January 22, 2022

News

News Network

Attorney General Barr Delivers Opening Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Updates to Operation Legend

15 min read

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

I am pleased to be in Kansas City to provide an update on one of the Department of Justice’s most significant law-enforcement operations: Operation Legend.  ​

​We launched Operation Legend six weeks ago here in Kansas City.  Three weeks ago we rolled it out in several additional cities, so now Operation Legend in underway in nine cities.  

The operation is named for LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy shot and killed while asleep in bed.  For us, LeGend is a symbol of the many hundreds of innocent lives that have been taken in the recent upsurge of crime in many of our cities this summer.   His life mattered.  His name should be remembered.  And his senseless death, like that of other innocent victims during the recent surge of violent crime, should be unacceptable to all Americans. 

​Through Operation Legend, the federal government has dispatched to the nine cities more than 1,000 additional agents to work shoulder-to-shoulder with state and local law enforcement.  Here in Kansas City, for example, we have deployed more than 185 additional agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals. 

​We saw one result of those efforts last week, when Kansas City police arrested the suspected murderer of LeGend Taliferro.  The arrest was the product of hard work by the Kansas City Police Department, supported by critical assistance from the FBI and U.S. Marshals.  This arrest will not bring LeGend back, but it again makes his case an example of how we can come together to take violent criminals off the street and make our communities more safe.

Legend’s mother, Charron, is here today.  When I met her in Washington, I promised her that Legend’s death would not be in vain.  He will inspire us to greater efforts to make Kansas City safe. 

​I am also here today with the U.S. Attorney in Kansas City, Tim Garrison, and U.S. Attorneys from many of the other Operation Legend cities – Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Memphis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and Albuquerque.  They are deeply committed to this operation, and we have some encouraging, early results to share.

​To start, I want to provide a bit of context.  The most basic duty of government is to protect the safety of our citizens.  In 1991 – 1992, violent crime was at its peak.  Crime rates had tripled over the previous decades. 

​At that time, the federal government dramatically increased its focus on combating violent crime.  We launched a series of initiatives focused on drug organizations, gangs, and gun offenders.  We also expanded our close collaboration and joint operations with our state and local partners.  Over the next 25 years, violent crime was cut in half.

​During the last two years of the Obama Administration, however, violent crime started increasing again.  But this Administration has reversed that trend.  Once again, working with our state and local partners, we pushed crime rates down in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

​Unfortunately, we have recently seen violent crime spike in many major cities, especially homicides and non-fatal shootings.  There are likely a number of reasons for this increase, including pent-up aggression prompted by state and local quarantine orders, and efforts to demonize police and defund their work.

​Operation Legend is the heart of the federal government’s response to this uptick in violent crime.  Its mission is to save lives, solve crimes, and take violent offenders off our streets before they can claim more victims.  Rather than demonizing or defunding police, we are supporting and strengthening our law enforcement partners at the state and local level. 

​So far, the federal-state task forces involved in Operation Legend have made almost 1500 arrests.  Many of those arrests are for violent state crimes, including more than 90 homicides, like LeGend Taliferro’s.  That’s more than 90 suspected killers who might still be on the streets without Operation Legend, and in many cities the operation is just getting started.

We make decisions whether those arrested are to be charged by the state or federally. 

Of those arrested, we have charged more than 200 federal crimes.  That includes more than 100 charges for federal gun crimes, 21 of which have come here in Kansas City.  Bringing federal charges is significant, because defendants arrested for violent federal crimes can often be detained before trial – unlike state defendants who are too often released.  And federal defendants will face serious sentences if convicted.  Knowing that, many of them cooperate with the government and lead us to even more violent members of gangs or drug-trafficking networks.  Criminals know that federal law enforcement means business, and we are putting them out of the business of violence in our cities.

​In another significant development, federal agents in Operation Legend have seized hundreds of firearms from criminals – including 78 here in Kansas City – ensuring that those weapons cannot use them to harm innocent people.  Relatedly, we are using sophisticated federal ballistics investigation technology to purse more than 500 leads to solve further gun crimes and take even more dangerous criminals off the streets.

​Our work is just getting started.  There is no more important mission for the Department of Justice than keeping our communities safe and enforcing the rule of law.  Through Operation Legend, we will continue working with our state and local partners to do just that. 

