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Judge: FBI Terror Watch List Violates Constitutional Rights of U.S. Citizens

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An FBI watch list of more than one million people identified as “known or suspected terrorists” infringes on the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens in the database, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga said the Terrorist Screening Database violates Americans’ constitutional right to due process, NBC News reports.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed by 23 Muslim Americans, who argued they were wrongly included in the database, which they say is overly broad and inaccurate.

The plaintiffs said they were subjected to abuse and harassment while traveling.

“The general right of free movement is a long-recognized, fundamental liberty,” he wrote. “Inclusion in the TSDB accordingly imposes a substantial burden on Plaintiff’s exercise of their rights to international travel and domestic air travel” which he adds is a “deprivation of liberty interests.”

The FBI has not responded to media requests for comment.

FBI Names New Special Agents in Charge of Omaha, Knoxville Field Offices

Joseph E. Carrico and Kristi Koons Johnson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI field offices in Omaha and Knoxville have new leaders.

Kristi Koons Johnson has been named the special agent in charge of the Omaha Field Office, which covers Nebraska and Iowa.

At the Knoxville Field Office in Tennessee, the new special agent in charge is Joseph E. Carrico.

Johnson had been serving as a section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. She joined the FBI as a special agent in 1999, serving in the Chicago Field Office, where she investigated public corruption and organized crime for a decade.

Johnson is no newcomer to the Omaha office. In 2010, she served as the chief division counsel for the field office, providing legal advice about investigations and FBI policy. After a stint as unit chief in the FBI’s Internal Policy Office at headquarters, Johnson returned to Omaha in 2016 as assistant special agent in charge of national security, cyber, and intelligence issues for the field office.

Johnson left the Omaha office in 2018 to serve as chief of the Transnational Organized Crime Section of the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters.

Before Carrico took over the Knoxville Field Office, he had served as a deputy assistant director in the Operational Technology Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

Carrico began working as a special agent with the FBI in 1999 with an assignment to the Dallas Field Office, where he investigated securities and bank fraud and was a member of the Evidence Response Team. In 2005, Johnson was promoted to supervisory special agent and moved to the Human Resources Division at FBI headquarters.

In 2007, Carrico became an assistant inspector in the Inspection Division before returning to the Human Resources Division as chief of the Special Agent Recruitment and Selection Unit in 2008.

A year later, Carrico served as the supervisory senior resident agent in charge of the Covington Resident Agency in Kentucky, which is part of the Louisville Field Office. In 2011, he again returned to the Inspection Division as a special assistant to the assistant director.

In 2013, Carrico began serving as the assistant special agent in charge of the Administrative Branch of the Chicago Field Office before being promoted to chief of the Digital Forensics and Analysis Section of the Operational Technology Division three years later.

In 2018, Carrico became deputy assistant director in the division, leading digital and forensic analysis, computer network exploitation, and lawful electronic surveillance.

DOJ Decides Not to Charge FBI Agent Who Shot Kidnapping Victim in Houston

The suspects in the kidnapping.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has decided not to charge the FBI agent who fatally shot a kidnapping victim in a botched rescue attempt at a Houston home.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas “declined to proceed with federal criminal charges against FBI personnel,” a spokesman for the agency wrote in an email to the Houston Chronicle.

The decision was made in May but not publicly disclosed “after a careful and thorough review of all of the available evidence in the matter involving the shooting,” DOJ spokesman Daryl Fields wrote.

“We conducted an approximate 11-month-long, detailed and careful investigation.”

But the unnamed agent isn’t out of hot water yet. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said a local grand jury will be convened to determine if charges should be filed against the agent.

The agent shot Ulises Valladare last year, a day after kidnappers abducted him and his 12-year-old son, both of whom were bound. The kidnappers demanded ransom from Valladare’s brother, falsely claiming they were connected to a Mexican drug cartel.

The next morning, FBI agents swarmed the home. The unnamed agent used an M-4 machine gun to break a window in the rear of the home when Valladares grabbed the gun. The agent fire two shots at Valladares, mistaking him for a kidnapper.

It still isn’t clear whether the FBI took internal action against the agent.

Rare Prosecution of Border Patrol Agent Leads to Resignation for Punching Migrant

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 49-year-old Border Patrol agent who assaulted a migrant in U.S. custody has resigned in exchange for pleading guilty to a charge filed by the Justice Department.

