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Archive for October, 2019

Weekend Series on Crime History: All the President’s Men Revisted

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s Obsession with Immigration Is Undermining Homeland Security’s Focus

Former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Few people understand the threats facing the U.S. better than Jeh Johnson, who served as secretary of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017.

After his departure, President Trump has been unable to hold onto a Homeland Security secretary. His fourth secretary, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning at the end of the month.

In op-ed in the Washington Post, Johnson says there are two threats that “would keep him up at night:” The resurgence of ISIS is Syria, and Russia’s ongoing campaign to meddle in U.S. elections.

“Particularly in the current threat environment, our nation cannot afford a continued string of temporary, acting secretaries promoted from within the ranks of DHS to, as some would have it, simply receive and transmit orders from the White House,” Johnson wrote. “The job is one of the most complex and critical in the U.S. government.”

In Johnson’s view, Trump’s Homeland Security secretaries have been an “instrument for hammering the administration’s hard-line views on immigration,” while losing focus on “counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation security, maritime security, port security, the physical protection of our national leaders and U.S. government buildings, the detection of chemical, biological and nuclear threats to the homeland and the response to natural disasters.”

On Tuesday, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen complained that Trump wanted things his way – and he could not take no for an answer.

Immigration hardliners were hoping Trump would appoint Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Turns out, they are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession.

“The president should resist the temptation to nominate a pronounced hard-liner on immigration who will be a lightning rod to lead a Cabinet department already in the thick of political storms,” Johnson wrote.

His advice: “Fill the job with someone well qualified, and fill it soon, Mr. President. A president who leaves the job vacant for too long is neglecting his own duty to defend the homeland and keep the American people safe.”

DOJ’s Review of the Origins of the Trump Investigation Evolves into Criminal Probe

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long claimed, with no evidence, that the Russia investigation was a hoax and a “witch hunt.”

Now, two years later, the Justice Department’s inquiry into the origins of the probe has evolved into a criminal investigation.

Attorney General William Barr has turned over the investigation to John H. Durham, who will serve as the prosecutor with subpoena power over testimony and documents and the power to convene a grand jury, The New York Times reports.

In other words, the Justice Department is investigating itself over what Democrats say is unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

Durham, a longtime prosecutor known for investigating CIA torture, will determine whether intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted within the law when they investigated possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Barr’s review of the Russia investigation began in May, when Barr said he had discussions with intelligence and law enforcement officials that led him to question the legitimacy of the investigation. At one point, Barr even described law enforcement’s actions as “spying” on the Trump campaign.

In an interview with Fox News in May, Barr said he had been pursuing questions about whether “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” to investigate the Russia link.

Since then, no credible evidence has been made public to suggest law enforcement acted inappropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.

Honduran Woman Claims ICE Agent Raped Her for 7 Years, Impregnating Her 3 Times

Courtesy of ICE

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Honduran woman living in Connecticut has accused an ICE agent of repeteadly raping and impregnating her for seven years, threatening to deport her if she didn’t do what he said, according to a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges ICE Agent Wilfredo Rodriguez impregnated her three times and raped her up to four times a week.

“My only comment is that my client had a choice, cooperate with ICE or be deported with her family,” George Kramer, the woman’s lawyer, said in an email to the Associated Press. “She remains in a very fragile psychological state. She is not only seeking compensation for the physical and emotional damage she suffered but to change the way those who are cooperating with ICE are treated by those in a position of power and who often wield total control over the ability to remain in the United States.”

ICE declined to comment on the case but said Rodriguez no longer works at the agency.

According to the lawsuit, Rodriguez met the woman in 2006 and began demanding she become an informant to help deport undocumented immigrants.

A year later, she says, Rodriguez raped her at gunpoint. That was the beginning of seven years of sexual assault, the lawsuit states. During that period, she was impregnated three times and had an abortion each time.

According to the suit, she attempted suicide four times.

When Rodriguez left the agency, he warned her that “she and her family would pay” if she told authorities what happened.

She finally came forward last year when her husband applied for asylum. She confided in an agent, who suggested she consult an attorney.

Husband of Forensic FBI Photographer Called Person of Interest in Wife’s Death

Kathleen Miller, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The husband of a forensic FBI photographer from Alabama is a person of interest in the drowning death of his wife.

Authorities found 60-year-old Kathleen Miller, of Huntsville, Ala., in a shallow creek in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina on Oct. 7.

Gregory Miller called 911 and calmly reported his wife, who had no health issues, had fallen in the creek.

“I tried to call for help. I need help,” the husband said in a 911 call obtained by WAAY-TV. “My wife has fallen in the water, and I couldn’t get her out. … I wish I could be of more help.”

The couple were camping at the park when Gregory Miller said his wife disappeared after saying she wanted to check out Santeetlah Creek. Her husband said he later discovered her body face down in the creek.

Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the case.

DEA’s ‘Take Back Day’ Removes Prescription Pills – and vaping devices – from Circulation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement agencies across the country will host the DEA’s Take Back Day on Saturday to help the public dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs.

The idea is to help prevent pill abuse and theft by allowing people to anonymously drop off drugs.

It’s the 18th event in nine years. In the previous events, law enforcement officials collected a total of 11.8 million pounds of pills.

“The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue,” the DEA says. “According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

For the first time, people can drop off their marijuana vaping devices.

“Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates,” a DEA media release states. “In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances.”

To find a drop-off site, click here.

Ex-Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen Reveals Why She Resigned from Trump Administration

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s third Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen revealed Tuesday why she resigned from the department in April: Trump did not like the word “no.”

“What led me to resign is there were a lot of things that there were those in the administration who thought that we should do, and… it became clear that saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough,” Nielsen in an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington D.C.

Nielsen’s replacement in April, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning at the end of the month as Trump looks for a fifth Homeland Security secretary in less than three years.

When pressed about the controversial child separation policy, Nielsen defended her actions, saying her job was to “enforce the law, not to separate families.”

But Nielsen admitted the policy was enacted before determining how to reunite the migrant families.

“What I regret is that we haven’t solved it, and what I regret was that that information flow and coordination to quickly reunite the families was clearly not in place and that’s why the practice was stopped through an executive order,” Nielsen said.

Trump’s purported top picks for the next Homeland Security secretary – Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession, White House officials told the president.

Trump Administration Wants to Collect DNA of Migrants for Massive FBI Database

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration wants to begin collecting DNA from asylum-seekers and other migrants detained near the Mexican border in an effort to compile a massive FBI database.

The Justice Department on Monday issued amended regulations that would require DNA collection for most migrants stopped by immigration officials near the border, NPR reports.

Under the proposed regulation, immigration officials would collect DNA information on nearly 750,000 migrants a year.

The new rule is subject to a 20-day comment period.

The idea is to add the biometric data to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.

“The proposed rule change would help to save lives and bring criminals to justice by restoring the authority of the Attorney General to authorize and direct the collection of DNA from non-United States persons detained at the border and the interior by DHS, with the ultimate goal of reducing victimization of innocent citizens,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement Monday.

Immigration rights groups criticized the proposal.

“It’s hard for me to believe that a woman who is on a journey of 1,000 miles in broken flip-flops with a two-year-old on her hip, doing everything she can and sacrificing everything … is going to be deterred by DNA collection,” said Henry Sias, a Philadelphia-based civil rights lawyer who represents asylum-seekers.