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Individuals on FBI’s Terrorist Watch List Were in D.C. During Capitol Riot

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo via Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

Dozens of Trump supporters who were in Washington D.C. on the day of the Capitol siege were on the FBI’s terrorist watch list, The Washington Post reports

They were on the Terrorist Screening Database, which lists people flagged as potential security threats. 

A majority of those on the watch list who were in Washington D.C. are suspected white supremacists. 

Their presence raises more questions about the bureau’s response to a protest that led to a violent mob storming the U.S. Capitol. Five deaths have been linked to the insurrection. 

The terrorist watch list includes hundreds of thousands of names. The idea behind the list is to alert law enforcement agencies to suspicious individuals. 

It’s not yet clear whether any of the watch-listed individuals were among the dozens of people arrested so far. 

“The U.S. Government is committed to protecting the United States from terrorist threats and attacks and seeks to do this in a manner that protects the freedoms, privacy and civil rights and liberties of U.S. persons and other individuals with rights under U.S. law,” a U.S. official told The Washington Post

The FBI did not comment for the report. 

Retired Border Patrol Agent Accused of Dousing Co-Worker’s Cubicle with Urine

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A retired Border Patrol agent is accused of dousing a co-worker’s cubicle with urine at the Buffalo Border Patrol Station.

Eduardo Flores Jr. has been charged with depredation of government property,  a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine. 

Prosecutors say Flores sprayed and poured urine on a co-worker’s cubicle, prompting CPB’s Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate. 

A week after the dousing, a pungent odor remained. It took a special cleaning from a professional cleaning company to rid the cubicle of the stench, according to a Justice Department news release. 

Flores is scheduled to make a court appearance on Tuesday. 

Acting ICE Director Jonathan Fahey Steps Down After Just Two Weeks at Helm

Acting ICE Director Jonathan Fahey stepped down.

By Steve Neavling

Jonathan Fahey, the acting ICE director, resigned just two weeks after taking the position. 

Fahey took the helm on Dec. 31 to replace Tony Pham, who abruptly resigned earlier in the month. 

It’s unclear why Fahey stepped down. The Associated Press reports that he announced in an email to employees that he was resigned late Wednesday, but he offered no explanation.

“I am sincerely impressed by the professionalism and integrity with which you perform your duties each and every day,” Fahey wrote in the email. “Despite leaving your ranks, I will remain an ardent supporter of this Agency and workforce, cheering on your successes and praying for your safety.”

Tae Johnson, the deputy director of ICE, replaced Fahey, becoming the fourth acting director since August. 

Fahey worked for years as a federal and state prosecutor in Virginia and joined Homeland Security in March, serving as a senior advisor for immigration policy. 

Jason A. Forget Takes Over As Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Washington Division

DEA Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget.

By Steve Neavling

Jarod A. Forget, a 17-year veteran of the DEA, has been named special agent in charge of the agency’s Washington Division. 

Forget was promoted from his role as assistant special agent of the Washington Division, where he oversaw groups across Norther Virginia, Maryland and D.C. and established the new D.C. Heroin-Violent Crime Task Force.   

“SAC Forget brings with him a depth of experience, knowledge, and ability that will greatly benefit the Washington Division and the local community,” DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea said in a statement. “I’m confident SAC Forget will embody the highest standards of DEA excellence in his new role as he has throughout his career.”

In 2004, Forget joined the DEA, serving as a special agent assigned to the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force. He went on to work at the Guadalajara, Mexico Office, where he directed enforcement operations against Mexico’s most notorious and ruthless drug cartels, such as the Sinaloa Cartel and the New Generation Jalisco Cartel.

Forget has also held leadership positions in the Miami Division, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and the Washington Division. 

“He has led many global enforcement operations, worked to disrupt violent, large-scale, international drug trafficking organizations, shut down illicit opioid dealers from China and Mexico, and established collaborative strike forces to combat local community issues like violent crime and opioids,” the DEA said.

“Forget has a passion for the value of community-oriented policing, helping families affected by overdose, and keeping our neighborhoods safe from the scourge of violence drug trafficking can bring. In addition, Forget is keenly interested in local youth development through outreach and engagement organizations, and plans to continue and develop community outreach programs throughout the region.”

A Massachusetts native, Forget received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in international affairs from Northeastern University. He also a fluent Spanish speaker.

FBI Investigating 160+ Related to U.S. Capitol Siege, with Sedition Charges Possible

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating more than 160 cases connected to the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week, and federal prosecutors are considering sedition charges against some of them.

