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Internal Watchdog Investigates Trump Administration’s Secret Database of Journalists, Activists, Lawyers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security’s internal watchdog is investigating the federal government’s secret surveillance of journalists and activists along the U.S. and Mexico border.

NBC 7 in San Diego revealed the database after receiving leaked documents that showed a list of surveillance targets that included 10 journalists, three attorneys and 46 immigration advocates.

Homeland Security’s acting Inspector General Jennifer Costello confirmed in a letter that “criminal investigators, program analysts, and attorneys” are investigating the secret database, which was part of the Department of Defense’s so-called “Operation Security Line.”

“We plan to review the leaked…document in order to determine why it was created, what it is used for, and what happened to the people named in it,” Costello wrote in the letter. “We also anticipate reviewing other specific allegations of targeting and/or harassment of lawyers, journalists, and advocates and evaluate whether [Customs and Border Protection’s] actions complied with law and policy.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., had harsh words for Trump.

“Putting journalists, attorneys, and activists on a secret government watch list may be a favorite move of one of President Trump’s autocratic friends, but it is not a tactic we should tolerate in our democracy,” Blumenthal said.

Man Charged with Assaulting 3 Secret Service Agents After Hopping White House Fence

Stock photo by Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man has been arrested and charged with assaulting three Secret Service agents after he was accused of illegally entering the White House grounds.

Police say Dane Nairns hopped a temporary security barrier  last week and was approached by three agents, NBC 4 Washington reports.

He’s accused of kicking an agent in the eye, grabbing another agent’s radio and gun belt and fighting with a third agent who forced the man’s surrendering by pulling out a taser.

“The individual disobeyed verbal commands of the officer to not enter the restricted area, and the suspect began to run,” a Secret Service spokeswoman said. “The suspect was placed under arrest after the arresting officer fought with him as he was actively resisting arrest and had grabbed the officer’s duty belt.”

The agents were treated at the scene for scrapes and bruises.

Fired Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe Sues Bureau and Justice Department

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifies before Congress.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For the second time in a week, a high-profile, fired FBI agent is suing the FBI and Justice Department.

Fired acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is suing the Justice Department and FBI over his firing last spring, asking that he be reinstated as deputy director of the FBI so he can earn a full pension, CNN reports. McCabe was fired just two days before his retirement date so he wouldn’t be eligible to collect a pension.

McCabe’s lawsuit, filed Thursday, claims he was wrongfully discharged.

Earlier in the week, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and bureau, claiming he was fired because of “unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media.”

The suit claims Strzok’s termination was politically motivated and violated two constitutional amendments, which he was deprived of by being fired.

See McCabe lawsuit

White House Rejected DHS Strategy to Combat White Supremacy-Fueled Terrorism

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House repeatedly dismissed efforts by Homeland Security to focus more attention on combating the rise in domestic terrorism, which includes white supremacy cases, multiple sources told CNN.

“Homeland Security officials battled the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism,” one senior source close to the Trump administration told CNN. “The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat which, while serious, ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on.”

Homeland Security officials have been pushing for more than a year to make domestic terrorism a higher priority as part of the National Counterterrorism Strategy, but the White House has resisted every step of the way.

“Ultimately the White House just added one paragraph about domestic terrorism as a throw-away line” in the National Counterterrorism Strategy, according to a senior source involved in the discussion.

So as the FBI continues to warn about the rise of white supremacy-fueled domestic terrorism, the final version of the strategy is overwhelmingly focused on Islamic terrorism. A single paragraph of the strategy mentions “other forms of violent extremism.”

One former officials said he’s not surprised the White House would prioritize domestic terrorism “because the preponderance of it involves white supremacy and that’s not something this administration is comfortable speaking out against, until the other day by the president and even that was pretty hedged.”

Also this week, a former FBI counterterrorism agent said his former colleagues are reluctant to aggressively investigate white nationalist extremists because they are part of Trump’s base.

“I believe Christopher A. Wray is an honorable man, but I think in many ways the FBI is hamstrung in trying to investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would,” the former agent, David Gomez, told The Washington Post. “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base. It’s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”

Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is fueling hatred and making the country more dangerous, Democratic Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro told MSNBC.

“This was the deadliest attack on the Latino community in United States history,” Castro said. “The president blamed the media, the internet, video games. He did not look in the mirror and blame himself.”

ICE Raids in Mississippi Were Largest Single-State Sweep in U.S. History

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE arrested about 680 people during raids of seven food processing plants across Mississippi on Wednesday in what officials described as the largest single-state sweep in U.S. history.

The raids were the result of an ongoing, year-long investigation targeting immigrants working without authorization, ICE said in a news release.

During the raids, more than 600 ICE agents were involved, fanning out to prevent workers from escaping.

“While we are a nation of immigrants, more than that, first and foremost, we are a nation of laws,” U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi told NBC News. “They have to come here legally or they shouldn’t come here at all.”

Most of those arrested were Latinos.

Former FBI Agent Strzok Sues DOJ, Bureau over His Firing

Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI special agent Peter Strzok filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and bureau on Tuesday, claiming he was fired because of “unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media.”

The suit claims Strzok’s termination was politically motivated and violated two constitutional amendments, The Hill reports.

According to the suit, Strzok was fired for expressing is First Amendment right to use political speech. In addition, Strzok’s attorney said the FBI denied him the right to appeal the firing, which “deprived” him of due process under the Fifth Amendment.

The suit also claims the defendants unlawful leaked information that led to his firing.

“The concerted public campaign to disparage and, ultimately, fire Special Agent Strzok was enabled by the defendants’ deliberate and unlawful disclosure to the media of texts, intended to be private, from an FBI systems of records, in violation of the Privacy Act,” according to the court documents.

Strzok was fired in August 2018.

FBI Launches Domestic Terrorism Investigation into Gilroy Mass Shooting

Gilroy gunman Santino William Legan.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI said Tuesday it’s launching a domestic terrorism investigation into the July 28 mass shooting in Gilroy, Calif., because authorities uncovered evidence that he was influenced by “violent ideologies.”

Investigators uncovered evidence that 19-year-old gunman, Santino William Legan, had a “target list” of political organizations, religious institutions, federal buildings, and courthouse, the FBI said at a news conference Tuesday.

Three people were killed and 13 others were injured in the shooting. Legan turned the gun on himself.

Investigators have yet to determine a motive and are trying to determine whether his “fractured ideologies” played a role in the shooting, said John F. Bennett, special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco office.

The FBI did not reveal the specifics on the list.

About an hour before he opened fire with a AK-47-style rifle, Legan posted about a white supremacist manifesto on Instagram. He encouraged his Instagram followers to read, “Might Is Right or the Survival of the Fittest,” a fringe book that describes black and Jewish people as inferior and advocates for women as property.

The FBI also opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the gunman who killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart. The 21-year-old suspect is accused of writing an online manifesto about his hatred for immigrants.

In late July, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate committee that white supremacy is behind an increase in domestic terrorism cases this fiscal year.