Sunday, July 21st, 2013 — Good Afternoon, Stay Safe
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Kelly Kaput? No Homeland Security for Ray
President Obama now aligned with Rev. Al Sharpton on race issues
By MICHAEL GOODWIN — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The New York Post’
COMMENT: Kelly had his shills Chucky S, Peter King and Arthur Browne from the N.Y. Daily News put it out there that he was so interested in the Homeland Security job, knowing full well that he was no longer going to be police commissioner once there was a new mayor. And just think of how much time Ray has spent sucking up to the Rev. Al. Look at what it has gotten him. - Mike Bosak
Is Al Sharpton president of the United States? Or just attorney general?
I ask because it’s not clear where the rabble-rousing rev’s agenda ends and White House policy begins. These days, they are one and the same.
President Obama erased the final distinction Friday by describing the Florida shooting case exclusively in racial terms. Obama’s headline-grabbing statement that “Trayvon Martin could have been me” and his attempt to justify black anger were straight out of Sharpton’s playbook.
Don’t get me wrong — a personal speech on race from the first black president could be a game-changer in the right context. But this one suffered a fatal flaw — it ignored the fact that race played absolutely no role in the trial, including in lawyer statements, the evidence, testimony and the jury’s unanimous verdict of not guilty. Even the FBI found no evidence of racism by defendant George Zimmerman.
If Obama felt the need to say something, duty required him to emphasize the facts instead of endorsing racial manipulation. Sadly, though, his remarks follow a recent pattern where he and Sharpton sing from the same page. Both distorted the case to paint a broad picture of blacks as victims of white racism and ignored Zimmerman’s half-Latino family.
* Consider that Sharpton called for demonstrations against the verdict, then it was revealed that the Justice Department had financed protests. Obama said Friday that demonstrations were “understandable.”
* Sharpton called for an end to “stand your ground” laws like Florida’s, and Attorney General Eric Holder echoed the goal. Obama suggested Friday such laws add to violence, though he conceded the law was not part of the trial.
* Sharpton called for a civil-rights probe of Zimmerman, and Holder promised one. Later, the Justice Department held a conference call with the NAACP and other liberal groups and promised to created an e-mail address to solicit tips on Zimmerman. Aides say Obama supports Holder’s decision.
* Sharpton protested the stop-and-frisk policy of the New York Police Department, then Holder supported a federal monitor. But after Obama went off message by praising top cop Ray Kelly for doing an “extraordinary job,” White House insiders let it be known Obama is unlikely to name Kelly head of Homeland Security because of stop-and-frisk.
Sharpton, a serial tax delinquent whose name will be forever linked to the Tawana Brawley hoax, ran for president in 2004 and was trounced.
But his second life, as MSNBC anchor, White House regular and now agenda-setter for the president marks an incredible comeback.
Nobody elected him, yet his symbiotic relationship with Obama and Holder is more proof that Obama’s vow to be a post-partisan, post-racial president was a bigger hoax than Tawana Brawley.
America voted for Obama and got Sharpton.
That the relationship is taking full flower now is not surprising. Obama’s new Cabinet is full of uninhibited leftists, and he is returning to a community-organizer mindset. Only now he is doing it with the awesome power of the Oval Office at his back — and Al Sharpton leading the way.
In his Friday speech, Obama conflated an undeniable history of racism with a case that doesn’t fit the narrative. “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store,” he said. “That includes me.”
No doubt true, but what’s the relevance? The six jurors had to decide in a color-blind case whether Zimmerman was justified in using his gun, and they said yes. Even the president can’t change that.
While Obama noted that black males “are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence,” that also had nothing to do with the case. Better he save his thoughts on that provocative topic for another time because violent crime in urban areas is almost exclusively a non-white phenomenon.
Obama also said he doubted the verdict would have been the same if Martin had done the shooting.
Not coincidentally, Sharpton hailed the speech, saying it set the stage for this weekend’s demonstrations. Imagine that — a president encouraging divisive protests. That’s historic.
Back in 2009, Rahm Emanuel advised Obama to “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”
In 2013, the advice stands amended: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste, even if you have to manufacture one.”
That’s the world according to Al Sharpton, guru to the president.
Ray Kelly's Possible Post-NYPD Plans: Maybe Homeland Security, Maybe News Corp.
By Jen Chung — Saturday, July 20th, 2013; 5:32 p.m. ‘The Gothamist’ / New York, NY
It's possible that all this speculation about Police Commissioner Ray Kelly leaving the NYPD to head the Department of Homeland Security is just speculation. But now there are a few signs that Kelly could be headed out the door.
On Thursday, Kelly's "consigliere"/liar-in-chief, top NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, resigned to head communications at the University of Notre Dame. Browne is being replaced by former mayoral spokesman John McCarthy, and Kelly added New York Police Foundation Valerie Salembier to assist to McCarthy.
An NYPD source read the tea leaves to DNAinfo's Murray Weiss, "Paul Browne was his body man, his double, making sure doors open when he walks through. They were so close that this is a clear indication Kelly is not staying, and the abruptness of it and obviously hiring two people for short-time says it all." Weiss writes:
He would jump at replacing outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, sources said. No one should think Sen. Charles Schumer put Kelly’s name forward to President Barack Obama without first getting the green light from Kelly.
Here’s another guess on my part: If Obama does not take Kelly to Washington, then Kelly goes to the News Corporation where, coincidentally, his son, Greg, works.
At Fox-TV’s parent company, Kelly could do on-camera analysis on national and international law enforcement issues, which would satisfy his obvious pleasure at being in front of the cameras and in the limelight. And, at News Corp., he could also serve as a private consultant to the larger Rupert Murdoch international media company, advising on a range of security and related matters.
Joel Klein, a former Justice Department official who served as Bloomberg's education chancellor, already works there. Why not Kelly? Intriguing!
And today, the NY Times has this look at the guessing game, "Representative Peter T. King, a Long Island Republican and member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that after he spoke publicly in favor of Mr. Kelly’s candidacy, he received a thank-you call from Mr. Kelly.
Mr. King said he had expected Mr. Kelly to tell him that he was not interested in the job. That did not happen."
Maybe Kelly can go cut ribbons at some more Applebee's.
NYPD $$ Lawyer Lotto $$ Bonanza
Times Sq. cop-kill suit
By KATHIANNE BONIELLO — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The New York Post’
An emotionally disturbed, knife-wielding man who was gunned down by cops in Times Square last summer didn’t have to die, his family charges in a new lawsuit.
Darrius Kennedy, 51, allegedly yelled, “Shoot me! Shoot me!” at officers — who had followed him for blocks — before he died in a hail of bullets a short distance from the tourist mecca.
His sister, Caroline Jones, filed suit against the city in Manhattan Supreme Court last week, insisting the officers used unjustifiable deadly force to take him down.
“He wasn’t a lunatic or anything like that,” Jones said. “He was nothing like they portrayed him to be.”
The officers initiated the Aug. 11, 2012, encounter by “accusing him in an aggressive way of allegedly smoking marijuana,” Jones charges in court papers.
Cops fired 12 shots at the corner of 37th Street and Seventh Avenue before a supervisor showed up at the scene, according to the court papers.
