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Archive for September, 2021

Durham’s Trump-Russia Probe Secures Indictment Against Clinton Attorney

U.S. Attorney John Durham. Photo: DOJ

By Steve Neavling

A prominent cybersecurity attorney who represented Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election has been charged with lying to the FBI. 

A grand jury indicted Michael Sussmann Thursday as part of Justice Department special counsel John Durham’s examination of the origins of the federal investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, The Washington Post reports.

According to prosecutors, Sussmann lied to the FBI in September 2016 by falsely saying he was not representing Clinton’s campaign. At the time, Sussmann told the FBI that cybersecurity researchers were concerned about possible ties between Russia and the Trump organization. 

The false statement “deprived the FBI of information that might have permitted it to more fully assess and uncover the origins of the relevant data and technical analysis, including the identities and motivations of Sussmann’s clients,” the indictment states. 

Sussmann’s lawyers called the prosecution “baseless and politically-inspired.”

“The Special Counsel appears to be using this indictment to advance a conspiracy theory he has chosen not to actually charge,” attorneys Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth said in a statement. “This case represents the opposite of everything the Department of Justice is supposed to stand for.”

Sussmann is the second person to be charged as part of Durham’s two-and-a-half-year investigation.  

Border Patrol Agents Discover 2 Small Children Abandoned Along Mexico Border in Texas

Border Patrol agents from two small children in Texas near the Mexico border. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents in Texas found two small children who were abandoned along the Mexico border, along with a note left under a baby carrier. 

The agents assigned to the Eagle Pass South Station spotted “an unusual color” on the riverbank Tuesday, the agency said. As they investigated, they found the children. 

A note under the baby carrier indicated the children, a 2-year-old girl and 3-month-old boy, were siblings from Honduras. 

The agents searched the area and found no one else around. 

The children did not require medical care and were taken to the Uvalde Station for processing. 

Wray Apologizes to Larry Nassar Victims for FBI’s Handling of Case, Pledges to Do Better

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in February.

FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized Wednesday for the bureau’s “totally unacceptable” failures in the Larry Nassar case, telling senators he had fired an agent who was involved in the case.

“I’m sorry that so many people let you down again and again,” Wray said to the victims while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am especially sorry that there were people at the F.B.I. who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”

Wray’s testimony comes two months after the Justice Department’s Inspector General concluded that the Indianapolis Field Office “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.”

After reading the report, Wray said he wasted no time firing Michael Langeman, who was a supervisory special agent in the Indianapolis Field Office. 

“When I received the inspector general’s report and saw that the supervisory special agent in Indianapolis had failed to carry out even the most basic parts of the job, I immediately made sure he was no longer performing the functions of a special agent,” Wray said. “And I can now tell you that individual no longer works for the FBI in any capacity.”

Star Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testified at the hearing and criticized the bureau for turning a “blind eye” to the sexual abuse that she and hundreds of other young athletes had endured at the hands of Nassar, the former national team doctor. 

“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, but I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles, 24, said.

Wray said the bureau has strengthened polices and training for agents to properly handle abuse cases and pledged to ensure it never happened again. 

“On no planet is what happened in this case acceptable,” Wray said. 

10,000+ TSA Employees Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

By Steve Neavling

More than 10,000 TSA workers have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. 

The agency also reported 26 deaths related to the coronavirus since March 2020. 

Of the 10,177 TSA employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, a vast majority are screening officers. 

Miami International led the nation in COVID-19 infections, with 506 employees testing positive. Miami International had 506 infections, Los International Airport had 452, and John F. Kennedy International in New York had 438. 

Others were more than 100 infections are:

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International 370

Orland International 356

Newark Liberty International 355

Chicago O’Hare International 341

Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport 331

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International 279

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas 257

George Bush Intercontinental in Houston 238

Phoenix Sky Harbor International 219

Logan International in Boston 190

Philadelphia International 181

LaGuardia in New York 169

Denver International 152

Seattle/Tacoma International 136

San Diego International 115

Charlotte Douglas International 117

Tampa International 111

Minneapolis-St. Paul International 110

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport 109

Salt Lake City International 101

To see the entire list of airports and infections, click here.

