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Archive for July, 2022

TSA Employees Hammered by COVID-19 Outbreak at LAX

By Steve Neavling

A COVID-19 outbreak has hit Los Angeles International Airport, infecting at least 233 TSA employees and more than 150 workers at American and Southwest airlines, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The outbreak comes three months after the TSA stopped reporting the number of its employees who are actively infected with the coronavirus.

The TSA and LAX told The Los Angeles Times that the outbreak has not impacted services.

“There has not been any effect to security lines at LAX,” said Daniel D. Velez, a spokesperson for TSA.

As of March, when the TSA was still posting the number of positive cases among TSA employees, nearly 23,000 of its workers had been infected by COVID-19 and 36 had died, more than any other federal agency. 

Secret Service Investigators Find Metadata of Deleted Text Messages on 10 Agents’ Phones

By Steve Neavling

An internal Secret Service investigation has uncovered metadata showing text messages sent and received from the phones of 10 agents around the time of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots. 

The messages have since been deleted, and their content is unknown, CNN reports.

The messages are at the center of the House committee investigating the insurrection. The committee was seeking the records in hopes of revealing new information about former President Trump’s interactions in the lead-up to the attack on the Capitol. 

The messages were deleted, despite the Homeland Security inspector general requesting them last year. 

The inspector general is now investigating what happened to the text messages. 

Michael F. Paul Named Assistant Director of FBI’s Operational Technology Division

Special Agent Michael F. Paul

By Steve Neavling

Michael F. Paul, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office, has been named assistant director of the Operational Technology Division (OTD) at the bureau’s headquarters.  

OTD uses technology to enable and enhance the FBI’s intelligence, national security, and law enforcement operations.

Paul began working for the FBI as an intern in 1994, and a year later was hired as a management and program analyst for the Criminal Justice Information Services Division. 

He became a special agent in 1999 and worked in the Detroit Field Office.

In 2005, Paul became supervisory special agent in the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters and was detailed to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. 

In 2006, he was a senior detailee and unit chief under the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, where he oversaw bureau employees detailed to the CIA, National Counterterrorism Threat Center, and the National Security Agency.

In 2008, Paul was named the chief of the WMDD’s executive staff, and a year later was selected as a Joint Terrorism Task Force field supervisor for the Cleveland Field Office. 

In 2013, he was named an assistant special agent in charge in the Norfolk Field Office in Virginia, leading counterintelligence, counterterrorism, intelligence, and crisis management programs.

In 2015, Paul became chief of the Domestic Terrorism Operations Section in the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters. 

In 2018, he began to serve as chief of the Technology and Data Innovation Section.

In 2020, Paul became special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Field Office.

Mr. Paul received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He also received advanced degrees from West Virginia University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Weekend Series on Crime History: Al Capone

FBI Adds California Murder Suspect to Top 10 Most Wanted List

Omar Alexander Cardenas

By Steve Neavling

A California gang member suspected of killing a man standing outside a barber shop was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list

Omar Alexander Cardenas, of San Fernando Valley, is accused of killing 46-year-old Jabali Dumas with a gunshot wound to the head outside Hair Icon Barber Shop on Foothill Boulevard on Aug. 15, 2019.

According to the FBI, Cardenas likely didn’t know the victim and “fired approximately six shots into public space.”

“He is not only a risk to the public, but he may also have information related  to other violent crimes,” FBI Special Agent Michael Alker said in a statement. 

Cardenas is suspected of being a member of the Pierce Street Gang and goes by the nickname Dollar. 

Cardenas is described as 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-7 and weighs about 240 to 300 pounds. He has dark brown or black hair, a beard, and brown eyes. 

“He normally wears thick prescription glasses and has at least one tattoo,” Alker said.

Anyone who has seen Cardenas is urged to call the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI. 

FBI Finds No Signs of Jimmy Hoffa Under New Jersey Bridge

James R. Hoffa

By Steve Neavling

Once again, a search for the missing Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa uncovered no evidence of his whereabouts. 

In the latest search, the FBI searched land under a New Jersey bridge, the Pulaski Skyway, the bureau said Thursday.

Hoffa, one of America’s most powerful labor leaders, has been missing for 47 years. Hoffa was last seen outside of a Michigan restaurant in 1975 and was legally dead in 1982. There have been dozens of searches for his body since then. 

The latest search was prompted by a deathbed statement by a man who says he buried Hoffa’s body in a steel drum. 

Agents scoured for evidence in October and June. 

“Nothing of evidentiary value was discovered during that search,” Special Agent Mara R. Schneider, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, told Deadline Detroit. “While we do not currently anticipate any additional activity at the site, the F.B.I. will continue to pursue any viable lead in our efforts to locate Mr. Hoffa.”

Donald Alway Named Assistant Director in Charge of FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office

Assistant Director in Charge Donald Alway

By Steve Neavling

Donald Alway has been named assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office, where he began his career 26 years ago.  

Alway began working for the FBI as a special agent in 1996, when he was assigned to the Los Angeles Field Office to investigate drug trafficking organizations.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he helped at the crime scenes in New York City and at the Pentagon.

In 2003, Alway was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters, and in 2005, he became the deputy on-scene commander in the Iraq Theatre of Operations for the Regimes Crimes Task Force before working as the acting legal attaché in Doha, Qatar.

In 2007, Alway went to the New York Field Office to supervise a joint terrorism task force squad, specialized responses, and special event planning.  

In 2011, he became assistant special agent in charge of the National Security Branch in the Cincinnati Field Office.

A year later, Alway returned to headquarters as a section chief in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD). 

In 2014, he was appointed special agent in charge of the Jackson Field Office in Mississippi.

Alway became the deputy assistant director of the Training Division in 2016, and as assistant director in 2018. 

In 2019, Alway was appointed assistant director of the WMDD.

Before joining the bureau, Alway  was a deputy sheriff in Los Angeles County. 

He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and master’s degrees from California State University at Long Beach and from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Secret Service Now Says Deleted Text Messages Can’t Be Recovered

By Steve Neavling

The Secret Service says it’s unable to recover deleted text messages surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

The U.S. House committee investigating attempts to overturn the election was seeking the records in hopes that the texts would reveal new information about Trump’s interactions in the lead-up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The National Archives said Tuesday that it’s seeking more information on “the potential unauthorized deletion” of Secret Service texts, The Washington Post reports.

The Secret Service says none of the thousands of records it plans to turn over will offer new insight into the insurrection. 

Beginning in mid-January 2021, most of the Secret Service agents’ cell phones were purged as part of a agency-wide reset of staff phones.