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Archive for June 5th, 2013

Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. Says He Won’t Step Down

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Rep. Barber Urges House Leaders To Make Certain Sequestration Doesn’t Result in Reduction In Border Patrol Agents’ Pay

Rep. Barber

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Ron Barber, D-Tucson, is urging House leaders to make sure budget cuts within the Department of Homeland Security don’t impact Border Patrol staffing levels or pay of its agents, according to a press release issued by his office.

“Every dollar spent on lower-priority items means one less dollar spent to secure our borders,” Barber, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, wrote top House appropriators. “That would negatively impact our agents, their families and the safety of my constituents and all Americans.”

Barber urged the House leaders to make efforts to ensure that overtime pay for agents is not cut.

“Cuts to agents’ overtime hours will leave Border Patrol stations understaffed and forward operating bases unmanned,” Barber wrote. “This creates windows of opportunity for criminals to cross our borders. It also results in an undue burden and heavy impact on Border Patrol families because it represents a substantial reduction in hours and take-home pay.”  Budget cuts are mandated by the sequestration.

Barber’s plea comes as  the House Appropriations Committee looks at a Homeland Security proposal that would prevent Border Patrol agents from geting furlough days, but might still result in a reductions in overtime.

Border Patrol agents would avoid furlough days under a Homeland Security proposal that would cut overtime pay instead, the Cronkite New Service reports.

To Read Rep. Barber’s press release click here.

 

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Members of Congress Mixed on Response to Russia’s Claims That FBI Dropped Ball in Boston Bombing Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Members of Congress who travelled to Russia to investigate whether the FBI could have prevented the Boston Marathon bombings have mixed feelings about the bureau’s response, The Hill reports.

Russian security officials told the lawmakers that the FBI never responded to a letter warning about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the bombing suspects. The FBI counters that it did respond but couldn’t get Russia to provide additional information, the Hill wrote.

“What could have stopped this is not something within the context of our current [U.S.-Russia] framework. But we need to change the overall relationship and that could have thwarted this attack, I have no doubt,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., told The Hill.

But Steve King, R-Iowa, isn’t as confident.

“[Russia] wanted to help,” King told the Hill. “And they got the message by implication that the FBI was not interested in examining Tamerlan.”

FBI Raids Offices of California State Senator, Latino Caucus in Mysterious Probe

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A California state senator and the Legislature’s Latino caucus appear to be the target of an FBI investigation, the Huffington Post reports.

An FBI spokeswoman confirmed warrants were served Tuesday at 3 p.m. About six agents removed a half-dozen boxes and what appeared to be computer equipment, the Huffington Post wrote.

Ron Calderon, a Democrat from the Los Angeles County city of Montebello, was among the targets.

Calderon’s attorney said the investigation is nonsense.

“I have a sense that they’re on a witch hunt,” Geragos said. “My client refused to read their script and so this is what resulted….My client has done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Details weren’t available Wednesday morning.

Justice Department Spying has ‘Chilling Effect’ on AP Reporters

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The discovery that feds were spying on the Associated Press has had a “chilling effect” on the news agency, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter said, the U.S. News reports.

Reporter Martha Mendoza called the snooping “a massive and unprecedented intrusion” into the reporting of more than 20 reporters, the U.S. News wrote.

“These records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls with work and home phone numbers of individual reporters, the general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for the AP’s House of Representatives press gallery,” Mendoza told an audience at an award ceremony for journalists. “Has this had a chilling effect? It’s unbelievable. Yes it has.”

The AP believes the Justice Department seized phone records during an investigation related to a May 2012 story about the CIA preventing an al-Qaida plot to blow up a bomb about a U.S. plane.

FBI Joins Search for Kidnapped Marine, His Family in Mexico

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is searching for the whereabouts of a U.S. Marine reservist, his father and uncle after they were kidnapped from a ranch in Mexico last month, Reuters reports.

U.S. Marine Armando Torres III, who served in Iraq, was in La Barranca, close to the southern tip of Texas, when investigators in Mexico said a dispute over a ranch sale may have prompted the kidnapping, Reuters wrote.

According to investigators, Torres and his two family members were kidnapped shortly after Torres arrived to visit his father’s ranch.

“We’ll take any leads to find this guy safely,” said Erik Vasys, an agent from the FBI’s San Antonio office.

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