During a news conference Tuesday, the FBI and Justice Department pledged to aggressively investigate all leads following the violent riot. 

The bureau has received more than 100,000 videos, photos and other forms of digital media related to the Capitol siege, said Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

“To be clear, the brutality the American people watched with shock and disbelief on the 6th will not be tolerated by the FBI,” D’Antuono told reporters. “The men and women of the FBI will leave no stone unturned in this investigation.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said 70 people have already been charged, and that number is expected to grow into the hundreds. 

To read D’Antuono’s full prepared statements, click here.

Secret Service Officer Under Investigation over Facebook Posts about Trump Election

By Steve Neavling

A Secret Service officer is under investigation for allegedly posting a comment on Facebook that suggested lawmakers who formally accept the electoral college vote are guilty of treason. 

The unnamed officer also posted President Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories about widespread election fraud, The Washington Post reports

One of the memes posted on Facebook shows Trump shaking hands with himself under the title “Here’s to the Peaceful Transition of Power.”

One day after the Capitol riot, the officer allegedly posted a comment that accused lawmakers who formalized President-elect Joe Biden’s victory of “committing treason on live tv.”

“Good morning patriots!” the post read. “Yesterday started out beautiful and as usual Antifa soured the mood and attacked police and an Air Force veteran was murdered….It’s OFFENSE time finally!!”

A Secret Service spokeswoman responded, “The U.S. Secret Service carries out its law enforcement mission in an objective and apolitical manner. Any allegation that an employee is not carrying out their duties in that manner will be investigated. As this is a personnel matter, the agency will not be commenting.”

James Comey Thinks FBI’s Christopher Wray is Trying to Avoid Agitating Trump in Final Days

By Allan Lengel

Ex-FBI Director James Comey speculated Tuesday night that his replacement Christopher Wray has stayed out of the limelight recently so as not to agitate President Trump in the final days of the administration and risk being fired.

James Comey with Stephen Colbert

Comey, who appeared virtually on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” says Wray is being prudent and is trying to stay on the job for the continuity of the bureau. There had been rumors in recent weeks that Trump might fire Wray, who was appointed to the post in 2017 after Comey’s firing. The post is for 10 years, but a president can fire the director as Comey learned.

“I speculate because I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to him,” he said. “He is a person of great integrity trying to stay in the job and not to give an unstable president an excuse to decapitate the FBI in the middle of a crisis. That’s just speculation, but it’s informed speculation. I could imagine him wanting to be careful not to antagonize the man in the White House for another eight days.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Justice Department and FBI held a press conference to talk about the investigation into the Capitol riot that resulted in five dead including a Capitol Police officer. Wray did not appear at the press conference. Instead, career FBI agent, Steven M. D’Antuono, who heads up the Washington Field Office, spoke.

Comey also said he was disturbed and puzzled about the inadequate security at the Capitol on Jan. 6 when things got out of control.

Comey was on the show promoting his new book, “Saving Justice, Truth, Transparency, and Trust.”

Read NY Times review of book

Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf Resigns, Citing ‘Recent Events’

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf’s interview with Axios.

By Steve Neavling

Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, announced his resignation Monday as federal authorities grapple with threats of violence ahead of Inauguration Day.

Wolf, who took the helm in November 2019, will continue as under secretary for policy. 

In a written message to DHS employees, Wolf said he is resigning because of “recent events,” citing court challenges over the legality of his appointment, The Associated Press reports.

“Unfortunately, this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary,” Wolf wrote. “These events and concerns increasingly serve to divert attention and resources away from the important work of the Department in this critical time of a transition of power.”

Wolf defended his leadership, saying the department increased border security and safeguarded the 2020 election. 

“I leave knowing that the Department has positioned itself for an orderly and smooth transition to President-elect Biden’s DHS team,” he wrote. “Welcome them, educate them, and learn from them. They are your leaders for the next four years — a time which undoubtedly will be full of challenges and opportunities to show the American public the value of DHS and why it is worth the investment.”

Wolf replaced acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who resigned after leading the agency for about six months. Wolf had served as chief of staff under Kirstjen Nielsen, who was the last Homeland Security secretary to be confirmed by the Senate. She resigned in April 2019.

Leading Homeland Security has been no easy task because Trump has demanded a secretary whose focus is clearly on immigration, which is only one part of the multi-faceted agency.

President elect-Joe Biden has nominated Alejandro Mayorkas to become the first immigrant and Hispanic to lead Homeland Security.