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Reagan FBI Director William Webster Endorses Biden, Along with 20 Other Former Republican Officials

William Webster (Wikimedia Commons)

By Steve Neavling

William H. Webster, who served as both FBI and CIA director under President Reagan, was among a group of 20 former Republican officials who endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

“The President has clearly conveyed that he expects his Justice Department appointees and prosecutors to serve his personal and political interests,” wrote the former US attorneys. “He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making.”

William Weld, who was a U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1981 to 1986, also signed the letter. Others include appointees from a string of Republican presidents, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush.

The letter lauded Biden’s leadership.  

“In contrast with President Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden has devoted his career to supporting law enforcement, protecting the independence of the Justice Department, and working to ensure that the federal government exercises its law enforcement powers fairly and impartially and in the interests of all Americans,” the attorneys continued in the letter. “Joe Biden understands that unity – and not division – is the key to meeting the challenges that our country is facing.”

Eugene Kowel Named Special Agent in charge of Omaha Field Office in Nebraska

Eugene Kowel, special agent in charge of the Omaha Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

Eugene Kowel has been named special agent in charge of the Omaha Field Office in Nebraska. 

Kowel began his career as a special agent with the FBI in 2005 in the New York Field Office, were he was assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. As part of the FBI’s counterterrorism mission, Kowel completed deployments to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009.

In 2010, Kowell was promoted to supervisory special agent, working in the International Terrorism Operations Section, Counterterrorism Division, at FBI headquarters. In 2011, Kowel was a unit chief in the International Terrorism Operations Section.

In 2013, Kowel became the supervisory senior resident agent in the Atlanta Field Office, leading the Savannah and Brunswick resident agencies in Georgia. In addition to overseeing criminal and counterterrorism investigations in 19 counties, he led the Southeast Georgia Violent Crime Task Force, the Child Exploitation Task Force, the Savannah Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Coastal Georgia Safe Streets Gang Task Force.

In 2016, Kowel began serving as an assistant special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office, where he led squads investigating violent gangs, transnational organized crime, violent crime, and crimes against children. 

In 2019, Kowell became the chief of staff to the FBI’s executive assistant director for the Intelligence Branch and as section chief of the Intelligence Branch’s Executive Staff Section at FBI headquarters.

A graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in political and social thought, Kowel received a law degree from the New York University School of Law. He  served as an assistant district attorney in New York City before joining the FBI.

Feds Mull Terrorism Charges in Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Investigtion

Alleged ringleader Adam Fox, 37.

By Steve Neavling

Federal prosecutors are considering terrorism charges against the six men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after investigators uncovered new evidence, including bomb components. 

In a court filing Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office requested a 40-day extension to seek indictments against the suspects to give investigators time to sift through the evidence. In addition to finding bomb parts, investigators must examine 13,000 pages of encrypted text messages, hundreds of hours of undercover audio recordings, and “voluminous” amounts of audio and video found on seized computers and cellphones.

“Firearms and explosive device components were recently recovered, and must be analyzed to determine whether charges under the National Firearms Act, explosives or anti-terrorism statutes are warranted,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote. 

No more details of the bomb components were disclosed. 

“Because of the imminent nature of the threat, law enforcement was obliged to arrest the subjects before this evidence could be processed,” Kessler wrote. 

In all, 14 men have been charged in connection with the case in state and federal court. The six charged in federal court are also accused of conspiring to spark a civil war by planning to attack police and the state Capitol. They face up to life in prison. 

Craig Fair Named Special Agent in Charge of San Francisco Field Office

Craig Fair, special agent in charge of the San Francisco Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

Craig Fair has been named the special agent in charge of the San Francisco Field Office after serving there as the deputy special agent in charge for the past three years.

Fair’s career with the FBI began at the San Francisco Field Office in 1998, serving as a special agent working counterintelligence matters. He was promoted to supervisory special agent in 2015, overseing a counterintelligence squad.

In 2008, Mr. Fair began serving as a unit chief in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., overseeing the bureau’s domestic and extraterritorial investigations and operations countering foreign intelligence collection matters. In 2011, he became acting section chief of Clandestine Services before returning to San Francisco as the assistant special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Branch. 

Fair oversaw San Francisco’s counterterrorism program, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Special Weapons and Tactics Program, and several other programs.

