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FBI Task Force Nabs Suspect Accused of Plotting Times Square Attack

Times Square, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI and local police nabbed a man they believe was plotting to detonate explosives in Times Square.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force took the suspect into custody Thursday after setting up a sting to catch him buying weapons CBS 2 reports.

Authorities believe the suspect was acting alone and not planning another attack.

The suspect, who has not yet been identified, is set to appear in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday.

Authorities have not yet indicated a motive.

Trump Formally Nominates FOP’s Kenneth Canterbury to Head ATF

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Kenneth “Chuck” Canterbury via Twitter.

President Trump’s pick to head the ATF, Kenneth “Chuck” Canterbury, was formally nominated Wednesday.

Trump announced his pick last month, but the formal nomination means his name has been sent to the Senate for a vote.

Canterbury has served as the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police since 2003.

If approved, Canterbury will replace Thomas Brandon, who recently announced his retirement.

FBI Releases Documents Related to 1976 Bigfoot Investigation

FBI scan of hair provided by Peter Byrne.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI revealed that it investigated the possible existence of Bigfoot in the 1970s, releasing 22 public documents.

The investigation began after Peter Byrne, director of the Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition, gave the FBI mysterious hairs and tissue to analyze.

In a letter to the bureau, Byrne wrote, “Please understand that our research here is serious. That this is a serious question that needs answering.”

In the mid-1970s, FBI Assistant Director Jay Cochran Jr. agreed to make an exception and “examine the hairs and tissues” received by Byrne.

Cochran wrote that the FBI analyzed the samples “by transmitted and incident light microscopy,” an examination that included “a study of morphological characteristics such as root structure, medullary structure and cuticle thickness in addition to scale casts.”

The FBI, after analyzing 15 hair and tissue samples, concluded that the mysterious animal turned out to be “of deer family origin.”

The FBI closed the investigation in 1977.

ICE to Ramp Up Deportations of Families Living in U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ICE is planning to increase deportations of families who are in the U.S. illegally, acting ICE Director Mark Morgan said Tuesday.

While Morgan said the priority would be on people with criminal histories, he emphasized that no one is exempt from enforcement.

“This will include families,” he told reporters at ICE headquarters in Washington D.C., according to USA Today.

Families also make up a majority of the people apprehended at the border.

Morgan’s announcement, which comes during a sharp increase in migrants crossing the border, shows he’s aligned with Trump’s tough stance on immigration.

Lawmakers Uneasy about FBI’s Facial Recognition Technology

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Some Democrats and Republicans in Congress are calling for a temporary ban on the federal government’s use of facial recognition technology after the FBI revealed it had accumulated more than 640 million photographs.

The photos, which come from driver’s licenses, mug shots, passports, social media and other places, can be used for the bureau’s facial recognition technology.

“This technology is evolving extremely rapidly without any real safeguards,” Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said during the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Tuesday. “Whether we are talking about commercial use or government use, there are real concerns about the risks that this technology poses to our civil rights and liberties and our right to privacy.”

The technology has been criticized, not just over transparency and privacy concerns, but because of its unreliability. Studies have shown the technology is less accurate on darker faces, which could lead to arrests based on false matches.

Kimberly Del Greco, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services section, told lawmakers that “Trust is crucial” to the FBI.

“Protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the American people is part of our culture.”

Some lawmakers questioned why the FBI was using noncriminal photos.

Charles Spencer Named Assistant Director of FBI’s International Operations Division

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Charles Spencer, a 21-year FBI veteran who most recently served as special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office in Florida, has been named as the new assistant director of the bureau’s International Operations Division.

Spencer will manage the FBI’s legal attaché program at the division, where he’s tasked with building relationships with foreign law enforcement and intelligence partners. The division also trains international law enforcement partners.

Spencer’s long career with the FBI began in 1998, when he was assigned to the Washington Field Office, working on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. In 2005, he was promoted to supervisory special agent, overseeing the FBI’s gun vault.

In 2007, the FBI deployed Spencer to Iraq.

A year later, Spencer served as the supervisor of the Oklahoma City Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. In 2011, he was awarded the FBI’s Shield of Bravery for an encounter with a heavily armed domestic terrorist.

In 2013, the FBI promoted him to assistant special agent in charge of the national security branch in the New Orleans Field Office, where he headed up programs covering weapons of mass destruction, counterintelligence, counter=terrorism, cyber-crimes, surveillance, and crisis management.

In 2015, Spencer became the deputy assistant director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.
A year later, Spencer was placed in charge of the Jacksonville office.

Before joining the FBI, Spencer earned a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University. He later became an engineer in the commercial nuclear power industry.

U.S. Citizen Shot Dead After Shootout at Border with CBP Officers

Border marker at San Ysidro Port of Entry, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection officers engaged in a deadly shootout Monday evening with a U.S. citizen who opened fire after refusing to stop at a checkpoint at California’s border with Mexico.

The 23-year-old man who refused to stop his white pickup truck was killed after opening fire on CBP officers. The shooting began after the pickup truck was blocked by another vehicle.

“The suspect began firing a gun out of his vehicle toward the officers, then exited his vehicle and continued firing at the officers,” San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs told The Daily Mail on Tuesday. “The officers returned fire, striking the suspect.”

The shootout occurred about 7:30 p.m. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near the border at Tijuana and San Diego.

The identity of the shooter was not yet released Tuesday morning, but police said he was a white man.

San Diego police are leading the investigation. CBP is cooperating and will conduct an internal review.

ATF: Suspect in Virginia Beach Mass Shooting Legally Bought Handguns

Dewayne Craddock

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A public works employee employee who opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, killing 12 people and seriously wounding several others legally, legally purchased the two handguns found at the scene, the ATF said.

The suspected gunman, Dewayne Craddock, a 40-year-old engineer who worked in public utilities, bought both .45 caliber handguns, one in 2016 and the other in 2018.

ATF agents believe the guns were not used in previous crimes. One of the guns had a suppressor and several empty extended magazines.

Additional weapons were found at the suspect’s home.

Authorities still don’t know what motivated the shooting. Craddock had put in his two-week notice and had no disciplinary actions during his 15 years at public works.

During an intense shootout with police, Craddock was killed. A police officer was shot in the stomach but was not seriously injured because of a bullet-proof vest.