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Archive for June, 2020

TSA Official Blows Whistle on Agency’s Failures to Protect Employees, Travelers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A senior TSA official in Kansas filed a complaint against the agency, saying it failed to provide adequate training and protective gear to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus to airport employees and travelers.

The TSA reports that 706 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19, and five have died.

Jay Brainard, the top TSA official in Kansas, said supervisors were prevented from providing screeners with stockpiled N95 masks in March, when it was difficult to buy the respirators.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that our people became Typhoid Marys and contributed to the spread of that virus because TSA senior leadership did not make sure (screeners) were adequately protected,” Brainard told The Associated Press.

Brainard’s complaint prompted the Office of Special Counsel to order Homeland Security to investigate.

In a statement, the TSA insisted if followed CDC guidelines in protecting employees.

Brainard countered that the TSA failed to notify screeners that they should change gloves after every pat-down.

Stacey Moy Named Special Agent in Charge of Counterintelligence Division of the FBI Washington Field Office

FBI Special Agent Stacey Moy.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Stacey Moy has been named special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI Washington Field Office.

Moy, who most recently served as a deputy assistant director in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters, joined the bureau as a special agent in 2004 in the Washington Field Office, where he investigated foreign counterintelligence and espionage cases.

Moy investigated penetrations of the U.S. intelligence community, media leaks, and economic espionage, and also served on the SWAT team.

In 2009, he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Counterintelligence Division at headquarters, dealing with cases involving the targeting and acquisition of U.S. trade secrets by foreign adversaries.

In 2011, Moy became field supervisor of a counterproliferation squad in the Oakland Resident Agency of the San Francisco Field Office.

In 2014, he served as unit chief of the Counterproliferation Center in the Counterintelligence Division at headquarters. The center is tasked with leading the bureau’s efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other technologies that endanger national security. In 2015, Moy was promoted to assistant section chief of the center.

In 2016, he moved to the San Francisco Field Office to serve as the assistant special agent in charge of the criminal branch in charge of investigating financial crimes, public corruption, civil rights, and violent crimes against children. In 2017, Moy was named a Counterintelligence Division section chief, and in 2019, was promoted to deputy assistant director.

Moy graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. He earned a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College and was a senior executive fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government for Executive Education.

Trump Fires Manhattan U.S. Attorney, Then Says He Wasn’t Involved in the Matter

Geoffrey Berman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In this case, there can’t be two truths.

Attorney General William P. Barr said Saturday that President Donald Trump had fired Manhattan U.S.  Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who had gone after some of Trump’s allies and had refused on Friday to step down.

“Because you have declared you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so,” Barr wrote in a sharply worded letter to Berman, according to the Washington Post.

Outside the White House on Saturday, before his Tulsa political rally, Trump told reporters that the ouster was “all up to the attorney general” and that, despite Barr’s contention otherwise, he hadn’t become involved in the matter.

 

Showdown in the Big Apple: Trump Wants NY U.S. Attorney Out, but He Won’t Go

Geoffrey Berman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump guaranteed lots of drama during his reign as president, and he hasn’t disappointed.

The latest: The Trump administration announced Friday night that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman was leaving his post, but Berman fired back that he hadn’t resigned and would stay to ensure the integrity of his office’s cases, the Washington Post reports.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York has always prided itself for being independent. That image is even portrayed in the fictional show, “Billions,” on Showtime, starring Paul Giamatti, who plays the U.S. Attorney.

The controversy arises as  Berman’s office has been conducting a criminal investigation of President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in a campaign finance case that has already led to charges against two of Giuliani’s associates, the Post notes.

“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney,” Berman said in a statement. “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.”

Attorney General William Barr offered Berman the job of heading the Justice Department’s Civil Division, but he declined.

Prior to becoming United States Attorney on January 5, 2018,  Berman was a partner at a major New York law firm.

Her served as an Assistant United States Attorney from 1990 to 1994. Before joining the U. S.  Attorney’s Office,  Berman was an associate counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel for the Iran/Contra matter.

Weekend Series on Crime: FBI Probes Spies in America

ATF Investigating 250+ Fires in Minneapolis Amid Unrest Following George Floyd’s Death

Via Pixabay

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The ATF is investigating more than 150 fires that broke out during unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

“We are making excellent progress with tremendous help from the public,” ATF Special Agent Terry Henderson tells KARE-11 news.

So far, nine people have been arrested in connection with the fires. Another 20 persons of interest have been identified, and the ATF is trying to track them down.

“This is a large scale, large scope event. It is certainly unprecedented for this field division to have this many fires at one time,” Henderson says.

“We have seen a tremendous response from the public providing us with information in regards to these crimes.”

Agents are combing through surveillance and cell phone footage.

ATF Agent Shot During Raid of Pittsburgh Home; a Dozen Suspects Arrested

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An ATF agent was shot and hospitalized early Tuesday during a raid in a Pittsburgh neighborhood following a wiretap investigation into drug dealing.

A dozen suspects connected to the house have been arrested, TribLive reports.

Medics treated the agent at the scene before he was taken to a hospital in stable condition, John Schmidt, acting special agent in charge of the ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division, said.

“We train for these types of situations and that training paid off today,” Schmidt said. “In our efforts to conduct operations as safely as possible, we have medics on our Special Response Teams for instances just like today — our highly trained medics were able to quickly provide medical care to our special agent and helped insure the best outcome possible in this instance.”

The homeowner, Dion Williams, 44 was charged with possession and conspiracy to distribute at last 5 kilograms of cocaine since November. The 11 others who were arrested were charged and face between 10 years and life in prison.

The investigation is connected to a larger drug-trafficking probe involving the “11 Hunnit” street gang, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said.

“For too long, the ’11 Hunnit’ gang has terrorized the law-abiding residents of the City of Pittsburgh and the Hill District,” Brady said. “Through the four indictments of 22 members and associates of ’11 Hunnit,’ we have effectively dismantled this gang and its grip on our city.”

DOJ Creates Online Tool to Make It Easier to Report Civil Rights Violations

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has created a new online tool for the public to report a civil rights violation.

The Civil Rights Reporting Portal is designed to make it easier for victims of civil rights violation to launch a complaint.

“The department is committed to upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all people in the United States,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division says in a news release. “The Civil Rights Reporting Portal will make it easier for the public to connect with us, which in turn makes us more effective at upholding these important rights. I encourage the public to use this portal to report civil rights violations.”

The Civil Rights Division enforces federal laws that forbid discrimination based on race, national origin, disability, gender, religion, familial status, or loss of other constitutional rights.

People who suspect they are the victim of a criminal civil rights violation, such as a hate crime or police misconduct, are encouraged to contact their local FBI office.