Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 14, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on March 14, 2014

On this day in 1907 the Ohio River began three days of extraordinary flooding between Wheeling and Cincinnati. More than thirty were killed, thousands were left homeless, economic losses were significant.

On this day in 2011, three days after the initial earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan, at about 1100 hours (local time) the Fukushima Unit 3 Reactor building explodes injuring six workers. Two hours later the reactor core isolation cooling system for Reactor 2 stops and water levels within the reactor start falling. At about 1500 hours a major portion of the fuel in Reactor 3 drops to the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel. Before midnight core damage is reported in Reactor 2.

On this day in 2004 the Spanish General Elections were held three days after the Madrid train bombings in which 191 died and over 2000 were injured. The electoral rejection of the ruling party was claimed by some to advance terrorist intentions.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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36 Comments »

Comment by John Comiskey

March 14, 2014 @ 3:59 am

Prequel: NYPD HLS-what ifs

How the NYPD’s Intelligence Enterprise emerged is on this bloggers mind.

This post is a continuation or rather a prequel to last week’s post. The goal is to promote the practice of thinking about the unthinkable. See: http://www.hlswatch.com/2014/03/07/friday-free-forum-45/

This blogger was once asked by a former high-ranking CIA official:

How does NYPD, a local police department, set up shop in Tel Aviv, Amman, Abu Dhabi, and elsewhere?

“Because we are the NYPD,” this blogger said.

The official nodded. Many in the room also nodded suggesting at least tacit approval. Others frowned suggesting NYPD overreach or even hubris.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001 the NYPD established what this blogger called the NYPD Intelligence Enterprise-A Smart Practice. See https://www.hsdl.org/?search&collection=limited&fct&so=date&submitted=Search&tabsectionmore=true&tabsection=Thesis+(CHDS)&page=8&format=pdf

How did NYPD, one of approximately 18,000 state, local, and tribal police departments establish an Intelligence Enterprise with global reach?

Pre-9/11 NYPD-what-if prequels help explain the “because we are the NYPD” mindset.

What might have been had the NYPD done otherwise just prior to, during, and just after the American Civil War?

What if NYC Metropolitan Police General Superintendent John Kennedy did not actively investigate threats to assassinate then President-elect Abraham Lincoln?*

What if the Metropolitan Police were not deputized federal provost marshals allowing them to arrest deserters and disloyal citizens? They arrested over 2,000 such persons.*

What if the Metropolitan Police with the assistance of Union soldiers dispatched from battlefields in Gettysburg did not quell the 1863 draft riots in NYC?*

*See: http://www.amazon.com/NYPD-A-City-Its-Police/dp/080506737X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394369968&sr=8-1&keywords=Lardner+and+Repetto and http://www.amazon.com/Battleground-New-York-City-Countering/dp/B00AK3ZCMI/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394370049&sr=1-2

**The Metropolitan Police are considered the NYPD’s primary predecessor agency

The answers to the above HLS-NYPD what-ifs are speculative at best. What the Metropolitan Police did demonstrates the primary precept of policing: prevent bad things from happening. This blogger argues that the HLS Enterprise operates under the same primary precept: prevent bad things from happening.

This post will be continued on Friday, March 14, 2014

Comment by John Comiskey

March 14, 2014 @ 4:03 am

HLS and the Department of Education’s Liberal Arts Green-Yellow-Red factors

The US Department of Education is trying to base the 150 billion dollar federal investment in student aid on outcomes and not enrollment.

Liberal Arts learning objectives “will be refined with you.” The system may have a “green, yellow, and red color coding.” the Department of Education said.

Chronicle of Higher Education commentator Ellen McCulloch-Lovell commentator and this blogger couldn’t help recalling how well that worked out for DHS. See: https://chronicle.com/article/College-Rating-Systems-One/144917/

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 14, 2014 @ 5:09 am

Bravo and kudos extended to NYPD and all its family and commitment to safeguarding the good populace of the city against the evils of these thugs who strive to do bad things! We are so fortunate to have so many brave men and women dedicated to our beloved Republic and good ‘ol Glory who might be compromised over a failed White House, but certainly flying with pride w/so many committed daily and 24×7 in their vigilance to thwart the many efforts of the bad guy!

Thank you for your service!

