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Archive for October, 2017

Border Patrol Agents Increasingly Coming Under Attack This Year

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Assaults on Border Patrol agents are significantly on the rise this year.

In the first 11 months of fiscal 2017, 671 assaults on Border Patrol agents were reported, a 67% increase during the same period last year, Officer.com reports

Worried about the increase in assaults, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed prosecutors to make attacks “a top priority” during an April 11 speech in Nogales.

“If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it,” Sessions said.

The good news is, prosecutions for assaults on agents also are increasing. During the first 11 months of this fiscal year, 48 new cases of assault were prosecuted, up from 34 in each of the two previous fiscal years.

It’s not entirely clear why assaults are increasing.

Manafort Under Fire for Undisclosed Lobbying for Pro-Russian Party in Ukraine

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly paid at least $2.2 million to two Washington lobbying firms in 2012 with the help of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports

Manafort’s actions, which effectively obscured the party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy, are coming to light as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of attorneys are investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Federal law makes it a crime punishable by up to five years in prison for lobbyists to fail to declare their representation of foreign leaders or their political parties.

The AP wrote:

Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump’s campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych.

People with direct knowledge of Gates’ work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president’s political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.

The nonprofit, the newly created European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, was governed by a board that initially included parliament members from Yanukovych’s party. The nonprofit subsequently paid at least $2.2 million to the lobbying firms to advocate positions generally in line with those of Yanukovych’s government.

That lobbying included downplaying the necessity of a congressional resolution meant to pressure the Ukrainian leader to release an imprisoned political rival.

Other Stories of Interest

Former FBI Director Comey Is Using Secret Twitter Account

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey has confirmed he’s been using a secret Twitter account.

Gizmodo speculated that Comey was behind the account of Reinhold Niebuhr, but there was no confirmation until the fired director posted a picture of himself standing in the middle of a road, peering across cornfields.

A friend of Comey’s confirmed the account belonged to the former FBI chief.

Comey, who is writing a book, tweeted on Friday that he was happy to be back in the Hawkeye State.

How FBI, ATF Are Assisting Las Vegas Authorities Investigate Mass Shooting

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and ATF are assisting local law enforcement in Las Vegas determine whether the gunman responsible for the mass shooting during the music festival acted alone.

While local authorities are taking the lead in the investigation, the federal agencies are helping gather evidence.

“When you have a mass shooting scene like Las Vegas, you are talking about a lot of manpower,” Dana Ridenour, a retired FBI agent who was part of its Evidence Response Team that traveled to New York following the 9/11 attacks, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“You have to bag and collect all that evidence,” Ridenour said.

Federal authorities would take the lead if the shooting was considered a terrorist attack. Since it’s not, the feds are taking a supportive role.

“The FBI is vital in the assistance of this investigation,” Sheriff Joe Lombardo said moments after the Oct. 1 tragedy occurred. “They are providing federal resources available in this investigation.”

White House: Justice Department Should Consider Charging Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House is insisting that the Justice Department should investigate former FBI Director James Comey for alleged crimes in the aftermath of his termination.

“It’s something they should certainly look at,” press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters when asked whether the administration should prosecute Comey, CNN reports

The White House claims Comey leaked privileged information to the media and gave false testimony to Congress by suggesting that Trump pressured the FBI director to drop the investigation of Russia’s election year meddling.

“If there’s ever a moment where we feel that a person has broken the law, particularly if they’re with the FBI, that’s something that should be looked at,” she said.

FBI Foils Terrorist Plot to Blow Up Mall in South Florida

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI foiled an alleged plot to detonate a bomb in a shopping mall in South Florida, arresting the suspect behind the planned attack.

The arrest of Miami resident Vicente Solano, an alleged ISIS sympathizer, came during an FBI sting operation, CBS News reports

The FBI, acting on a tip by a confidential informant, said the suspect was acting alone and was planning a large-scale attack on Dolphin Mall in Doral, near the Miami International Airport.

Solano planned to detonate what turned out to be a hoax bomb from undercover FBI agents.

Solano is expected to appear in Miami federal court today.

Thousands of Undisclosed Documents on JFK Assassination to Be Released

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than 3,000 documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are expected to be released by the federal government Thursday.

President Trump said he doesn’t plan to prevent the release of the documents, which include repots from the CIA and FBI.

“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted Saturday.

The disclosure is long overdue, said Boston University professor and presidential historian Tom Whalen.

“It might cause some embarrassments to the intelligence agencies because J. Edgar Hoover, who ran the FBI, in previously released documents basically admitted the FBI screwed up on November 22. Lee Harvey Oswald shouldn’t have been a country mile of the presidential motorcade. They should have detained him but the intelligence agencies were not communicating to one another,” he told CBS.http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/10/22/jfk-documents-release-fbi-cia/

A 1992 law, known as the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, called for the release on the 25th anniversary of the law.

Special Counsel Investigation Now Focusing on Left-Leaning Podesta Group

John Podesta

John Podesta

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election now includes the Democratic-leaning Podesta Group.

The group is led by Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta.

Mueller is looking at the group’s dealings with a Ukrainian-linked firm, NBC reports

The focus on the Podesta Group stems from Mueller’s investigation of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

NBC wrote:

Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). Podesta’s company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine’s image in the West.

The sources said the investigation into Podesta and his company began as more of a fact-finding mission about the ECMU and Manafort’s role in the campaign, but has now morphed into a criminal inquiry into whether the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.

Under FARA, people who lobby on behalf of foreign governments, leaders or political parties must file detailed disclosures about their spending and activities with the Justice Department. Willful failure to file the forms is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison, though such prosecutions are rare.

The Podesta Group filed a FARA registration for its work with ECMU only after the payments were reported by the media. Manafort’s firm also filed a FARA registration after media reports in June disclosed its work in Ukraine from 2012 through 2014.