The U.S. Senate on Wednesday narrowly rejected President Obama’s choice to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The 47-52 vote was shy of the majority needed, the New York Daily News reports.
Debo Adegbile couldn’t muster a majority because eight Democrats joined all 44 Republicans in voting no.
At issue was Adegbile’s role in offering legal help to a man who shot a Philadelphia police officer.
Obama didn’t say whether his office would give the appointment another go.
Obama called the rejection a ““travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant.”
The 1976 string of stabbings in California was horrific and never yielded much of a clue about the suspect.
Now, the FBI is expected to announce today a possible link between the five homicides in San Mateo County and a murder in Reno during the same time period, KTVU reports.
The bureau also is expected to announce a new task force to investigate the new leads.
That’s good news for loved ones of the victims.
“I’m glad the case is not dead. I’m glad that people are remembering Ronnie and the other women that were killed,” a friend of one of the victims told KTVU.
A former Border Patrol agent accused of killing a man for allegedly having an affair with his wife has been indicted in the fatal shooting in Texas, the Associated Press reports.
Adam Garibay was lodged in the Medina County Jail on Wednesday on charges of murder, assault and evading arrest. He is being held on a $3.1 million bond.
Garibay quit his job as an agent after his Jan. 2 arrest.
Garibay is accused of beating her wife to identify a man with whom she was having an affair. Garibay then drove 160 miles to shoot Keith Martin, prosecutors allege.
It was a simple question: Is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol?
Yet DEA Deputy Director Thomas Harrigan wouldn’t provide an answer during a House oversight committee hearing.
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN, asked because DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart insisted in January that pot is more dangerous than alcohol.
“Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance that Congress has passed, Congress has agreed to,” Harrigan responded.
“We’re not talking about that,” Cohen fired back. “Marijuana as it is standing on its own. Is it worse than alcohol, that kills tens of thousands of people and causes much violence and cirrhosis of the liver and DTs?”
Harrigan replied: “Again, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled drug.”
Cohen gave up.
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST
- Justice Department Files Suit Against PA School Limiting Beard Lengths
- Arizona Border Patrol Faces Challenges with Deportation Calls
- Obama’s Son-in-Law Confessed to Recruiting Terrorists Al Qaeda
- Cuts to Homeland Security Budget Will require ‘Difficult Choices’
- Homeland Security Busts House with 10 Industrial-Grade Pill Machines
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is tired of traffic jams caused by dignitaries visiting the capital.
In a stern letter sent Tuesday, Gray said the Secret Service protocols need to be changed because “significant portions of downtown Washington (are) being paralyzed by traffic,” the Washington Post reports.
The Secret Service responded that it wold review street closures and protocols.
The agency “makes every effort to minimize traffic disruptions when implementing security plans,” according to a Secret Service statement.
The FBI is investigating two Los Angeles-based gang members who are accused of fighting alongside terrorists in Syria, CBS LA reports.
A video shows two unidentified men shooting AK-47s while apparently giving shootouts to their gangs.
“Look homie, check this out,” one man said.
The men are known as “Creeper” from G’d Up-13 and “Wino” from the Westside Armenian Power.
They were fighting alongside pro-Hizbullah and pro-Assad forces.
“The Joint Terrorism Taskforce is aware of the video and is investigating to determine any potential threats to Americans or U.S. interest,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST
- Retired FBI Agent Recalls Career Fighting High-Profile Crime
- California State Senator Accepts Gifts While Under Probe for Bribes
- CIA’s Attempt to Keep Secret a Defunct Detention Program Draws Ire
- Homeland Security Budget Adds Agents, Tighter Cybersecurity for 2014
- DEA Claims Drug Cartels Trying to Capitalize on Legal Marijuana Laws
Attorney General Eric Holder’s proposed $27.4 billion budget places a priority on criminal justice and prison reform, the Washington Post reports.
The budget reflects Holder’s initiative to reduce the number of low-level drug offenders and crack down on recidivism rates with expanded drug treatment programs.
About $173 million is earmarked for criminal justice reform.
“Each dollar spent on prevention and reentry has the potential to save several dollars in incarceration costs,” Holder said in a statement.
