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Archive for February, 2020

The Unabomber Story in His Own Words

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

A new documentary about the Unabomber/Ted Kaczynski will begin airing on Netflix Saturday (Feb. 22).

“The Unabomber – In His Own Words” is so titled because the documentary liberally uses parts of the only interview Kaczynski has ever given since his arrest and conviction in 1996.

The documentary not only looks at Kaczynski’s 17 years of terror attacks that killed 3 people and injured 23 from 1978-1995, it also explores his youth and time at Harvard where he was admitted at 16.

Ted was then a grad student at Michigan from 1962-1967 when he received his PhD with honors. Based on Ted’s autobiography, Ted’s first thought about killing people was while he was at Michigan.

I’m in the documentary as well, having worked on the investigation. In November, 1985, a package (weighing about 5 lbs. and measuring 3”x 8”x 11”) was received in the mail at the residence of Professor James McConnell. McConnell, who was teaching and doing research in the psychology department at the University of Michigan. The package was opened by an assistant of McConnell. It exploded and caused considerable damage to McConnell’s kitchen, but the assistant only suffered minor injury to his arms and abdomen.

Ted’s brother, David, who ultimately turned Ted in, is interviewed extensively. David provides insights into Ted’s youth and the trauma he experienced when he realized Ted was the Unabomber.

The documentary delves into some of the theories as to why Ted turned from a promising career in theoretical mathematics to a hermit living in the woods and a serial bomber.

Stejskal: New Unabomber Documentary to Air on Netflix

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office. He appears in this documentary.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

A new documentary about the Unabomber/Ted Kaczynski will begin airing on Netflix Saturday (Feb. 22).

“The Unabomber – In His Own Words” is so titled because the documentary liberally uses parts of the only interview Kaczynski has ever given since his arrest and conviction in 1996.

The documentary not only looks at Kaczynski’s 17 years of terror attacks that killed 3 people and injured 23 from 1978-1995, it also explores his youth and time at Harvard where he was admitted at 16.

Ted was then a grad student at Michigan from 1962-1967 when he received his PhD with honors. Based on Ted’s autobiography, Ted’s first thought about killing people was while he was at Michigan.

I’m in the documentary as well, having worked on the investigation. In November, 1985, a package (weighing about 5 lbs. and measuring 3”x 8”x 11”) was received in the mail at the residence of Professor James McConnell. McConnell, who was teaching and doing research in the psychology department at the University of Michigan. The package was opened by an assistant of McConnell. It exploded and caused considerable damage to McConnell’s kitchen, but the assistant only suffered minor injury to his arms and abdomen.

Ted’s brother, David, who ultimately turned Ted in, is interviewed extensively. David provides insights into Ted’s youth and the trauma he experienced when he realized Ted was the Unabomber.

The documentary delves into some of the theories as to why Ted turned from a promising career in theoretical mathematics to a hermit living in the woods and a serial bomber.

House Committee Accuses CBP of ‘Stonewalling’ Investigation into Offensive Facebook Post

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

U.S. House members investigating a secret and offensive Facebook group used by former and current Border Patrol members are accusing U.S. Customs and Border Protection of “stonewalling” an investigation into the social media page.

In a letter to CBP administrators, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., says the agency continues to hold up documents needed to investigate the group.

“To date, CBP has not produced any information regarding a single employee who was involved in the secret Facebook groups and has not made a single witness available for a transcribed interview. This stonewalling is unacceptable,” Maloney wrote in the letter, according to The Hill.

She added, “The Committee now insists on full compliance with all of its previous requests, or we will be forced to consider compulsory process.”

In July, CBP says it was investigating the Facebook group.

ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news outlet, revealed the group, which included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One of the posts included an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Then-Border Patrol chief Carla Provost said in a statement last year that the “posts are are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out.”

Last summer, the House Oversight Committed began investigating the group, but now officials say they have hit a wall because CBP is not cooperating.

“CBP has been obstructing the committee’s investigation by making baseless and shifting legal claims in order to avoid producing critical documents and witnesses,” the letter reads.

“As a result, the Committee has been unable to determine whether CBP employees who made inappropriate and threatening comments are still on the job, potentially putting children, immigrants and fellow CBP employees at risk,” Maloney added.

DOJ Denies AG Barr Is Considering Resigning Over Trump’s Tweets

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is denying reports that Attorney General William Barr is considering resigning over President Trump’s refusal to stop tweeting about DOJ cases.

“The Attorney General has no plans to resign,” Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Tuesday night on Twitter.

News that Barr was considering leaving his post began with reports by the Associated Press  and The Washington Post, both of which cited a source close to Barr who said the attorney general had told people he might quit over Trump’s tweets.

Last week, Barr told ABC News that Trump’s tweets about Justice Department cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr said.

Trump continued tweeting anyway.

According to The Washington Post, Barr’s motive for threatening to quit may have been to send a message to Trump to stop tweeting.

“He has his limits,” a source said.

Trump Dishes Out Clemencies to Rod Blagojevich, Bernie Kerik, Michael Milken and More

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump, apparently emboldened by his acquittal in the Senate, is dishing out clemencies to some big-time names.

