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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department to Award More Than $20M for Body Cameras for Police

Body cams, via Wikipedia

Body cams, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After the rash of police shootings of black men across country, the Justice Department plans to award more than $20 million to law enforcement agencies to use or enhance body cameras.   

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Monday, saying the money will be awarded to 106 state, city, tribal and municipal law enforcement agencies, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

“Of course, even as we strive to support local leaders and our law enforcement partners in their work to protect their communities, we are mindful — we know, we see every day — that effective public safety requires more than arrests and prosecutions,” Lynch said. “Because It also requires winning, and keeping, the trust and the confidence of the citizens we serve.”

Lynch alluded to the police shootings to raise the importance of body cameras footage.

“There is no doubt that these are challenging times for law enforcement and communities alike,” Lynch said. “Where the relationship of trust has frayed and frankly broken, we see the mistrust within the community; we also see the underlying fear within many of our friends and neighbors that when they are threatened by violence, they will have no one to call.”

Report: ‘The ATF Is Discriminating on the Basis of Race’ During Stings

atf badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF singled out black people and Latinos while conducting controversial stings in Chicago, according to a report released by the Justice Department. 

The report found “strong, consistent and statistically significant evidence” of racial profiling.

Of the 94 people arrested during undercover stings in Chicago, 91% were black or hispanic.

The chances that agents didn’t racially profile was 0.1%, according to a Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey Fagan, who prepared the report.

The investigation concluded that “the ATF is discriminating on the basis of race.”

The ATF couldn’t be reached for comment this morning.

Other Stories of Interest

Philadelphia Inquirer: Declaring War on Terrorism Wrongly Suggests An End to Fight

NYC Terror ColoradoBy Editorial Board
Philadelphia Inquirer

The fallacy in declaring a “war on terror,” as President George W. Bush did after the 9/11 attacks, is that it suggests an eventual end to the fight. After all, even the so-called Hundred Years War had a conclusion. But 15 years later, we know the terror war, like the war on poverty and the war on drugs, is a never-ending battle.

Every new act of terrorism is a reminder of that, including the Sept. 17 bombing that injured 29 people in Manhattan and a rampage that same day at a St. Cloud, Minn., mall in which 10 people were stabbed. ISIS claimed the Minnesota assailant was a “soldier of the Islamic state,” but it has been silent about the man arrested for leaving bombs in New York and Elizabeth and Seaside Heights, N.J.

At some point, Americans will have to accept that our terror war has no foreseeable end; that no battlefield victory in the Middle East or arrest of homegrown jihadists on U.S. soil will completely erase the possibility of another attack, most likely carried out by some radicalized lone wolf rather than masterminds like those who planned 9/11.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, who was shot and captured after leaving pressure-cooker and pipe bombs in New York and New Jersey, may have made the devices by following instructions in Inspire, the online newsletter published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Dahir A. Adnan, 22, the knife-wielding Minnesota attacker shot and killed by police, needed no instructions to use his weapon.

Such incidents are likely to occur so long as there are people who succumb to the siren song of jihadists who use the internet to recruit and indoctrinate. There should be no reduction in efforts to blunt their ability to inspire violence. But as intelligence work and related military operations abroad continue, we must reassess the terror “war” and consider how that approach empowers those who seek to weaken us.

To read more click here. 

Daily Camera: It’s Never OK for FBI to Pose As News Reporters

typewriter-reporterBy Editorial Board
Daily Camera

The U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general has cleared an FBI agent of wrongdoing for impersonating a journalist and using a fake Associated Press story to track down the 15-year-old who made bomb threats against a high school in the state of Washington nine years ago. The ruling sends a horrible message to agents — “do whatever you want, guys” — and has the potential to promote other ethically challenged behavior at an agency where professionalism should be a top priority.

With its stonewalling on records requests and bullying of reporters over news leaks, the Justice Department under President Barack Obama long ago set a new low for attempting to subvert the journalistic process.

Still, the inspector general’s ruling was a surprise partly because the FBI itself tacitly admitted mishandling the case. In June, it adopted a policy requiring agents to get high-level approval before impersonating a journalist in future investigations. Hopefully, the person reviewing those requests will have more scruples and better judgment than the DOJ inspector general or the FBI rogues who devised the 2007 caper.

Back then, law enforcement officials couldn’t figure out who was making bomb threats to Timberline High School via email. An agent contacted the suspect by email, posing as an AP “staff publisher,” and got him to open a link to a fake AP story about the bomb threats. The fake story was posted on a fake web page that resembled that of the Seattle Times. When the 15-year-old clicked on the link, it infected his computer with tracking software, leading authorities to him.

The FBI’s ruse and the inspector general’s whitewashing of it are damaging to journalism. But the government doesn’t care about that.

To read more click here. 

Justice Department Investigates Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Man in Oklahoma

Unarmed Terence Crutcher was fatally shot by Tulsa Police.

Unarmed Terence Crutcher was fatally shot by Tulsa Police.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is investigating the police shooting of a black Oklahoma man who was unarmed and had his hands in the air after his SUV broke down.

