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Archive for March 31st, 2014

FBI Agents Association Says Rep. Mike Rogers “Never Forgot the Men and Women of the Bureau”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI always seemed to appreciate having one of its own in Congress.

So when Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich), the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, announced he was retiring to host a nationally syndicated radio show, the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) wanted to show some appreciation.

President Reynaldo Tariche issued a statement on Monday, saying:

“The FBIAA and our 12,000 active duty and retired Agents thank Chairman Rogers for his many years of public service and for his support of Agents over the years. Agents knew that they had a strong voice in Congress thanks to Chairman Rogers.

“He started his career as an FBI Special Agent and though he left the FBI in 1995 to start his political career, he never forgot the men and women of the Bureau and has been a champion for Agents since his election to Congress. He will be missed and we wish him well in his new career in the private sector.”

Ex-Secret Service Agent: Lousy Leadership – Not Alcohol – Is Agency’s Real Prolem

By Dan Emmett
Washington Post

These are disturbing days for the agency charged with protecting the president of the United States. From prostitutes in Colombia to drunkenness in Amsterdam, it is no wonder that so many members of Congress — as well as former agents — have lost patience with a Secret Service that can’t seem to stay out of the news with embarrassing and high-profile cases of misconduct.

I was a Secret Service agent for 21 years, spent two tours of duty on the Presidential Protective Division and four years on the Counter Assault Team (CAT), and was part of trips for three presidents. I retired 10 years ago and have no dog in today’s agency fights. I do not believe that alcohol abuse is a cultural problem within the Secret Service. (In fact, many agents do not drink at all, and those who do tend to consume in moderation.)

The problem in the agency is not alcohol or debauchery, but weak leadership. There are too many incompetent managers who want the title, pay and perks of management while performing no duties of leadership. The problem is not bad Secret Service agents but bad leaders of Secret Service agents.

The United States Secret Service was created in 1865 and began protecting the president in 1902. During 110 years of presidential protection, the agency accompanied presidents on hundreds of thousands of domestic and overseas trips without bringing any unwanted attention upon itself. That is because, in my experience, agents tend to be intelligent, well-trained and fiercely patriotic Americans — nearly fanatical in their devotion to the mission at hand.

Yet, history shows that even the best units perform poorly with poor leaders, and the Secret Service is a prime example. The most disturbing common thread among the recent episodes of misconduct is that supervisors or team leaders have been involved. While it is unacceptable for any agent to commit infractions such as those in Amsterdam and Colombia, it is utterly inexcusable for those in charge to be involved. If managers show continued lapses in judgment, how and why would anyone expect the rank and file to behave better?

To read more click here.

Special Report: Lenient Prison Sentences and Weak Laws Frustrate ATF’s Battle Against Gun Trafficking

By Jeffrey Anderson
For ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Nutveena Sirirojnananont is staring at a possible 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for ordering eight guns online that she directed to a federally-licensed firearms dealer in New Hampshire, but she’s all but guaranteed a fraction of that.

The Newmarket, NH, woman pleaded guilty in January to purchasing the weapons from Suds and Soda Sports, a licensed gun dealer in Greenland, NH, and using intermediaries to ship the weapons to associates in California, Florida and New York, who then shipped them to Thailand.

Sirirojnananont pocketed a 15 percent markup on the guns, which she sold through her online beauty-supply export business, cheapshop4you.com, in Portsmouth, and through an EBAY business called the PookyWookyShop. Sentencing is set for May 5.

The prospect of a light sentence isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s more the rule than the exception in gun trafficking cases around the country, a point that frustrates the top gun enforcement agency, ATF, to no end.

The chief problem, ATF officials say, is that there is no comprehensive federal statute in place that expressly outlaws gun trafficking and so-called “straw purchases” in which third parties buy weapons for people, often affiliated with crime organizations.

Paperwork Violations 

Instead, ATF says it’s forced to rely on “paperwork” violations such as making a false statement on the forms required to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer.

“Currently there is not a firearm trafficking law,” says ATF Agent Timothy Graden, a spokesman for the agency. “Trafficking cases typically involve people with little or no criminal history, therefore allowing them to buy firearms and then divert them to the criminal element.”

Consequently, there are cases all around the country in which people get off light for gun trafficking. Some even get probation.