News Network

  • Medicare: Provider Performance and Experiences Under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administers the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under the Medicare program. Under this system, MIPS-eligible providers receive a “final score” based on their performance on certain measures in four categories, such as quality and cost of care. This final score is compared to a performance threshold and is used to determine if providers receive a negative, neutral, or positive payment adjustment applied to future Medicare payments. Providers may receive a larger positive adjustment if their final score surpasses a higher threshold, known as the exceptional performance threshold. In addition, eligible providers who do not submit required performance data may receive a negative adjustment. Analysis of CMS data shows that final scores were generally high and at least 93 percent of providers earned a small positive adjustment in 2017 through 2019, with the largest payment adjustment in any year being 1.88 percent. Median final scores were well above the performance threshold across each of the 3 years (see figure). About 72 to 84 percent of providers earned an exceptional performance bonus, depending on the year. Median Final Scores Relative to Performance and Exceptional Performance Thresholds, Performance Years 2017 through 2019 Stakeholders GAO interviewed identified some strengths and challenges related to the MIPS program. For example, two of the 11 stakeholders stated that bonus points, such as those that may be added to the final scores for small practices, helped increase scores for certain providers who might otherwise be disadvantaged. Eight stakeholders questioned whether the program helps to meaningfully improve quality of care or patient health outcomes. For example, they said that the design of the program may incentivize reporting over quality improvement, with providers choosing to report on quality measures on which they are performing well, rather than on measures in areas where they may need improvement. According to CMS, the MIPS Value Pathways (MVP)—a new way of meeting reporting requirements in 2023—will help to address some of these challenges by standardizing performance measurement across specific specialties, medical conditions, or episodes of care. The development of clinically cohesive sets of measures and activities should minimize providers' selection burden in choosing measures and activities to report for each MVP, officials said. Why GAO Did This Study The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) changed how Medicare pays for physician services, moving from a payment system that largely rewarded volume and complexity of health care services to the Quality Payment Program, which is a payment incentive program intended to reward high-quality, efficient care. Providers participate in the Quality Payment Program through one of two tracks: MIPS or advanced alternative payment models. MIPS was designed to incentivize high-quality care through performance-based payment adjustments. About 950,000 providers (about half of all Medicare Part B providers) were eligible to participate in MIPS in 2019. Congress included a provision in MACRA for GAO to examine the MIPS program. This report describes (1) the distribution of MIPS performance scores and related payment adjustments, and (2) stakeholders' perspectives on the strengths and challenges of the MIPS program. GAO analyzed MIPS data for performance years 2017 through 2019—the most recent year available at the time of GAO's analysis. GAO also interviewed officials from CMS and 11 selected professional organizations that represent MIPS-eligible providers of various specialties. GAO identified stakeholders through research and its analysis of the MIPS data. The Department of Health and Human Services provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which GAO incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Jessica Farb at (202) 512-7114 or FarbJ@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Judicial Security Bill Advances: Judge Who Lost Son Urges Final Passage
    In U.S Courts
    A bill to protect federal judges and their families from threats and attacks has advanced to the full Senate, and a U.S. district judge from New Jersey, whose son was slain by an angry litigant, urged Congress to pass the legislation without delay.
    [Read More…]
  • 75th Anniversary of UNICEF
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Daughter of Prolific Mexican Cartel Leader Pleads Guilty to Criminal Violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act
    In Crime News
    A dual U.S.-Mexican citizen pleaded guilty today to willfully engaging in financial dealings with Mexican companies that had been identified as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles Claims Against City of Meriden, Connecticut, Involving Denial of Mosque
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut today announced an agreement with the City of Meriden, Connecticut to resolve allegations that the city violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) by denying the application of the Omar Islamic Center to establish a mosque in March 2019, and by maintaining a zoning code that treats religious assemblies and institutions on less than equal terms with nonreligious assemblies and institutions in nine zoning districts.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken’s Call with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadhimi 
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Los Angeles Towing Company for Illegally Selling a Car Owned by a U.S. Marine
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced that it reached an agreement with Los Angeles towing company Black and White Towing Inc. to resolve allegations that it illegally auctioned off an active-duty U.S. Marine’s car, in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).  
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi Before Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • International Military Education and Training: Agencies Should Emphasize Human Rights Training and Improve Evaluations
    In U.S GAO News
