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Tag: D.C.

D.C. U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips Named ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year for 2016

Channing Phillips/doj photo

Channing Phillips/DOJ photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

D.C. U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed of the Year for 2016.

Phillips, who began working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. in 1994, was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Attorney post in Washington in October 2015. From 2011 to 2015, he served as counselor to the U.S. Attorney General, and was regarded as a calm, steady voice of reason at Main Justice during some bumpy times, which included the fallout from ATF’s Fast and Furious scandal.

He also served as executive director for the Attorney General’s Diversity Management Advisory Council and was the day-to-day coordinator for diversity-management issues within the Justice Department.

He’s continued to manage with a steady, calm hand at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which under his tenure, has handled everything from public corruption and terrorism related cases to local crimes.  The yearly award is given to federal law enforcement officials who exemplify integrity, leadership and concern for their workers.  His contributions over the many years makes him worthy of the 2016 award.

As a side note, the U.S. Senate has yet to confirm Phillips.  And considering he was appointed by President Obama, he’s not likely to get confirmed after Donald Trump takes office.

Previous recipients of the ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year award include: Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008):   Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009), Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010);  Thomas Brandon, deputy Director of ATF (2011); John G. Perren, who was assistant director of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Directorate (2012); David Bowdich, special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Los Angeles (2013);  Loretta Lynch, who was U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn at the time (2014) and John “Jack” Riley,  the DEA’s acting deputy administrator (2015).

 

Michael Gavin to Head Up FBI’s Memphis Division

fbi logo large

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Michael Gavin, who recently served as section chief of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division’s National Covert Operations Section,  has been named special agent in charge  of  the Memphis Division, the FBI announced Tuesday. He will assume the new post in mid-August.

Gavin began his FBI career in 1995 and was first assigned to the Las Vegas Division, where he investigated white-collar crime, violent crime and organized crime.

During his 21-year career with the FBI he has worked investigations in the  Criminal Investigative Division, International Operations Division and Inspection Division and held leadership positions in Montgomery, Ala., San Francisco and D.C., according to a press release.

 

Secret Service Agent’s Gun, Badge Stolen, Radio From His Car

secret serviceBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s certainly not the first time a federal agent in Washington has had a gun stolen from a car. Still, at this juncture, certainly the Secret Service would prefer to avoid any bad publicity. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens.

CNN reports that a Secret Service agent’s gun, badge, radio, handcuffs and flash drive were stolen from his personal car during the day Monday near the agency’s headquarters in Washington, according to a police report and sources briefed on the incident. The car had been parked on G Place NW in downtown D.C. around 4 p.m. when the incident happened.

According to CNN, a police report lists the stolen items: A  black Sig Sauer handgun, an APX6000 radio, handcuffs, a USB flash drive, a black Patagonia bag and a Secret Service badge, number 1266.

FBI HQ is Crumbling: Why is It So Hard to Build a New One

FBI's headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

FBI’s headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

By Jonathan O’Connell
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Beneath the headquarters of America’s premier crime-fighting organization, one of the parking ramps has been condemned because corroded pieces of the ceiling were falling on cars.

Netting hangs on the Ninth Street facade to prevent broken concrete from hitting passersby 160 feet down on the sidewalk below. During a July fire drill, half of the building’s alarms didn’t go off.

For more than a decade, leaders at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have warned that the bureau needed to replace the J. Edgar Hoover Building, a concrete fortress designed as a symbol of strength that has instead come to serve as a lesson in government inaction.

“Where else in the city is there something like that? The answer is nowhere,” said Dan Tangherlini, a former administrator for the General Services Administration, which oversees federal real estate. “In the private sector you would never do this. You would just fix it up.”

To read more click here.

What Took D.C. So Long to Respond to the Problem of Synthetic Drugs?

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 9.39.04 AM

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Washington, like a lot of other major cities, has had to deal with the plague of synthetic drugs for years. But the city  has been slow to respond, writes Jeffrey Anderson in the D.C. City Paper. 

Anderson writes about authorities charging Nebiyu Jamal Fanta, who worked at the  Benning Market & Dollar Plus in a tough section of D.C.

