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Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Use Pentagon Funds for Border Wall Construction

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s administration can use billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to help build a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The five-to-four ruling gives the administration permission to begin using $2.5 billion in Defense Department money to move ahead with wall construction. Lower courts delayed the project pending a Supreme Court decision.

Another $3.6 billion comes from military construction funds.

“Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall,” Trump tweeted. “The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”

FBI, ATF Join Investigation into Mass Shooting At California Garlic Festival

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and ATF have joined the investigation into a mass shooting that killed four people, including a 6-year-old boy, and injured 15 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in California on Sunday.

At least one gunman opened fire and was quickly killed by local police. On Monday morning, authorities warned that a possible accomplice is still on the loose.

The FBI and ATF are assisting Gilroy police.

The motive of the shooting was not immediately clear.

Four FBI Agents in Houston Area Awarded Congressional Badge of Bravery for Efforts During Hurricane Harvey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four FBI agents on Friday were awarded the Justice Department’s Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery for their rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 that are credited with saving about 150 people in the Houston region.

The awards, given at Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston, went to FBI Agents David Ko, Jack Walker, Michael Walker and Justin Widup. Those honoring the agents included Texas Sen. John Cornyn. The hurricane caused $125 billion in damage in the Houston area and Southeast Texas.

“As flooding reached its peak, Houston Police officers called upon local FBI agents for help evacuating flooded apartments in the Greenspoint area,” a press release from Cornyn’s office said. “Working through the night into early morning, FBI Agents Ko, Walker, Walker, and Widup brought more than 100 citizens and police officers to safety.  Later that morning, they assisted approximately 30 Houston Police officers trapped in a heavily flooded police substation in Braeswood Place and approximately 20 Houstonians – including young children – in a nearby apartment complex surrounded by floodwater.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: Donnie Brasco

Man Charged with Assaulting 3 Secret Service Agents in Tussle at White House

File photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A man has been charged with assaulting and injuring three Secret Services officers after he allegedly illegally entered White House grounds.

The officers were injured when they tried to stop Dane Nairns, who is accused of grabbing one of the officer’s gun belts, NBC News reports. Two other officers were injured when they tried to detain the suspect. One of the officers was kicked in the eye by Nairns, according to an affidavit.

“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 officers escaped serious injury and suffered scrapes and bruises. Nairns has been charged with assaulting police officers.

When Nairns ignored commands to stay off White House grounds, he allegedly responded, “You know who I am. I’m the guy who called in the President.”

Retired FBI Special Agent to Lead Mississippi Department

Christopher Freeze

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze has been appointed head the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

“I am confident Christopher Freeze will do a great job leading MDHS,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement. “His intellect and leadership experience as a Special Agent in Charge at the FBI makes him an excellent fit to guide the agency during this period of transition. I am grateful he has accepted this appointment.”

Freeze, a 23-year veteran of the FBI, retired earlier this year as special agent in charge of the Jackson Division, which he led since November 2016.

Freeze held leadership positions in the Houston and Counterterrorism divisions and worked extensively in intelligence. A firearms instructor, Freeze served as a member of the SWAT and Evidence Response Teams.

In his new position, Freeze will lead an agency responsible for providing services ranging from public assistant and social services to support for children and low-income people.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Executive Director of this important agency,” Freeze said. “MDHS touches the lives of so many families within Mississippi and my goal is to help the great employees at MDHS continue to provide vital and life-changing services to Mississippi’s children and families in need.”

El Paso’s Border Patrol Chief Being Sent to Detroit Amid Blistering Report

Conditions at one of the El Paso stations, via IG.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Aaron Hull, the controversial chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, is being sent to Detroit following reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions in border stations in El Paso.

Hull will be replaced by Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, who is head of the El Centro Sector in California, NBC News first reported.

Customs and Border Protection declined to say why Hull was reassigned, but the move comes after a blistering report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. The conditions were so deplorable that agents were beginning to arm themselves because they feared a riot.

The IG report documented overcrowded cells, a lack of showers or clean clothes, outbreaks of lice, flu, chickenpox and scabies, and more than half of the immigrants being held outside. Babies had no clean clothing or soft mats on which to sleep.

“With limited access to showers and clean clothing, detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” the report said.

The report also cited declining morale among agents who were worried about riots or hunger strikes. Some agents were even considering retiring early or moving to another agency.

“The current situation where immigrants are simply giving themselves up to the border patrol [and border patrol must detain] is causing low morale and high anxiety. They are seeing more drinking, domestic violence and financial problems among their agents,” the report said.

Despite the documented evidence, DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan insisted that news reports about poor conditions for children at the facility were “unsubstantiated.”

Hull also defended Border Patrol agents, saying he was “impressed” with their handling of an influx of migrants.

A Homeland Security official told NBC News that Hull has a reputation as a “law and order” chief who often acts on his own without permission from his superiors.

FBI Director: White Supremacy Behind Rise in Domestic Terrorism Cases

FBI Director Christopher Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that white supremacy is behind an increase in domestic terrorism cases this fiscal year.

In the past nine months, the FBI has recorded about 100 domestic terrorism arrests, which is an increase over previous years.

“A majority of the domestic terrorism cases we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The number of domestic terrorism cases now rivals the number of international terrorism cases, Wray said, contradicting President Trump’s claims that white nationalism was not on the rise.

The increase comes amid concerns that President Trump’s rhetoric is fueling white supremacy.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked Wray whether the bureau is taking the domestic terror threat seriously in light of Trump’s rhetoric.

“There is a concern that this is not being taken as seriously as it should be as one of the real threats in our country,” Durbin told Wray.

“We take domestic terrorism or hate crime, regardless of ideology, extremely seriously, I can assure you, and we are aggressively pursuing it using both counterterrorism resources and criminal investigative resources and partnering closely with our state and local partners,” Wray responded.

Another concern is that a vast majority of the domestic cases are not leading to terrorism charges.