Law Enforcement

  • Letters containing ricin sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, gun-control advocacy group

    Two letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg – one to his office in New York, the second to the Washington, D.C. offices of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a non-profit gun-control group he has founded — contained traces of the deadly poison ricin.

  • DHS: it is impossible to stop 3D plastic guns from getting past security checkpoints

    A DHS intelligence bulletin starkly warns it may not be possible to stop 3D-printed guns from being made – or from getting past security checkpoints undetected. DHS notes that 3D-printed firearms can be made without serial numbers or unique identifiers, making ballistics testing difficult, and that advancements in technology and decreasing 3D printer costs will mean even more sophisticated printed guns will become easier to acquire.

  • FBI defends handling of Boston bombing, admits FBI-CBP miscommunication

    FBI director Robert Mueller yesterday defended the way his agency handled the Russian request that the FBI pay attention to Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the months before the 15 April attack on the Boston Marathon. The two key junctures: following the FBI’s March 2011 investigation of Tamerlan, an investigation which found no ties between him and terrorism, the FBI twice, in September and October 2011, asked the Russian security services for more information about why the Russians suspected Tameraln, so the FBI could dig more deeply, but the Russians never responded. Still, the FBI went ahead and placed Tameraln’s name on a low-level watch list, which meant that his travel was tracked. The CBP Boston office, however, took no action in response to two FBI’s electronic messages – from January and June 2012 — about Tsarnaev’s travel to Russia.

  • DHS refuses FOIA requests for the Tsarnaev brothers’ immigration papers

    DHS has rejected repeated FOIA requests for the federal immigration records of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s records on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, saying they are still conducting an investigation. 

  • Oakland wants to write its own gun control laws

    The leaders of Oakland, California, say that state gun laws are not suitable for their crime-infested city. They want to write their own gun law, saying it would not ban guns, but would allow the city to have tighter controls on who owns and who is selling them and buying them.

  • U.S. secretly obtains AP phone records to identify source of story

    In what the AP calls a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into the news organization’s news work, the U.S. Justice Department secretly gathered two-months-worth of telephone records of the agency’s reporters and editors. The AP says the records listed incoming and outgoing calls to the offices and homes of reporters and editors. The Justice Department began collecting the phone records in order to identify the source or sources of a 7 May 2012 AP story which detailed a secret CIA operation in Yemen to intercept an al Qaeda-sponsored attempt to load an IED onto a U.S.-bound airplane.

  • The two sides in the gun control debate are gearing up for Round 2

    A few weeks ago, when the Senate was considering legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers and other gun-control measures, gun-rights advocate successfully organized and campaigned at the grass-root level, exerting pressure on enough wavering Senators, including four Democrats from Red stated who face re-election in 2014. Now, as the Senate majority leader is getting set to introduce the gun-control measures again, supporters of gun control legislation are trying to emulate the grass-root mobilization performance of gun-rights advocates.

  • Privacy, cost concerns check drive for more surveillance cameras

    Law enforcement agencies in cities across the United States are campaigning to increase surveillance on city streets, impressed with the effectiveness of video surveillance in helping the Boston Police identify the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. This campaign to expand law enforcement’s surveillance power is likely to run into stiff opposition, as Americans have proven suspicious of allowing the government powers which would infringe on privacy. Expanding surveillance networks also costs money, and these are tight budgetary times.

  • Texas becomes gun-friendlier

    Texas is already considered one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation, and on Saturday it became even more so when the State House passed twelve different gun bill which would make it easier to own and carry guns in the state. Some of the bills – for example, the one which would punish police officers or government officials by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if they attempt to enforce federal firearms limits in Texas – may be found to be unconstitutional.

  • Iowa sex offenders allowed to keep guns

    A law enacted two years ago has made it possible for more than fifty sex offenders in Iowa to apply for gun permits. Sheriffs and some lawmakers are uncomfortable with the situation, but advocates for sex offender rehabilitation say such offenders are not necessarily dangerous criminals.

  • Hollow point ammunition is more effective and safer to use

    While there is a legitimate concern about the number of rounds purchased by DHS, there should be no questions about the department’s decision to purchase hollow point rounds. Hollow point rounds do not explode on impact, but rather expand on contact. They are less likely to penetrate completely through a body and strike innocent bystanders. Hollow point rounds are standard ammunition of law enforcement agencies in the United States.

  • Woman who killed N.J. trooper in 1973 makes the FBI’s most wanted list

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    Joanne Chesimard, a former member of the Black Liberation Army who killed a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, has become the first woman to make the FBI’s most wanted list. The reward  for her capture and arrest has doubled to $2 million. In 1979 Chesimard escaped jail, and since 1984 has been living in Cuba, using the name Assata Shakur.

  • Delaware develops comprehensive schools safety program

    Delaware has become the first state to develop a comprehensive school safety model which includes a central portal for school safety plans. A Web-based portal to serve as a repository for all public school safety plans in the state will be developed, and will become accessible to school safety teams in time for the new school year this fall.

  • Three of Dzhokhar’s friends charged with destroying evidence (Updated)

    Three college students have been arrested on suspicion that they helped Dzhokhar Tsarnaev destroy evidence which would have provided details about his and his brother’s preparations for the marathon bombing. One of the three then lied to police when asked about their actions. The three are likely to face charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice. One of three will also be charged with lying to federal investigators.

  • GAO investigates DHS ammo purchases

    DHS is again facing questions about the department’s large ammunition purchases, at the same time that a bill is being introduced which would limit the amount of ammo a government agency can legally buy.