Given the FBI’s skill at cultivating terrorists to arrest and indict, you’d think it would have done a better job handling the planned terrorist attack in Garland, Texas. The two shooters were killed by local police before they could kill any attendees at a “Draw Mohammed” event thrown by anti-Muslim activist (and bumbling litigant) Pam Geller. The FBI appears to prefer “hunting” terrorists who are about 90% talk and 10% insolvent. The list of FBI terrorism busts includes senior citizens, people with cognitive disabilities, and wannabe ISIS militants so terrifying they can’t even talk their mom into giving them their passport back so they can go fight for ISIS. When faced with suspects with coherent plans and firepower, the FBI simply motors away from ground zero. Literally. A 60 Minutes investigation into the Garland shooting reveals the FBI was on top of the suspects for several years, but failed to prevent the attack from being carried out. Elton Simpson, one of the shooters, was in constant contact with an FBI informant, and had been tracked on and off by the feds since 2006.
Dabla Deng spent three years pretending to be Simpson s friend, and was paid $132,000 by the FBI. He taped more than 1,500 hours of their conversations and finally recorded him talking about traveling overseas to wage jihad. Simpson lied to the FBI about it and got three years probation.
The time and money spent were ultimately useless. The FBI closed its file on Simpson in 2014, but reopened it after Simpson began talking up terrorism in social media posts. Less than three weeks before the 2015 Garland attack, the FBI was back undercover, in contact with Simpson. These details were uncovered by a lawyer for Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem. Kareem was a friend of Simpson’s and was convicted on material support and conspiracy charges. Multiple pages of declassified text messages not only showed the FBI was in contact with Simpson in the weeks leading up to the attack, but was actually present at the event that drew the attack.
[T]his past November, [attorney Dan] Maynard was given another batch of documents by the government, revealing the biggest surprise of all. The undercover FBI agent was in a car directly behind Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi when they started shooting.
Faced with an actual terrorist attack, the FBI agent took off, leaving local police to fend off the well-armed attackers. The undercover agent was arrested at gunpoint by cops a short distance away. Now, there may be legitimate reasons for an undercover not to get involved in a shootout. He may not have had the proper training or the weapons on hand to make a difference. But it’s definitely not a good look to arrive on scene of an attack featuring suspects you’re intimately familiar with and drive away when the bullets start flying. Especially not when the agent has stopped long enough to see the suspects exit their vehicle with weapons and, for some reason, to take a cell phone photo of the two people who would be shot at first: a school security guard and a local police officer. The FBI won’t explain what happened or why it happened. It refuses to discuss the closed investigation and claims no one at the agency had any advance knowledge of the planned attack — which presumably includes the special agent working undercover and present at the scene.
This would be the same agent whose text messages have been turned over to attorney Dan Maynard. Those appear to show the FBI had some advance knowledge of the planned shooting. The only obvious explanation for the FBI’s claim that there was no foreknowledge (other than the agency is just lying) is that it saw the communications but wasn’t convinced they were serious enough to act on. There’s a lot of gray area between talking big and being willing to carry out a terrorist attack. The FBI is never going to be able to make the correct judgment call in every situation. The problem is the FBI definitely appears to prefer pushing trash talkers into making terrorist attack supply runs at the local Wal-Mart or plane tickets to Turkey and busting them as soon as it ticks enough boxes for a successful prosecution. In doing so, its anti-terrorism skills aren’t improving. Real threats will slip through while people who would find it difficult to hold down a job, much less plan and carry out a terrorist attack, are being indicted, convicted, and served up as testaments to the FBI’s anti-terrorism skills. But in Garland, Texas — where real terrorists with a sizable supply of weapons and a coherent attack plan opened fire — the FBI was not only on the scene, but left as soon as it became obvious there was an attack taking place. No matter the reason, this isn’t a good look for an agency whose counterterrorism reputation is built on dozens of super-safe busts.
- ^ cultivating terrorists (www.techdirt.com)
- ^ bumbling litigant (www.techdirt.com)
- ^ 10% insolvent (www.techdirt.com)
- ^ senior citizens (www.techdirt.com)
- ^ with cognitive disabilities (www.techdirt.com)
- ^ talk their mom into giving them their passport back (www.foxnews.com)
- ^ reveals the FBI was on top of the suspects for several years (www.cbsnews.com)
The Pennsylvania Railroad built a stop at Altoona in 1849 and founded a town that is now home to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Armory Operations. ICE Armory Operations handles the acquisition, testing, issuance and maintenance of all ICE-owned firearms, law enforcement equipment and ammunition. In addition to ICE components Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the armory services Department of Homeland Security components such as the Federal Protective Service (FPS), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The armory is part of ICE s newly integrated Office of Training and Tactical Programs (OTTP) and has two primary components: the ballistics laboratory and the armory section.
