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Tag: Alabama

FBI’s $1B Investment in State-of-the-Art Campus in Alabama to Create Thousands of Jobs, New Technology

FBI rendering of one of the bureau’s new buildings at Redstone Arsenal.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s $1 billion investment on a new state-of-the-art campus in Huntsville is expected to add thousand of new jobs and six new buildings for the bureau.

“We really look at it like a HQ2, a backup for the footprint that we have here in Washington, D.C.,” Paul Abbate, associate deputy director at the FBI, told CNBC in a rare interview. “It’s really the future of the FBI, and it’s all about technology, innovation, talent and resiliency.”

The FBI is making its expansion at Redstone Arsenal, an enormous Army base that leased nearly 1,600 acres to the bureau.

The campus will focus on terrorism, ballistics, explosive devices and even digital threats.

“Our cyberdivision views Huntsville as a current and really future training ground for the tactics, skills expertise that we need in the cyber-realm to work across all the threats we face and put ourselves and our people in the best position to stop that from coming at us,” Abbate said.

About 400 FBI employees currently work at Redstone. The first phase of construction is expected to be finished in 2021 and draw nearly 1,400 bureau employees from the Washington D.C.-area. Over the next decade, an additional 4,000 jobs or more could be added.

The FBI created a webpage to help recruit more employees to the Huntsville area.

Husband of Forensic FBI Photographer Called Person of Interest in Wife’s Death

Kathleen Miller, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The husband of a forensic FBI photographer from Alabama is a person of interest in the drowning death of his wife.

Authorities found 60-year-old Kathleen Miller, of Huntsville, Ala., in a shallow creek in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina on Oct. 7.

Gregory Miller called 911 and calmly reported his wife, who had no health issues, had fallen in the creek.

“I tried to call for help. I need help,” the husband said in a 911 call obtained by WAAY-TV. “My wife has fallen in the water, and I couldn’t get her out. … I wish I could be of more help.”

The couple were camping at the park when Gregory Miller said his wife disappeared after saying she wanted to check out Santeetlah Creek. Her husband said he later discovered her body face down in the creek.

Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the case.

Forensic FBI Photographer Found Dead at National Forest in North Carolina

Nantahala National Forest via Wikipedia. Photo by Notneb82.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A woman found dead in a creek in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina last week was a forensic FBI photographer.

Kathleen Polce Miller, of Huntsville, likely drowned, but authorities have not definitely determined the cause of death, The News And Observer reports.

Miller and her husband were camping at the park on Oct. 7 when she disappeared. Police said she told her husband that she wanted to check out Santeetlah Creek. Soon after, her husband discovered her body and called 911.

Authorities are investigating the death “from a criminal standpoint, the Graham County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday.

Theft Trial for ATF Senior Agent in Alabama is Delayed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Trial in Birmingham, Ala., for senior ATF agent Jay Bagwell, who is charged with theft, has been delayed as a result of back surgery, AL.com reports.

The “prescribed pain medication renders the defendant unable to effectively participate in the defense of his case,” U.S. Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre wrote. The trial will resume when he recovers.

An indictment alleges that in November 2014 Bagwell “embezzled, stole, purloined, and knowingly converted to his use and the use of another, a thing of value of the United States and of any department or agency thereof.” The indictment only says that the amount of money exceeds $1,000.

“It is our privilege to represent Jay Bagwell, a twenty-five year veteran ATF agent. If a thorough investigation had been conducted by the government, and Mr. Bagwell allowed to provide documentation, this charge would have never existed,” defense attorney Lance Bell said. “We have provided documentation to the government to exonerate this charge and restore Mr. Bagwell’s good name. I wish that I could say more at this time, but I think that the end result will speak for itself.

More Than 50 Girls Receive Creepy Package at Schools in Southeast

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

More than 50 girls in elementary schools across the Southeast have received unsolicited packages from someone claiming to be a mentally disabled 14-year-old who has been the target of bullying.

The FBI and local police are investigating why someone posing as “Atur Bhuck of Santa Fe, NM” sent the packages containing food and a letter encouraging the girls to write him back via email, according to the Covington County District Attorney’s Office in Alabama, which posted a “Predator alert” on Facebook.

Investigators have tracked down the package sender to an IP address that appears to originate in Houston. And that same IP address turns up on websites about girls’ underwear.

No suspects have been identified yet but parents are encouraged to call authorities if their children receive a similar package.

ICE Raids Spike in Alabama As Agents Detain Undocumented Immigrants without Criminal Records

ICE agents, via ICE.

ICE agents, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since President Trump was elected, ICE agents have been conducting raids and detaining undocumented immigrants in Alabama at a rate higher than anywhere else in the Deep South, AL.com reports. 

Among those detained are undocumented immigrants with no criminal records.

During targeted raids, ICE agents are detaining anyone they encounter without documentation.

“It’s blown up over the past two weeks,” Baton Rouge, La., defense attorney Paul “Woody” Scott, said. “We can’t even attend our phones because so many people are calling with these kinds of detentions.”

ICE officials declined to give state-by-state breakdowns of detainments.

“ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy,” Thomas Byrd, a spokesman for ICE’s New Orleans field office, wrote. “ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”

ATF, FBI Investigating Suspicious Package with Actual Bomb Components Outside School

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators responding to a report of a suspicious package outside of an elementary school in Alabama found a device with wires and a timer.

The ATF, FBI and local police responded to a bomb threat at Magnolia Elementary School and were surprised by what they found, AL.com reports. 

According to a caller, a Latino man placed the package in front of the school.

The device, which was found on a pickup truck in the school parking lot, contained actual bomb components.

“We did find a small amount of what we believe to be an actual explosive,”  said Dave Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama.

Authorities detonated the device in nearby woods.

Federal officials said the investigation could be lengthy.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department to Investigate Conditions at Prisons in Alabama

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to investigate conditions at Alabama’s prisons for men following a work strike by guards.

“The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions,” the DOJ said in its statement.

A week ago, guards at W.C. Holman Correctional Facility staged a work strike to call attention to prison overcrowding and safety issues, the Root reports. http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/10/justice-department-investigates-alabama-prison-conditions/

Robert Council, a 42-year-old serving life without parole at Holman, said prisoners are almost always on lockdown and not allowed out of their cells for months.

“The Constitution requires that prisons provide humane conditions of confinement,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “We hope to work cooperatively with the state of Alabama in conducting our inquiry and ensuring that the state’s facilities keep prisoners safe from harm.”