Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

April 2018
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for April, 2018

Comey Assails FBI’s Treatment of Martin Luther King But Ignores Racial Profiling Under His Leadership

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

When James Comey became the FBI director in 2013, he placed atop his desk a framed copy of the letter that authorized the surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. as a reminder of the bureau’s “shameful.” 

In his new book, Comey said he deeply admired the civil rights giant and criticized the FBI’s treatment of him as “a dark chapter in the Bureau’s history.” Comey required the bureau’s entire workforce to read King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” and created a curriculum for new agents to “remember how well-meaning folks lost their way.” New recruits were ordered to visit the King memorial and write an essay about one of their favorite quotes inscribed on the wall.

But what Comey doesn’t mention is the bureau’s “same racialized tactics and assumptions in his tenure as FBI director: broadly targeting the Muslim-American community, coercing informants, trafficking in racial profiling, surveilling Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock activists, and largely standing aside amid police violence and misconduct.”

The surveillance of the civl rights movement, which went far beyond King, wasn’t largely known until activists broke into an FBI office in Pennsylvania and stole the records before leaking them to the media.

“To become targets of the FBI, it wasn’t necessary for African Americans to engage in violent behavior,” said Betty Medsger, the Post reporter who broke the initial story. “Being black was enough.” Agents were required “to investigate and, if possible, infiltrate every black student organization at two year and four year colleges.”

U.S. Customs Officer, Charged with Child Pornography, Faces Up to 10 Years in Prison

U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Houlton, Maine.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A U.S. customs officer in Maine faces up to 10 years in prison on a federal child pornography charge.

Homeland Security began investigatinxg Larry O’Neal, 44, in early January after investigators traced a downloaded file of suspected child pornography to his computer at home in Houtlon, Maine, Bangor Daily News reports

Investigators said they found child pornography on a computer and hard drive, including images of girls about 12 to 14 years performing sex acts.

O’Neal was indicted on Feb. 15 and pleaded not guilty.

A CBP spokeswoman declined to discuss the case but said they agency “is fully cooperating with the FBI and Office of the Inspector General regarding this investigation.”

Mueller Confirms Manafort Raid Targeted Records on Trump Tower Meeting, Russian Oligarch

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

When FBI agents raided the home of Paul Manafort, the former head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, last summer, a judge signed off on seizing records related to a previously undisclosed meeting between the campaign and Russian lobbyists at the Trump Tower in June 2016.

Agents walked out with tens of thousands of records, including documents related to a civil lawsuit over a drawn-out dispute with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, Bloomberg reports.

The scope of the search was revealed Monday in a court filing by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team that is investigating possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The disclosure is significant because it means Mueller is focusing on a potential collusion case against members of Trump’s campaign.

Deripaska, who is believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, hired Manafort as a political consultant and invested $18.9 million with Manafort’s cable-television venture. Deripaska, the billionaire founder and majority shareholder of En+ Group, also paid Manafort $7.35 million in management fees.

When the deal went sour, Deripaska sued.

Deripaska was among the Russians penalized with sanctions last month by the Trump administration.

Manafort, who faces trial on numerous charges related to conspiracy and fraud in connection with his business relationship with pro-Russia, Ukrainian officials. Manafort has pleaded not guilty, while his longtime business partner has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation as part of a leniency deal in exchange for pleading guilty to some charges.

Border Patrol Agent Acquitted in Shooting Death of Mexican Teen

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors are mulling whether they should pursue a retrial in the case of a Border Patrol agent charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a teenager after an Arizona jury deadlocked on the lesser accounts.

The jury found Agent Lonnie Swartz not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was with a group throwing rocks at agents from the Nogales, Mexico, side of the border.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on a lesser charge of manslaughter, NPR reports

In October 2012, Swartz responded to the rocks by firing 16 shots, striking Rodriguez eight times in the back and twice in the head.

Swartz’s attorneys said the agent was protecting himself and fellow agents when he opened fire. Prosectors said he pulled the trigger because he was frustrated with rock throwers.

DEA Investigates Ex-Agent Accused of Providing Intel to Colombian Drug Traffickers

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The DEA is investigating a former agent accused of providing intelligence to Colombian drug traffickers.

The former agent, Jose Irizarry, resigned abruptly after investigators began suspecting he passed information to Colombia drug traffickers, BuzzFeed News reports. 