Such is the case of Neil Smith, of Little Rock, AR, who got off last year with felony probation after ATF agents purchased seven firearms from him. Smith later admitted to illegally selling between 50 and 100 guns for profit.

In St. Paul, MN, Paul De La Rosa, who purchased over 119 firearms that he trafficked to Mexico, allegedly to a drug cartel, received just 36 months in prison.

And then there’s the more highly publicized case of Denver woman Stevie Vigil, who in March was sentenced to less than three years in prison, after pleading guilty to buying and transferring a firearm to a convicted felon and prison gang member who used the gun to murder Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements at his home, and a Dominos pizza delivery man named Nathan Leon.

Read more »

Attorneys: Boston Marathon Bomber Pushed to Spy on Chechen, Muslim Community for FBI

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The older of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was courted by the FBI to be an informant and keep an eye on the Chechen and Muslim community, according to lawyers for the younger alleged bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The Boston Globe reports that the FBI pressured Tamerlan Tsarnaev to report on the communities, which may have “increased his paranoia and distress.”

“We seek this information based on our belief that these contacts were among the precipitating events for Tamerlan’s actions during the week of April 15, 2013, and thus material to the defense case in mitigation,” the lawyers said in their court filing.

“We base this on information from our client’s family and other sources that the FBI made more than one visit to talk with Anzor [his father], Zubeidat [his mother] and Tamerlan, questioned Tamerlan about his Internet searches, and asked him to be an informant, reporting on the Chechen and Muslim community.

“We do not suggest that these contacts are to be blamed and have no evidence to suggest that they were improper, but rather view them as an important part of the story of Tamerlan’s decline. Since Tamerlan is dead, the government is the source of corroboration that these visits did in fact occur and of what was said during them.”

The information was revealed in 23-page court filing, the Globe wrote.

Introducing the New Fed Comic Strip for ticklethewire.com

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I’m glad to introduce a new comic strip by Dr. Rich Kiper.

For 15 years, Dr. Kiper has served as an investigator, manager, and instructor in a large federal agency.

He’s well-acquainted with the silly side of government culture, having worked in a variety of field and headquarters positions.

Father of four children and grandfather of two, Dr. Kiper teaches his family and friends that creativity can blossom in any environment – even in a government job.

Through the world of FEDZ he hopes to give voice to hundreds of thousands of government employees who see their jobs as not only essential to public well-being, but also as a source of entertainment.”

You can let me know what you think by emailing me at lengela@ticklethewire.com or Dr. Kiper at Fedzcomic@gmail.com

 

Border Patrol Experiences Double-Digit Decline in Immigrant Deaths, Arrests on Arizona Border

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the Arizona-Mexico border is any indication, fewer immigrants are dying and getting arrested.

Fox News reports a 16% decline in arrests at the Arizona border and a 40% drop during the present fiscal year.

Between Oct. 1 and March 1, about 42,600 immigrants were detained, compared with 50,900 during this period last year.

“We notice that far fewer immigrants are crossing the border, particularly in the eastern desert region where we previously reported a large proportion of the deaths and rescues,” Adame said.

In the 2014 fiscal year, Border Patrol recoded 31 deaths, compared to 52 during the same period last year.

‘Enthusiastic Murderer’ Lasts Just 1 Day on FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After just one day on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, Juan Elias Garcia was arrested in Nicaragua.

Garcia, whom the bureau described as an “enthusiastic murderer,” surrendered Thursday and is expected to appear in court in New York today, CNN reports.

Garcia had a $100,000 reward on his head and is an alleged member of the violent MS-13 gang.

“The pressure generated by this publicity was too much for Garcia to bear, resulting in his surrender and return to the United States,” George Venizelos, FBI assistant director in charge of the New York field office, said in a statement.

Whistleblower, Ex-Arizona U.S. Attorney Says His Office Was Cast As Scapegoat

Fprmer U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, who blew the whistle on the Fast and Furious gun investigation, said he leaked the information because he feared his superiors in Washington would unfairly blame the problems on his office, Main Justice reports.

During an Arizona State Bar disciplinary proceeding on March 27, Burke said his bosses were more concerned with political expediency than getting to the bottom of the problem.

Burke “believed that his office and employees were not being protected by DOJ, and that accurate and complete information was not being provided to the national media,” according to the disciplinary agreement.

Burke was issued a reprimand and accepted responsibility and agreed to $1,200 to reimburse the state bar, Main Justice wrote.

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