The shooting occurred on the night of Sept. 16, when Tulsa police tased and then fatally shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, CNN reports. 

The Tulsa Police Department released dash cam and police helicopter video of the incident. Police Chief Chuck Jordan said the footage was “very disturbing and difficult to watch.”

Police were dispatched after a woman called 911 to report an abandoned vehicle blocking the road.

One police officer in the helicopter described Crutcher as a “bad dude,” although there was no evidence to suggest that was the case.

Moments later, an police officer shot Crutcher.

“I’m going to tell you right here now: There was no gun on the suspect or in the suspect’s vehicle,” Jordan said.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Residents Endangered by Botched ATF Sting

atf badgeBy Editorial Board
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A fake tattoo parlor in St. Louis set up down the street from the Boys and Girls Club, and use of a confidential informer with a troubled criminal history, help explain how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives placed some of the city’s most vulnerable residents at risk — and seriously undermined its own integrity in the process.

St. Louis was part of the ATF’s Operation Hustle City, in which agents and police set up the Ink Pimp tattoo parlor at 2806 North Grand Boulevard in January 2013. Agents posed as outlaw bikers looking to buy guns to ship to California or Mexico, and serve as drug cash couriers.

All this occurred in the same area where hundreds of kids regularly attended classes and events on a campus that promised a safe environment. What were ATF agents and their bosses thinking? This appalling example of disregard deals another blow to citizen confidence in law enforcement at a time when federal agencies should be helping to restore public trust.

The Justice Department released a highly critical report last week of undercover ATF storefront operations aimed at getting illegal guns and drugs off the streets in St. Louis and four other cities. The report criticized the operations for inadequate oversight, accountability, training and planning, but did not recommend ending them.

The report said ATF should consolidate its expertise in running storefront operations and not proceed with such stings until agency directors agree they are properly designed and executed.

An agency that has existed in one form or another since 1886 shouldn’t need to be told to properly design and execute operations, especially ones that endanger the very lives of citizens they are supposed to protect. Having issued new directives to the ATF, the Justice Department will need to monitor for implementation.

Other Stories of Interest

News Virginian: No Jail Time for Former Gov. McDonnell Doesn’t Mean He Escapes Disgrace

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell

By Editorial Board
The News Virginian

After four years of dragging Virginia and his family through the mud with tawdry tales of what any layman would recognize as bribery, it turns out the punishment of former Gov. Bob McDonnell will not be prison time, but abject disgrace.

That’s the effect of the Justice Department’s decision last week to drop the official corruption case against McDonnell, despite recommendations by federal prosecutors in Virginia, who still believed they could secure a felony conviction against him.

The case’s resolution also lifts the threat of further prosecution against McDonnell’s wife, Maureen, whose brief tenure as Virginia’s first lady endowed her with a titanic sense of entitlement.

The Justice Department’s decision follows a decision by the Supreme Court in June vacating McDonnell’s conviction and leaving prosecutors with little realistic chance of securing a conviction under the court’s crabbed definition of official corruption.

The court’s ruling provides comfort for future sticky-fingered politicians, who will find it easier to line their pockets while leading supplicants and suitors by the nose. The McDonnells’ story is as hackneyed as any in America’s lurid history of political graft. A politician of some talent and unobjectionable views, whose good looks and respectable bearing are judged worthy by voters, is elevated by stages to lofty office. Once installed, he performs his official duties competently while, hidden from public view, he rubs shoulders with a conga line of well-heeled, solicitous and ethically agnostic favor seekers.

In the McDonnells’ case, one of them, businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., saw advantage in plying the first couple with tens of thousands of dollars in loans, gifts, favors and vacations, a potpourri of generosity in return for which he clearly hoped for favorable state treatment for his company’s tobacco-based nutritional supplement.

To read more click here. 

Alleged Hackers Who Dumped Data about CIA, FBI Were Arrested

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A hacking group that called itself “Crackas With Attitude” bragged earlier this year about hacking the CIA, FBI and Justice Department, gaining access to thousands of names, phone numbers and email addresses.

Now two alleged members of the group are behind bars, accused of executing the data breaches, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Andrew Otto Boggs, 22, and Justin Gray Liverman, 24, both from North Carolina, were charged with  conspiring to commit offenses against the U.S. in late 2015 and early 2016.

Among the victims were CIA Director John Brenna and then-Deputy FBI Director Mark Giuliano.

Investigators also are looking into three teenagers in the U.K. who may have been involved.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Authorities said the suspects often gained access to the accounts by calling the help lines at Internet-service companies and impersonating employees at those companies or the victims they were targeting. They were then able to reset the account passwords to their targets’ private email accounts, giving them access to those accounts. Computer-security experts refer to such techniques as social engineering, rather than hacking, because they typically depend on one person tricking another into providing key information that allows the suspect to access private accounts.

The “Crackas With Attitude’’ then used their access to taunt the officials, particularly Messrs. Brennan and Giuliano, with harassing phone calls and public ridicule posted online.

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