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Archive for August 12th, 2016

Ex-ATF Agent Agrees to Pay $40,000 After Falsely Claiming He Had Cancer to Collect Sick Leave Pay

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By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former ATF agent who faked having cancer to collect sick leave pay, has agreed to pay the federal government $40,000 to resolve the matter, the Justice Department announced this week.

The Justice Department’s Civil Division alleged that Douglas daCosta of Livermore, Calif.  agreed to pay $40,000 to resolve allegations that he falsely claimed more than 80 days paid sick leave while working as a criminal investigator for the ATF’s San Francisco field division from January 2009 until his retirement in June 2009.

Specifically, the government alleged that  daCosta falsely told his supervisors that he was undergoing extensive treatment for cancer and went as far as to provide a forged letter from a physician to back his claim, the government said in a press release, noting that he did not have cancer.

“When a law enforcement officer misuses taxpayer funds, he does a disservice to his colleagues who serve with professionalism and distinction,”  Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement. “This settlement shows that we will not hesitate to hold individuals accountable if they misuse taxpayer funds.”

DaCosta had worked for ATF for 28 years.

His Linkedin page states that he currently works for an international security and investigations firm.

 

DEA Keeps Marijuana on List of Most Dangerous Drugs But Allows More Research

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Proponents of marijuana legalization were delivered a blow this week when the DEA said there’s “no currently accepted medical use treatment in the United States.”

DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg went further, saying marijuana can lead to abuse and should remain a Schedule 1 drug like heroin and LSD, NPR reports.

“This decision isn’t based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine,” he said, “and it’s not.”

Trouble is, the federal government has only allowed one research institution – the University of Mississippi – examine the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

But the DEA said this week it’s willing to increase the number of institutions that can research the benefits of marijuana.

DEA’s Credibility Questioned After Refusing to Loosen Restrictions

marijuana-istockBy Editorial Board
Sacramento Bee

Reading the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s report on marijuana, on how it should remain one of the nation’s most dangerous drugs and has no medical value, we can’t help but wonder what rock the agency’s leaders have been living under. Or what they’ve been smoking.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have legalized weed for medical use, starting with California way back in 1996. Three more states – Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota – will decide whether to follow suit this November.

Yet, according the DEA on Thursday, “there is no evidence that there is a consensus among qualified experts that marijuana is safe and effective for use in treating a specific, recognized disorder.”

In a long-awaited report, the agency doubled down on years of illogical policy. Pot, it said, will remain as it has been since 1970 – a Schedule I drug, on par with heroin. It will not be, as many expected, bumped to even a Schedule II drug, like the deadly opioid fentanyl.

“This decision isn’t based on danger,” DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg told NPR. “This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it’s not.”

This is the same circular argument that the agency has been making for years, even as states, with approval from the U.S. Justice Department, have steadily moved toward decriminalizing it. The drug remains in a legal gray area, though. The DEA, for example, spent $18 million last year destroying marijuana plants while people in three states were legally using it for fun.

To read more click here. 

FBI Has ‘High Confidence” That Russian Government Hacked Democratic Party

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has found more evidence that the Russian government hacked America’s Democratic Party and the personal e-mails of political operatives, Bloomberg reports. 

The FBI said it has “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the attack.

“This is an electronic Watergate,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “This is a break-in. And I think that we have to recognize what is happening here.”

Russia has denied playing a role.

Donald Trump even encouraged Russia to turn over any additional documents that may have been obtained under the hacks. 

Head of Seattle FBI Office Retires, Replaced by Jay S. Tabb Jr.

Frank Montoya Jr.

Frank Montoya Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Frank Montoya Jr., the head of the FBI office in Seattle, announced Thursday he’s retiring.

He will be succeeded by Jay S. Tabb Jr., a former Marine who served as deputy assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters, the Seattle Times reports. 

Montoya had served as the special agent in charge in Honolulu before he took over the Seattle office in 2014.

“The FBI’s exceptional mission is near to my heart, and I’ve been immensely proud to contribute to our law enforcement and national security efforts,” Montoya said in an FBI news release. “I am honored to have spent the final years of my FBI career with the exceptional agents and professional staff of the Seattle Division, and the extraordinary law enforcement leaders in Washington state.”

Montoya came under fire after he allowed one of his agents to use a fake Associated Press story to capture a bomb-hoax suspect.

Tabb was first assigned to the Dallas office when he joined the FBI in 1997. He has focused on violent crime, counterterrorism and drug-trafficking.

Border Patrol Agent Killed While Riding Dirt Bike on Duty

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent was killed while riding a dirt bike while on duty for the Tucson Sector.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that Agent Manuel Alvarez, 37, on the dirt bike on the Tohono O’odham reservation south of Sells.

The 13-year veteran of Border Patrol was assigned to the Casa Grande Station of the Tucson Sector and is survived by ahi wife and four children.

The agency declined to release details of the accident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Agent Alvarez,” CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said in a statement posted to Facebook.

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