Christopher Tingus
chris.tingus@gmail.com
http://www.bigdiglifevest.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 14, 2014 @ 5:24 am

Friday Free Forum:

US officials fear MH370 was captured and flown to mystery location after debris seen at sea is ruled out and new data reveals it was airborne FOUR HOURS after vanishing

US investigators examining whether flight was taken to another location

Officials suspect data from engines suggests plane flew total of five hours

Counter-terrorism officials concerned pilot or someone else turned off transponders

Four more hours of flight time would allow the plane to fly 2,200 nautical miles
That would put Pakistan and the Arabian Sea within reach and no one knows where this aircraft is…com’on fellas, fess up and come clean for in this day of such surveillance, where did the bad guys land?

Comment by E. Earhart

March 14, 2014 @ 5:25 am

The Washington Post, Washington, DC 14 Mar 1907

Pittsburg, Pa., March 13.—The Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers are rising rapidly to-night. A stage of twenty-six feet has been reached in this city, and by to-morrow twenty-eight feet is expected. This stage is six feet over danger mark and will inundate the lower parts of the city. A great part of many towns in the Monongahela valley are submerged. The property damage is heavy.

To-night it is raining heavily all over Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, a bridge at Harmarsville collapsed, precipating a freight train into the water and drowning three trainmen;

Comment by E. Earhart

March 14, 2014 @ 5:30 am

FIRE WITH FLOOD

Special to The Washington Post. Washington, DC 16 Mar 1907

Pittsburg, Pa., Mar. 15.—There were serious fires either to-day or to-night in three cities within the flooded district, and in each instance severe loss was sustained. The first broke out in Mount Washington, a Pittsburg suburb, and at night flames added to the already alarming conditions in Wheeling, W. Va., and Bridgeport, Ohio.

In the three cities the respective fire departments were handicapped by flood conditions. In the Pittsburg district dynamite had to be used in lieu of the crippled fire-fighting apparatus, and the water systems in Wheeling and Bridgeport were of small service.

Comment by E. Earhart

March 14, 2014 @ 5:33 am

After the Big Flood of 1907, Pittsburgh petitioned the government to begin the system of flood control measures. The Chamber of Commerce estimated that the persistent flooding had caused between $150,000,000 and $200,000,000 in damages to the city. The plans stalled.

Unfortunately, it took the St. Patrick’s Day Flood twenty-six years later to spur the federal government to action. Within weeks of the disastrous 1936 flood, which totally obliterated the town of Johnstown, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law a bill that would provide funds for the systems of dams, locks and reservoirs that now provide a measure of safety.

Comment by David Gomez

March 14, 2014 @ 9:10 am

John,
I recall your comment “Because we are the NYPD” but I am not sure anyone in the room was nodding in tacit approval. They were nodding at the hubris of assuming the NYPD, a local police department, had an international role in homeland security, foreign policy and/or international relations.

While the decision to send active duty NYPD officers overseas as liaison officers was mired in good will and and positive security intentions, the fact of the matter was that REAL foreign intelligence officers were no more willing to share REAL intelligence with local cops than with the man-in-the moon. This program was couched by the NYPD as not an intelligence officer exchange, but rather a “cop-to-cop”thing. But the real issue was trust: Trust in the United States Intelligence Community, trust in the CIA, but mostly trust in the FBI. As Kelly himself noted as he exited office, the FBI just “can’t be trusted” to protect New York from terrorist attacks.

The Homeland Security News Wire summarized the continuing conflict with this post two years ago http://bit.ly/1oTqBIF

A primary problem with the program was the tendency of the NYPD to want to prematurely publicize their intelligence collection under the guise of “protecting New York” and thereby compromising sensitive sources and methods.

As a retired FBI Agent I understand this feeling on the part of Kelly and the NYPD. As a former LAPD officer and detective, my feet remain centered in close solidarity with the cop-on-the-street. Having worked both sides, however, I think Kelly was wrong. My hope is that Bratton and John Miller, Bratton’s Intelligence Chief, who both had very positive relationships with the FBI, will correct past concerns and issues, leading to a more collaborative relationship with the FBI.

I do thank thank you for your leadership on this issue. Your thesis proposal led directly to my thesis was as titled: Should Cops Be Spies? Evaluating the collection and Sharing of National Security Intelligence by State, Local and Tribal Law Enforcement. It can be found here: https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=736327 I recommend that your students read them together.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 14, 2014 @ 9:35 am

Actually NYPD is acting to defend the many international orgs housed in NYC including the UN and the still global center for the world’s finances.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 14, 2014 @ 9:43 am

Title VI of the Stafford Act adopted during enactment of Public Law 103-337 substituting the term “emergency management” for the term “civil defense” with the sole exception that remains concerning “civil defense communications”!