On Tuesday, a White House press release said:

Today, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Grants of Clemency granting Full Pardons to the following individuals: Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Michael Milken, Ariel Friedler, Bernard Kerik, Paul Pogue, David Safavian, and Angela Stanton.  In addition, President Trump signed Executive Grants of Clemency granting commutations to Rod Blagojevich, Tynice Nichole Hall, Crystal Munoz, and Judith Negron.

Trump granted a pardon to Michael Milken, who was charged with insider trading in the 1980s and to Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers football team, who pleaded guilty two decades ago for failing to report a felony.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, began serving a 14-year sentence in 2012 for corruption that included selling Barack Obama’s senate seat.

“He served eight years in jail – a long time,” Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews, according to USA Today. “Many people disagree with the sentence.”

Kerik and Milkin are no longer in prison. DeBartolo paid and fine and was put on probation.

DeBartolo Jr. pleaded guilty to failing to report a bribe, testifying in a gambling fraud and corruption case against former Louisiana governor Edwin W. Edwards (D) in 1998 that the governor extorted him for $400,000 in exchange for approval of a riverboat casino license. DeBartolo paid the money and the state licensing board unanimously approved his project, according to the Washington Post. 

DeBartolo, a billionaire, had to pay $1 million in fines, was placed on two year’s probation and handed the NFL team over to his sister.

Read full White House press release below:

Today, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Grants of Clemency granting Full Pardons to the following individuals: Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Michael Milken, Ariel Friedler, Bernard Kerik, Paul Pogue, David Safavian, and Angela Stanton.  In addition, President Trump signed Executive Grants of Clemency granting commutations to Rod Blagojevich, Tynice Nichole Hall, Crystal Munoz, and Judith Negron.

Edward DeBartolo, Jr., is a successful businessman, real estate developer, and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  During the 23 years that he owned the San Francisco 49ers, the team won an unprecedented 13 division titles and 5 Super Bowl Championships.  In 1998, he was convicted for failing to report a felony regarding payment demanded for a riverboat casino license, and he was sentenced to 2 years’ probation.  Mr. DeBartolo did not allow his conviction to define his life.  He remained a generous philanthropist and passionate supporter of numerous charitable causes, including charter schools like the Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, and anti-gang violence initiatives.  His exceptional compassion and warmth define his character to this day.  Mr. DeBartolo treated players and coaches as part of his family.  Many prominent individuals from the National Football League have strongly advocated for this pardon, including Joe Montana, Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, Charles Haley, Derrick Brooks, Fred Dean, Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, and Roger Goodell.  They have been joined in their support by other notable figures and organizations, including Pastor Darrell Scott, Kareem Lanier, Paul Anka, and the Urban Revitalization Coalition.

Read more »

Former Border Patrol Agent Who Helped Drug Traffickers Gets 6 Years in Prison

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former Border Patrol agent in Arizona was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting he helped drug traffickers cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Jose Antonio Yanez, 50, was also ordered to pay more than $340,000 of his salary back while conspiring with traffickers, KVOA reports.

Yanez had pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, receiving a bribe, and importation of a schedule IV controlled substance. At the time, Yanez was working at Border Patrol’s Douglas and Naco stations.

According to prosecutors, Yanez assisted smugglers carrying marijuana by providing sensitive material and information, turning cameras away from the smugglers and vacating his area of responsibility as the smuggling vehicles crossed the border.

TSA Agent Described As ‘Nicest Guy You Would Meet’ Killed in Car Crash

TSA Agent Kevin Nguyen, via GoFundMe.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA agent at Louis Armstrong International Airpot in Louisiana was killed in a car crash caused by a driver who ran a red light, police said.

The family of 28-year-old Kevin Nguyen is holding a fundraiser to help pay for the costs of a funeral.

Nguyen “was loved by everyone,” the GoFundMe post says. “Anyone that know Kevin know that he is the happiest, nicest guy you would meet.”

The post added, “He would go home everyday after work and tell his mom ‘I Love you Mom and you’re beautiful.’ He will be missed.”

Police said Kenner’s car was “T-boned” when a truck ran a red light at 8:30 p.m. Sunday in Kenner, La., NOLA.com reports.

The driver was taken to the hospital in non-life threatening condition. Police are awaiting toxicology reports to determine whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash.

1,100+ Former DOJ Officials Call for Attorney General Barr’s Resignation

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials are calling for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr after injecting himself into the case of President Trump’s friend and confidant Roger Stone.

“Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice,” the letter, released Sunday, states.

The former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials said it was unethical for Barr to intervene in the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for Stone, a GOP dirty trickster who was found guilty in November of seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. Four prosecutors originally recommended a prison sentence of seven to nine years.

After Trump publicly criticized the recommendation, Barr ordered the Justice Department to file an updated sentencing memo calling for less prison time for Stone.

The four career prosecutors who wrote the original sentencing recommendation resigned from the case.

“Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words,” the Justice Department alumni wrote in the letter posted online. “Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign.”