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Archive for January, 2022

Congressional Democrats Call for Investigation into Secretive Border Patrol Teams

By Steve Neavling

Democrats in Congress are urging Biden’s administration to examine secretive teams within Border Patrol that conduct internal investigations into misconduct by agents. 

In a letter to Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro on Monday, 10 committee and subcommittee chairs in the House and Senate are requesting a review of the units, The New York Times reports.

The House Committees on Homeland Security and Oversight also are conducting their own joint investigations into the critical incident teams. 

“We have grave concerns about the lack of transparency in the role of Border Patrol’s critical incident teams,” the leaders of the committees, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, of N.Y., and Bennie Thompson, of Miss., wrote to new CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus

They requested documents by Feb. 7. 

“Despite the apparent lack of authority to investigate agent misconduct, Border Patrol appears to have created special teams of agents to investigate and collect evidence following incidents that may create criminal or civil liability, including allegations of excessive use of force,” they wrote.

DOJ Inspector General to Review Trump Administration’s Handling of Manafort, Cohen

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department’s inspector general has notified lawmakers that he will examine how the Trump administration handled the prison terms of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. 

Inspector General Michael Horowitz told lawmakers about the review in a Jan. 19 letter obtained by Insider

Due to health issues, Cohen was released to home confinement in May 2020 but was sent back to prison in July 2020. In a lawsuit filed in December 2021, Cohen alleged he was sent back to prison in retaliation for criticizing Trump.  

By contrast, former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort was released to home confinement in May 2020 and not sent back to prison. He was serving a nearly four year sentence for tax and bank fraud. 

In a letter to the inspector general in May 2020, U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Hakem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Manafort received “disparate treatment” compared to other federal inmates who were not sent back to prison. 

“This outrageous, unconstitutional behavior by the Justice Department and BOP must stop,” the lawmakers wrote.

In the letter to lawmakers, Horowitz pledged to review the issue but failed to promise a full investigation. 

Cohen told Insider he was disappointed with Horowitz’s response. 

“This non-acknowledgment acknowledgment is far less than what I was hoping for after 18 months of neglect,” Cohen said. “This letter should have merely apologized for the delay, as it did, and stated emphatically that the OIG is opening an investigation into the unconstitutional remand of me back to Otisville.”

Cohen said a full investigation would show “that former President Trump and his complicit attorney general, Bill Barr, spearheaded this violation of my First Amendment right — proving my statement that Trump did not want to be president of the United States but rather an autocrat, dictator, monarch and/or supreme leader.”

Texas Special Agent Died in ‘Tragic Accident’ While Working with U.S. Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A Texas Department of Public Safety special agent was working with the U.S. Border Patrol when he died in a “tragic accident” Friday, DPS said in a press release.

Anthony Salas, 37, was helping provide security during an arrest at a U.S. border wall when the vehicle flipped about 7:30 p.m.

Photos of the crashed vehicle were posted on Facebook by the Eagle Pass News Leader.

Details about the crash weren’t immediately clear. 

Salas was rushed to Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center and later airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio, where he died just after 11 a.m. on Saturday. 

Salas joined DPS in 2013 and was stationed in El Paso. He previously served as a trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol. 

Salas also served on the DPS West Texas Special Response Team and the U.S. Marine Corps before joining the department. 

Nicholas Dimos Named Assistant Director of FBI’s Finance And Facilities Division

Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Nicholas Dimos has been named the assistant director of the Finance and Facilities Division (FFD) at FBI headquarters. 

Previously, Dimos was the division’s deputy assistant director.

Dimos’ duties are to oversee the bureau’s finances, facilities, and logistics functions and serve as the chief financial officer, head of contracting activity, and real property officer.

Dimos was a budget analyst in the finance Division when he first joined the FBI in 2006. 

In 2009, Dimos became a team leader in the Budget Formulation and Presentation Unit, overseeing budget development.

In 2012, he served as an acting supervisor and transition leader and a year later was transferred to the development team of the FBI’s new financial system, which Dimos helped implement.

In 2014, Dimos became the national intelligence financial manager and served as the FBI’s senior financial liaison with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress on national intelligence financial matters.

In 2015, he was promoted to assistant section chief of the Finance and Facilities Division, where he oversaw budget formulation, execution, and reporting across all FBI funding sources.

In 2017, Dimos became the deputy assistant director of FFD, serving as the FBI’s deputy chief financial officer. His responsibilities included the budget, procurement, accounting, and audit functions. He also headed up several initiatives to modernize financial services. 

Before joining the bureau, Dimos was a middle school science teacher in Philadelphia. He received an economics degree from DePauw University in Indiana and a graduate degree in security studies from Georgetown University.

Weekend Series on Crime: Is the NY Mob Back?

FBI Director Wray Says Hostage Standoff in Texas Was ‘An Act of Terrorism’

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray called Saturday’s hostage standoff at a Texas synagogue an “act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community.”

“This was not some random occurrence,” Wray said in an address to the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday. “It was intentional; it was symbolic, and we’re not going to tolerate anti-Semitism in this country.”

He added, “We recognize that the Jewish community, in particular, has suffered violence and faces very real threats from really across the hate spectrum.”

Wray’s statements are in stark contrast to the bureau’s initial statements that the attacker, Malik Faisal Akram, was not motivated by antisemitism. On Saturday night, Matthew DeSarno, special agent charge of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office, said Akram was driven by an issue “not specifically related to the Jewish community.”

Wray’s sought to send a different message. 

“To be targeted at your place of worship, a space meant to be a sanctuary in every sense of the word, is, in my view, one of the most heinous acts of violence that can be committed,” Wray said. 

Wray pledged to continue combating anti-Semitism. 

“e’re going to keep digging to get more answers for Congregation Beth Israel, for the Colleyville community, and for the Jewish community as a whole,” Wray said. “I know it’s disheartening to see that these kinds of attacks continue to happen and that there are people out there who target members of the Jewish faith.

“But you can be confident that we in the FBI stand with you. And it is my hope that you will continue to see us as a trusted partner and as a valued resource, as we work together in our collective fight against violent extremism.”

To read Wray’s full address, click here.

U.S. Arrests Second Suspect in Connection with the Assassination of Haitian President

Haitian President Jovenal Moïse. Photo: Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department announced charges Thursday against a second suspect accused of being involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. 

Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar, 49, is charged with conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap, the Justice Department said in a news release

Jaar is the second person arrested and charged in the U.S. in connection with the assassination. 

Jaar is accused of providing weapons to about 20 Columbian citizens who played a role in assassinating Moise. Prosecutors allege he also housed some of the Columbians. 

Jaar faces up to life in prison if convicted. 

Homeland Security arrested and charged another suspect, Mario Antonio Palacios, earlier this month. 

Border Patrol Agents Help Crash Victims in 2 Separate Accidents

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents rushed to the aid of car crash victims on two separate occasions this week. 

At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, agents from the Laredo North Station in Texas responded to a tractor-trailer rollover accident on the Interstate 35 west access road near the 9-mile marker north of Laredo. While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, Border Patrol medics provided medical aid to two occupants in the truck.

On Tuesday, agents from the Freer Station in Texas responded to a two-vehicle crash involving an 18-wheeler and pickup truck on U.S. Highway 59 west of Freer, Texas. Agents provided medical aid to four occupants until an ambulance arrived. 

Last year, fast-acting Border Patrol agents sprung into action numerous times when they saw people in danger.