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Archive for April, 2020

TSA Coronavirus Death Toll Reaches 5, with 500 Confirmed Cases Across 61 Airports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA officer at Newark Liberty International Airport has become the fifth employee of the agency to die from the coronavirus.

Mark Barisonek, who worked for the TSA for 16 years, died Tuesday.

The number of TSA employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 reached 500 on Wednesday. The employees include screeners and non-screeners at 61 airports nationwide.

So far, 208 TSA workers have recovered.

John F. Kennedy International got hit the hardest, with 105 employees, including 98 screening officers, testing positive for COVID-19.

At Newark Liberty International, 56 TSA workers, including 47 screening officers, have tested positive. LeGuardia reported 32 employees, including 29 screening officers, have confirmed cases.

Other airports with at least 15 positive cases are Logan International, Denver International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Miami International, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International and Chicago O’Hare.

TSA employees, especially screeners, are vulnerable to COVID-19 infections because they have a lot of contact with travelers.

For more details, click here.

Michael H. Schneider Named Special Agent in Charge of Denver Field Office.

FBI’s Denver Field Office, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Michael H. Schneider has been tapped to serve as the special agent in charge of the Denver Field Office.

Most recently, Scheinder was serving as a deputy assistant director of the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG).

Schneider joined the FBI in 2004, working at the Bedford Resident Agency in New Hampshire under the Boston Field Office, where he investigated crimes and led a Safe Streets Gang Task Force.

In 2009, Scheider was promoted to supervisory special agent in the International Terrorism Operations Section at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. In 2011, he led the counterterrorism program and Joint Terrorism Task Force at the St. Louis Field Office.

In 2014, Schneider became assistant special agent in charge of the National Security Branch of the St. Louis Field Office, overseeing counterterrorism, counterintelligence, intelligence, and cyber programs. He also led the field office’s response to the shooting of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, whose death prompted Black Lives Matter protests across the country.

In 2017, Schneider was tapped to serve as chief of the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Section of CIRG. He also served as the U.S. government’s on-scene commander for the Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

In 2018, he was promoted to deputy assistant director of CIRG.

Schneider earned a Bachelor of Science in finance from Indiana University School of Business. Before joining the FBI, he worked in corporate finance and investment banking.

Nearly 500 TSA Workers Have Confirmed Coronavirus Infections; Four Have Died.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 500 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, and four have died.

The employees include screeners and non-screeners at 60 airports nationwide.

So far, 199 TSA workers have recovered.

John F. Kennedy International got hit the hardest, with 104 employees, including 97 screening officers, testing positive for COVID-19.

At Newark Liberty International, 56 TSA workers, including 47 screening officers, have tested positive. LeGuardia reported 32 employees, including 29 screening officers, have confirmed cases.

Other airports with at least 15 positive cases are Logan International, Denver International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Miami International, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International and Chicago O’Hare.

You can see the details here.

Amir Ehsaei Named Special Agent in Charge of the Counterterrorism Division of the Los Angeles Field Office

Los Angeles Field Office, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Amir Ehsaei, who most recently served as section chief in the Human Resources Division at FBI headquarters, has been named special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division of the Los Angeles Field Office.

Ehsaei’s responsibilities include counterterrorism investigations in Los Angeles, Australia and large portions of Asia. He’s also responsible for crisis response issues and the weapons of mass destruction program.

Ehsaei’s career with the FBI began in 2004, when he was assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in the Los Angeles Field Office.

In 2010, he moved to the Human Intelligence Squad and was later promoted to supervisory special agent of a counterterrorism squad on the JTTF. Also that year, Ehsaei deployed to Baghdad, leading an interagency team that investigated members of a foreign terrorist organization.

In 2013, Mr. Ehsaei became an assistant inspector and team leader at the Inspection Division at headquarters. In 2015, he returned to Los Angeles to serve as the assistant special agent in charge of the Administrative Division. In 2017, he was named the assistant special agent in charge of the Los Angeles JTTF.

In 2018, Ehsaei became chief of the Employment Development and Selection Program Section of the Human Resources Division at headquarters. As section chief, he oversaw the Leadership Selection Unit, the Office of Workforce Development, the Performance Appraisal Unit, and the Transfer Unit.

Ehsaei earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Colorado and graduated with honors from the University of Miami School of Law. Before joining the FBI, he was an attorney.

James B. Adams, Former Acting FBI Director, Dies at 93

James B. Adams

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James B. Adams, who served as acting FBI director for nine days in February 1978, has died.

He was 93.

Born in Corsicana, Texas, Adams served during Word War II and received a law degree from Baylor Law School.

