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FBI: Undercover Sting Ensnares White Supremacist Who Planned to Bomb Colorado Synagogue

Richard Holzer

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 27-year-old white supremacist accused of planning to bomb a Colorado synagogue as part of a “racial holy war.”

Richard Holzer was arrested Friday night after he believed he was picking up pipe bombs and dynamite from co-conspirators who turned out to be undercover federal agents.

Holzer planned to bomb the Temple Emanuel synagogue in Pueblo, Colo., the FBI alleges.

While picking up the phony bombs, Holzer was carrying a copy of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and wearing a Nazi armband, The Washington Post reports, citing FBI Special Agent John W. Smith’s court filing.

Holzer faces up to 20 years in prison after he was arraigned Monday on a charge of attempting to obstruct people from exercising their religious freedom through force and attempted use of explosives and fire.

“We thwarted an imminent threat to our community,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips said at a news conference.

Holzer caught the attention of the FBI earlier this year when investigators spotted anti-Semitic posts on social media. Posing as a white supremacist, an undercover agent established a relationship with Holzer, who sent pictures of himself with guns and swastikas.

Holzer is accused of telling the undercover agent he was “getting ready” for a “racial holy war.”

The FBI said Holzer confessed to the plot after his arrest.

TSA Agents Find Gun-Shaped Toilet Paper Holder at New Jersey Airport

Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

TSA agents believed they had discovered a gun in a passenger’s carry-on at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey.

But this item was meant to hold toilet paper, not bullets.

Upon closer inspection last week, TSA agents found a gun-shaped toilet paper holder, the agency said in a news release.

TSA prevents travelers from boarding planes with real or replica firearms. So the traveler was given a choice: Surrender the gun or place it in a checked bag.

The traveler forfeited it to the TSA.

Car with Strange Warning about Russia Was Abandoned in Front of Pittsburgh’s FBI Office

FBI office in Pittsburgh, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI agents in Pittsburgh were in for a surprise last week when someone abandoned a car tagged with a strange message at an entrance gate to the bureau’s office on the city’s south side.

Along the side of the car was a stencil-painted message: “RUSSIA PLANTS MICRORADIO DEVICES IN PPLS EARS & CONTROLS THEM USING A SOUND SIMILAR TO A DOG WHISTLE. SUBLIMINAL HYPNOSIS.”

A bomb squad checked the car for explosives Thursday morning, and agents worked with Pittsburgh’s local police to investigate, KIRO-7 reported.

By Friday, the person who parked the car outside the East Carson Street office was found.

“He voluntarily turned himself in to the FBI this morning and appears to be suffering from an unknown mental illness,” an FBI spokesperson said in a statement.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Chicago Mob

South Carolina Officers Thought They Were Protecting Drug Traffickers. It Was an FBI Sting

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Three South Carolina law enforcement officers who accepted money in exchange for protecting what they thought were drug traffickers have pleaded guilty.

Turns out, the Mexican drug-trafficking cartel was actually a group of undercover FBI agents.

A former Springfield officer and two Orangeburg County deputies pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges connected to the sting, The State reports.

The law enforcement officials believed they were guarding cartel trucks full of cash and drugs that were traveling south on Interstate 26 through Orangeburg County.

They were indicted in March.

Four other officers have pending cases.

The FBI used wiretaps and covert videos showing the officers agreed to “guard” the trucks.

Trump Plans to Name Chad Wolf As Fifth Homeland Security Secretary in Less Than 3 Years

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump plans to name Chad Wolf as the next acting Homeland Security secretary, Politico reports.

Wolf, the acting undersecretary for strategy at Homeland Security and former chief of staff to then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, would replace Kevin McAleenan, who was scheduled to resign Thursday but agreed to stay on to create a smooth transition in leadership.

That would make Wolf the fifth Homeland Security secretary in less than three years under Trump.

The White House was trying to find a loophole in a federal law to appoint immigration hardliner Ken Cuccinelli. But Republican senators warned the president against making the appointment.

Officials told Politico that Trump has some concerns about Wolf, including that he’s not strong enough on immigration. But Wolf was involved in the migrant family separation policy at the border.

Still, a senior administration official told Politico that Wolf would be “an outstanding pick by the President.”

“Chad is uniquely qualified to lead the Department and he’s widely respected within DHS and the interagency community for his experience and vision,” the official said.

Republican Senators to Trump: Don’t Appoint Immigration Hardliner to Lead Homeland Security

Ken Cuccinelli

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Republican senators are warning President Trump not to exploit a potential loophole in a federal law to appoint an immigration hardliner to lead Homeland Security.

As Tickle the Wire reported Wednesday, the White House is looking for ways to bypass the Federal Vacancies Act that limits who can take over cabinet-level positions. Trump and immigration hardliners appear to favor Ken Cuccinelli to become the fifth Homeland Security director in less than three years.

As acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Cuccinelli would not be eligible unless the administration found a loophole that involves appointing him to assistant secretary of Homeland Security. Doing so would risk a protracted legal battle at a time when Homeland Security needs a permanent leader.

“The White House would be well advised to consult with the Senate and senators before they take any decisive action that might be embarrassing to Mr. Cuccinelli or to the White House itself,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), according to Politico.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also said he does not like the idea.

Cuccinelli, one of the president’s top lieutenants as an immigration hardliner, has not won over Republicans because he once led the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group that was critical of the GOP establishment.

On Wednesday, Cuccinelli told lawmakers he ended a program that temporarily protected immigrants from deportation if they’re battling life-threatening illnesses in the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is scheduled to resign today.

FBI Launches Probe of Death Threats Targeting CIA Whistleblower

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating death threats leveled against the CIA whistleblower whose complaint prompted the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.

Since the whistleblower’s identify is still anonymous, the threats were sent to the legal team representing the CIA official, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told the New York Daily News.

Several of the death threats mentioned executing and shooting the CIA informant.

One email sent to the legal team says, “The whistleblower should be shot.”

Another person wrote, “In Putin’s country, they would execute this person.”

According to the source, the FBI is taking the threats “incredibly seriously.”

President Trump has turned up the hateful rhetoric directed at the whistleblower, calling him a “partisan operative,” “spy,” and “never Trumper.”

“Sounding more and more like the so-called Whistleblower isn’t a Whistleblower at all,” Trump tweeted last month.