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Archive for February 18th, 2015

President Picks Interim Leader Joseph P. Clancy as Permanent Head of Secret Service

Joseph P. Clancy

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joseph P. Clancy, the interim head of the Secret Service, is getting the nod from President Obama to become the permanent guy, the New York Times reports.

Clancy was the former head of the president’s detail.

Some critics of agency wanted an outsider to take over. Apparently, Obama thought differently.

A 27-year veteran of the Secret Service, Clancy was appointed Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division on February 1, 2009.  He held that post until his retirement from the Secret Service on June 30, 2011.

To read the full story click here.

Texas Judge’s Decision to Halt Immigration Plan Renews Hope of Homeland Security Funding

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A Texas judge’s decision to temporarily halt President Obama’s immigration plan could make it easier for Congress to find a temporary solution to keep Homeland Security funded, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Republicans said they may now have support for a short-term extension to avoid a shutdown at Homeland Security.

The news comes after U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction to temporarily halt Obama’s executive order so that another court could first hear arguments in the case.

“That would open the door to at least the possibility of some kind of short-term funding,” Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana, a member of House Republican leadership, said Tuesday.

“My hope would be that this ruling encourages Senate Democrats to reassess their opposition to allowing debate on the House-passed [Homeland Security funding] bill,” Messer added.

The sentiment was mirrored by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, S-South Carolina.

“If a court issues an injunction, I think it would be appropriate for us to consider the possibility of funding appropriations” while the judicial system considers it, he said.

AG Holder Says Drug Cases Down Because Less Focus on Smaller Offenders

Holder speaks in Philadelphia/doj photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors handled fewer drug prosecutions last year because of a new approach to handling smaller non-violent offenders, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder said at a National Press Club address that prosecutions for drug cases fell 6% last year.

Holder said the feds are placing more focus on larger drug dealers, instead of smaller offenders.

Prior to the change in focus, Holder said drug users were getting sent to prison with no possibility of parole.

“For years prior to this administration, federal prosecutors were not only encouraged — but required — to always seek the most severe prison sentence possible for all drug cases, no matter the relative risk they posed to public safety,” he said. “I have made a break from that philosophy.”

He added: “These numbers show that a dramatic shift is underway in the mind-set of prosecutors handling nonviolent drug offenses. I believe we have taken steps to institutionalize this fairer, more practical approach such that it will endure for years to come.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

FBI May Lose Critical Surveillance Abilities Because of NSA Controversy

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s ability to covertly collect “books, papers, documents, and other items” with a court order is at risk.

The Washington Times reports that the Section 215 of the Patriot Act is set to expire in June, and it’s unclear whether lawmakers will “renew it, reform it or let it expire.”

Although the surveillance has helped the FBI track down suspects, Section 215 has become highly controversial because it gave the NSA legal authority to collect phone records on American citizens.

Some lawmakers said it’s critical to allow the FBI to collect the records.

“Law enforcement officials often use Section 215 to obtain necessary individual business records, such as hotel records, in connection with national security investigations,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican and chairman of the SenateJudiciary Committee, said in a statement to The Washington Times. “It’s a useful tool that helps them investigate potential threats to national security.”

The FBI declined to comment.

 

Delaware Voice: Comey’s ‘History-Making Speech’ Reveals Important Truths

Director James B. Comey speaking in Orlando.

Leland Ware
Delaware Voice

On Feb. 12, FBI Director James B. Comey made what will be remembered as a history-making speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

In the speech, “Hard Truths: Law Enforcement and Race,” Comey said, “With the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, the ongoing protests throughout the country, and the assassinations of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, we are at a crossroads.”

He went on to say, “Serious debates are taking place about how law enforcement personnel relate to the communities they serve, about the appropriate use of force, and about real and perceived biases, both within and outside of law enforcement.”

The most important point Director Comey made was about unconscious discrimination. He explained that “Much research points to the widespread existence of unconscious bias. Many people in our white-majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face.” The research to which Comey referred consists of numerous studies conducted over the last 30 years that have shown that racial prejudice is pervasive among many who consciously subscribe to a belief in racial equality. Many individuals who believe they have positive attitudes about racial minorities harbor unconscious racial prejudices.

Prejudice and stereotypes are the byproducts of ordinary perceptions, categorization, learning, memory and judgment. “Categorization” is the process by which ideas and objects are recognized, differentiated and understood. It is an essential brain function that enables individuals to reduce the enormous amounts of information they encounter every day to a manageable level. Categorization allows individuals to relate new experiences to old experiences; the unfamiliar becomes familiar. Each object and event is perceived, remembered, grouped into a category and identified. The process is automatic and operates in milliseconds.

To read more click here.