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President Trump to Retain James Comey As FBI Director

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James B. Comey, who has incensed both Democrats and Republicans for his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation, is expected to retain his position under President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reports. 

Comey has served four years of his 10-year term, and many thought Trump would ask for his resignation.

The FBI declined to comment on Comey.

Despite the move, the FBI will continue investigating Russia’s interference with the U.S. presidential election.

President Trump to Launch Plans Today for Building Wall at Mexico Border

border fence photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump is moving forward with his plans to build a wall along Mexico, signing an executive action Wednesday to direct federal resources to the project.

Today, Trump begins speaking about his immigration plans, which will be rolled out over the next several days, CNN reports. 

Trump tweeted on Tuesday, “Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!”

Trump’s first executive action will direct Homeland Security to begin construction of the border wall. In addition, Trump wants to increase staff at Customs and Border Protection by 5,000 to reduce immigrants fleeing violence in Central America.

How Trump plans to pay for the wall remains unclear. He wants Homeland Security to determine how much money is available to fund the wall’s construction.

Trump has insisted Mexico will pay America back for the wall, but Mexican officials said they have no such intention.

FBI Intercepts Communication Between Russian Ambassador, Trump Adviser

Lt. Michael T. Flynn

Lt. Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI reviewed communication between the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who is President-elect Trump’s choice for national security adviser.

The Washington Post reports that no evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government were found. 

The communication from December was intercepted during a routine electronic surveillance of Russian officials and agents in the U.S.

The intercepts show that the intelligence community continues to investigate Russian government influence in the U.S. election.

Nevertheless, the FBI found nothing unusual while reviewing intercepts of communication between Flynn and the ambassador.

The conversations appeared to be about setting up a meeting with Trump to talk about Syria.

President Trump’s Hiring Freeze Worries FBI, DOJ, Homeland Security

money-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump’s call for a hiring freeze has caused alarm in federal agencies like the FBI, Justice Department and Homeland Security.

During Trump’s announcement Monday, he said the military won’t be impacted by the hiring freeze that began Monday, the Sacramento Bee reports. 

Members of Congress want more information about the impact of the hiring freeze, which could mean far fewer FBI agents and Justice Department attorneys.

“This is a very complex government and you want to be really careful with your edicts because chances are they’re going to come back and bite you if you’re not careful,” said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove.

“We’re going to stop hiring. Really? What about TSA? What about the Border Patrol? What about the guy doing cybersecurity for the Justice Department?” he asked.

Republican Rep. Tom McClintock supports the order but cautioned against blanket hiring freeze.

“I applaud President Trump’s determination to pare back the federal government,” McClintock wrote in a statement to The Sacramento Bee. “The plan’s success, though, rests in redesigning the service delivery systems, eliminating unnecessary agencies and reforming the direct spending programs. Otherwise, you run the risk of shorting manpower in your top priority functions while continuing over-staffing of low priority or unnecessary agencies.”

Kellyanne Conway Gets Secret Service Protection After Threats

Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Saying she has received death threats, President Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway is receiving protection from the Secret Service.

The White House counselor and Trump’s final campaign manager said she received a suspicious “white substance” at her home, the New York Post reports. 

She blamed it on the media.

“Because of what the press is doing now to me, I have Secret Service protection,” she said. “We have packages delivered to my house with white substances. That is a shame.”

Barack Obama’s closest adviser, Valerie Jarrett, also received Secret Service protection.

ICE Employees to Get Free Gym Memberships Near Washington Headquarters

gymBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government is shopping for a health and fitness center for its employees who work at ICE.

The bids call for a “full-range health & fitness center” for ICE employees, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ. 

One requirement is a gym with “state-of-the-art-fitness equipment” wishing walking distance from one of its offices in Washington D.C.

The agency is accepting bids.

The plan is to pay the bill for employees to receive 1 year of access to the gym. The contract may be extended an additional 3 years.

The spending limit on annual memberships is $200,000.

Homeland Security Warned of ‘Alarming Security Concerns’ with Processing Immigrants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The public watchdog for Homeland Security issued an “urgent” alert Monday, saying there are “alarming security concerns” with the long-troubled electronic system that processes immigrants’ applications for citizenship, according to the U.S. News & World Report. 

Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General warned of widespread security flaws, prompting the Electronic Immigration System, or ELIS, to be discontinued.

Among the findings was that the system granted 20,000 green and and 175 applications for citizenship to people with incomplete or inaccurate security and background checks.

“Without sufficient vetting, immigrants could potentially be granted U.S. citizenship although they are ineligible or pose national security threats,” Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth wrote in a Friday memo to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

U.S. News & World Report wrote:

The system entered development in 2009 as a way to ease benefits applications for immigrants, and it was scheduled to be completed in 2013. By the time the program launched in 2012, however, it offered just two of the dozens of the services it was supposed to provide, and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services estimated it would need another three years and $1 billion to complete the program. Subsequent audits made public March, November and January uncovered a raft of security concerns.

However, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General apparently learned that, despite the issues, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services planned to reinstate the program as soon as this month, stoking alarm that the agency had not properly addressed the issues identified in the inspector general’s audit, the full results of which still have not yet been released.

Other Stories of Interest

President Trump Gives FBI Director Comey a Handshake And Pat On the Back

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump acknowledged FBI Director James Comey during a thank you reception for law enforcement and security personnel at the White House over the weekend.

“Oh, and there’s James!” Trump said as he saw Comey across the Blue Room. “He’s become more famous than me.”

Comey, whose decisions regarding Hillary Clinton have been unpopular by both Republicans and Democrats, greeted Trump. The two shook hands, and Trump leaned into Comey to say something.

What remains unclear is whether Trump will ask Comey to step down following his handling of the Clinton email investigation.