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Archive for May 13th, 2015

FBI Acknowledges It Violated Own Rules by Investigating Pipeline Protesters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI acknowledged Tuesday that it violated its own guidelines in 2013 by investigating environmental advocates who were protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, The New York Times reports. 

Agents were investigating claims that some opponents planned to damage part of the existing pipeline, which sends oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Without approval from their office or chief lawyer, FBI agents gathered information about opponents and combed through databases for information on environmental advocates. The investigation appears to have been prompted by communication from the Houston office.

Agents are required to get authorization for such an investigation and did not, the Times wrote.

A further investigation revealed no evidence that protesters planned to damage the pipeline.

 

Man Who Shot FBI Agent Was Known As ‘Longhorn Bandit’ in Denver Area

The "Longhorn Bandit"

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The 19-year-old man who killed himself after shooting an FBI agent was wanted for Denver-area bank robberies, the Denver Post reports. 

The man, Jesus Emmanuel Avila, was known as the “Longhorn Bandit” and was wanted in about a half dozen Denver-area robberies.

At the time of the shooting, FBI agents were serving a warrant for his arrest.

A member of the FBI SWAT team was shot in the leg and received non-life-threatening injuries.

“As (Avila’s) actions firing on law enforcement agents and wounding an FBI agent show, the robber was armed, dangerous and posed a grave risk to the public,” Colorado’s U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a statement.

Powerful Bipartisan Committee Probes Serious Flaws in FBI Lab Research

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A powerful bi-partisan House committee is investigating serious flaws found in FBI labs, McClatchy reports. 

Leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voiced “grave concern” about recent discoveries that the FBI came to erroneous conclusions on hair analysis that ended up being far from perfect.

“The scope of this catastrophe is almost impossible to believe,” wrote Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., adding that the recent discoveries are “shocking and obviously unacceptable.”

The lawmakers want to meet with Comey by May 22 for a hearing to determine how much he knew about the errors and when he found out.

The committee’s actions come on the heels of testimony that showed that at least 90% of the hair analysis cases analyzed by the FBI contained erroneous statements.

“We need to understand more about these cases,” Chaffetz and Cummings wrote.

Last month, Amy Hess, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch, emphasized that the Justice Department and the FBI are “committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance.”

Border Patrol Supervisor Arrested for Allegedly Stealing $108K in Benefits

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Another Border Patrol supervisor is in hot water.

This time James Doran, 54, who is the supervisor of the Border Patrol’s Laredo office, is expected to be charged today for allegedly collecting more than $108,000 in Social Security benefits to which he was not entitled, the Laredo Morning Times reports. 

An indictment was unsealed, revealing the case against Doran, who could faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The investigation was handled by the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General and the Bureau of Vital Statistics Fraud Unit.

Lawyer: Federal Air Marshals Should Not Use Gun Ranges That Aren’t Lead Free

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal air marshals should not be using gun ranges that aren’t proven to be led free, the top attorney for the marshals told TSA on Tuesday.

The Seattle Times reports that a letter from attorney Lawrence Berger, who represents the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, was sent to to the agency expressing the concerns.

The letter following an April 13 investigation by the Seattle Times that revealed TSA has endangered hundreds of employees by having them use commercial ranges that have lead contamination.

“FLEOA demands that the Transportation Security Administration immediately cease and desist contracting with or otherwise utilizing any gun range that has not been inspected by or received an up-to-date clearance from OSHA that the range is safe from toxic poisoning,” Berger said.

The Seattle Times wrote:

When lead-based ammunition is fired, lead vapor and dust spread into the air and onto surfaces. If a range doesn’t have proper ventilation and fails to adequately clean the range, air marshals can be overexposed to lead. Shooters might also track the metal home and contaminate others. Children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning.

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