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Sequestration Will Impact Hawaii FBI's Investigations

John Tucker

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN - When FBI agents were alerted to a photo of a man abusing two young children with a Hawaii Island phone book beside him, they quickly solicited the public’s help in identifying the perpetrator.

Just hours later, they captured John Tucker, 56, of Pahoa, Hawaii, and charged him with production and distribution of child pornography. Tucker was the father of a 10-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl who appeared to be his victims.

When the University of Hawaii lost $200,000 to fake concert promoters promising to put on a Stevie Wonder fundraising concert at the Manoa campus this fall, the University called in the FBI. Within 180 days, the FBI arrested Sean Barreiro of Florida and Marc Hubbard of North Carolina for stealing the money. Barriero pled guilty and Hubbard is awaiting trial.

Sean Barriero

When Hawaii residents, reportedly some of the most gullible in the nation, regularly fall victim to get-rich-quick schemes, the FBI is the agency called in for clean up, sometimes in conjunction with other local and federal agencies.

These are just a handful of events that required FBI intervention in the last year.

The FBI receives thousands of tips each year related to drug trafficking and organized crime operations, potential terrorist activity and White Collar crime. But the ability of local agents to handle even a fraction of these calls will be hindered by the sequestration, which requires mandatory, across-the-board federal budget cuts beginning Friday, March 1.

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon, who in addition to specializing in White Collar crime investigations is in charge of community and media outreach, confirmed that every Honolulu FBI employee will be furloughed for 14 workdays during the 5-month period of May through September. That is a 12 percent decrease in FBI workdays, where agents won't be on the streets conducting investigations, he said.

“The sequester will create immediate and significant reductions to the Honolulu FBI's operations. There is no way around it,” Simon said. “The Honolulu FBI will be forced to do less with our criminal, cyber, and national security investigations in Hawaii.”

The sequestration also starts a hiring freeze at the FBI, so the agency, which is already shorthanded, won't be able to backfill the senior agents who will choose to retire this year, rather than take pay cuts.

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon

“The furloughs and pay cuts are a big deal to our employees, but they should also be a big deal to the people of Hawaii who rely on us to work with our law enforcement partners to make Hawaii a safe place to live and conduct business,” Simon said. “My colleagues and I are committed to our oaths of office, and we will continue to work hard for Hawaii. But lets get real here - you can't send us home for 12 percent of our normal work hours and expect the same productivity. The math just doesn't work.”

According to a Pew report, Hawaii will be one of the states hit hardest financially by the sequestration.

Hawaii has a higher number of government employees than any other state except Alaska, according to a recent Gallup report. That includes more than 100,000 federal workers -- 57,000 enlisted and civilian military employees and 52,000 others.

A report from The White House issued this week details the impact of the sequestration on each state.

Federal agencies related to the environment, education, military, public health and law enforcement will all see cuts.

FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies outside of Hawaii will also “see a reduction in capacity equivalent to more than 1,000 Federal agents” – which “would significantly impact the ability to combat violent crime, pursue financial crimes, secure our borders, and protect national security,” the Obama administration said.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said she is hoping the sequestration can be avoided because they will be “devastating” to Hawaii’s families and economy.

Tulsi Gabbard

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard

“Hawaii is one of the top 10 states that would take the biggest hit from these cuts,” Gabbard said. “A large percentage of our overall state economy and the impact on our local military-related companies and small businesses will also be significant…”

While many federal employees are understandably concerned about the impact of the sequestration, the Congressional Budget Office said the actual cuts in fiscal year 2013 are $44 billion. Additional cutbacks amounting to a 1 to 2 percent reduction in government spending will take place in 2014 or later.

Even with the sequestration, a recent Reason report notes the federal government will spend more this year than it did last year: $3.5 trillion in 2012 and $3.6 trillion in 2013.

President Barack Obama, who developed the concept of sequestration in August 2011, will meet Friday, the day the sequestration is set to begin, with House Speaker John Boehner, to continue their budget negotiations.

MORE ON THE WEB

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Hawaii.pdf

 

 

Short URL: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/?p=296507

20 Comments for “Sequestration Will Impact Hawaii FBI's Investigations”

  1. FBI agent gets prison time for hammer attack

    Feb. 26, 2011
    A former FBI agent and Vietnam War veteran who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for slaying his son's girlfriend in November 2008 was sentenced Wednesday to eight to 20 years in prison .

    Edward Preciado-Nuno, 63, beat Kimberly Long to death with a hammer, striking her more than a dozen times in the head. She also had numerous defense wounds, prosecutors said.

