A new study by the FBI reveals that mass shootings are on the rise and killing more people.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the study found 160 “active-shooter” events from 2000 to 2013.
The study defines an “active shooter” as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”
The average number of active-shooter incidents in a year was 16.4 between 2006 and 2013, a steep rise from an average 6.4 a year from 2000 to 2006.
In those periods, 486 people were killed and 557 wounded.
Interestingly, the study found that the shootings often lasted less than two minutes and two-thirds ended before police arrived.
“Many active shooters have a real or perceived deeply held personal grievance, and the only remedy that they can perceive for that grievance is an act of catastrophic violence against a person or an institution,” said FBI behavioral analysis expert Andre Simons.
When it comes to capturing survivalist fugitives, law enforcement has a spotty record, Reuters reports.
So when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett pledged to quickly capture Eric Matthew Frein, who is accused of gunning down two state troopers, some experts were naturally skeptical.
Law enforcement officials believe Frein is hiding in the Pocono Mountains after he’s been added to the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.”
Turns out, a third of the fugitives on that list “are avid outdoorsmen with skills to hide for years – if not a lifetime – in the wilderness,” Reuters wrote.
“He may have an elaborate plan that had multiple caches and multiple hides and be set up for a number of years. It doesn’t look like he just did it on a whim,” said Pat Patten, who owns Tactical Woodland Operations School in Franklin, North Carolina, which trains police to catch fugitives in the outdoors.
The FBI, for example, is still on the hunt for a skilled hunter, William Bradford Bishop Jr., who disappeared nearly 40 years ago, after the beating deaths of his wife, mother and three sons in Maryland.
The FBI spent a half-billion-dollars on a Sentinel computerized file system, but the system is rife with problems, Newsweek reports.
Officials insisted the Sentinel would be completed by the end of 200 for $425 million. But a report by the Justice Department Inspector General found mismanagement, cost overruns and technical problems that have raised the price by another $100 million, Newsweek wrote.
Sentinel replaced the bureau’s antiquated Automatic Case Support System, known as ACS.
Despite the problems, the Inspector General report found that a majority of FBI employees surveyed agreed that “Sentinel has had an overall positive impact on the FBI’s operations, making the FBI better able to carry out its mission, and better able to share information.”
Still, the report found many problems.
The FBI, for example, said the system’s search function was working properly.
“Yet we found that only 42 percent of the respondents to our survey who used Sentinel’s search functionality often received the results they needed,” the IG reported
The FBI has prohibited local and state police from discussing the capabilities of surveillance technology that enables law enforcement to eavesdrop on cell phone calls, the Washington Post reports.
A letter obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that the FBI requires police departments to sign a “non-disclosure agreement” before buying the equipment.
The so-called cell site simulators trick phones into routing their calls through surveillance, the Washington Post wrote.
The FBI said the disclosure of the technology could make it possible for criminals to avoid or detect the surveillance.
“The FBI routinely asserts the law enforcement sensitive privilege over cell site simulator equipment because discussion of the capabilities and use of the equipment in court would allow criminal defendants, criminal enterprises, or foreign powers, should they gain access to the items, to determine the FBI’s techniques, procedures, limitations, and capabilities in this area,” said an affidavit by an FBI official in April.
The FBI and Homeland Security are warning that ISIS-inspired Americans or visitors may try to launch a domestic attack in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against extremists in Syria, CBS News reports.
The agencies issued bulletins that urged law enforcement to “be vigilant.” ISIS and other terrorist groups have been recruiting Americans. Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. needs a new approach.
“It will be focused on people who have terrorist connections and come up with new ways in which information is shared between INTERPOL members that, frankly, don’t exist now,” he said. “We have red notices that we use for people who are charged with crimes. But we’re gonna come up with a new kind of notice that deals with people who are suspected of engaging in terrorist activities.”
For the first time in several decades, the federal inmate population has decreased, the Associated Press reports.
The Justice Department revealed that roughly 4,800 fewer inmates were incarcerated last year than the year before.
Attorney General Eric Holder said he anticipates the inmate population to be about 250,000 next week, which is the end of the budget cycle.
“This is nothing less than historic,” Holder said, addressing a conference at the New York University School of Law that was hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice. “To put these numbers in perspective, 10,000 inmates is the rough equivalent of the combined populations of six federal prisons, each filled to capacity.”
Holder has been working to reduce the prison population, saying its costly and contains too many nonviolent offenders.
Six deputies for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department were sentenced Wednesday to up to 41 months in prison for interfering with a federal civil rights investigation at a jail.
The federal judge told the defendants that they lacked “courage to do what is right” and showed no remorse.
The sentencing follows a federal jury’s determination that the defendants tried to influence witnesses, threatened an FBI agent with arrest and hid an FBI informant from investigators.
“Blind obedience to a corrupt culture has serious consequences,” United States District Judge Percy Anderson told the defendants before sentencing.
