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Border Patrol Agent Accused of Pressuring Teenage Girls for Nude Photos

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent is accused of posing as a boy online to pressure girls for nude photos and to share sexually explicit messages.

Micah Mardo, 36, faces a federal sex crime after he was arrested last week at a northwest Washington state Border Patrol station, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports

The FBI began investigating after a tipster reported that Mardo’s wife found disturbing images and messages on her husband’s computer.

Investigators said Mardo used the Kik app to contact young teen girls for nude photos. The FBI said he also sent obscene images of himself.

Blaine sector Chief Patrol Agent Brian Martin said the federal agency is cooperating with the FBI probe.

“A vast majority of the men and women employed with our agency meet this high standard day in and day out,” Martin said by email. “As public servants, our agents are rightly held to a higher standard of conduct and are subject to the same laws and rules that apply to private citizens.”

Loaded Guns, Inert Grenades, Throw Star Among Top Confiscated Items at Airports in 2017

Sculpture made with an inert grenade, via TSA

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Festively wrapped narcotics, loaded guns, inert grenades and “Satan’s” pizza cutter are among the top 10 items confiscated at U.S. airport in 2017.

In a YouTube video, the TSA’s “Blogger Bob” Burns lists the most unusual forbidden items confiscated at airports.

Other eye-popping confiscated items include a menacing-looking “face-tenderizer,” a sculpture with inert grades, a pointed fidget spinner, a throwing star, a scythe, a bone knife and an umbrella that resembled a knife.

“Some people travel with weird stuff because they are collectors: it’s an heirloom, they have ADHD [attention deficit hyperactive disorder] and it’s their fidget, or they want to use the item as a training aid in a seminar,” Jeff Price, an aviation security expert and professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, told CNBC

Still, “a lot of people who don’t travel frequently just don’t understand that some of these items can be used as weapons,” he said.

Bloomberg: Mueller Comes Under Unfair, Partisan Attacks over Russia-Trump Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Editorial Board
Bloomberg

Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is coming under growing attack from those most blinded by partisanship and — in the case of the White House — self-interest. Their motivations do not automatically render them wrong. A dispassionate review of the facts, however, does.

Their assaults fall into three main categories. The first two are easily rebuffed. The third lands a punch — but not the knockout blow they seek.

•    Discrediting Mueller. When President George W. Bush nominated Mueller, a fellow Republican, to lead the FBI in 2001, the Senate confirmed him by a unanimous vote. After he served his 10-year term, President Barack Obama gave him a two-year extension — and Senate support was again unanimous. Few people in Washington serving at the highest level of government can equal Mueller’s reputation for integrity and independence.

Yet critics charge that Mueller is somehow compromised by his longstanding relationship with James Comey, his former deputy and successor at the FBI, who initiated the Russia investigation. Republicans have had a hatelovehate relationship with Comey over the past two years, which says more about them than it does about him. Whatever one may think of how he handled his job, there is no evidence suggesting that Mueller is being influenced by him — or anyone else — in any way.

•    Discrediting Mueller’s work. Critics also charge that Mueller’s team is on a fishing expedition that has found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election –and thus should be shut down. They often cite the indictment of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, whose charges concern not his campaign activities but his work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine.

But — leaving aside the seriousness of those charges — Mueller’s mandate is to investigate not only Russian interference in the campaign, including any collusion, but also “any matters that arose or may arise” from the investigation. Manafort’s actions certainly qualify, as do the lies of two campaign officials (both of whom have already pleaded guilty) about their contacts with Russia.

It’s reasonable to expect Mueller to conclude the investigation in a timely fashion. But Congress cannot permit the White House to short-circuit his work.

To read more click here. 

Trump’s Attorneys Hope to Prevent Mueller from Interviewing the President

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s attorneys are seeking potential alternatives to avoid a sit-down interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russian election meddling. 

Among the alternatives under consideration are written responses to questions and “an affidavit signed by the president affirming he was innocent of any wrongdoing and denying any collusion,” NBC News reports.

Trump’s attorneys also are trying determine whether Mueller wants a direct interview, the legal standards for interviewing a president, the location of a possible interview, the duration and the topics.

Since the special counsel investigation began with the appointment of Mueller in May, four people formerly in Trump’s inner circle have been indicted, and two have pleaded guilty in exchange for cooperating with authorities.

But veterans of the Justice Department are skeptical Mueller would forgo the chance to interview the president directly.

“Prosecutors want to see and hear folks in person,” said Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and chief of staff to FBI Director Comey. “They want to probe and follow up. Body language and tone are important,” said Rosenberg, now an NBC News analyst. “And they want answers directly from witnesses, not from their lawyers. The odds of prosecutors agreeing to written responses are somewhere between infinitesimally small and zero.”

FBI Revives Clinton Foundation Probe Amid Politically Charged Claims

Hillary Clinton.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has revived a dormant investigation into the Clinton Foundation following politically charged accusations of corruption.

Agents at the FBI’s field office in Little Rock, where the foundation has offices in the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, is focused on whether donors received favors or special treatment when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state from 2009-13, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Hill, report.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is overseeing the investigation, which quietly became active again a few weeks ago after it stalled before the November 2016 presidential election.

What’s unclear is what prompted investigators to revisit the case.