Title VI also contains the UnConstitutional “loyalty oath” provision [ruled long ago by DoJ as unconstitutional] and used to strike McCarthy like terror into state and local civil defense workers.

The Stafford Act is amazingly short of discussion of “preparedness or prevention” and also contains poorly drafted “RESPONSE” authority and is almost silent on the term “RECOVERY”!

Comment by Street Cop

March 14, 2014 @ 9:59 am

This forum makes me long for the classroom at CHDS. I have so many opinions but I am sometimes befuddled when I try to place my thoughts into writing. Some of my thoughts based on the comments of others:

NYPD is not your average police department and they are not policing your average American city. Their foray into intelligence arises from a need not being met by other sources. They are filling a need that most agencies cannot financially afford to do. NYPD and FDNY freely share their bulletins to others. I cannot imagine my department ever engaging in foreign intelligence gathering but I won’t go so far as to say NYPD’s choice to do so is wrong. Still mulling this one over…

If one of the goals of HLS is to prevent bad things from happening, which I agree with, then do we leave weather to others to worry about since we can’t stop tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes etc.? I am fine with that if everyone else is.

My experience with the Feds has been pretty good. I find that information sharing tends to be a little one-way however. There seems to be a little bit of Col. Nathan R. Jessup philosophy, you can ask for information but “you have to ask nicely”. If you know who to call and build on those relationships you can usually find the answers you are looking for.

Comment by Kevin G

March 14, 2014 @ 10:24 am

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami with waves as high as 133 feet. More than 15,000 people died and about 6,000 were injured. From this horrible disaster, a horrible incident involving the Fukushima power plant occurred in which the power plant is now leaking radiation into the Pacific Ocean. We just recently passed the three year anniversary of this incident, and now the U.S. will start to feel the repercussions from this incident. According to multiple prediction models, this radiation should reach U.S. soil by April into early summer 2014. The current models also predict that the initial radiation will be at levels too low to harm humans; however the data is inconclusive so the need for further monitoring including at the federal level is necessary. “Models predict that Cesium 134 will be diluted in the ocean by the time it reaches the California’s coast. Cesium 134 has a half-life of two years, meaning it takes two years to break down into a more stable material (Loew, 2014 p. 1).” The debate then opens up as to the actual health risk of radioactive material in the environment. We know that large amounts of radioactivity exposure can cause “vomiting and hair loss, while more serious cases can damage the central nervous system” (Editor, 2014 p.1). The need to shift focus on this slowly approaching hazard should provide for numerous debates however, it seems the debate seems to be on the side of carelessness as if this radiation is being downplayed by Scientists. A re-evaluation of how much trust we are putting in these “prediction models” as a means for preparedness is being called forward by this blogger.

References:
Editor.(12 March 2014). Radiation from Fukushima to reach West Coast in April. Homeland Security News Wire. Retrieved from: http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20140312-radiation-from-fukushima-to-reach-west-coast-in-april

Loew, Tracy. (9 March 2014). Scientists: Test West Coast for Fukushima radiation. USA Today. Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/09/scientists-test-west-coast-for-fukushima-radiation/6213849/

Comment by John Comiskey

March 14, 2014 @ 11:18 am

NYPD’s INTELLIGENCE ENTERPRISE –A HLS ANTINOMY UNRESOLVED

Dave and Street Cop,

Thanks for your comments and opportunity to debate.
Previous statement, “many in the room nodded in tacit approval” is amended to “some in the room nodded in tacit approval.”

“NYPD is not your average police department and they are not policing your average American city,” merits repeating.

NYPD’s Intelligence Enterprise is a “smart practice” and not a perfect practice.

NYPD’s Intelligence Enterprise is a HLS Antinomy Unresolved:

Most of what the HLS Enterprise does makes homeland security sense.
Most of what the NYPD does makes hometown security sense.

The Challenge to NYPD (and every hometown) is to forge strategic collaborative relationships with the HLS Enterprise whilst securing its hometown.
In the case of the NYPD, this is particularly true with respect to its relationship with the FBI.

