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Archive for December 8th, 2016

Trump Chooses Retired Marine General Kelly to Head Homeland Security

Marine Gen. John Kelly

Marine Gen. John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to run Homeland Security is retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, a border-security hawk who retired in February as chief of the U.S. Southern Command, the Washington Post reports. 

Kelly will be responsible for delivering on Trump’s pledge to crack down on illegal immigration.

The 66-year-old general served for more than four four decades and has widespread respect in the military community.

The choice for the position came down down to Kelly and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who many conservatives believed wasn’t hawkish enough about border security.

New FBI Headquarters Gets Green Light from Congressional Commitee

Current FBI headquarters

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The long-delayed effort to build a new FBI headquarters has gotten the green light from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to move forward.

But the GSA still needs to finalize the location of the new headquarters, Federal News Radio reports. 

The committee approval was praised by chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.

“This will greatly improve the FBI’s security posture and its operations, and save money. But because of the size and complexity of the project, it will important to ensure there is strong congressional oversight to keep the project on time and on budget,” Shuster said.

The plan calls for the GSA and FBI to pay for the headquarters. President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal includes $1.4 billion for the project, which has already received $390 million under the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill.

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., said many challenges are involved.

“What makes this project challenging is it is not a simple construction project of a single building. The project will be a secure campus with separate visitor screening, its own utility plant and specialized security requirements,” Barletta said.

Lawyer: FBI Agent Who Shot at Officer in Michigan Felt Paranoid

Planet Fitness logo.

Planet Fitness logo.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who fired his gun at a police officer outside a fitness club in Grand Rapids, Mi., was paranoid and couldn’t recall most of what happened, his lawyer said.

Police responded to Planet Fitness after 911 calls that a man was brandishing  gun inside the fitness club. It turned out to be FBI Special Agent Ruben Hernandez, who was in Michigan from Los Vegas for an investigation. The officer tried to make contact with Hernandez, who opened fire. No one was hurt. He was arrested on assault charges.

Attorney Larry Willey said  the agent’s recollection of what happened was “vague, hazy” and may have been affected by alcohol, the Associated Press reports. 

ATF: Warehouse Fire That Killed 36 People Trapped People on Second Floor

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An enormous fire that ripped through a converted Oakland, Calif., warehouse and killed at least 36 people broke out on the first floor, trapping people on the second floor, the ATF said.

Federal investigators said they could find no evidence of fire alarms or sprinters in the building, and Oakland officials acknowledged the building had not been inspected for three decades.

ABC 7 reports that two stairwells in the building had no exits. 

Authorities are still trying to determine what caused the fire, but no evidence of arson has surfaced.

It was the deadliest fire in a structure in the U.S. in 13 years.

DEA Reports Spike in Cocaine Availability And Use in U.S.

Cocaine-jpgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A cocaine production boom in Colombia has increased use and availability of the drug in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade, the DEA reports.

The DEA’s 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment concluded that more cocaine is reaching the U.S.  because of increases in seizures and overdose deaths. 

The increase occurred between 2014 and 2015.

The DEA estimates a 67% increase in cocaine production in Columbia, one of the largest providers of the drug in the U.S.

The DEA also identified new risks, including cocaine mixed with the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Other Stories of Interest

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