Jones maintains in her legal filing that Kennedy “was at such a distance from any police officer that he posed no threat of imminent danger to any police officer or member of the public.”
At the time, the NYPD said Kennedy lunged at cops and had shaken off attempts to subdue him with pepper spray.
Kennedy worked as a handyman at several downtown buildings, where he also lived, his sister said. A former professional bass player, he struggled with depression and anxiety but was never violent, Jones told The Post.
Living in upstate Elmira as a youth, Kennedy was frequently stopped by police and developed a lifelong distrust of them, said his sister, who added that when her brother felt harassed or overwhelmed, he typically left town and visited her in Elmira.
“Basically, he kept to himself. He never would hurt anyone. The threat was to himself,” she said. “They could have handled this better,” Jones said. “I’m furious.”
“Twenty-four or 25 officers, there could have been some other tactic instead of them shooting him down 12 or 13 times,” Jones said. “One guy with a knife? Come on now, he’s 15 or 20 feet away from you? There could have been something else done.”
The city is reviewing the claims, according to a Law Department spokeswoman.
NYPD Civilian Employee
Bronx woman found dead, stuffed in trash can in her own apartment
The 29-year-old victim has not yet been identified; her common-law husband is in custody
By Rocco Parascandola AND Barry Paddock — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
Cops found a 29-year-old woman dead, stuffed inside a trash can in her Bronx apartment, police sources said.
Officers discovered the body of the victim, who was not immediately identified, in her Walton Ave. home, a block from the Grand Concourse, about 6:15 a.m. Sunday, officials said.
Cops took the victim’s 52-year-old common-law husband into custody. He is expected to be charged, police sources said.
The victim is believed to be a civilian employee of the NYPD, sources said.
Police discovered her body after the suspect’s car was seen parked on the sidewalk nearby. Cops believe the victim died recently.
The city medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine how she died.
UAE officials get tips from NYPD
By Shane McGinley — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘ArabianBusiness.com’
During a recent visit to the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the USA, a UAE delegation of the Leadership Development and Creativity Center at the General Secretariat of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior's Office, reviewed international best practices on leadership development, the WAM news agency reported.
The delegation met with the NYPD's head of the development unit, Dr Robert Gonzalez. It also reviewed NYPD programs in leadership, skills, and capacity development for NYPD members.
Earlier this month, Abu Dhabi and the US also signed an agreement to exchange security information in a bid to fight terrorism and enhance border security in both countries.
The agreement was signed in Washington DC between the Department of Finance’s General Directorate of Customs - Abu Dhabi and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The deal will see both organizations exchange training and technical assistance and expertise when dealing with customs inspections, but also includes “the exchange of security information, as is permitted by laws, policies and agreements in force at both countries, within an atmosphere of confidentiality to apply laws, fight terrorism and achieve general security,” a statement issued by the Department of Finance (DoF) said.
Saeed Ahmed Al Muhairi, director general of Abu Dhabi Customs said: “This agreement falls in line with both parties’ commitments to protect their borders from any risks, whereby we seek to strengthen these two countries’ positions as safe destinations for travel and business. Hence, I would like to mention the great interest provided by the Department of Finance, in strengthening cooperative efforts with strategic partners at home and abroad.
"In fact, this enables the realization of both parties’ common interests which then would contribute in supporting customs work, the process of border security and in facilitating the flow of legitimate trade across borders.”
The agreement is part of ongoing moves to enhance relations between Abu Dhabi and the US. In May it was announced authorities are in talks regarding a plan to allow US customs pre-clearance at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Under the agreement, passengers flying from the UAE capital to any US city would be cleared by American customs and immigration officials before boarding their flight, speeding up the entry process and helping the US screen passengers who might be denied entry before flying to the country.
You Don't Say...
Prison guard who had baby with cop killer Ronell Wilson suspected he might have been using her: court papers
Nancy Gonzalez, who gave birth to Wilson’s son this spring, told another inmate she thought Wilson might have been using her pregnancy in a twisted plot to escape the death penalty.
By Oren Yaniv — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
The prison guard who was knocked up by cop killer Ronell Wilson suspected he might have been using her, court papers unsealed Friday say.
Nancy Gonzalez, who gave birth to Wilson’s son this spring, told another inmate she thought Wilson might have been using her pregnancy in a twisted plot to escape the death penalty.
“They want me to testify to make it look like he’s not a monster,” she told the inmate in a secretly recorded conversation. “I really honestly don’t know how I how I got myself wrapped up in this mess.”
Gonzalez, 29, pleaded guilty earlier this month to having sex with a prisoner. She’d previously told prosecutors how she slit her pants to she could have sex with Wilson with her clothes on.
Bill de Blasio on Stand Your Ground, Stop and Frisk
By Will Allen — Saturday, July 20th, 2013; 3:32 p.m. ‘National Review Online’ / New York, NY
As the demonstrators dispersed, I caught up with New York City Public Advocate and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, at the tail end of an interview with (go figure) Iran’s Press TV. De Blasio told Press, “We need to see the Justice Department go into Florida and take over the Zimmerman case,” and he sought to reassure viewers of the Iranian state-owned network that not all Americans accept the decision of the jury:
I think there’s a large number of Americans who are deeply deeply upset by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case; we don’t accept it. We believe in our jury system, but we think that this verdict was fundamentally unfair, and we need action to overcome it. That’s why we want our Justice Department to stand and take over the case, and show that there’s going to be fairness in this country.
When I questioned de Blasio about President Obama’s remarks yesterday — including the apparent implication that Attorney General Eric Holder will probably not pursue civil-rights charges against Zimmerman — he replied, “First, this movement needs to demand that the Justice Department act. I don’t think that the Justice Department lives in some ivory tower; I think we have to demand action by the Justice Department.” He later added, “I don’t take the president’s remarks as setting a ceiling here. . . . we need to push him and the administration to go farther.”
De Blasio also drew a parallel between stand-your-ground laws and the local controversy over the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactic, which he cited as another policy that produces “racial profiling,” at least as currently practiced by the NYPD. (De Blasio and his rivals for the Democratic nomination have made curtailing stop-and-frisk a central theme of the mayoral campaign.) National Review Online
(Subterfuge & Stupid Rookie Move: Was Probation Department Search Used Knowing No Lawful Search Warrant Could Ever Be Issued?)
Records: Search of suspect's home OK'd before alleged break-in
By TANIA LOPEZ — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘New York Newsday’ / Melville, L.I.
A search of the home of a Smithtown man accused of breaking into Suffolk Police Chief of Department James Burke's vehicle was approved a day before the suspected break-in, law enforcement records show.
The Suffolk County probation department search, which records say was to look for narcotics and/or weapons, was given the go-ahead on Dec. 13, 2012.
On Dec. 14 around 12:30 a.m., according to a police arrest report and court records, Christopher Loeb and an accomplice broke into Burke's department-issued GMC Yukon and took a duffel bag containing his gun belt, ammunition, cigars and other items. Loeb was on probation for an April 2012 grand larceny conviction.
The sequence of events, law enforcement sources said, is being examined as part of a federal probe into whether Burke violated Loeb's civil rights. Loeb, 26, has told family members that Burke punched him in the stomach while in police custody at the Fourth Precinct, his mother, Jane Loeb, said.
