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Archive for September 25th, 2014

Breaking: Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to Resign

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who had been rumored for a while now to be getting ready to step down, is resigning, the New York Times reports.

The Justice Department made the announcement and said Holder will remain in office until a successor is confirmed.

Holder became the first African-American attorney general, and was considered a liberal voice. He stuck around after President Barack Obama’s first term, long after others in the administration had left.

Names that have surfaced as possible replacements, according to the New York Times, include:

Kathryn Ruemmler, the former White House counsel; Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts; Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the former solicitor general; former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island; and Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney in Brooklyn.

To read more, click here.

Justice Department Investigating Police-Involved Shooting of Black Man at Wal-Mart Store

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s increased reviews of police department practices has reached Ohio after a grand jury opted no to indict officers involved in the unusual fatal shooting of a man at a Ohio Wal-Mart, the Associated Press reports.

Pledging a “thorough and independent” investigation, the Justice Department said it’s trying to determine whether any civil rights laws were violated in the Aug. 5 death of John Crawford III, 22.

Crawford, who is black, reportedly was waving a gun in the store and didn’t obey commands when police arrived.

Police shot and killed Crawford. Turns out, he had an air rifle taken from the Wal-Mart shelf.

“The Crawford family is extremely disappointed, disgusted and confused,” the family said in a statement. “They are heartbroken that justice was not done in the tragic death of their only son.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

 

FBI Study: Steep Rise in Mass Shootings as More People Die; Shootings Often End Before Police Arrive

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new study by the FBI reveals that mass shootings are on the rise and killing more people.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the study found 160 “active-shooter” events from 2000 to 2013.

The study defines an “active shooter” as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

The average number of active-shooter incidents in a year was 16.4 between 2006 and 2013, a steep rise from an average 6.4 a year from 2000 to 2006.

In those periods, 486 people were killed and 557 wounded.

Interestingly, the study found that the shootings often lasted less than two minutes and two-thirds ended before police arrived.

“Many active shooters have a real or perceived deeply held personal grievance, and the only remedy that they can perceive for that grievance is an act of catastrophic violence against a person or an institution,” said FBI behavioral analysis expert Andre Simons.

Will Investigators Find Pennsylvania Fugitive Frein? Survivalists Have Record of Eluding Authorities

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When it comes to capturing survivalist fugitives, law enforcement has a spotty record, Reuters reports.

So when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett pledged to quickly capture Eric Matthew Frein, who is accused of gunning down two state troopers, some experts were naturally skeptical.

Law enforcement officials believe Frein is hiding in the Pocono Mountains after he’s been added to the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.”

Turns out, a third of the fugitives on that list “are avid outdoorsmen with skills to hide for years – if not a lifetime – in the wilderness,” Reuters wrote.

“He may have an elaborate plan that had multiple caches and multiple hides and be set up for a number of years. It doesn’t look like he just did it on a whim,” said Pat Patten, who owns Tactical Woodland Operations School in Franklin, North Carolina, which trains police to catch fugitives in the outdoors.

The FBI, for example, is still on the hunt for a skilled hunter, William Bradford Bishop Jr., who disappeared nearly 40 years ago, after the beating deaths of his wife, mother and three sons in Maryland.

Inspector General Report: FBI’s Half-Billion-Dollar Computer System Is Rife with Problems

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI spent a half-billion-dollars on a Sentinel computerized file system, but the system is rife with problems, Newsweek reports.

Officials insisted the Sentinel would be completed by the end of 2009 for $425 million. But a report by the Justice Department Inspector General found mismanagement, cost overruns and technical problems that have raised the price by another $100 million, Newsweek wrote.

Sentinel replaced the bureau’s antiquated Automatic Case Support System, known as ACS.

Despite the problems, the Inspector General report found that a majority of FBI employees surveyed agreed that “Sentinel has had an overall positive impact on the FBI’s operations, making the FBI better able to carry out its mission, and better able to share information.”

Still, the report found many problems.

The FBI, for example, said the system’s search function was working properly.

“Yet we found that only 42 percent of the respondents to our survey who used Sentinel’s search functionality often received the results they needed,” the IG reported

Employees: Byzantine Oversight of Homeland Security is Crushing Morale, Hindering Work

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Homeland Security has so much congressional oversight that it’s damaging morale and making the work more difficult, the Washington Post reports.

Consider the number of committees and subcommittees that oversee DHS – more than 90, which exceeds the number that has jurisdiction over the Defense Department by nearly three fold.

“It makes no sense at all,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a homeland security committee member, who attributed the structure to a “petty fight for power” between committees reluctant to give up their piece of DHS.

When the department was created in 2002, 22 autonomous federal agencies were combined.

“It makes it very difficult for the department,’’ said King, who sees “no movement” in Congress to change the situation. “The amount of time that goes into preparing for a congressional hearing is immense. It’s like this hydra-headed monster they have to deal with.’’