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Republican Congressman Calls for Secret Service Probe of Christmas Card Depicting an Assassinated Trump

Hustler Christmas card.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Republican lawmaker wants the Secret Service to investigate Christmas cards sent to members of Congress depicting a cartoon of an assassinated President Trump.

The card shows smiling people, including Santa, surrounding Trump’s dead, bleeding body. On the back of the card, the shooter says in a thought bubble, “I just shot Donald Trump on Fifth Avenue. And no one arrested me.”

The quote is a reference to Trump bragging during the 2016 presidential campaign that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”

A Politico reporter confirmed the card was sent by Hustler Magazine.

On Twitter, Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana posted a picture of the card Thursday and called for a Secret Service investigation.

“Here’s all you need to know about the radical Left,” Johnson tweeted. “A young staffer of mine opened this in a stack of holiday mail today. Just imagine if a conservative had distributed such a disgusting and hateful piece about a Democrat. I hope this will be investigated by the @secretservice.”

Joe Piersante of the DEA Named ticklethewire.com Fed of The Year for 2019

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joe Piersante in 2010.

DEA agent Joe Piersante has been named ticklethewire.com’ Fed of The Year for 2019.

Piersante, who retired this month in Detroit, took a different path in his career, and showed remarkable resolve. He joined the Detroit Police force and then the DEA in 1997. He spent the next decade in Arizona battling drug traffickers.

In 2011, he was as part of an elite  Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), a commando-style squad that battled terrorist organizations that trafficked drugs to support their efforts.  While raiding a bazaar in Afghanistan, gunfire broke out and he ended up getting hit in the head by an armored-piercing round. He was wounded and left legally blind.

He eventually returned to the DEA, where he began talking to groups on behalf of the agency about the dangers of drugs and helping addicts with treatment strategies. He also talked to people about putting their lives on the line for their country.

He finished his career in the Detroit office, sometimes taking an Uber or getting rides from co-workers to carry out his duties.

In 2015, Piersante became the first DEA agent to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart award for injuries sustained in combat.

“Joe embodies what our agency is about, the core mission, to go wherever we have to go to attack organized crime and go after trafficking organizations,” said Jack Riley, the agency’s deputy administrator in an interview with Bloomberg in 2016 . “It really means something that he stuck around, that he continues to work. He embodies the fighting spirit. He never quits.”

Previous recipients of the ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year award include: Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008):  Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009), Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010);  Thomas Brandon, deputy Director of ATF (2011); John G. Perren, who was assistant director of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Directorate (2012); David Bowdich, special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Los Angeles (2013);  Loretta Lynch, who was U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn at the time (2014); John “Jack” Riley,  the DEA’s acting deputy administrator (2015); D.C.  U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips (2016); Joe Rannazzisi, a retired DEA deputy assistant administrator (2017); Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (2018).

DEA Agent Among Victims of Airplane Crash in Kansas on New Year’s Eve

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A DEA special agent was among two people killed when a single-engine airplane crashed almost immediately after takeoff at Johnson County Executive Airport in Kansas on New Year’s Eve.

The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the victims as DEA Special Agent Jonathan J. Vannatta, 48 of Maumelle, Ark., and Darcy L. Matthews, 43, of Belton, Texas. Vannatta was the pilot, investigators said.

A DEA spokesperson confirmed that Vannatta worked with the DEA but was not on assignment, according to 41 Action News.

Investigators said they are still trying to determine what caused the accident. A preliminary report is expected within two to three weeks.

Early accounts suggest the plane veered into trees and crashed east of the runway before catching fire.

Retired FBI agent Leads New West Virginia Agency Handling Prison, Jail, Juvenile Services

Jennifer Wilson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent will lead a new agency within West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Military Affairs Secretary Jeff Sandy appointed Jennifer Wilson in late December to serve as director of the agency’s Division of Administrative Services, which consolidated the state’s prison, jail and juvenile services systems.

The state agency was established in 2018 to provide services that range from human resources and recruiting to contracts and payroll.

Wilson joined the FBI in 1997 and worked for the bureau in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York and Pittsburgh. She retired last year before working for the legal team of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

“I am honored to be named the director of DAS,” Wilson said in a news release. “Over the last 60 days, as the acting director, I have been impressed with the leadership team here and the employees’ dedication and commitment to the success of the newest division of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. I plan to focus the next year on completing the staffing and developing more efficient systems to serve the DMAPS agencies.”

Ex-FBI Agent Strzok Argues FBI, DOJ Violated his Free Speech Rights

Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who was at the center of the bureau’s Russia investigation in 2016, argues in a new court filing that the FBI and Justice Department violated his privacy and free speech rights.

The claims on Monday were a response to the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit in which he alleged he was wrongfully terminated, The Hill reports.

Strzok’s legal team argues that he, like other rank-and-file government employees, have a right to share personal political opinions. He claims he was fired for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.

“The government’s argument would leave thousands of career federal government employees without protections from discipline over the content of their political speech,” the filing said.

“Nearly every aspect of a modern workplace, and for that matter nearly every non-workplace aspect of employees’ lives, can be monitored,” it added. “The fact that a workplace conversation can be discovered does not render it unprotected.”

The DOJ counters that his high-profile role in the investigation held him to a higher standard.

The FBI declined to comment on the court filing, citing ongoing litigation.

Border Patrol Agent Injured, K-9 Killed After Service Car slips on Icy Patch in Washington

Border Patrol K-9, Jackie, was killed.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent was sent to the hospital and her K-9 was killed after their patrol vehicle lost control on an icy patch in Colville, Wash.

The vehicle rolled down a steep embankment on Highway 395 at about 2 a.m. Sunday, and the agent was pinned in the car until rescuers used the Jaws of Life to extricate her, the agency said in a news release.

The dog, Jackie, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jackie had been with the agency since 2015.

The agent, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition, but the injuries were not-life threatening, the agency said.

“Thank you to all the rescuers and medical staff involved and please remember K-9 Jackie and the agent in your thoughts and prayers,” David BeMiller, acting chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s Spokane sector, said in a statement. “We understand the risks that we take as well as our K-9 partners; it is never easy when we lose a partner.”

You Won’t Believe the Bizarre Banned Items Confiscated at Airports in 2019

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA confiscated tens of thousands of banned items at security checkpoints in 2019.

Some of the items were dangerous, and others were just strange. They ranged from slingshots and fireworks to a gun-shaped toilet paper roller, according to a compilation by The Washington Examiner.

Here is a sample of what TSA officers found:

 

Former FBI Agent Reportedly Killed Texas Church Gunman Just Seconds After Shooting Began

Shooting captured on a live-streaming video on YouTube.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent who was serving as a voluntary clergy security guard reportedly fatally shot a gunman who opened fire at a Texas Church on Sunday.

The quick actions of the security guard were caught on a video that the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement was live-streaming on YouTube around 10:50 a.m.

The gunman, who had a rifle stashed under his coat, fatally shot two people before the church security guard quickly returned fire. The identity of the security guard has not yet been identified.

Another congregant, who also was serving as a voluntary security guard, returned fire as well, according to media reports.

“Two of the parishioners who were volunteers of the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said at a press conference.

Former FBI agent and security expert Greg Shaffer said the quick response by armed guards demonstrates that more houses of worship should consider armed security.

“This incident certainly drives home the critical need of having an armed response,” Shaffer told 5NBC-TV. “Had they not been there, there would have been dozens upon dozens of casualties in that church.”