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CBP Expands Facial Recognition Technology to Fifth Border Crossing

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection expanded its facial recognition technology to a fifth location as the agency prepares to deploy the system in other areas this spring.

The newest location is at the Progreso Port of Entry in Weslaco, Texas, where the technology is able to scan pedestrians’ faces as they walk across the bridge, Nextgov.com reports.

Launched in 2018, the technology is in place at border crossings in El Paso, Laredo, Nogales and San Luis, Arizona.

This spring, the agency plans to expand the technology to more land border crossings.

The longterm goal is to deploy facial recognition technology at all border crossings, including land, air and seaports.

AG Barr Says Trump’s Tweets ‘Make It Impossible for Me to Do My Job’

Attorney General William Barr on ABC News.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr delivered a rare rebuke of President Trump, saying his tweets about the Justice Department “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

In an interview with ABC News, Barr said, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”

“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” Barr said. “I’m gonna do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

Barr’s candid remarks come after Trump injected himself into the case of his friend and confidant Roger Stone, who was convicted in November of seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction, and witness tampering. Trump tweeted that the sentence recommendation of seven to nine years in prison was “horrible and very unfair” and called it a “miscarriage of justice!” Soon after the tweet, senior Justice Department officials overruled the recommendation, saying it was excessive, prompting a team of prosecutors to withdraw from the case.

Barr defended the department’s decision to overrule the sentence recommendation and insisted Trump was not a factor.

Barr insisted he notified his staff to amend the recommendation before Trump’s tweet, which he said put him in a tough position.

“Do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be,” he said.

After the sentence recommendation was lowered, Trump congratulated Barr.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted.

Barr insisted he would never bow to political pressure from Trump.

“If (Trump) were to say, ‘Go investigate somebody because’—and you sense it’s because they’re a political opponent, then the attorney general shouldn’t carry that out, wouldn’t carry that out,” Barr said.

White House Taps Chad Mizelle As Top Acting Attorney at Homeland Security

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Chad Mizelle, who has been serving as chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security, has been named the agency’s top acting attorney, CNN reports.

Mizelle was previously the counsel to the deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.

“I am confident that Chad will lead the Office of General Counsel with great honor and will continue to provide sound advice and counsel to Departmental leadership,” Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said.

In his new role, Mizelle will oversee 2,500 attorneys and take charge of legal issues.

A 2013 graduate of Cornell Law School, Mizelle also was a volunteer attorney for the Trump campaign.

House Democrats Demand Secret Service Payments to Trump Organization

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are asking the Secret Service to disclose how much money it is spending at President Trump’s company while protecting him at his properties, often while he’s golfing.

The request comes after The Washington Post revealed that the Secret Service was spending as much as $650 per night for rooms for each agent. The costs added up to more than $471,000 for stays between January 2017 and April 2018.

In a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Jackie Speier requested payment records and any contracts between the Trump Organization and the Secret Service.

“The payment of rates far above government rates and the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency raise serious concerns about the use of taxpayer dollars and raise questions about government spending at other Trump properties,” Maloney and Speier wrote in the letter. “These concerns are heightened since President Trump has spent a third of his presidency at his private clubs and hotels, and his Treasury Secretary has attempted to shield Secret Service expenses from public scrutiny.”

The letter notes that Eric Trump, the president’s son and executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, told Yahoo Finance that the government “saves a fortune” when it stays at properties he owns. But records show the payments are higher than usual.

The House Democrats also criticized the Secret Service’s failure to disclose the “full scope of its payments to the president’s businesses or its expenses for presidential travel to his own properties.”

TSA Officer Accused of Coercing Woman into Twice Bearing Her Breasts

Via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA officer is accused of coercing a female passenger into showing him her breasts twice during a security screening at Los Angeles International Airpot.

Johnathon Lomeli, 22, was arrested last week  on charges of fraud or deceit to falsely imprison a woman passing through security, the Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors said Lomeli told the woman he needed to inspect her bra to ensure she wasn’t concealing anything. He then told her to lift her shirt “to show me your full breasts” and then demanded she pull her pants away from her waist so he could take a look.

After telling her she was free to go, he allegedly said she had nice breasts.

Trump Congratulates AG Barr for Intervening in Roger Stone Sentencing Recommendation

Attorney General William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A team of career prosecutors withdrew from the case of Roger Stone Jr. after senior prosecutors for the Justice Department sought a shorter sentence for President Trump’s confidant and friend.

The prosecutors had recommended seven to nine years after Stone, a GOP dirty trickster, was found guilty in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

Senior Justice Department officials overruled the sentencing recommendation, saying it was excessive, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. Under the revised recommendation, the Justice Department said the sentence should be “far less,” suggesting the earlier one “does not accurately reflect the Department of Justice’s position on what would be a reasonable sentence in this matter.”

The abrupt and unusual intervention of senior officials raised serious questions about whether the Justice Department – and more specifically, Attorney General William Barr – was bowing to pressure from Trump, who declared on Tuesday that the DOJ’s sentence recommendation was “horrible and very unfair.”

On Wednesday morning, Trump congratulated Barr for intervening.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted. “Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”

About 10 minutes later, Trump added, “Two months in jail for a Swamp Creature, yet 9 years recommended for Roger Stone (who was not even working for the Trump Campaign). Gee, that sounds very fair! Rogue prosecutors maybe? The Swamp!”

Of the four prosecutors who withdrew from the case, one resigned entirely from the Justice Department.

Legal experts criticized the Justice Department’s intervention.

Michael R. Bromwich, who was the DOJ’s inspector general under President Bill Clinton, tweeted to “all career DOJ employees:” “Report all instances of improper political influence and other misdeeds to the DOJ IG, who is required to protect your identity.”

“This is not what you signed up for. The four prosecutors who bailed on the Stone case have shown the way,” Bromwich tweeted.

Border Officers Help Deliver Baby in CBP Car on Texas Bridge

CBP officers helped deliver a baby. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers helped deliver a baby at the Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios in Texas.

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday, a 16-year-old U.S. resident went into labor at the midpoint of the bridge. CBP officers were preparing to take the teenager to the hospital, but she was in full labor.

So CBP officers helped deliver the baby inside a CBP vehicle.

“Our officers are ready for a variety of situations, even childbirth, and they utilized all of their training and experience to calm the mother and assist with her delivery, which happened almost immediately after crossing back into the United States,” Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry, said in a news release.

The mother and her health baby were transported to a local hospital, where they were reported in good health.