Sometime after 10 a.m., Loeb and Gabriel Miguelez were arrested during the search of Loeb's home, according to the arrest report and law enforcement records. The items taken from Burke's vehicle were found in the home, records state.
Burke has said that he did not commit any wrongdoing.
Search's merits unclear
It is not clear why the home search was approved.
Law enforcement sources said an operational plan that would outline the specific reasons for the search must be submitted and approved by a supervisor before probation officers could conduct a search. In addition, a thorough search of someone's premises would require a judge to issue a search order. Federal officials have subpoenaed that operational plan, which would include a judge's search order, the sources said.
Suffolk County Probation Department director Patrice Dlhopolsky and Assistant Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Errol Toulon did not return calls seeking comment. The Suffolk Police Department said it would not comment on the case.
At least 10 probation and police officers went to the home to conduct the search, law enforcement sources and Loeb's family said.
"It was like a SWAT team out there," said Jane Loeb, who was home when the officers first arrived. "And the next thing two cops came, undercover cops, plainclothes and then the next thing, cops, more cops."
Joint operations involving the police and probation departments on a low-level offender, such as Loeb, are rare, sources said.
"If he conducted a violent crime it would be warranted," said a source. "Was it anything violent that would require that many officers involved, especially for a routine search? It was too extreme."
New York State probation law allows probation and parole officers to conduct searches only if they have reasonable cause to believe that the probationer or parolee has violated the conditions of their sentence.
A spokeswoman for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services said police can accompany probation officers on home visits only to assist, not to initiate a search. A judge would have to authorize a warrant if police wanted to conduct a search.
"It is important to note that police cannot use a home visit as a pretext for a warrantless search by a police officer," spokeswoman Janine Kava said.
More subpoenas expected
Loeb's supervision level at the time of the search required him to have contact with his probation officer two or more times a month. One of those contacts would take place during a home visit, at which officers would primarily verify residence, assess living conditions and monitor compliance with probation conditions.
The FBI has served nearly a dozen subpoenas on Suffolk police officers, detectives and headquarters personnel who may have direct or indirect knowledge of what happened the day of Loeb's arrest at his Smithtown home or at the Fourth Precinct, where he was processed. More subpoenas will be issued soon, sources said.
Law enforcement documents place Burke at Loeb's home during the search and arrest. Burke's bag and gun belt were found in the home's basement, records show.
Suffolk County rules and procedures say police supervisors and top brass should not participate in routine matters and should allow subordinates to carry out those functions.
Jane Loeb said her son ran out the back door when the first officers arrived. She said the officers chased and caught him.
By noon, Loeb said, there were 10 police officers at her house.
"It was a mess," she said. "They tore everything looking for stuff. At the end of all this, one police officer had a plastic bag . . . and then they went down to the basement. And they were looking and looking. They knew what they were looking for, it was so strange."
Loeb faces charges that include fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth- and fifth-degree possession of stolen property, seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon after allegedly implicating himself in a statement he gave to police at the Fourth Precinct.
Loeb, who sources say is now in federal custody as a material witness, is due back in court Aug. 6.
Detective to retire, probed theft of police official's gear
By TANIA LOPEZ — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘New York Newsday’ / Melville, L.I.
The Suffolk County police detective who handled the initial investigation of the man accused of breaking into Suffolk Chief of Department James Burke's department-issued vehicle plans to retire.
Det. Thomas Cottingham, 44, filed papers this week to retire from the department after 21 years on the force. His official date of retirement is listed as July 31, according to the state comptroller's office.
The department confirmed Cottingham's retirement Wednesday but declined to give any details about his career.
Federal officials are investigating Burke to see if he violated Loeb's civil rights after the Smithtown man told family members that the chief punched him in the Fourth Precinct squad room, his mother, Jane Loeb, said last month.
Cottingham was the lead investigator in the case against Christopher Loeb, who along with an accomplice is accused of taking a bag out of Burke's SUV on Dec. 14, documents said.
Cottingham took statements from Loeb, 26, and alleged accomplice Gabriel Miguelez at the Fourth Precinct the day they were arrested, Dec. 14, and filed three of the felony complaints against Loeb -- fourth-degree grand larceny and two counts of third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Cottingham joined the force in 1993 and was featured in Newsday in 2007 as a decorated officer.
He could not be reached for comment.
Cottingham's retirement comes nearly three weeks after Loeb's defense attorney Toni Marie Angeli requested to be taken off the case.
The Garden City-based attorney told the court she had a conflict and asked to be removed. Riverhead-based attorney Daniel Barker now represents Loeb, who is due back in court Aug 6.
Angeli applied for the removal days after the FBI served nearly a dozen subpoenas to Suffolk police officers, detectives and headquarters personnel who may have direct knowledge or indirect knowledge of what happened the day of Loeb's arrest at his Smithtown home or at the Fourth Precinct where he was processed.
More subpoenas have been issued since and will continue to be served as the probe continues, sources said.
Loeb also faces charges of fourth- and fifth-degree possession of stolen property and seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance. He admitted to taking items from Burke's GMC Yukon in two statements to Cottingham.
Police and prosecutors say Loeb and Miguelez took a bag out of Burke's vehicle. Records show Burke's bag contained a gun belt, ammunition, cigars and other items.
Suffolk police Commissioner Ed Webber has declined to comment. Burke has denied any wrongdoing.
Guns most deadly choice in suicide attempts
While suicide attempts usually stem from temporary setbacks, access to guns makes the equation much more lethal — because those who choose a gun over pills, cutting or hanging almost never survive.
By Laura Ungar and Chris Kenning, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘USA Today’
(Edited for brevity and generic law enforcement pertinence)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- While the recent shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., have focused attention on the risks of the mentally ill using guns to hurt others, statistics show they are far more likely to turn guns on themselves.
Suicides, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of U.S. gun deaths in 2010, are on the rise throughout the nation, and in Kentucky, where guns are prevalent and easily accessible.
While suicide attempts usually stem from temporary setbacks that, in time, seem less dire, access to guns makes the equation much more lethal — because those who choose a gun over pills, cutting or hanging to end their life almost never survive.
Experts are divided on whether stricter gun controls are the answer to curbing suicides, but they agree that family and friends can best protect loved ones struggling with suicidal thoughts by helping keep guns out of their hands.
"Often when people make suicide attempts, they see no other way out because their thinking is impaired. ... They want the pain to stop. They want peace," said Ramona Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Bridgehaven Mental Health Services in Louisville. "When they use guns, that's a pretty lethal method."
Statistics drive home the point:
-- More than 38,000 Americans, including roughly 600 Kentuckians, take their lives each year, and those numbers are growing. From 1999 to 2010, suicide rates in Kentucky rose 22 percent to 14.2 deaths per 100,000 residents. Indiana's rate rose 26 percent, to 13.1 per 100,000; the U.S. rate rose 15 percent, to 12.1 per 100,000.
-- Guns are used in about half of U.S. suicides, compared with 64 percent in Kentucky. And suicides involving firearms are fatal 85 percent of the time, compared with less than 3 percent for pills, according to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.
-- Nine in 10 suicides are associated with mental illness, according to studies examining "psychiatric autopsies" of mental health history after death. But gun laws in Kentucky and Indiana allow all but a small fraction of the mentally ill to buy firearms from licensed dealers, or obtain them without restraints from family members, friends, gun shows or online.
