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Archive for January 29th, 2014

Lengel: The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Needs to Do Better

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The issue over the legalization of marijuana is a very heated one these days. It’s also very complicated. Federal law and state laws  clash.

It’s confusing.

An intelligent, mature airing of opinions is not only good, but necessary.

But I have to say I found it a little bothersome when I read a press release by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association on the matter. The language used was not very sophisticated.

It resorted to name calling. It only undermined its effectiveness.  I think its members deserve better.

The release attacked the Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP)  efforts to fire DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who was critical of President Obama’s comments about pot. Obama  said it was no worse than alcohol. He essentially said it wasn’t that big of a deal, though he said he didn’t recommend his children smoke.

The release referred to the marijuana organization as “pot-loving” and suggested the group made the decision to  remove Leonhart  “perhaps while under the influence of a mind altering substance.”

The association’s president Jon Adler then said: “We do not subscribe to the “smoke a doobie and balance budget” economic theory.”  (Whatever that means.)

Washington is already full of hot air and divisive dialogue. I think the Association would serve its members better by issuing forceful statements that have a little more sophistication.

 

FBI Raids Arkansas Company That Licenses, Digitizes Images from Newspapers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the largest collections of photos from newspapers nationwide is the target of an FBI investigation in North Little Rock, Arkansas, UALR Public Radio reports.

FBI agents were seen removing boxes from Roger Photo Archive, known for digitizing photos from newspapers.

“I saw a number of FBI agents milling around,” said Arkansas Business reporter Mark Friedman.  “I could see a lot of the agents had the tee shirts that said ‘Evidence Response Team,’ and it looked like they were looking for something.”

The FBI declined to discuss the investigation.

The attorney for the owner of the photo archives said his client has not been informed of being under investigation.

Justice Department Squanders $100 Million on Faulty Grants to Organizations

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department wasted as much as $100 million by issuing grants to duplicate organizations or to programs that didn’t follow through on promises, the Washington Post reports, citing an inspector general report.

“There is virtually no visibility on how grant funds are actually used by the recipients,” said Michael Horowitz, the inspector general at the U.S. Department of Justice, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. “Unless there is an OIG audit or investigation, or the granting agency dedicates resources to collect and analyze accounting information from a recipient, the government and taxpayers are virtually in the dark regarding how grant funds were actually used.”

Among the organizations misusing the money is Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Horowitz said. “The continued listing of grant management as a top management challenge reflects the size, scope, complexity, and associated risks of mismanagement of the numerous grant programs administered by the department,” said Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. “As with many other aspects of government, these grant programs are not always designed or administered as efficiently as they should be — which means that less money is actually sent to help with boots on the ground.”

CBP Indefinitely Grounds Fleet of Drones After $12 Million Aircraft Crashes into Ocean

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CBP is grounding its remaining fleet of nine drones after one of them crashed off the Southern California coast because of mechanical problems, Reuters reports.

Monday’s crash was the second involving the agency’s drones since it began using them in 2006.

“While on patrol off the Southern California coast, the unmanned aircraft, a maritime variant of the Predator B, experienced a mechanical failure,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel said in a statement.

The $12 million aircraft crashed into the ocean about 20 miles southwest of San Diego on Monday night.

Since the agency doesn’t know what caused the crash, the rest of the fleet has been grounded while officials investigate.

“We want to determine the cause of this mechanical failure (and) that will help inform the decision on what the future holds for the fleet,” Friel said.

Chicago Tribune Editorial: Should ATF Headquarters Be Named for Eliot Ness

Al Capone/fbi photo

By the Chicago Tribune
Editorial Page

Chicago

We all know crime fighter Eliot Ness brought down Chicago mobster Al Capone, right?

Not quite. Ness spent the best years of his life in a hunt to put Capone behind bars, but he had less to do with the final outcome than legend has it. Ness retired from federal law enforcement in his prime, then worked as a public safety official in Ohio. His personal life became a mess and he died at age 54.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin are pushing to name the Washington headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after Ness. This has prompted a delicious debate about Chicago history during Prohibition.

Alderman Ed Burke, the City Council’s resident historian, has dismissed the famous lawman. “Eliot Ness had a checkered career after leaving the federal government,” Burke said. “I simply do not think his image matches the actual reality of his legacy.”

Read more here

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