Jason Andrew McGilvray was working at the Calexico Border Patrol Station in California in February 2019 when he spotted an undocumented migrant jump the international border fence. McGilvray apprehend the man and struck him “in the face with the intent to deprive [him] of his constitutional right against unreasonable force during search and seizure,” prosecutors said.

According to Quartz, which first reported on the arrest, it’s extremely rare for Border Patrol agents to be held charged for on-duty wrong-doing. Since 2016, only two Border Patrol agents have been arrested for “mission-related misconduct.”

By contrast, Border Patrol agents are five times more likely to be arrested for off-duty conduct than other federal agents.

Under McGilvray’s plea agreement, he dodged jail time and was sentenced to a year of probation.

McGilvray joined Border Patrol in 2006.

Poll: 47% of Americans Believe Comey Should Be Prosecuted for Leaking Trump Memos

Former FBI Director James Comey testified about his memos on President Trump last year.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A new poll shows that nearly half of Americans want former FBI Director James Comey prosecuted for leaking information to the media.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters found that 47% believe Comey should be prosecuted for leaking the memos he wrote about his meetings with President Trump. That’s an increase from 41% in 2017.

Of those polled, 35% said they don’t believe Comey should be prosecuted, and 18% indicated they were undecided.

Last month, the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that Comey violated FBI policy in his handling of the Trump memos.

The IG said Comey kept the government documents at his home and engineered their release to the media. But the IG also said there was “no evidence” that Comey’s leaked memos were classified.

Alan E. Kohler Jr. Promoted to Special Agent in Charge of Counterintelligence Division for Washington Field Office

Washington Field Office, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Alan E. Kohler Jr. has been promoted to special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the Washington Field Office.

Kohler recently served as a deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters in Washington.

When Kohler joined the FBI as a special agent in 1986, he handled counterintelligence matters at the Washington Field Office. He also served on the Evidence Response Team and helped the FBI investigate the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

In 2003, he transferred to the Counterintelligence Division to manage Russian counterintelligence investigations. He was promoted to unit chief in 2004.

Kohler began supervising a counterintelligence squad at the New York Field Office in 2006 before overseeing a squad that worked on cyber national security and criminal matters. In 2012, he began serving as an assistant legal attaché in London, acting as the FBI’s liaison with British intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

In 2016, Kohler moved to the Norfolk Field Office in Virginia to serve as the assistant special agent in charge of the counterintelligence, counterterrorism, intelligence, and crisis management programs. In 2017, he returned to FBI Headquarters as the chief of the Eurasian Section, which manages the bureau’s operations countering Russian intelligence threats. Kohler was promoted to deputy assistant director in the Counterintelligence Division and managed multiple portfolios in 2018.

Kohler is a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Counterintelligence Investigation, and the Exceptional Achievement Medal from the Director of National Intelligence.

Before joining the FBI, Kohler managed engineering research for a private technology firm. He earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in ceramic engineering from Rutgers University.

FBI: Mass Shooter in West Texas Called FBI Before Deadly Rampage

Seth Ator

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The 36-year-old gunman who killed seven people in West Texas on Saturday called the FBI before his rampage began.

Seth Ator called the FBI national tip line after he was fired from him job and made “rambling statements about some of the atrocities that he felt that he had gone through,” FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs said at a news conference.

About 15 minutes later, Arto was driving his car and failed to use a turn signal, prompted a Texas state trooper, who was unaware of the FBI call, to try to pull over Ator. Ator responded by firing an AR-style rifle at the trooper, which triggered a police chase in which the gunman fired his weapon at passing cars and shopping plazas.

Ator hijacked a mail truck and killed a U.S. Postal Service employee.

Combs said the firing was not what the cause of Ator’s rage.

“He was on a long spiral of going down,” Combs said. “He didn’t wake up Saturday morning and walk into his company and then it happened. He went to that company in trouble.”

DOJ Drafts Proposal to Expedite Death Penalty for Convicted Mass Shooters

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

People convicted of carrying out mass shootings would face an expedited path to the death penalty under legislated drafted by the Justice Department.

The bill follows the DOJ’s announcement in July that it would begin capital punishment again for the first time in two decades.

The proposal was drafted Attorney General William Barr with the help of Vice President Mike Pence’s policy team, CBS News reports, citing VP Chief of Staff Mark Short.

The proposal is likely part of a White House package of gun safety proposals.

Last month, President Trump advocated an expedited death penalty for convicted mass shooters. But Trump’s position on gun control measures has been in constant flux and impossible to pin down.