    Since 1976, the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program has provided education and training to foreign military personnel. The program's objectives include professionalizing military forces and increasing respect for democratic values and human rights. In 2010, Congress appropriated $108 million in IMET funding for more than 120 countries. The Department of State (State) and the Department of Defense (DOD) share responsibility for IMET. In response to a mandate in the conference report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, this report assesses (1) changes in the program from fiscal years 2000 to 2010, by funding levels, students trained, and recipient countries; (2) the program's provision of and emphasis on human rights training for its students; and (3) the extent to which State and DOD monitor IMET graduates and evaluate program effectiveness. GAO reviewed and analyzed agency funding, planning, and performance management documents, and interviewed U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., and overseas.Although IMET funding has increased by more than 70 percent since fiscal year 2000, the number of students trained has decreased by nearly 14 percent. Over the last 10 years, countries in the Europe and Eurasia region have continued to receive the largest portion of IMET funding, receiving $30 million in 2010. However, all regions have received increased IMET funding since fiscal year 2000, with the levels of funding to the Near East and South and Central Asia regions more than doubling from fiscal year 2000 to fiscal year 2010. Professional military education represents the largest single use of IMET funds-- nearly 50 percent in fiscal year 2010. Other major types of training funded by IMET include English language training and technical training, which represented 13 and 11 percent, respectively, of fiscal year 2010 IMET program costs. Training to build respect for internationally recognized human rights standards is provided to IMET students through various in-class and field-based courses, but human rights training was generally not identified as a priority in the IMET country training plans GAO reviewed. IMET students primarily receive human rights training through human rights courses that focus on promoting democratic values, and through a voluntary program that sends them on visits to democratically oriented institutions. However, human rights and related concepts were identified as key objectives in only 11 of the 29 country training plans GAO reviewed for IMET participant countries that received low rankings for political and civil freedoms by Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization. State and DOD's ability to assess IMET's effectiveness is limited by several weaknesses in program monitoring and evaluation. First, State and DOD have not established a performance plan for IMET that explains how the program is expected to achieve its goals and how progress can be assessed through performance measures and targets. Second, State and DOD have limited information on most IMET graduates, due to weaknesses in efforts to monitor these graduates' careers after training. DOD has collected updated career information on only 1 percent of IMET graduates. Training managers identified limited resources and lack of host country cooperation as among the key challenges to monitoring IMET graduates. Third, the agencies' current evaluation efforts include few of the evaluation elements commonly accepted as appropriate for measuring progress of training programs, and do not objectively measure how IMET contributes to long-term, desired program outcomes. The agencies could incorporate existing evaluation practices, including those of other State and DOD entities, or suggestions from training managers overseas to improve IMET monitoring and evaluation efforts. IMET training managers have offered suggestions for improving monitoring efforts, such as by clarifying DOD's monitoring guidance and strengthening DOD's IMET data systems. Training managers also offered ideas to improve program evaluations, such as surveying U.S. military groups to assess participant nations' proficiency in key areas, assessing career progress of IMET graduates against non-IMET graduates in specific countries, and testing students before and after training to measure changes in knowledge or attitudes. GAO recommends that the Secretaries of State and Defense (1) ensure human rights training is a priority in IMET recipient countries with known human rights concerns, and (2) take initial steps to begin developing a system to evaluate the effectiveness of the IMET program, including adopting existing evaluation practices used by other State and DOD agencies and soliciting IMET training managers for suggestions on improving monitoring and evaluation efforts. State and DOD both concurred with our recommendations.
    [Read More…]
  • United States Welcomes Actions by Armenia and Azerbaijan
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • United States Reaches Proposed Settlement with Ranch Owner to Restore Creek and Wetlands and Pay Damages for Trespass
    In Crime News
    The U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that they have reached a proposed settlement with John Raftopoulos, Diamond Peak Cattle Company LLC and Rancho Greco Limited LLC (collectively, the defendants) to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) involving unauthorized discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States and trespass on federal public lands in northwest Moffat County, Colorado.
    [Read More…]
  • Cambodia Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Exercise increased [Read More…]
  • Former Louisiana Police Chief and Current City Councilmember Indicted for Alleged Vote Buying Scheme
    In Crime News
    An indictment issued by a federal grand jury in New Orleans, Louisiana, was unsealed charging former Amite City Police Chief Jerry Trabona and current Amite City Councilmember Kristian Hart with criminally violating federal election laws as part of a scheme to pay for votes in a federal election.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles With Nationwide Soccer Instruction Company To Resolve Finding of Citizenship Status Discrimination
