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Archive for February, 2015

FBI Investigating Voter Fraud, Financial Mismanagement in The Bronx

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating voter fraud and financial mismanagement of politicians in The Bronx, the New Work Post reports.

The probe comes at a time when Albany’s power shifted to Bronx politicians after Sheldon Silver stepped down as speaker of the New York Assembly following his arrest by the FBI.

Replacing him was Carl Heastie, a Bronx political powerhouse.

The target of the probe, however is unclear, but the Post reported that the investigation was prompted, at least partially, by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

“I’m hearing that one document turned over to Bharara shows that some candidates in certain Bronx districts got more votes than the number of voters who went into the booths,” the Post’s John Crudele wrote.

“There is also a question about the use of campaign funds for personal purposes, a source tells me,” wrote Crudele. “Stay tuned. This could get interesting quickly.”

Puerto Rico Man Charged with Threatening U.S. Attorney from Prison

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Puerto Rico man has been arrested and charged with threatening a U.S. Attorney while in jail, the FBI said Monday.

Jose Villafane-Cotto was charged last week with mailing threatening communication and threatening a federal official.

He is accused of threatening U.S. Attorney Rose Emilia Rodriguez Velez of the District of Puerto Rico in a letter.

“I want to inform the federal court that Rosa Emilia Rodriguez has a few days to announce her resignation or she will pay with her life,” the letter reads in Spanish.

The return address was the Pomce Correctional Facilities, where Villafane-Cotto has been lodged.

Villafane-Cotto also is accused of making threatening phone calls. In one, he allegedly said, ““Rosa Emilia, it’s me, Jose Villafane Cotto; remember I am after you and I’m searching for you. Please remember that. Don’t think that because I’m inside I can’t be outside. I’ll leave you with that. I know where you are and where you are going. I am not going to tell you anything else. I left you a very clear message. I hope you have received my letters. In an alerted war, nobody dies.”

Second-in-Command Ousted at Secret Service Days Before House Testimony

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just months after Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was forced out of her job, the second-ranking official was stepping down, the Secret Service said Monday.

The Washington Post reports that Deputy Director Alvin “A.T.” Smith was ousted just three days before he was to testify during a House oversight committee about spending cuts and officer training.

Smith, 56, has served in the position for three years, overseeing the day-to-day operations.

Smith has been offered another position in Homeland Security.

“His contributions to the Agency have been invaluable,” the Secret Service’s acting director, Joseph P. Clancy, said in a statement.

Other Stories of Interest


Records: FBI Spied on Numerous African American Authors, Scholars for Decades

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and its notoriously paranoid director J. Edgar Hoover spied on prominent African American writers for decades, monitoring their activities and critiquing their work.

The Guardian reports that newly declassified documents from the FBI show extensive surveillance of black writers and scholars, including Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Claude McKay.

The records were obtained by William Maxwell, an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who was shocked when the FBI turned over 1,884 pages of documents on 51 well-known black writers. His request included 106 black writers, which means nearly half were monitored by the feds.

“I suspected there would be more than a few,” said Maxwell. “I knew Hoover was especially impressed and worried by the busy crossroads of black protest, leftwing politics, and literary potential. But I was surprised to learn that the FBI had read, monitored, and ‘filed’ nearly half of the nationally prominent African American authors working from 1919 (Hoover’s first year at the Bureau, and the first year of the Harlem Renaissance) to 1972 (the year of Hoover’s death and the peak of the nationalist Black Arts movement). In this, I realised, the FBI had outdone most every other major institution of US literary study, only fitfully concerned with black writing.”

Maxwell is revealing the findings in a book entitled, “FB Eyes: How J Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature.” The book hits the shelves on Feb. 18.

The book says the surveillance was prompted by Hoover’s “personal fascination with black culture.”

What was Hoover afraid of?

“Hoover was exercised by what he saw as an emerging alliance between black literacy and black radicalism,” Maxwell said.

“Then there’s the fact that many later African American writers were allied, at one time or another, with socialist and communist politics in the U.S.”

 

Homeland Security Chief Warns of 30,000 Furloughs If Congress Doesn’t Reach Funding Pact

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If Congress fails to reach a funding agreement by the end of February, Homeland Security will furlough at least 30,000 workers in what could have far-reaching ramifications, the department’s head, Jeh Johnson, said.

The Huffington Post reports that Johnson is stepping up his rhetoric in the face of a potential DHS shutdown.

“This is not a situation to make light of,” Johnson told CNN. “In these challenging times we need a fully funded Department of Homeland Security.”

Johnson said FEMA would furlough about 80% of its employees.

“I am on Capitol Hill now virtually every working day talking to Democrats and Republicans about the importance of a fully funded Department of Homeland Security in these times in particular,” said Johnson. “Let’s not forget that the Department of Homeland Security interfaces with the American public more than any other department in our government at airports and at ports.”

Other Stories of Interest

Woman Who Says She Was a ‘Sex Slave’ for Prince Andrew, Others Says Videos Exist

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The woman at the center of the Prince Andrew “sex slave” scandal said she believes the FBI has video of her having sex with billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein and “some of his powerful friends,” the Independent reports.

Virginia Roberts, now 31, said in sworn statements in court last week that she believes  “maintained videos in some rooms where I had sex with other powerful people” and that “some kind of major cover-up is going on to protect.”

Roberts claims she was only 17 when Epstein and his friends turned her into a “sex slave.”

One of the friends of Epstein that Roberts said she had sex with is Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew has denied the allegations.

Man Drives Pickup Through Coast Guard Station Gate, Assaults Personnel in Michigan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are baffled after a 34-year-old man drove his pickup truck through a Coast Guard station gate Sunday morning in Michigan and assaulted personnel after saying he had packed his vehicle with explosives, WZZM-TV reports. 

The man, whose identity has not yet been released, was subdued and arrested at the Grand Haven station.

“The suspect is not from Grand Haven,” Hawke told reporters. “We’re unsure, unclear on whether he is acting alone or not. The investigation is rapidly expanding into other areas of Michigan. No indication of a motive at this time. That part of the investigation is still ongoing.”

Authorities found no explosives.

No one was serious injured.

FBI Combats Computer Hackers with Cyber Crimes Task Force in Louisville

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The alarming increase in computer attacks has prompted the FBI to create a cyber crimes task force in Louisville, WDRB.com reports.

To combat the sophistication, the FBI is recruiting computer-savvy people.

“There’s a changing in the F.B.I. for sure,” said Michael Russo Jr., a Supervisory Special Agent with the F.B.I.

Russo said cyber attacks are a big threat and can result in people having their identities stolen within seconds.

“We are hiring special agents, computer scientists and I.T. forensic examiners,” Russo said.

It’s not easy. The FBI received more than 20,000 applications for traditional investigator positions but far fewer people expressed interest in FBI tech jobs.