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TSA Agent in Orlando Jumps to His Death

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A TSA agent at Orlando International Airport jumped to his death Saturday morning after clocking out from his shift, the New York Times reports.

The man, in his 40s, jumped from a balcony of the Hyatt Regency in the airport atrium about 9:30 a.m.


Weekend Series on Crime History: Janet Reno Recounts Her Darkest Days on the Job

FBI Spied on Civil Rights Group Over Suspected ‘Conspiracy’ to Deny KKK of ‘Rights’

KKK, via Southern Poverty Law Center.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI investigated a popular civil rights group in 2016 because agents believed the left-wing group may have been involved in a “conspiracy” to deny the “rights” of the KKK and other white supremacists, according to records obtained by the Guardian.

The records indicate that the FBI launched a “domestic terrorism” investigation into By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) after one of its members were stabbed at a white supremacist rally in June 2016.

The FBI cast the KKK as victims and labeled the activists as “extremists,” downplaying the Klan as a group “that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda.”

The bureau considered BAMN a potential terrorism threat because of the group’s advocacy against “police brutality” and “rape and sexual assault.”

The FBI’s 46-page report ignored “100 years of Klan terrorism that has killed thousands of Americans and continues using violence right up to the present day,” said Mike German, a former FBI agent and far-right expert who examined the records for the Guardian. “This description of the KKK should be an embarrassment to FBI leadership.”

The report did not conclude that BAMN violated laws.

“It’s clear the FBI dropped the investigation having no evidence of wrongdoing. It never should have been opened in the first place,” Shanta Driver, BAMN’s national chair, said.

The FBI did not comment for the story.

Jury to Decide El Chapo’s Fate After 35 Days of Surreal Testimony

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The fate of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is now in the hands of a jury.

The jury heard 35 days of surreal, outlandish and often gruesome testimony from 56 government witnesses.

The seven women and five men on the jury are expected to begin deliberating Monday to determine whether the notorious 61-year-old conspired to murder countless rivals, traffic nearly 450,000 pounds of cocaine and launder millions of dollars.

During close arguments Thursday, Guzman’s attorneys told the jury to dismiss the government’s case because it relies on witnesses who “lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people,” NBC News reports.

Prosecutors said the trial provided an “avalanche of evidence” to prove Guzman’s guilt.

Guzman stayed quiet during the trial and declined to testify in his own defense.

“Señor judge, me and my attorneys have spoken about this,” Guzman said, “and I will reserve.”

His life is now in the hands of a jury.

Secret Service Officer Injured After Protester Jumped in Front of Motorcade near White House

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A uniformed Secret Service officer was injured after a protester jumped in front of a motorcade carrying Chinese officials near the White House on Wednesday.

An unidentified pedestrian was arrested for crossing a police line and then assaulting the officer just blocks from the White House at 12:55 p.m., NBC reports. 

The officer was taken to the hospital with a leg injury that officials described as serious but not life-threatening.

Details of the incident remained murky Thursday morning.

FBI Puzzled by Mysterious Underground Tunnel Leading to Bank

An exposed portion of the tunnel leading to a Florida bank, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill bank heist.

Florida public works officials were responding to a reported sinkhole in Pembroke Pines when they discovered a secret underground tunnel leading to a Chase bank. The employees called the FBI after spotting the entrance of the tunnel in a wooded area.

A day later, on Wednesday, FBI special agent Michael Leverock told reporters that investigators were baffled how anyone believed they could penetrate a high-security bank from a “claustrophobic” tunnel that was 2- to 3-feet in diameter.

Leverock said there’s no evidence the bank or ATM was breached, but the tunnel was about 50 yards long and did reach Chase’s property.

“This is truly a unique case here,” Leverock said. “I would like to say that I saw something like this in movies, however, this hole is so small that – it’s unique.”

FBI agents found a power cord, small generator and other items that were not disclosed.

“I don’t know how they did it. I would like to put it into words for you. But it is so cramped in there, and that wagon is – I mean it’s a puzzle. I can’t imagine how they did it,” he said.

Ex-Homeland Security Chief: Trump’s Wall Is a ‘Symbol’ and Waste of Tax Dollars

Michael Chertoff

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called President Trump’s border wall “a symbol” and a waste of tax dollars.

Chertoff, who led the country’s Homeland Security Department from February 2005 to January 2009, told Newsweek that a border wall would “fulfill some sort of visual image” for Trump but would do little to prevent undocumented immigrants from coming to the U.S.

“I think the idea of a wall in and of itself is a symbol. It’s not a real tool,” Chertoff said. “It is not an efficient or effective tool.” 

Chertoff said the better alternative to a wall would be comprehensive reform.

“The right way to do border security is to look at the entire system,” Chertoff said. “And that begins with what is pushing people to leave their countries and come to the U.S. in the first place. In some cases, it’s violence and the rule of law not being in existence.” 

FBI Investigating Threatening Letter Sent to Jussie Smollett Before Brutal Attack

Jussie Smollett via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI has joined the investigation into the alleged racist, homophobic attack that left Empire star Jussie Smollett in the hospital.

Police are investigating Tuesday’s brutal attack in Chicago as a “possible” hate crime after Smollett told authorities he was beaten by two white men in ski masks who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him. It appears the attackers also put a noose around the 35-year-old actor’s neck and poured an unknown substance, possibly bleach, on him, while yelling, “This is MAGA country.”

The FBI is involved because Smollett received a chilling letter in the mail that contained threatening language and a powdery substance that police believe was Tylenol.

The letter was sent to the Fox studio in Chicago on Jan. 22.

Smollett was treated and released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.