-- For those who do survive a suicide attempt, studies show that 90 percent don't go on to die by their own hands later.
"Rage passes. Anxiety can calm," said Lanny Berman, executive director of the American Association of Suicidology. "Death doesn't lead to anywhere but death."
The gun debate
Advocates argue that the lethality of guns makes it paramount that more be done to keep them out of the hands of suicidal people.
They say studies back that up.
David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, has conducted studies linking states with higher gun ownership rates to higher overall suicides. Other researchers have also found an increased risk of suicide in homes with guns, typically two or more times higher than in homes without them.
Jan Ulrich, Kentucky's top suicide prevention coordinator, said it's not that guns cause suicides, but they are so lethal that there almost never is "a second chance."
But Gary Kleck, a professor of criminology at Florida State University, disputes the link between gun ownership rates and overall suicide rates. He said that link can easily disappear once other factors are weighed, such as divorce or alcohol consumption.
The National Rifle Association argues that those who want to attempt suicide will find a way if a gun isn't available, therefore rendering the issue of guns and suicide "not relevant to the debate over firearm laws."
Mental health professionals said they work to minimize access to guns, as well as other means, among those who are suicidal. Firearms are the most common means for men, poisoning for women, and suicide deaths are four times higher in males.
"We make every effort to have the patient give up the gun or give it to a relative under lock and key," Wright said.
Berman said he believes that message is circulating more widely and has helped push down suicide rates involving guns nationally — from about 65 percent 15 years ago to just over 50 percent today. The American Association of Suicidology recommends locking up guns and making sure ammunition is stored separately.
But Tony Zipple, president and chief executive officer of Seven Counties Services, goes further: "If I was the family member of a depressed person, I would not want a gun in the house. Period."
Murder-suicides are in a class by themselves
Mental health and justice experts say murder-suicides are the exception and that suicidal people are rarely a risk to others.
By Laura Ungar and Chris Kenning, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘USA Today’
(Edited for brevity and generic law enforcement pertinence)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Mental health and justice experts say murder-suicides are the exception and that suicidal people are rarely a risk to others — even when mental illness is a factor in both.
Studies estimate 1,000 to 1,500 murder-suicides occur per year in the United States — equating to less than 3 percent of the 54,623 suicides and homicides that took place nationally in 2010.
"It captures so much attention. But it's a pretty rare event," said Tony Zipple, president and chief executive officer of Seven Counties Services. "I think of it as very atypical."
Sabrina Walsh, director of the Kentucky Violent Death Reporting System, pointed to a study she co-wrote in 2005 which found that, between 1998 and 2000, just 3.2 percent of suicides in Kentucky were preceded by a homicide.
She and other experts say perpetrators in murder-suicides share characteristics. The vast majority are men, and many have mental disorders.
Most use guns; some studies say firearms are used more than 90 percent of the time in murder-suicides. The events tend to be spurred by domestic disputes and custody battles, with the man killing his female partner and often harming children as well.
The National Institute of Justice concurs, saying common characteristics of murder-suicide in families include a history of domestic violence, access to a gun, threats and a history of poor mental health or substance abuse, especially alcohol. In most cases, the man shows possessive, obsessive and jealous behavior, and tensions generally build before he kills, institute experts say.
"People think the person feels regret and kills themselves," Walsh said. "But these tend to be very premeditated and are often very violent."
Zipple said impulsiveness and substance abuse "are pretty common features," and up to half of murder-suicides involve divorce. Zipple said that, while mental illness is common among perpetrators, serious psychosis is not; the man is more likely to be depressed. Mental illness is thought to be a factor in nine out of 10 suicides overall.
Dzho-pix cop boost
By LAURA ITALIANO — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The New York Post’
A “Save Sgt. Sean Murphy” Facebook page has been created to support the Massachusetts cop who posted gritty photos of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to protest Tsarnaev’s glamorous Rolling Stone cover.
“I just said to myself, ‘You know, somebody has to stand up for Murphy,’ ” the Web site’s creator told The Post yesterday, as the site quickly neared its 40,000th online visit.
The state trooper was relieved of duty last week for releasing the evidence photos.
The “Save Sgt. Sean Murphy” site — which urges leniency as Murphy’s bosses weigh possible disciplinary action — features a mock-up of that same Rolling Stone cover, replacing Tsarnaev’s glowingly-lit image with a photo montage of the faces of the bombing’s victims.
“It just hit me very hard that this poor guy, Sgt. Murphy, is getting reprimanded and could lose his job,” said the Facebook page’s creator, a Massachusetts woman with ties to law enforcement who asked that just her first name, “Lisa,” be used for fear of “all the crazies out there.”
Thousands say: ‘Save’ Sean Murphy!
By: Antonio Planas — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The Boston Globe’
Facebook followers are lighting up the social media site by the thousands to support state police Sgt. Sean P. Murphy, who risks losing his job after leaking dramatic photos of the night accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was busted.
The page, called “Save Sgt. Sean Murphy,” garnered more than 21,000 clicks, or “likes,” as of last night.
Most of the Facebook faithful commented that Murphy made the right call by giving Boston magazine photos of Tsarnaev bleeding and dazed and emerging from the drydocked boat in Watertown, where police captured him April 19 after an intense manhunt.
It appears the online rallying cry might just help the embattled cop, who told Boston magazine he released the photos in retaliation to the Rolling Stone magazine cover of Tsarnaev that some said was too glamorous.
Tobe Berkovitz, a professor at the College of Communication at Boston University, said a public campaign in support of Murphy’s actions might help him.“It shows the public is sympathetic for what he did,” Berkovitz said.
“It can put pressure on public officials to basically cut him some slack.”Berkovitz said he believes Murphy had a “visceral reaction to what he thought was a glorification of an alleged terrorist.”
He added, Rolling Stone was practicing American “free enterprise,” drumming up publicity for dollars.
Some of the comments on the Facebook page included: “Thank you for your service, bravery and morals. You were there and the reality needs to be shown.” And, “Sean Murphy should be commended not condemned ... he and those who brought this to a conclusion should be honored and not harassed ... kudos and thank you.”
One person simply wrote: “Sgt Murphy is a true American Hero!!!”
Murphy, who was relieved of duty for a day, faces a hearing tomorrow to determine whether his suspension will continue as state police conduct an internal probe.
Releasing photos without authorization from Murphy’s supervisors drew criticism from some, including a sharp rebuke from U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office.
Legal experts have speculated it could jeopardize the government’s case against Tsarnaev.
Retired Chicago Police Commander and Convicted Torturer Jon Burge
Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The Chicago Tribune’ Editorial:
The travesty of paying Jon Burge
Halt the disgraced cop's pension checks
Chicago has reached another settlement with another victim of the notorious police crew that operated under former Cmdr. Jon Burge. The deal, approved Friday by the City Council Finance Committee, will pay $10 million to Eric Caine, who was beaten into confessing to a double murder and spent 25 years in prison before he was released in 2011.
All told, the city will have spent $70 million on settlements and legal fees related to Burge cases. The costs are likely to rise.
A reminder, then, of one of the many galling things about this: Chicago citizens still pay Jon Burge a pension.
