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



ICE Operation Nets 113 Arrests of Alleged Child Predators in U.S., South America

ICE authorities investigating child predators. Photo via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ICE and its international partners arrested 113 alleged child predators in the U.S. and South America as part of a crackdown called “Operation Protected Childhood.”

The operation focused on distributors and producers of child pornography from the U.S. and Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Panama. In the U.S., ICE executed child exploitation-related search warrants in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee, California, Colorado and Florida. 

“This collaborative effort by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and its foreign law enforcement partners has put dangerous criminals behind bars and, most importantly, has led to the rescue of innocent children,” Robert Fuentes Jr., ICE attaché for Brazil and Bolivia, said in a statement. “Thank you to our Brazilian partners for their unwavering efforts over the last five years to combat child exploitation through Operation Protected Childhood. And to our partners who have most recently joined our operation, we look forward to the continued fight and relentless effort to put a stop to this horrific crime.”  

Launched in 2015, OPC works in partnership with the Brazil Ministry of Justice and the Public Security (MJSP) Secretariat for Integrated Operation (SEOPI) Cyber Laboratory.

During the arrests, officials found thousands of images of child pornography. Investigators tracked down the suspects using social media and cell phone apps. 

Two Top Homeland Security Officials Forced to Resign Amid Trump Purge

By Steve Neavling

Two top Homeland Security officials have been forced to resign by the White House as President Trump continues to remove anyone who hasn’t demonstrated “complete loyalty.” 

Bryan Ware, a senior policy aide at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and Valerie Boyd, the top official for international affairs at Homeland Security, are the latest national security officials to resign under pressure, The Washington Post reports.

“They’re looking for complete loyalty, and someone with experience serving different administrations is not perceived as sufficiently loyal,” one person who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Post

Boyd previously served in the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. 

In her resignation letter, Boyd told acting secretary Chad Wolf that she hopes the administration will “act with honor” by creating a peaceful transition to a new presidency. 

“It has been my belief that people of character should support the institution of the Presidency and work within it to inform and influence policy decisions that reflect well on the people’s government,” Boyd wrote. “This belief has been tested many times these past few years, and it is my fervent prayer that I made the best possible choices. I wish you and our colleagues across the government the strength to act with honor in the months ahead.”

Ware told The Post, “I’m proud of the work that I did. I’m proud of what the agency accomplished and proud to have had the privilege to serve the country.”

Neither the White House nor Homeland Security would comment. 

Contenders for AG, Homeland Security Director Under Biden

Joe Biden, via Shutterstock.com.

By Steve Neavling

President-elect Joe Biden will be responsible for choosing new leaders of the Justice Department and Homeland Security. 

Who are the potential contenders? The New York Times takes a look at the possible picks.

Under President Trump, the Homeland Security Department has been a revolving door of leaders. Biden hopes to change that. One contender is Val Demings, a member of Congress from Florida and a former Orlando police chief with 27 years of experience in law enforcement. 

Another potential pick is Alejandro Mayorkas a Cuban American lawyer who ran Citizenship and Immigration Services under President Obama. 

A contender to replace Attorney General William Barr is Xavier Becerra, a former congressman and current California attorney general. 

Another potential pick is Sen. Dough Jones, D-Alabama. He’s a former prosecutor and lost his bid for reelection to the Senate. 

Biden also could choose Tom Prez, the Democratic Party chairman who previously served as secretary of labor and assistant attorney general for civil rights. 

Former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates under Obama is another possibility. President Trump fired her after she served 10 days as acting attorney general. 

Georgia Man Charged with Shining Laser at Commercial Aircraft

By Steve Neavling

A 48-year-old Georgia man has been indicted on federal charges after the FBI said he shined a laser pointer at three commercial airplanes headed to Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. 

A federal grand jury indicted Roger Floyd Hendricks, of Rincon, on three counts of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. He faces up to five years in prison on each count.

“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is not a prank; it’s incredibly dangerous and stupid,” Bobby L. Christine, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said in a statement. “The FBI did an outstanding job of locating and stopping this threat to hundreds of Savannah air travelers.”

The Federal Aviation Administration in February asked the FBI for help tracking down whoever was responsible for three green laser strikes on inbound aircraft. 

The strikes included:

  • A Nov. 27, strike on Commutair flight 4935 from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The aircraft, an Embraer ERJ-145, has a capacity of more than 50 passengers and crew.
  • A Dec. 8  strike on Delta flight 697 from Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta. The aircraft, an Airbus A321, has a capacity of up to nearly 200 passengers and crew.
  • A Jan. 14 strike on NetJets flight 385 from Chicago Midway International Airport. The aircraft, a Cessna Citation Sovereign, has a capacity of eight passengers plus crew. 

Each plane landed safely. 

Nationwide, there have been more than than 6,000 laser strikes on aircraft in the U.S., according to the FAA.

“Aiming a laser at an airplane is not a game, it’s a federal felony and something the FBI takes very seriously,” Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, said. “These alleged actions placed the lives of innocent air travelers and commercial airline crews in danger and must be prosecuted.”

