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Tag: Justice Department

DOJ Program That Combats Terrorism Is Ending After Funds Run Out

virtual_library-terrorism-teamBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has run out of funding to train officers on combating terrorism and is quietly shutting down the program, even after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. earlier this month.

The last day for the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program is Sept. 30, the Kansas City Star reports

“It makes absolutely no sense,” said Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center Association, which runs a network of centers nationwide to help law enforcement combat terrorism.

“Eliminating programs that are critical to preparing our people in the field to identify threats before they manifest and cause harm to our public is an egregious error.”

The task force was revived in 2014.

The Justice Department declined to respond to questions about the program.

Other Stories of Interest

NYT: Internet Users Should Be Alarmed by DOJ’s Pursuit of DreamHost Information

computer-photoBy Editorial Board
New York Times

Do you use the internet? Are you interested in politics? Do you value your privacy? If you answered yes, you should be alarmed by the shockingly broad search warrant sought by the Justice Department, and approved by a judge in Washington, D.C., last month, targeting DreamHost, an internet hosting company based in Los Angeles.

As DreamHost explained in a blog post on Monday, it hosts disruptj20.org, a website that helped organize anti-Trump protests on Inauguration Day, and posted pictures of those protests in the days after. There were large-scale protests across Washington on Jan. 20, most of which involved peaceful marches or sit-ins. But some people turned to violence, breaking store windows, setting fires, throwing rocks at police officers and, in one case, assaulting Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, during a television interview. More than 200 people have been charged with felony rioting.

As part of its continuing investigation, the Justice Department demanded that DreamHost turn over “all records or other information” relating to the site, which received more than 1.3 million requests to view its pages in six days after the inauguration. Those records include personal information like I.P. addresses, which identify a specific computer; data about which of the site’s pages a user viewed, and when; and the type of operating software on that person’s computer. Federal prosecutors are also seeking all emails, photos and other content sent to and from the site.

“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost wrote in its blog post.

It doesn’t matter whether the visitor is suspected of participating in a crime, or is even known to have attended the protests. If someone clicked anywhere on the site from anywhere in the world, the government wants to know.

To read more click here. 

Justice Department Stymies DEA’s Proposal to Grow More Marijuana for Research

marijuanainthemittenphotoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s plans to allow more research of marijuana has been stymied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has insisted pot is almost as dangerous as heroin.

The Justice Department has not allowed the DEA to move forward with proposals to grow more marijuana for research, the Washington Post reports. 

“They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. “They just will not act on these things.”

Consequently, one senior DEA official said, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.’’

The standoff pits the DEA and Justice Department against each other on the value of researching marijuana to determine if it has medicinal benefits. Although more than two dozen states have approved the use of medicinal marijuana, the federal government still considers pot a schedule 1 drug.

Times of Trenton: Trump’s Justice Department Erodes Constitutional Rights

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Editorial Board
Times of Trenton

“It tears at the fabric of our great nation and does not move us forward; it takes us backwards.”

With these terse words, more than 60 members of Congress – including half a dozen from New Jersey – summed up their dismay over a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice that does an enormous injustice to members of the LGBTQ community.

In a no-holds-barred letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the lawmakers expressed deep disappointment concerning a friend-of-the-court brief the department filed late last month in the case of Zarda v. Altitude Express.

In the brief, the nation’s top law-enforcement body claims that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect lesbians, gays or bisexual people from discrimination.

Not so fast, the letter writers argue. Not only is the Justice Department’s action contrary to existing law, they say forcefully, but it also violates the country’s basic ideals of liberty and justice for all.

The original lawsuit under review stems from 2010, when a skydiving instructor named Donald Zarda charged that a former employer, Altitude Express, Inc., violated the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against him because of his sexual orientation.

Justice Department Demands IP Addresses of Visitors to Anti-Trump Site

department-of-justice-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has issued a warrant for records from a website used to organized protests against President Trump’s inauguration, but the web-hosting and domain registration company is putting up a fight.

DreamHost said the Justice Department filed a motion to force the company to release 1.3 million visitors’ IP addresses from disruptjj20.org, a website organized by a group of activists “building the framework needed for mass protests to shut down the inauguration of Donald Trump.”

In a blogpost by DreamHost, the web hosting provider said the Justice Department’s request is unconstitutional and is seeking additional contact information, content and photos of thousands of visitors to the website. 

“Chris Ghazarian, our General Counsel, has taken issue with this particular search warrant for being a highly untargeted demand that chills free association and the right of free speech afforded by the Constitution,” the blogpost reads.

It adds: “That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”

The Justice Department declined to respond to several news organizations’ requests for information.

FBI Agent Files Suit Over Bureau for Allegedly Violating His Free Speech Rights

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who was suspended after he alerted a judge to alleged prosecutorial misconduct by the New Orleans U.S. attorney’s office, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the bureau and several superiors.

Special Agent Mike Zummer claims in the federal lawsuit that he was disciplined after sending a letter to U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt over the agent investigation of a former Louisiana district attorney accused of trading sex for leniency in more than a dozen cases, WWL-TV reports

Zummer was suspended Sept. 30, 2016, without pay after he said he spoke out about the DOJ’s failure to full prosecute former St. Charles Parish District Attorney Harry Morel.

Zummer expressed disgust when the judge was only sentenced to three years in prison last year as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors on charges of obstructing a federal investigation.

In a ruling last year, the judge said Zummer raised “legitimate concerns” about the Justice Department’s leniency within its ranks.

Chicago to File Suit Over Threat to Withhold Federal Funds to ‘Sanctuary’ Cities

Chicago cityscape, via Allen McGregor on Wikipedia.

Chicago cityscape, via Allen McGregor on Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The city of Chicago plans to sue the Justice Department today over threats to punish municipalities that don’t assist federal immigration officials.

The decision comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said so-called sanctuary cities will lose federal grants if they don’t turn over names of undocumented immigrants to the feds.

“Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate,” Chicago Mayor Ram Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune. “Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated. And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city.”

The city plans to file suit “first thing on Monday morning,” officials told the Tribune.

Rosenstein: Leak Investigations Won’t Target Journalists

typewriter-reporterBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s escalation of probes into government leaks will not target journalists, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Sunday.

“We don’t prosecute journalists for doing their jobs,” Rosenstein said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That’s not our goal here.”

The Justice Department announced last week that it was stepping up investigation into government leaks. Under the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said leak investigations have tripled.

“We will not allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country any longer,” Sessions said at a news conference Friday.

Rosenstein clarified Sessions’ position on Sunday.

“The attorney general has been very clear that we’re after the leakers, not the journalist,”  Rosenstein said. “We’re after the people who are committing crimes.”

Other Stories of Interest