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Archive for March, 2016

Border Patrol Sees Spike in Arrests of Sex Offenders Trying to Cross Border

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An increasing number of sex offenders are trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Tucson News Now reports that Border Patrol agents from the Tucson Sector have arrested 46 sex offenders so far this fiscal year, compared to 69 last fiscal year.

Since March 1, agents arrested 10 sex offenders. Eight were from Mexico and one each from El Salvador and Honduras.

“Border Patrol agents encounter sex offenders, various people with criminal histories in their course of duty nearly every day,” said agent Adrienne Crowley, a spokesperson for the Tucson Sector.

“Border Patrol agents in Tucson Sector face various threats in the field,” Crowley said. “Every person they encounter potentially has a criminal history so we really don’t know what we’re working with until we bring that person in and run those records checks.  Agents are working every day to make our community safer…by getting those people off the streets.”

Justice Department: Rifle Recovered from ‘El Chapo’ Hideout Tied to Fast & Furious

Joaquin_Guzman-Loera

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The failed gun-walking operation known as Fast and Furious has been linked to a .50-caliber rifle found at the hideout of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The Justice Department shared the information in a letter to Congress, the Associated Press reports. 

The gun was among 19 firearms that Mexican authorities found at the hideout.

The botched sting operation allowed gun-runners to purchase weapons so that authorities could track them to drug smuggling rings.

The Justice Department said the gun was purchased in July 2010.

Nearly 900 firearms bought during the operation have been recovered.

“ATF and the department deeply regret that firearms associated with Operation Fast and Furious have been used by criminals in the commission of violent crimes, particularly crimes resulting in the deaths of civilians and law enforcement officials,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, head of the Justice Department’s legislative affairs office, wrote in a March 15 letter.

Former German Spy Convicted of Providing Classified Info to CIA, Russia

spy graphicBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former German spy who provided classified information to the CIA and the Russians was sentenced to eight years in prison for violating the country’s official secrets law.

Markus R., whose last name has not been made public, was convicted by a Munich state court, the Associated Press reports.

He was accused of selling roughly 20 highly classified documents to the CIA for $91,000. Among the information he shared was a list of German agents working abroad.

The 32-year-old confessed at trial, saying he was bored and frustrated.

He also provided “highly important” documents to Russians before ending the contact.

Ex-CIA and NSA Director: Trump’s Rhetoric Has Made U.S. ‘Less Safe Already’

Michael Hayden

Michael Hayden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The former director of the NSA and CIA criticized Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, saying his rhetoric is compromising Americans’ safety.

Michael Hayden said Trump’s statements on barring Muslims from entering the country were particularly “detrimental.”

“It’s made us less safe already,” Hayden said.

Hayden said the rhetoric “reinforces their narrative” that America and Islam are incompatible.

Other troubling statements involved Trump’s call to bring back torture to get information from suspected terrorists.

Other Stories of Interest

Apple Says America’s ‘Founders Would Be Appalled’ by FBI’s Demands to Unlock Phone

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple took its final legal shot at the FBI before next week’s courtroom showdown over unlocking an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Apple’s legal team warned in court papers of “serious risks” to the privacy of “millions of citizens” if a federal judge orders the tech giant to hack an iPhone, the San Jose Mercury News reports. 

“This case hinges on a contentious policy issue about how society should weigh what law enforcement officials want against the widespread repercussions and serious risks their demands would create,” Apple wrote. “This case arises in a difficult context after a terrible tragedy. But it is in just such highly charged and emotional cases that the courts must zealously guard civil liberties and the rule of law and reject government overreaching.”

Arguments in the case are scheduled for next week in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, who tentatively ordered Apple to comply with the FBI’s request to unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook.

The Justice Department has argued that unlocking the single phone is necessary to “leave no stone unturned” in the terrorism investigation.

Apple said the order would result in “catastrophic security implications.”

“(According) to the government, short of kidnapping or breaking an express law, the courts can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up,” Apple wrote. “The Founders would be appalled.”

FBI Investigating Alleged ISIS ‘Kill List’ Containing Law Enforcement Officials in Minnesota

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

State and federal authorities are investigated an alleged ISIS “kill list” that contains personal information of dozens of Minnesota law enforcement officers, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. 

A group of hackers affiliated with ISIS in Iraq and the Levant is accused of creating a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least 36 officers across Minnesota. The group calls itself the Caliphate Cyber Army.

The list also included instructions to kill and was posted on the encrypted app Telegram.

Authorities are trying to determine how legitimate the group is.

“It is on our radar and we have been working with the various agencies which have been both named and unnamed,” FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said of the list. “We’re proceeding forward with this matter and treating it as a serious threat.”

Ex-Army Soldier Accused of Plotting Attacks in Name of ISIS Not Charged with Terrorism

us-army-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Daniel Seth Franey is a former U.S. Army soldier who is accused of planning to ambush police officers, attack a Seattle-area military base and kill everyone at an annual gathering of top military brass, Vice News reports.

Yet Franey, who was arrested on Feb. 6, was never charged with terrorism, raising serious questions about how the FBI and federal prosecutors handled the case.

Instead, Franey was charged with three counts of unlawful possession of firearms and two counts of unlawful possession of machine guns.

After receiving tips that Franey was bent on attacking Americans in the name of ISIS, an FBI informant spent eight months with the former soldier to gauge how serious he was. The informant even furnished Franey with guns before arresting him for illegal possession of weapons.

Franey faces up to 50 years in prison.

American Man Accused of Fighting for ISIS Was Not on FBI’s Radar

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American man accused of fighting for ISIS and detained by Kurdish forces in Iraq was not on the FBI’s radar, the Washington Post reports. 

Mohamad Khweis traveled to Turkey and Greece for vacation with friends about two months ago, his family members said.

But the Kurdish publication, Rudaw, reported that Khweis traveled to Syria from Turkey two months ago and was arrested on his way back to Turkey.

Kurdish authorities said they hot at Khweis because they believed he was a suicide bomber. Khweis surrendered.

Friends of Khweis were shocked.

“I’m like, ‘I can’t even comprehend what I’m looking at right now,’” friend Harrison Weinhold, 27, of Alexandria, said. “It could not have been a more normal guy.”

More than 250 Americans have joined or attempted to join extremist groups overseas, according to a congressional report release last year.