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Archive for September, 2014

Armed Intruder Makes It Deeper Inside White House Than Previously Disclosed

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Omar J. Gonzalez was armed with a knife when he managed to make it much deeper into the White House mansion than previously disclosed, the New York Times reports.

The 42-year-old made it to the ceremonial East Room after overpowering a Secret Service agent inside the North Portico entrance.

Gonzalez finally stopped after trying to enter the Green Room, said Rep. John Chaffetz, R-Utah.

The New York Times writes that the discovery “will set the stage for an explosive congressional hearing on Tuesday when lawmakers” plan to question Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.

The focus of the hearing is a series of security blunders over the past several years.

One law enforcement official told the New York Times that Secret Service officers failed to follow several protocols that made it possible for Gonzalez to nearly reach the Green Room.

Retired FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Obstruction in Case of $54M Military Contract

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice after prosecutors say he tried to derail an investigation into a $54 million military contract, the Associated Press reports.

Robert Lustyik Jr. was expected to start trail Monday in federal court but decided to please guilty at the last moment.

The 52-year-old, however, declined a plea bargain because he doesn’t want to implicate anyone.

Federal prosecutors say Lustyik was helping a company started by former soldiers. They are accused of using insider information to win a $54 million contract with the U.S. government.

Lustyik agreed to take a cut of the contract in exchange for disrupting the investigation by fabricating interviews.

Retired FBI Special Agent Becomes Chief of Huntington Police Department in West Virginia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Joe Ciccarelli, a retired FBI special agent, is taking over as the Huntington Police Department’s new police chief, Metro News reports.

Ciccarelli got his start in law enforcement with the Huntington Police Department in West Virginia.

“Joe Ciccarelli understands our city, our opportunities and our challenges,” Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said in a release. “He is equipped to move our police department forward immediately. His career path is familiar to me. He began his career here and advanced through the ranks to the highest levels of his given profession, all the while having an eye on coming home.”

Ciccarelli joined the FBI in 1984.

“I hope to translate the experience I’ve gained in various assignments throughout my career into positive results for the police department and the city,” he said. “The brave men and women of the Huntington Police Department deserve the best leadership possible and all my efforts will be directed toward seeing that they get that every day.”

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Huntington made a good choice.

“I have known and worked with Joe Ciccarelli for many years during his time as a special agent with the FBI,” Goodwin said. “He has long been a leader in the law enforcement community in southern West Virginia. Joe has a unique ability to bring agencies together in pursuit of a common goal. Mayor Williams made a great choice.”

Homeland Security Reaches Agreement with Washington Times After Improper Record Seizure

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security reached a rare settlement with a newspaper after seizing a reporter’s notes and records from her home while executing a warrant for information on guns allegedly possessed by her husband, the Washington Times reports.

The agency agreed to reimburse some of the legal bills accred by the newspaper and the reporter, Audrey Hudson, whose home was raided in August 2013 and her notes and records on the problems inside the Federal Air Marshal Service seized.

“While the settlement payments cover just a fraction of the legal bills we accrued, the fight was, in the end, about protecting a journalist’s right to keep her sources confidential and to engage in the First Amendment protected activity of reporting without unwarranted government intrusion,” said Larry Beasley, the president and chief executive officer of The Times.

Hudson said she hopes the settlement puts an end to similar seizures.

“The importance of this case was that we just were not going to let it stand, the idea that federal officers at will could confiscate a reporter’s notes without any sort of subpoena or search warrant seeking the notes or even directed at the reporter,” Ms. Hudson said.

Homeland Security also returned documents and other notes to Hudson.

Homeland Security did not return calls from the Washington Times for comment.

Republicans Accuse a Top DEA Official of Intimidation in Complaint to Inspector General

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did one of the top leaders of the DEA intimidate members of Congress while discussing a prescription drug bill?

That’s the claim by two Republicans – Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Tenn., and Tom Marino, Pa. – who say in a letter to the Justice Department’s inspector general that DEA Deputy Assistant Administrator Joe Rannazzisi accused them and their staff of “supporting criminals,” the Washington Post reports.

The Republicans want the inspector general to determine whether Rannazzisi’s “baseless accusations constitute serious misconduct by a Department official.”

“We believe an accusation of this nature from a DOJ official is totally unacceptable and does in fact constitute serious misconduct,” Blackburn and Marino wrote. “We have no other choice but to conclude that his statement was an effort to attempt to intimidate the United States Congress.”

The issue was over a bill that would offer a second chance for pharmaceutical distributors who violate federal regulations.

The DNA did not return the Posts’s request for a comment.

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Grieves Two Employees Killed in Boat Accident on Ohio River

By Steve Neavling
tickethewire.com

The FBI is grieving two of its employees after they were killed in a collision between a barge and a small pleasure boat in the Ohio River, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened late Thursday night in the river between Cincinnati and Newport, Kentucky.

“It is with great sadness that we advise that two FBI employees were involved in a tragic accident late last night,” the FBI said in a statement Friday.

According to the FBI, the employees worked for the Cincinnati division but were not special agents.

The employees were identified as Bruce Eastlick, 28, and John Stack II, 29, the AP wrote.

Washington Post: Reforms Could Usher in Accountability for Border Patrol

By Washington Post
Editorial Board

Few federal government agencies have grown as quickly as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes the 21,000 agents, double the number in 2004, who patrol the nation’s frontiers with Mexico and Canada. That growth has been accompanied by an alarming number of incidents involving the use of lethal force, particularly along the Mexican border and all too frequently under circumstances that suggest the agency is indifferent or hostile to the most basic standards of restraint, transparency and self-policing.

Reports by news organizations and independent experts — including one report that was suppressed by Customs and Border Protection for more than a year — have finally prompted the agency to address its problems with accountability. The agency’s new commissioner, R. Gil Kerlikowske, a former police chief in Seattle and Buffalo, has proposed serious reforms.

The question now is whether an organization that badly needs change, and the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents some 17,000 agents in the field, will be receptive to reform.

Mr. Kerlikowske’s ideas for revamping the agency’s policies and culture are far-ranging. Soon after taking office in March, he initiated a review of hundreds of incidents since 2009 involving agents’ alleged misconduct and use of deadly force; 155 such incidents remain under review.

To read more click here.

Justice Department Wants to End Profiling Based Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation

By Steve Neavling

tickethewire.com

The days of profiling may be over for federal law enforcement, according to a report obtained by the Washington Post.

The ban on profiling would apply to people based on their ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

One impact of the policy, for example, would be prohibiting surveillance of mosques without proof of wrongdoing.

No exemption will be given for national security investigations either, the Post reports.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said his upcoming retirement from the position won’t stop him from pursuing this.

“There remains a great deal to be done,” he said. “I have no intention of letting up or slowing down.”