The defendants were:
- Gregory Thompson, 54, a now-retired lieutenant who oversaw LASD’s Operation Safe Jails Program, who was ordered to serve 37 months in prison and to pay a $7,500 fine;
- Lieutenant Stephen Leavins, 52, who was assigned to the LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, who received a 41-month prison sentence;
- Gerard Smith, 42, a deputy who was assigned to the Operation Safe Jails Program, who was ordered to serve 21 months in prison;
- Mickey Manzo, 34, a deputy who was assigned to the Operation Safe Jails Program, who received a 24-month sentence;
- Scott Craig, 50, a sergeant who was assigned to the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, who was sentenced to 33 months; and
- Maricela Long, 46, a sergeant who assigned to the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, who received a sentence of two years in federal prison.
“Interference with a federal investigation cannot be tolerated,” said Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The sentences imposed today allow us to move forward toward an environment of mutual trust and the common goal of delivering justice to victims of crime. I look forward to continued collaboration with our trusted partners at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.”
An Army veteran who climbed over a White House fence and made a mockery of security was twice interviewed by Secret Service agents earlier this summer in Virginia and Washington, the Associated Press reports.
Yet during those interviews, the Secret Service determined Omar J. Gonzalez was not a security threat.
The first encounter came during a traffic stop when police found a sawed off shotgun and a map of Washington with a circle around the White House, the AP wrote.
Agents contacted him again after being found near the White House with a small hatchet,
Despite those findings, the Secret Service did not find him a threat.
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The FBI has its eye on Americans who fought with ISIS terrorists and are now back on U.S. soil, the Daily Mail reports.
The news comes 10 days after a U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop acknowledged there were 40 “foreign fighter” jihadis on U.S. soil.
“The FBI is looking at them,” a senior Obama administration official said.
White House Press Secretary John Earnest declined to discuss specifics Monday, but he did say the U.S. is “working very closely with our international partners to try to mitigate this threat, to keep eyes on these individuals and to monitor their movements.”
The FBI’s search for a new headquarters has begun a new phase.
The General Services Administration is hosting public meetings to gauge interest in relocating the FBI’s Washington headquarters.
The first stop is Springfield, the Washington Business Journal reports. http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2014/09/gsa-takes-the-fbi-headquarters-search-on-the-road.html
The other locations are Greenbelt and Landover.
The meetings are meant to address the Environmental Impact Statement review of the sites.
“We are clarifying the burden that each of these sites carry,” Bill Dowd, the GSA’s FBI relocation project executive, said.
The 58-acre site in Springfield is mostly owned by the federal government and meets the requirements for a new headquarters.
The next public meeting is today in Greenbelt. On Oct. 2, the third session is scheduled for Landover.
If the ATF gets its way, new gun owners will have to identify their ethnicity on firearm records.
But lawmakers in the House have introduced a bill to eliminate that controversial requirement, The Hill reports.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., demanded answers.
“The right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Blunt wrote in a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) over the weekend. “The constitutional right of a citizen to own a firearm has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.”
He added: “It is disconcerting that the U.S. government is gathering this type of data on citizens when there is no connection between purchasing a firearm and an individual’s race or ethnicity. Any measure that may interfere with a citizen’s ability to exercise his or her constitutional right to purchase a firearm needs to be questioned.”
Last Friday, a man with a knife was able to jump the White House fence on Pennsylvania Avenue and make his way into the president’s residence. The intruder allegedly had more than 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, a federal prosecutor said on Monday.
In response, the Secret Service is reportedly considering expanding the security perimeter around the White House — possibly even making tourists go through checkpoints when they’re several blocks away, according to the New York Times.
It’s terrifying to think that 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez, believed to be a war veteran suffering from PTSD, made it to through the White House’s unlocked front door unimpeded. But erecting a larger cordon around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — and restricting access to “the people’s house” — is an overreaction. The White House isn’t an ordinary private residence; it’s the president’s home only at the will of the electorate. The building and its grounds should be as open to the public as security allows. Regardless of which administration is in office, I always feel a little swell of patriotism every time I happen by it, when I’m walking or driving in Washington, D.C.
So perhaps a better plan would be to make sure the Secret Service does its job better. The episode raised serious questions about potential lapses by the agency, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. The harsh criticism aimed at it over the weekend is appropriate; so is the announcement that Secret Service will conduct an internal review. That will give time for perspective: It’s still worth remembering that agents put their lives on the line to protect the president. And given Gonzalez’s apparent mental illness, their response to the episode may have involved some warranted restraint.
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A Canadian woman is accused of packing her checked luggage full with two guns, hundreds of rounds of ammo and 33 pounds of marijuana, NBC New York reports.
The TSA found the items stuffed into household items like baby wipes, lemonade mix and cat litter.
The 24-year-old woman from Scarborough, Ontario, was arrested and is expected to face drug and weapons charges.
Her flight was headed to Barbados.
It wasn’t immediately clear why she was carrying the guns, ammo and drugs.
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WASHINGTON — A federal judge has rejected Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to keep the courts from wading into the “Fast and Furious” documents dispute that led to him being held in contempt by the House last year.
In a ruling Monday night, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson turned down the Justice Department’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege to prevent some records about the administration’s response to the “Operation Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal from being turned over to Congress.
