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Democrats Demand Apology from CIA Director After Agency Spied on Senate Staffers

CIA Director John Brennan

CIA Director John Brennan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A group of Democrats is calling for President Obama to demand an apology from CIA Director John Brennan for spying on Senate staffers, The Hill reports. 

“We believe that it is necessary for you to address this matter directly,” Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) wrote in a letter to Obama on Thursday.

“We ask that you instruct Director Brennan to acknowledge that the CIA’s unauthorized search of Senate files was improper and will not be repeated.”

The Democrats said it’s “wholly unacceptable” that Brennan never acknowledged publicly “that this search was improper.”

Senators revealed in March 2014 that the CIA broke into a walled-off computer and searched Senate files.

The documents were related to an investigation by the Intelligence Committee of the CIA’s use of torture.

The CIA’s inspector general discovered that five agency employees had “improperly accessed” the computer in mid-2014.

Other Stories of Interest

Former FBI Director Freeh May Be Tapped to Help Volkswagen with Emissions Scandal

Louis Freeh

Louis Freeh

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Looking for help with its emission scandal, Volkswagen is reportedly planning to hire former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The automaker wants Freeh to deal with investigators who are probing the alleged manipulation of diesel-emissions test, Fox Business reports. 

Freeh currently operates a risk management group called Freeh Group International Solutions.

Interestingly, Freeh wouldn’t be the only former FBI director involved in the case. Robert Mueller, who served 12 years at the helm before retiring in 2013 has been named the “settlement master” to deal with 500 lawsuits against the company.

The Justice has accused Volkswagen of violating the Clean Air Act and is seeking as much as $46 million in a suit against the automaker.

Kent State Professor Accused of Ties to ISIS Denies Wrongdoing, Suggests Witchunt

Professor Julio Pino, via You Tube.

Professor Julio Pino, via You Tube.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Kent State University professor accused of having ties to ISIS denied supporting terrorism and dismissed the complaints as absurd.

“I’ve never broken the law. I support no violence or violent organizations,” history professor Julio Pino told the Akron Beacon Journal. “One man or one woman’s interpretation of events can be very different from another’s. As they say, ‘Haters gonna hate.’ Truth always prevails, and truth will prevail in this case.”

Pino said he believed the FBI is investigating him because of his outspoken positions on the Middle East.

“I can only imagine, given my past record at Kent State dealing with controversial issues about the Middle East, some people may be favorable or unfavorable,” he said. “Rumors start, and that’s the only thing I can think would draw attention from a government agency.”

The FBI confirmed that the professor is under investigation but declined to elaborate.

A university spokesperson said the university is fully cooperating.

FBI Struggles to Crack Encryption of Cell Phones Used by San Bernardino Terrorists

cellphone-tower-photo2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is struggling to crack the encryption of cellphone codes used by the husband-and-wife terrorist team that opened fire at a San Bernardino holiday party, killing 14 people.

The Press Enterprise said investigators also are having trouble locating the couple’s missing computer hard drive.

The highly encrypted phones used by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, have been too difficult to crack, said David Bowdich, FBI assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles office.

“As to those devices, obviously we’ve said from day one, the digital footprint is incredibly important for us to hopefully learn any contacts, any context, and ultimately any intent on their part,” Bowdich said. “I think that’s very, very important.”

FBI Agent Spared Jail After Assaulting 15-Year-Old Boy Because of Stellar Career

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent captured on video shoving a Maryland teenager was spared a jail sentence Wednesday because of what a judge called a stellar career.

The Washington Post reports that Gerald Rogero, a unit chief in the FBI’s counterterrorism division, likely will continue his duties with the bureau.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Steven Salant placed Salant on two years’ probation and ordered him to undergo anger-management classes.

“Would it be in the best interest of the defendant — as a result of this isolated and unfortunate mistake of judgment — to deprive him of his employment, of his livelihood?” Salant asked from the bench, speaking to a courtroom packed with FBI agents supporting their colleague as well as friends and family supporting the teenager. “To impact upon his children? To impact upon the service that he can bring to the community? I think not.”

Rogero, 46, shoved a 15-year-old boy, sending him to the pavement.

Oregon Governor Urges Feds to ‘End Occupation’ of Wildlife Refuge

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Oregon’s governor said she’s fed up with federal authorities’ leniency with an armed militia’s occupation of a national wildlife refuge.

Gov. Kate Brown said the time has come for the feds to “move quickly to end the occupation and hold all of the wrongdoers accountable.”

“The residents of Harney County have been overlooked and underserved by federal officials’ response thus far. I have conveyed these very grave concerns directly to our leaders at the highest levels of our government: the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House,” Brown said.

Saying the occupation has cost state taxpayers nearly a half million dollars, Brown said she’ll be “asking federal officials to reimburse the state for these costs.”

Federal authorities so far have left the occupiers alone to avoid provoking a confrontation.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI So Busy with Spike in Gun Background Checks That it Halted Appeals

gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has been so swamped with the increase in criminal background checks for gun purchasers that it has been forced to temporarily stop processing thousands of appeals from people who have been denied a firearm, the USA Today reports. 

The news comes after the FBI conducted more background checks for guns in 2015 than any previous year.

The FBI has about 50 analysts who handle appeals, but the employees were redeployed to keep up with the spike in background checks.

As a result of the redeployment, the FBI has a backlog of 7,100 appeals.

“The last several months, we’ve kind of found ourselves in a perfect storm,’’ Morris said in an interview with USA TODAY.

The spike in gun purchases followed several high-profile shooting massacres.

Violent Crime Increased Nationwide in First Half of 2015, FBI Reports

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Violent crimes in the U.S. increased in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary FBI data.

Local law enforcement reported to the bureau a 1.7% increase in violent crimes in the first six months of 2015. Murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery rose nationwide, while arson and burglary declined.

“While the overall violent crime rates remain historically low, and it is too early to draw any long-term conclusions, the Justice Department is acutely focused on the increases being experienced in some communities of the country,” Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush told CBS News. “While the overall violent crime rates remain historically low, and it is too early to draw any long-term conclusions, the Justice Department is acutely focused on the increases being experienced in some communities of the country,” said Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush.

Despite the increase, the violent crime rate is still far below what it was 20 years ago.