“These wise investments can help make our criminal justice system more effective and efficient.”
A former FBI agent with a gambling habit was sentenced to two years of probation Monday for a series of illegal cash deposits, the Fresno Bee reports.
Raymond Wilson, 38, who worked at the FBI’s Long Beach office, committed a federal crime by regularly depositing $10,000 or less of casino winnings to avoid Currency Transaction Reports.
Wilson accumulated more than $488,000 that way, the Fresno Bee reported.
From 2008 to February 2013, Wilson gambled in California, Nevada, Arizona and West Virginia.
FBI Director James B. Comey named William F. Sweeney, Jr. as special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division of the New York Field Office and Adam S. Lee as head of the FBI’s Richmond, Va., Division.
Sweeney most recently served as the special assistant to the FBI’s deputy director at FBI headquarters. He became an agent in 1998.
Lee most recently served as section chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights
Section at FBI Headquarters. In this role, he led the FBI’s two highest priority criminal investigative programs, which include investigations of elected and appointed government officials and civil rights violations. Lee also led the FBI’s global Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Antitrust Programs.
Lee began his career as an agent in 1996.
George L. Piro, the FBI agent who befriended and interrogated Saddam Hussein after his capture, has been named head of the Miami FBI Division.
Piro last worked as the deputy assistant director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate at FBI headquarters.
He joined the FBI in 1999 and was assigned to the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office to work international terrorism cases. In March 2003, he was promoted to the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters and was subsequently selected as the team leader and interrogator for the FBI team responsible for the interrogation of Saddam Hussein and other key figures within the former Iraqi regime, the FBI said in a press release.
In March 2006, he was promoted as the supervisor of the Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. He also served as the assistant special agent in charge of the International Terrorism Branch for the Washington Field Office.
From 2011 to 2013, Piro served as director of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), an interagency unit overseen by the Counterterrorism Security Group within the White House that involves the intelligence community, the FBI press release said.
Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, he is fluent in Arabic and Assyrian speaker. He served as a police officer in California for nearly 10 years before joining the FBI.
People connected to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager have been questioned by the FBI, CNN reports.
Bill Stepien said federal agents came to his house and also interviewed people who know him.
“In recent weeks, federal criminal investigators have made their interest in him plain, traveling to his home and importuning his landlord and presumably others to provide information about his conduct and character,” Stepien’s lawyer, Kevin Marino, said.
Christie appointee Bridget Anne Kelly also received a visit from the FBI, CNN reported.
The interactions are the first clear sign that the FBI wants to question people with close ties to the governor, CNN reported.
The Justice Department is looking to go on a hiring spree.
After three long years, the Justice Department is finally lifting a ban on hiring that will bring in new attorneys, The Baltimore Sun reports.
The news comes after Congress restored funding to the Justice Department.
“After years of doing more with less, we will begin to fill critical vacancies and we will resume the normal hiring process for federal agents, prosecutors, for analysts and for the other staff that we need to fulfill our mission,” Holder said in a video announcement.
An FBI agent is about to find out what it’s like to be a defendant in a criminal trial.
Arthur “Art” Bernard Gonzales, 43, is charged with second-degree murder in the April shooting death of his estranged wife in Virginia.
Jury selection in his trial begins today, Fredericksburg.com reports.
Gonzales told a 911 operator that he shot his wife in self-defense after she tried to stab him with a knife.
The couple, who had two children, ages 10 and 12, got divorced in June 2012.
Facing mounting criticism over its use of force, Border Patrol agents are defending opening fire on suspects who throw rocks at law enforcement, Government Executive reports.
Coming to the support of agents is the National Border Patrol Council, which represents about 17,000 agents and support staff.
Border Patrol has come under fire for using lethal force on rock-throwers.
“Rocks can maim and kill just as easily as a knife or a firearm,” NBPC said in a statement. “Every day on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, Border Patrol agents are assaulted with rocks, bricks, and other projectiles. These weapons are readily available and have the potential to do great harm.”
What are the most efficient and headache-inducing airport checkpoints in the nation?
The USA Today sought to find out by asking frequent flyers to voluntarily rate checkpoints for efficiency.
