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Archive for April, 2020

Hate Groups, Fueled by Conspiracy Theories May Exploit Coronavirus to Target Attacks, Feds Warn

Timothy Wilson is accused of plotting to detonate a bomb near a hospital, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Hate groups, fueled by conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, may incite violence in the midst of the outbreak, national security officials warn in an intelligence bulletin fringe the FBI, Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center.

The report, first obtained by CNN, also warns that extremists may target hospitals, grocery stores, and even police officers enforcing social-distancing measures.

Recent plots were uncovered in the past two weeks, including a Missouri man accused of plotting to detonate a car bomb at a hospital and a train engineer who said he intentionally crashed his train near a naval hospital ship that he believed was preparing for a government takeover.

Asian-Americans and Jewish people also have been targeted with threats because of conspiracy theories blaming them for the spread of the virus.

CNN wrote:

While the FBI has become increasingly focused on combating domestic terrorism in recent years as the number of reported hate crimes has increased, the recent warnings have reflected an elevated concern that the pandemic and the changes to American society that it has caused were creating more perceived reasons and opportunities for extremists to act.

While the FBI has become increasingly focused on combating domestic terrorism in recent years as the number of reported hate crimes has increased, the recent warnings have reflected an elevated concern that the pandemic and the changes to American society that it has caused were creating more perceived reasons and opportunities for extremists to act.

Some hate groups are claiming that government responses to the outbreak could crash the global economy and lead to a race war, the bulletin states, potentially working to incite people who are facing economic hardship and social isolation in the meantime to commit acts of violence.
Others have commented that they should exploit holes in policing left by law enforcement who’ve contracted the virus themselves or are diverted to enforcing stay-at-home orders.

Intelligence Report Sounded Alarm on Coronavirus in November

SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of the coronavirus, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The coronavirus outbreak that is rapidly sweeping across America, claiming lives and wrecking the economy, should have been no surprise to the Trump administration because of warnings about the contagion as far back as November.

The U.S. military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence issued a report in November that warned about an out-of-control virus spreading across China’s Wuhan region, ABC News reports, citing officials familiar with the document.

The report, which relied on wire and computer intercepts and satellite images, warned that U.S. forces in Asia were at risk.

“Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event,” one of the sources said of the NCMI’s report. “It was then briefed multiple times to” the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House.

But on Jan. 22, Trump’s first comments about the virus were dismissive of its threat to the U.S. In a CNBC interview, Trump was asked, “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”

The president responded, “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

Illegal Immigration Drops 60% Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Illegal immigration along the southern border has declined during the coronavirus outbreak.

About 4,200 migrants were identified trying to illegally entered the U.S. last week, a nearly 60% decrease over the previous week, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S. Border Patrol recently instituted a practice of quickly deporting undocumented immigrants to protect agents from the coronavirus.

CBP on Monday disclosed that 160 of its employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Construction on the border wall has continued despite coronavirus fears, raising concern from residents in border cities.

160 CBP Employees Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 160 Customs and Border Protection employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employees, who include customs officers and border agents, are stationed in at least 20 cities in the U.S., according to the agency’s site dedicated to COVID-19.

There are 52 cases in New York City, 17 in Miami, and 10 in each Los Angeles and Newark.

This is the first time CBP released information on its employees impacted by COVID-19.

Other federal agencies are getting hit hard. More than 100 TSA employees in more than two dozen states have become infected.

Border Patrol Reverts to Quick Deportations to Protect Agents from Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Border Patrol in Arizona is reverting to quick deportations to protect agents from the coronavirus.

In the past, many people who illegally crossed the border were incarcerated and prosecuted.

Now, agents are deporting undocumented immigrants in “a matter of minutes,” Border Patrol spokesman Daniel Hernandez tells Arizona Public Media.

Instead of arresting migrants, they receive masks and a background check in the field before they are returned to a port of entry and deported.

It wasn’t immediately clear who many people have been deported this way or whether any of the undocumented immigrants were infected with the coronavirus.

First TSA Employee Dies from Coronavirus; More than 100 others have tested positive

TSA’s Francis “Frank” Boccabella III.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

It was only a matter of time.

More than 100 TSA employees, most of them screeners, have tested positive for the coronavirus since the U.S. outbreak began.

On Thursday, Francis “Frank” Boccabella III, an expositive detection canine handler at Newark Liberty International Airport, became the first TSA employee to die from the coronavirus.

Boccabella was only 39. He worked as a TSA officer since June 2004, when he started out screening air cargo at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“He is the first federal TSA employee who we have lost to COVID-19,” the TSA said in a news release. “The news of this loss strengthens our determination to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell

FBI Warns about Intruders Hijacking Video Calls Through Zoom

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Many Americans who are working from home are resorting to video conferencing apps. Schools also are using the apps for online classes.

One of the most popular apps, Zoom, has become a target to intruders who are hijacking video calls and posting hate speech and graphic images such as pornography.

The FBI calls it “Zoombombing,” which has become so popular the bureau recently issued a warning to users.

The bureau said it has been fielding a lot of complaints. School officials in Massachusetts said someone hijacked an online class through the video conferencing app and displayed swastika tattoos.

The bureau is asking the public to report incidents to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.