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Archive for June, 2018

Head of Border Patrol Agents’ Union Says We Can’t Stop ‘Catch and Release’

By Allan Lengel

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council and head of the union representing Border Patrol agents, tells CNN there’s  “no way” the “catch and release” of deportable immigrants can stop under President Donald Trump’s executive order to keep undocumented immigrant parents and children together.

Judd said in a Thursday interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that the options are either separate families or release migrants after they’re caught.

“We’re going to have to release (families) under what’s called the catch-and-release program,” Judd said. “It’s impossible to not separate the family unless the catch-and-release policy takes hold again. If we can’t hold the children more than 20 days, therefore we can’t hold the parents more than 20 days. It takes about six to nine months to see a deportation proceeding from the beginning to the end.”

Ex-Sheriff Joe Claims Justice Department Meddled in His Failed 2016 Campaign

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

By Allan Lengel

If anything, ex-Maricopa County Sheriff and congressional candidate Joe Arpaio knows how to grab headlines.

The latest: He’s  asking the U.S. Justice Department to look into his claim that the agency meddled in his unsuccessful 2016 campaign for sheriff, KTAR News reports.

Arpaio alleges that the Justice Department tried to sway voters against him by pushing a criminal contempt of court case against Arpaio just weeks before the election.


FBI Agent Peter Strzok No Longer Has Security Clearance

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Allan Lengel

Peter Strzok, the FBI agent whose anti-Trump emails have come back to haunt him, no longer has security clearance, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday, The Hill reports.

“Mr. Strzok as I understand has lost his security clearance,” Sessions stated during a radio interview on “The Howie Carr Show,” the Hill reports.

Strzok was recently escorted out of the FBI building amid an internal review. Strzok, a well-respected agent among the troops, was a key player in the probes into Hillary Clinton and the Russian connection in the 2016 election.

Strzok remains on the payroll.

Sen. Marco Rubio Joins Others in Call for IG to Investigate DEA’s Haiti Office

Sen. Marco Rubio

By Allan Lengel

Sen. Marco Rubio has joined the chorus of politicians calling for an investigation into the DEA’s Haiti office following allegations of potential whistle-blower retaliation and mishandling of personnel matters, the Miami Herald reports.

“Allegations of whistle-blower retaliation and personnel issues are extremely concerning and, if true, are counterproductive to the DEA’s critical mission in the Caribbean,” Rubio said in a letter his office sent on Wednesday to U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

In May, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the committee, wrote to Horowitz asking him to review the allegations. The committee, the letter said, had received information that raised questions about the effectiveness of the DEA’s drug investigations in Haiti, the Herald writes.

Secret Service Notified of Peter Fonda’s Angry Quote That

Peter Fonda (Twitter photo)

By Allan Lengel

The U.S. Secret Service has been alerted about a tweet by actor Peter Fonda, who said President Trump’s youngest son, Barron Trump,  should be separated from his mother and put “in a cage with pedophiles,” CNN reports.

“We should rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if mother will will stand up against the giant a–hole she is married to. 90 million people in the streets on the same weekend in the country. F—,” Fonda wrote in a tweet, which has since been deleted.
First lady Melania Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, called the tweet “sick and irresponsible,” and said the Secret Service has been notified. A Secret Service spokesman said the agency is aware of the tweet but declined to comment, citing the agency’s practice of not speaking about protective matters, CNN reports.
Fonda has been angry about the way immigrant children have been separated from their parents.

FBI Announces New Assignments for 4 Officials

Robert Johnson (FBI photo)

By Allan Lengel

The FBI, which has come under increased attack following the release of the Inspector General’s report, continues to make changes in management.

Changes include:

  • Robert Allan Jones has been named special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office. Jones most recently served as the assistant director for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.
  • Donald Alway has been named assistant director for the FBI’s Training Division. Alway most recently served as deputy assistant director for the Training Division.
  • Terry Wade has been named assistant director of the FBI’s Inspection Division. Wade most recently served as the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office.
  •  Robert Johnson has been named assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. Johnson most recently served as the special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office.

Retired FBI Official Kevin Kendrick: Hearing The Voices of Detained Immigrant Children Was ‘Absolutely Bone-Chilling’

The writer was as assistant special FBI agent in charge of the Detroit field office from 1999-2002 and retired in 2006 as head of the Charlotte Division in North Carolina. 

By Kevin Kendrick

Kevin Kendrick

Children matter. That’s something most of us can agree on. It doesn’t matter where the child is from or gender or religion. Children are precious. They are innocent. They are ours. They deserve to have a childhood and not to suffer for the actions of their parents. Nelson Mandela said it best: “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.”

It is these universal feelings toward children that have engendered a crisis in our nation, a point in our time that is all about humanity and decency and what the character of this country is all about.

This administration can’t even decide if this is a policy. Stephen Miller was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period…The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.” Yet, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted just two days ago, “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

Whatever one decides to call it, it is something that most Americans see as “cruel and unusual.”

Most Americans see willful separation of children from their parents as simply mean-spirited and unnecessary. This is why we are witnessing such a diverse group of religious leaders including Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Jews, and Mormons coming together to protest this action; why more than 70 former United States Attorneys signed a letter objecting to these practices; why 21 Attorneys General signed a similar protest. This is why every living former First Lady including Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton all condemned this practice.

Businesses have come out against this including Microsoft, Google and Amazon. Republican Governors are pulling back their states’ National Guard troops because they object to their use in support of what seems to be an arbitrary practice. And perhaps most significantly, the medical profession in the form of the American Medical Association at their 2018 Conference, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Public Health Association all have come down against separating mothers and fathers from their children because of the long-term damage which can occur to children.

My Experience

I can recall as an FBI Agent planning arrests and searches in homes where we knew children were present. One of my goals as a manager with responsibility for planning those actions was to conduct them whenever possible at a time when the children would not be present and officer safety was not compromised. This was because I knew that the kids had nothing to do with the criminal actions of their parents and I did not want them to be adversely affected by seeing their mother or father arrested and taken away.

I have also had the great, good fortune to travel to Guatemala on some mission work and witness first hand the abject poverty of that country. Families subsist on an average of 300 USD per month. Life is extremely hard and many of these families are simply seeking to escape the overwhelming poverty and harshness and violence. Who can blame them for wanting something better?

This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is a crisis that has been generated for reasons we are still trying to divine but which certainly don’t seem to have a defined purpose other than to be punitive. I know that we can do better than this. We have to do better. Hearing the voices of those children who were incarcerated last night was absolutely bone-chilling. No child should experience that.

Nelson Mandela said something else very compelling about children: “History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.

Interim Head of DEA Is Stepping Down, Citing Increasing Challenges

Robert Patterson

By Allan Lengel

Having interim heads of major federal law enforcement agencies for too long often sends a message that the agency isn’t as important as some other agencies like the FBI.

Now comes Robert W. Patterson, acting head of  the DEA, who told staff Monday in an email that he is retiring in about two weeks, saying that running the agency as a temporary fill-in had become “increasingly challenging,” Devlin Barrett of the Washington Post reports.

Patterson said he “realized that the administrator of the DEA needs to decide and address priorities for years into the future — something which has become increasingly challenging in an acting capacity.”

A replacement has not been named.

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