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Archive for December, 2017

FBI Mulls Criminal Probe over Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research

Anti-Planned Parenthood rally. File photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is considering criminal investigations over the use of aborted fetus tissue in medical research at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the Southwestern Women’s Options abortion clinic in Albuquerque.

The FBI is looking into a request by the Republican-led House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives to investigate Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, including the Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

“We can confirm that the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI Headquarters has received this information, including the two referrals made to the New Mexico Attorney General regarding practices of the UNM HSC and SWO, and sent the materials to the relevant FBI field offices for review and any action deemed appropriate,” Steven E. Boyd, assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in Washington, wrote in a letter on Friday to Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M.

Pearce, who raised concerns about the use of fetal tissue research, said he was encouraged by the letter.

“I applaud today’s action by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take up the criminal referrals in New Mexico regarding violations made by the University of New Mexico and the Southwestern Women’s Options,” Pearce wrote on his Facebook page. “Even more, DOJ will be investigating all fifteen criminal referrals that were sent out but not acted upon at the conclusion of the Select Panel’s investigation.”

Health Sciences Center spokeswoman Alex Sanchez said the organization is aware of the letter.

“The UNM Health Sciences Center has not been contacted by the FBI and only today became aware of the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs’ letter to Rep. Pearce,” Sanchez said. “As is our practice, if we are contacted, we will cooperate fully.”

Other Stories of Interest

What We Know about NYC Bombing Suspect Akayed Ullah

Bombing suspect Akayed Ullah.

The 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant accused of trying to detonate a crude pipe bomb in a New York City subway station Monday morning was inspired by ISIS to avenge the deaths of Muslims worldwide.

Authorities say Akayed Ullah, a former cab driver who lived in Brooklyn, used Velcro and zip ties to strap the bomb to his body during rush hour, NBC reports

The bomb, which was made from a pipe, 9-volt battery and Christmas tree lights, detonated at 7:20 a.m. in a pedestrian walkway, injuring the suspect and four commuters. On late Monday afternoon, Ullah was in serious condition. The commuters were not seriously injured.

FBI agents and NYPD cops raided three Brooklyn apartments connected to the suspect. The Joint Terrorism Task Force is searching for evidence, including phones, computers and bomb-making equipment, the New York Post reports.

According to numerous reports, Ullah arrived in the U.S. seven years ago from his native Bangladesh on an F4 Visa, which is for siblings of American citizens.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said the bomb was “low-tech.”

Authorities believe Ullah acted alone, and so far there’s no evidence that he was in direct contact with ISIS.

“Apparently he went to the internet and downloaded information as to how to make a homemade bomb,” Cuomo said on CNN, adding that the suspect was “not really part of a sophisticated network.”

“They’re not people who come from overseas. They live here, they’re disgruntled, they go to the internet,” Cuomo said. “They find out how to download a device that can hurt and maim. And they implement it themselves on a low-tech basis. It’s very troubling.”

As expected, President Trump seized on the attack to ramp up his calls for an end to “chain migration” that enables immigrants to enter the country more easily if they have family living in the U.S.

“The President is certainly concerned that Congress, particularly Democrats, have failed to take action in some places where we feel we could have prevented this,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Specifically, the President’s policy has called for an end to chain migration and if that had been in place, that would have prevented this individual from coming to the United States.”

Former FBI Agents Defend Mueller Probe As Trump Escalates Attacks

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI agents are defending the special counsel investigation amid escalating attacks by President Trump and other Republicans.

During a rally in Florida on Friday, Trump claimed the criminal justice system is “rigged” against him. Republicans echoed the conspiracy theories.

But former FBI agents told Business Insider that the attacks are “nonsense” designed to discredit a wide-ranging investigation that already has resulted in charges and convictions.

“There is a lot of anger in the FBI (the entire intelligence community, for that matter) over how this president will say nary a negative word about the Russians, but will insult us every chance he gets,” said Frank Montoya, Jr., a former FBI special agent who served as the Director of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive.

Bombing Suspect in Custody After Explosion Near N.Y. Port Authority

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An explosion from an apparent pipe bomb detonated near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City during rush hour Monday morning, and a suspect has been taken into custody.

The suspect is believed to be the only person injured when the blast occurred in an underground subway passage just 200 feet from the terminal at West 42nd and Eighth Ave., the New York Times reports

Authorities, who cautioned the information was preliminary, said the suspect appears to have acted alone. Investigators believe the device detonated prematurely.

The suspect was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition.

Commuters were asked to avoid the area.

Check back for updates.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Notified Sessions He Wasn’t Required to Disclose Foreign Contacts While Senator

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI informed an aide to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he was not required to disclose foreign contacts while he was performing government duties when he was a senator, according to a newly released document first reported by CNN

The document bolsters the Justice Department’s explanation for why Sessions did not disclose his contacts with a Russian ambassador on security clearance forms. 

An unidentified FBI agent informed Sessions’ aide in an email that “he was not required to list foreign government contacts while in official government business unless he developed personal relationships from such contacts.”

Sessions failed to disclose his meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on his security clearance application form.

FBI Special Agent, Fire Marshal Killed While Waiting for Help on Highway

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent and state fire marshal were struck by a car and killed Friday while waiting for help on the shoulder of a highway in Maryland.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff, 36, of Gaithersburg, Md., had crashed his car on I-270 in Rockville and was waiting with Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Sander Cohen, 33, for help when they were struck by a car, NBC4 reports

Wolff, a graduate of American University, left behind a wife and two children.

“Our Carlos was an amazing father, husband, uncle and brother who made us all very proud,” according to a statement from the Wolff family. “He loved serving his country as a part of the FBI. He was always so helpful and giving, not just to his friends but strangers too. Our hearts are broken. We appreciate your prayers during this difficult time.”

Wolf was an 11-year veteran in the investigative division at FBI’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Saturday Night Massacre

LA Times: Congressional Republicans Ignore Facts to Protect Trump

U.S. Capitol

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

Following President Trump’s questionable lead, some congressional Republicans are trying to sow doubt about the integrity and impartiality of the FBI and the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. That investigation already has resulted in an indictment of Trump’s former campaign chairman and a guilty plea by his first national security advisor, and it shows no sign of concluding.

On Thursday, four days after Trump tweeted that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters,” Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told FBI Director Christopher A. Wray: “We cannot afford for the FBI — which has traditionally been dubbed the premier law enforcement agency in the world — to become tainted by politicization or the perception of a lack of even-handedness.”

True enough, but the question is whether such a perception is fair or the result of politically motivated exaggeration by the president and his supporters. So far the evidence points strongly in the latter direction. That comes as no surprise — the attacks on the FBI fit a clear pattern of misdirection and deflection by the Trump administration and its GOP allies on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

To read more click here.