  2. Yet another scare story to panic the rubes. A $85 Billion cut in the rate of growth of a $3.6 Trillion budget and the only place the feds can find to cut are law enforcement, defense and schools? Who believes this rubbish?

  3. World famous forensic pathologist Dr Cyril Wecht angered taxpayer funded FBI agents
    writing books about the President Kennedy assassination presenting evidence the FBI
    and other government agencies might be behind the assassination. he also organized Annual Conference showing the Warren Commission autopsy report on President Kennedy was a lie.
    So the FBI sent very special FBI agent Bradley Orsini to put down 80 year old Cyril Wecht.
    Seems Dr Wecht wouldn't go down for the count and all 84 charges against Dr. Wecht were
    dismissed.
    Here is some information on taxpayer funded FBI agent Bradley Orsini who was promoted to FBI
    Supervisor after the trial.

    Wecht investigator's discipline file opened
    U.S. judge orders FBI records unsealed
    July 11, 2007

    A federal judge yesterday unsealed records revealing that the lead FBI agent in the criminal case against Dr. Cyril H. Wecht was disciplined elsewhere for forging other agents' names and initials on chain-of-custody forms, evidence labels and interview forms.

    Further, in September 2001 Special Agent Bradley W. Orsini was demoted and received a 30-day suspension without pay for a series of policy violations that occurred from 1993 through 2000, which included having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate; making improper vulgar and sexual comments; threatening a subordinate with violence; and improperly documenting the seizure of a weapon and ammunition from a search.

    The U.S. attorney's office filed Agent Orsini's records under seal on April 7, 2006, asking U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab to determine if it was required to turn them over to Dr. Wecht's defense attorneys.

    What followed was a 15-month legal battle that ended this week when the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a final order in the case, making the disciplinary reports public.

    Judge Schwab unsealed the records late yesterday afternoon. He also vacated a previous decision in which he'd ordered a contempt hearing for the defense attorneys for their failure to follow his orders.

    He wrote "this Court considers the 'time-out' caused by the interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit as providing an opportunity for a 'fresh start.'"

    U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan would not comment on the reports' release. It was unclear if she was aware of Mr. Orsini's background before he became the lead agent in the case against Dr. Wecht, who is charged with 84 counts of misusing his public office for private gain.

    The first time Agent Orsini was disciplined was Nov. 2, 1998. He received a five-day suspension without pay for signing other agents' names to evidence labels and custody forms from May 1995 to January 1997.

    He explained that he and another agent, on limited occasions, signed each other's names on evidence "to save time."

    Though the investigator from the Office of Professional Responsibility found that Agent Orsini did not intend to jeopardize the evidence or cases involved, his actions could have called the integrity of the bureau into question, he wrote in his report.
    The first violation listed dated to Nov. 2, 1993. Agent Orsini failed to obtain the proper consent form while searching a man's home for illegal firearms and failed to properly document the ammunition seized.
    Agent Orsini was found to have falsified at least six FBI interview forms in 1993 and 1994 by writing other agents' initials on them.
    "I have no idea how many times I may have done so," he said. He said he did so for "convenience and a shortcut."
    The document indicates that other agents in his squad believed Agent Orsini was favoring the woman and gave her premium assignments. It also details gag gifts exchanged at the squad's Christmas parties in 1998 and 1999. One, given to the woman, was a pet collar, with a note that said, "If found, return to Brad Orsini."
    But before that, he approached one of the agents in his squad and accused him of revealing the relationship. During the meeting, Agent Orsini threatened to hit his subordinate but quickly added that he was kidding.
    Newark's assistant agent in charge reported that Agent Orsini "has an aggressive personality, and I would characterize him as a bully."
    Other substantiated allegations in the report included that Agent Orsini punched at least one hole in the wall in the Newark office, and threw and broke chairs. He also jokingly called fellow supervisors "homosexuals," and even used a bullhorn to make his comments.
    For those actions, the Office of Professional Responsibility said he failed to prevent the development of a "locker room atmosphere" in his squad that repressed professional conduct.
    Team 4: Lead FBI Agent In Wecht Case Promoted
    July 27, 2007
    he lead FBI agent in the criminal investigation of former Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Cyril Wecht has gotten a promotion. That might come as a surprise, considering the agent's disciplinary record at the FBI.
    Orsini stands to get a pay raise to go along with his promotion. As an agent, his salary cap is $99,000, but as a supervisory agent, Orsini can make up to $117,000 a year.

  4. the outstanding investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has an unflattering take on the celebrity journalist Bob Woodward.(guardian.co.uk 2-28-2013 by glenn greenwald).Glenn has long been very critical of the Obama administration.

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