Sources told BuzzFeed the scope of the investigation is unprecedented.

“It’s a major case,” one of the sources said. 

The DEA confirmed the investigation.

“We are looking into his activities in Colombia,” the spokesperson said, adding that “the scope is unclear.”

She said the case is being handled by the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

One source said the Justice Department and FBI also are investigating Irizarry, who was based in the Cartagena, Colombia, field office.

Other Stories of Interest

Flight Records Contradict Trump’s Alibi for Mysterious Moscow Visit in 2013

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump twice told then-FBI Director James Comey that a salacious report about him with hookers in Moscow could not possibly be true because he didn’t spend the night in Russia.

But flight records obtained by Bloomberg contradict the president’s claims and could pose a serious problem for Trump as the special counsel investigation advances. 

According to memos kept by Comey and turned over to Congress last week, the president insisted he was so busy he didn’t have time to sleep while in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant.

According to Bloomberg’s reconstruction of events, Trump flew from Asheville to Moscow on a Bombardier Global private jet owned by Phil Ruffin, his partner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas, the New York Times reported in January 2017. The plane arrived in Moscow at 6:15 a.m on a Friday and departed Russia at 3:58 a.m. on Sunday.

The records indicate Trump stayed overnight in Moscow between Friday and Saturday.

According to Comey, Trump was obsessed with discounting the “Golden Showers thing” and insisted he didn’t stay overnight in Moscow.

The allegations were detailed in a dossier about alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia by British spy Christopher Steele.

When Trump returned to New York from Moscow at 4:11 a.m. local time, he tweeted, “I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place!”

Waffle House Shooting Suspect Used Seized Gun in Rampage

Travis Reinking is accused of killing four people after opening fire at a Waffle House in Tennessee.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The 29-year-old accused of killing four people in a shooting rampage at a Waffle House in Tennessee used an AR-15 that authorities temporarily seized from him after he entered a restricted area near the White House and demanded to talk to President Trump in July 2017.

The Secret Service arrested Travis Reinking for refusing to leave, and he was charged with unlawful entry. A few months later, the FBI and Secret Service worked with local law enforcement in Illinois and advised them to seize his firearms, Matthew Espenshade, assistant special agent in charge of FBI’s Nashville office, CNN reports

In August, the Tazwell County Sheriff’s Office removed four firearms and ammunition from his apartment and revoked his firearm authorization. The weapons were a Kimber 9 mm handgun, a Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle, a CZ-USA .22-caliber rifle, a Remington 710 and random ammunition, according to WQAD.com.

But sheriff’s officials later returned the seized weapons to Reinking’s father, Jeffrey Reinking

Authorities believe Reinking, who was arrested Monday following a nearly 34-hour manhunt, used the AR-15 style rifle was

FBI Continues to Become Whiter Despite Recruitment Campaign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s campaign to integrate its predominately white ranks has failed to bring more African Americans on board.

In fact, a smaller share of the FBI’s ranks are African American than a decade ago, when black agents made up 6.5% of the ranks. Today, only 4.4% of the bureau’s 13,500 agents are black, even though African Americans represent about 12% of the U.S. population, Intercept reports.

Intercept wrote

“And that’s just the race problem within the FBI. It’s hard to diversify an agency that many still associate with the systemic surveillance, infiltration, and repression of civil rights activists in the past — and which maintains ample discretion today to target individuals and groups it deems suspicious based on criteria that all too often reflect their race or religion. The bureau’s efforts at reform, so far, have been mostly aimed at recruiting a more diverse force. But people of color who do sign up to join its ranks often find themselves isolated as they come face to face with racism and discrimination within the bureau, as well as with the bureau’s often racist and discriminatory policing.”

In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey delivered a speech at a historically black university and called the lack of diversity a “crisis,” pledging to reverse the trend.

A year earlier, Comey, in his “hard truths speech,”  declared, “The FBI is overwhelmingly white and male among my agent force. … I have to change the numbers.”

Some experts say the problem isn’t recruitment; it’s alienation.

“National security policies that the public should know about demonstrate racial and ethnic bias that make it hard for people to work there who are not conformists,” Michael German, a former FBI agent and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Intercept. “The problem is that the FBI is a very conformist organization. So anybody who publicly criticizes the FBI is ostracized from the wider FBI fraternity – and I say fraternity because it is still almost all male, as well as almost all white.”