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Archive for July 18th, 2022

Kentucky County GOP Deletes Baseless Conspiracy Theory about New ATF Director

Former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach

By Steve Neavling

A county Republican Party in Kentucky removed a Facebook post that called new ATF Director Steven Dettelbach a “Jewish anti-gun activist.” 

The post by the Bracken County Republican Party baselessly claimed Dettelbach’s confirmation demonstrated the “Jewish junta” is growing in strength,” The Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

The U.S. Senate last week narrowly approved Dettelbach to serve as the director, making him the agency’s first permanent leader since 2015.

The county posted the conspiracy theory on Friday and quickly drew criticism. 

“A Jewish anti-gun activist, Steve Dettelbach, has just been made director of the ATF,” read the Facebook post. “The Jewish junta is getting stronger and more aggressive.”

The county party chairwoman, Karin Kikendol, later criticized the post. 

“Earlier today, I was made aware of an inappropriate post on the Bracken County GOP Facebook page,” Kirkendol wrote on Facebook. “That post does not represent the values of the Bracken County Republican Party. It was incredibly insensitive. We will investigate how this occurred and we commit to tighter oversight of our social media going forward.”

Anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories have been growing on the far right since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. 

James E. Dennehy Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Newark Field Office

FBI’s Newark Field Office. Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling

James E. Dennehy has been appointed to serve as the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark Field Office in New Jersey. 

Most recently, Dennehy had been serving as the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence and Cyber Division of the New York Field Office.

Dennehy began working as a special agent in 2002, when he was assigned to the New York office to handle counterintelligence cases. In addition, he was on the SWAT team and was certified as a crisis management coordinator. 

Dennehy was promoted to supervisory special agent of the counterintelligence and counter-proliferation squad in New York’s Hudson Valley and White Plains resident agencies in 2013. 

Two years later, he transferred to FBI headquarters, where he was a unit chief in the Counterproliferation Center. In 2016, Dennehy was promoted to an assistant section chief of the center. While at the center, Dennehy helped the bureau “thwart foreign adversaries trying to obtain export-controlled, sensitive technologies related to weapons of mass destruction and missile, space, and conventional weapons systems,” the FBI said in a news release.

In 2017, Dennehy was back in the New York Field Office as the assistant special agent in charge over crisis management, firearms, operations command, recruiting, private sector engagement, community outreach, and several other programs.

In 2018, Dennehy became chief of staff to the executive assistant director of the National Security Branch at FBI headquarters. In addition, he was the section chief of the NSB’s Executive Staff Section.

A year later, Dennehy was appointed special agent in charge of the Intelligence and Surveillance Division of the New York Field Office. He later became New York’s special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence and Cyber Division.

Dennehy received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Villanova University. Before joining the bureau, he served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for seven years and deployed to Haiti, Liberia, and the Adriatic Sea.