The goal is to get “many” people in the room to nod in tacit approval of the NYPD as part of the HLS Enterprise. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, another nod merits attention. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcBlE_VBsxo

Commissioner Bratton and Deputy Commissioner Miller are the right people in the right place at the right time to resolve this HLS Antinomy and are welcome to nod at the Guinness Bar

Comment by Justin Blake

March 14, 2014 @ 7:01 pm

Defending the NYPD Intelligence Enterprise-A HLS ANTINOMY UNRESOLVED, I must first defend the basis of the argument. The basis behind this argument is that the “main targets” of terrorist attacks are often discounted as a “local or regional” police department and not considered a national or international resource. This blogger believes this is a mistake on the part of any federal or international organization. The federal or international organizations believe the NYPD to be a invalid organization to intelligence work. The fact is that since 9/11 it is imperative for all organizations to share intelligence; that has been the main construct of current agencies, and organizations in recent years. Within this construct, all information to this bloggers knowledge has been shared from city level, to federal level. However, not all information has been reciprocated.
This reciprocation of intelligence has been imperative to the cohesion of all U.S. governmental intelligence. There should be no barriers or jurisdictional issues between agencies.

The recent issues among the U.S. and Malaysian Airlines has been an issue of miscommunication or, non-cohesion. The Malaysian government have not been cooperatively sharing intelligence based on the recent missing aircraft. The Wall-street Journal has reported that the aircraft was flown for an additional 4-5 hours beyond what was previously reported. This information seems to conclude that there needs to be a cooperation between multiple agencies in order to find the truth. This stands to reason that the NYPD may have additional intelligence that the federal government may not have at the time.
This intelligence may prove necessary to finding out the reality of the situation. Not to discount any federal agency; but they may not have all of the facts 100% of the time. This is why intelligence/information sharing is a crucial part of the current DHS system.
Most larger cities should have access to the federal, international intelligence organizations; whether that be a liaison, or a designated representative who reports to nobody, this can be accomplished. In order to have a completely unbiased point of view, the liaison needs to be uninhibited by preconceived notions. The job of this group will be to intake all of the information regarding the DHS and interpret it and combine it between the competing agencies. This will provide a median between agencies and allow a steady flow of intelligence allowing the current system to function properly.

Comment by E. Earhart

March 14, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

Mr. Cumming,

No Sh*T Sir, you need to rewrite the Stafford Act. . . Seriously. How about the Cumming Act? As in the trouble coming if they don’t fix this!

Comment by E. Earhart

March 14, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

J H Comiskey,

Could you clarify what the unresolved antinomy is with the NYPD IE? Is it Feds vs. local LE? Is it Intel vs. LE? or Privacy vs. Security? Perhaps it is, NYPD Antinomies Unresolved. Of the three, I see the Privacy/Security the biggest challenge of the three.

Comment by E. Earhart

March 14, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

As pointed out above, NYPD is also defending many international organizations housed in NYC including the UN as well as the global center for the world’s finances.

Many of the top 30 Companies in the world pony up substantial sums of money to help fund the NYPD effort. Should the Federal funds directed to NYC be off-set by this not insignificant private contribution?

Comment by E. Earhart

March 14, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

Mr. Gomez,

While both Mr. Bratton and Mr. Miller have very positive relationships with the FBI, and this is a good thing, look for him/them to expand the ILO program by collaborating and incorporating with more large US city PDs thereby allowing them to cover down on even more international cities.

I believe this can be done and at the same time foster a more collaborative relationship with the boys. Do you agree? Or would such a move only create further fissures? Thank you for your unique perspective.

Comment by E. Earhart

March 14, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

Madrid Train Bombing-Crime-Terror Nexus

The coordinated Madrid train bombings in 2004, killed 191 individuals and injured more than 2000 others.

Spanish investigators determined that Jamal Ahmidan and his drug trafficking organization, financed, provided technical and logistical expertise, and ultimately carried out this terrorist attack.

There was no outside source of money involved here; the resources for this event came from the sale of drugs.

The Madrid bombings, self-funded by drug-trafficking, revealed no evidence or financial trail capable of being tracked by financial investigators.

Williams, P. (2008). Terrorist financing and organized crime: nexus, appropriation, or transformation? In T. J. Biersteker, & S. E. Eckert (Eds.), Countering the Financing of Terrorism (pp. 126-149). New York: Routledge.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 15, 2014 @ 4:35 am

The missing jet liner and the good folks on board now as victims of what might be an evolving terrorist plot – in this 21st century and with all this talk of surveillance, an incredible story!

On this Friday’s Free Forum, concern about our vulnerability re power grid! A very serious concern held by many and should be in the forefront and a question to be brought to the attention of every political candidate….as well as your inquiry to Congress as to what is being done to address such….thank you.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 15, 2014 @ 4:36 am

Double E! Two points! First DEA should not be in DoJ but in DHS!

Second! 90% of all proposed legislation originates in the Executive Branch. Most of the remaining 10% is initiated by paid lobbyists with their own agendas!

