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Feds Mull Terrorism Charges in Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Investigtion

Alleged ringleader Adam Fox, 37.

By Steve Neavling

Federal prosecutors are considering terrorism charges against the six men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after investigators uncovered new evidence, including bomb components. 

In a court filing Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office requested a 40-day extension to seek indictments against the suspects to give investigators time to sift through the evidence. In addition to finding bomb parts, investigators must examine 13,000 pages of encrypted text messages, hundreds of hours of undercover audio recordings, and “voluminous” amounts of audio and video found on seized computers and cellphones.

“Firearms and explosive device components were recently recovered, and must be analyzed to determine whether charges under the National Firearms Act, explosives or anti-terrorism statutes are warranted,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote. 

No more details of the bomb components were disclosed. 

“Because of the imminent nature of the threat, law enforcement was obliged to arrest the subjects before this evidence could be processed,” Kessler wrote. 

In all, 14 men have been charged in connection with the case in state and federal court. The six charged in federal court are also accused of conspiring to spark a civil war by planning to attack police and the state Capitol. They face up to life in prison. 


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Craig Fair Named Special Agent in Charge of San Francisco Field Office

Craig Fair, special agent in charge of the San Francisco Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

Craig Fair has been named the special agent in charge of the San Francisco Field Office after serving there as the deputy special agent in charge for the past three years.

Fair’s career with the FBI began at the San Francisco Field Office in 1998, serving as a special agent working counterintelligence matters. He was promoted to supervisory special agent in 2015, overseing a counterintelligence squad.

In 2008, Mr. Fair began serving as a unit chief in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., overseeing the bureau’s domestic and extraterritorial investigations and operations countering foreign intelligence collection matters. In 2011, he became acting section chief of Clandestine Services before returning to San Francisco as the assistant special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Branch. 

Fair oversaw San Francisco’s counterterrorism program, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Special Weapons and Tactics Program, and several other programs.

In 2013, Fair returned to FBI headquarters, serving as section chief of the Executive Staff Section of the National Security Branch (NSB). In addition, he served as the special assistant to the NSB executive assistant director. 

In 2014, Fair became deputy assistant director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, leading the FBI’s efforts in preventing, countering, and investigating threats of terrorism or proliferation involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive weapons.

In 2016, Fair returned to San Francisco to serve again as the assistant special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Program before he was named the deputy special agent in charge in 2017.

Fair received a Bachelor of Arts in political economics from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa, and a Master of Arts in criminal justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.


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Judge Orders DOJ to Confirm Evidence in Michael Flynn Case After Some Documents Were Altere

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has until today to verify each piece of evidence it has turned over in the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser.

Judge Emmet Sullivan on Friday ordered the DOJ to declare under the penalty of perjury that the evidence it has relied on to dismiss the perjury charge is accurate, Politico reports.

The unusual directive underscores the distrust between the judge and DOJ, which has admitted that two of its court documents were “inadvertently” altered. 

Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. But he later fired his attorneys and asked to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was entrapped by the FBI and Justice Department. 

Attorney General William Barr, who has intervened in cases involving the president’s allies, asked the judge to dismiss the case in May. 

Sullivan balked and appointed former federal judge John Gleeson to argue against dropping the case. 


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Border Patrol Agents Fatally Shoot Driver Accused of Pinning Agent Against a Car

Matthew Hudak, chief patrol agent for Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents shot and killed the driver of a tractor trailer on Friday evening after they say he reversed into an agent and pinned him and a migrant against another vehicle in Laredo, Texas.

The CBP said the incident happened at about 9:40 p.m. local time when ICE and the Webb County Constable’s Office were investigating a tractor-trailer carrying people suspected of illegally crossing the border. 

During the investigation, another tractor-trailer approached authorities and “suddenly accelerated in reverse, striking and pinning” the agent and a migrant against another vehicle. 

After the driver failed to respond to verbal commands, agents shot him. 

The agent was injured and released from the hospital Saturday morning. 

The Laredo Police Department and FBI, along with CBP and ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility, are investigating. 


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Retired FBI Agent Vying for Congressional Seat in Pennslyvania as a Democrat

Congressional candidate and former FBI agent Todd Rowley.

By Steve Neavling

A retired FBI agent is running a spirited campaign to unseat U.S. Rep. John Joyce in the 13th Congressional District in Pennsylvania. 

Todd Rowley, 17-year veteran of the FBI, is running as a Democrat in a heavily Republican district. 

“I’m running against Donald Trump,” Rowley told TribLive.com. “John Joyce has the highest voting ratio with Trump in Pennsylvania. He has fully backed his wagon to Donald Trump.”

Joyce has no problem with that characterization. 

“President Trump represents and supports the freedoms we embrace,” Joyce said.

After retiring from the FBI, Rowley, 56, is now a ranger at Linn Run State Park. He’s never run for political office and acknowledges he’s an underdog. Much of his campaign is focused on the coronavirus pandemic, which he said Joyce has mishandled.

“John Joyce was silent. He’s a medical physician, and for him to be silent for these eight to nine months, it’s a shame. It’s a clear squandering of leadership,” Rowley said.


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Increasingly Desperate Trump Tells Aides He Wants to Fire Wray for Not Investigating Biden Family

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

With less than two weeks before the election and trailing in the polls, President Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with FBI Director Christopher Wray for failing to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his family of corruption. 

Trump has repeatedly discussed canning Wray if reelected, The Washington Post reports, citing senior aides to the president. Trump wants an October surprise similar to the one that then-FBI Director James Comey delivered about Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The president has been pushing a dubious narrative that Biden and his family are corrupt because of widely disputed claims in a New York Post story. Trump has yet to indicate what crimes he believes Biden committed. 

Top Democrats are urging Wray to avoid launching a politically motivated investigation to influence the election. 

In a letter sent to Wray on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are urging Wray to “to resist pressure from President Trump and other partisan actors to take any actions intended to benefit President Trump politically on the eve of the election. Succumbing to such pressure would deeply undermine our national security interests and the credibility of law enforcement, and could have devastating consequences for the resiliency of our democracy.” 

“We are deeply concerned about the possibility that in response to these reports the Trump Administration will take actions before Election Day that would seek to damage the Democratic presidential candidate and undermine the rule of law,” Wyden and Schumer said.


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‘Operation Legend’ Nets Nearly 5,000 Arrests in 9 Cities, Barr Announces

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Nearly 5,000 people have been arrested across nine cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative launched by the Justice Department in July, Attorney General William Barr announced Tuesday. 

Since the operation began on July 8, federal authorities and their local partners have arrested 267 murder suspects and seized roughly 16 kilos of fentanyl, 200 kilos of methamphetamine, 30 kilos of cocaine, and more than $7.3 million in drug proceeds.

Of those arrested, 1,124 have been charged with federal offenses. More than 600 have been charged with firearms offenses, and 440 have been charged with drug-elated crimes. 

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in nine cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, Kansas City and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

To see a breakdown by city, click here.


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Russia, Iran Trying to Influence Presidential Election with Voter Information, FBI Warns

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has warned that Russia and Iran have obtained voter information and are using it to sow division and chaos and undermine confidence in the upcoming election. 

The FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Security Director John Radcliffe said the two countries are trying to influence the presidential election. 

Iran has used the information to target American voters with emails demanding they vote for President Trump, the officials said, adding that there’s no evidence either country managed to alter election results or registration information.

“We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election,” Wray said during a news conference with Ratcliffe, The Washington Post reports. “When we see indications of foreign interference or federal election crimes, we’re going to aggressively investigate and work with our partners to quickly take appropriate action.”

Radcliffe said the voter data “can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”


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