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Stephen Belongia Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI Buffalo Field Office

Special Agent Stephen Belongia.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Stephen Belongia has been named special agent in charge of the FBI Buffalo Field Office in New York.

Belongia, who most recently served as the section chief of Cyber Readiness at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., first joined the bureau as a special agent in 1997 in the Phoenix Field Office, where he investigated criminal and counterterrorism issues.

While in Phoenix, Belongia became supervisor of a white-collar crime squad in 2010, focusing on investment and complex security frauds. He later led a counterterrorism squad.

In 2011, he was deployed to Iraq on a temporary assignment, investigating international contract corruption. In 2013, Belongia became an assistant legal attaché in Nairobi, Kenya, where he investigated, among other things, piracy and the terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping mall.

Belongia returned to Nairobi and began serving in the Human Resources Division at FBI headquarters, focusing on policy and administrative roles.

In 2017, Belongia was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Tampa Field Office in Florida, where he led the cyber, counterintelligence, human intelligence, technical, surveillance, intelligence, and administrative programs.

In 2019, Belongia was elevated to section chief of Cyber Readiness at FBI headquarters, working on a variety of tasks, including cyber education and training, human capital, strategic management, security, logistics, financial management, and workforce development. In addition, conceived and led several initiatives that included the FBI Cyber Academy, Cyber Pipeline, and the Cyber 2025 Strategic Review.

Before joining the bureau, Belongia earned a bachelor’s degree in business from California State University in Sacramento and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Oxford. Before becoming a special agent, Belongia worked as a CPA for KPMG.

House Democrats Call for Severe Funding Cuts to ICE, Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

House Democrats announced a plan Monday to severely cut the budgets of Border Patrol and ICE to reduce Homeland Security’s deportation operations.

The House Appropriations Committee introduced the fiscal 2021 spending bill, which would halt the hiring of new Border Patrol agents, prevent additional construction on President Trump’s border wall, and stop the detention of families, The Washington Times reports.

Under the plan, watchdog groups would receive a boost in funding to oversee ICE operations.

ICE’s deportation and detention division would be reduced to $3.3 billion, a $1.1 billion cut.

“Our bill fights for a more humane immigration approach, including the more restricted use of civil detention, expanded alternatives to detention, and the phase-out of family detention this year,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, chairwoman of the subcommittee that oversees Homeland Security funding, said.

CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan Calls Out Portland Leaders After Violence Breaks Out

CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan on Fox & Friends Weekend.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan slammed political leaders in Portland over their handling of violence in the city Saturday after Border Patrol agents were sent in to assist.

“What we saw in Portland last night was criminal and we stood strong with our federal partners to resist that,” Morgan told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday.

“Where are the local political leaders?”

Portland police declared the protest “a riot” late on Independence Dat after fires were set and violence broke out.

“These are not protesters, these are criminals who got together and organized and planned and actually brought weapons, they brought shields, they brought frozen water bottles, rocks, lasers, weapons with the intent to destroy a federal building and harm law enforcement officers,” Morgan said.

The protest comes after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Morgan called out one of the “criminals” for “trying to assault one of the CBP employees while he was being arrested.”

Book Examines FBI’s Pursuit of ‘Whitey’ Bulger And His Arrest, Trial And Death

“Hunting Whitey: The Inside Story of the Capture and Killing of America’s Most Wanted Crime Boss”

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A new book chronicles the FBI’s 16-year pursuit of James “Whitey” Bulger and his arrest, two-month trial and death in prison in 2018.

Journalists Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge painstakingly examine one of the most notorious crime bosses in American history in “Hunting Whitey: The Inside Story of the Capture and Killing of America’s Most Wanted Crime Boss.”

The book explores how Bulger, #1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, evaded capture for nearly two decades and was ultimately captured through the relentless efforts of federal agents.

The leader of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang was indicted on 19 counts of murder, racketeering, narcotics distribution and extortion.

The book offers new details about his death in prison.

“Everybody who lives in New England knows somebody who knows somebody who had an experience with Whitey,” Wedge told Cape Code Times. “We wrote this book to tie up loose ends.”

Sherman said Bulgar was constantly on the run before law enforcement caught up with him 16 years after he fled.

“He was free, but never free,” Sherman said. “He was always looking over his shoulder for the FBI or someone he’d crossed to come at him with a shotgun.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Hells Angels

Supreme Court to Consider Dispute Over Secret Grand Jury Materials from Mueller Probe

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The dispute between House Democrats and the Trump administration over releasing secret grand jury materials from Robert Mueller’s investigation will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court on Thursday said it will take up the case as the House Judiciary Committee seeks secret grand jury information, CBS News reports.

But it’s unlikely court will make a decision before the November election.

The case centers around the August 2019 release of Mueller’s report, which was heavily redacted.

The Justice Department has refused to give congressional leaders access to the grand jury documents in the case.

Democrats say they need the information to determine whether the president committed impeachable offenses.

Secret Service Agents Helping Set Up Pence Trip to Arizona Have Suspected Coronavirus Infections

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Multiple Secret Service agents who were planning Vice President Pence’s trip to Arizona have tested positive for the coronavirus or were showing signs of being infected.

The suspected infections prompted Pence to postpone his trip to Phoenix on Tuesday, The Washington Post reports.

The Secret Service asked Pence’s staff to postpone the trip to Wednesday to give the agency more time to replace eight to 10 agents with suspected infections.

It was the second time in two weeks that Secret Service agents working on campaign events were impacted by COVID-19. At least three Secret Service employees tested positive for the coronavirus after helping set up President Trump’s rally on June 20.

A Pence spokesperson declined to comment on the delay.

“Instead of highlighting Vice President Pence’s concerted effort with Task Force members to visit and support states with new cases, The Washington Post is choosing to use its pages to report on a story of little use to every day Americans attempting to learn more about how coronavirus affects them or the Administration’s response efforts,” Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement.

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Witnesses Offer Differing Account of Border Patrol Chase That Ended with 10 Dead in El Paso

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Some witnesses are contradicting Border Patrol’s claims that its agents stopped chasing a speeding vehicle that crashed and killed seven occupants in downtown El Paso on June 25.

Border Patrol officials said agents called off the pursuit because of the dangerous speed.

But witnesses told The Dallas Morning News that agents were still chasing the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze when it crashed into a parked trailer at 2:15 a.m. Two security guards said they saw the Border Patrol vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed with its headlights on and no sirens.

El Paso police are investigating.

“Was there a chase before the crash? Yes. Did it cause the crash? I don’t know,” Police spokesman Robert Gomez said.

At the time of the crash, 10 people were inside the car. Three were injured and remain in the hospital.

Authorities said the car was involved in human smuggling.

“All preliminary information collected thus far indicates that it was indeed a human smuggling event,” Chief Patrol Agent of the El Paso Sector Gloria Chavez said in a statement.