Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

April 2019
S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for April, 2019

AG Barr Says He Suspects ‘Spying Did Occur’ on Trump Campaign

AG William Barr testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr took Washington D.C. when he told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that he’s investigating what he described as “spying” on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

“I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016,” Barr said. “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”

Asked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., whether he believes Trump’s campaign was spied on, Barr responded, “I think spying did occur.”

“The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” he said. “I’m not suggesting it was not adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

Barr presented no evidence to back up why he believed “spying” occured, but he appears to be referring to a secret surveillance warrant obtained by the FBI to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Barr said he plans to work with FBI Director Christopher Wray to examine what prompted the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.

Appearing before a subcommittee for the second consecutive day, Barr also indicated he “hoped” to publicize a redacted version of the Mueller report “next week.”

AG Barr Says He Believes ‘Spying’ on a Political Campaign Occurred in 2016

Attorney General Barr testifying Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William P. Barr, the latest figure to generate headlines on Capitol Hill,  said Wednesday he thought “spying” on a political campaign occurred in the course of intelligence agencies’ investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Washington Post reports:

At a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Barr was asked about his statement a day earlier that he would review how the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation that sought to determine whether Donald Trump’s associates were interacting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It’s a big deal,” said Barr, noting that there are long-held rules to prevent intelligence agencies from collecting information on domestic political figures.

“I’m not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it’s important to look at that,” he said. “I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily but intelligence agencies more broadly.”

 

FBI’s Art Crime Team Gains Respect After Solving High-Profile Cases

Red “Wizard of OZ” slippers stolen from a museum.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Terrorism. Bank robberies. Government corruption.

They are among the key responsibilities of the FBI.

But the bureau has been gaining more attention for investigating crimes involving art.

Launched in 2005, the FBI’s 22-person Art Crime Team has grabbed headlines in the past few years for solving high-profile cases and recovering valuable pieces of art.

Just last year, the team of agents recovered a pair of “ruby slippers” worn by Judy Garland in “Wizard of Oz,” artwork looted by Nazis and a Marc Chagall painting stolen from an elderly couple’s Manhattan home nearly three decades ago.

“People just think what we’re doing is cool,” Supervisory Special Agent Tim Carpenter, who now runs the unit from the FBI’s Washington headquarters, told Reuters.

“I think we’ve changed a lot of perceptions, even within the organization,” he said. “So now my phone rings off the hook weekly for folks wanting to be on the team.”
Since its creation 14 years ago, the team has tracked down nearly 15,000 pieces of art valued at $800 million. More than 90 people have been convicted of art-related crimes during that period.

AG Barr Pledges to Investigate FBI, DOJ Actions in Trump Probe

AG William Barr testifies before U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Now that the special counsel investigation of Russia is complete, Attorney General William Barr is flipping the focus on the Justice Department and FBI’s decisions to investigate President Trump and his campaign.

“I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016,” Barr told the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday.

The idea is to determine whether the investigation into possible collusion with Russia was motivated by an anti-Trump bias in the FBI and Justice Department.

That topic is expected to gain steam Wednesday as Barr is scheduled to appear before a GOP-led Senate subcommittee.

Trump has long complained that the investigation was a “witch hunt.”

Bias? Feds Worried Black Activists Would Join ISIS, Other Terrorists

File photo of President Trump protesters in Ypsilanti, Mi. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities became worried in 2014 that black activists who were calling for an end to the police killings of African Americans would join international terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Unsurprisingly, authorities found no evidence to substantiate their baseless concerns, according to documents obtained by the government transparency group Property of the People and shared exclusively with The Intercept.

The records “reveal that officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence exaggerated the significance of isolated social media activity, mostly by foreign accounts, advocating for a connection between the domestic movement against police brutality and foreign terrorism.”

As protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015, DHS officials worried that ISIS may try “to use the situation in Ferguson as a recruitment tool” or call on “Baltimore rioters to join them.”

A year later, as protests spread to other cities, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a cabinet position, issued a memo about a single, foreign pro-Al Qaeda Facebook user who urged “‘Black’ Americans to take up arms” and “start armed war against the U.S. government.”

This wasn’t the first time federal law enforcement warned of black activists.

In a 2017 threat assessment report, the FBI came up with the label, “Black Identity Extremism,” to warn about potential homegrown violence stemming from anger over police shootings.

No evidence was ever found to tie black activists with terrorism.

“They try to make it more scary, it’s like, ‘If we link Islam to it, and we link Muslims to it, then people will see this as a real threat, because nothing is scarier than Muslims,’” Umar Lee, a well-known St. Louis activist, who is Muslim, told The Intercept. “Nothing is scarier than, ‘Hey, if the Muslims get together with these scary black dudes, then we got a real problem, so we need every resource available to stop this.’”

Democrats to Press AG William Barr on Special Counsel Report During Hearing

AG William Barr

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr will take the hot seat Tuesday before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee to answer questions about the full report submitted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Democrats on the subcommittee are expected to grill Barr about the report and his decision to issue a slim summary that concluded he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, concluded President Trump’s actions did not amount to obstruction.

The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m.

Democrats are suspicious of the summary report, which indicated Mueller’s 22-month investigation found no crimes committed by the president.

Barr has said he expected to release a redacted version of the full report by mid-April.

It’s Adios for Secret Service Director Randolph Alles

Randolph D. Alles

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Job stability. You can’t count on it in the Trump administration.

Secret Service Director Randolph Alles is the latest to be departing, ABC News reported Monday, adding that his departure is at the direction of the president.

“United States Secret Service director Randolph “Tex” Alles has done a great job at the agency over the last two years, and the President is thankful for his over 40 years of service to the country,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Mr. Alles will be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M. Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May.”

The news comes just one day after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned.  A few days before that, Thomas Brandon, head of ATF, announced he was departing April 30.

FBI, ATF Investigate ‘Suspicious’ Fires at 3 Historic Black Churches in Louisiana

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI, ATF and Louisiana state officials are investigating a series of “suspicious” blazes at historic black Baptist churches in Louisiana.

The three fires have a lot in common: They broke out at historic African American church buildings in Louisiana Landry Parish at night, were located in rural areas and occurred when no one was inside, ABC News reports.

The first fire broke out on March 26 and burned St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre to the ground. The second fire occurred Tuesday at the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and the third fire broke out Thursday at the 100-year-old Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.

Authorities said they’re on high alert and consider all three fires to be suspicious.