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Archive for August, 2022

DOJ Alleges Trump ‘Likely Concealed And Removed’ Classified Documents at Mar-a-Lago

Former President Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department said it has evidence that classified documents were “likely concealed and removed” from a room in Mar-a-Lago and “that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.” 

In a 54-page court filing late Tuesday, federal prosecutors said the FBI raid on former President Trump’s house in Florida came after he and his advisers refused to turn over highly classified documents, The Washington Post reports.

The recovered documents were so sensitive that “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents,” the filing says.

Included in the filing was a photograph that showed various files labeled “Top Secret” that were found inside a container in Trump’s office. One of the documents was marked “HCS,” or human confidential sources. 

The filing came two days before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon considers Trump’s request to appoint a special master to conduct a review of the seized documents.

U.S. Marshals Capture One of Their Most Wanted Fugitives in El Salvador

Raymond McLeod. (Photo via U.S. Marshals)

By Steve Neavling

Authorities have captured one of the U.S. Marshals’ 15 most wanted fugitives in El Salvador after he was on the run for six years. 

Raymond McLeod, a 37-year-old former Marine, was wanted for the 2016 murder of his girlfriend Krystal Mitchell, who was found strangled to death in an apartment in San Diego. 

In April 2021, the Marshals placed McLeod on their “Most Wanted” list of top 15 fugitives and issued a reward of $50,000 for information leading to his arrest. 

At the time, U.S. Marshals and the San Diego Police Department believed McLeod had fled through Mexico to Central America following Mitchel’s death. 

El Salvadoran law enforcement arrested McLeod without incident on Monday. 

“I am extremely gratified to hear the news of Raymond McLeod’s arrest without incident,” said U.S. Marshals Director Ronald Davis. “It is our sincere hope that his capture brings some sense of relief to Krystal Mitchell’s family, especially her mother, Josephine Wentzel, who has worked so diligently with law enforcement these past years to see this day of justice arrive.”

Secret Service Assistant Director Tony Ornato Leaves Agency After Facing Scrutiny During Jan. 6 Hearing

By Steve Neavling

Tony Ornato, an assistant director at the Secret Service, left the agency Monday for a job in the private sector. 

Ornato, who faced scrutiny from the Jan. 6 select committee earlier this summer, became eligible for retirement this summer and left in good standing, the agency said. 

“I did retire today to pursue a career in the private sector,” Ornato told CNN in a statement. “I retired from the U.S. Secret Service after more than 25 years of faithful service to my country, including serving the past five presidents. I long-planned to retire and have been planning this transition for more than a year.”

In late June, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified to the House committee that Ornato told her that Trump grew irate, lunged at a Secret Service agent and tried to grab the wheel of a car when he was told he couldn’t go to the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

Ornato, who joined the Secret Service in 1997, testified in a closed-door meeting with the committee. 

And the Cutest TSA Canine Is … Eebbers, a Vizsla-Labrador Mix out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Eebbers was voted cutest TSA canine (Photo via TSA)

By Steve Neavling

Put your paws together for the cutest TSA canine of 2022 – Eebbers, an 11-year-old explosive detection dog who works at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. 

Eebbers was voted the cutest canine that works for the TSA. 

The agency held a social media contest and encouraged the public to vote on the cutest canine. 

Eebbers, a Vizsla-Labrador mix, beat out 92 contenders, who were chosen by TSA handlers from airports across the country. The other final four canines were Ava and Messi from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Tom-Magnum from John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

Eebers is a passenger screening canine who works at MSP with his handler. They screen travelers and their belongings for explosives. 

Eebers has worked at MSP for nearly 10 years.  

Eebers was named in honor of 19-year-old U.S. Army Pvt. James Ebbers, who died on October 14, 2002, in Dijbuoti, Africa, while assigned to the 551st Military Police Company in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 

Eebers is also the last remaining canine from the Puppy Program still working every day for the TSA. 

Eebbers has helped provide security for two Super Bowls, the Special Olympics World Games, a NCAA National Championship Football game, the Indianapolis 500 and a NASCAR event. 

When he’s not working, Eebers loves swimming in any of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes in the summer.

The TSA has more than 1,000 canines paired with handlers.

The top 12 cutest dogs will be featured in 2023 Canine Calendar, which will become available later this year. 

Screening a Bald Eagle? It’s All in Day’s Work for TSA Officers

Clark the bald eagle. (Photo via TSA)

By Steve Neavling

Clark was not your ordinary passenger. 

The 19-year-old bald eagle drew attention at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina on Thursday, when he was spotted perched on his handler’s arm at a TSA checkpoint. 

But the eagle didn’t ruffle the feathers of TSA officers, who were told Clark was making an authorized trip to Charlotte to appear at High Point University, the school said in a tweet.

Clark is part of the Wold Bird Sanctuary and is used to flying commercial. 

The TSA even posted photos of Clark, who showed off his impressive wingspan. 

“Our special guest was Clark the Eagle with the World Bird Sanctuary, who decided to give his wings a break and fly commercial,” the TSA tweeted.  His airline notified us and we screened him and his handler. Clark is trained to spread his wings, and even showed off a bit during screening.

Mar-A-Lago Most Likely a Target of Foreign Adversaries, Ex-FBI And CIA Officials Say

Mar-a-Lago (Facebook photo)

By Steve Neavling

Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago is most certainly a magnet for foreign adversaries, raising serious concerns about the former president storing classified documents at his home, a former FBI official and CIA agent both said. 

“Any competent foreign intelligence service, whether those belonging to China, those belonging to Iran, to Cuba, certainly including Russia are … and were interested in gaining access to Mar-a-Lago,” Peter Strzok, former deputy assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI, told MSNBC host Katie Phang.

He added that “the intelligence services are going to have been trying to gain access.”

It’s “especially concerning” because of “information coming out right now about the absolute lack of any control or memorialization of who gets access to Mar-a-Lago at any given time,” he said.

A former CIA official pointed to Inna Yashchyshyn, a Russian-speaking immigrant accused of gaining access to Mar-a-Largo using a fake identification card. 

“The combination of this kind of person (and she’s not the only one) getting into Mar a Lago and the presence of highly sensitive, unsecured documents there is terrifying,” Stephen L. Hall, a senior intelligence officer, tweeted.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The FBI’s Investigation into Hillary Clinton’s Emails

Judge Orders Justice Department to Release Redacted Affidavit in Search of Trump’s Home

Former President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling

A judge directed the Justice Department on Thursday to release a redacted version of the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for former President Trump’s home in Florida. 

The deadline is noon today, the Associated Press reports.

Several news organizations and other groups are seeking the affidavit, which could provide more details about why the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8.

But since the affidavit will be redacted, it’s possible that the blacked-out portions could be so extensive that it would be meaningless to the pubic. 

During the search, agents retrieved 11 sets of classified documents, including top secret information. 

The FBI was investigating the “willful retention of national defense information.”