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Archive for February, 2017

FBI Joins Investigation of Yet Another Act of Vandalism Directed at Jews

jewish-star_of_david_3-svgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping investigate yet another act of vandalism directed at Jewish people.

The latest investigation involves a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, where an estimated 75 to 100 headstones were toppled Saturday night, CNN reports. 

Police have yet to find a motive for the vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery.

“The Philadelphia FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have opened a civil rights investigation into vandalism at the Mount Carmel Cemetery,” the FBI office in Philadelphia said in an email. “The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence.”

In recent weeks, dozens of Jewish community centers across the country have been the targets of bomb threats.

“I’m a child of a Holocaust survivor, so I grew up with stories of destruction of Jewish cemeteries,” said Rebecka Hess, who helped clean up the cemetery. “I always thought we were done with that.”

FBI Special Agent Dies After Completing Mandatory Fitness Assessment

Special Agent Ricky O’Donald

Special Agent Ricky O’Donald

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI special agent in the Miami Field Office died after completing the bureau’s annual mandatory fitness assessment earlier this month.

Special Agent Rickey O’Donald suffered a heart attack soon after finishing the fitness assessment on Feb. 17, Officer.com reports.

O’Donald, a 29-year veteran of the FBI, complained to fellow agents that he wasn’t feeling himself, so he drove to a local hospital. While in the parking lot, he collapsed and was later pronounced dead.

O’Donald is survived by his wife and and their daughter.

Contributions may be directed to Christ Rock Community Church, 11000 Stirling Road, Cooper City, Fla. 33328. http://crcconline.org/

The funeral is scheduled for March 1 at Fred Hunter’s University Drive Home in Davie.

Democrat Questions FBI Director’s Willingness to Investigate Trump’s Ties to Russia

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey has shown virtually no willingness to cooperate with a Congressional investigation into potential ties between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Monday.

“I have yet to be convinced … by the director of the FBI that we will have the fulsome kind of cooperation that we will need,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters in the Capitol, The Hill reports.

Without the full cooperation of the FBI and Comey, Schiff said there’s little the Intelligence Committee can do.

“We can’t become the FBI, we can’t send out our own investigators spanning all over the globe,” Schiff said. “We will need their cooperation, and whether we will get that in as fulsome a manner as we need has yet to be determined, in my view.” 

Schiff’s comments came just hours after Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said he’s seen “no evidence” of ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

“What I’ve been told, by many folks, is that there’s nothing there — but we’re absolutely looking into it,” Nunes said.

Activists: Reopen Case of Emmett Till After Witness Lied About What Happened

Emmett Till

Emmett Till

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Civil rights activists and others are calling for the federal government to reopen its investigation of the killing of Emmett Till, a black teenager who was killed in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman.

The renewed interest in the case comes after Carolyn Bryant, who accused Till of grabbing her and asking her for a date, said she was not physically assaulted by the 14-year-old. The revelation came in a book, “The Blood of Emmett Till.”

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” the author Timothy Tyson quoted her as saying.

On Monday, activists rallied outside the Mississippi Capitol, calling for justice for the teen, whose killers were found not guilty by an all-white jury. They later admitted they killed Till.

Activists believe Donham should be charged.

“We just don’t want a conviction,” community activist Duvalier Malone said. “We want an apology.”

What remains unclear is what Donham could be charged with.

Ex-Border Officials Question Trump’s Plan to Hire 5,000 More Officers

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s plans to add more than 5,000 border enforcement officers has caught criticism from former top officials at Customs and Border Patrol.

Three top officials at CBP told Reuters that the hiring presents logistical challenges and might be unnecessary.

Increasing employment won’t be easy and may involve relaxing screening protocols for recruits, which could invite corruption and questionable hires, the former officials said.

The officials also questioned the necessity of hiring more agents since apprehensions at the border have declined.

“Congress is going to be looking at this very carefully and looking for justification for this kind of money to make sure they don’t write a check that is not necessary,” said W. Ralph Basham who headed U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the George W. Bush administration. “The question will be do we need more agents or do we need money for technology and infrastructure,” he said.

Trump has called for a more aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration and called for the hiring of more than 5,000 border patrol agents and 10,000 ICE officers.

“At the end of the day, the goal is to get control of the border and enhance the security of the country,” said White House assistant press secretary Michael Short in an email.

Other Stories of Interest

Should TSA Fire Staffers After 11 Passengers Weren’t Screened at JFK Airport?

1024px-welcome_john_f-_kennedy_international_airport_signBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eleven passengers managed to get past a checking point at JFK Airport without being screened last week, prompting outrage from law enforcement.

Although three of those passengers set off a metal-detector alarm, they were able to walk on without the TSA alerting Port Authority police for two hours.

In a statement, the TSA wrote, “Once our review is complete, TSA will discipline and retrain employees.”

The TSA pledged to take “appropriate action” against the responsible workers.

In an editorial last week, the New York Post called for the termination of the employees involved. 

Retraining. Appropriate action. How about fired? Sorry, no: TSA staff are a protected branch of the American Federation of Government Employees, one with the hilarious motto: “Stronger Union, Safer Skies.”

Private-sector workers who mess up so badly as to put lives in jeopardy would be gone in a heartbeat. Heck, they’d be fired for far less serious breaches.

Somewhere along the road to making America great again, Mr. President, how about privatizing the damn TSA to end all the maddening “security theater?”

Other Stories of Interest

White House Dodges Questions about Sessions’ Role in Investigation of Russia

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House won’t answer questions about whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, the Washington Post reports. 

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who has called for a special prosecutor to investigate the Russian interference, said Sessions should not lead the investigation because it represents a conflict.

But deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders won’t say whether Sessions should withdraw from the investigation.

The appropriate time to discuss Sessions’ role, she said, is after the congressional committees complete their own investigations, even though  they are independent of the FBI probe.

ICE Agents Are Ignoring Finer Points of Immigration Law

Courtesy of ICE

Courtesy of ICE

By Sandra Hernandez
Los Angeles Times

Whenever U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement insists it is just doing its job, Americans should take a closer look at what is happening.

With an executive order signed in his first week in office, President Trump has “taken the shackles off” ICE and Border Patrol officers, according to the White House, expanding the priorities for deporting immigrants.  Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly claims his agents will focus on those convicted of or charged with crimes, but immigrant advocacy groups and the news media already have documented arrests, detentions and deportations of  immigrants who in no way represent a threat to public safety.

From 2006 through early 2010, I reported on Immigration and Customs Enforcement. What I learned was that no matter the ostensible priorities of federal agencies — or even settled law — ICE was an agency prone to overreach.

In those days, immigration agents liked to roll out press releases touting the successes of their  “fugitive operations.” The releases detailed how violent gang members, sexual predators and other criminals were taken off the streets. Time and again, I pressed the agency for detailed information on those arrested only to discover the detainees were neither fugitives nor serious criminals.

Instead, I found longtime green card holders who had been convicted decades earlier of minor offenses.  Or who were ordered deported in absentia, in some cases because they had moved or the wrong paperwork had been filed.  Among the detainees without green cards, many simply didn’t come close to fitting the description “danger to society.” They were street vendors, construction workers, janitors and small business owners, albeit without papers.

To read more click here.

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