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Archive for January 12th, 2015

FBI Director Names 2 New Special Agents in Charge: Scott Bean and Roger Stanton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James B. Comey made two announcements Monday involving new assignments.

Scott Bean has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Administrative Division of the Washington Field Office. He most recently served as section chief for the Technical Surveillance Section of the Operational Technology Division at FBI headquarters. He began his career with the FBI in 1997.

Comey also announced that Roger C. Stanton has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Birmingham Division. Stanton most recently served as section chief of the Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) section in the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG). He began his career with the bureau in 1995.

FBI Uses E-mail Communications Collected by NSA without Warrants

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI has been quietly using information gathered during warrantless NSA surveillance to comb through emails belonging to foreigners to assist in investigations, the New York Times reports.

The Times discovered the FBI was gathering copies of unprocessed communications that were received without a warrant.

The Inspector General report commended the FBI for assuring that no Americans were targeted in the warrantless collection of communications.

Much of the report was redacted, making it impossible to gauge the extent of the communication gathering, the Times wrote.

The records were released after The Times filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Former FBI Agent Reveals Tricks of Influencing People in Everyday Life

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A good FBI agent can make friends with just about anyone. 

Now a former agent, Jack Schafer, is sharing the tricks of the trade in a new book, “The Like Switch,” which is written for people to use in their everyday lives.

Schafer, who worked as behavioral therapist for the bureau for seven years, said people are too caught up in themselves and don’t have a lot of the skills to make friends.

“We are too busy focusing on ourselves and not the people we meet,” he writes.

“We put our wants and needs before the wants and needs of others. The irony of all this is that other people will be eager to fulfill your wants and needs if they like you.”

Schafer shows how nonverbal cues impact how people see us.

FBI Records: Radical American-Born Muslim Spent Thousands on Prostitutes

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A radical American-born Muslim who trained to fight the “evil” ways of western civilization spent thousands of dollars on prostitutes in the U.S., the Daily Mail reports, citing leaked FBI records. 

Anwar al-Awlaki, a married father of five who the Daily Mail says inspired the terrorists behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks at a training session in Yemen, hired prostitutes at least seven times in Washington D.C. area between 2001 and 2002, according to the documents.

He also was arrested twice in San Diego for soliciting.

The Daily Mail pointed out that reports placed some of the 9-11 hijackers at strip clubs for lap dances before the attacks.

Newsday Editorial: Now Is No Time to Play Political Games with Homeland Security

By Newsday
Editorial Board

The massacre in Paris last week by homegrown French terrorists and the ensuing dragnet to find those responsible have dramatically underscored the need for unstinting vigilance to keep the United States safe. But the Department of Homeland Security will run out of money by the end of next month if additional funding is not approved. Congress must not let that happen.

Republicans insisted on that short leash for the department in December when the lame-duck Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the rest of the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The GOP wanted to hold the Department of Homeland Security hostage as leverage to block President Barack Obama’s executive orders allowing temporary legal status for 5 million immigrants in the country illegally. The short-term funding ensured Congress would revisit the volatile immigration issue after November’s election, when many expected the Republicans to win control of the Senate.

But the violent carnage that claimed at least 17 victims in France last week has the American public on edge about the threat of homegrown terrorism in this country. People who feel vulnerable won’t look kindly on a party threatening to cripple the department whose job is to keep them safe.

So congressional Republicans are looking for a way to thread the needle. They want to withhold funding for Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is in the Department of Homeland Security, without defunding the entire department. It won’t be easy.

To read more click here.

Former TSA Officer Tells of ‘Pained Relationship with Government Security’

By Jason Edward Harrington
The Week

My pained relationship with government security started in 2007. I needed a job to help pay my way through college in Chicago, and the Transportation Security Administration’s callback, for a job as a security officer at O’Hare International Airport, was the first one I received. It was just a temporary thing, I told myself — side income for a year or two as I worked toward a degree in creative writing. It wasn’t like a recession would come along and lock me into the job or anything.

I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly, and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots — the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.

Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group — a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.

I quickly discovered I was working for an agency whose morale was among the lowest in the U.S. government. In private, most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.

Until 2010 (just after the TSA standard operating procedure manual was accidentally leaked to the public), all TSA officers worked with a secret list that many of us taped to the back of our TSA badges for easy reference: the Selectee Passport List. It consisted of 12 nations that automatically triggered enhanced passenger screening. The training department drilled us on the selectee countries so regularly that I had memorized them, like a little poem:

Syria, Algeria, Afghanistan
Iraq, Iran, Yemen
and Cuba,
Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan
People’s Republic of North Korea

People holding passports from the selectee countries were automatically pulled aside for full-body pat downs and had their luggage examined with a fine-toothed comb. The selectee list was purely political, of course, with diplomacy playing its role as always: There was no Saudi Arabia or Pakistan on a list of states historically known to harbor, aid, and abet terrorists. Besides, my co-workers at the airport didn’t know Algeria from a medical condition, we rarely came across Cubanos, and no one’s ever seen a North Korean passport that didn’t include the words “Kim Jong.” So it was mostly the Middle Easterners who got the special screening.

Most of us knew the directives were questionable, but orders were orders. And in practice, officers with common sense were able to cut corners on the most absurd rules, provided supervisors or managers weren’t looking.

Then a man tried to destroy a plane with an underwear bomb, and everything changed.

To read more click here.

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