Federal Reserve Loses “Large Amount” Of Newly Designed $100 Bills – “Substantial” Number Of Bills Were Not Intended For Circulation Until 2013

October 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Unknown thieves stole a “large amount” of newly-designed $100 bills bound for a Federal Reserve facility in New Jersey on Thursday, the FBI said.

Frank Burton, Jr., spokesman for the FBI’s Philadelphia division, said the theft occurred at some point between when the shipment of bills landed at the Philadelphia airport on a commercial flight from Dallas at 10:20 Thursday morning, and when the shipment reached its New Jersey destination around 2:00 p.m., when the courier service transporting the bills reported some missing.

Burton declined to comment on the amount taken, but said it was substantial.

The missing bills carry a design that is not slated to reach circulation until 2013. They feature a large gold “100” graphic on the back, and an orange box on the front with a faint image of the Liberty Bell.

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US Government Pissed Away $6 Million In Taxpayer Funds On Totally Worthless “Text Against Terror” Program In New Jersey – Another $300 Million And 9 Years Wasted On Useless “Fusion Centers” That Targeted Innocent Americans

October 13, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. government has blown nearly $6 million on an experimental “anti-terrorism” program in New Jersey that encourages the public to send tips via text message from their cellular phones.

Since it was launched in mid-2011, the federally-funded “Text Against Terror” project has produced no credible tips, according to a local newspaper report that reveals the feds have poured $5.8 million into the initiative. Police in New Jersey claim 307 tips have been texted so far and that includes people “testing the system.”

Of the 307 text messages, 71 “referred to something regarding homeland security,” according to the New Jersey police chief quoted in the story. The majority of the 71 texts were investigated, the chief says, and “eliminated as a cause for concern.” In other words, the costly program, funded with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) public awareness grant, is a cash cow that’s accomplished nothing.

The taxpayer dollars have paid for advertising time on local radio and television as well as fliers and ads on buses and trains. Other expenses include reserving a domain for unlimited texting capability. In a “rare instance” when a tip has required a follow-up, the New Jersey police chief says a state Joint Terrorism Task Force is available to get the job done. It includes state police, New Jersey’s transit and port authority police and the FBI.

News of this disturbing waste of public funds for an ineffective homeland security program comes on the heels of a U.S. Senate report blasting a huge post-9/11 counterterrorism program that’s received north of $300 million but hasn’t provided any useful intelligence. Even scarier is that DHS has covered up the mess from both Congress and the public, according to the bi-partisan investigators who conducted the lengthy probe.

The inept domestic counterterrorism program features fusion centers that are supposed to share terrorism-related information between state, local and federal officials. But nine years and more than $300 million later, the national centers have failed to provide any valuable information, according to Senate investigators.

Instead they have forwarded “intelligence of uneven quality – oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism.” A review of more than a year of fusion center reports nationwide determined that they were irrelevant, useless or inappropriate.

None uncovered any terrorist threats nor did they contribute to the disruption of an active terrorist plot, the Senate report says. In fact, DHS officials acknowledged that the information produced by the fusion centers was “predominantly useless.” One branch chief actually said “a bunch of crap is coming through.” Evidently, the same thing applies to the costly New Jersey text experiment.

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Former New Jersey TSA Agent Pythias Brown, Convicted Of Stealing More Than $800,000 From Passengers – “We Steal From Travelers All The Time”

October 9, 2012

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – A TSA agent convicted of stealing more than $800,000 worth of goods from travelers said this type of theft is “commonplace” among airport security. Almost 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing from passengers since 2003.

­Pythias Brown, a former Transportation Security Administration officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, spent four years stealing everything he could from luggage and security checkpoints, including clothing, laptops, cameras, Nintendo Wiis, video games and cash.

Speaking publicly for the first time after being released after three years in prison, Brown told ABC News that he used the X-ray scanners to locate the most valuable items to snatch.

“I could tell whether it was cameras or laptops or portable cameras or whatever kind of electronic was in the bag,” he said.