Comment by John Comiskey

March 15, 2014 @ 5:59 am

E.Earhart,

RE: Could you clarify what the unresolved antinomy is with the NYPD IE? Is it Feds vs. local LE? Is it Intel vs. LE? or Privacy vs. Security? Perhaps it is, NYPD Antinomies Unresolved. Of the three, I see the Privacy/Security the biggest challenge of the three.

NYPD’s unresolved HLS antimony is about homeland security vs. hometown security. The issues you raise: feds vs. local police; Intel vs. LE; and privacy vs. security are all relevant and overlap.

1. Federals vs. Local Law Enforcement:

FBI is the designated lead federal counterterrorism agency and they should be. Importantly, local police are not federal agencies. The primary question is:

What is the role of local police in national counterterrorism and national intelligence?

Then NYPD Counterterrorism Commissioner Richard Falkenrath’s 2009 testimony to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy is telling:

The foundation of NYPD’s counterterrorism and intelligence program is “to essentially fill the gaps that are left by the federal government.” It expounds the circumstances that both dictate and validate NYPD’s intelligence enterprise: And that is not a knock on the federal government: that is a commentary about our system of government. And our system of government, the federalism system, gives the federal government only those powers expressly conferred to it by the Constitution or by an act of Congress. Everything else lies with the states or their subunits, the cities. … I think it’s important to understand where the NYPD fits in. The NYPD has something called plenary police power. It’s a broad-ranging authority to maintain public order and enforce the law and keep the citizenry safe. The federal government has no such authority. The federal government’s law enforcement authority is very specific. There are certain crimes, there are certain offenses which the federal government has the authority—in some cases, preemptive authority—to investigate. But really nowhere outside of specific federal reservations like airports or ports or courthouses or the White House or Congress, really nowhere out in America does the federal government provide day-to-day security and day-to-day policing and responsibility—and our system of government that lies at the local level. See: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/html/pdf/falkenrath20090623.pdf

2. Intelligence vs. Law Enforcement:

The scope of the intelligence vs. law enforcement issue far exceeds NYPD’s unresolved HLS antinomy. This is an issue for the entire HLS enterprise, but certainly relevant here.

On one level (there are many:

Intelligence is more about gathering and evaluating information to prevent bad things from happening and less about arresting and prosecuting terrorists/criminals.

Law enforcement is more about gathering and evaluating information to prevent bad things from happening and MORE about arresting and prosecuting terrorists/criminals. Intelligence findings are less likely to be admissible in regular courts.

3. Privacy v. Security:

The Constitution is Not a Suicide pact. See: http://www.amazon.com/Not-Suicide-Pact-Constitution-Inalienable/dp/0195304276

The privacy v. security issue also far exceeds NYPD’s unresolved antinomy.

Counterterrorism and law enforcement do not happen in the abstract.

Typically, when bad people do bad things they are secretive so as to avoid detection.

Rightfully, society tries to protect themselves from bad people no matter who they are or where they are hiding.

Appropriately, there are rules and guidelines that govern society’s methods to secure society AND individual rights to include privacy.

Respectfully, in the real-world and in real-time, members of the HLS enterprise will do what is necessary to protect society.

The NYPD mindset is tempered by the events of September 11, 2001 AND present and evolving threats to the homeland and especially its hometown.

See:http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/pr/plots_targeting_nyc.shtml

AND http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/140129/clapper.pdf

AND http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2013/pdf/IB4110.pdf

IMHO, in no circumstances do individual rights trump society’s rights and obligations to protect society by available means.

This blogger repeats his Emersonian mantra:

The U.S. needs a Bill of Responsibilities to match its Bill of Rights

The Bill of Responsibilities trumps the Bill of Rights

Finally, the above issues warrant greater examination and debate.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 15, 2014 @ 9:50 am

Last week the BATFE Raided EP Armory based on a determination letter that had deemed the 80% Polymer product to be a firearm. The determination letter that the BATFE used to obtain warrants against EP Armory is based on incorrect information about the manufacturing process. The BATFE has been notified of their error and the incorrectness of their determination based on this error.

This week on Monday, March 10th the BATFE threatened to raid us even though they are fully aware that their determination letter is factually incorrect. They requested that we turn over a list of every customer that had purchased a polymer lower from us and turn over the remaining inventory that we have.

Our customer’s privacy is of the utmost importance to us. I cannot in good moral conscience turn over a list of names to the BATFE just because they unduly threaten us with an unjust raid based on information they KNOW TO BE FALSE!