He was never convicted in the systematic torture of crime suspects that took place for decades on his watch. He was convicted of lying about it.
And because he lied about it after he'd been fired for doing it, he's still entitled to more than $3,000 a month for life, according to the police pension board. The checks are still coming, even as Burge sits in prison, serving 41/2 years for perjury and obstruction of justice.
But the pension board's wacky decision could still be overturned. The Illinois Supreme Court will decide whether Attorney General Lisa Madigan can go to court to challenge it on behalf of taxpayers. A Cook County judge said she couldn't, but an appellate court disagreed.
If the Supreme Court sides with Madigan, then it's back to the lower court, where the case would be heard on its merits. That ought to take about five minutes.
The Illinois Pension Code states that retirement benefits shall not be paid to "any person who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with his services as a policeman." Incredibly, four members of the pension board — the four who were former or current cops — said that didn't apply.
"It wasn't on charges of what he did as a police officer," board President Kenneth Hauser said after the 2011 vote. "It was a lie that he made in front of a civil jury."
Never mind that Burge was testifying in a lawsuit brought by one of his many victims. Never mind that the lies he told were about the abuses he and those under his command used to coerce false confessions out of crime suspects. Those included hitting suspects with staplers, pointing loaded guns at them, applying electric shocks to their genitals and holding plastic bags over their heads.
Burge was never convicted of any of that. Police and prosecutors had insisted for years that the witnesses against him were unreliable. But the allegations kept piling up, and eventually he was fired — with full pension benefits. Later, a special prosecutor reviewed the evidence and concluded that the abuse occurred. But the statute of limitations had expired.
A federal prosecutor had to settle for charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, and Burge was convicted in 2011. But the pension board decided taxpayers should keep sending the checks.
So Madigan sued. It's her job to recover money that's disbursed in violation of the pension code, and she wasn't buying the board's twisted logic. Neither do we. Burge's actions as a police officer clearly gave rise to the lies that resulted in felony charges. He forfeited his pension when he was convicted.
Cook County Circuit Judge Rita Novak didn't rule on that question. Novak said the case had to be appealed through administrative channels, not in court — and that Madigan couldn't do so because she didn't participate in the hearing. Surely the authors of the pension code did not intend to require the attorney general to attend every pension board hearing in order to preserve taxpayers' right to appeal.
Everything about the Burge saga is a travesty. His actions, first and foremost. The shameful failure of his supervisors to hold him accountable. Many of his victims have spent decades in prison — some on death row — for crimes they say they didn't commit. Some of them have had their convictions overturned; others could wait many years before their appeals are resolved. Burge, meanwhile, gets out in 2015.
Taxpayers have spent millions of dollars defending him and millions more to compensate his victims. They shouldn't have to bankroll his retirement, too.
Immigration Enforcement / Illegal Aliens
Border security faults may be result of poor analysis
Homeland Security ignores data it collects on illegal crossings, critics say
By Bob Ortega and Brenna Goth — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The Arizona Republic’ / Phoenix, AZ
AGUA PRIETA, Sonora - Three times in the past month, Paloma Flores Lopez has been caught by the Border Patrol crossing into the U.S. illegally. She’s spent $8,000 on “coyotes,” or guides, to take her across. Now Flores, 26, has to decide: Will she try again?
She knows the dangers. But she says she sees a chance for a better life in the United States that she doesn’t see in Michoacan, where she’s from, or in Tijuana, where she lived briefly before trying to cross in Agua Prieta, where an 18-foot-tall steel fence looms between Mexico and Douglas, Ariz.
So, said Flores, flipping her pony tail, “I have to try.”
As Congress weighs whether to pin immigration reform on reaching a threshold of border security, the measure most often cited would call on the Department of Homeland Security to stop 90 percent of illegal border crossings. Doing that means figuring out how to persuade people like Flores not to try again and stopping others headed for el norte from slipping over the border.
That, in turn, hinges on solid answers to such questions as: How many people actually get through? Where do they get across? When they’re caught, do they give up or keep trying until they make it?
Homeland Security officials don’t fully know the answers to those questions. And the reason, say leading migration researchers, is that DHS officials don’t want to know, and don’t want the public to know, either.
“There is zero interest in that kind of analysis among DHS’ leadership,” said economist Bryan Roberts, who served as the agency’s assistant director of the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation until 2010. “There was no interest when I was there, and there still isn’t any.”
Among the kinds of findings outside researchers are seeing that they say the DHS ought to be examining are:
Three-quarters or more of migrants who set out to cross make it. Even when they’re caught, detained for days or weeks, or deported hundreds of miles from where they crossed, most simply keep trying until they succeed.
Tough “consequence” programs, imposing more and tougher criminal penalties on crossers, are very expensive and don’t seem to be an effective deterrent.
The billions of dollars spent on fences, thousands more agents, and high-tech surveillance have pushed migrants into more remote regions, driving up the number who die each year. But when it comes to stopping migrants or getting them not to try, the fences and agents pale compared with factors such as how the U.S. economy is doing, or how scared migrants are of the drug cartels in northern Mexico.
Over the past four years, more undocumented migrants have left the United States than have entered.
Roberts and several other researchers said that the DHS doesn’t have the answers because it doesn’t jointly analyze data from the Border Patrol, which works between ports of entry; Customs and Border Protection, which works at ports of entry; and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, which works across the interior of the country.
Not looking at the big picture makes it harder for the DHS to figure out whether, say, to build more fences or focus on interior enforcement, the researchers said. And there’s little pressure on the DHS to work with outside experts or better analyze its data to figure out what has worked and what hasn’t.
In response to written queries from The Republic, DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard issued a statement last week that “DHS measures success utilizing many metrics, each of which paints a different portion of the overall border security picture and each of which informs tactical decision making.”
Boogaard noted that the Obama administration has made “significant investments in border security” and that “dozens of metrics we use every day clearly demonstrate significant progress and improved quality of life at the border.” Boogaard would not address any specific questions.
It is clear that the past seven years have seen an unprecedented investment in border security, topping $106 billion. There’s also no dispute that apprehensions, often seen as a rough proxy for crossings, have fallen by 66 percent since 2006. And the Border Patrol, its parent agency Customs and Border Protection and the department they’re part of, Homeland Security, gather reams of data on migrants they apprehend or spot. But researchers say that the DHS and its agencies seem to take a don’t-ask, don’t-tell approach to data that might lead to politically troublesome conclusions.
The immigration bill passed last month by the Senate, now languishing as the House weighs its own measures, would evaluate border security using an “effectiveness rate” based on data that the DHS and its agencies won’t release to the public. The bill would provide more than $46 billion and nearly double the size of the Border Patrol by adding 19,200 agents along the Mexico border over the next eight years, to help the agency reach a 90 percent effectiveness rate.
That rate is meant to show how effectively the Border Patrol prevents illegal crossings. To estimate the number of illegal crossings, the Border Patrol adds up three figures: apprehensions; “turn-backs” (people spotted starting to cross who turned back to avoid getting caught); and “got-aways” (people detected by agents or surveillance equipment but not caught). A 90 percent effectiveness rate means nine apprehensions and turn-backs for each got-away.