Brown often worked alone, screening luggage behind the ticket counters. He was frequently told the overhead surveillance cameras, installed to prevent theft, were not working.

“It was so easy,” he said. “I walked right out of the checkpoint with a Nintendo Wii in my hand. Nobody said a word.”

With more electronics than any one individual could need, Brown began to sell the stolen items on eBay. At the time of his arrest, he was selling 80 cameras, video games and computers online. Brown said the theft was comparable to an addiction.

“It was like being on drugs,” he said. “I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ but the next day I was right back at it.”

Brown was finally caught after selling a camera he stole from the luggage of a CNN producer. When he sold the camera on eBay, he forgot to remove the news networks’ logo stickers.

“I got complacent,” he said.
TSA’s culture of theft

But while Brown believes he might have been one of the worst thieves at the TSA, he imagines the agency’s culture makes it easy for others to do the same. Many officers don’t care about their work and complain about low pay and being treated badly, he claims, which prompts them to steal. To make it even easier to get away with, TSA managers also never search their employees’ bags.

The agency says it has a zero-tolerance policy for theft and terminates the contracts of all thieves within the TSA. In the past ten years, almost 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing, 11 of which were fired this year.

ABC’s interview with Brown highlights the extent of the dilemma passengers face when traveling with valuables. Brown is just one of many officers caught in the act of stealing goods worth thousands.

In February, 2011, two TSA officers were arrested for stealing $40,000 in cash from a checked bag in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Using an X-ray machine, the men found that the bag contained $170,000 and removed some of the money.

In the first two months of this year, a TSA baggage screener in Orlando was arrested for stealing valuables by hiding them in a laptop-sized hidden pocket in his jacket and selling the goods on Craigslist. And, a New Jersey-based agent stole $5,000 in cash from a passenger’s jacket as he was going through security

While in April, a Texas-based TSA officer stole eight iPads from checked bags, while another officer stole a $15,000 watch from a passenger at the Los Angeles International Airport in May.

“It was very commonplace, very,” Brown said, describing the frequency of theft within the TSA.

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New Jersey Locksmith Sells Keys To New York City For $150 – Keys Allow Control Of Elevators, Power, Access To Subway Gates, Some Firehouses, Traffic Lights, Contstruction Sites

September 30, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – This man has the keys to the city — and he’s selling them for a measly 150 bucks.

If the wrong person buys a set, we could all be in trouble.

Retired New Jersey locksmith Daniel Ferraris, 69, is hawking what he calls a “firemen’s key ring” — and what a terrorist might call a dream come true.

The set consists of five keys that would allow control of virtually any elevator in the city, could knock out power to municipal buildings and skyscrapers, darken city streets, open subway gates and some firehouse doors and provide full access to 1 World Trade Center and other construction sites.

Ferraris sold an undercover Post reporter the key-collection ring after posting his wares on eBay under the user name “thesixlever.”

Total cost: $149.95.

He agreed to hand them off at his home in Union City, just minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel, saying the keys “probably still work, but don’t try to use them.” He asked no questions.

Most of the keys did, in fact, work.

Three of the five are standard issue for members of the FDNY, and the set had a metal dog tag that was embossed with an FDNY lieutenant’s shield number, 6896.

The keys include the all-purpose “1620,” a master firefighter key that with one turn could trap thousands of people in a skyscraper by sending all the elevators to the lobby and out of service, according to two FDNY sources. And it works for buildings across the city.

That key also allows one to open locked subway entrances, gain entry to many firehouses and get into boxes at construction jobs that house additional keys to all areas of the site.

The ring sold to The Post has two keys used by official city electricians that would allow access to street lamps, along with the basement circuit-breaker boxes of just about any large building.

The sale of the newer of the two, a Yale 47 key, prompted concern from the city Department of Transportation.

“That key belongs on the key rings of our city electricians, not on the auction block,” an agency official said.

Former FDNY and NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir also sounded the alarm.

“These keys are issued to firefighters for emergency situations,” he said. “Just anyone having them is very dangerous.”

The sale outraged a former member of the FDNY.

