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Archive for November, 2017

FBI Appoints New Special Agent in Charge of St. Louis Division

St. Louis Field Office, via FBI

St. Louis Field Office, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Richard Quinn, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will become the new special agent in charge of the bureau’s St. Louis division in mid-November.

The FBI announced Tuesday that Quinn will replace former Special Agent in Charge William Woods, who retired in September.

Former Special Agent in Charge William Woods

Former Special Agent in Charge William Woods

Quinn, who most recently served as the chief of the Media and Investigative Publicity Section in the Office of Public Affairs, began his career as a special agent in 1997. His first assignment was at the New York Field Office, where he investigated terrorism and foreign counterintelligence as a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Quinn also held leadership positions in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters and in the Chicago and Philadelphia Field Offices.

Air Force Error Allowed Texas Mass Shooter with Violent History to Buy Firearms

Church shooter Devin Kelley

Church shooter Devin Kelley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Texas church gunman who killed 26 people and wounded 20 more worshipers at a Texas church on Sunday should never have been able to buy the guns he used in the massacre.

But the Air Force failed to notify the FBI that Devin Kelley was sentenced to a year of confinement after a court martial found him guilty on two charges of domestic assault. According to numerous reports, Kelley brutally assaulted his wife, threatened her multiple times with loaded and unloaded guns and cracked his stepson’s skull. 

The Air Force failed to enter the domestic violence conviction into the National Criminal Investigation Center database, which would have prohibited him from buying a gun legally.

That omission allowed Kelley to pass background checks to buy four guns, some of which were used in the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

Several investigation are underway to determine why the Air Force never flagged Kelley.

Authorities also revealed Monday that Kelley was involved in a dispute with his mother-in-law, who attended the church in the past but was not there Sunday.

“He expressed anger towards his mother-in-law,”  Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas department of public safety, said at a press conference on Monday. “This was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs.”

FBI Originally Accused Hillary Clinton of Gross Negligence in Handling of Emails

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI originally characterized Hillary Clinton as “grossly negligent” for her handling of classified information, according to an early draft by then-FBI Director James Comey.

The language, which may have been strong enough to warrant charges, was softened to indicate Clinton had been “extremely careless” when Comey announced in July 2016 that no criminal charges would be filed against Clinton, The Hill reports

Federal law makes it a crime to handle classified material with gross negligence. 

Neither the FBI nor Clinton responded to questions for comments.

The memos were disclosed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.

“There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified information,” reads the statement, one of Comey’s earliest drafts from May 2, 2016.

For reasons that remain unclear, the draft statement was changed about a month later to conclude that Clinton’s use of an insecure personal email server was “extremely careless.”

Now the committee wants to know who made the changes and why.

“Apparently, as of May 2016, then-Director Comey and other FBI officials believed the facts fit that gross negligence standard until later edits were made,” Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to Wray in the letter demanding more information.

Brutal Assault of Sen. Rand Paul Began Over Landscaping Dispute; FBI Gets Involved

Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is now assisting local police investigating a brutal assault that left Sen. Rand Paul with five broken ribs, lung contusions and injuries to his face on the lawn of his Kentucky home.

The violent attack was prompted by a dispute between the Republican senator and his neighbor over landscaping, the New York Times reports

Authorities said Paul was attacked while mowing his lawn and wearing ear plugs.

“Rand never saw him coming or heard him coming,” according to the senator’s friend, Robert Porter, who visited Paul on Saturday.

The neighbor, Rene Albert Boucher, 59, was charged with one count of fourth-degree assault.

Russian Lawyer: Trump Jr. Offered to Review Sanctions in Exchange for Dirt on Clinton

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

Donald Trump Jr. and his dad, President Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the presidential election campaign last year said the president’s son offered to re-examine sanctions and travel bans imposed on Russian officials in exchange for dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya offered new details in an interview with Bloomberg about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower involving Trump Jr., Jared Kushner’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Paul Manafort, who then was Trump’s senior campaign manager. 

The meeting has become a target of the special counsel investigation of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia to meddle in the election.

Veselnitskaya said she was lobbying against the so-called 2012 Magnitsky law that imposed travel bans and sanctions on Russian officials accused of plotting to murder an accountant, Sergey Magnitsky.

