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Archive for July, 2020

$1.75 Billion in Funding for New FBI Headquarters Is Added to Coronavirus Relief Bill

FBI headquarters, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Funding for the long-delayed construction of a new FBI headquarters is tucked inside a coronavirus relief bill that Senate Republicans agreed to Monday.

The White House insisted the bill include $1.75 billion in funding for a new headquarters in downtown Washington D.C., drawing criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, The Washington Post reports.

Trump has long called for the headquarters, which is a stone’s throw from his Washington D.C. hotel, to be built downtown, rather than in the suburbs.

Asked why the headquarters funding was added to the coronavirus relief bill, Sen. Richard C. Shelby said, “Good question.”

“This is an administration proposal to move on with the FBI,” Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said. “They need a new FBI building down the street; it’s not safe to work in, you know, and so forth.”

Democrats were quick to criticize the headquarters funding.

“They managed to have enough money for $2 billion for the FBI headquarters that benefits Trump hotel and they say they have no money for food assistance,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “What the heck is going on?”

The White House defended the funding.

“As President Trump has said, the FBI desperately needs a new building and this measure provides critical funding for this project that would keep the building responsibly near the Department of Justice,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

FBI Arrests U.S. Woman Accused of Attempting to Provide Material Support to al-Qaeda

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. woman has been arrested on allegations of attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda, the Justice Department announced.

The FBI on Wednesday arrested Jill Marie Jones at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, where federal authorities say she planned to board a flight to Turkey to join the terrorist group in Afghanistan.

Two undercover FBI agents, including one who posed as a member of al-Qaeda, were communicating with Jones, who said she planned to send money to help al Qaeda buy scopes for rifles that would be used to kill American soldiers. She sent the undercover FBI agent a $500 gift card in May 2020, the DOJ says.

During the communications, Jones said she planned to travel overseas to assist al Qaeda, according to the DOJ.

U.S. Marshals Service Arrests Chinese Researcher Accused of Visa Fraud to Steal University Research

Juan Tang, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Marshals Service arrested a Chinese researcher accused of visa fraud for allegedly lying about her ties to her country’s military in order to receive an application to work in the U.S.

Juan Tang, 37, was among four researchers who have been charged with visa fraud after federal authorities said they believed the Chinese consulate in San Francisco was harboring her. The other three researchers were previously arrested.

Tang was being held in the Sacramento County jail, USA Today reports.

The Justice Department says Tang lied on two occasions about her military ties in a visa application in October.

Federal authorities suspect the four suspects were trying to steal research from American universities.

Tang was a visiting researcher in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California in Davis.

FBI Suspects Chinese Consulate in San Francisco is Harboring Scientist Charged with Visa Fraud

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI suspects the Chinese consulate in San Francisco is harboring a Chinese scientist accused of visa fraud.

Tang Juan and the three other researchers have been charged with visa fraud for allegedly lying about their ties to the Chinese Military to receive applications to work in the U.S.

Three of the researchers have been arrested, while the FBI believes Tang has been hiding for weeks in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.

In an interview with the FBI, Tang insisted she did not serve in the military, despite evidence to the contrary.

The Justice Department suspects the researchers are trying to steal research from American universities.

“This is another part of the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to take advantage of our open society and exploit academic institutions,” John Demers, the Justice Department’s top national security official, said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

Government Watchdogs Investigating Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland, Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The inspectors general of the Justice Department and Homeland Security have launched investigations into how federal agents have used force and detained protesters during demonstrations in Portland and Washington D.C.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is reviewing the use of force by U.S. Marshals in Portland and the FBI, DEA and ATF in Washington D.C., The Washington Post reports.

Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari is investigating allegations that CBP agents “improperly detained and transported protesters” in Portland, where protesters and federal officers have clashed over the past week.

In a joint statement, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House said the investigations are “critically important” as the Trump administration plans to deploy federal agents to additional cities, including Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City.

“Many of these federal agents are dressed as soldiers, driving unmarked vehicles and refusing to identify themselves or their agencies,” they wrote. “Nearly everywhere they have deployed, their presence has increased tensions and caused more confrontation between demonstrators and police.”

On Thursday night, a federal judge in Oregon issued a temporary restraining order barring federal agents in Portland from arresting or using force against journalists and legal observers.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials.

“It would be a cold day in hell before I would consent or agree to the unsolicited, uninvited intervention in any of my cities,” Ridge told KDKA . “I certainly don’t favor that kind of action, and certainly don’t think DHS was designed for that purpose to start with.”

Ex-FBI Director James Comey to Release Second Book Ahead of Inauguration Day

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey has written a new book that will be released in January, just 10 days before Inauguration Day.

“Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency, and Trust” will explore Comey’s career and his call “for a return to non-partisan law enforcement centered on American values.”

“In the new book, Comey draws on his long, varied career in the law and justice system, from prosecuting mobsters as an Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York in the 1980s to his tumultuous stint as FBI director working under Donald Trump, to illuminate the core values of the Department of Justice, and the path to restoring them,” the publisher Flatiron announces.

Comey made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday.

“New book coming. I hope it will be useful as our country works — starting in 2021 — to restore faith in Justice,” Comey tweeted.

The book is a follow-up to “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” a top-selling book about the Trump administration.

FBI Links Murder of New Jersey Judge’s Husband to California Slaying of Another ‘Men’s Rights’ Attorney

Roy Den Hollander, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The “anti-feminist” lawyer suspected of fatally shooting the son of a New Jersey federal judge and wounding her husband at their family home on Sunday is now a suspect in the murder of a rival “men’s rights” attorney in California.

“We are now engaged with the San Bernardino California Sheriff’s Office and have evidence linking the murder of Marc Angelucci to FBI Newark subject Roy Den Hollander,” the FBI’s said in a statement.  “This investigation is ongoing.”

Hollander, 72, who allegedly posed as a FedEx deliveryman before shooting the son and husband of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, turned the gun on himself and was found dead in Liberty, N.Y. In addition to finding a FedEx packaged addressed to Salas in Hollander’s car, authorities also found papers mentioning Marc Angelucci, who was fatally shot at his home in California, The Daily Beast reports.

The FBI said investigators found evidence that Hollander was in California at the time of the Angelucci shooting. It was not immediately clear what other evidence the FBI had to link Hollander to Angelucci’s death.

CBP Sent 3 Paramilitary-Style Units to Crackdown on Protests in Portland

Border Patrol Tactic Unit via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection has sent three specially trained, paramilitary-style units to help crackdown on protests Portland, Reuters confirms.

“We have agents and officers from our special operations groups deployed,” a CBP official said in an email.

A lot of questions have been raised since videos began circulating on social media last week that showed camouflage-clad officers in tactical gear and no insignia clashing with protesters in Portland. State and local leaders have criticized the deployment, and civil-rights advocates argue the officers are violating protesters’ free speech rights.

One of the units identified by Reuters is the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), which “provides an immediate response capability to emergent and high-risk incidents requiring specialized skills and tactics,” according to CBP’s website.

The other units are the Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue and Special Response teams.

Democrats and some Republicans are questioning the wisdom of sending federal agents to quell protests in American cities.

“Donald Trump has no justification for deploying paramilitary troops to the streets of Portland or any other American city,” Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said. “These occupying forces are creating conflict, attacking peaceful protesters and making my hometown more dangerous. For Portland to find peace, Trump needs to pull unwanted federal agents out of our city immediately.”