Anderson writes:

Until this summer, Fanta’s was one of only five cases on file in D.C. Superior Court, even as MPD Chief Cathy Lanier and Mayor Muriel Bowser cite synthetic drugs as a contributing factor to a recent spike in D.C. homicides and tout some 70 synthetic drug-related arrests this year. Overdoses among homeless persons have further elevated the issue to what is being described as a public health crisis and a threat to public safety. D.C. officials said they initially suspected synthetic drugs were a factor in the stabbing death of 24-year-old American University graduate Kevin Sutherland aboard a Metro Red Line train on July 4, then began to question the suspect’s mental state. Lanier has cited the drugs as a factor in three other unidentified homicides, and in July, the Pretrial Services Agency says 20 percent of recent violent crime suspects had tested positive for synthetic drugs.

Now, after years of dithering, and in the midst of a summer crime wave, D.C. officials have leapt into action with a series of legislative, regulatory, and investigative efforts—both civil and criminal—aimed at preventing the drugs from overwhelming a city. But in spite of the newfound urgency, the question remains: What took them so long?

To read the full story click here. 

We May Never Feel As Safe As We Did on Sept. 10, 2001

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thirteen years  ago today, I was walking down Connecticut Avenue NW  in Washington, D.C.,  on my way to work, about to get on the subway, when I ran into a friend who asked if I had heard about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

I hadn’t. By the time I got off the subway at the Farragut North stop downtown, the city was in a panic. I ran into my editor at the Washington Post, who said she had heard that planes had crashed into the Pentagon and the State Department. Rumors were running rampant.

We got to the newsroom and everyone was standing around TVs watching the incredulous events unfold. 

A second plane had already crashed into the World Trade Center and a third had crashed into the Pentagon, not all that far away. We were under attack.

We all got our assignments. I was sent to D.C. Police headquarters on Indiana Avenue NW to hang out all day. I walked there, about 1.5 miles.  On the way over there, you could hear everyone on the street calling loved ones, checking in.

At police headquarters, a  group of reporters stood out front, hanging out. The police chief, Charles Ramsey, (who is now the Philadelphia Police chief) would occasionally drive by and give us updates. A plane in Pennsylvania was still unaccounted for. We kept looking up at the sky wondering if it just might come our way.

The world changed that day. We had been shaken before as Americans. We had the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but this was of a magnitude we had never seen before.

We’ve learned a lot since that time. At first, the FBI, jittery from not unearthing the 9/11 plot, and getting plenty blame for that, followed up on every tip it got, regardless of how silly it might have seemed. In time, it learned to separate the wheat from the chaff. Also, for a while, authorities were overly paranoid about anyone in D.C. taking photos or video of buildings. That eventually changed.

Plus, the government, the White House, the FBI and other agencies,  had a lot to learn about Islam.  The FBI shifted its top priority to terrorism, and we created the Department of Homeland Security, which frankly, the verdict is still out on how effective that has been.

Since that day, Sept. 11, 2001, we’ve become far more aware of  the potential terrorism threat.

Frankly, in the days that followed Sept. 11, 2001, I thought life would never be normal again.  Fortunately, things have returned to some semblance of normalcy.

But we’ll likely never feel as safe as we did on Sept. 10, 2001.

FBI Investigating Why Practicing Buddhist Opened Fire at Navy Yard in D.C.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A practicing Buddhist known as a “peaceful soul” by friends was the gunman behind the Washington Navy Yard shooting rampage Monday that claimed a dozen lives, including his own, the Washington Times reports.

Now the FBI is trying to determine why Aaron Alexis would open fire at the historic Washington Navy Yard in Southeast D.C.

“He is a nice person,” said Naree Wilton, an employee at a Thai restaurant where Alexis had worked. “I never see him get mad at anybody.”

According to the Washington Times, Alexis told his coworkers that he was leaving the area about three months ago.

Whether he actually left is another question and part of the FBI investigation.

D.C. Agent Paul Abbate to Head Up Detroit FBI Office

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Paul M. Abbate, a veteran FBI agent who has extensive experience in counterterrorism, has been named head of the Detroit FBI, Deadline Detroit has learned.

Abbate, replaces Robert Foley III, who recently transferred to Florida. John Shoup has been the acting head of the office in Detroit since Foley’s departure.

The FBI office in Detroit said Abbate will begin work here on Nov. 4.

Abbate, who has a law degree from the University of Connecticut, is currently the special agent in charge of counterterrorism at the Washington Field office.

He joined the FBI in 1996 and was first assigned to New York where he worked white-collar crimes, and was a member of the SWAT Team.

To read more click here.