FBI Agent Who Bungled Sex-Abuse Allegations Against Nassar Is Fired

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has fired an agent accused of failing to properly investigate sexual abuse allegations against USA disgraced Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. 

The termination of Michael Langeman, who was a supervisory special agent at the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office, comes two months after the Justice Department’s Inspector General found that the FBI mishandled the case.

Langeman was fired last week, The Washington Post reports

In 2015, Langeman interviewed gymnast McKayla Maroney, who said she was sexually abused by Nassar. 

In his report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz accused Langeman and his former boss, Jay Abbott, of mishandling the case and then lying to inspector general investigators about it. 

Horowitz said the Indianapolis Field Office “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.” During the investigation, which began in 2015, the bureau waited five weeks to interview one of the victims and failed to notify the FBI’s Lansing office or state law enforcement.   

According to the report, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young athletes between 2015 and August 2016. Nassar is effectively serving a life sentence in prison. 

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray is scheduled to testify about the Nassar case today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Homeland Security’s Chief of Staff Karen Olick Resigns to ‘Pursue New Opportunities’

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

Karen Olick, chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announced on Monday that she’s resigning at the end of the month, citing an undisclosed opportunity. 

She will be replaced on an interim basis by Jennifer Higgins, associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS officials told Politico.

In an email, Olick said, “Though too often underappreciated by our fellow citizens, I am continually struck by how many millions of Americans sleep in safety every night because so many at DHS do not sleep.” 

In a separate email, Mayorkas notified staff that Olick “has decided to resign her position and pursue new opportunities. We are grateful to Karen for her service during the critical first nine months of the new Administration.”

Olick most recently worked for SKDK, the Democratic-centric political communications firm. 

Her departure comes as Homeland Security grapples with a high number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

J. William Rivers Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office

Special Agent in Charge J. William Rivers

By Steve Neavling

J. William Rivers has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office. 

Rivers, who most recently served as a section chief and director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center in Huntsville, Ala., began his career with the FBI in 2002, when he was assigned to the Washington Field Office to investigate counterintelligence matters. 

While at the Washington Field Office in 2006, he was certified as a technically trained agent and worked on the Technical Operations Squad to support investigative programs. For the SWAT team, he served as the technical coordinator and was a certified sniper.

In 2013, Rivers became supervisory special agent. 

Rivers was promoted to unit chief of the TTA Operations and Development Unit in the Operational Technology Division at headquarters in 2015 and “was responsible for the success of the FBI’s technical investigative personnel,” the bureau said. 

In 2018, Rivers was appointed assistant special agent in charge of the Norfolk Field Office in Virginia, where he led all criminal, cyber, and administrative programs. In 2020, he became section chief and director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center, a multi-agency center that coordinates bomb-related evidence and intelligence collection for the U.S. government.

Rivers received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky. Before joining the FBI, he worked as a project manager and engineer for a private general construction company in Kentucky.

FBI Releases Declassified Document on Saudi Government’s Role in 9/11 Attack

By Steve Neavling

The FBI released a newly declassified document related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that details support given to two of the Saudi hijackers. 

But the 16-page document, which was released on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, found no conclusive evidence that the Saudi government was involved in the plot, The New York Times reports.

Of the 19 attackers, 15 were Saudis, raising questions about whether the kingdom was complicit in the terrorism plot. Osama bin Laden also was a member of a prominent Saudi family. 

Under pressure from families of the Sept. 11 victims, President Biden has pledged to release documents that have long been secret that address a potential connection between the hijackers and Saudi officials. The U.S. had refused to declassify documents that addressed whether the kingdom was involved. 

The document released over the weekend documents the FBI’s interview with an unidentified Saudi man in November 2015. He worked at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles and was applying for American citizenship. The document describes contacts he had with people who had provided “significant logistic support” to two of the hijackers.