The results were subjective and varied by traveler.
Some targeted Orlando, Los Angeles and Raleigh, NC, as the least efficient airport checkpoint. One traveller offered good experiences at Las Vegas.
The TSA responded: “TSA’s top priority is to protect the traveling public, and every policy and security procedure in place is designed to mitigate threats to passengers and the aviation sector — which we know our adversaries continue to target,” the agency said in a written statement. “TSA is always taking steps to enhance our procedures, to most importantly stay ahead of evolving threats and, wherever possible, to also improve the experience of the traveling public. ”
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST
Boston Marathon Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is running his mouth.
The New York Daily News reports that Tsarnaev made a “statement of to his detriment” while his sister was visiting him in prison.
Federal prosecutors didn’t reveal what Tsarnaev said but objected to his attorneys trying to suppress the statement.
The FBI was monitoring the visit from his sister.
“Despite the presence of an FBI agent and an employee of the Federal Public Defender, was unable to temper his remarks and made a statement to his detriment which was overheard by the agent,” reads a memo from government attorneys.
Now we have an idea why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service was keeping secret an independent report of its encounters at the Mexican border. Because it has something to hide.
As The Times’ Brian Bennett reported last week, an independent report by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum sharply criticized the agency for a “lack of diligence” in investigating fatal encounters involving its agents. The report, based on internal case files of 67 shooting incidents leading to 19 deaths between January 2010 and October 2012, also faulted some of the agents’ practices, including positioning themselves in the “exit path” of fleeing vehicles apparently as a pretext for opening fire in self-defense. Not only is that contrary to commonly accepted policing practices, but it endangers passengers in the car as well as the agents, since a dead driver can’t control a moving vehicle.
The report also reinforced earlier findings by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General on the even more bizarre practice of agents firing across the border when people on the other side throw rocks at them. Yes, a thrown rock can cause significant damage, including death if it strikes an unprotected head. But to respond to rock throwing with live ammunition across an international border — on 22 occasions in 2012 — strikes us as excessive. Was there really no other way to address the problem?
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Homeland Security Department, is the biggest police agency in the nation. It has doubled in size since 9/11 and now employs more than 43,000 Border Patrol agents and customs officers.
Certainly there are dangers involved in patrolling the border, and agents must be able to protect themselves. But the agency must also train its employees to operate professionally and not to respond to aggression with excessive force.
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There’s good news for travelers: They can expedite the slow screening process at airports.
The bad news: They’ll have to give up a set of their fingerprints to ensure they are the person they say they are, the Chicago Tribune reports.
But the FBI said there are no privacy concerns because law requires the bureau to delete the prints or return them to the TSA.
The ACLU expressed relief.
“If they say that, I believe them that they’re not using this as an enrollment” into the fingerprint database, Jay Stanley, an ACLU senior policy analyst, said. “And I think that’s good.”
A homegrown terror plot in California was so fanciful and bizarre that few people believe the California suspect could have pulled it off.
Nevertheless, a judge sentenced Aaron Llaneza to 15 years in prison Thursday for trying to blow up a Bank of America in Oakland with a fake bomb, which investigators provided, the Associated Press reports.
Llaneza, who is mentally ill, doesn’t have the capacity to do actual damage, his attorney said.
“Matthew was not a radicalized jihadist but rather a delusional, severely mentally disturbed young man; he had no technical skills to speak of,” Assistant Federal Public Defender Jerome Matthews wrote in a memo. “He had no training or background that would have helped him to accomplish an actual bombing; he was preternaturally suggestible and desirous of being accepted; and, not least, he had no desire to inflict mass casualties.”
Federal investigators disagreed.
“Defendants’ offense conduct here was very serious. He knowingly and willfully participated in a plan to blow up a bank building. He created the plan and selected the target. He helped build what he believed to be a large bomb to accomplish the plan. He drove the bomb to the bank building, placed it in a location designed to maximize its destructive force, then attempted to detonate it twice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Caputo wrote in the memo. “Had the bomb been real, it would have destroyed at least a portion of the building and easily could have killed or seriously injured innocent bystanders.”