    In Crime News
    More from: September 14, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Comet NEOWISE Sizzles as It Slides by the Sun, Providing a Treat for Observers
    In Space
    Catch the comet in the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Virtual Town Hall with U.S. Mission Nigeria and U.S. Embassy Nairobi Employees and Family Members
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Department of Defense: Eating Disorders in the Military
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Defense (DOD) screens for eating disorders for all applicants entering into the military but does not specifically screen servicemembers for eating disorders after entrance. However, after joining the military, servicemembers receive annual health screenings, and medical personnel may be able to diagnose eating disorders during in-person physical exams. Service branch behavioral health specialists told GAO that DOD medical personnel are trained to notice signs of eating disorders, such as changes in vital signs and emaciated appearance. DOD is examining ways to improve its screening of eating disorders in the military and recently expanded the available research funding for eating disorders in its Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). DOD provides health care services to approximately 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries, including services to treat those diagnosed with eating disorders, through TRICARE, DOD’s regionally structured health care system. Servicemembers can obtain these services at military treatment facilities—referred to as direct care—or receive care purchased from civilian providers—referred to as purchased care. DOD officials told us that the specialized level of care necessary to treat eating disorders is available to TRICARE beneficiaries through purchased care, rather than direct care. The Defense Health Agency (DHA), which oversees the TRICARE program, uses two contractors to develop regional provider networks. According to the two TRICARE contractors’ data for purchased care, as of spring 2020, there were 166 eating disorder facilities located in 32 states throughout the country and the District of Columbia. The facilities vary by geographic location, population served, and level of treatment provided: Geography: About half of the 166 facilities (79) are located in the following five states: California (24), Florida (18), Illinois (15), Texas (13), and Virginia (nine).  Population: Of the 166 eating disorder facilities, over three-quarters provide treatment to both adult (132 facilities) and child and adolescent (132 facilities) populations. Level of Treatment: Most facilities provide inpatient hospitalization programs, which are for serious cases requiring medical stabilization (81 facilities); partial hospitalization, which are day programs providing treatment 5 to 7 days a week (133 facilities); or intensive outpatient programs, which are treatment programs providing therapy 2 to 6 days a week (107 facilities). About one-fifth of the facilities (35) provide residential treatment services, which are living accommodations providing intensive therapy and 24-hour supervision. TRICARE contractors have met with some challenges entering into contracts with eating disorder treatment facilities in certain areas of the country, according to DHA officials and both contractors. However, both contractors told GAO they consider it their responsibility to ensure beneficiaries receive the care they need regardless of the location of the facility. No access-to-care complaints related to eating disorder treatment were reported by TRICARE beneficiaries, according to the most recent DHA data for years 2018 through 2019. Eating disorders are complex conditions affecting millions of Americans and involve dangerous eating behaviors, such as the restriction of food intake. They can have a severe impact on heart, stomach, and brain functionality, and they significantly raise the risk of mortality. Many with eating disorders also experience co-occurring conditions such as depression. Research has yielded a range of estimates of the number of servicemembers with an eating disorder, due to differences in research methods. For example, a 2018 DOD study concluded that servicemembers likely experienced eating disorders at rates that are comparable to rates in the general population, while other survey-based research suggested the number of servicemembers with eating disorders may be higher than those with a medical diagnoses of such disorders. The potential effects that eating disorders can have on the health and combat readiness of servicemembers and their dependents underscores the importance of screening and treating this population. GAO was asked to provide information on eating disorders among servicemembers and their dependents. To describe how DOD screens for eating disorders among servicemembers, GAO reviewed DOD policies related to health screening and interviewed behavioral health specialists from the military branches. To understand approaches and challenges with implementing screening in a military environment, any planned or ongoing DOD-sponsored research related to this topic, and available eating disorder treatment, GAO interviewed representatives from the Eating Disorder Coalition, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, and the University of Kansas. To describe how DOD provides eating disorder treatment to servicemembers and their dependents, GAO interviewed DHA officials and TRICARE contractors and reviewed the TRICARE policy manual to identify the types of eating disorder diagnoses and treatments that are covered through direct and purchased care. GAO received data from the two TRICARE contractors related to the availability of eating disorder treatment services as of spring 2020. For more information, contact Sharon Silas at (202) 512-7114 or Silass@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Opening Remarks at the Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Transboundary River Governance
    In Climate - Environment - Conservation
    Ambassador Atul Keshap, [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.