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Archive for September, 2018

CBS Close to Deal to Adapt Former FBI Director Comey’s Book into Miniseries

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey’s memoir may soon be the basis for a miniseries.

Deadline Hollywood reports that CBS is close to inking a deal for a miniseries based on the best-selling book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. 

CBS won an auction for rights to pitch the project, and Comey has been involved in discussions over the proposed miniseries.

Billy Ray, an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter for the 2013 film “Captain Phillips,” is expected to write the adaptation.

FBI, DOJ Plan to Propose Redactions to Russia Probe Amid Trump’s Calls for ‘Immediate Declassification’

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

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s demand for the “immediate declassification” of details of the Russia investigation are likely to be met with proposed redactions by the FBI and Justice Department, Bloomberg reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.

No timeline was been made as the FBI, DOJ and Office of the Director of National Intelligence come through sensitive materials.

On Monday, the White House demanded the declassification of all text messages related to the Russia investigation by Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and several other officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe.

Once the FBI and DOJ have identified their proposed redactions, the Office of Director of National Intelligence will review the material before handing it over to the White House.

As president, Trump has the authority to release the documents regardless of proposed redactions by the federal agencies.

Ex-FBI Deputy Director McCabe to Release Book about Trump’s ‘Threat’ to America

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose termination triggered allegations of retribution, is breaking his silence about President Trump in a new book.

McCabe signed a deal with St. Martins Press to publish a book entitled, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.”

The book is scheduled to be released Dec. 4.

According to the publisher, McCabe’s book will explore “a series of troubling, contradictory, and often bizarre conversations” with Trump and other high officials that led him to believe the “actions of this President and his administration undermine the FBI and the entire intelligence community,” threatening the public.

“I wrote this book because the president’s attacks on me symbolize his destructive effect on the country as a whole,” McCabe said in a statement issued through St. Martin’s. “He is undermining America’s safety and security, and eroding public confidence in its institutions. His attacks on the most crucial institutions of government, and on the professionals who serve within them, should make every American stand up and take notice.”

The announcement comes just months after the publication of former FBI Director James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty.”

Trump has tried to undermine the FBI and Justice Department, calling their investigation of his presidential campaign and its possible connection to Russia “a witch hunt.”

Aliens? Earth-Bound Asteroid? Group Explains Closure, FBI Probe of Space Observatory

Sunspot Solar Observatory, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Aliens? An Earth-bound asteroid? A super solar flare?

The mysterious closure of a space observatory in New Mexico last week spurred wild theories.

The group that manages the Sunspot Solar Observatory explained the closure in a Facebook post, saying it had been “cooperating with an on-going law enforcement investigation of criminal activity that occurred at Sacramento Park.”

The state from the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy continued, “we became concerned that a suspect in the investigation potentially posed a threat to the safety of local staff and residents. For this reason, AURA temporarily vacated the facility and ceased science activities at this location.”

The FBI initially swooped into the observatory without explanation, prompting even the local sheriff to question what was going on.

“For the FBI to get involved that quick and be so secretive about it, there was a lot of stuff going on up there,” Otero County Sheriff Benny House said. “There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything.” 

At the time, the observatory’s website only indicated the shutdown occurred “due to unforeseen circumstances” and would remain closed “until further notice.”

The observatory is close to the famous Roswell landing site, where a UFO in 1947 fell from the sky. Officials originally said the object was a weather balloon but changed the story years later. Conspiracy theorists have long maintained it was an alien craft.

AURA, which later said the observatory was closed “based on the logistical challenges associated with protecting personnel at such a remote location, and the need for expeditious response to the potential threat,” gave no further explanation of the “criminal activity.”

AURA acknowledged how the “lack of communications while the facility was vacated was concerning and frustrating for some.

“However, our desire to provide additional information had to be balanced against the risk that, if spread at the time, the news would alert the suspect and impede the law enforcement investigation. That was a risk we could not take,” said the statement.

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Being a Serial Killer After Woman’s Daring Escape

Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Juan David

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A supervisory Border Patrol agent accused of being a serial killer was tracked down after a sex worker’s daring escape at gunpoint in Laredo, Tex.

Juan David Ortiz, a 10-year veteran of the agency who worked in intelligence, confessed to four September murders, including two in a five-hour span early Saturday morning, the Washington Post reports.

“We consider this man to be a serial killer who was preying on one victim after another,” Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said. 

A sex worker who suspected Ortiz had killed her friend was in a white pickup truck with the alleged killer when he pulled out a gun and grabbed her shirt. She managed to escape, and he fled.

The woman flagged down a state trooper, and after a pursuit, police found the 35-year-old hiding in a hotel parking lots at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Ortiz faces life in prison on four counts of murder, aggravated assault and unlawful restrain.

All of the victims are believed to be sex workers, some of whom may not have been chosen at random.

Dem Senator Says Confirmation Vote on Kavanaugh Should Be Delayed Pending Outcome of FBI Probe Into Sexual Assault Allegations

Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate confirmation hearings.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Senate should wait on voting for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court until the FBI conducts an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

That’s according to Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein’s statement follows a Washington Post report that detailed a first-hand account of sexual abuse by California professor Christine Blasey Ford. 

In a written statement, Feinstein said the professor’s allegations, which include being pinned down, groped and forced into silence at a high school party, were “extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character.”

Whether Feinstein gets his way is another story. At least three Democrats said Sunday that the confirmation hearings should continue, despite the allegations.

Weekend Series on Crime History: A History of Russian Spies in America

“White Boy Rick” — The Tale of a Teenage Boy Who Became an Informant In Detroit For the FBI

Richard Wershe Jr. as a teen and now.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — At age 14, in the 1980s, Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” became an informant for the Detroit FBI in the war on drugs.

In time, he was doing undercover buys for the FBI and Detroit Police. Eventually he started selling dope on his own. At 17 he was arrested. A short time later he was sentenced to life in prison without parole under a state law. That law was later changed and he became eligible for parole. After nearly 30 years, he was paroled last year from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Unfortunately, he was then sent to Florida to serve a prison sentence for partaking in a stolen car ring while he was behind bars there in the witness protection program. He’s eligible for parole in December 2020. He is now 49.

Hollywood has now captured the story of his life in a film released Friday titled “White Boy Rick.”

Related links:

Lengel: Watching ‘White Boy Rick’ with Richard Wershe Jr.’s Family Is Surreal

Vince Wade: The Many Untruths in the ‘White Boy Rick’ Movie Opening Friday