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Archive for November, 2016

Homeland Security Detected No Evidence of Cyberattacks During Election

ballot box flintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears that hackers would target the U.S. election were assuaged late Tuesday after no evidence of attacks or intrusions were suspected.

Homeland Security said it fielded no reports of cyber breaches, the USA Today reports. 

Still, the threat of a cyberattack appeared to discourage voters, who expressed much less confidence that their vote would count, according to exit polls.

“All the discussions this year about security gave states another measure of protection,” said Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for elections accuracy.

Former Gov. Huckabee Makes Racist Remark about Clinton Maid Running CIA

Ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee

Ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee just couldn’t resist making a racist remark on Election night.

Before the votes were counted, Huckabee tweeted that Hillary Clinton, if elected, would “appoint her Filipino maid” as head of the CIA, Huffington Post reports. 

It appears to be a reference to Marina Santos, Clinton’s maid, who was responsible for printing some of Clinton’s emails at her home. None of those e-mails contained classified information.

Nevertheless, Huckabee targeted Clinton’s maid as an apparent joke, albeit an offensive one.

Other Stories of Interest

Boston Globe: Lawmakers Should Scrutinize FBI After Election Day

Director James B. Comey

Director James B. Comey

By Editorial Board
Boston Globe

At least the FBI got the last act of its October fiasco right. On Sunday afternoon, two days before Election Day, director James B. Comey wrote in a letter to Congress that the bureau had finished its review of thousands upon thousands of e-mails related to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s server, and that no criminal charges would be recommended. The bureau does deserve credit for working so rapidly, and giving the American people a bit more clarity after it cryptically disclosed the new inquiry a little over a week ago.

The bottom line: Comey’s conclusion from an earlier investigation stands. Clinton should not have used her own server while Secretary of State, which made her communications vulnerable to hacking, but her mistakes were not criminal. There is no evidence that national secrets were stolen, or that anyone was harmed as a result of her e-mail setup. She has still rightly apologized for her actions.

So things stand where they were in July, when Comey said that because there was no evidence of criminal intent, no reasonable prosecutor would charge Clinton in the case. The hyperventilating from Republican nominee Donald J. Trump aside, it could not be clearer that Clinton’s e-mail practices do not disqualify her for the presidency, then or now.

But the bureau’s diligence over the last week doesn’t erase serious questions about its conduct, which should come under greater scrutiny from lawmakers after the election. There are plausible suggestions that at least some members of the bureau acted out of partisan motivations that have no place in law enforcement, and that Comey made an error in judgment disclosing the new review’s existence in a letter noteworthy for its vagueness and innuendo. Comey’s communique was one that — by virtue of its timing alone — demanded clarity, and his effort was anything but.

To read more click here. 

FBI Director James Comey’s Future is Uncertain After Election

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Whoever wins Tuesday’s election, it’s not going to be an easy time for FBI Director James Comey.

Comey has managed to enrage both presidential candidates and lawmakers.

It goes without saying that the 55-year-old former prosecutor’s future is uncertain.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

On Sunday, Comey took the extraordinary step of reaffirming his agency’s July conclusion that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted over her handling of classified material while serving as secretary of State. That was barely a week after he rocked the 2016 presidential race by announcing that the bureau would investigate newly discovered emails possibly related to the private email server she used.

His actions, so close to Tuesday’s vote, frustrated liberals and conservatives alike. Democrats said Comey should have gathered more facts about the new emails before making a public announcement; most of the emails on a computer used by Clinton aide Huma Abedin turned out to be duplicates or unrelated to the investigation. Republicans, who heralded Comey for launching the new inquiry, quickly changed course and accused him of buckling under pressure.

By alienating both sides, Comey may be able to neutralize some of the growing concerns about whether his agency is the latest Washington institution to fall victim to partisanship. But it also raises questions about what kind of relationship Comey will have with the next president, no matter who wins.

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Working with Drug Traffickers

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent in South Texas is accused of working with drug traffickers to stage narcotics seizures and sell the drugs for profit.