In 2013, Fair returned to FBI headquarters, serving as section chief of the Executive Staff Section of the National Security Branch (NSB). In addition, he served as the special assistant to the NSB executive assistant director. 

In 2014, Fair became deputy assistant director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, leading the FBI’s efforts in preventing, countering, and investigating threats of terrorism or proliferation involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive weapons.

In 2016, Fair returned to San Francisco to serve again as the assistant special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Program before he was named the deputy special agent in charge in 2017.

Fair received a Bachelor of Arts in political economics from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa, and a Master of Arts in criminal justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Judge Orders DOJ to Confirm Evidence in Michael Flynn Case After Some Documents Were Altered

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has until today to verify each piece of evidence it has turned over in the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser.

Judge Emmet Sullivan on Friday ordered the DOJ to declare under the penalty of perjury that the evidence it has relied on to dismiss the perjury charge is accurate, Politico reports.

The unusual directive underscores the distrust between the judge and DOJ, which has admitted that two of its court documents were “inadvertently” altered. 

Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. But he later fired his attorneys and asked to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was entrapped by the FBI and Justice Department. 

Attorney General William Barr, who has intervened in cases involving the president’s allies, asked the judge to dismiss the case in May. 

Sullivan balked and appointed former federal judge John Gleeson to argue against dropping the case. 

Border Patrol Agents Fatally Shoot Driver Accused of Pinning Agent Against a Car

Matthew Hudak, chief patrol agent for Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents shot and killed the driver of a tractor trailer on Friday evening after they say he reversed into an agent and pinned him and a migrant against another vehicle in Laredo, Texas.

The CBP said the incident happened at about 9:40 p.m. local time when ICE and the Webb County Constable’s Office were investigating a tractor-trailer carrying people suspected of illegally crossing the border. 

During the investigation, another tractor-trailer approached authorities and “suddenly accelerated in reverse, striking and pinning” the agent and a migrant against another vehicle. 

After the driver failed to respond to verbal commands, agents shot him. 

The agent was injured and released from the hospital Saturday morning. 

The Laredo Police Department and FBI, along with CBP and ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility, are investigating. 

Retired FBI Agent Vying for Congressional Seat in Pennslyvania as a Democrat

Congressional candidate and former FBI agent Todd Rowley.

By Steve Neavling

A retired FBI agent is running a spirited campaign to unseat U.S. Rep. John Joyce in the 13th Congressional District in Pennsylvania. 

Todd Rowley, 17-year veteran of the FBI, is running as a Democrat in a heavily Republican district. 

“I’m running against Donald Trump,” Rowley told TribLive.com. “John Joyce has the highest voting ratio with Trump in Pennsylvania. He has fully backed his wagon to Donald Trump.”

Joyce has no problem with that characterization. 

“President Trump represents and supports the freedoms we embrace,” Joyce said.

After retiring from the FBI, Rowley, 56, is now a ranger at Linn Run State Park. He’s never run for political office and acknowledges he’s an underdog. Much of his campaign is focused on the coronavirus pandemic, which he said Joyce has mishandled.

“John Joyce was silent. He’s a medical physician, and for him to be silent for these eight to nine months, it’s a shame. It’s a clear squandering of leadership,” Rowley said.

Increasingly Desperate Trump Tells Aides He Wants to Fire Wray for Not Investigating Biden Family

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

With less than two weeks before the election and trailing in the polls, President Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with FBI Director Christopher Wray for failing to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his family of corruption. 

Trump has repeatedly discussed canning Wray if reelected, The Washington Post reports, citing senior aides to the president. Trump wants an October surprise similar to the one that then-FBI Director James Comey delivered about Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The president has been pushing a dubious narrative that Biden and his family are corrupt because of widely disputed claims in a New York Post story. Trump has yet to indicate what crimes he believes Biden committed. 

Top Democrats are urging Wray to avoid launching a politically motivated investigation to influence the election. 

In a letter sent to Wray on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are urging Wray to “to resist pressure from President Trump and other partisan actors to take any actions intended to benefit President Trump politically on the eve of the election. Succumbing to such pressure would deeply undermine our national security interests and the credibility of law enforcement, and could have devastating consequences for the resiliency of our democracy.” 

“We are deeply concerned about the possibility that in response to these reports the Trump Administration will take actions before Election Day that would seek to damage the Democratic presidential candidate and undermine the rule of law,” Wyden and Schumer said.