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Tag: ATF

Government Shutdown Is Stymying Investigations by Federal Agents And Lowering Morale

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ATF and Customs and Border Protection are finding that the government shutdown is stymying ongoing investigations.

Many law enforcement officials are being denied travel and money to pay informants involving investigations because there is a lack of available cash, The Washington Post reports.

“The lack of funding is impacting agents’ ability to travel to forward their cases,” said Thomas O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association. “As we go forward, those funds are not going to be available and in some cases are not available now.”

Low morale also is a factor. Federal law enforcement employees are considered essential and must work without a paycheck. The stress of financial problems at home can affect their work performance, law enforcement officials said.

“My biggest concern is there’s going to be an agent who is not going to be focused on his job,” Nathan Catura, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said. “He’s going to be out on the street doing some enforcement of something, and he’s going to get hurt. Heaven forbid there’s an agent who gets killed because his mind isn’t on the job.”

Catura added: “Other law enforcement people I continue to speak to, they share the same concerns. The longer this drags out, the more I’m concerned that something’s going to happen.”

Secret Service Agents Who Sacrifice Their Lives to Protect the President Are Working without Pay

Photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The men and women who have sworn to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president are not receiving paychecks under the government shutdown.

The 7,000 Secret Service employees, including those on protective details and uniformed officers, missed their first paycheck of the new year.

“These are the people who are closest to him and clearly put their lives on the line for him every single day,” Rick Tyler, a Republican political consultant, told Huffington Post. “He has demonstrated no empathy for them over this situation.” 

Trump has been virtually mum on the tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officials who have been forced to work without pay. They include TSA screeners and FBI, DEA, ATF and Border Patrol agents who are considered “essential” employees.

Thousands of TSA screeners have been calling in sick in protest, causing snarls and security concerns at airports.

The irony is that the shutdown over border protection could make the country more unsafe.

Shutdown Irony: Country Less Safe As Federal Law Enforcement Works with No Pay

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The irony of President Trump shutting down the federal government in the name of public safety is nothing short of incredible.

Trump is refusing to budge on his demands for a border wall as the government shutdown is now in its second week.

But the agencies that protect Americans’ safety – the FBI, DEA, ATF, Coast Guard, TSA and yes, the Border Patrol –  are affected by the shutdown.

Since the federal law enforcement employees are considered “essential,” they are still on the job, but they are not getting a paycheck. And that is lowering morale and prompting some to resign.

Tens of thousands of TSA employees, many of whom make less than $40,000 a year, are protecting airports without a paycheck.

Nearly 13,000 special FBI agents also are working without pay, prompting the FBI Agents Association to urge politicians to quickly find a solution.

“As the country celebrates the New Year, the American public can be assured that the FBIAA’s membership—which includes nearly 13,000 Special Agents of the FBI  are on the job 24-hours a day, seven days a week to protect our country from criminal and terrorist threats,”  FBIAA President Tom O’Connor wrote in a statement. “These men and women are doing so while facing a confluence of policies and gridlock that are causing financial hardship for Agents and their families.”

The American Federation of Government Employees union filed a lawsuit Monday, arguing that “essential” employees should be paid for their work.

So far, Trump has shown no willingness to budge on his call for billions of dollars for a wall that even many Republicans say appears to be a waste of money.

Gun Rights Group Sues ATF Over Bump Stock Ban

Photo: WASR

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

You might recall on Oct. 1, 2017, gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd at a concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 and leaving 851 injured, more than 400 by gunfire. You might also recall that he used a bump stock, a device that converts a semi-automatic rifle into an automatic weapon.

Now, the ATF has announced an official ban on bump stocks.

But that isn’t sitting well with a gun right group, the “Gun Owners of America,” which has filed a lawsuit against the ATF, claiming the ban is illegal, reports WILX.

 

ATF Investigating Rash of Fires Targeting Jehovah’s Witness Centers in Washington State

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The ATF is investigating a rash of suspicious fires targeting Jehovah’s Witness worship centers in Washington State.

A predawn fire on Friday was the fifth suspected arson in Thurston County in the past nine months. The fire destroyed the kingdom hall, and the ATF said it was intentionally set.

No arrests have been made. Surveillance video captured one person, who was wearing a hoodie and coveralls, setting fire to the side of a hall.

Authorities aren’t sure if that’s the only culprit, and the motive remains elusive.

“Why is this specific religion being targeted?” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told KOMO, the ABC affiliate in Seattle. “Why are these churches being targeted? What are they doing that is so wrong and oppressive?”

National President of Fraternal Order of Police Flips Stance on Sentencing Reform After President Dangles ATF Job

Chuck Canterbury (official photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Any denizen of Washington, or observers of the goings on inside the Beltway can’t be too shocked to see high-profile people flip their stance on important issues in exchange for a high-profile law enforcement job.

Chuck Canterbury, national president of the influential Fraternal Order of Police, had previously made it clear that he opposed a sentencing reform bill.

But that’s all changed now that President Donald Trump, who backs the bill, is considering Canterbury to head up ATF, according to Politico, which reports:

Opponents of bipartisan legislation to overhaul federal sentencing guidelines were surprised to see Chuck Canterbury, the head of the influential Fraternal Order of Police, standing beside Trump on Wednesday at an event celebrating the proposed measure. The police group, which Canterbury has headed for more than a decade, had previously opposed the legislation.

It was an unusual move for the law enforcement veteran, who enthusiastically testified at last year’s Senate confirmation hearing on behalf of Jeff Sessions, Trump’s recently dismissed attorney general and a high-profile opponent of the criminal justice reform legislation. Canterbury’s group said in a statement ahead of the president’s endorsement that the First Step Act would boost safety “in our streets and neighborhoods” and better protect police.

Not so surprising that ambition Trumps people’s convictions or lack of.

Bomb Found at Home of Hillary And Bill Clinton After Soros Also Was Targeted

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Secret Service are investigating the discovery of a bomb sent to Hillary and Bill Clinton’s suburban New York home early Wednesday morning.

A U.S. official told the Associated Press that the suspicious package was a “functional explosive device.” 

Police in New Castle, N.Y., said they are helping federal authorities in “the investigation of a suspicious package.”

The discovery comes two days after an explosive device was found in a mailbox at the home of George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist who often is the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories.

FBI, ATF Investigating Explosive Device Targeting Philanthropist George Soros

George Soros via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI and ATF are investigating an explosive device found Monday in a mailbox at the home of George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist who often is the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories.

Police said “an employee of the residence” found the suspicious package, moved it to a wooded area and notified authorities.

“We are conducting an investigation at and around a residence in Bedford, NY,” the FBI tweeted Monday night. “There is no threat to public safety, and we have no further comment at this time.”

The Times of Israel reported that Soros wasn’t home when the device was found. 

It wasn’t immediately clear if the device was capable of exploding, but bomb squad technicians detonated it.

Soros, an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor who became a successful hedge fund manager, has become the subject of wild conspiracy theories whipped up by far-right groups. Soros often donates to left-wing causes.