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Archive for December, 2020

Happy New Year From ticklethewire.com

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Secret Service Changing Presidential Detail Amid Concerns about Trump Loyalty

By Steve Neavling

Some Secret Service agents who previously worked with President-elect Joe Biden when he was vice president will return to the White House to serve in his presidential detail in the coming weeks, The Washington Post reports.

Such staffing changes aren’t unusual when a new administration assumes office, but allies of Biden have expressed concerns that some Secret Service agents may align themselves with President Donald Trump, who refuses to concede defeat in the election. 

Trump continues make unfounded allegations about widespread election fraud, a position that courts have repeatedly rejected. 

Some Secret Service agents also have come under fire for defying COVID-19 guidelines to wear a mask, parroting Trump’s reckless behavior during the pandemic. 

More than 150 Secret Service officers and agents tasked with protecting Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have either been infected with COVID-19 or have been quarantined. 

“That is smart to give the incoming president the comfort of the familiar,” said one former Secret Service executive, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel changes. “You want him to be with people he knows and trusts, and who also know how he operates.”

‘Most Prolific Serial Killer in U.S. History’ Dies in Prison

Samuel Little, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

Samuel Little, whom the FBI called the “most prolific serial killer in U.S. history,” died Wednesday.

He was 80 years old. 

Little died while serving a life sentence at a state prison in Los Angeles County. 

Authorities have no determined a cause of death, but there has been no evidence of foul play, Vicky Waters, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, told The New York Times.

Convicted of at least eight murders, Little had confessed to killing 93 people, many of them struggling, young Black women, between 1970 and 2005. The FBI verified at least 50 of those murders. 

For five years, analysts have used the bureau’s Violent Crime Apprehension Program (ViCAP) to link Little to the murders.

The FBI has been urging the public to help with the unconfirmed confessions since declaring Little “the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history” last year. 

“For many years, Samuel Little believed he would not be caught because he thought no one was accounting for his victims,” Christie Palazzolo, a crime analyst with the F.B.I.’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, said at the time. “Even though he is already in prison, the F.B.I. believes it is important to seek justice for each victim — to close every case possible.”

For a detailed look at Little’s murderous past, check out the FBI’s multimedia news release from last year.

Convicted U.S. Spy Jonathan Pollard Lands in Israel

By Allan Lengel

Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. Navy analyst who spent 30 years in prison for spying for Israel, has flown to Tel Aviv a month after a travel ban imposed by the government ended, the BBC reports.

Pollard, 66, and his wife Esther, were greeted early Wednesday at the airport by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Jonathan Pollard/wikipedia

Pollard was arrested in 1985 in Washington, D.C., and was given a life sentence after pleading guilty to selling U.S. secrets to Israel, which initially denied that he was spying for the Jewish nation.

Ten years later, Israel admitted Pollard was working for the country.

Pollard was released from prison in 2015, but had a ban on traveling for at least five years under a ban by the government.

Border Patrol Agents Save Man’s Life in Arizona

Border Patrol agents save a man’s life, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents from the Yuma Sector are credited with saving a man’s life after he was found unconscious near the Andrade Port of Entry in Arizona. 

A Border Patrol agent was driving along Andrade Road at 3 a.m. when he spotted a 60-year-old man on the ground. He stopped to help the man and called other agents who are registered EMTs. He also called for an ambulance. 

EMTs provided oxygen to the man, who had labored breathing and a weak pulse. Suspecting a narcotic overdose, they administered NARCAN. 

Rural Metro medics arrived shortly after and provided him with medical treatment. The man regained consciousness after medics administered an additional treatment of NARCAN. 

At the Yuma Sector, 62 agents are trained as EMTs, and an additional five are working on their certification, Border Patrol said in a news release

“The life-saving efforts displayed by the Yuma Station Border Patrol agents and EMTs is a testament to their commitment to serve the general public in their time of need,” Yuma Station’s Acting Patrol Agent in Charge Kyle Harvick said. “Border security provides a safer community in many aspects. This incident and the care provided by the Yuma Station EMTs is just one of many examples. We hope the subject involved in this incident experiences a healthy recovery.”

Police, FBI Warned about Nashville Bombing suspect in 2019

Anthony Quinn Warner

By Steve Neavling

Police and the FBI were alerted to Nashville bombing suspect Anthony Quinn Warner about 16 months ago, when his girlfriend reported he was building explosives in his RV, according to a police report obtained by The Tennessean.

But it doesn’t appear that anything was done to stop Warner, who authorities say died in the Christmas Day explosion that tore through downtown Nashville and injured three people. 

In August 2019, Warner’s girlfriend notified Nashville police that Warner “was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence,” the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) report states.

The information was passed on to the FBI. 

“She related that the guns belonged to a ‘Tony Warner’ and that she did not want them in the house any longer,” MNPD spokesman Don Aaron said in a statement to The Tennessean.

The woman’s attorney, Raymond Throckmorton III, told police that Warner “frequently talks about the military and bomb making,” the report states. The attorney added that Warner “knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb.”

Police went to Warner’s home to investigate but no one answered the door, and the RV was fenced off behind the house. 

“They saw no evidence of a crime and had no authority to enter his home or fenced property,” MNPD spokesman Don Aaron told the Tennessean. 

A day later, Nashville police forwarded the information to the FBI to check the bureau’s databases, Aaron said. Later in the day, “the FBI reported back that they checked their holdings and found no records on Warner at all,” Aaron said. 

“Somebody, somewhere dropped the ball,” Throckmorton said.

Aaron responded that there was no evidence of wrongdoing at the time. 

“At no time was there any evidence of a crime detected and no additional action was taken,” he said. “No additional information about Warner came to the department’s or the FBI’s attention after August 2019.”

TSA Employees Put at Risk As Record Number of People Travel Since Pandemic Began

By Steve Neavling

The number of airline travelers screened by the TSA reached 1.3 million this weekend, the highest number since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

As travelers defy CDC recommendations to avoid travel, TSA agents are at greater risk of getting infected with COVID-19.

No federal law enforcement agency has been hit with the coronavirus like the TSA. Since the pandemic began, the coronavirus has killed 12 TSA employees and infected 4,767.   

There are 723 active infections. 

“We’re seeing a spike in cases where we’re seeing a spike in the community,” Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, told the Washington Post. “Anecdotally, we’ve heard that people who are getting covid are getting it while they’re not at work.”

Farbstein says the TSA is urging employees to allowing CDC guidelines. 

ATF Searches for Grenade That Could Still Explode After Being Sold at Antique Mall

Grenade sold in North Carolina, via ATF.

By Steve Neavling

The ATF is asking for the public’s help tracking down a grenade that was “thought to be inert” but could still explode after it was sold to an unsuspecting customer at an antique mall in North Carolina.

The grenade was purchased from the Fancy Flea Antique Mall in Ocean Isle Beach on June 13, and it appears the customer believed the grenade was just a decoration. 

“The grenade, thought to be inert, may contain materials that could degrade [and] explode,” the ATF statement said.

Anyone with information on the potential whereabouts of the grenade is asked to call ATF at 704-716-1800. 

The ATF had a similar scare in Durham, N.C., in December 2019, when a thrift store was evacuated after a live grenade was found inside a dresser that had been donated. No one was injured.