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Archive for January, 2017

FBI Works with Local, State Authorities to Make Super Bowl Safe in Houston

At the Super Bowl command post, a Texas Highway Patrol officer takes part in a “rehearsal of concept” exercise several weeks prior to the command post going operational.

At the Super Bowl command post, a Texas Highway Patrol officer takes part in a “rehearsal of concept” exercise several weeks prior to the command post going operational.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As tens of thousands of fans plan to attend the Super Bowl in Houston, federal officials are working with state and local authorities to reduce the dangers of a terrorist attack.

“We’ve been working for several years with our partners to make sure appropriate security is in place,” Perrye Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston Division, said in a statement. “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure it’s a safe event.”

“On the day of the big game, we will be here, but our presence may not necessarily be seen,” said Mark Webster, an FBI assistant special agent in charge in Houston who is coordinating the Bureau’s Super Bowl security efforts. “We will have multiple elements in place onsite as well as offsite.”

The FBI will provide intelligence about possible terror threats while the Houston Police Department takes the lead role in security planning.

“We are using all the elements within our office,” Webster said.

The FBI will be providing SWAT teams and cyber squads leading up to the game on Feb. 5.

President Trump’s Cyber Security Plan Diminishes FBI’s Role

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s cybersecurity plan diminishes the role the FBI played in protecting the nation’s digital infrastructure.

A draft copy of the executive order also fails to mention protecting elections. 

“We are not sure how to explain this, as the FBI and law enforcement secured an important role in cybersecurity early in the Obama administration,” Charley Snyder and Michael Sulmeyer wrote Monday on the Lawfare blog, which focuses on national security law. “FBI zealously guards its role in investigating malicious cyber activities, and had been given a leading role in Obama-era policies.”

The executive order also failed to mention that the federal government will protect digital election systems.

President Trump Fires Acting AG Yates for Defying Executive Order on Immigration

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday after she refused to defend his executive order on immigration.

Yates served as deputy attorney general for the Obama administration and named the acting attorney general until Sen. Jeff Session is confirmed.

In the meantime, the Trump administration appointed Dana Boente, 63, to serve as acting attorney general. Boente served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, NBC News reports.

Yates had directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order, but Boente rescinded the directive.

Yates “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” the White House said in a statement, adding: “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with [the Justice Department’s] responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,” Yates wrote. “For as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”

San Francisco Chronicle: President Trump to Blame for ‘Ill-Conceived’ Travel Ban

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Editorial Board
San Francisco Chronicle

Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates took a bold stand Monday in refusing to defend the indefensible executive order to ban refugees and travelers from a selective group of Muslim-majority nations. Doing so would have defied her “solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” she said, adding that she was not “convinced that the executive order is lawful.”

By day’s end, President Trump fired her.

Yates had to have known when she told the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s order that she would be ousted. As a candidate and in his first week as president, Trump has been combative at even the slightest hint of dissent. Yates had been appointed to the temporary post by President Barack Obama.

Yet the Trump White House cannot escape its culpability for the chaos that ensued from an ill-conceived and insufficiently vetted travel ban that resulted in unwarranted detentions at U.S. airports, anxiety among allies and undue validation of the jihadist narrative that Islamists were engaged in a war against infidels.

Federal judges in different cities ruled against elements of the order. Following this pressure, the White House said green card holders should be allowed to enter the country.

That’s not good enough. The executive order is far too broad, it wasn’t vetted by the nation’s security experts and diplomatic brass — let alone the U.S. Justice Department — and its narrow focus against a religious group is constitutionally suspect.

To read more click here. 

President Trump Appoints Elaine Duke to Serve as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Proponents of a tougher immigration crackdown were disappointed with Donald Trump’s choice for deputy secretary of Homeland Security.

Trump appointed Elaine Duke, a little-known bureaucrat who was the former undersecretary of management at the department.

Supporters of an immigration crackdown wanted a more prominent figure, the Washington Times reports. 

Nevertheless, Duke spent years working on the budgets and procurement for Homeland Security.

Duke served as undersecretary for President George W. Bush and President Obama. 

Other Stories of Interest

FBI’s Eric Jackson to Head Up Dallas Office; Vadim Thomas Named SAC in Albany

Eric K. Johnson

Eric K. Johnson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

New assignments are being hand out by FBI Director James B. Comey.

Eric K. Jackson, who has served as special agent in charge of the Kansas City Division, will head south to take charge of the Dallas Division. Jackson, a Dallas native, assumes the post in March.

Jackson joined the FBI in 1997.

Vadim Thomas, who has served as an inspector in the Inspection Division at headquarters, has been named special agent in charge of the Albany Division.  He’ll assume the post in March.

Thomas joined the FBI in 1995.

FBI Investigates Bomb Threats to Refugee Community Center for Muslims

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating threats to “blow up” a refugee community center that predominately serves Muslim immigrants.

Police said anonymous, threatening notes were found at the Denver-area center, Reuters reports.

The typewritten notes were left in the parking lot and stairwell of the Mango House. Both letters had the same message: WE’RE GONNA BLOW UP ALL OF YOU REFUGEES.”

The threats come as President Trump is banning people from traveling to the U.S. from seven predominately Muslim countries.

The refugee center in Aurora was evacuated, but no signs of suspicious devices were found.

“This is an ongoing investigation and is a top priority for us,” police spokesman Sergeant Chris Amsler said.  “We don’t tolerate that type of thing in the city of Aurora.”

Border Agents Defy Judges’ Orders on Trump’s Travel Ban

Protesters at Detroit Metro Airport rally against Trump’s executive order. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Patrol agents ignored the orders of federal judges who said Donald Trump’s travel bans are unenforceable, members of congress and civil rights attorneys said.

Muslims from the seven countries on the travel-ban list were still being detained Sunday, two days after three judges ordered a temporary halt to the deportation of people who had arrived with valid visas in the U.S., the Guardian reports. 

On Sunday, four Democratic members of the House of Representatives visited Dulles airport in Virginia after it was discovered that people had been detained and weren’t allowed to see lawyers.

“We have a constitutional crisis today,” representative Don Beyer wrote on Twitter. “Four members of Congress asked CBP officials to enforce a federal court order and were turned away.”

Representative Jamie Raskin also tweeted, “As far as I know no attorney has been allowed to see any arriving passenger subject to Trumps exec order at Dulles today.”

He added: “CBP appears to be saying people in their custody not ‘detained’ technically & Dulles international arrivals areas not in the United States.”

Homeland Security has declined to comment.

Protests were launched across the country to protest the ban on travel from the seven Muslim-majority countries.

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