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Archive for November 19th, 2014

FBI Tracking Nearly 150 Americans Who Recently Traveled to Syria, Possibly to Fight

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is monitoring nearly 150 Americans who traveled to Syria recently and may have joined armed groups, Reuters reports.

FBI Director James Comey said he’s worried that Americans may return to the U.S. with training and connections to launch a terrorist attack on the homeland.

“We have tracked coming up on close to 150 people who traveled from the United States to Syria, for all manner of motivations. A significant number of them to fight,” he told reporters at a briefing in Boston.

“We are determined not to allow future lines to be drawn from a terrorist diaspora out of Syria to a future 9/11,” he said.

The FBI’s biggest concern is Americans who are joining Islamic State because of effective recruitment campaigns on the internet.

“There we see somewhere in excess of a dozen (Americans who have joined Islamic State) that we have a pretty good handle on,” Comey said. “I don’t have high confidence that I see the entire universe,” he added.

Debt Collectors Accused of Impersonating Federal Authorities to Get People to Pay Up

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Employees of a debt collection company in Georgia are accused of impersonating FBI, Justice Department and local police officials to get thousands of people to pay up, the Guardian reports.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the employees of Williams, Scott and Associates illegally collected debts from 6,000 people and are now facing criminal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The employees face up to 20 years in prison.

After buying the debt for a few cents on the dollar, the company began collecting the money from 6,000 people after saying they were investigators. The employees collected $4.1 million this year, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

“After years of threatening false arrest, these defendants are the ones who now find themselves in handcuffs,”  said US attorney for the southern district of New York Preet Bharara in a statement.

Were Police in Ferguson Heavy-Handed During Response to Protests? Justice Department Investigates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has launched a review of the police response to 16 days of Ferguson protests in wake of the fatal shooting of an unarmed teen, CNN reports.

The review will examine the handling of crowd control, protesters and the media.

The task will be undertaken by a 12-person team that will include Justice Department officials and current and former police chiefs.

The assessment started last week.

Attorney General Eric Holder has criticized the police response, which has been widely considered heavy-handed.

The review comes as law enforcement braces for the outcome of the grand jury that will decide whether to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

Border Patrol Accused in Lawsuit of Racially Targeting Latinos in Northern Ohio

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A group of law school students in Ohio teamed up with a nonprofit law firm to filed a federal lawsuit against Border Patrol, alleging agents are targeting Latinos in the northern part of the state, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

The suit is seeking arrest records and polices following actions by agents in the Border Patrol office in northern Ohio.

“We have reason to believe that Border Patrol agents in Sandusky Bay are engaging in racial profiling to target individuals who appear Hispanic, for unlawful enforcement activities,” said Jason Luebbers, a third-year law student at OSU.

The suit was filed by Ohio State University’s law school and a nonprofit law firm, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Toledo.

The law firm sought the records on Aug. 18 but have yet to receive a response.

CBP officials couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Suspected Gang Member Implicated in Theft of FBI Agent’s Laptop in California

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An alleged Oakland gang member accused of stealing an FBI agent’s laptop from his locked car  is expected to plead guilty soon to theft of U.S. government property, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Joey Haines, 30, is an alleged member of the Ghost Town gang in West Oakland, Calif.

Haines and a friend are accused of smashing the rear passenger side window of an FBI car parked near the bureau’s office in Oakland and stealing a backpack belonging to Special Agent Russell Nimmo.

Agents were lucky enough to reach their car just after the theft and were able to chase the burglars long enough to track down information about the driver using surveillance.

Agents delivered a message to Haines through his brother’s girlfriend that the laptop better be returned within 24 hours.

Sure enough, the laptop was found in a plastic bag placed on the hood of a police car, with a note that read: “This laptop belongs to FBI agent officer Russ. Please return to him.”

Later that day, Haines was arrested.

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