Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

May 2021
S M T W T F S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Right-Wing Suggests FBI Is Planning to Dethrone Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The campaign to discredit the special counsel investigation into potential ties between Donald Trump’s presidency and Russia has intensified as the probe reaches the president’s inner circle.

While some Republican lawmakers are questioning whether Mueller’s team has a bias against Trump, far-right pundits and Fox News are suggesting something far more sinister and violent.

On Tuesday, Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson suggested Trump may be assassinated by the FBI, pointing to text messages in which FBI agent Peter Stzrok complained about Trump and mentioned an “insurance policy” against his presidency.

A day earlier, right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones warned his listeners that he believes secret operatives tied to the Clintons, the FBI and other federal agencies plan to soon attempt to murder Trump.

Judge Rules Against FBI in Reporter-Impersonation Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI incensed news organizations after reporters discovered the bureau used special agents to impersonate a journalist to help capture a suspect in a string of anonymous bomb threats in 2007. 

Saying the impersonation “endangers the media’s credibility and creates the appearance that it is not independent of the government,” two media groups sued the FBI for records to show how often the bureau had masqueraded as news organizations. 

The FBI responded that it had no such records.

But last week, a D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the FBI failed to adequately search and locate documents related to the practice of using undercover agents to pose as journalists to go after suspects, Courthouse News reports

Courthouse News writes:

Two media groups brought the underlying challenge based on reports about how the FBI apprehended an individual who in 2007 made a series anonymous bomb threats to a Seattle high school, causing near-daily evacuations of students, teachers and administrators.

Believing the threats were the handiwork of a narcissist, the FBI agents investigating the matter devised a plan: They would flatter the culprit into clicking a link that appeared to be press coverage suggesting he’d outsmarted the authorities.

When he did, a specialized malware would be secretly delivered to his computer and it would reveal his location. The plan worked and the individual calling in the bomb threats was arrested.

A technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union spotted the FBI’s ruse several years later while reviewing documents from an earlier records request. News of the media-impersonation tactics quickly made national headlines. The New York Times even printed a letter in justification of the ruse from FBI Director James Comey Jr.

In the wake of the controversy, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Associated Press filed three FOIA requests for documents on the FBI’s impersonation of journalists and creation of “fake news” in the course of investigations.

Trump, Attorneys Are Optimistic Mueller Will Exonerate President

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just days before meeting with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office later this week, Trump’s attorneys are reportedly optimistic that the president is on the verge of being exonerated.

CNN reports that Trump has been boasting to friends and advisers that he expects to soon be cleared of any wrongdoing, according to people close to the president.

But legal analysts and media reports indicate the special counsel investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia is escalating.

The ever-evolving probe has so far netted charges against four of Trump’s close allies: former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former campaign adviser and Manafort associate Rick Gates, early foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

It’s unclear why the White House is so optimistic.

The Washington Post, citing people familiar with the investigation, reports that the investigation could take another year, pointing out that the team is still cooperating with witnesses and requested documents related to the probe. 

Tough on Border Rhetoric, Trump Leaves Top Homeland Security Posts Vacant

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke (left) with President Trump, via Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump talks big abound securing the nation’s borders and thwarting terrorist attacks, yet he’s left dozens of top Homeland Security jobs unfilled since taking office in January, “hallowing out the massive agency,” Quartz reports

In Trump’s first 11 months as president, he’s left numerous vacant positions, from the department’s chief of staff to every leadership position in its “Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction” office.

After former DHS head John Kelly vacated his position to become the White House chief of staff in July, acting secretary Elaine Duke has recommended people for top positions, but they have been rejected or ignored by the White House.

Neither DHS nor the White House would comment.

FBI Warned Trump That Russian Spies, Hackers Would Target Campaign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just weeks after Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in July 2016, top FBI officials warned him that Russia and other foreign adversaries likely would spy on and even infiltrate his campaign.

Trump and Hillary Clinton were issued the warning during a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, NBC News reports. They were urged to notify the FBI if they encountered any suspicions.

Less than a month earlier, Trump urged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails during a news conference in Florida. The FBI warned that foreign hackers could endanger  national security because the candidates were about to receive classified information. 

During the campaign, Trump never divulged to to the FBI that his inner circle had met with Russian officials.

DEA: Biggest Opioid Distribution in U.S. History ‘Hijacked’ by Federal Lawyers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A painstaking, two-year investigation into the biggest opioid distribution case in U.S. history yielded what investigators said was solid evidence that the company had failed to report suspicious orders of highly addictive painkillers.

But instead of bringing big penalties to the first-ever criminal case against a drug distribution company, the nation’s largest company, McKesson Corp., top attorneys at the DEA and Justice Department intervened, striking an agreement that was “far more lenient than the field division wanted,” according to the Washington Post

“This is the best case we’ve ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said Schiller, who recently retired as assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Denver field division after a 30-year career with the agency. “I said, ‘How do we not go after the number one organization?’ ”

Schiller called the intervention “insulting.”

“Morale has been broken because of it,” he added.

Helen Kaupang, a DEA investigator and supervisor for 29 years who worked on the McKesson case in Denver, minced no words: “Within the ranks, we feel like our system was hijacked.”

The Post wrote:

The result illustrates the long-standing conflict between drug investigators, who have taken an aggressive approach to a prescription opioid epidemic that killed nearly 200,000 people between 2000 and 2016, and the government attorneys who handle those cases at the DEA and the Justice Department.

None of McKesson’s warehouses would lose their DEA registrations. The company, a second-time offender, had promised in 2008 to be more diligent about the diversion of its pills to the street. It ultimately agreed to temporarily suspend controlled substance shipments at four distribution centers and pay a $150 million fine.

Border Arrests Surge Amid Trump’s Pledge to Decrease Illegal Crossings

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pledge to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S. has hit a major snag as arrests surge along the Southwest border.

According to a new federal government report, people being arrested or denied entry along the Mexican border has increased for the seventh straight month. 

Those cases reached 39,006 in November, marking a 12% increase over October. The cases have more than doubled since April.

While it’s unclear how many undocumented immigrants are slipping into the country undetected, the number of arrests and entry denials are a good indicator of the trends in people trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

Trump has trumpeted the decline in arrests during the early months of his presidency. What’s unclear is why the numbers are rising.

Inspector General: Immigration Detention Centers Filthy, Inhumane

A overcrowded, cold detention facility in Tucson.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Several immigration detention centers are so riddled with problems that they “undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment,” according to the Homeland Security inspector general.

Among the findings during unannounced visits were spoiled and moldy food, poor medical care and inadequate treatment of detainees, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports

Acting Inspector General John Kelly identified four detention centers with problems.

“Staff did not always treat detainees respectfully and professionally, and some facilities may have misused segregation,” the report found, adding that observers found “potentially unsafe and unhealthy detention conditions.”

Other Stories of Interest