The Border Patrol doesn’t release information on turn-backs or got-aways to the public, just apprehensions; and it admits that the effectiveness rate is a flawed yardstick. Among other gaps, it can’t account for crossers whom agents don’t see. And because the Border Patrol works between ports of entry, its rate doesn’t include those who cross illegally at ports of entry, either hidden in vehicles or using false documents.
The Government Accountability Office, in a report last December, published previously unreleased data showing that the Border Patrol’s effectiveness rate for fiscal 2011 was 84 percent. By that yardstick, getting to 90 percent isn’t a huge stretch, noted former DHS official Roberts.
The Border Patrol hasn’t released turn-back or got-away data for fiscal 2012, and hadn’t responded by deadline to The Republic’s request for that information.
Outside researchers say efforts to come up with a better approach to accounting for undocumented migration run smack into Homeland Security’s unwillingness to let academics analyze its data.
Last year, for example, a panel of leading statisticians, economists and demographers at the National Academy of Sciences conducted a study on illegal immigration at the request of Homeland Security. But the DHS refused to provide the panel key apprehension data, such as coded fingerprint figures that would identify precise numbers of repeat crossers. The DHS had demanded that researchers promise not to disclose that data to the public. Panel members said keeping the information classified would impair the quality of their work; they declined, and didn’t get the data.
That study, which included data from Mexican governmental sources and previous U.S. academic studies, suggested that about three-quarters of those who decide to cross keep trying until they make it. Other outside studies have found 85 or even 90 percent make it.
“Almost everybody who really tries eventually gets in,” said Jeffrey Passel, a member of the panel and a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, D.C., that studies the U.S. Hispanic population.
The National Academy of Sciences study essentially was ignored in presentations that the DHS gave to the Senate earlier this year during the immigration-reform debate, said the study’s panel members.
They said the DHS was not eager to draw attention to the study’s findings even though it paid for the report. “In a sense, it throws a monkey wrench into the discussions on immigration. I’m totally for immigration reform, but this report would make Republicans giddy and Democrats go, ‘Oh, crap,’ ” said Alicia Carriquiry, a professor of statistics at Iowa State University and a co-author of the study.
The massive buildup in border security may make some difference in reducing illegal immigration, the researchers said. For example, independent research suggests that many migrants who might have tried to cross in the past now look at the dangers and don’t set out in the first place. Those people don’t show up in Border Patrol or DHS data.
But Carriquiry and several other researchers said they’re frustrated that enormous decisions about future spending on border security are being made with little or no reference to research.
“The effectiveness rate is pretty deceptive,” Carriquiry said. “There is a lot of data one could use to get a much better idea of the probability of successful crossing, and those data are being held very close to the vest by DHS.”
Researchers say similar data was ignored in the last go-round on immigration reform, in 2006 and 2007, when a bill passed the Senate but failed in the House. Instead, lawmakers ramped up border security: building fences, hiring thousands of new Border Patrol agents, and acquiring billions of dollars in new technology.
At that time, CBP asked the Homeland Security Institute, a federally funded research center, to study border-crossing recidivism and the likelihood of apprehending crossers. The study found that, from 2001 to 2005, when border security and the consequences imposed on crossers were both relatively slight, the likelihood of being apprehended on any crossing attempt was about 35 percent, according to sources familiar with the study. But to this day, that study, completed in 2007, remains classified as “law-enforcement sensitive.”
“The department doesn’t want to release it, and they have the final say,” said Joe Chang, the author of the report and a corporate fellow at what is now called the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. Chang said he worked almost continuously on expanding and updating that study year after year; but all of that work remains classified, too.
It isn’t clear what impact, if any, that study had on the DHS’ border-security strategy during the buildup, which created 652 miles of fencing and pushed migrants into more remote and dangerous areas.
More than two years ago, the DHS promised Congress that it would create a new Border Conditions Index to measure more accurately the impact of the additional agents, fences and other infrastructure on a range of border-security issues. But in March, as the immigration-reform debate got under way, officials told Congress that they couldn’t report any progress on the index. At the time, DHS spokesman Boogaard said that declining apprehension numbers showed that “we’re heading in the right direction.”
Apprehensions have dropped dramatically in recent years, from more than 1 million in 2006 to fewer than 365,000 last year.
Meanwhile, since about 2008, at least as many undocumented immigrants have gone back to Mexico as have come north, said Passel, the demographer, for a net flow of zero.
Other researchers see a stronger flow south. Roberts estimates that, based on apprehension data and surveys of migrants in Mexico, between 250,000 and 270,000 undocumented migrants likely entered the United States last year. By comparison, Customs and Border Protection deported just under 410,000 people last fiscal year.
That balance likely will change, say some researchers, as the U.S. economy slowly recovers. So far this year, the Border Patrol has reported a 13 percent increase in apprehensions of illegal border crossers compared with a year ago, though numbers remain near historic lows. And that rise doesn’t necessarily mean overall crossings are up to a similar degree — because many apprehensions are repeats, the same person is being caught several times.
Out of 365,000 Border Patrol apprehensions last fiscal year, barely half, 183,000, were of people being apprehended for the first time, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the non-profit news organization Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, Calif. The rest were people caught at least for the second time, and 21,000 had been caught six or more times, the center said.
To discourage crossers, the Border Patrol uses what it calls consequence programs. These include more criminal prosecutions, tougher penalties, and moves to make it harder to come right back, by transporting those caught hundreds of miles either to another part of the border or back south to their hometowns in Mexico.
But the programs have proven expensive, and the prosecutions have clogged federal courts. Last year, immigration cases made up more than 40 percent of all federal prosecutions nationwide, according to the Department of Justice. In high-traffic border sectors such as Tucson, prosecutors have had to limit immigration prosecutions to no more than 70 a day.
As a result, many migrants don’t get hit with these penalties. Paloma Flores Lopez, for example, said she and her sister were held 24 hours, then sent right back across to Agua Prieta all three times they were caught trying to cross last month.
That’s common. One recent morning, at the modest Migrant Resource Center in Agua Prieta, less than 100 feet from the border fence, volunteers passed out homemade burritos and cups of coffee to eight migrants, sweating and fanning themselves in a room that has no air-conditioning. One woman hadn’t crossed yet. Five of the other seven had been caught trying to cross at least twice in prior weeks.
“My husband wants me to try again; I haven’t seen him for eight years, since he went north,” said Lilia Garcia, from the Mexican state of Guerrero.
She’d been caught two times in eight days, she said. Both times, she walked at night with a group several hours out of Agua Prieta, crossed the fence, and then headed to Douglas. “I think two times is enough. My husband wants me to keep trying, but I want to go back home,” she said.
Keep trying to cross
Garcia’s inclination to give up is unusual, say researchers.
David FitzGerald, a sociologist at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California-San Diego, is part of a project that since 2005 regularly surveys three towns in central and southern Mexico that send large numbers of undocumented migrants north.
“Consistently, the vast majority keep trying until they get across,” often paying for door-to-door service from coyotes, FitzGerald said. “In our most recent survey, in January 2013, about 85 percent of those who try to cross are getting across.”
At the same time, he says, the surveys show evidence of what he calls “remote deterrence,” people deciding not to set out. The top two issues people cite, he said, are a belief the U.S. economy is still bad (making it harder to find work), and fear of running afoul of the drug cartels that control northern Mexico.