Lengel: Biden Needs to Assure Americans He’ll Rehire FBI Director Christopher Wray If Trump Fires Him

By Allan Lengel

The FBI has taken a beating over the last four years. Yes, it hasn’t always been perfect. But that being said, it remains the preeminent law enforcement agency that deserves far better treatment than it has gotten from President Trump.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in February.

Trump fired Director James Comey, and there’s been talk of doing the same to Christopher Wray, who angered Trump by not promoting his political narrative during the campaign.

While Wray may not be the most charismatic guy to ever lead the FBI, he has done a good job of flying under the radar and maintaining the integrity of the bureau.

The bottom line is, the FBI director job carries a 10-year term, and so far as I can tell, Wray deserves to finish it out.

President-elect Joe Biden needs a pre-emptive strike at this point. He needs to assure everyone that he’ll rehire Wray in January if Trump fires him between now and then.

The FBI has some very able and stand-up folks at the top who can hold down the fort for several weeks if Trump gives Wray the boot.

Convicted Sex Offender Threatened to Blow Up FBI Building, Kill Democrats, Prosecutors say

By Steve Neavling

A convicted sex offender from New York City was arrested Tuesday after authorities said he threatened to “blow up” an FBI building and called for the “extermination of anyone that claims to be a democrat” on social media. 

Brian Maiorana also is accused of making a veiled threat to Sen. Chuck Schumer, whom he called “the Jew Senator from New York,” The New York Times reports.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested the 54-year-old Tuesday morning. 

He was charged with making threatening interstate communications. 

In a criminal complaint, prosecutors said Maiorana suggested President Trump’s election had been “fraudulently stolen from us” and threatened to kill people who celebrated Joe Biden’s victory. 

On an unidentified social media platform, Maiorana is accused of writing that “pipe bombs need to be thrown into these mobs” of anti-police brutality protesters. 

“The carnage needs to come in the form of extermination of anyone that claims to be a democrat,” he wrote two days after the election, according to the complaint.  

As people celebrated Biden’s victory Sunday, Maiorana wrote, “All right thinking people need to hit the streets while these scumbags are celebrating and start blowing them away,” the complaint said.

Seth DuCharme, the acting United States attorney in Brooklyn, said authorities won’t tolerate such threats. 

“The Department of Justice will not stand idly by when people like the defendant allegedly threaten to kill elected officials, lawful protesters and law enforcement simply because of animus towards the outcome of an election,” DuCharme told The New York Times. “Americans have a constitutional right to voice their opinions, but this office will not tolerate violence or threats of violence used to intimidate others with whom they disagree.”

Authorities found weapons at his home. 

In 2007, Maiorana was convicted of sexual assault in Pennsylvania.

McCabe Says FBI Had Sufficient Reasons to Believe Trump Was a ‘Danger to National Security’

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, in previous testimony before Congress.

By Steve Neavling

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Tuesday defended the bureau’s investigation into President Trump’s campaign’s links to Russia, saying the bureau had reason to believe Trump was a national security threat. 

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, McCabe also said the FBI had sufficient reasons to investigate whether Trump obstructed the investigation and was a counterintelligence threat, The Washington Post reports.

“It became pretty clear to us that he did not want us to continue investigating what the Russians had done,” McCabe said. 

He added, “We had many reasons at that point to believe that the president might himself pose a danger to national security and that he might have engaged in obstruction of justice, if the firing of the director and those other things were geared towards eliminating or stopping our investigation of Russian activity.”

McCabe’s testimony is part of the committee’s inquiry into the Russia investigation.  

Following the testimony, Trump slammed McCabe, calling him “an ignorant fool.” 

“Andrew McCabe was exposed for who he is today in the U.S. Senate,” Trump tweeted. “He was totally destroyed – an ignorant fool. The great people of the FBI must make sure that he and his former boss, James Comey, pay the price for what they have done to the reputation of the FBI.”

The Senate committee has already questioned Comey, as well as former deputy attorneys general Rod Rosenstein and Sally Yates, all of whom defended the FBI’s investigation. 

TSA Seizes Cigar Humidor That Resembled Pipe Bomb

A homemade cigar humidor seized at LaGuardia Airport. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

TSA screeners were in for a scare at LaGuardia Airport on Sunday when they spotted what appeared to be a pipe bomb inside a traveler’s carry-on luggage.  

Turns out, the nine-inch PVC pipe was a homemade cigar humidor. Along with the pipe where two torch-style lighters.  

When TSA officials opened the pipe, they found a half-smocked cigar.

But because the pipe “could too easily be perceived bu the flight crew and other passengers as a pipe bomb,” TSA officials said the Hopewell Junction, N.Y., resident could not board the plane with the humidor. 

 “Our TSA officers are vigilant about looking for explosive devices, and this certainly gave the impression that it could be a pipe bomb that someone was attempting to carry onto an aircraft,” Robert Duffy, TSA’s federal security director for LaGuardia Airport, said in a statement. “Fortunately it turned out not to be an explosive device, but had he pulled it out during his flight, it could have caused a panic. Replica weapons are not permitted on aircraft and this easily could have passed for an improvised explosive device. It was a good catch on the part of the officers who were staffing the checkpoint.”