For the time we are SAFE! We were granted a Temporary Restraining Order against the BATFE on March 11th. The following is the declaration that I made during the process of obtaining this TRO:

Declaration of Dimitrios Karras, CEO Ares Armor

In regards to the events surrounding Ares Armor’s interaction with EP Armory’s products and the threats made towards Ares Armor by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE.) The following declarations are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

I, Dimitrios Karras, state:

1. During a meeting with the BATFE around the end of 2012 that was unrelated to EP Armory’s product, the Agent that was present very strongly requested that I turn over Ares Armor’s customer list. He intimidated me with the possibility of criminal charges if he was not satisfied. This was the first attempt the BATFE made to intimidate Ares Armor into turning over private customer information.

2. An 80% lower is an industry term for an unfinished receiver that is not considered to be a firearm.

3. EP Armory manufactures an 80% lower receiver made from polymer.

4. Ares Armor purchases and then resells many products one of which is the 80% Polymer Lowers that are made by EP Armory.

5. In the regular course of business I have seen many different 80% AR-15 receivers.

6. EP Armory’s product is no different than standard 80% receivers that are sold openly and that the BATFE has consistently determined to not be a firearm. EP Armory’s product is in compliance with previous BATFE Determinations and is not a firearm.

7. The BATFE has Raided EP Armory based on incorrect information about EP Armory’s manufacturing process. The determination letter written by the BATFE incorrectly classified the EP Armory product as a firearm based on faulty information. The BATFE was under the impression that EP Armory was making a firearm and then reverting back to the 80% stage by filling in the fire-control cavity. At no point during the manufacturing process by EP Armory is a weapon made and then reverted. The solid fire-control cavity is built first and the rest of the 80% casting is made around this “core” specifically so that their product at no time could be considered to be a firearm.

a. As can be seen in Exhibit 1-3. The BATFE has consistently determined that the machining operations that cannot be performed in order to not be considered a firearm are as follows:

1. Milling out of fire-control cavity.

2. Selector-lever hole drilled.

3. Cutting of trigger slot.

4. Drilling of trigger pin hole.

5. Drilling of hammer pin hole.

b. EP Armory’s product is consistent with the BATFE’s many previous determinations.
c. At no time during EP Armory’s manufacturing process are any of the aforementioned 5 operations in a state that could cause a reasonable person to believe that EP Armory’s product would be considered a firearm.
8. The BATFE has been appropriately informed of their mistake. However, even though they have no determination that is based on fact, they are knowingly using their fiction based determination to intimidate Ares Armor with threats in order to inappropriately gain access to information that is private and should be protected.

9. I received communication on or about 3/10/2014 from our legal counsel (Jason Davis) that the BATFE was in the process of obtaining a warrant against Ares Armor based on their incorrect determination of EP Armory’s Product. I was advised that the BATFE had offered to forego obtaining a warrant if Ares Armor was willing to:

a. Hand over all of EP Armory’s 80% Lowers.
b. Turn over Ares Armor customer’s private information to the BATFE.
In exchange for turning over our customer’s private information the BATFE said that they would not “raid” Ares Armor’s facilities and would not pursue “criminal” charges. This made me feel as if I was being extorted. I agreed to their terms in order to delay an impending and unjust raid against Ares Armor long enough to obtain legal protection under the law.

10. I have been unjustly threatened with raids and criminal charges in an attempt by the BATFE to obtain information that is private and protected. The BATFE has expressed interest in obtaining Ares Armor’s customer list in the past and is now attempting to strong-arm us with undue threats based on information they know to be incorrect.

11. I am now in constant fear for the safety of my employees, my customers and myself.

Executed March 10, 2014 Oceanside, CA

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Dimitrios Karras

Sincerely,

Dimitrios Karras, CEO Ares Armor

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 15, 2014 @ 9:59 am

This HHS official’s resignation letter says everything you’ve ever thought about bureaucracy
POSTED AT 7:21 PM ON MARCH 14, 2014 BY MARY KATHARINE HAM

Yeah, yeah, I Upworthied the headline. But I tried for something to truly encapsulate the heaps of truth in this letter, and a standard headline didn’t do it. I’m against compulsory service, but there’s a part of me that thinks a year of compulsory service within the federal bureaucracy might change minds. Exposure to the truly harmful forces of government—often unintentional and sloppy, but harmful nonetheless—could yield progress in assessing the beast honestly. Or, maybe it’d just yield more pensions.

A Health and Human Services official has resigned after dealing with the frustration of the “profoundly dysfunctional” federal bureaucracy, which left him “offended as an American taxpayer.”