Adams was elected to the Texas House of Representatives before resigning to become an FBI special agent in July 1951. In 1958, he served as special agent in charge of the bureau’s Minneapolis office. In 1972, he became special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio office.

From Feb. 15, 1978 to Feb. 23, 1978, Adams served as acting director of the FBI until William H. Webster was sworn in.

Adams retired form the FBI in May 1979 and began serving as director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) from 1980 to 1987.

“Colonel Adams had a storied career in law enforcement, one that was filled with accomplishments and accolades, and he leaves a behind a legacy that still benefits the law enforcement profession today,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a statement. “During his seven-year tenure at DPS, Colonel Adams provided outstanding leadership and fully supported the men and women at DPS who risked their lives daily to protect and serve Texas. After more than 30 years, DPS continues to benefit from his legacy, and on behalf of the men and women of DPS, I extend our sincere condolences to his family.”

Barr Directs Prosecutors to Take Legal Actions Against ‘Overbearing’ Restrictions Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Attorney General William Barr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr is directing federal prosecutors “to be on the lookout” for state and local stay-at-home orders that may be too restrictive.

“These kinds of restrictions have been necessary in order to stop the spread of a deadly disease — but there is no denying that they have imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans,” Barr said in a memo titled, “Blanacing Public Safety with the Preservation of Civil Rights,” issued Monday. “If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court.”

In the memo, acknowledged that restrictions may be necesssary to curb the spread of the coronavirus, “but there is no denying that they have imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans.”

At his daily news conference, Trump defended Barr’s actions.

“He wants to see people get back to work,” Trump said. “He does not want people to be held up when there is no reason for doing it.”

Read the full memo here.

Retired FBI Agent Arrested on Bribery Allegations Involving Lawyer with Ties to Armenian Organized Crime

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent in Lafayette, Calif., has been arrested on allegations of providing sensitive law enforcement information to a lawyer with ties to Armenian organized crime in exchange for more than $200,000 in cash bribes and gifts, the Justice Department announced.

Babak Broumand, 53, who retired from the FBI last year after serving 20 years as a special agent, is expected to make his first appearance Monday morning in a federal court in San Francisco.

From early 2015 to most of 2017, Broumand is accused of accepting bribes averaging $10,000 a month by a man who became a licensed lawyer in 2016. In the complaint, the lawyer is identified as CW1, or cooperating witness 1.

“Broumand and CW1 conspired and agreed that Broumand would perform official acts and omit to do acts, query law enforcement databases, provide CW1 with non- public law enforcement sensitive information and protection, and assist CW1 in CW1’s efforts to evade detection by law enforcement,” according to the affidavit in support of the complaint.

“Our nation is based on the premise that public officials – especially federal law enforcement officials – place the country and her people above their own self-interest, U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna says in a news release. “This former FBI agent stands accused of violating this sacred trust by providing help to criminals simply to fund his lavish lifestyle. The complaint outlines a long-running and multi-faceted scheme that tarnished the badge that was the symbol of his oath to uphold the law.”

Added Paul Delacourt, the assistant director in charge of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office, “The FBI takes allegations of misconduct or criminal activity by its personnel very seriously. While these are disturbing allegations, we found no evidence to suggest this went beyond an isolated incident. The agents who investigated this case did so with professionalism and objectivity.”

Alan E. Kohler Jr. Named assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters

FBI headquarters, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Alan E. Kohler Jr. has been named assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

Kohler recently served as the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the Washington Field Office.

When Kohler joined the FBI as a special agent in 1986, he handled counterintelligence at the Washington Field Office. He also served on the Evidence Response Team and helped the FBI investigate the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

In 2003, he transferred to the Counterintelligence Division to manage Russian counterintelligence investigations. He was promoted to unit chief in 2004.

Kohler began supervising a counterintelligence squad at the New York Field Office in 2006 before overseeing a squad that worked on cyber national security and criminal matters. In 2012, he began serving as an assistant legal attaché in London, acting as the FBI’s liaison with British intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

In 2016, Kohler moved to the Norfolk Field Office in Virginia to serve as the assistant special agent in charge of the counterintelligence, counterterrorism, intelligence, and crisis management programs.

In 2017, he returned to FBI Headquarters as the chief of the Eurasian Section, which manages the bureau’s operations countering Russian intelligence threats. Kohler was promoted to deputy assistant director in the Counterintelligence Division and managed multiple portfolios in 2018.

Kohler is a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Counterintelligence Investigation, and the Exceptional Achievement Medal from the Director of National Intelligence.

Before joining the FBI, Kohler managed engineering research for a private technology firm. He earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in ceramic engineering from Rutgers University.