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Tag: Washington

3 Dozen TSA Employees Tested Positive for Coronavirus in 12 States

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The number of TSA employees who have tested positive for coronavirus has soared to 36 since the outbreak began two weeks ago.

Of those, 28 are TSA screening officers who have close interactions with the public. Another eight non-screening employees with limited interactions with the public have tested positive.

The positive cases are spread across 12 states: Washington, Nevada, California, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, New York and New Jersey.

Hundreds of TSA screeners and other employees also are quarantined because they either had contact with coworkers who tested positive or because they are showing symptoms.

At some airports, multiple TSA screeners have tested positive. There are six cases involving workers at John F. Kennedy International Airpot in New York and four at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

Three TSA screeners at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in California were the first agency employees to test positive for coronavirus on March 10.

For details of each positive case, click here.

 

Via TSA

 

Homeland Security Closes Washington State Facility over Coronavirus Fears

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security temporarily closed one of its facilities in Washington state and directed employees to self-quarantine for two weeks after one of its employees visited a nursing home impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The 14-day closure of a Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Seattle was made “out of an abundance of caution,” Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, CNN reports.

Before an outbreak was reported at the Life Care Facility in Kirkland, Wash., Wolf said an employe visited a family member there. Four deaths from the coronavirus are tied to the nursing home and rehabilitation facility.

“I am pleased to report that this employee embodied what it means to lead by example,” Wolf said. “The employee and their family took every precaution and followed the guidance of public health officials. They stayed home from work when they felt ill, the family self-quarantined, and reported the exposure and their condition to their employers and other officials.”

The employee went to work before exhibiting “flu-like symptoms four days after visiting the nursing home,” Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli wrote in a series of tweets Tuesday morning.

Cuccinelli said the department “takes the safety & health of our employees & applicants seriously.”

“We’re following CDC’s guidelines & encourage all employees and applicants to stay home if they are feeling ill or exhibiting any flu-like symptoms,” Cuccinelli wrote.

Homeland Security employees are being asked to “telework.”

CBP Officers were Directed to Detain Iranian Americans at Border, Officer Alleges

Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers were ordered to detain and question Iranian Americans at the Canadian Border after Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed in U.S. airstrikes, a CBP officer claims in an email to an immigration attorney, CNN reports.

The allegations contradict CBP’s official denial that officers were ordered to stop and question Iranian Americans at a border crossing in Blaine, Wash.

Dozens of Iranian Americans said they were detained and questioned at the border crossing following the killing of Soleimani.

In a Jan. 5 statement, CBP spokesman Matt Leas said “social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false. Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”

The unnamed CBP officer who alleged there was a directive to stop and question Iranian Americans said the actions ended, but only after the issue “hit the national news.”

CBP Denies Detaining Iranian Americans at Border Crossings in Washington State

Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denied reports that its agents were detaining Iranian Americans at a border crossing in Blaine, Wash.

“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false,” CBP spokesman Mike Friel said in a statement.

He added, “Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”

The allegations were first leveled Sunday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which said it was assisting more than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans who had been detained for 11-plus hours and questioned Saturday night at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington.

At least two Congresswomen retweeted the press release from CAIR.

Border Patrol Agent Injured, K-9 Killed After Service Car slips on Icy Patch in Washington

Border Patrol K-9, Jackie, was killed.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent was sent to the hospital and her K-9 was killed after their patrol vehicle lost control on an icy patch in Colville, Wash.

The vehicle rolled down a steep embankment on Highway 395 at about 2 a.m. Sunday, and the agent was pinned in the car until rescuers used the Jaws of Life to extricate her, the agency said in a news release.

The dog, Jackie, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jackie had been with the agency since 2015.

The agent, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition, but the injuries were not-life threatening, the agency said.

“Thank you to all the rescuers and medical staff involved and please remember K-9 Jackie and the agent in your thoughts and prayers,” David BeMiller, acting chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s Spokane sector, said in a statement. “We understand the risks that we take as well as our K-9 partners; it is never easy when we lose a partner.”

Armed Man Fatally Shot After Throwing ‘Incendiary Device’ at ICE Detention Center

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An armed 69-year-old man was fatally shot by police after he allegedly threw “incendiary devices” at an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington early Saturday.

Tacoma police shot William Van Spronsen following a confrontation with officers outside Tacoma’s North West Detention Center, ABC News reports.

Police were notified about the man armed with a rifle outside of the facility.

“It was reported the male was throwing incendiary devices at the Detention Center and then at vehicles in the parking lot,” a Tacoma Police Department statement said. “A vehicle was set on fire. The male attempted to ignite a large propane tank and set out buildings on fire. The male continued throwing lit objects at the buildings and cars.”

No police were injured.

It wasn’t immediately clear what motivated Van Spronsen.

FBI, ICE Scan Driver’s License Databases to Conduct Facial-Recognition Searches

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been given access to driver’s license photos to conduct facial-recognition scans without motorists’ consent.

ICE officials were authorized by three states to use the repositories of license photos to scan through facial-recognition technology in search of undocumented immigrants, according to documents obtained by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology and first reported by The Washington Post.

The searches involved databases from Utah and Vermont, which complied with ICE’s request to access the photos. In Washington, agents also were given permission to scan license photos, but it wasn’t immediately clear if those searches were carried out.

The discovery comes as Congress considers a moratorium on facial-recognition technology because of serious concerns over privacy rights and the inaccuracy of the systems. Researchers said the technology is racially biased and prone to errors, which could lead to false arrests.

“Law enforcement’s access of state databases,” particularly driver’s license databases, is “often done in the shadows with no consent,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md. said in a statement to The Post.

San Francisco became the first city to ban the technology. In Detroit and Chicago, police departments have software that enables them to conduct facial-recognition searches in real-time.

Joe Rannazzisi, the Former DEA Official and Whistleblower Who Fought the Abusive Drug Firms

Joe Rannazzisi  on "60 Minutes"

Joe Rannazzisi on “60 Minutes”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joe Rannazzisi isn’t a household name, but he’s certainly getting well known, particularly after his appearance on Sunday on CBS’ s “60 Minutes,” where he was referred to as a whistleblower who tried cracking down on drug companies.

Scott Highham and Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post write:

Joe Rannazzisi  is a man of strong passions who admits that he has a temper. For more than a decade, he was the frontman in the government’s war against opioid abuse. As head of the Office of Diversion Control for the Drug Enforcement Administration, he was responsible for cracking down on doctors, pharmacies, drug manufacturers and distributors who did not follow the nation’s prescription drug laws.

He said he worked hard to uphold the law, until he was pushed out by members of Congress and an industry campaign that he says has resulted in a weakening of the nation’s drug laws at a time of unprecedented crisis.

The burly, tough-talking Long Islander is now a man in the news, appearing in The Washington Post and on “60 Minutes” this Sunday to give his views on how the DEA’s war on opioids got derailed by pressure from Congress and the drug industry.

To read the whole story click here.