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GAO Report Shows the Efforts Secret Service Must Go Through to Protect Trump at Mar-a-Lago

Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Secret Service has its challenges protecting President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago private club in Palm Beach, Fla.  where the president often mingles freely with guests and club members.

A report by the Government Accountability Office, prompted by a referral from Democrats in February of 2017 after reports Trump discussed national security with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in front of club dinner guests after a North Korean missile test, found that the Secret Service provides several layers of security at the club when Trump is in town, writes Benjamin Siegel and Lucien Bruggeman of ABC News.

The report shows:

  • The Secret Service, Coast Guard and local law enforcement patrol the adjacent waterways and entrances to Mar-a-Lago.
  • Secret Service sweeps rooms Trump is known to frequent.
  • Secret Service does background checks of staff.

Read full report. 

Ex-NY Lawmaker, Who Faces Criminal Charges, Wore An FBI Wire

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former state Assemblyman Joe Errigo, who faces bribery charges,  started wearing an FBI wire after he was approached by the FBI, NBC News 10 reports.

NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean confirmed the information with two unnamed sources.

Errigo is charged with taking money in exchange for sponsoring a piece of legislation.

On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty in federal court in Rochester, N.Y.

Mueller Filings May Suggest More People Will Be Indicted

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Could more indictments be on the way in the Robert Mueller probe?

The Hill publication suggests that may be the case in this report:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s references to “uncharged individuals” in recent court filings that aim to restrict certain evidence are being read by some as an indication more people could be indicted in his sprawling investigation.

Despite rampant speculation that Mueller is close to finalizing his report, the language used in court documents over the past few months offers clues that suggest his probe might ensnare more individuals.

The latest example came last week, when Mueller said sensitive files in the case involving a Russian troll farm identified “uncharged individuals” suspected of engaging in operations “that interfere with lawful U.S. government functions.” Mueller’s filing sought to keep the evidence restricted from defendants in Russia.

Mistrial Declared in Trial of Ex-DEA Agent in New Orleans

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

Federal prosecutors have a decision to make whether to go after ex-DEA agent Chad Scott again.

A mistrial was declared Monday in the trial of the former agent after jurors failed to reach a verdict.

Scott is accused in a seven-year conspiracy of stealing property and money taken during investigations, reports WVUE.

According to  NOLA.com, Scott faced two counts of falsification of government records, related to a Ford pickup truck the prosecutors said was “a gift … from a dope dealer,” three counts of obstruction of justice — related to accusations Scott induced false testimony at a hearing and trial for an alleged drug supplier, Jorge Perralta — and two counts of perjury, related to Scott’s testimony in the Perralta case.

169 People Arrested in FBI Operation Targeting Sex-Trafficking Before Super Bowl in Atlanta

Credit: Deposit Photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There was more than potential terrorist threats on the mind of the FBI involving Super Bowel LIII in Atlanta.

The FBI said Tuesday that 169 people were arrested in an operation targeting the threat of sex trafficking leading up to the big event.

A press release said an 11-day sting, starting Jan. 23, resulted in the arrest of 26 alleged traffickers, 34 people accused of trying to engage in sex acts with minors, nine alleged juvenile sex-trafficking victims and nine more alleged adult victims, Fox News reports. 

“The operation’s goal was to raise awareness about sex trafficking by proactively addressing that threat during the Super Bowl and events leading up to the Super Bowl,” the press release read. “Sex trafficking is not just a problem during large-scale events, it is a 365-day-a-year problem in communities all across the country.”

Chris Christie Says Subpoenas, N.Y. U.S. Attorney’s Office Big Problems For Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Chris Christie, a former U.S. Attorney and Donald Trump campaign insider who was unceremoniously booted from Trump’s inner circle, says that the subpoenas linked to the 2017 inauguration could be the president’s biggest problem.

He also said that Trump should be more worried about the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York than the Mueller probe.

FBI Hunts Down 2 Men in Malaysia Who Were Hacking Into U.S. College Computers

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two citizens of Nigeria, who lived in Malaysia, hacked into university computer systems to steal paychecks and tax returns.

Now, they’re behind bars, thanks to partnerships with the Georgia Institute of Technology,  the Department of Justice, and Malaysian authorities that enabled the FBI to identify, arrest, and extradite Olayinka Olaniyi and Damilola Soloman Ibiwoye, the FBI said.

Ibiwoye has been sentenced to 39 months in prison and Olaniyi got nearly six years.

“We found their computer folders with documents showing efforts to phish employees at 130 to 140 schools,” FBI agent Tyson Fowler said in a statement. “They would steal a logo and do the work to make it look legitimate.”

According to a story on the FBI website:

The duo sent fraudulent emails to personnel at these institutions in an attempt to gain system credentials. These phishing messages appeared official but they took unsuspecting recipients to fraudulent sites that allowed the criminals to record user names and passwords. Armed with this information, the hackers could then enter the official school systems and use the stolen credentials to reroute employees’ paychecks and access financial documents. Fowler says the hackers were successful in obtaining access at about 20 schools.

Joseph R. Bonavolonta Now Heads Up Boston FBI Office

Joseph R. Bonavolonta (FBI photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, who had served as deputy assistant director for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division since March 2018, has taken over as head of the Boston field office.

He’s no stranger to the Boston office, having previously served as assistant special agent in charge there from 2013 to 2017.

Bonavolonta has held a variety of leadership, operational, and investigative positions throughout his FBI career.

He entered the FBI in 1996 as an investigative specialist in the FBI’s New York Field Office.

In August 2000, he received his first assignment as a special agent in the New York Field Office, where he spent several years investigating the Bonanno La Cosa Nostra Family.

His work led to the convictions and/or guilty pleas of dozens of high-ranking members and associates of the Bonanno LCN Family, according to an FBI press release.

From 2006-2007, Bonavolonta served as the program manager in the Organized Crime Section at FBI Headquarters.  He also directed an international organized crime initiative with the Italian National Police to combat criminal operations between the American-based LCN families and the Sicilian Mafia.

In 2008, he became a supervisory special agent of the corporate/securities fraud squad at the Newark Field Office in 2008. In 2013,  Bonavolonta was named assistant special agent in charge of the Boston Field Office.