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Archive for July, 2021

On 6-Month Anniversary of U.S. Capitol Riot, FBI Still Searching for About 300 Suspects

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo via Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

Six months after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, injuring more than 100 police officers and prompting lawmakers to flee for safety, the FBI is still searching for about 300 suspects. 

So far, the FBI has arrested about 535 people involved in the violent siege. Of those, 165 have been charged with assaulting, resisting or interfering with police. 

On Tuesday, the sixth-month anniversary of the attack, the FBI released 11 new videos of Trump supporters attacking federal officers.

“As we mark six months since the violence at our nation’s Capitol, we continue to encourage the public to send tips to the FBI. As we have seen with dozens of cases so far, the tips matter,” Steven M. D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said in a news release. “Tipsters should rest assured that the FBI is working diligently behind the scenes to follow all investigative leads to verify tips from the public and bring these criminals to justice. To date, the FBI has arrested more than 500 individuals for criminal activity on January 6. The public has provided tremendous assistance to this investigation, and we are asking for additional help to identify other individuals for their role in the violence at the U.S. Capitol.”

The FBI is also searching for the person who planted two pipe bombs outside the offices of the Democratic and Republican national committees on the eve of the attack. 

Biden recalled the siege in a statement on Tuesday. 

“Not even during the Civil War did insurrectionists breach our Capitol, the citadel of our democracy,” Biden said. “But six months ago today, insurrectionists did. They launched a violent and deadly assault on the people’s house, on the people’s representatives, and on the Capitol police sworn to protect them, as our duly elected Congress carried out the sacred ritual of our republic and certified the Electoral College vote.

“This was not dissent. It was disorder. It posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive — a sad reminder that there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy.”

James Kallstrom, Who Led FBI’s New York Field Office and Probe of TWA Flight 800, Dies

Former FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Kallstrom

By Steve Neavling

James K. Kallstrom, the former head of the New York Field Office and the lead investigator of the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, has died. 

He was 78. 

A 27-year veteran of the FBI, Kallstrom became an electronic eavesdropping expert and investigated mobsters and terrorists. 

In 1995, Kallstrom was appointed to serve as head of the FBI’s New York City office. 

“In Mr. Kallstrom, the F.B.I. Director, Louis J. Freeh, chose one of the bureau’s most respected technical wizards, a man whose surveillance techniques played a critical role in the arrests of every major organized crime leader and terrorist in New York in the last 20 years,” The New York Times wrote in 1995. 

“Jim Kallstrom is superbly engineered to lead the New York office of the F.B.I.,” Mr. Freeh said at the time.

Following the TWA Flight 800 crash, which killed all 230 people on board, Kallstrom led the 16-month investigation, which revealed that a spark in the fuel tank caused the plane to explode. 

Kallstrom later co-founded the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which assists children who lose a parent in the line of duty. 

A Worcester, Mass., native, Kallstrom graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1966 before joining the Marines and serving in Vietnam.

James A. Dawson Tapped to Lead FBI’s Little Rock Field Office

FBI Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson

By Steve Neavling

James A. Dawson has been named the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Little Rock Field Office in Arkansas.

Before the appointment, Dawson had been serving as the special agent in charge of Criminal and Cyber Division of the Washington Field Office.

Dawson’s career as a special agent began in 1999, when he worked on the Organized Crime and Drug Squad in the Milwaukee Field Office. 

In 2001, he moved to the Kenosha Resident Agency, a satellite of the Milwaukee office, and in 2003, he transferred to the McAlester Resident Agency of the Oklahoma City Field Office, where his focus was public corruption. 

In 2011, Dawson began serving as supervisory senior resident of the Muskogee Resident Agency, overseeing four offices in eastern Oklahoma.

In 2015, Dawson was promoted to assistant section chief of the Surveillance and Aviation Section in the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG), serving as the national program manager of the FBI’s ground surveillance program. In 2016, he began leading CIRG’s front office, where he was in charge of intelligence, finance, security, facilities, and technical units.

A year later, Dawson was promoted to assistant special agent in charge in the Criminal Division of the Washington Field Office, where supervised 12 squads. In 2018, he returned to CIRG as the section chief for the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Section.

