated FBI Equipment

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Hundreds of federal agents used sophisticated surveillance to investigate a 25-year-old terrorism suspect in Tampa Bay, ABC Action News reports.

Sami Osmakac, who is accused of plotting to blow up several locations in Tampa Bay, was arrested in January 2012 and is awaiting trial.

For more than a year before the arrest, the FBI had kept tabs on Osmakac using airplanes, cameras on poles and recorded audio interception, ABC Action News said.

“The most sophisticated intelligence gathering techniques available in the world are used in these investigations whether it be wiretapping, electronic bugs. photographic surveillance from above,” local defense attorney John Fitzgibbons told ABC Action News.

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