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Disgraced Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Wants Released from Jail Because of Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Agent John Connolly, who is serving a 40-year prison sentence for assisting notorious gangster “Whitey” Bulger, is asking to be freed from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 79-year-old “suffers from multiple severe medical conditions, poses no threat to the public safety, and seeks release to protect him from contracting the novel coronavirus,” his attorneys wrote to a Florida judge this week, The Miami Herald reports.

His lawyers say Connolly would live with his brother in Florida and serve the remainder of his sentence on home confinement.

While working for the FBI’s Boston Field Office in the 1970s, Connolly recruited Bulger as an informant. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for participating in a plot to kill a Florida businessman in 1982 at the urging of Bulger.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office does not want Connolly to be released.

“He deserves to remain behind bars,” State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle told The Miami Herald. “He was an FBI agent who used his badge to give information that led to the death of an informant. It’s reprehensible.”

The former agent is asking that he be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence on home confinement.

Darrin E. Jones Named Executive Assistant Director of Science & Technology Branch at FBI Headquarters

FBI Special Agent Darrin Jones, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Darrin E. Jones has been named executive assistant director (EAD) of the Science and Technology Branch at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

Jones, who had been serving as assistant director of the Information Technology Infrastructure Division, will oversee the Criminal Justice Information Services, Laboratory, and Operational Technology Divisions.

Jones’s FBI career began in 1997, when he served as a special agent in the Salt Lake City Field Office, investigating international drug trafficking and cybercrime and helped lead the counterterrorism planning for the 2002 Olympics.

In 2003, he became supervisor and served as a congressional liaison in the Office of Congressional Affairs at headquarters.

In 2005, Jones became a supervisor in the Operational Technology Division at Quantico, Va.

He began serving as the cyber program supervisor at the Albuquerque Field Office in 2007, managing criminal cyber cases and national security intrusion investigations. In 2009, Jones oversaw the construction of the New Mexico Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory and served as director of the lab, which provides digital forensics services to the law enforcement and national security communities.

In 2011, Jones was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Anchorage Field Office.

In 2013, Jones returned to FBI headquarters as a section chief in the Operational Technology Division, coordinating technical and policy matters related to electronic communication interception.

In March 2017, he was named special agent in charge of the Kansas City Field Office in Missouri.

In 2018, Jones earned an advanced certification in Information Security from Carnegie Mellon University.

In 2019, Jones was appointed to assistant director of the Information Technology Infrastructure Division.

Jones earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska.

Barr: DOJ May Intervene in States’ Stay-at-Home Orders Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Most epidemiologists and public health experts agree that reopening states’ economies too quickly could cause a significant surge in COVID-19 infections.

But Attorney General William Barr warned Tuesday that the Justice Department may intervene in some states’ restrictions, saying they are placing “unprecedented burdens on civil liberties right now.”

“You know, the idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” Barr said during an interview on The Hugh Hewitt Show. “I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood.”

Barr said the restrictions may go too far by interfering with interstate commerce.

The debate has pitted President Trump against most governors, who want to continue enforcing the orders until there’s a significant decline in coronavirus cases and an adequate supply of testing kits. The coronavirus has swept across the U.S., killing more than 45,000 people.

Man Arrested After Shooting at FBI’s Phoenix Field Office

FBI’s Phoenix Field Office, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A man has been arrested after authorities say he shot at the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office on Monday.

According to the FBI, the man approached the building and then fired his weapon at an employee who was exiting at around 2 p.m,, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The FBI and Phoenix Police Department tracked down the man, who has not been identified, on Interstate 17 and arrested him without incident.

The motive for the shooting wasn’t immediately clear.

No one was injured.

Robert W. Britt named special agent in charge of the Anchorage Field Office in Alaska

FBI’s Anchorage Field Office in Alaska. Via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Robert W. Britt has been named the special agent in charge of the Anchorage Field Office in Alaska.

Britt had been serving as an inspector in the Inspection Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

Britt’s FBI career began in 2001, when he worked on criminal, counterterrorism, and cyber cases at the Austin Resident Agency of the San Antonio Field Office.

In 2006, Britt was transferred to the Washington Field Office, serving as a member of the U.S. attorney general’s protective operations detail.

In 2008, Britt was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Firearms Training Unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., and in 2010, he was named unit chief of the Director’s Research Group at headquarters.

In 2012, Britt served as field supervisor in the Oklahoma City Field Office, managing five resident agencies in western Oklahoma. He also was the program coordinator of the civil rights and Indian Country crimes programs, leading the surveillance, aviation, and undercover programs.

In 2014, Britt became assistant inspector and team leader at headquarters.

Two years later, he served as assistant special agent in charge in the Los Angeles Field Office, where he worked in the Counterterrorism and Administrative Divisions, managing the counterterrorism, extraterritorial, crisis response, electronic surveillance, and administration programs.

Before joining the FBI, Britt served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as an instructional system designer. He earned a master’s degree in human relations and bachelor’s degrees in education and human resource management.

Fourth TSA Agent Dies from Coronavirus. Nearly 450 Others Have Tested Positive.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A customs agent at Miami International Airport has become the fourth TSA employee to die from the coronavirus.

Victor Chung, who had worked at the TSA for 17 years, died Sunday.

Nearly 450 TSA employees, including screeners and nonscreeners, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the agency. So far, 79 of them have recovered.

The screeners worked at more than two dozens airports across the country. At John F. Kennedy International, where 185 TSA employees have tested positive, has been hit the hardest. At Newark Liberty International, 88 TSA workers have confirmed infections. More than 50 TSA workers from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International have tested positive.

TSA workers, especially screeners, are especially vulnerable because they have a lot of contact with the public.

FBI Warns that Foreign Hackers Are Targeting COVID-19 Research Institutions

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A top FBI official said Thursday that foreign state-sponsored hackers have broken into COVID-19 research institutions.

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Tonya Ugoretz revealed the news during an online panel discussion hosted by the international think tank Aspen Institute, Reuters reports.

“We certainly have seen reconnaissance activity, and some intrusions, into some of those institutions, especially those that have publicly identified themselves as working on COVID-related research,” Ugoretz said.

Organizations that have publicly unveil their research efforts “make them a mark for other nation-states that are interested in gleaning details about what exactly they’re doing and maybe even stealing proprietary information that those institutions have,” Ugortez said.

While it’s not unusual for foreign state-backed hackers to target the biopharmaceutical industry, the cyber invasions are “certainly heightened during the crisis.”

Michel Cohen to Be Released Early from Prison Over Coronavirus Fears

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former longtime attorney and self-described fixer, will be released from prison early over concerns that the coronavirus will continue to sweep through jails.

Cohen will serve the remainder of his three-year sentence in home confinement, his attorney Roger Bennett told reporters.

Cohen is expected to be released on May 1 after he completes a two-week quarantine at the prison.

Cohen was sentenced in December 2018 after pleading guilty to nine federal charges, including making secret payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. The charges also included lying to congress about his involvement with a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow and failing to report millions of dollars in income.

His initial release date was November 2021.

“Pursuant to the First Step Act, different forms of compassionate relief can be granted,” Adler told ABC News. “My client’s application was granted.”