The ballistics laboratory is responsible for the technical evaluation of firearms, optics, firearms accessories and law enforcement equipment issued to ICE agents and officers. The personnel in the ballistics laboratory test weapons and approximately 100 lots of ammunition per year to ensure that all weaponry and supplies used by ICE are in excellent working condition. Armory Operations Supervisory Special Agent Robert L. Burgess explained: We make sure everything that goes out to the field is safe, performs well and does what it is supposed to do. Lowell Johnson, supervisory engineer of the testing laboratory, finds it easy to stay motivated and excited about his work: Many of us here are former military and combat veterans. With our prior service comes a certain urgency we have in doing our job and doing it to the best of our ability to support the people in the field.
The personnel in the armory are equipment specialist ordinants. They receive weapons directly from the manufacturer, log them into inventory, dismantle weapons and check them for defects. They also receive damaged or end-of-life weapons from the field and re-condition or retire each one as needed. The armory section conducts hundreds of firearms examinations and repairs or rebuilds thousands of firearms each year. James Carmany, special agent and armory supervisor, enjoys the technical aspects of the firearm program including testing, evaluating and preparing different guns. He said, I especially like studying what went wrong with a particular weapon to figure out how to prevent mishaps in the future. In a typical month, armory operations will receive and field 320 new weapons, receive, repair and return to the field 289 weapons, receive and process more than 728 parcels containing law enforcement equipment, weapon replacement parts and cleaning kits, receive 397,000 rounds of ammunition, and ship to the field 279,000 rounds of ammunition. The total weight of products shipped in and out of ICE Armory Operations per month usually exceeds 15,500 pounds.
Carmany has confidence in the armory personnel: They all know they may be working with a gun that may save someone s life someday. They don t know which gun it is, so they treat each one impeccably.
They understand that someday a person s life may depend on the firearm they hold in their hands, he said.
By Jay Cope | NAS Whiting Field Public Affairs
Cmdr. Joseph McGilley, USCG, has turned over command of Training Squadron TWO (VT-2) to Cmdr. Zachariah Aperauch, USN. The transition occurred during a March 24 Change of Command ceremony in the Naval Air Station Whiting Field North Field hangar. Retired U.S. Coast Guard Capt. William D. Cameron served as guest speaker for the traditional event, which allows for assembled crew, staff, friends and guests to welcome the new commander while also recognizing the outgoing leader s achievements. McGilley s leadership led VT-2 to fly more than 30,000 flight hours in the completion of more than 18,800 sorties. This dedication to training enabled the squadron to complete 350 Student Aviators through the Primary Flight Training syllabus during his command tour.
His unwavering commitment to professionalism and instruction were evidenced in the unit s selection for the chief of Naval Air Training s 2014 Training Excellence Award, the 2015 Commander Theodore G. Ellyson Aviator Production Excellence Award, and a grade of Outstanding on the 2016 Chief of Naval Air Training Flight Instructor Standardization inspection, a Whiting Field media release states.
Commanding VT-2 was the latest stop on a 20-year military aviation career that began in March 1997 in Pensacola and Milton with his primary flight training with VT-2. He winged as a helicopter pilot from Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHT before being stationed in Clearwater, Fla., where he flew the HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter. Since then he served tours at Coast Guard Stations in San Diego; Elizabeth City, N.C.; Astoria, Ore.; and the USCG Office of Aeronautical Engineering. McGilley also completed advanced education at Purdue University s Graduate School of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.
Aperauch will draw upon his 17 years of naval service and experience. His career began after graduating from Old Dominion University in 1999 and earning his commission from Officer Candidate School in May 2000. He has served tours with the Vanguard of HM-14; AWSTS as a fleet replacement squadron instructor; Joint Staff J7 division; and the USS San Antonio (LPD 17).
He earned a master s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Joint Forces Staff College.
Cmdr. Mark A. Jackson, USCG, will replace Aperauch as the squadron s executive officer.