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Archive for July, 2019

Man Charged with Assaulting 3 Secret Service Agents in Tussle at White House

File photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A man has been charged with assaulting and injuring three Secret Services officers after he allegedly illegally entered White House grounds.

The officers were injured when they tried to stop Dane Nairns, who is accused of grabbing one of the officer’s gun belts, NBC News reports. Two other officers were injured when they tried to detain the suspect. One of the officers was kicked in the eye by Nairns, according to an affidavit.

“The individual disobeyed verbal commands of the officer to not enter the restricted area, and the suspect began to run,” a Secret Service spokeswoman said. “The suspect was placed under arrest after the arresting officer fought with him as he was actively resisting arrest and had grabbed the officer’s duty belt.”

The officers escaped serious injury and suffered scrapes and bruises. Nairns has been charged with assaulting police officers.

When Nairns ignored commands to stay off White House grounds, he allegedly responded, “You know who I am. I’m the guy who called in the President.”

Retired FBI Special Agent to Lead Mississippi Department

Christopher Freeze

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze has been appointed head the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

“I am confident Christopher Freeze will do a great job leading MDHS,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement. “His intellect and leadership experience as a Special Agent in Charge at the FBI makes him an excellent fit to guide the agency during this period of transition. I am grateful he has accepted this appointment.”

Freeze, a 23-year veteran of the FBI, retired earlier this year as special agent in charge of the Jackson Division, which he led since November 2016.

Freeze held leadership positions in the Houston and Counterterrorism divisions and worked extensively in intelligence. A firearms instructor, Freeze served as a member of the SWAT and Evidence Response Teams.

In his new position, Freeze will lead an agency responsible for providing services ranging from public assistant and social services to support for children and low-income people.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Executive Director of this important agency,” Freeze said. “MDHS touches the lives of so many families within Mississippi and my goal is to help the great employees at MDHS continue to provide vital and life-changing services to Mississippi’s children and families in need.”

El Paso’s Border Patrol Chief Being Sent to Detroit Amid Blistering Report

Conditions at one of the El Paso stations, via IG.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Aaron Hull, the controversial chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, is being sent to Detroit following reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions in border stations in El Paso.

Hull will be replaced by Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, who is head of the El Centro Sector in California, NBC News first reported.

Customs and Border Protection declined to say why Hull was reassigned, but the move comes after a blistering report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. The conditions were so deplorable that agents were beginning to arm themselves because they feared a riot.

The IG report documented overcrowded cells, a lack of showers or clean clothes, outbreaks of lice, flu, chickenpox and scabies, and more than half of the immigrants being held outside. Babies had no clean clothing or soft mats on which to sleep.

“With limited access to showers and clean clothing, detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” the report said.

The report also cited declining morale among agents who were worried about riots or hunger strikes. Some agents were even considering retiring early or moving to another agency.

“The current situation where immigrants are simply giving themselves up to the border patrol [and border patrol must detain] is causing low morale and high anxiety. They are seeing more drinking, domestic violence and financial problems among their agents,” the report said.

Despite the documented evidence, DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan insisted that news reports about poor conditions for children at the facility were “unsubstantiated.”

Hull also defended Border Patrol agents, saying he was “impressed” with their handling of an influx of migrants.

A Homeland Security official told NBC News that Hull has a reputation as a “law and order” chief who often acts on his own without permission from his superiors.

FBI Director: White Supremacy Behind Rise in Domestic Terrorism Cases

FBI Director Christopher Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that white supremacy is behind an increase in domestic terrorism cases this fiscal year.

In the past nine months, the FBI has recorded about 100 domestic terrorism arrests, which is an increase over previous years.

“A majority of the domestic terrorism cases we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The number of domestic terrorism cases now rivals the number of international terrorism cases, Wray said, contradicting President Trump’s claims that white nationalism was not on the rise.

The increase comes amid concerns that President Trump’s rhetoric is fueling white supremacy.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked Wray whether the bureau is taking the domestic terror threat seriously in light of Trump’s rhetoric.

“There is a concern that this is not being taken as seriously as it should be as one of the real threats in our country,” Durbin told Wray.

