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Archive for September, 2017

Border Patrol to Test New, Smaller Drones at Tucson Sector

Drone via CBP.

Drone via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol hopes to add smaller drones to its surveillance arsenal and will begin testing the unmanned aircraft this month in the Tucson sector, Tucson.com reports

The agency uses bigger drones, but Border Patrol is looking for something that is small enough to easily transport and fly in hard-to-access areas.

Agents will test three series of drones: Puma, Raven and InstantEye Quadcopter.

The drones may also include sensors, infrared cameras and facial-recognition technology. 

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Cali Drug Cartel

Pennsylvania Cop Convicted of Stealing Money from FBI Sting Operation

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Pennsylvania cop who stole money from a drug dealer and an FBI sting operation was convicted of theft and other charges Thursday.

After less than three hours of deliberation, the jury came back with a guilty verdict on charges of theft, record tampering and lying to federal investigators, PennLive reports.  

Fairview Township Police Officer Tyson Baker, 43, faces up prison time when he’s sentenced at a later date.

Baker was arrested after prosecutors said he stole $2,000 from a drug dealer in November 2015 and $3,000 from an FBI sting operation a month later.

FBI Agent: Driver Won’t Be Charged with Domestic Terrorism in Death of Protester

James Fields is accused of driving into a group of anti-racists, killing one person and injuring many more.

James Fields is accused of driving into a group of anti-racists, killing one person and injuring many more.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent said the Ohio man who plowed into protesters in Charlottesville, Va., will not face domestic terrorism charges because federal law does not outline penalties.

Special Agent Thomas F. O’Connor made the statement in an op-ed piece published Thursday by the Hill, saying Congress should change the statute to give it some teeth.

“Congress should amend the U.S. Code to make domestic terrorism a crime subject to specific penalties that apply irrespective of the weapon or target involved in the crime,” O’Connor wrote. “Specifically, this legislation should make it a crime for a person to commit, attempt, or conspire to commit an act of violence intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence government policy or conduct.” 

O’Connor was not speaking on behalf of the investigation of James Alex Fields Jr., who faces life in prison on a state charge of second-degree murder. Police said he intentionally plowed into protesters during an anti-racism rally on Aug. 12, killing 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer.

Hillary Clinton Says She’s Unsure If She Would Have Kept Comey If She Won

Hillary ClintonBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hillary Clinton said Thursday she’s unsure whether she would have kept former FBI Director James Comey if she won the 2016 presidential election. 

“If you were president today, would he still be FBI director?”  MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked.

“That’s a really good question,” Clinton said. “I don’t know the answer to that, because once I wasn’t president I didn’t think about it. I didn’t analyze it at all, so, I don’t really know.”

Clinton, who has been doing interviews to promote her book, What Happened, partly blamed Comey for her loss.

Comey announced close to the election that the FBI was reopening its email server case against Clinton.

Rep. McCaul Among Top Contenders for Homeland Security Director Job

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, who was considered by the Trump administration as a contender for Homeland Security director, is now “high on the list” to replace John Kelly, MyStatesman.com reports

McCaul, 55, who is a seven-term Republican from Texas and a former prosecutor, declined to comment when asked about the position.

But U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told the Statesman, “I think he’s talking to the White House. … He’s a good man. We go way back. I have a lot of confidence in him.”

But McCaul has some critics. Some conservatives, including Breitbart, don’t believe McCaul is tough enough on immigration.

Trump Considers Reducing Refugees Admitted into U.S. to 50,000

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump has not fulfilled his campaign pledge to ban all refugees that could be perceived as threatening from entering the country, but he’s considering a drastic step to reduce the numbers.

The New York Times reports the administration may reduce the number of refugees allowed into the United States to under 50,000, the lowest number since at least 1980. 

By comparison, President Barack Obama said 110,000 refugees should be admitted into the country in 2016.

The Times reports that some in the administration, including Stephen Miller, want the number to be even lower than 50,000.

The Times wrote:

The issue has created an intense debate within the administration, with Mr. Miller and some officials at the Department of Homeland Security citing security concerns and limited resources as grounds for deeply cutting the number of admissions, and officials at the National Security Council, the State Department and the Department of Defense opposing a precipitous drop.

No final decision has been made, according to the officials, but as the issue is being debated, the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the administration to bar almost any refugees from entering the country while it considers challenges to the travel ban order. The court will hear arguments in the case next month.

Justice Department Prevents FBI Officials from Appearing Before Senate Committee

US CapitolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is preventing two FBI officials from appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee during its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, the DOJ said it won’t allow Jim Rybicki and Carl Ghattasto to appear in order to “protect the integrity” of the investigation, which includes the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.

The FBI officials are among government employees who Comey said he shared his concerns about Trump’s behavior toward him.