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Federal Agents Deployed to St. Louis And Memphis As Part of Expanded ‘Operation Legend’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

“Operation Legend,” a violent crime-busting initiative involving federal agents, has expanded to St.Louis and Memphis, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Those cities will join Kansas City, Chicago, Albuquerque, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, where ATF, DEA and FBI agents and analysts have been  deployed over the past month. The U.S. Marshals Service also is lending a hand.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said federal agents will work with state and local law enforcement “to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off the street.”

The agents are not expected to monitor protests like federal officers have in Portland. The Trump administration has been criticized for using federal officers to clash with protesters, which local and state officials, along with Democrats in Congress, have said resulted in escalated tensions.

Violent crime is on the rise in many big cities across the U.S.

The initiative is named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed in his sleep in Kansas City in June.

FBI Raids California Home of YouTube Celebrity Following a Mall Riot in Arizona

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI raided the California home of YouTube celebrity Jake Paul on Thursday in connection with a riot at an Arizona shopping mall, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Agents were seen removing firearms from the home.

The FBI also served search warrants in Nevada and Arizona.

“The FBI is executing a federal search warrant at a residence in Calabasas in connection with an ongoing investigation,” an FBI representative said in a statement. “The affidavit in support of the search warrant has been sealed by a judge and I am, therefore, prohibited from commenting as to the nature of the investigation. No arrests are planned.”

Paul was charged with misdemeanors in connection with the riot, but police are dismissing the
case and cooperating with the FBI.

Sally Yates Defends Flynn Investigation, Denies It Was Motivated by Anti-Trump Politics

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Wednesday defended the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, adamantly denying allegations that the probe was politically motivated.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Yates said the impetus for the investigation was concerns about national security after the discovery that Flynn held secretive talks with the Russian ambassador, The New York Times reports.

“General Flynn had essentially neutered the U.S. government’s message of deterrence,” Yates testified. “Far from rebuking the Russians for their attack on our country, General Flynn was conciliatory.”

Yates also said it was “highly irregular” for the Justice Department to call for the dismissal of charges against Flynn.

The Republican-led committee is investigating the probe of Russia’s alleged ties to the incoming Trump administration.

During the hearing, Trump claimed Yates was “part of the greatest political crime of the Century” and that she was “either lying or grossly incompetent.”

Audit Finds Only Minor Clerical Errors in FISA Warrants After Carter Page Controversy

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Only minor clerical errors were found in an internal audit of 29 warrant applications by the FBI to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), the bureau said in a court filing.

The review follows months of criticism about the FBI’s process of obtaining a warrant to monitor Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The audit reviewed nearly 7,000 facts in a sample of 29 applications, and most of the errors involved misspellings and date errors, CNN reports.

“The complete absence in the twenty-nine applications of material errors impacting probable cause should instill confidence in the FBI’s use of its FISA authorities,” FBI acting general counsel Dawn Browning told the court in a sworn statement. “The overwhelming majority of factual assertions — approximately 6,568 — were determined not to be erroneous at all, materially or otherwise. Of the errors that were identified, many were minor typographical errors, such as a misspelled word, and date errors.”

Trump seized on errors in the FISA process to obtain a wiretap on Page to suggest the bureau acted with political bias as part of a “deep state” conspiracy, which has been debunked.

ATF Special Agent Honored After He Was Accidentally Killed in Hawaii Police Department

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

John Bost III, an ATF special agent who died last month after being accidentally shot at a police station in Hawaii, was honored Tuesday with a procession and final salute by members of Maui’s law enforcement.

ATF ruled the death an accident after a rifle discharged at the Kihei police station.

“John will be remembered as an outstanding special agent, greatly admired and respected by all who knew him,” the ATF and Maui Police Department said in a news release, according to Hawaii News Now . “He was deeply committed to ATF’s mission of safeguarding our communities from violent criminals, and will be profoundly missed.”

Bost will be laid to rest in North Carolina, where his family lives.

House Committee Launches Investigation into Homeland Security’s Actions in Portland

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee is investigating Homeland Security’s involvement in protests in Portland and other cities.

The investigation, launched Monday, also will review the dissemination of intelligence reporters on journalists and protesters.

“Let me be clear: the reporting regarding the monitoring of peaceful protesters, creating and disseminating intelligence reports about journalists and protesters, and potential exploitation of electronic devices is deeply troubling, Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to top DHS officials.

“The revelations thus far require a full accounting, and, if substantiated, must never be allowed to occur again,” Schiff added. “The Committee is therefore initiating, pursuant to its unique oversight and legislative authority, an investigation of I&A’s activities in Portland and in support of the Department’s response to protests nationwide.”

Homeland Security has drawn intense criticism for clashing with protesters and compiling intelligence reports on journalists covering protests in Portland.

The panel is calling at least nine DHS officials to testify in August.

Schiff ended his letter, saying the committee will consider “all options necessary to obtain compliance—including compulsory process.”

On Monday, Janet Napolitano, the former head of Homeland Security, criticized the department’s role in policing protests in Oregon, calling it “an abuse of authority” in a Washington Post op-ed.

CBP Awards $289.5M Contract for 17 Miles of Wall Construction in Laredo Sector in Texas

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

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection has announced a $289.5 million contract to build about 17 miles of contagious new border walls within Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector in Webb County, Texas.

Fisher Sand and Gravel Company, DBA Fisher Industries, received the contract, CBP said Monday.

With the apprehension of nearly 22,000 undocumented immigrants and the seizure of more than 30,000 pounds of drugs so far this fiscal year, the Laredo Sector is one of the busiest in the U.S.

Most of the illegal activate is occurring in areas where the sector lacks infrastructure, access and technology, CBP says.

The plan is part of President Trump’s aggressive push for new wall construction.

“These projects will improve Laredo Sector’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations,” CBP said.

Napolitano: DHS Must Return to Its Mission of Protecting Americans, Not Attacking Them

Janet Napolitano, former head of Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Janet Napolitano, the former head of Homeland Security, criticized the department’s role in policing protests in Oregon, calling it “an abuse of authority.”

“This is not why DHS was created, it is not what it is supposed to do, and I’m confident that most DHS officers who have been directed to run patrols against U.S. citizens are troubled by this operation,” Napolitano says in a Washington Post op-ed. “DHS has a broad and important public safety mission, but nowhere in its foundational documents, in law or in policy, is the department authorized to target the American people who have assembled to protest the actions of their government.”

Napolitano says the “egregious misuse” of DHS has prompted renewed calls to dismantle the department, which she says would be a mistake because its task is “to protect our nation against any number of hazards and threats.”

“It defends against terrorism, cyberattacks, threats to U.S. borders, waterways, public infrastructure and aviation systems, and helps the country prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters while providing support, capacity, capability and intelligence to state and local officials,” Napolitano writes. “Since 9/11, zero planes have been weaponized as instruments of terrorism.”

DHS is now in the news “not because of the harm it is preventing but because of the harm it is doing,” citing border policies of placing “children in cages.”

Napolitano says DHS must return to its original mission.

“We were there solely for the purpose of protecting the American people. Not to attack them.”