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Aliens? Earth-Bound Asteroid? Group Explains Closure, FBI Probe of Space Observatory

Sunspot Solar Observatory, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Aliens? An Earth-bound asteroid? A super solar flare?

The mysterious closure of a space observatory in New Mexico last week spurred wild theories.

The group that manages the Sunspot Solar Observatory explained the closure in a Facebook post, saying it had been “cooperating with an on-going law enforcement investigation of criminal activity that occurred at Sacramento Park.”

The state from the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy continued, “we became concerned that a suspect in the investigation potentially posed a threat to the safety of local staff and residents. For this reason, AURA temporarily vacated the facility and ceased science activities at this location.”

The FBI initially swooped into the observatory without explanation, prompting even the local sheriff to question what was going on.

“For the FBI to get involved that quick and be so secretive about it, there was a lot of stuff going on up there,” Otero County Sheriff Benny House said. “There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything.” 

At the time, the observatory’s website only indicated the shutdown occurred “due to unforeseen circumstances” and would remain closed “until further notice.”

The observatory is close to the famous Roswell landing site, where a UFO in 1947 fell from the sky. Officials originally said the object was a weather balloon but changed the story years later. Conspiracy theorists have long maintained it was an alien craft.

AURA, which later said the observatory was closed “based on the logistical challenges associated with protecting personnel at such a remote location, and the need for expeditious response to the potential threat,” gave no further explanation of the “criminal activity.”

AURA acknowledged how the “lack of communications while the facility was vacated was concerning and frustrating for some.

“However, our desire to provide additional information had to be balanced against the risk that, if spread at the time, the news would alert the suspect and impede the law enforcement investigation. That was a risk we could not take,” said the statement.

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Being a Serial Killer After Woman’s Daring Escape

Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Juan David

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A supervisory Border Patrol agent accused of being a serial killer was tracked down after a sex worker’s daring escape at gunpoint in Laredo, Tex.

Juan David Ortiz, a 10-year veteran of the agency who worked in intelligence, confessed to four September murders, including two in a five-hour span early Saturday morning, the Washington Post reports.

“We consider this man to be a serial killer who was preying on one victim after another,” Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said. 

A sex worker who suspected Ortiz had killed her friend was in a white pickup truck with the alleged killer when he pulled out a gun and grabbed her shirt. She managed to escape, and he fled.

The woman flagged down a state trooper, and after a pursuit, police found the 35-year-old hiding in a hotel parking lots at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Ortiz faces life in prison on four counts of murder, aggravated assault and unlawful restrain.

All of the victims are believed to be sex workers, some of whom may not have been chosen at random.

Dem Senator Says Confirmation Vote on Kavanaugh Should Be Delayed Pending Outcome of FBI Probe Into Sexual Assault Allegations

Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate confirmation hearings.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Senate should wait on voting for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court until the FBI conducts an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

That’s according to Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein’s statement follows a Washington Post report that detailed a first-hand account of sexual abuse by California professor Christine Blasey Ford. 

In a written statement, Feinstein said the professor’s allegations, which include being pinned down, groped and forced into silence at a high school party, were “extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character.”

Whether Feinstein gets his way is another story. At least three Democrats said Sunday that the confirmation hearings should continue, despite the allegations.

Weekend Series on Crime History: A History of Russian Spies in America

“White Boy Rick” — The Tale of a Teenage Boy Who Became an Informant In Detroit For the FBI

Richard Wershe Jr. as a teen and now.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — At age 14, in the 1980s, Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” became an informant for the Detroit FBI in the war on drugs.

In time, he was doing undercover buys for the FBI and Detroit Police. Eventually he started selling dope on his own. At 17 he was arrested. A short time later he was sentenced to life in prison without parole under a state law. That law was later changed and he became eligible for parole. After nearly 30 years, he was paroled last year from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Unfortunately, he was then sent to Florida to serve a prison sentence for partaking in a stolen car ring while he was behind bars there in the witness protection program. He’s eligible for parole in December 2020. He is now 49.

Hollywood has now captured the story of his life in a film released Friday titled “White Boy Rick.”

Related links:

Lengel: Watching ‘White Boy Rick’ with Richard Wershe Jr.’s Family Is Surreal

Vince Wade: The Many Untruths in the ‘White Boy Rick’ Movie Opening Friday

FBI Reviews Sexual Assault Allegations Against Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his Senate confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been forwarded to the FBI by the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

The accusations, which the FBI had not known previously, involved “a vague sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh dating back to his high school days,” two sources familiar with the allegations told NBC News

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”

Sources said the allegation was “sexual in nature” and came in a letter, but details were murky.

The FBI has not opened an investigation.

Update: Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Paul Manafort Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Cooperate

Paul Manafort

Update: 4:02 p.m. Friday —  In a move that could certainly spell more trouble for President Donald Trump, former campaign chief Paul Manafort pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the Robert Mueller probe.

Manfort pleaded guilty to two charges — conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice.

“I plead guilty,” Manafort told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson at a hearing Friday morning hearing in federal court in the District, according to the Washington Post.

Manafort admitted committing years of financial crimes to hide his money from the IRS and promised to tell the government about “his participation in and knowledge of all criminal activities.”


From Friday Morning

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reached a tentative plea deal ahead of his second trial, sources familiar with the negotiations told ABC News

Details of the plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to be revealed in court today.

If approved, the tentative deal will head off Manafort’s second trial after a jury found him guilty of eight criminal counts in his first trial last month.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Manafort reached the deal in exchange for cooperation or just to avoid the stress and costs of another trial.

The second trial primarily involves work he did for pro-Russia politicians in the Ukraine and accusations of money laundering.

Check back for updates.

FBI Director Wray Defends Bureau Against Incessant Attacks by Trump & His Allies

FBI Director Christopher Wray defends the bureau in an interview on “CBS This Morning.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray is defending the bureau against incessant attacks, most notably from President Trump, over the investigation of Russia meddling during the presidential election.

Wray told “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Norah O’Donnell that critics like Trump are waging a disinformation campaign designed to hurt the FBI’s reputation.

When asked whether Wray thinks “there are some questions about the reputation of the FBI,” the director said the public is being deceived.

“Well, I think sometimes watching the news and certainly trolling the internet, you would think that the FBI has only had two investigations over the last three years,” Wray said. “But I will tell you that when you get out into real America, people know differently.

Trump continues to call the Russia probe a “witch hunt” intended to undermine his presidency.