In the Bloomberg interview, Veselnitskaya quoted what Trump Jr. allegedly said during the meeting: “Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it.”

It’s unclear whether Russia ever passed on information about Clinton.

FBI’s Obsession with MLK Paints Falsehoods about Civil Rights Leader

Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy With Martin Luther King Jr. Photo via DOJ.

Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy With Martin Luther King Jr. Photo via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just three weeks before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the FBI declared in a newly released analysis that the civil rights leader was “a whole-hearted” communist who had a series of affairs, including with folk singer Joan Baez

But historians quickly denounced the 20-page document, dated March 21, saying the FBI’s obsession with King resulted in numerous falsehoods that were later discounted.

The FBI report, which was among the 676 files that the National Archive released Friday, provide detail about one of King’s closest advisers, Stanley Levison, a New York lawyer and businessman who helped finance the Communist Party before meeting the civil rights leader in 1956.

martin luther king fbi documentThe document claimed King was heavily influenced by Levison.

“The course King chooses to follow at this critical time could have momentous impact on the future of race relations in the United States,” the document’s introduction reads. “And for that reason this paper has been prepared to give some insight into the nature of the man himself as well as the nature of his views, goals, objectives, tactics and the reasons therefor.”

But David Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, dismissed the allegations as false, saying they are the result of then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s unhealthy, if not delusional, obsession with the civil rights leader. 

“The number one thing I’ve learned in 40 years of doing this, is just because you see it in a top-secret document, just because someone had said it to the FBI, doesn’t mean it’s all accurate,” Garrow told The Washington Post, citing the infamous dossier that contains salacious allegations against President Trump. 

Garrow pointed out that King had been under heavy FBI surveillance throughout the 1960s and never found evidence of communist connections.

If anything, the document, titled “MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., A CURRENT ANALYSIS,” provided more insight into the FBI’s preoccupation with the Communist Party and attempts to discredit King.

“I think the number one takeaway historically is how, even in March of 1968, the FBI continues to be bizarrely preoccupied with how important the Communist Party USA is. ... The Communist Party, by 1968, is of no importance to anything,” Garrow said. “These incredibly exaggerated statements of communist influence are exactly what the FBI wants to hear.”

What Hoover failed to pass on to President Lyndon B. Johnson was that King had distanced himself from communists.

“There are things I wanted to say renouncing communism in theory, but they would not go along with it. We wanted to say that it was an alien philosophy contrary to us, but they wouldn’t go along with it,” King told adviser Bayard Rustin in May 1965, when King, Garrow wrote.

Investigators Search for Motive in Mass Shooting at Texas Church

Church shooter Devin Kelley

Church shooter Devin Kelley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are trying to determine what motivated a 26-year-old former Air Force member to dress in black commando gear and a tactical vest and open fire at the First Baptist Church in a small Texas town, killing 26 people Sunday.

Among those killed were eight family members.

The gunman fled in his car after a local man began shooting at him, causing the suspect to run off the roadway, where authorities believe he took his own life or was shot in an exchange of gunfire with the armed resident, the Washington Post reports

“There was some gunfire exchanged, I believe, on the roadway also, and then [the gunman’s vehicle] wrecked out,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CBS News. “At this time we believe that he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after he wrecked out.”

Few details were immediately known about the shooter, identified as Devin Kelley, who was released from the Air Force with a bad-conduct discharge in 2014. At one point, Kelley had seven as a logistical readiness airman stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, according to Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.

Mueller Has Enough Evidence to Charge Former Trump Official Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just one week after Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced charges against three former Donald Trump aides in connection with an investigation into alleged collusion with Russia, the investigative team has enough evidence for criminal charges against the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Former FBI Director James Comey has claimed he was fired after being pressured by Trump to drop the investigation against Flynn, who is now under fire for his lobbying work for foreign governments, the Independent reports.

In February, Flynn resigned from the administration after lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russian government officials.

Last week, Mueller announced money laundering charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. The former FBI director, who was appointed by the Justice Department, also announced he secured a guilty plea from George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser for Trump, for lying to the FBI about trying to arrange a meeting between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.

If charged, Flynn would become the first member of Trump’s administration to face prosecution in the growing, wide-ranging investigation into whether the president’s campaign team colluded with Russia to damage the reputation of Hillary Clinton.