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NATIONAL
March 14, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
HOUSTON -- The FBI believes a Border Patrol agent found dead in his South Texas home this week had kidnapped and assaulted three women who were in the country illegally, officials said. "He is the subject of the investigation and we believe he is responsible for the kidnapping of all three of the victims," Michelle Lee, an FBI spokeswoman in San Antonio, told the Los Angeles Times. Border Patrol agents discovered one of the women Wednesday during their patrol near the border city of McAllen, about 350 miles south of Houston, according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
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WORLD
March 10, 2014 | By Maher Abukhater
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Jordanian judge of Palestinian descent Monday at Allenby Bridge border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, according to statements from the Israeli army and a Palestinian official. A statement by the Israel Defense Forces said the Jordanian -- identified as Raed Zeiter, 38, originally from the West Bank city of Nablus -- had just crossed the border from Jordan when he attempted to grab a soldier's weapon. The soldier opened fire and killed him. "A Palestinian tried to seize a soldier's weapon at the Allenby Bridge Crossing from Jordan,” the army tweeted on its account.
WORLD
March 8, 2014 | By Nabih Bulos and Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - After weeks of fighting, the Syrian military has wrested control of a rebel-held town near the Lebanese border in the strategic province of Homs, military and opposition representatives said Saturday. The seizure of Zara, close to the main highway linking Homs city to the Mediterranean coast, is the latest reported government advance in its effort to seal the porous border with Lebanon, long a conduit for antigovernment fighters and arms. In a statement, the Syrian military hailed the seizure of Zara, which "had been used as a main passage for the terrorist groups that would come from Lebanon and head to neighboring areas to carry out their criminal operations.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | By Scott Martelle
It looks like the U.S. Border Patrol has opted for a policy of common sense. As The Times editorial page wrote last week , and the news pages documented earlier , federal agents patrolling the Mexican border have been involved in dozens of confrontations in which agents stepped in front of moving cars as a pretext to open fire in self-defense, and also responded to rocks thrown at them across the border with deadly fire. Border Patrol chief Michael J. Fisher on Friday told his agents to knock it off, though not in so many words.
NATIONAL
March 7, 2014 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Border Patrol has restricted border agents' authority to shoot at moving vehicles or at people throwing rocks, changing a controversial policy that has contributed to at least 19 deaths since 2010. In a memo released Friday, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher directed border agents not to step in front of moving vehicles, nor to use their bodies to block them, in order to open fire at drivers. He also barred shooting at vehicles whose occupants are fleeing from agents.
NATIONAL
March 7, 2014 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON -- The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced new rules Friday to limit agents from shooting at moving vehicles or people throwing rocks or other objects at agents, reversing a controversial policy that has led to at least 19 deaths. Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher ordered customs and border agents not to step directly in front of a moving vehicle, or use their body to block it, in order to open fire on the driver. He also barred shooting at vehicles whose occupants are fleeing from agents.
NEWS
March 6, 2014 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed Gil Kerlikowske on Thursday to be the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, allowing the White House "drug czar" to take on his new post overseeing the Border Patrol. Kerlikowske came to the White House as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the job commonly known as “drug czar,” after serving as chief of police in Seattle from 2001 to 2009. He will take over an organization under fire on several fronts, including secrecy surrounding incidents in which agents shot people suspected of throwing rocks at them from the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border.
OPINION
March 2, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Now we have an idea why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service was keeping secret an independent report of its encounters at the Mexican border. Because it has something to hide. As The Times' Brian Bennett reported last week, an independent report by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum sharply criticized the agency for a "lack of diligence" in investigating fatal encounters involving its agents. The report, based on internal case files of 67 shooting incidents leading to 19 deaths between January 2010 and October 2012, also faulted some of the agents' practices, including positioning themselves in the "exit path" of fleeing vehicles apparently as a pretext for opening fire in self-defense.
NATIONAL
February 28, 2014 | By Cindy Carcamo
TUCSON - Spanish-language media - particularly in Mexico - are abuzz following a Tribune Washington Bureau report on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency's use of deadly force while patrolling the nation's border with Mexico. The article was based on an independent review of U.S. Border Patrol shootings. The report - conducted by a group of law enforcement experts - criticized agents for “lack of diligence” in theirs investigations, suggesting agents intentionally provoked confrontations by sometimes stepping in the path of cars apparently to justify shootings.
NATIONAL
February 28, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel and Daniel Rothberg
WASHINGTON - Lawmakers and watchdog groups called Friday for tougher restrictions on the use of deadly force by U.S. border agents and more transparency in the investigation of killings, including the release of an independent audit that recommended reforms in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency's "use-of-force" policies. The comments followed a report Thursday by the Tribune Washington Bureau that revealed that a 21-page audit - which the border agency commissioned but has refused to release to the public or Congress - cited examples of border agents unnecessarily stepping in front of fleeing cars to justify firing at passengers, and responding to rock-throwing with firearms.
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