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Archive for January, 2020

Suspected White Supremacists Plotted Deadly Attacks at Richmond Gun Rally

Richmond, Va., via Fairfax County.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Suspected members of a white-supremacist group are accused of plotting violence at a gun rally in Richmond on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the intent of causing what one described as “full-blown civil war,” prosecutors said in court filings.

The FBI set up a microphone and video camera at a Delaware apartment, where the suspects lived and discussed shooting “unsuspecting civilians and police officers,” derailing trains, sabotaging power lines, and poisoning water supplies, according to legal motions filed Tuesday and obtained by The Washington Post.

“We can’t let Virginia go to waste, we just can’t,” one of the men, Patrik J. Mathews, said, according to the court filings.

Prosecutors said the trio belonged to a militant hate group, “the Base,” inspired by English translation of “al-Qaeda.”

“Here’s the thing,” Matthews is accused of saying. “You want to create . . . instability while the Virginia situation is happening . . . derail some rail lines . . . shut down the highways” as a way to “kick off the economic collapse.”

Videos found on Matthews’ computer espoused “violent, anti-Semitic, and racist language,” according to prosecutors.

The other co-defendants are Brian M. Lemley Jr., and William G. Bilbrough IV, both of whom used gun parts “to make a functioning assault rifle,” according to court documents.

The trio was charged with federal firearms violations, and a court hearing is scheduled Wednesday.

FBI Honored MLK on Twitter. But Its Treatment of the Civil Rights Icon Was Cruel

Martin Luther King Jr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI was slammed for what could be described as a tone-deaf tweet that honored Martin Luther King Jr.

Tweet after tweet reminded the bureau of its cruel treatment of the civil rights icon.

Under the leadership of the bureau’s notorious director, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI had spent nearly a decade keeping the civil rights leader under surveillance, convinced he was a Communist – or at least a national security threat. Agents recorded thousands of memos on the minister’s movements and interactions and even bugged his home, office and hotel rooms.

But they found nothing illegal or even dangerous.

 

Infamously obstinate and relentless, Hoover was determined to discredit the 35-year-old leader, especially after he won the Nobel Peace Prize and earned international acclaim.

While King prepared for his trip to Oslo to receive the award, Hoover denounced the Georgia-born minister as “the most notorious liar in the country” during a press conference in Washington D.C. in November 1964.

A few days later, the smear campaign escalated, marking one of the darkest chapter’s in the FBI’s history. One of Hoover’s deputies, William Sullivan, typed an anonymous, harshly worded letter to King that later would come to be known as the “suicide letter.”

Since Sullivan had nothing illegal on King, the letter focused on his extramarital sexual liaisons, which were captured on FBI surveillance.

The anonymous author calls King a “filthy, abnormal animal”and an “evil, abnormal beast” and pledges to expose the extramarital affairs “with your filthy, dirty, evil companions.”

The letter suggests there are recordings of “all your dirt, filth, evil and moronic talk.”

“You are done,” the letter declares. “Your ‘honorary degrees,’ your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are done.”

The letter is crafted to give the impression it was written by someone within the civil rights movement, making a reference to “us Negroes.”

King quietly told friends that someone wanted him to kill himself.

The letter proceeds in what is an apparent reference to suicide, “King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. … There is but only one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

 

Appeals Court Upholds Murder Convictions in Death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Two men convicted in the 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry lost their appeal in which they claimed they were illegally extradited.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the murder convictions of Ivan Soto-Barraza and Jesus Lionel Sanchez-Meza, who are serving life sentences, saying their extraditions were lawful, The Associated Press reports.

Terry was fatally shot during a firefight with a seven-men “rip crew” that robbed smugglers crossing the Arizona-Mexico border.

Terry’s death revealed the botched “Fast and Furious” operation in which federal agents permitted criminals to buy firearms so they could be tracked to criminal organizations.

Five other men have been indicted in connection with Terry’s murder.

Ex-Secret Service Special Agent Takes Major role on Bravo’s New ‘Spy Games’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former Secret Service special agent will appear as one of three judges on Spy Games, a new reality show on Bravo, Forbes reports.

Evy Poumpouras, who served in the protective detail for President Obama, will judge the mental and physical fitness of the contestants.

“Knowing that you don’t know everything is so important,” Poumpouras says, explaining what it takes to be a good spy. “When people think they know everything, that’s the moment when you become obsolete. If you have a big ego, you won’t make it through the training. The ability to hear what someone else is saying can help connect you to people.”

In Spy Games, the contestants share a house and spy on each other as part of regular challenges.

Poumpouras wrote a new book, “Becoming Bulletproof,” which will be published in April.

President Trump’s Third Homeland Security And Counter-Terrorism Adviser Leaves Job

Rear Admiral Peter Brown, via Coast Guard.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s third homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser, Rear Admiral Peter Brown, appears to be on his way out after about six months on the job, Bloomberg reports.

Brown took over for Doug Fears, who left the job in July and returned to the Coast Guard, where Brown had previously served.

Brown was considered one of the president’s most loyal supporters, defending the president when he was mocked for claiming Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, contradicting the National Weather Service.

With Brown gone, it’s unclear whether anyone will fill the homeland security adviser position, which Bloomberg says “seems to have narrowed, with counterterrorism, cybersecurity and biodefense playing a less prominent role.”

According to Bloomberg, Brown departed the White House’s West Wing a couple weeks ago and is expected to begin overseeing Puerto Rico recovery following hurricane and earthquake damage.

Trump’s original homeland security adviser was Thomas Bossert, who served in the role from January 2017 to April 2018.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Real Story Behind the French Connection

DOJ Appears to Be Investigating James Comey for Years-Old Leak

Former FBI Director James Comey, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey appears to be the target of a Justice Department investigation into a years-old leak of classified Russian intelligence.

Federal prosecutors are trying to determine whether Comey unlawfully providing classified information to reporters, The New York Times reports.

This is the second DOJ investigation examining leaks potentially involving Comey, whom President often calls a “leaker.” Trump recently suggested, without evidence, that Comey should be jailed for “unlawful conduct.”

The second investigation is odd because it’s unusual for prosecutors to launch a probe into leaked classified information years after the fact.

The investigation appears to involve classified information about Russia that was written about by the New York Times and Washington Post in 2017.

Former FBI Director Freeh to Investigate Allegations of Financial Wrongdoing at Health Care Company

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A heath care company has hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to investigate financial wrongdoing in hopes of restoring investor confidence after its shares plummeted in December.

The value of the NMC Health Plc’s shares fell sharply after short seller Muddy Waters Capital laid out allegations of financial wrongdoing in a Dec. 17 report against the hospital operator.

The allegations, which the company originally called “unfounded, baseless and misleading,” suggested the company overpaid for its assets, understated debt, inflated cash balances and failed to properly disclose potential conflicts of interest, Bloomberg reports.

NMC created an independent committee to investigate the allegations last month.

“The committee chose Freeh Group to provide a completely independent, unbiased, comprehensive and transparent report that will address all of these allegations,” Jonathan Bomford, chairman of the committee, told Bloomberg.

Freeh, who also was a federal judge, led the FBI from 1993 to 2001. His company, Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, is a risk-management firm that includes accountants, former law enforcement officials, and compliance and security experts.