“We take domestic terrorism or hate crime, regardless of ideology, extremely seriously, I can assure you, and we are aggressively pursuing it using both counterterrorism resources and criminal investigative resources and partnering closely with our state and local partners,” Wray responded.

Another concern is that a vast majority of the domestic cases are not leading to terrorism charges.

Mueller Defends Special Counsel Investigation, Saying It Wasn’t ‘a Witch hunt’

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday rejected repeated claims by President Trump that the investigation into Russia’s election interference was a witch hunt.

The defense of his investigation came during several hours of testimony before two congressional committees.

“Your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., asked.

“It is not a witch hunt,” Mueller responded.

During most of the hearings, Mueller stuck to his pledge to narrow his responses to his widely reported final report. But that didn’t mean the hearings were without new information.

Earlier in the day, Mueller suggested he did not pursue charges against Trump because of the Justice Department’s position that a sitting president can’t be indicted.

“And I’d like to ask you the reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC (DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel) opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., asked.

“That is correct,” Mueller said at 10:50 a.m.

But three hours later, Mueller corrected his earlier statement.

“Now, before we go to questions, I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu who said, and I quote, ‘You didn’t charge the president because of the OLC opinion’,” Mueller said. “That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report, and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”

During the hearing, Mueller emphasized that one of the most alarming discoveries was the breadth of Russia’s interference during the presidential election. In his opening statement, Mueller said the investigation found “sweeping and systematic” Russian interference during the 2016 election.

He repeated the report’s conclusion that there was not ample evidence that Trump’s election team colluded with Russia.

But, Mueller stressed, the report did not exonerate Trump on obstruction, contradicting the president’s insistence that the special counsel team concluded he did nothing wrong.

“Based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination as to whether the president committed a crime,” Mueller said. “That was our decision then and it remains our decision today.”

How to Watch Mueller’s Long-Awaited Testimony Before Congress

Robert S. Mueller III testifies before Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited testimony before Congress begins Wednesday morning and includes two separate hearings.

Mueller’s first appearance begins at 8:30 a.m. in front of the House Judiciary Committee. That will be followed by another two hours before the House Intelligence Committee.

Mueller will be accompanied by Aaron Zebley, a longtime aide granted permission to assist Mueller with questions.

Most major broadcast networks will carry the hearings live. Even Fox News, despite earlier reports, will be airing the testimony. Also covering the hearings are C-SPAN, CNN, and MSNBC, both on television and online.

Mueller will be given a 30-minute break after the three-hour House Judiciary Committee meeting that begins at 8:30 a.m.

As predicted, President Trump called the hearings “a rigged Witch Hunt.”

FBI Agents Raid LA City Hall, LADWP Amid Corruption Probe

Los Angeles City Hall by Michael J Fromholtz.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents raided Los Angeles’ city hall and a public utility agency Monday amid a sweeping federal investigation into public corruption.

Agents served search warrants at city hall and the Department of Water and Power (LADWP) on Monday morning, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The search warrants were under a sealed affidavit, and federal authorities declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

No one was arrested as of Monday night.

The raid comes amid a sweep FBI investigation into city hall that involved foreign investments in Los Aneles real estate. Two councilmen and other high-level officials have been named in that investigation.

“We were notified earlier this morning that federal search warrants were being executed today,” a spokesman for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “The mayor’s expectation is that any city employee who is asked to cooperate will do so fully and immediately.”

Eli Miranda Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Honolulu Field Office

FBI Special Agent Eli Miranda

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eli S. Miranda, an 18-year veteran of the FBI, has been named as special agent in charge of the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office.

Miranda, who most recently served as the director of the High-Value Detainee Group, joined the FBI as a special agent in 2001, getting assigned to the San Juan Field Office in Puerto Rico.

In 2013, Miranda received the FBI Director’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Law Enforcement Community.

After moving to the Tampa Field Office in Florida, Miranda investigated organized crime, drugs, money laundering, terrorism and counterintelligence.

Miranda was promoted to director of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group at FBI headquarters in 2016.

Before joining the FBI, Miranda served in the U.S. Army and then in law enforcement in Florida.
Miranda attended Troy State University in Alabama, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in public administration.