In a resignation letter obtained by ScienceInsider, David Wright, director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) — which oversees and monitors possible research misconduct — offers a scathing rebuke of the unwieldy and inefficient bureaucracy that he dealt with for the two years he served in the position.

In his letter to Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, Wright explains that the 35 percent of his job that was spent working with science-investigators in his department “has been one of the great pleasures of my long career.” The majority of his duties, however, represented his worst job ever.

He calls it “secretive, autocratic and unaccountable,” making use of exactly zero good-management principles put to work in businesses across the nation. People who know nothing about his mission or job description make critical decisions about what he can and can’t spend. Compared to the academic bureaucracy he came from, the federal government is slower by months, sometimes more. He also points out that perhaps the highly politicized environment in which he’s working is not the correct one for a scientific oversight organization:

Finally, there is another important organizational question that deserves mention: Is OASH the proper home for a regulatory agency such as ORI? OASH is a collection of important public health offices that have agendas significantly different from the regulatory roles of ORI and OHRP. You’ve observed that OASH operates in an “intensely political environment.” I agree and have observed that in this environment decisions are often made on the basis of political expediency and to obtain favorable “optics.” There is often a lack of procedural rigor in this environment. I discovered recently, for example, that OASH operates a grievance procedure for employees that has no due process protections of any kind for respondents to those grievances. Indeed, there are no written rules or procedures for the OASH grievance process regarding the rights and responsibilities of respondents. By contrast, agencies such as ORI are bound by regulation to make principled decisions on the basis of clearly articulated procedures that protect the rights of all involved. Our decisions must be supported by the weight of factual evidence. ORI’s decisions may be and frequently are tested in court. There are members of the press and the research community who don’t believe ORI belongs in an agency such as OASH and I, reluctantly, have come to agree.

Wright calls for at least discussion of the problems with bureaucracy, if not outrage. To that end, he’s planning to “publish a version of the daily log I’ve kept as ORI Director in order to share my experience and observations with my colleagues in government and with members of the regulated research community.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 15, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

Thanks Chris Tingus for the Fukishima Da-Ichi link!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 15, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

BREAKING NEWS: Russian forces cross Crimea border to seize gas plant

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 15, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

Missing Malaysia Airlines jet could have flown for more than 7 hours

Reuters

MULTIPLE COUNTRIES EXPAND search for missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner after authorities say its last communication came 7 1/2 hours after takeoff, which means the plane could have made it as far as Kazakhstan.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 16, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

BREAKING NEWS: Crimea votes to secede from Ukraine, official says

…another example of how this failed US executive White House and its lack of fortitude has allowed the “KGB Putinites” to circumvent the sovereignty of another nation and now in other breaking news all related to – Homeland Security -

U.S. Aims To Give Up Control Over Internet Administration

As I have said long ago, while cybersecurity and our vulnerable electric grid are real concerns, the pen and the abuse of the WH executive power and specifically Barry Obama who has weakened us in every way and should be under House arrest for suspicion in breach of faith, treason which resulted prior to, during and after the “Benghazi Massacre” -

A lost jumbo jet, enough of a worry, but the real concern, this US President who cares little for the Constitution or Congress and as an Independent voter, there is little transparency as promised and Congressional members on both sides of the aisle who all took an oath to uphold our checks and balances form of government and to stand up and protect our Constitution and oh how they, too have blatantly failed us.

We are very much at peril….

Now we must turn and watch Merkel pass off the power to the brilliant strategist of Karl-Theodore Zu Guttenberg, a name which every European and even a few Americans will get to know well as will Mr. Putin and the other thugs as well in Tehran!

God Bless us all!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 17, 2014 @ 6:21 am

BREAKING NEWS: Crimea parliament declares independence from Ukraine

and Barry Obama…the “costs” Mr. Putin will incur much like your “line drawn in the sand” – yea, right and Tehran too as well as AQ and even the Korean kid, acknowledging just how you have so weakened America and the young man who produced the movie and now another, America, the IRS steps in….REALLY!

Homeland Security?

Our Constitution now tattered at its edges and our beloved ‘ol Glory turned upside down on my front porch portraying the reality of just how much peril we are now in and You Sir are responsible and as well, Congress on both sides of the aisle who are your cohorts willingly or not for they, too have allowed these transgressions on the Constitution and We the People on “Main Street USA” seem to be the only ones that understand that We are obligated to protect the Constitution and our Judeo-Christian principles as well as our borders from this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade! Elections are near and it will not only be us as Independent voters who will set this course in the manner for which far too many have lost Life or given limb to protect America, our beloved Republic!