In 2019, Dawson was promoted to special agent in charge of the Mission Services Division of the Washington Field Office, and in 2020, he transferred to special agent in charge of the Criminal and Cyber Division.

Before joining the FBI, Dawson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a surface warfare officer.

Happy 4th of July From ticklethewire.com

Weekend Series on Crime: Violent Mexican Drug Cartels

FBI Fails to Finish 316,000 Firearms Background Checks Last Year Amid Surge in Gun Sales

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has been unable to keep pace with the surge in firearms sales, failing to finish more than 316,000 background checks in the first nine months of 2020, according to data obtained by FiveThirtyEight.

The FBI, which runs America’s gun background check system, processes an average of 8.6 million firearms checks in an average year. In 2020, the FBI processed more than 12.76 million background checks. 

The missed background checks come at a time when cities are reeling from a rise in gun violence.  

By law, gun dealers can legally sell a firearm without a completed background check if the FBI is delayed by more than three business days. 

The number of incomplete background checks have been increasing ever year. In 2014, the bureau did not complete 2.1% of the background checks. In 2019, 2.5% of the backgrounds weren’t finished. And in the first nine months of last year, that number rose to 3.4%. 

In a statement, the FBI said its ability to keep pace with background checks “depends on the availability of relevant information and records provided by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies.”

The bureau added that it has “reallocated resources to help ensure that it can continue processing background checks efficiently.”

U.S. Marshals Rescue 19 Missing, Endangered Children During 4-Month Operation

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By Steve Neavling

Nineteen missing and endangered children were rescued during a four-month, U.S. Marshals Service-led operation in the New Orleans area. 

Dubbed “This Is The Way Home,” the operation focused on missing and endangered runaways between March 1 and June 30. 

Nine adults were arrested in connection with the missing children. 

One of the recovered teens, a 16-year-old runaway, was wanted by police in Tennessee on warrants for possession of a firearm, evading arrest, narcotics violations, theft and violation of juvenile probation. 

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, which assisted, seized more than $17,500 in cash, seven firearms, and drugs. 

“This was a joint operation with our local, state, and federal partners and teamwork and information sharing made these results possible,”  Scott Illing, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said in a news release. “I am extremely proud that the U.S. Marshals Service was tasked with the mission of locating missing and exploited children. 

“While 19 recoveries may not seem high, this work, which is time consuming, was accomplished while also running our normal day-to-day violent felony offender investigations across 13 parishes. A sex offender fugitive operation (NO Saints and Sinners 2021) was also ongoing in the district at the same time resulting in over 35 additional felony arrests, along with our other judicial missions. Our local, state, and federal partners embrace the opportunity to conduct such meaningful operations for the community, in addition to their more traditional law enforcement activities to combat the rise in violent crime.” 

Jim Norman, Lead FBI Agent in Oklahoma City Bombing Investigation, Dies

Former FBI agent Jim Norman. Screenshot via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Jim Norman, the FBI case agent who helped lead the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, died from a heart attack last week. 

Norman retired from the bureau in 2016 after more than 30 years of service and later joined the Tulsa County Cold Case Task Force in Oklahoma. 

“Jim Norman brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to our Cold Case Task Force,” the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said in a social media post. “He will be missed by all of us here, as well as by his family and friends.”

Members of the task force recalled Norman’s hard work and attention to detail. 

“He brought such an air of knowledge and confidence, and he had a great sense of humor, and you could count on him for that,” task force member Mike Huff told News9.

A memorial service is scheduled for July 8 in California. 

“We’re going to miss him on the job, and we’re going to miss him in our lives,” task force member Doc Shannon said. 

On the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Norman described his experience and said he’d never forget that fateful day. 

“Five years after the bombing, I brought my wife and children to the dedication ceremony of the memorial. We could have gone in with (President) Clinton, but we chose to go in with the victims and I wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact that hit me when we walked in there and I saw the people who had lost kids, putting stuffed animals and flowers on the little seats,” Norman said in an interview posted on the FBI’s website. 

“There’s big seats for adults and little seats for the kids. And when they went in there and put the stuffed animals and the flowers on the little seats, I couldn’t talk. I said I can’t talk and I just walked on the hill for a few minutes until I kind of composed myself. It was so sad what happened with those kids.”