“People aren’t afraid of being caught by the Border Patrol; they’re afraid of physical harm and death,” FitzGerald said. “Fear of crime along the border is the most important fear. The terrible things that have happened are very well publicized even in the smallest villages.”
And people fear dying of exposure or thirst in the desert.
“To the extent that U.S. policy has any effect, it’s based on the fact that our current policy is channeling migrants into remote areas where they’re dying at the rate of more than one a day,” he said.
Their research also suggests that the Border Patrol “consequences” programs make little difference. Even the long bans imposed on migrants who sign voluntary-departure orders, barring them from legally entering the United States for five or 10 years or longer, have little effect, said Wayne Cornelius, founder of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and a political-science professor at UC-San Diego. He has researched Mexican migration for 38 years.
“Factors like family reunification trump fears of incarceration or prosecution. If you have children or spouses in the U.S., that’s going to trump everything else. If you have a desperate economic situation in Mexico, and you can’t feed your family, that’s going to trump any fears of enhanced consequences,” Cornelius said.
“U.S. policy has consistently underestimated the sheer determination, the sheer tenacity of Mexicans once they have made that decision. They will find a way to rationalize the costs and the risks and to borrow the money to make the trip, and to persist until they succeed.”
Where researchers find a deterrent effect, there are significant trade-offs.
Pia Orrenius, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, has studied Operation Streamline, a controversial policy calling for criminally prosecuting nearly all undocumented crossers. First-time crossers receive sentences of up to six months; second-time crossers are subject to felony prosecutions and much longer sentences before being deported. That program began in 2005 on part of the Texas border, and the next year in Arizona’s Yuma Sector, but has since been extended to most of the border.
As the policy was rolled out across more and more of the border, the deterrence effect vanished.
“Once most of the sectors implemented the policy, there was no overall negative effect on apprehensions,” said Orrenius. She said that having to serve jail sentences does seem to matter, “but it’s also the most costly for the U.S. government.”
Last fiscal year, the U.S. spent about $2 billion detaining undocumented immigrants, at an average cost of $164 per day per person, according to the DHS.
A study published in May by the Congressional Research Service detailed how aggressively the U.S. government has pursued its consequence programs: In fiscal 2005, more than three-fourths of those apprehended were granted voluntary returns, which allows them to avoid criminal charges. Last fiscal year, fewer than one in seven was granted a voluntary return — with seven out of eight getting some combination of criminal prosecution, formal removal or being transported hundreds of miles from their original crossing point.
Even as apprehensions along the border fell by 58 percent from 2007 to 2012, the absolute total number of criminal prosecutions and other enforcement actions taken against migrants climbed by 60 percent, to nearly 453,000. (Some people were subject to more than one type of enforcement action.)
But researchers continue debating the impact of these programs, with many suggesting that, in the end, they are not proving particularly effective at discouraging crossers.
“Look at it this way,” says Bryan Roberts, the economist. “Imagine if you could triple your salary by emigrating illegally to Canada. ... We have a wage gap of at least three to one with Mexico. It’s very hard to fight against that.”
One can hear echoes of that notion in conversations with would-be crossers at the Migrant Resource Center in Douglas.
“It’s hard because one comes to escape from Mexico. There’s a lot of poverty, corruption, narco traffic,” says Ivan Pacheco, 28, from Teotihuacan, in central Mexico, puffing on a cigarette outside the shelter. “I want to get ahead honestly, not by getting on with the mafia. But I don’t see a way to get ahead here.”
Pacheco says he’d like to join his brother in Utah. He crossed nine years ago, in Tijuana, without any problems. Pacheco has been apprehended twice by the Border Patrol trying to cross in recent days. The first time he signed a five-year voluntary deportation. The second time he says he had to sign a 20-year ban. He’d never been in any trouble with the law before, he said. But he sees little choice but to try again.
“I’ve been without work eight months,” he says, with a shrug. “Before that I worked in a paper factory. I earned 700 pesos a week ($55), working six days a week. You’re working to eat, nothing more.”
Why Adding 21,000 Border Patrol Is A Dysfunctional Plan That Will Waste Billions
By Richard Finger — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘Forbes Magazine’ / New York, NY
Excerpt; desired to read the article in its entirety, go to:
Today’s second segment in our three part series will focus on law enforcement on our border. Since our experts are from Texas, that will be our main geographic area of focus.
Some background is in order.
It should be clear that today all of our border law enforcement agencies come under the purview of Homeland Security. It wasn’t always so. The main divisions of enforcement today are, Border Patrol (BP), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In the old days before the Patriot Act and Homeland Security the Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (which was changed to ICE when Homeland Security arrived) were both controlled by the Justice Department.
The U.S. Customs Service (now renamed CBP), was governed by the Treasury Department. Let’s be clear, the official number one mission statement per Homeland Security of all of these agencies is to stop terrorism….. Not interdicting illegal immigrants and drug trafficking…..but catching terrorists.
In the pre-Homeland era, Border Patrol had a mission to stop people from crossing the borders. The Customs Service (now the Customs and border Protection) are the people who man the bridges and other points of entry.
The Immigration Naturalization Service, now the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is the investigative arm to enforce customs laws and are now America’s second largest law enforcement agency behind the FBI.
Now that we are confused, let’s get started.
Math Behind Leak Crackdown: 153 Cases, 4 Years, 0 Indictments
By SHARON LaFRANIERE — Sunday, July 21st, 2013 ‘The New York Times’
Soon after President Obama appointed him director of national intelligence in 2009, Dennis C. Blair called for a tally of the number of government officials or employees who had been prosecuted for leaking national security secrets. He was dismayed by what he found.
In the previous four years, the record showed, 153 cases had been referred to the Justice Department. Not one had led to an indictment.
That scorecard “was pretty shocking to all of us,” Mr. Blair said. So in a series of phone calls and meetings, he and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. fashioned a more aggressive strategy to punish anyone who leaked national security information that endangered intelligence-gathering methods and sources.
“My background is in the Navy, and it is good to hang an admiral once in a while as an example to the others,” said Mr. Blair, who left the administration in 2010. “We were hoping to get somebody and make people realize that there are consequences to this and it needed to stop.”
The Obama administration has done its best to define those consequences, with an aggressive focus on leaks and leakers that has led to more than twice as many prosecutions as there were in all previous administrations combined. It also led to a significant legal victory on Friday when a federal appeals court accepted the Justice Department’s argument that the First Amendment does not protect reporters from having to reveal the sources suspected of leaking information to them.
In tracing the origins of this effort, present and former government officials said the focus on leaks began at the administration’s highest levels and was driven by pressure from the intelligence agencies and members of Congress.
An unprecedented cascade of disclosures, including hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks, according to these officials, gave the search for leakers a growing sense of urgency, while technological advances made the job of finding them easier. And prosecutors — until recently — were given more latitude to comb through journalists’ records to hunt for suspects.
The charges filed last month against Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor now holed up in a Moscow airport, are the seventh leak-related prosecution brought by the Justice Department. And the department’s next case may be aimed at just the kind of top-level target that Mr. Blair said he had hoped for: James E. Cartwright, a retired general who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until August 2011. General Cartwright has been identified as a focus of an investigation into the disclosure of classified information about American-led cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program.
