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Tag: Obama

Donald Trump’s Persistent Campaign Against Federal Law Enforcement and the Intelligence Agencies

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump’s attacks on federal law enforcement and the intelligence agencies have been persistent and consistent since taking office.

Natasha Bertrand of The Atlantic writes:  

In the 22 months since the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into potential coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and Russia, Trump has attacked his own intelligence and law-enforcement communities far more often than he has condemned Moscow for its election interference. The president has chided the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller, the Russia “witch hunt,” and the “deep state” in more than four dozen tweets since April alone. He used Twitter to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first and only time on April 8. On March 21, Trump tweeted: “Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.” On April 2, he called the FBI and Justice Department’s desire to withhold sensitive information related to the ongoing investigation “an embarrassment to our country.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan—a frequent Trump critic who saw early intelligence about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election and has landed in the president’s crosshairs—told me that this administration’s posture toward the intelligence community stands in “stark contrast” to what he experienced while working under former Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. “They looked upon me as representing the views and concerns of the intelligence community,” Brennan said of the former presidents. “I was frequently challenged, but it was always done respectfully. That stands in stark contrast to what I’ve seen of this administration from the outside, and during the campaign.”

FBI Wants to Bypass Warrants to Access Internet Browser Histories of Terrorism, Spy Suspects

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wants the authority to access Internet browser histories and other electronic data of terrorism and spy cases without a warrant.

The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration supported a similar measure six years ago but abandoned the idea amid concerns from privacy advocates and the tech industry.

Some lawmakers support the effort and are encouraging colleagues to approve legislation that would enable the FBI to obtain “electronic communication transactional records” using a national security letter, which can be issued by the special agent in charge of the bureau field office.

FBI Director James Comey characterized the effort as the biggest legislative priority of the year.

Not having the authority to authorize national security letters “affects our work in a very, very big and practical way,” Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee in February.

Homeland Security Chief to Visit Michigan to Discuss Resettlement of Syrian Refugees

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

To prepare for the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson plans to travel to Detroit and nearby Dearborn to discuss the issue on Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reports. 

Michigan has received more Syrian refugees than any state but California and Texas since 2013.

Details of the visit weren’t clear Monday, but the White House said Johnson is visiting “to host a roundtable (discussion) with resettled Iraqi and Syrian refugees, as well as a discussion with interfaith student groups about” Homeland Security’s efforts to “counter violent extremism.”

Man Accused of Plotting to Kidnap One of President Obama’s Dogs Claimed He Was Jesus Christ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man accused to trying to kidnap one of the Obama family’s dogs was arrested Wednesday with weapons and ammunition in his car, The Washington Post reports. 

Scott D. Stockert, 49, of North Dakota, has made many bizarre claims since his arrest. He claimed he was Jesus Christ and the son of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. He also said he planned to run for president, the Post wrote.

Stockert was not registered to own a gun and was charged with carrying a rifle or shotgun outside his home or place of business.

Obama has two Portuguese water dogs.

Other Stories of Interest

President Obama Plans to Hire More FBI, ATF Staff to Expedite Background Checks for Firearms

President Obama Executive Order ImmigrationBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Obama administration wants to expedite mandatory background checks on gun buyers and needs hundreds more federal law enforcement personnel to help, Govexec.com reports. 

The plan calls for hiring more than 230 extra analysts and other support staff for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which saw a record number of gun sales.

The idea is to more quickly process background checks, which helps the FBI provide notice to local authorities about potential unlawful firearm purchases.

The White House said the new hiring “will begin immediately and increase the existing workforce by 50 percent,” according to a fact sheet on the executive actions. “This will reduce the strain on the NICS system and improve its ability to identify dangerous people who are prohibited from buying a gun before the transfer of a firearm is completed.”

The hiring will take place over the next two years.

Washington Post: President Obama’s Actions on Gun Control Have No Teeth

atf-gunsBy Jonathan H. Adler
Washington Post

Today the White House announced a series of executive branch actions(not executive orders) that are supposed to reduce the threat of gun violence. Chief among these measures is a new guidance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concerning when those who sell guns are required to obtain a federal license and perform background checks of prospective gun purchasers. The ATF is also finalizing a regulation that would prevent prospective gun purchasers from avoiding background checks by acquiring guns through a trust or corporation, but this is a separate measure.

According to the White House, the new ATF guidance is intended “to ensure that anyone who is ‘engaged in the business’ of selling firearms is licensed and conducts background checks on their customers.” The ATF is achieving this not by issuing new regulations (re)defining what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling guns under federal law. Instead, the ATF issued a guidance document that simply explicates what this legal requirement means, providing examples of the sorts of things that would indicate that a given individual is in the gun business, rather than conducting the occasional personal sale as a hobbyist or as part of an estate liquidation, or something of that sort. According to both the White House release and the ATF guidance, the various indicia identified in the guidance are, in turn, based upon what federal courts have found in relevant cases. (The relevant court decisions are not cited or otherwise identified in the document, and I have asked both ATF and the White House for more information on this point.)

Taken at face value, the new ATF guidance is thus nothing more than a restatement of existing legal requirements. Put another way, it merely identifies those who are already subject to the relevant federal requirements and does not in any way expand the universe of those gun sellers who are required to obtain a license and perform background checks. In other words, it is — as the document says — a guidance, and not a substantive rule. It has no legal effect.

If the ATF guidelines are nothing more than a guidance — an indication of the sorts of things that might trigger a federal investigation or prosecution, but not a tightening of the relevant legal standard — why would the administration do this? There are several potential answers. First, guidance documents are often useful insofar as they explicate relevant legal standards and (as the name implies) provide guidance to the regulated community. Such documents can help people know when they are subject to specific legal requirements. Further, if there are a significant number of people who should have federal gun licenses but have neglected to obtain them, the guidance document might encourage greater compliance with federal law.

For more information click here.

Other Stories of Interest

San Bernardino Attack Prompts Calls for Tougher Immigration Enforcement

San Bernardino, Calif., via Wikipedia.

San Bernardino, Calif., via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The woman who opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino was born in Pakistan and arrived in the United States last year on a special visa, The Los Angeles Times reports. 

Tashfeen Malik became a permanent resident last year after marrying Syed Rizwan Farook, who helped kill 14 people.

The attack has prompted calls for stricter immigration enforcement and a stop on the Syrian refugee program.

“New information coming to light regarding Tashfeen Malik’s citizenship reaffirms the fact that proper screening and vetting those coming into our country, whether with a visa or as a refugee, is not always possible,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for stricter immigration laws.

Before voting on a bill that would fund the Syrian refugee program and other immigration initiatives, some Republicans are calling on the Obama administration to disclose the immigration histories of Malik, her husband and their families.

Embattled TSA Gets New Leader After Senate Approves Obama

Peter Neffenger

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The embattled TSA has a new leader.

The Senate confirmed Peter Neffenger on Monday with an 81-1 vote, hoping that strong leadership can improve nagging security problems at the nation’s airports, USA Today reports.

Neffenger used to serve as vice admiral of the Coast Guard.

The Senate criticized President Obama for taking too long to name a successor.

“I wish the White House hadn’t waited six months to send us a nominee to lead this troubled agency,” McConnell said. “The American people will be counting on Mr. Neffenger to validate the trust their elected representatives place in him tonight by pursuing every necessary reform in the wake of such troubling findings.”

Other Stories of Interest