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Archive for May, 2021

Some Border Patrol Agents Disgruntled over Biden’s More Liberal Policies

Photo via Border Patrol

President Biden is not winning over some Border Patrol agents, whose frustrations are prompting them to consider early retirement. 

Reuters interviewed dozens of current and former agents and found “growing dissatisfaction among some rank and file members” over Biden’s more liberal border policies.

Some disgruntled agents are even buying joke coins that say “U.S. Welcome Patrol.”

Some of the agents also oppose Biden’s choice to lead U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, who is awaiting confirmation by the Senate. 

The acting Border Patrol chief last month wrote a memo in which he opposed the Biden administration’s new directive to cease using the term “alien” to refer to migrants. 

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, faults Biden for the recent increase in border crossings. 

“I can confidently say that President Biden owns this crisis,” Judd said. “It is his fault.” 

Activists Hired Women to Lure FBI agents into Making Disparaging Remarks about Trump

A group of shadowy conservative activists teamed up with a former undercover British spy to target perceived enemies of President Trump, including FBI agents and then-National Security Adviser H.R. McCaster, according to a new report. 

The conservative group Project Veritas secretly surveilled FBI employees from a pricey rented home in the Georgetown section of Washington D.C., The New York Times reports.

The goal was to smear and discredit FBI staffers and others in the Trump administration who were believed to be opponents of the president. 

One tactic involved female undercover operatives arranging dates with FBI employees in hopes of catching them on secret recordings making disparaging remarks about Trump. The undercover women made fake dating app profiles to lure FBI employees and brought hidden cameras and microphones on the dates.

At the center of the scheme was Richard Seddon, a former British spy who trained Project Veritas operatives in 2016 to infiltrate labor unions and political campaigns. 

It’s unclear whether Trump was aware of the effort, according to the report. 

Number of Single Adults Crossing Border Increases, While Families, Children Decline

By Steve Neavling

An unusually high number of migrants crossing the border are single adults, as opposed to asylum-seeking adults and children.

Nearly two of every three border encounters in April were adults traveling alone, The Associated Press reports.

Border Patrol had 108,301 encounters with single adults in April, an increase of 12% from March. More than half of them are from Mexico. 

About 90% of those adults were expelled from the U.S.

Children, on the other hand, are exempted form expulsion and allowed to stay in pursuit of asylum claims under the Biden administration. 

With so much attention spent on families and unaccompanied children, some current and former border enforcement officials said single adults and drug smugglers have more opportunities to evade capture. 

In the meantime, Border Patrol had encounters with 17,171 children in April, a 9% decrease from March. Families that encountered Border Patrol also dropped 10% in April. 

White Supremacy Is Greatest Threat to U.S., Garland, Mayorkas Testify

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

The heads of the Justice Department and Homeland Security warned senators Wednesday that white supremacy is the most serious threat facing the U.S. 

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the departments are cracking down on violent extremism.

“The department is taking a new approach to addressing domestic violent extremism, both internally and externally,” Mayorkas said. 

Garland said the Jan. 6 insurrection was “an attempt to interfere with the fundamental element of our democracy, a peaceful transfer of power.”

“I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the Capitol,” Garland said. 

He added, “We will use every appropriate tool at our disposal to deter and disrupt such criminal acts and to bring their perpetrators to justice.”

The Justice Department has charged more than 430 people in connection to the deadly riot. 

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy called the threat “uniquely dangerous” in his opening remarks. 

“Attacks and plots by domestic extremists are at historic highs, with the majority of them being planned by those on the far right espousing white supremacist and related ideologies,” Leahy said. “In 2020 alone, white nationalists and like-minded extremists conducted 67% of terrorist plots and attacks in the United States. We cannot deny we are facing a class of criminals who feel more emboldened than ever.”

Read Garland’s full comments here.

New Book Chronicles Missteps, Successes of Secret Service

File photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling

President Trump sought to remove Secret Service personnel who he believed was overweight or short. 