“With all the anti-terrorism activities, with all the protection that the NYPD is trying to provide, it’s astounding that you could get hold of this type of thing,” he said.

He walked The Post through a couple of nightmare scenarios that would be possible with the help of such keys.

“Think about the people at Occupy Wall Street who hate the NYPD, hate the establishment. They would love to have a set. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk in and disable Chase’s elevators?” he said.

Or, he said, “I could open the master box at construction sites, which hold the keys and the building plans. Once you get inside, you can steal, vandalize or conduct terrorist activities.”

He said eBay and other online auction sites should stop such sales.

It’s unclear how many more such keys Ferraris has for sale.

But he continues to offer the FDNY elevator key, the master electrical-panel key and two traffic-signal keys on eBay.

He advertises the Yale 2642 key as a “City Wide MASTER key” and claims, “I also have some items NOT permitted for listing on eBay.”

He wrongly stated in the ad that “All items are OBSOLETE and have Not been in use in years.”

The former FDNY member said hawkers typically use the term “obsolete” to skirt eBay rules.

“It’s a security loophole that should have been closed long, long ago,” he said.

Officials at eBay did not return a call seeking comment.

Ferraris told The Post he has long collected FDNY keys from various sources — but he wouldn’t reveal how he obtained the five keys sold to a reporter.

“I get them from different places. I was a locksmith for many years, and I go to shows and get some from collectors,” he said.

He claimed the unauthorized items he mentioned in his ad were antique padlocks used by the New York City transit system, including a heart-shaped New York Rail Transit lock.

“For whatever reason, eBay doesn’t let you sell those items,” he said.

He did not return messages from The Post informing him that he had sold the keys to a reporter — or that merely having them could be illegal.

The NYPD says buying or selling official keys could be a crime — possession of burglar’s tools, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison.

“It depends on the situation,” said an official at One Police Plaza.

“Are the keys stolen? If you use them, that could be possession of burglar’s tools, but you have to have intent to commit a crime. Just opening something with a key could be considered trespassing. But the real crime would be if you gain access to an area where you’re not supposed to be. That could be burglary.”

FDNY officials initially seemed to shrug off The Post’s findings.

After looking at photos of the keys The Post bought and being given a description, FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said the department had “no way of knowing if those keys work, or what exactly they are meant to be used for.”

He did not comment on the fact that the department’s internal keys are being sold to the highest bidder and possibly exposing the city to a terror threat — and that they may have belonged to a current or former officer, Lieutenant 6896.

But later, another FDNY spokesman told The Post that the department is investigating.

“We don’t have anyone by that badge number,” he said.

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Parsippany New Jersey High School Students Plan Cafeteria Boycott To Protest Getting Screwed Out A Decent Meal By Michelle Obama – President’s Wife Stuck Her Nose Where It Didn’t Belong, Leaving Many Students Across America Hungry

September 28, 2012

PARSIPPANY, NEW JERSEY — Students at Parsippany Hills High School held a strategy session on Thursday to discuss a potential lunch strike, on Friday, over what they have called inadequately sized meals.

“This year you’re eating lunch and you’re like ‘Did I even eat?’ You’re not even full,” senior Brandon Faris told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.

New federal guidelines stemming from first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign have resulted in limits on protein and bread, and an increase in vegetables and fruits. The changes have also come at an increased cost.

All of it has also sparked a student campaign that has included online parody videos of students falling sleep in class and performing sluggishly in sports.

They hope to further their efforts with a cafeteria boycott that will cost the school money, and students like Faris said they want to know why they are paying the price for other people’s problems.

“If somebody’s obese why should someone like me who’s not obese have to suffer, and eat a small meal when I’d rather have a bigger meal?” he said.

Members of the food service industry told CBS 2 that new federal guidelines have caused a significant shift in portion size.

“There’s a lot less turkey on the sandwich, there’s 33 percent less turkey and the size of the bread has been reduced by a third,” explained Mark Vidovich, who runs Pomptonian Food Service.

The changes have caused some parents to step in and subsidize the small school lunches with brown bag meals from home.

