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Archive for January, 2014

Justice Department to Offer GPS Devices for Autistic Children Following Death of 14-Year-Old

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Children suffering from severe autism and similar conditions should soon be eligible for GPS tracking devices paid for by taxpyaers, Time reports.

New York Sen.Charles Schumer said the idea is to help parents find their children if they stray off.

The devices from the Justice Department cost about $85 each, Time wrote.

The news comes after a severely autistic 14-year-old, Avonte Oquendo, went missing in October and was later found dead in the East River.

Schumer said the goal is to secure long-term funding.

FBI, Local Police Prepare to Protect New York City During Sunday’s Super Bowl

 Steve Neavling
tickethewire.com

While the rest of us are enjoying Super Bowl XLVIII, law enforcement will be sweeping across New York City to keep it safe from terrorists.

The New York Daily News reports that about three dozens agencies are working together as 82,000 fans are expected to attend the game at MetLife Stadium.

“We’ve been practicing every day, too,” the head of the FBI’s Newark office, Aaron Ford, said Wednesday. “We are ready for what we have to do Sunday.

“We all have one goal — that is, to deliver a safe and secure Super Bowl XLVIII.”

To help, the NFL hired 4,000 private security officers.

FAA Must Decide What to Do After Homeland Security Drones Grounded Following Crash

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FAA is in a tough position after a Homeland Security drone crashed over the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this week, Motherboard reports.

DHS grounded its fleet of 10 unmanned surveillance aircraft out of “an abundance of caution,” DHS spokesman Michael Friel said.

“The cause of the failure is unknown,” according to Friel.

Now the FAA, which is takes with overseeing the unmanned aerial system, must determine what went wrong and how to correct the problem.

“If you are going to meet that same high safety bar, it means you better be very careful, very deliberative,” Air Line Pilot Association national safety coordinator Sean Cassidy said.

U.S. Government Gets Bigger, Largely Because of Growth of Homeland Security

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of federal government workers rose from 1.9 million to 2.1 million between 2004 and 2012, the USA Today reports, citing the Government Accountability Office.

Homeland Security grew nearly 4% annually on average between 2004 and 2012.

The GAO report, which was released Wednesday, found:

  1. From 2004 to 2012, the federal non-postal civilian workforce grew by 258,882 employees, from 1.88 million to 2.13 million (14 percent).
  2. Three agencies — the Departments of Defense (DOD), Homeland Security (DHS), and Veterans Affairs (VA) — accounted for about 94 percent of this increase. At DOD, officials said that converting certain positions from military to civilian, as well as the growth of the agency’s acquisition and cybersecurity workforce, contributed to this overall increase. At VA, officials said the increased demand for medical and health-related services for military veterans drove most of the growth in personnel levels. DHS officials said the increase in employment was due in large part to the nation’s border security requirements.

Departments with workforces that declined include the EPA, Small Business Administration and Office of Personnel Management.

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.