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Archive for March, 2020

Michael J. Driscoll named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office

Special FBI Agent Michael J. Driscoll.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Michael J. Driscoll has been named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office.

Driscoll, who was serving as special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence and Cyber Division for the New York Field Office, began his career as an FBI special agent in 1996. He was first assigned to the New York Field Office to work on counterterrorism. In his role, he helped investigate al Qaeda conspirators involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the attacks on 9/11.

He earned an Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2002 for his work investigating al Qaeda and the 1998 embassy bombings.

In 2003, Driscoll was transferred to FBI headquarters to serve as the FBI’s representative to the al Qaeda Department of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

In 2005, Driscoll became supervisor and returned to the New York Field Office, where he headed the squad tasked with extraterritorial investigations in Africa. He also led the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts in the New York Hudson Valley region and was later promoted to the coordinating supervisory special agent for New York’s Counterterrorism Program.

In 2013, Driscoll was named assistant legal attaché for London, where he oversaw the Cyber Program and working closely with U.K. law enforcement and intelligence services. In 2016, he became assistant special agent in charge of Philadelphia’s counterintelligence and cyber programs.

In 2018, he returned to FBI headquarters, serving as the chief of the Violent Crime Section, which leads the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Program, as well as efforts to combat violent crime and gang-related violence.

In 2019, Driscoll was promoted to special agent in charge of New York’s Criminal Division and later began to lead New York’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division.

Before joining the FBI, Driscoll worked in commercial litigation as an attorney. He graduated from the State University of New York in Albany and received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, N.Y.

Sixth TSA Screener Tests Positive for Coronavirus at U.S. Airports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA screener at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida is the sixth employee of the agency to be tested positive for the coronavirus.

The screener “is receiving medical care and all TSA employees they have come in contact with over the past 14 days are self-isolated at home,” a TSA spokesperson said in a statement Sunday, The Sun-Sentinel reports. “Screening checkpoints remain open and the agency is working with the CDC, as well as the Florida Department of Health, Broward County office to monitor the situation as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public.”

On Saturday, the TSA said one of its agents also contracted the virus at Orlando International Airport.

Four screeners have tested positive for the coronavirus at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in California, the TSA announced on a web page dedicated to the virus.

The union representing TSA screeners is asking for more guidance for its members to avoid the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Congressional Democrats questioned the top TSA official about what the agency is doing to protect workers and the public from the quickly spreading coronavirus.

Trump Says He’s ‘Strongly Considering’ Full Pardon for Michael Flynn, Citing ‘Lost’ Records

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump announced Sunday he’s “strongly considering” a “Full Pardon” for his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying the FBI and Justice Department lost some of his records.

“So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has ‘lost’ the records of General Michael Flynn. How convenient,”Trump tweeted. “I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!”

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. but has since tried to withdraw his plea. In January, federal prosecutors reversed course, calling for up to six months in prison for Flynn, saying he shows no signs of remorse after embracing a combative defense strategy.

The Justice Department initially suggested it was open to probation for Flynn, the only member of the Trump administration to plead guilty in the Robert Mueller investigation. At the time Flynn was cooperating with investigators. But after that, Flynn took a different course and tried in vein to get the case dismissed.

In September, Flynn’s lawyers claimed prosecutors were unable to produce an internal Justice Department memo that cleared Flynn of being a Russian agent. Prosecutors countered that the allegations were irrelevant because Flynn was not accused of being a Russian agent.

Trump offered no explanation of his claims that the FBI and Justice Department lost records.

Weekend Series on Crime History: A Secret Service Revisits the Reagan Shooting

Biden Campaign Officially Asks for Secret Service Protection As He Surges in Primary

Former Vice President Joe Biden

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden has officially requested Secret Service protection.

A congressional aide told CNN on Thursday that Biden’s campaign has “submitted a formal request for USSS protection.”

For a candidate to receive protection from the Secret Service, Homeland Security must conduct a threat assessment that will be reviewed by top leaders in Congress: Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy.

Biden’s campaign declined to comment.

AG Barr Pictured with Australian Minister Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A senior Australian minister who tested positive for the coronavirus and was quarantined Friday met just days ago with Attorney General William Barr in Washington D.C.

Australian’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Barr were in a picture together, along with Ivanka Trump, on March 6. Both officials were attending a meeting with members of the Five Eyes Security Pact, which includes U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, USA Today reports.

It wasn’t clear when Dutton became sick or whether he had additional contact with Barr.

On Saturday, a senior adviser to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posed for a photo with President Trump at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. Bolsonaro has since tested positive for the coronavirus.

DEA Arrests 600+ As Part of 6-Month Investigation of Fast-Growing Drug Cartel

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The DEA agents arrested more than 600 people nationwide as part of a six-month investigation into members of one of the world’s fastest growing drug-trafficking organizations.

The joint DEA-DOJ operation, dubbed “Project Python,” targeted members of the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), led by the drug lord known as “El Mencho.”

The cartel is known for transporting massive amounts of methamphetamine.

“Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski, of the Criminal Division, says in a news release.  “When President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritizing the dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG.  We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organized crime threats we face.  And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people.”

Added DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon, “This strategic and coordinated project exemplifies DEA’s mission: to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy drug trafficking organizations around the world and bring their leaders to justice. Today, DEA has disrupted CJNG’s operations, and there is more to come as DEA continues its relentless attack on this remorseless criminal organization.”

House Democrats Question Top TSA Official about Measures to Protect Workers, Passengers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Congressional Democrats questioned the top TSA official Wednesday about what the agency is doing to protect workers and the public from the quickly spreading coronavirus.

On Tuesday, three screeners at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in Northern California tested positive for the coronavirus.

Fielding questions at a Homeland Security subcommittee hearing, TSA Administrator David Pekoske told lawmakers that TSA agents regularly clean checkpoints and are allowing passengers to carry on large quantities of sanitizers.

“It’s going to require a little bit more screening on our part because we have to verify that that is, in fact, hand sanitizer in the bottle, but we do want to increase that volume to make it easier for passengers, particularly those that don’t check bags, to bring a volume of sanitizer with them,” Pekoske said, The Hill reports. “Because, as you know, you can go to another city and find none available on the shelves.”

Lawmakers asked Pekoske to ensure the TSA checkpoints are clean.

“Coronavirus is just one of many others to come, so we need to make sure that your workforce is prepared to address these health issues, as well as terrorist issues that are coming at us,” Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., said.