“I certainly don’t want him to feel hungry,” said Kelly Caccavele, a parent of a Parsippany Hills student.

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Proposed New Jersey “Snookiville Law” Addresses Extra Costs To Towns From White Trash “Reality” TV Shows

September 26, 2012

NEW JERSEY – New Jersey towns could soon get help paying the extra costs of having drunken reality show stars wandering their streets.

The proposed “Snookiville Law” would let townships license reality show productions and levy fees on them to pay for additional police to control the cast members and the crowds drawn by the shows’ cameras, New Jersey Assemblyman Ronald Dancer said.

The legislation is named for Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, star of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” who was arrested for disorderly conduct in Seaside, New Jersey, two years ago, Dancer said.

While “Jersey Shore” is in its last season of taping, Snooki and co-star JWoww (Jennifer Farley) have been producing a spinoff show in Manchester, which is near Dancer’s central New Jersey district.

“This bill will permit local officials to make sure taxpayers don’t get ‘Snook’-ered or public safety is compromised when reality stars such as Snooki or JWoww come to town,” Dancer said.

The law would not prevent drunken reality stars from stumbling down the streets, Dancer said. “I can’t go as far as to say that would not happen.”

Dancer, a Republican, said he is not trying to discourage reality TV shows from taping in New Jersey, because production can bring money to a community. But it also “may cost taxpayers money by requiring additional services when cameras are rolling in town,” he said.

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New Jersey Lawmakers, Lead By Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, Introduce Bill To Require Pet Seatbelts – Targets Motorists With $1,000 Fine – Still No Fix For State’s Budget Deficit Or High Unemployment Rate

September 21, 2012

NEW JERSEY – New Jersey Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer, who owns a Pomeranian, five cats and a rabbit, has introduced a state bill that would require drivers to secure pets in seat belts, or pay up to $1,000 in tickets or fines. The $1,000 fine would be imposed only in extreme cases of animal cruelty, such as keeping a pet unsecured in the bed of a pickup truck, Bloomberg reported.

The fines would not apply to pets kept in crates.

Endorsed by New Jersey’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, legislation to require seat belts for pets has been in discussion in the state at least since the summer, not that such a bill doesn’t have its critics, who argue that more attention should be paid to the state’s budget deficit and 9.9 unemployment rate.

But Spencer defended the bill saying, lawmakers are “taught to multi-task.”

“This doesn’t limit my ability to address other issues for the people of New Jersey,” she said.

Other states, such as Hawaii, Connecticut, Illinois and Maine have banned motorists from driving with pets in their laps, but New Jersey is apparently the first state to require that pets be strapped in.

Whether New Jersey’s and similar bills become the law, Melissa Ramirez, founder of Chicago-based Zerimax, which makes seat belts for pets, is already filling a new market niche. Launched in May, Zerimax was named in part after Ramirez’s dog Max, a miniature Pinscher, that became paralyzed in a car accident in 2008. While airbags protected the driver, Ramirez’s husband, Max was thrown across the car. Determined to protect other pets, Ramirez sells a variety of harnesses that range in price from $20 to $30.

“There was a void in the market with devices that were easy to use,” she said. “There are a lot but they were cumbersome and difficult.” Ramirez, apparently, is filling this void.

Zerimax’s sales have quadrupled every month since the company’s launch in May, according to Ramirez, who has a marketing background. With a Groupon deal that starts Sept. 22, Ramirez expects to sell around 70,000 harnesses by the end of the year, even without pet seat belt legislation requiring them.

But she cautions that if a bill such as New Jersey’s becomes law and other states adopt similar measures, cheap products could flood the market. Ramirez urges customers to look for quality when it comes to securing their pets.

“Check that items are sewn and not glued,” she said, and choose metal over plastic, she said. Make sure the safety device fits your pet properly. “Thirty pounds of dog can be distributed differently in a Greyhound,” she said. “Not all devices out there will fit your dog.” Ramirez suggests owners measure their pets and understand their girth.

“It would help to create standards so if the category grows,” said Ramirex, “ it grows properly.”

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