Eduardo Bazan Jr. was arrested Friday and charged with making false statements about a federal investigation of drug traffickers, San Antonio Express-News reports. 

Bazan’s alleged crimes occurred in February 2007, but agents with Homeland Security Investigations in McCallen didn’t learn of it until October 2013.

“The drug trafficking organization coordinated staged narcotic seizures of sham, or diluted, narcotics with the assistance of law enforcement officials, which enabled the organization to steal drug loads from unwitting narcotics sources of supply,” the complaint says.

The Express-News wrote:

Investigators say one such cocaine seizure took place near the McAllen Border Patrol station with Bazan’s assistance. Federal agents searched the agency database for the report Bazan filed in 2007 detailing the incident.

When HSI agents recently interviewed Bazan, he recalled seizing the load, telling investigators that border agents had discovered bundles of cocaine in a Honda Civic, the criminal complaint says. At first, Bazan denied being tipped off to the location of the drug load and to having received payment for making the seizure.

But when HSI agents interviewed Bazan two days later, he admitted to lying, the document states. Bazan told them he had received information that led to the seizure of about 150 pounds of cocaine and that in return he was paid around $8,000. At first, Bazan claimed to have chased suspects from the drug-laden vehicle, but he later admitted there were no suspects, confessing it was a ruse to make the seizure appear legitimate to other agents, according to the criminal complaint.

Ohio Man Arrested at Airport for Allegedly Trying to Join ISIS

Aaron Travis Daniels was charged with trying to join a terrorist organization.

Aaron Travis Daniels was charged with trying to join a terrorist organization.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 20-year-old Ohio man is accused of trying to board a flight to join ISIS.

Aaron Travis Daniel was arrested at the Columbus airport Monday, NBC News reports. 

The FBI said the Columbus man admitted he sent money to an ISIS recruiter and planed to travel to Libya “for the purpose of joining” the terrorist group.

“He’s accused of paying money that was intended to go to a foreign terrorist organization — in this case [ISIS],” U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman said in a brief news conference outside court Monday. “And then further, he was accused of attempting to provide himself as a fighter” for ISIS.

Daniels, who was held without bond, was charged with knowingly providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

If convicted, he could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison.

FBI Moves Office Out of Boston And into Larger Building in Chelsea

New FBI office in Chelsea, Mass.

New FBI office in Chelsea, Mass.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has moved out of the city of Boston and into a new Chelsea facility that has more room for expanded operations.

The FBI Boston Division has already started working at its new headquarters at 201 Maple St., the Boston Globe reports. The new building is 268,000 square feet.

“This new facility will give our employees and law enforcement partners better security, upgraded technologies, and provide more room for our growing task forces,” Harold H. Shaw, the special agent in charge, said in a statement.

The General Services Administration is leasing the eight-story building to the FBI.

The FBI Boston Division is responsible for federal laws in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

“We look forward to continuing to build upon the relationships we’ve established here in Chelsea while maintaining the critical partnerships we’ve developed over the years in Boston,” Shaw said. “We hope our presence in the neighborhood will have a positive impact.”

Other Stories of Interest

Michael McGarrity to Head up Criminal Division in New York FBI Office

fbi logo large

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Michael McGarrity recently served as the first director of the FBI’s  Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell, which is tasked with helping save U.S. nationals held hostage abroad.

Now, FBI Director James Comey has appointed him special agent in charge of the Criminal Division for the FBI’s  New York Field Office

McGarrity joined the FBI in 1996 and began his career in the New York Field Office, where he investigated violent gangs, Colombian drug trafficking organizations, and international money laundering networks, according to a press release. After Sept. 11, 2001, he transferred to the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force and investigated international terrorism matters.

McGarrity has held leadership positions as the FBI detailee assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, as the FBI’s deputy on-scene commander in Afghanistan, as the supervisor of the FBI’s extraterritorial investigation squad in the Washington Field Office, as the director for Counterterrorism on the White House National Security Staff and as the legal attaché in Switzerland, the press release said.

Before joining the FBI, he was an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.