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Archive for October, 2018

Senior FBI Official Busted for Accepting Free Sports Tickets from Reporters

Stock photo by Steve Neavling

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A senior FBI official violated federal regulations by accepting two tickets to professional sports events from a reporter without paying for them, the bureau’s Inspector General reported Tuesday.

The senior official, whose identity was not revealed, initially said under oath that he had paid for the tickets from a television correspondent. But five days later, the officials recanted and said the tickets were not paid for.

The inspector general found that the FBI official also accepted free tickets from another reporter.

During the investigation, the official retired, and prosecutors won’t pursue a criminal case.

Both reporters often covered the FBI and Justice Department.

Federal employees are barred from accepting gifts from sources.

How the Secret Service Foiled an ISIS Plot to Assassinate Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents foiled an ISIS plot by ISIS to assassinate President Trump while he was in the Philippines last year.

The botched assassination attempt was in November 2017, when Trump was in Manila for a summit and met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The National Geographic disclosed the assassination attempt for the first time during its television special Sunday about the Secret Service, United States Secret Service: On the Front Line.

According to the report, threats had been made on Twitter, and a series of ISIS videos threatened the president with an ambush.

While in Manila, Secret Service agents discovered and apprehended a jihadi hiding out and waiting for an “associate” just blocks from the hotel where the president was staying.

Ex-Senate Aide James Wolfe Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI about Contacts with Reporters

Jim Wolfe (Linkedin photo)

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Senate Intelligence Committee aide pleaded guilty on Monday to lying to the FBI about contacts with reporters covering the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling.

James A. Wolfe, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to FBI agents in a December interview in which he denied providing unclassified but protected information about a witness who had been subpoenaed to testify before the committee.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop two similar charges and recommend what amounts to zero to six months in jail, The New York Times reports

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 20.

Wolfe had been in charge of handling classified information provided to the committee for 28 years.

During the investigation, information was brought to light that investigators had violated Justice Department guidelines by secretly seizing years of records from a reporter’s phone and email without giving the required advance notices to the news organizations where she had worked.

Wolfe’s lawyers emphasized in a statement that their client had not been charged with leaking classified information.

“We have seen numerous distortions on social and other media of the facts of this matter,” they said. “So we emphasize again today that Jim was never charged with having compromised classified information, nor is such a charge part of today’s plea. Jim has accepted responsibility for his actions and has chosen to resolve this matter now so that he and his family can move forward with their lives.”

How FBI Foiled New York Man’s Plot to Blow Himself Up on Election Day

Paul Rosenfeld

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI foiled an upstate New York man’s plot to blow himself up on the National Mall in Washington D.C. on Election Day.

Paul M. Rosenfeld, 56, of Tappan, faces up to 20 years in prison on charges of unlawful manufacturing of a destructive device and interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive.

FBI agents arrested Rosenfeld after pulling him over while he was driving last week. 

The bureau was acting on information from a reporter in Pennsylvania who had received letters and text messages from Rosenfeld saying he planned to blow himself up on the National Mall, NBC News reports. Rosenfeld said he wanted to call attention to his belief in “sortition,” the ancient practice of randomly selecting political officials from a large pool of candidates.

The reporter notified authorities.

Federal officials said Rosenfeld confessed to the plot and told FBI agents that he had purchased black powder online and built a bomb in his basement.

During a search of his home, agents found a 200-pound bomb and explosive black powder. 

“Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney.

Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector Has New Interim Chief with a Leadership Background

Felix Chavez

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol’s busy Laredo Sector has a new interim chief after two of its agents have been charged with murder this year.

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost appointed Felix Chavez, a 32-year veteran of the agency, to the position, which puts him in charge of more than 85,000 square miles, from Arkansas to Texas.

Chavez, who replaces Jason D. Owens, most recently served as chief patrol agent of the Del Rio Sector

A graduate of Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa, Chavez became an agent in 1985, and his first assignment was at the Sierra Blanca Station. A decade later, Chavez rose to supervisory Border Patrol agent at the Tucson Station.

In 1997, he became the field operations supervisor at the Tucson station before promoted to patrol agent in charge of the Alamogordo station in the El Paso sector in July 2002. In 2007, Chavez was selected as the patrol agent of the Tucson Sector.

In May 2011, Chavez was promoted to the senior executive service position of deputy chief of the former operations division at Border Patrol’s headquarters in Washington D.C. In August 2013, he was appointed as the deputy chief patrol agent at the Tucson Sector.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The FBI in the 1930s

FBI Recalls Employees from Asia Amid Allegations of Prostitution, Wild Parties

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI has recalled several of its employees working in cities across Asia amid allegations of prostitution and wild parties, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating FBI personnel in about half a dozen cities, including in East and Southeast Asia.

Details of the allegations were murky because the allegations of misconduct are under investigation.

“Upon learning of these allegations of misconduct, action was taken to reassign certain personnel to non-operational roles while the allegations are reviewed,” the FBI said in a statement to CNN. “No additional information will be provided, as the FBI has referred the matter to the DOJ Office of Inspector General.”

The bureau added, “All FBI employees are held to the highest standards of conduct, and allegations against any employee are taken very seriously.”

Trump’s Legal Team Drawing Up Answers to Mueller’s Questions about Collusion

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s lawyers are preparing to answer questions from special counsel Robert Mueller about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race.

A source familiar with the matter told several news outlets that Trump’s legal team was preparing answers to the written questions. 

Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russia’s interference in the presidential election, leading to numerous indictments. But what remains unclear is whether Trump’s campaign played a direct role in the election meddling.

The written questions are not part of the bigger question over whether Trump will agree to a sit-down interview with Mueller’s team.

Trump has denied any collusion with Russia and repeatedly dismisses the investigation as a which hunt, despite the numerous indictments and guilty pleas since the probe began.