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Archive for October 31st, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Crisis at the FBI

This letter was sent to a number of news outlets.

Ellen Glasser

By Ellen Glasser
President, Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI

As individuals, we regularly examine our priorities to make decisions as we manage our checkbooks. As citizens, we expect our elected leaders to do the same with our government checkbook. The effects of sequestration are dramatic and far reaching across all sectors of government. Some are inconsequential, some are cause for concern, and a few are downright dangerous. The drastic budgetary cuts that face the FBI pose a clear and present danger to national security and to the citizens of the United States. If these cuts remain in place it will not be a question of if, but rather when disaster will occur.

Since September 11, 2001, the FBI has been at the forefront of protecting us from terrorist attacks including the interdiction of plots to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank; a Portland, Oregon public park; a Cleveland, Ohio bridge; a Bronx, New York, Jewish Community Center; the U.S. Capitol building; the Chicago Sears Tower; the Ft. Dix, New Jersey, military base; jet fuel tanks at New York’s Kennedy airport and scores of other critical targets. At the same time, the FBI has continued to address its other responsibilities including detecting espionage; investigating public corruption; protecting us from cyber-attacks; addressing civil-rights violations; and investigating major criminal matters.

FBI Director James B. Comey recently assumed office with the promise of a continued, vigorous commitment to the bureau’s responsibilities. But how can he fulfill that promise with one hand tied behind his back? Sequestration has cut $700 million from the FBI budget necessitating the furlough of 36,000 employees; reducing the FBI’s workforce by 3,500; imposing a hiring freeze until at least 2015; cancelling inter-agency, law enforcement training; eliminating on-board employee training; and imposing countless other restrictions which impede and degrade the FBI’s ability to address its responsibilities.

Although the general public may not yet fully appreciate the danger it faces from FBI budget cuts, law enforcement professionals do. Police leaders attending a recent International Chiefs of Police Conference emphatically deplored the budgetary problems confronting the FBI as, “A body blow to law enforcement.”

Do something for your country and those you care about. Now is the time to tell your elected representatives to reexamine their priorities and restore funding to the FBI. Tell them we are not content to wait until the next disaster occurs.

 

 

Anger Over NSA Surveillance Could Lead to Broad Changes in Intelligence Gathering

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Is the intelligence community on the verge of a major shakeup?

Maybe so, the USA Today reports.

As public pressure builds against the NSA over more revelations over international and domestic spying, lawmakers are considering major overhauls.

“It is time for serious and meaningful reforms so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. “Modest transparency and oversight provisions are not enough. We need real reform.”

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Lands Job in Russia Working for Website

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of America’s most wanted men is making ends meet working for a website in Russia, Reuters reports.

Edward Snowden, who is on temporary asylum after escaping arrest in the U.S. for revealing confidential documents, landing a job at a “large Russian site.”

Snowden is wanted by the U.S. for disclosing secret U.S. internet telephone surveillance programs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he does not plan to turn over Snowden to the U.S. to face espionage charges.

Snowden’s asylum can be extended every year.

ACLU Report: FBI Has No Safeguards to Protect Against Constitutional Violations

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s lack of safeguards in collecting suspicious activity leads to privacy violations as well as racial and religious profiling, the ACLU claimed in a new report, the Washington Post reports.

The FBI collects so-called “suspicious activity” records using the eGuardian system, which has caused confusion among different law enforcement agencies, the Post reported.

“These programs give extremely broad discretion to law enforcement officials to monitor and collect information about innocent people engaged in commonplace activities, and to store data in criminal intelligence files without evidence of wrongdoing,” the report says.

FBI spokesman Michael Kortan said the bureau has a commitment to sharing appropriate information.

“The FBI conforms to well-established authorities and safeguards in order to obtain threat information from state and local police authorities and to make that information available to other state and local police authorities, while also protecting privacy and civil liberties,” Kortan said.

Toothless Bandit? Beer Gut Bandit? Bank Robbers Get Unfortunate Nicknames

File photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Some serial bank robbers have unfortunate monickers.

Consider these three robbers wanted by FBI agents in San Diego County – the “Toothless Bandit,” the “Beer Gut Bandit” and the “Bomb Bandit.”

The three men are wanted for at least a dozen bank robberies in San Diego County, reports NBC San Diego.

Each bandit got his nickname for various reasons. The Toothless Bandit, for example, had just one tooth in the upper part of his mouth, NBC San Diego wrote.

 

Could Chris Brown Be Saved from Prison by Secret Service?

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service, which protects the president, may come to the aid of actor and R&B singer Chris Brown, TMZ reports.

A Secret Service agent witnessed a melee early Saturday between Brown and another man. The agent said a witness told police that Brown never struck the alleged victim, despite cops saying otherwise.

The  agent has come forward because he said the officer is lying, TMZ reported.

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