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Archive for December, 2017

Border Patrol Names New Chief of San Diego Sector – Rodney S. Scott

Rodney S. Scott, new chief of the agency’s San Diego Sector. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 25-year-veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol has been named the new chief of the agency’s San Diego Sector.

During a ceremony Thursday in Coronado, Rodney S. Scott was announced as the new sector chief.

“I am honored and elated to assume command of the San Diego Sector. My goal is to provide enthusiastic leadership that empowers the men and woman of the sector to excel,” Scott said, according to the Times of San Diego. “I also look forward to building community partnerships and collaborating with area stakeholders for stronger border security and community safety.”

Scott will be responsible for more than 2,400 border agents and support staff and will provide oversight of eight border patrol stations.

Scott previously served as chief patrol agent of the El Centro Sector, deputy chief patrol agent in San Diego County, and patrol agent in charge at the Brown Field Station.

Scott launched his Border Patrol career on May 11, 1992.

Special Counsel Requests Data from Data Firm Used by Trump in Presidential Campaign

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is requesting information from a data firm used by Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller’s office has requested all emails from employees who worked with the campaign for data firm Cambridge Analytica. 

The company has complied with the request, which is part of the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The House Intelligence Committee interviewed Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix via video call earlier this week.

WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange tweeted that he was contacted by Nix before the November election.

New Poll: Majority of Voters Believe Mueller Has ‘Conflict of Interest’

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A majority of voters polled by a new survey believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a “conflict of interest” in the investigation into Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign

The Harvard CAPS-Harris survey found that 54% of polled voters believe that Mueller’s relationship with fired FBI Director James Comey represents a conflict of interest.

Of those who believed there was a conflict of interest, 70% were Republicans, 53% were Independents and 40% were Democrats.

When Mueller retired, he was replaced with Comey. Although the extent of their relationship is unclear, the pair worked together and both threatened to resign over domestic surveillance issues under President George W. Bush.

FBI Expected to Reveal New Details of Houston Man Accused of Plotting Terrorist Attack

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is expected to reveal more details Thursday about an 18-year-old Houston man accused of plotting a violent attack in U.S. soil.

U.S.-born Kaan Sercan Damlarkaya is set to appear in federal court for a detention hearing, the Houston Chronicle reports

Damlarkaya was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on one count of providing material support to terrorists, two counts of attempting to provide material support to ISIS and two counts of unlawfully distributing explosive information, according tot he Justice Department.

Most of the charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Damlarkaya’s public defender declined to discuss the case.

Putin Defends Trump, Dismisses Claims of Collusion As Propaganda

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised President Trump, discounting allegations of links between the White House and Kremlin as “some sort of spy-mania,” Bloomberg reports.

“We see some quite serious achievements, even in this short period of time that he’s been working,” Putin said at his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday. “Look at the markets, how they’ve risen. That shows investors’ confidence in the American economy, it shows they believe in what President Trump is doing in this area.”

Putin dismissed the allegations of links between Russia and Trump’s campaign as propaganda “invented by people who are in opposition to Trump in order to make his work look illegitimate.”

Putin is running for another six years as president of Russia.

ATF Under Fire for Controversial Stings Primarily Targeting African Americans

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF stings have come under fire because they’re predominately targeting African Americans and prompting allegations of racial profiling and entrapment.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the ATF has “convinced hundreds of would-be robbers across the country that they were stealing large quantities of narcotics, only to find out the drugs were a figment of the government’s imagination.” 

Because of mandatory federal sentencing laws, suspects caught up in the controversial stings are spending decades or even life behind bars, even though the drugs never existed.

The Tribune wrote:

Now the legal battle is coming to a head in an unprecedented hearing at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago before a panel of nine district judges overseeing a dozen separate cases involving more than 40 defendants.

The hearing, which has been four years in the making, will take place over two days in the courthouse’s large ceremonial courtroom. As many as 30 defendants, their relatives and individual attorneys are expected to attend, and an overflow courtroom has been set up to handle the anticipated crowd.

“In my 46 years of practicing law, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” attorney Richard Kling, who represents one of the defendants, told the Chicago Tribune this week.

The testimony will focus on dueling experts who reached starkly different conclusions about the racial breakdown of targets in the stash house cases.

A nationally renowned expert hired by the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School — which is spearheading the effort to have the cases dismissed — concluded that disparity between minority and white defendants in the stings was so large that there was “a zero percent likelihood” it happened by chance.

Other Stories of Interest

Putin Insists FBI Is Drugging Former Head of Russia’s Anti-Doping Lab

Russian President Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed – with no evidence – that the FBI is drugging the former head of Russia’s anti-doping lab so he’ll blow the whistle on a massive state-run doping program.

Putin said the former head of the lab, Grigory Rodchenkov, who is now in a witness-protection program in the U.S., is under the influence of some kind of drug to get him to cooperate with the investigation, Bloomberg reports.

The whistleblower led to Russia being barred from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“He’s working under the control of the American special services, what kind of substances are they giving him so he says what they need?” Putin said at his annual press conference on Thursday in Moscow.

Despite Putin’s claims, Rodchenkov has the backing of the International Olympic Committee, which said the whistleblowers’s accusations that Russia was doping its athletes are credible.

According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, Russia conspired to provide banned substances to about 1,000 athletes from 2011-15.

Trump’s Deputy AG: No Good Reason to Fire Mueller

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a powerful rebuke to Donald Trump and Republicans, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified Wednesday that he saw no good reason to fire special counsel Robert Mueller from his investigation into possible collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia.

Republicans grilled Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, following recent revelations that two FBI officials on Mueller’s team were mocking the president in text messages.

Rosenstein defended Mueller, saying he is properly overseeing the investigation and has taken action when confronted with allegations of bias on the special counsel team.

“I know what he is doing,” Rosenstein told the House Judiciary Committee. “I am not aware of any impropriety.”

Rosenstein added that he would not comply with Trump if the president ordered him to fire Mueller, unless there was “good cause” for his removal.

“As I’ve explained previously, I would follow the regulation: If there was good cause, I would act,” Rosenstein said. “If there were no good cause, I would not.”