God Bless us all! Now to find the 777 which hopefully has not already been remarked as a UPS or other airplane and to be used by those who seek our demise!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 17, 2014 @ 8:57 am

U.S. Navy SEALs Seize Rogue Libyan Oil Tanker

U.S. Navy SEALs have seized a North Korean-flagged tanker loaded with oil from a rebel-held port in Libya. A separatist militia took control of the oil terminal in July 2013, demanding a greater share of the country’s oil wealth. The tanker, the Morning Glory, evaded a naval blockade at the eastern port of Sidra last week, embarrassing the government and spurring the dismal of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. North Korea disavowed the ship, saying it did not provide authorization. According to the Pentagon, U.S. forces boarded the Morning Glory before dawn Monday in international waters off Cyprus, and took control of the tanker, at the request of the Libyan and Cypriot governments. The move may prevent further attempts by the rebels to sell oil on the black market.

Meanwhile, a car bomb hit outside a military base in the eastern city of Benghazi killing at least five soldiers and wounding another 14 people.

Submitted by Christopher Tingus
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 17, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

BREAKING NEWS: Putin reportedly recognizes Crimea as sovereign state

Imagine, in the last ten days, when we are so concerned about issues affecting Homeland Security, the west and particularly this failed executive WH have seen a sovereign nation besieged and the US standing down and a 777 aircraft disappearing and from what many in the community surmise, soon to show up in the skies with new markings and a payload which when exploded in the atmosphere will cripple our vulnerable power grid!

Never mind the car bombing and attack in Benghazi yesterday and the US giving up a portion of the administrative of the internet to other countries and we continue to have such porous borders and a large population here in this country who have flashed their finger at visa laws some here a decade or more since their visas expired and as law breakers know there are no serious ramifications….

Homeland Security?

The whispers in the pews have gotten much louder and for many, enough is enough!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 17, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

Missing jet, Iranian threats, prompt Israel to tighten air security
By Paul Alster

With no sign of the missing plane, fears are mounting that it was hijacked, possibly to be turned into a weapon of mass destruction. (AP)

Iranian television recently aired a video simulation of missiles hitting the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, raising fears of a 9/11-style

IDF officials aim to ensure an unthinkable repetition of the Twin Towers attack doesn’t happen in Tel Aviv, where the skyscraping triple Azrieli Towers rise high above the city. There’s good reason to believe the three-tower commercial-residential-office complex is a coveted target of the Islamic Republic.

In a recent video simulation broadcast by Iranian state TVafter the initial agreement with the international community on a reduction in Iran’s nuclear capability was signed, the Azrieli Towers were shown being blown up by Iranian missiles.

The Israeli media has speculated that if Iran played a part in the disappearance of the plane, it is all but certain the regime would not have been directly involved. It would likely instead act through a third party, using one of the many international terror organizations Iran sponsors and maintaining plausible deniability. Tehran would not want to jeopardize the easing of international sanctions and other gains made recently at the Geneva negotiations with the US and the P5+1.

The recent interception of a boatload of Iranian M-302 missiles headed for Israel’s enemies in the Gaza Strip or Sinai Peninsula has given rise to further speculation in Israel that Iran might be considering all manner of means to strike back after such an embarrassing and damaging loss.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 19, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

Mr. Putin and your KGB Putinites, Bravo! A great strategic move into the Ukraine and surely I concur that Barry Obama should be awarded as you say an Oscar for best supporting actor! Imagine ho utterly corrupt the UN and the nations are in this 21st century who allow another country’s sovereignty to be transgressed so and a 777 configuration is lost in the skies! I guess the words spacious skies apply!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 19, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

and Mr. Putin et al….I guess you might as well go for the gold as there is no one stopping you now, however do be aware, you “Prince of Rosh” fail to see, Karl Theodor Zu Guttenberg and while all else will enable you to pounce on those you may choose, remember the name, Karl-Theodor Zu Guttenberg!

BREAKING NEWS: Russia reportedly may use Iran nuclear talks as Ukraine leverage

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 20, 2014 @ 8:57 am

Really interesting, and I never knew this little bit of history:

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time.

In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941—

Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked.

As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?” Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.

Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America . Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?” Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: when the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America . And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America .

I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredricksburg , Texas — he was a born optimist. But any way you look at it–Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism. President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is “IN GOD WE TRUST”.

Why have we forgotten?

PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY

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