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Archive for February 28th, 2013

ATF Revitalization Plans Face Opposition

Todd Jones

 
By Sari Horwitz and Peter Finn
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s plans to energize the embattled agency that regulates the firearms industry and investigates gun violence are already running into trouble on Capitol Hill, foreshadowing the difficulties facing the president as he moves to advance his gun-control agenda.

President Obama announced his choice of B. Todd Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last month as a key element in his sweeping slate of gun proposals after the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Obama urged Congress to quickly confirm Jones in an effort to embolden an agency that has long operated with limited resources and a part-time director who splits his time between Minneapolis and Washington. Since then, Senate Republicans have indicated they may block Jones’s appointment and have demanded to know more about his role in several operations and policy decisions. They have also expressed lingering suspicions about the agency, noting that it has been dogged by a series of debacles, some of them self-inflicted.

To read full story click here.

Investigation: AG, FBI Abusing Use of Corporate-Style Jets Intended to Fight Terrorism

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Two corporate-style jets that the FBI insisted it needed for the global fight against terrorism are primarily being used for personal and business trips by Attorney General Eric Holder, the former AG and FBI Director Robert Mueller, the Washington Guardian reports.

Taxpayers financed “non-mission flights” on the luxury Gulfstream V jet to the tune of $11.4 million between 2007 and 2011, the Guardian reported, citing an investigation by the Government Accountability Office.

Holder and his predecessor under the Bush administration took 88 personal trips, the Guardian wrote.

“If somebody asks for the expenditure of federal money for the Gulfstream, it’s to be used for the purpose it was meant to be be used for,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of the Justice Department and FBI.

FBI Defies Judge’s Order to Hand Over More Evidence to George Zimmerman

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorneys for the FBI are defying a judge’s orders to hand over all of its evidence to defendant George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing an unarmed black teenager with a gun, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The Justice Department argues in paperwork filed this week that the state court cannot trump federal regulations that allow the FBI to keep some evidence away from the defendant, the Sentinel reported.

“This court has ‘no power or authority’ … to compel the FBI to produce the documents at issue here,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean P. Flynn.

It remains unclear what evidence the FBI has found.

Opinion: FBI Continues to Target Vulnerable, Psychologically Troubled Muslims

Mercury News 
Opinion by Fadi A. Saba

The Federal Bureau of Investigation  a track record of attacking the undesirables of the time.

In the early part of the 20th century, immigrants from Italy were the focus; in the 1940s, it was Japanese-Americans; in the 1950s, it was Americans who questioned U.S. foreign policy; in the 1960s, civil rights activists. Today, it’s Muslims and people of color. It’s the Arab. It’s the South Asian. And often, the FBI uses entrapment to create a terror case out of thin air and then claim to have foiled it.

San Jose resident Matthew Llaneza, who converted to Islam in 2011, is accused of attempting to bomb a bank building in Oakland. However, many feel that the FBI used entrapment, which, in criminal law, is a legal defense. Essentially it is the act by law enforcement officers of inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal is not otherwise predisposed to committing the crime. I believe, given the history of the FBI, that Llaneza’s is a classic case of entrapment.

To read more click here.

ATF to Honor Four Agents Killed During Botched Waco Raid on 20th Anniversary

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Four ATF agents who were killed during the botched raid on the Branch Davidians compound near Waco, Texas, will be honored during a private ceremony today – the 20th anniversary of the raid, the Associated Press reports.

Killed during the Feb. 28, 1993, gun battle were agents Conway LeBleu, Todd McKeehan, Robert John Williams and Steven Willis. 

Agents suspected the religious group of stockpiling weapons.

Six Davidian members also died.

Judge Allows Discrimination Lawsuit to Continue for Black Secret Service Agents

 

secret service photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Black Secret Service agents cleared a major hurdle this week in a discrimination lawsuit that claims the Department of Homeland Security has passed over African Americans for promotions, Reuters reports.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Roberts ruled the eight current and former agents meet requirements for class recertification, a key technicality to move the case forward.

The plaintiffs claim the department violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by using an job evaluation system that is biased against African Americans, Reuters reported.

The department countered that black agents, on average, receive promotions earlier in their career than others.

“This evidence conclusively refutes plaintiffs’ overarching claim that the Secret Service has refused to eliminate racism from the fabric of its promotion process,” it said in the court document.

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