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Alan M. Gershel, a law school professor and ex-federal prosecutor whose high-profile cases included the prosecution of Detroit Police Chief William L. Hart, has been named grievance administrator for the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.
The commission is the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the Supreme Court for allegations of attorney misconduct.
“Mr. Gershel has a focused vision for the future, decades of experience successfully managing a team of attorneys, and a reputation for professional integrity that will be a credit to the AGC,” Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. said in a statement.
Gershel resigned from Cooley Law School last Friday.
Gershel replaces interim administrator John Van Bolt. Bolt was filling in after administrator Robert Agacinski, was fired earlier this year. Agacinski is suing Young and the Grievance Commission, alleging he was fired for reporting illegal misconduct of commission staff members.
Gershel was one of three prosecutors who convicted Chief Hart in May 1992 for embezzling funds earmarked for undercover operations. Gershel also helped oversee an FBI sting involving local Detroit judges that resulted in a number of them pleading guilty in the late 1980s.
Gershel, a 1978 graduate of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, taught at Thomas M. Cooley Law School from 2008-2014. Before that, he worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for nearly 30 years, and was chief of the Criminal Division from 1989-2008.
Cities nationwide that are under investigation for alleged civil rights violations are still eligible to receive surplus military equipment, the Justice Department reports, according to the Associated Press.
The discovery raises questions about the controversial Pentagon program following the militarized law enforcement response in Ferguson, Mo.
The Pentagon responded that it would work closer with the Justice Department to prevent the weaponry from falling into the hands of problematic police agencies.
“We need to do a better job there,” Alan Estevez, a Defense Department official who oversees the program, said.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which has been under the oversight of the Justice Department because of substantiated cases of excessive force and fake arrests, continues to get militarized supplies.
The same goes for other troubled police departments across the country, the AP reports.
CBP needs more than 4,300 new officers to adequately protect the borders, acting Customs and Border Patrol Assistant Commissioner John P. Wagner, from the Office of Field Operations, told PJ Media.
With the increased dangers of ISIS and the influx of immigrants,
Wagner said a lot more manpower is needed.
“We’ve done an analysis and we have a need for 4,373 new CBP officers to staff all of the ports of entry across the United States,” he said. “Congress was generous enough to provide us with funding for 2,000 of those officers for this fiscal year and the [Obama] administration’s budget proposal for 2015 contains a request for another 2,373, so the answer is yes.
“A lot of those would be dedicated to the ports of entry at the southwest border as well as the gateway airports all across the United States.”
Wagner emphasized the importance of the manpower and said CBP is taking extra efforts to prevent terrorists from entering the country.
“CBP officers scan the traveler’s entry documents to perform queries of various CBP databases for exact or possible matches to existing lookouts, including those of other law enforcement agencies. For most foreign nationals arriving at U.S. airports, CBP officers collect biometrics – fingerprints and photographs – and compare them to any previously collected information,” Wagner said.
Border Patrol agents are finding success with surveillance balloons that hover high above the Rio Grande and can zoom in on a license plate from miles away, the Valley Morning Star reports.
Border Patrol officials said more balloons are possible to keep more eyes in the sky.
The balloons are stationed in Rio Grande City, Penitas and near Falfurrias.
“We place them strategically in locations where there’s the most traffic,” agency spokesman Joe Gutierrez Jr. said. “Wherever the risk is greater, we focus resources and technology.”
The balloons, called aerostats, are surplus from the Army.
It was an embarrassment and failure of the Secret Service.
An Army veteran with a pocketknife scaled the White House fence and entered the executive mansion Friday.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Secret Service is reviewing ways to better protect the White House.
The suspect on Friday, Omar J. Gonzalez, sprinted across the north lawn and reached the unlocked doors of the North Portico, raising serious concerns about the level of security.
One place to start may be portions of the fence that date back to 1818, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“If the Secret Service wanted to stop fence jumpers, it could close Pennsylvania Avenue and there wouldn’t be any,” one law-enforcement official said. “But that’s not reasonable.”
The issue is a delicate balance between security and preserving public access and architectural integrity, the Wall Street Journal wrote.
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- Inundation of Immigrants Sneaking into U.S. Slows But Not Over
- Investigators Find Gun They Believe Belongs to PA Ambush Suspect
- Gabrielle Union Urges FBI to Investigated Leaked Topless Photos
- Thai Police Ask for FBI’s Help in Search of Backpackers’ Killers
- Indianapolis Airport, TSA to Record Active Shooter Training Video
The Justice Department is supporting the family of a girl who was raped after a teacher told her to act as bait to catch a suspected sexual predator at Sparkman Middle School in Toney, Ala.
The Daily Mail reports that the school had failed to discipline the suspected predator because he had not been caught in the act. So a teacher told a 14-year-old special needs student to meet the boy in a bathroom where he had allegedly had sexual encounters with other girls.
The ill-conceived plan took a horrifying turn when the suspect met her in a different bathroom, so no one came to help.
To support the family’s lawsuit against the Madison County School Board, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief.
The filing alleges that the incident violated Title IX.
“School administrators knew the student’s extensive history of sexual and violent misconduct and were alerted to the substantial risk he posed,” the brief read.