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FBI Investigates Ohio State University Professor Who Disappeared After NASA Work

Rongxing Li via NASA.

Rongxing Li via NASA.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Professor Rongxing Li gained international attention for his role in helping NASA explore Mars.

But after a decade of help at Ohio State University, Li quit and disappeared. The university made no mention of his departure and removed information about him from the website.

Now, the Columbus Dispatch reports, the FBI is investigating whether Li shared defense secrets with China.

Li, who was the director of the mapping and geographic information system laboratory, “had access to Department of Defense technical information that was prohibited from sharing with the Chinese,” the Dispatch wrote, citing search warrants filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

The FBI, OSU and NASA declined to comment.

Homeland Security Chair Warns about Dangers of Hosting Syrian Refugees

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Should the U.S. host refugees who are fleeing Syria?

U.S. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul is cautioning against it, saying the refugees present a threat to national security, TownHall.com reports.

“We’re a compassionate nation and this is a tragic situation but I also have to be concerned as Chairman of Homeland Security about the safety of Americans in this country and the concern that I have and that the FBI testified to is that we don’t really have the proper databases on these individuals to vet them passed and to assure we’re not allowing terrorists to come into this country and until I have that assurance, I cannot support a program that could potentially bring jihadists into the United States,” Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul said in an interview with Fox News Monday. “We don’t know who these people are and I think that’s the bottom line here and until we know who they are, we cannot responsibly bring them into the United States.”

“Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have told me privately that they don’t support bringing in Syrian refugees because of the threat they pose to Americans,” McCaul added.

McCaul said he hasn’t heard how President Obama plans to address the issue.

Some European countries are offering to take refugees, but nations in the Middle East are not.

FBI Spied on Nobel Prize-Winning Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez for 24 Years

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For 24 years, the FBI spied on Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Washington Post reports. 

The FBI began investigating the Columbian writer in 1961, just after he helped Cuba establish a news service, according to recently obtained records.

He later became “a close friend of (Cuban dictator) Fidel Castro” and was a well-known leftist.

His fame spread with the acclaimed novels, “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” and he be befriended international dignitaries.

The records don’t explain the motive behind the FBI’s spying, but the records indicate that the FBI was interested in his travels and friendships.

TSA Screener Accused of Swiping Passenger’s $7,500 Watch, Smashing It in Panic

Margo Lauree-Grant, via Border Patrol

Margo Lauree-Grant, via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA screener is accused of swiping a passenger’s watch and then smashing in a panic, the New York Post reports. 

Margo Lauree-Grant, 41, was arrested last week on allegations of stealing the $7,500 Diamond Master watch from a Canadian man on Aug. 26.

The traveler realized he forgot the watch during the screening process.

When TSA officials began reviewing video, Lauree-Grant “smashed the watch into pieces. She destroyed it,” a law enforcement official said.

She was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and official misconduct.

Other Stories of Interest

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FBI Tries to Determine Whether Foreign Spies Had Access to Hillary Clinton’s Private E-Mail Server

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail has included a search to determine whether foreign intelligence services were able to access her server, Bloomberg reports. 

Agents are looking for digital traces of cyber-spying.

Despite the concerns, Clinton has downplayed the possibility that her e-mails were hacked, saying the private system had “numerous safeguards.”

But the FBI is not so quick to reach that conclusion and has given the case to cyber security experts.

FBI Monitored Burning Man Festival in Nevada Desert, Records Show

Burning Man festival/via Wikipedia

Burning Man festival/via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New documents reveal that the FBI has monitored the annual Burning Man festival as tens of thousands of people gathered in the Nevada desert, Reuters reports. 

MuckRock.com acquired records that show agents joined artists, musicians and other revelers during the festival in 2010 and concluded that crowd control and illegal drugs were a big concern at the festival in northern Nevada.

The FBI wouldn’t comment on the records.

The records show that the bureau estimated that about 50,000 people turned out.

“The greatest known threat in this event is crowd control issues and use of illegal drugs by the participants,” said an FBI document on the festival posted to MuckRock.com.

FBI Agent Who Fatally Shot Friend of Marathon Bomber Had Troubled Past

Ibragim Todashev

Ibragim Todashev

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI agent who fatally shot a friend of one of the Boston Marathon bombers had a troubled past, but a prosecutor said it had no impact on clearing the agent of wrongdoing, the Boston Globe reports. 

FBI Agent Aaron McFarlane said he shot Ibragim Todashev in Orlando out of self-defense.

Prosecutor Jeffrey Ashton agreed that McFarlane was trying to defend himself from an attack.

“I concur in his assessment that there is nothing contained in those disciplinary files which would change my previous assessment that the agent(s) involved used lawful deadly force in their encounter with” Todashev, Ashton said in the letter.

In the past, McFarlane has been accused of brutality at least twice and falsifying a police report and was the subject of four internal affairs investigation.