Vanessa Trump, the ex-wife of Donald Trump’s eldest son, dated a Secret Service agent shortly after her divorce with Donald Trump Jr.

And during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, Secret Service agents were unable to get Vice President Dick Cheney immediately to safety in an underground bunker because they forgot the S-keys to open the shelter. 

These are some of the takeaways in “Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service,” a new book by Washington Post reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Carol D. Leonnig. The book will be released to the public next week. 

The Washington Post obtained an advance copy of the book and wrote that the book “chronicles the successes, missteps and evolution of the agency tasked with protecting the American president.”

“Although Leonnig does depict some heroics by the Secret Service, her 487-page tome largely focuses on the challenges and stumbles — bureaucratic and otherwise — of the agency she describes as ‘spread dangerously thin’ through 11 presidents, starting with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and placing a particular emphasis on the George W. Bush, Obama and Trump eras.”

Scalise Calls on FBI to Reevaluate Conclusion on 2017 Baseball Shooting Probe

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-L.A.

By Steve Neavling

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-L.A., joined more than a dozen other House Republicans demanding the FBI reevaluate its conclusion about the 2017 shooting that left him and others wounded at a congressional baseball team practice. 

The Republicans, who were on the field when gunman James Hodgkinson opened fire and struck four people, are questioning the FBI’s conclusion that the shooter was motivated by “suicide by cop.”

“We fear that the FBI’s inability or unwillingness to fully investigate this shooting as a matter of domestic extremism four years ago leaves a blind spot within the Bureau in fully assessing risks we face today,” the Republicans wrote in a letter Tuesday FBI Director Christopher Wray. 

Hodgkinson, who was fatally shot by police, had supported liberal causes. As the FBI investigates domestic extremism, the Republicans are pointing to violence from supporters on the left. 

“We all agree that violent extremism of any kind must be rooted out and addressed by our law enforcement agencies,” the letter states. “But we cannot presume to understand the scope of this issue if our law enforcement agencies do not investigate all instances of extremism, regardless of motivating ideology, with equal vigor.” 

AG Barr threatened to Resign Last Year If Trump Fired FBI’s Wray

Attorney General William Barr, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

Former Attorney General Bill Barr threatened to resign last year if then-President Trump fired FBI Director Christopher Wray, Business Insider reports.

The previously unreported incident occurred during a trip to the White House, when Barr learned that Trump was considering replacing Wray with Bill Evanina, a top counterintelligence official. 

Barr responded by saying he’d quit in protest. 

It wasn’t the first time Barr reportedly threatened to quit. The Washington Post reported last year that Barr also was considering stepping down because of Trump’s tweets.

Trump and Wray had a rocky relationship. Wray refused to fire Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, whom Trump loathed, and he contradicted the president’s claims about widespread election fraud, Antifa and Russia’s election interference. 

Wray Appoints Special Agents in Charge of New Orleans, Honolulu Field Offices

Special Agent Douglas Williams

By Steve Neavling

The FBI’s New Orleans and Honolulu Field Offices have new leaders. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray appointed Steven B. Merrill to serve as special agent in charge of the Honolulu Field Office. He most recently served as the financial crimes section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters. 

Wray also named Douglas A. Williams Jr. as the special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Office. Williams had been serving as a section chief in the Office of Congressional Affairs at FBI headquarters. 

In 1991, Merrill joined the FBI as a forensic scientist. He became a special agent in 1994, working in the San Francisco Field Office, where he investigated Unabomber Ted Kacyznski. 

FBI Special Agent Steven B. Merrill

Since then, Merrill served in a variety of positions. As an assistant legal attaché, he was the first FBI agent to respond to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. In 2017, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Boston Field Office. 

Williams became a special agent in 2002, first working in the Miami Field Office investigating drug trafficking, violent crime and organized crime. 

He received numerous promotions throughout his career. In 2016, Williams was named assistant special agent in charge of the Houston Field Office.