Supporters of the crackdown — even those with qualms about seeking evidence from journalists — say a culture of leaking must be reined in to protect covert sources and high-risk intelligence operations and reassure allies that it is safe to share intelligence.
“Somebody finally said this has got to stop,” said John D. Negroponte, a former diplomat and director of national intelligence under George W. Bush. “Maybe if there are more prosecutions, it will.”
But critics argue that the Cartwright case, and now the appeals court ruling, show how the anti-leak campaign has gone too far, producing a chilling effect on news gathering without deterring leakers. Mr. Snowden has said he was inspired by the deeds of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is facing a court-martial after divulging the diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.
“I think it has gotten away from them,” said Morton H. Halperin, who served in national security or diplomatic positions in three previous administrations. “If the president doesn’t fix this, I think his claim that he understands the importance of balancing the First Amendment against claims of national security will lack any credibility.”
Implicitly at least, Mr. Holder seemed to acknowledge some of the criticism this month when he restored and bolstered longstanding Justice Department restraints on seeking evidence from journalists. He said those restrictions “will help ensure the proper balance is struck when pursuing investigations into unauthorized disclosures.”
Mr. Holder’s move came in response to a torrent of criticism after the revelations this spring that prosecutors had secretly subpoenaed the phone logs for more than 20 phone lines of The Associated Press in one leak inquiry and two days of phone logs of a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, in another investigation aimed at a State Department adviser, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Prosecutors also obtained a court-ordered search warrant for Mr. Rosen’s e-mails by identifying him as a criminal co-conspirator of Mr. Kim’s.
But Mr. Holder’s conciliatory message was seemingly undermined by the Justice Department’s success in overturning a lower court’s ruling that a reporter for The New York Times, James Risen, had a First Amendment right to refuse to reveal his sources in the trial of a former C.I.A. analyst, Jeffrey Sterling. Mr. Sterling was charged in 2010 with disclosing classified information to Mr. Risen about a covert operation to deceive Iranian scientists described in Mr. Risen’s 2006 book, “State of War.”
Mr. Risen has previously vowed to go to jail to protect his sources. On Saturday he said in a statement, “I remain as resolved as ever to continue fighting.”
The targeting of General Cartwright in the investigation of disclosures about cyberattacks on Iran also represents an escalation of effort. If charged, he would be by far the most senior official ever to face criminal prosecution for divulging information to the news media. Other high-ranking officials have faced minor criminal charges for mishandling information, but only low-to-mid-level analysts, contract workers and technicians have been indicted on charges of releasing secrets to journalists.
The closest parallel would be the case against I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted in 2007 of lying to a federal grand jury and to F.B.I. agents investigating the unmasking of a covert C.I.A. operative to a newspaper columnist.
“The Cartwright case stands alone,” said Steven Aftergood, who studies government secrecy for the nonprofit Federation of American Scientists. “It is a sign that the administration is not backing off its anti-leak crusade. It is still going full tilt.”
General Cartwright has not commented on the reports that he is being investigated, but his lawyer, Gregory B. Craig, has said any suggestion that his client betrayed his country is “preposterous.”
President Bush also faced damaging leaks during his tenure. But his Justice Department prosecuted only one official under the Espionage Act for disclosing national security secrets, a Pentagon analyst first investigated in 2004 and convicted in 2006. As a conservative, President Bush would have faced a greater public backlash had he sought to imprison leakers, said Gabriel Schoenfeld, a senior scholar with the Hudson Institute, a conservative-leaning research organization.
Mr. Bush “was not willing to spend the political capital,” Mr. Schoenfeld said. “This president is very hawkish on this.”
So far, the Obama administration has won two felony convictions for unauthorized disclosure of national security secrets. Private Manning has also pleaded guilty to 10 offenses and is now being tried in military court on others. A fourth felony prosecution crumbled, producing a minor misdemeanor conviction, and Mr. Holder has privately said he regrets pursuing it.
In June, Mr. Holder said his department’s record number of leak prosecutions was a logical legal response to an increase in both the number and seriousness of leaks. But in interviews, former prosecutors and other administration and Congressional officials offered a different perspective.
Though the Justice Department issued no explicit directive to pursue leakers more vigorously, according to these officials, the climate in which leaks were judged changed markedly as a new team of national security officials joined the Obama administration and quickly ran head-on into what it saw as distressing lapses in controlling state secrets.
“There was a lot of pressure to use every possible investigative tool,” said one senior former prosecutor who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak for the Justice Department.
According to Mr. Blair, the effort got under way after Fox News reported in June 2009 that American intelligence had gleaned word from within North Korea of plans for an imminent nuclear test — a disclosure that eventually led to the indictment of Mr. Kim. The report infuriated the Central Intelligence Agency not only because it indicated that the United States was privy to the private discussions of North Korean leaders, but also because it was broadcast mere hours after a classified report with that information had been distributed to intelligence officials.
In subsequent meetings and phone calls, Mr. Blair said, he and Mr. Holder, who declined a request for an interview, agreed that leaks were flourishing partly because the government was too passive in addressing them. Of 153 referrals to the Justice Department of national security leaks during President Bush’s second term, only 24 had led to F.B.I. investigations. In half of those cases, investigators had identified suspects, but none of them had faced charges, although two investigations were in an advanced stage and ultimately produced indictments in 2010.
Mr. Holder’s “attitude, the same as mine, was to speed up the process and make it more effective,” Mr. Blair said. “So, yes, that would mean more aggressive prosecution.”
The Justice Department imposed a tight deadline to decide whether to open criminal inquiries into leaks, shortening to just three weeks a review process that had often dragged on for months. Leaks considered unworthy of prosecution were marked for administrative inquiries. Underscoring the administration’s determination, Robert M. Bryant, Mr. Blair’s national counterintelligence executive, was put in charge of stanching leaks.
The White House has kept a careful distance from the Justice Department prosecutions, but President Obama seemed unwavering in his support for them. When government transparency advocates told him in March 2011 that chasing whistle-blowers was sullying his record, the president disagreed, saying some disclosures had been very damaging to national security.
And members of Congress continuously clamored for a tougher approach. At a closed hearing in December 2009, members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, led by Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, scolded Mr. Holder, Mr. Blair and the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller, saying they had not adequately protected national security secrets.
“A tipping point was reached in 2009,” said one knowledgeable Senate aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not an official spokesman. “There was an official change of policy.”
Mr. Blair said, “We had to do 50 push-ups and promise to do better.”
Past overreaching notwithstanding, the Cartwright investigation suggests that zeal has not waned.
The inquiry was prompted by a detailed account of a series of United States- and Israeli-led cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program, in a June 2012 article in The New York Times and in a book published days later, both by David E. Sanger, a Times reporter. Part of the operation, called Olympic Games, was revealed two years earlier because of a programming error, but much of it remained highly classified, setting off an aggressive search for the source or sources of Mr. Sanger’s information.
Lucy A. Dalglish, a media lawyer and the dean of journalism at the University of Maryland, says that case and others carry a strong message.
“They are not going to give up on national security investigations, and they are still going to go after reporters’ information if they think they need to,” she said.
Ashley Southall contributed reporting.