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Archive for September, 2020

Ex-FBI Agent Strzok Calls Trump a ‘Counterintelligence Threat’ in New Book

Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent who played a key role in the Russia-Trump investigation, described the president as a “counterintelligence threat” in a new memoir.

Strzok, who spent more than 20 years as a counterintelligence agent before he was removed from the special counsel team over disparaging texts about Trump in 2017, wrote in “Compromised” that he witnessed the president’s “willingness to accept political assistance from an opponent like Russia — and, it follows, his willingness to subvert everything America stands for,” The New York Times reports.

“That’s not patriotic,” Strzok wrote. “It’s the opposite.”

Strzok claimed Trump pressured the FBI to fire him in August 2018 and used the texts to whip up conspiracy theories. In August 2019, Strzok filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI, claiming his termination was politically motivated.

“The reporting about my texts hadn’t only whipped Trump into a frenzy,” Strzok wrote. “It had also sent Republicans in Congress into a righteous peeve, giving them fodder for right-wing indignation that would eventually ferment into the deep-state fairy tale that would consume conservative media.”

In the book, which is set to be released Tuesday, Strzok defended the investigation into Trump’s campaign,

The bureau was “investigating a credible allegation of foreign intelligence activity to see where it led,” Strzok wrote. “It started with Russia, and it was always about Russia.”

Happy Labor Day from ticklethewire.com

Weekend Series on Crime History: G. Gordon Liddy Talks About How The Watergate Burglars Were Caught

Federal Task Force Fatally Shoots Man Accused of Killing Trump Supporter in Portland

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A man accused of fatally shooting a President Trump supporter in Portland was killed Thursday as a federal task force tried to arrest him.

Federal investigators were moving in to arrest Michael Reinoehl, 48, when officials say he pulled a gun on the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, The Associated Press reports.

Law enforcement then shot Reinoehl, who was the suspect in the fatal shooting of 39-year-0ld Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of the right wing group Patriot Prayer.

Reinoehl was shot at roughly the same time that Trump expressed impatience that the suspect was still at large.

On Thursday night, Trump expressed impatience with law enforcement.

“Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer of Aaron “Jay” Danielson. Do your job, and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is. No wonder Portland is going to hell!” Trump tweeted.

In a social media post, Reinoehl described himself as “100% ANTIFA.”

Homeland Security Investigations tracks down 19th Century Painting Stolen in Italy

“The Assumption of the Virgin Mary” by Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in 1851.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) tracked down a 19th century painting that was stolen in Italy in 2002.

Acting on a tip from the HSI Attaché Office in Rome, investigators found the painting in the Dallas area, where a private art collected had purchased the painting in 2015 from a dealer who apparently was unaware that it was stolen, ICE says in a news release.

The artwork, titled “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary,” was painted by Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in August 1851.

The private collector agreed to hand over the painting to investigators so it could be returned to the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis in Sesto al Reghena, a monastery in Italy where it had been stolen.

“Investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their countries of origin is an important part of HSI’s diverse mission” Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas, said. “Our specially trained investigators and attachés in more than 40 countries not only partner with governments, agencies and experts who share our mission to protect these items, but they train the investigators of other nations and agencies on how to find, authenticate and enforce the law to recover these items when they emerge in the marketplace.”

Read more about ICE’s investigations of cultural property, arts and antiques.

FBI Investigating ‘Guy in a Jetpack’ Spotted by Airline Pilots Near LAX

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating an unusual observation by an American Airlines pilot: A “guy in a jetpack” was flying near Los Angeles’ LAX airport on Sunday evening.

About a minute later, a JetBlue pilot reported seeing a man flying at an elevation of roughly 3,000 feet, FOX11 reports.

“The FBI is aware of the reports by pilots on Sunday and is working to determine what occurred,” a spokesperson said.

The American Airlines pilot notified the control tower that he spotted “a guy in a jetpack” about 10 miles away from airport.

The Los Angeles Police Department flew a helicopter over the area in search of the mysterious man but didn’t see anything.

Once confined to science fiction, jetpacks are becoming more popular. Still, it’s uncommon for jetpacks to fly anywhere near 3,000 feet.

Pittsburgh Man Charged with Shooting ATF Agent During Raid of His Home

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Pittsburgh man accused of shooting an ATF agent during a raid at his home in June has been charged with assault on a federal employee and violating federal firearms laws.

Dion Williams, 44, was indicted by a federal grand jury after authorities say he shot the agent during a raid following a wiretap investigation into cocaine trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.

The agent was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

“My office has zero tolerance for assaults upon or violence directed against law enforcement officers. Violent drug trafficking felons like Dion Williams who brazenly use illegal firearms to shoot at law enforcement officers have no place in western Pennsylvania,” U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said. “We will continue to use all available resources to dismantle drug gangs and bring violent criminals to justice, and to protect the men and women of law enforcement who work tirelessly every day to keep us all safe.”

Williams and 11 others have been arrested and charged with possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The investigation is connected to a larger drug-trafficking probe involving the “11 Hunnit” street gang, Brady said.

“It’s essential that we keep law enforcement officers safe as they protect and serve the nation’s communities,” Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman said. “Assault on law enforcement officers undermines the rule of law and will not be tolerated. Anyone who fires at law enforcement threatens the safety of our community and will face serious legal consequences. I am thankful the injured ATF agent is recovering and appreciative of his service and dedication.”

Largest ICE Raid During COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to 2,000+ Arrests

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A six-week ICE operation netted more than 2,000 arrests of undocumented immigrants, most of whom have been charged or convicted of a crime.

The operation, which ran from July to August, led to arrests in communities across the country, CBS News reports.

About 85% of those arrested had been charged or convicted of crimes ranging from domestic abuse to robbery. Those without criminal charges involved immigrants who did not leave the country after a judge ordered them to be deported.

It was the largest operation since the coronavirus pandemic.

ICE has limited its operations amid COVID-19 to avoid outbreaks among detainees. ICE arrested 94,500 arrests inside communities in this fiscal year, as of Aug. 22. During the same time period last year, ICE arrested more than 143,000 people.