FBI: Terrorism Suspect Who Stopped Train Has Ties to White Supremacists

Terror suspect Taylor Michael Wilson.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An armed Missouri man who stopped a cross-country Amtrak train in southwest Nebraska has ties to white supremacists and advocated “killing black people,” new court documents show.

Taylor Michael Wilson, 26, of St. Charles, has been charged with terrorism and other violent-related crimes in U.S. district Court in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Lincoln Journal Star reports

FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski said there’s sufficient evidence to show that Wilson’s electronic devices and firearms “have been used for or obtained in anticipation of engaging in or planning to engage in criminal offenses against the United States.”

Newly unsealed court records indicate agents found videos and PDF files on Wilson’s phone that suggest ties to white supremacy. Also found on the phone was a book about how to kill people.

An acquaintance of suspect told the FBI that Wilson had joined a neo-Nazi group. Another informant told the FBI that Wilson supported “killing black people.”

Arrested Dec. 23, Wilson is now in federal custody. 

Book: High-Level Trump Officials Believe He Won’t Survive First Term

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Many of President Trump’s high-level staff members believe the special counsel’s Russia investigation will lead to his resignation or impeachment before his first term is over, according to the new explosive book on the White House and presidential campaign.

Journalist and author Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which was released Friday, claims insiders were dumbfounded by the president’s “inability to grasp how much Mueller had on him and his family,” GQ reports

Whatever the substance of the Russia ‘collusion,’ Trump, in the estimation of his senior staff, did not have the discipline to navigate a tough investigation, nor the credibility to attract the caliber of lawyers he would need to help him,” Wolff wrote. According to the book, Trump’s White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told colleagues that the president has a one-in-three chance of surviving his first full term.

Wolff wrote, “Everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of his repetitions. It used to be inside of 30 minutes he’d repeat, word-for-word and expression-for-expression, the same three stories—now it was within 10 minutes. Indeed, many of his tweets were the product of his repetitions—he just couldn’t stop saying something.”

Stejskal: Unabomber Agrees With Me on the Inaccuracy of the Discovery Channel Series

Theodore Kaczynski (FBI photo)

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

A few months ago, I wrote a critique of the Discovery Channel series, “Manhunt: Unabomber.” My concern shared by a number of agents that were on the Unabom Task Force was that the series portrayed a minor player on the UTF, Jim Fitzgerald, as the agent who broke the case and was involved in key aspects of the investigation. None of which was true. The series then built on that fiction by depicting a relationship between Fitzgerald and the Unabomber/Ted Kaczynski that never happened. *

Now, it seems that Ted Kaczynski is also critical of the Discovery Channel series, and in a weird twist Kaczynski cites my critique to bolster his position.

Kaczynski was responding to a letter he received from a woman (I will call her Jane Doe.) asking him about certain aspects of the Unabomber series. Jane sent the letter to Kaczynski at the federal maximum-security penitentiary at Florence, Colorado, where he is incarcerated.  Specifically, Jane’s inquiry was about the series indicating that Kaczynski’s criminal activity was at least in part due to Kaczynski’s participation in a psychological study while an undergrad at Harvard in 1959. According to the TV series, the study at Harvard was part of a secret CIA project code named MK Ultra.

Mind Control Program

MK Ultra was a CIA program initiated in 1953 to develop techniques and drugs to be used for interrogation to elicit information and/or confessions through “mind control.” The program was a response to Soviet, Chinese and North Korean use of mind-control techniques (also referred to as brainwashing) on US prisoners during the Korean War – the “Manchurian Candidate” phenomenon. **

Much is still not known about the MK Ultra project as many records were destroyed. It is known that the project involved about 80 institutions in Canada and the US including at least 44 colleges and universities, also some hospitals and prisons. Some of the institutions were not aware of that the CIA was sponsoring the studies. The CIA used front organizations to hide their involvement.

Greg Stejskal

Some of the participants weren’t even aware they were participating in a study. This was especially true in the project’s efforts to develop mind-controlling drugs. LSD was one of the main drugs experimented with and sometimes administered without the subjects’ knowledge.

One of the CIA’s primary concerns was that there were “moles,” double agents, controlled by the Soviets within the US’ and its allies’ intelligence services. There was a fixation on developing techniques and drugs that could be used to elicit the truth from suspected moles or their handlers.

It has been theorized and the Discovery Channel Unabomber series portrays as fact that the personality study that Kaczynski participated in at Harvard which was supervised by Professor Henry A. Murray was part of the MK Ultra project. This study, it is alleged, was so traumatizing that it resulted in psychological damage to Kaczynski which led to his later criminal acts.

Professor Murray used 22 Harvard undergrads in his study including Kaczynski. The studies were controversial and, among other things, were designed to measure people’s reactions under extreme stress. This had the legitimate goal of trying to determine what personality traits are most beneficial in dealing with stress. Consequentially, a large portion of Murray’s study involved the use of personality traits questionnaires. (Prof. Murray was one of the pioneers in developing the ubiquitous personality questionnaires, e.g., would you rather be in a room full of people or in the woods by yourself.)

There does not seem to be any evidence that Prof. Murray’s studies were connected to the CIA MK Ultra project although Prof. Murray did work with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II, helping to produce a psychological profile of Adolph Hitler. The OSS became the CIA after the War.

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