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FBI Solves Mystery of 4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy with Severed Head

The severed, mummified head found in a ransacked tomb, via Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI solved a century-long mystery over the identify of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy whose severed head was discovered in a burial chamber ransacked by thieves.

It was a major breakthrough for the FBI – and the scientific community – because genetic material had never been successfully extracted from a four-century-old mummy, the New York Times reports

A team of American archaeologists discovered the head in Deit el-Bersha, an ancient Egyptian necropolis. They determined the tomb belonged to a governor called Djehutynakht and his wife, but they were unable to decipher the gender of the head.

So they turned to the FBI, which used advanced DNA sequencing to determine the head belonged to governor by drilling into a tooth extracted from the skull. Odile Loreille, an FBI biologist, used the remains of the tooth, dissolved it in a chemical solution and them ran it through a DNA copy machine.

She deduced from the ratio of sex chromosomes that the skull belonged to a male.

The successful discovery advances a powerful DNA collecting technique that will help the bureau’s forensic studies.

Feds Shut Down Backpage.com, Charge the Owner Amid Human Trafficking

Michael Lacey, a founder of Backpage.com.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities on Friday shut down and seized Backpage.com, a classifieds website that has drawn intense scrutiny for its sex ads, some of which included teenagers.

Michael Lacey, a founder of the website, was charged Friday in a 93-count indictment. Details of the charges, however, were sealed, and an attorney for Lacey couldn’t provide any more specifics in an interview with the Arizona Republic Federal authorities also raided Lacey’s home in Sedona, Ariz.

Backpage.com provides a place for people to sell items, seek roommates, list upcoming events or advertise jobs openings.

But its most lucrative service is in sex, with listings for adult escorts and other sex services. 

Weekend Series on Crime History: Philly’s Godfather, Little Nicky Scarfo

FBI’s Top Congressional Liaison Quietly Steps Down for Private Sector Job

Greg Bower, FBI’s former top liaison for Congress during probe of Russia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s top liaison on Capitol Hill quietly left his job on March 30.

Greg Brower, an FBI assistant director who ran the bureau’s Office of Congressional Affairs, began a new job this week as a shareholder in the litigation department of the Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck law firm.

Then-FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Trump’s administration last year, made Brower, a senior lawyer, his deputy counsel and later a congressional liaison.

Brower said his departure had nothing to do with Comey’s firing or the most recent termination of the former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

“No circumstances, other than I had just accepted an offer from Brownstein some weeks earlier, so I happened to make the transition this week,” Brower told BuzzFeed News. “I think Chris Wray’s doing an outstanding job, and I have an excellent working relationship with Chris, but I couldn’t pass up the offer.”

Other Stories of Interest

Celebrated Civil Rights Photographer Doubled As a Secret FBI Informant

Ernest Withers

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Photographer Ernest Withers won over the trust of civil rights leaders, capturing some of the most iconic images of the civil rights era.

He snapped some of the storied photos from the time – Martin Luther King Jr. riding on one of the first integrated buses in Montgomery, the Little Rock school integration showdown and the dramatic moment in a Mississippi court room when Emmett Till’s great uncle pointed an accusing finger at the abductor of his great-nephew.

His presence was so ubiquitous and his photos so powerful that he won the trust of civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, who considered Withers a friend.

But the beloved photographer wasn’t just recording history. He was an FBI informant who shared a plethora of inside information to the bureau that had surveilled King Jr. for years.

Withers’ double life was exposed in 2010 by dogged Memphis reporter Marc Perrusquia, who exposed the photographer’s double life in the pages of the Commercial Appeal. But the story raised more questions than it answered because the FBI declined to turn over once-classified documents.

Perrusquia sued the FBI and won, giving him thousands of records that confirmed Perrusquia was a very active informant who provided inside information from 1958 to 1976.

Just short of the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination this week, Perrusquia published a 344-page hardcover book about Withers’ double life – “How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement.”

Perrusquia recently explained his motive to write the book during an interview with the Tennesseean newspaper:  One of the main things I want people to understand is that I’m not trying to erode Ernest Wither’s place in history as a legitimate Civil Rights figure. I’m just trying to cast a light on this hidden history that wasn’t known before. The stuff that Withers did for the FBI does not eclipse what he did for the movement, but it does rival it. His story is instructive to readers who want to learn from history. These government operations were very corrosive to our democracy. This story provides a good lesson for this country going forward — freedom of speech, the right to protest — these are cherished American values that we don’t want eroded because views are either unpopular or considered dangerous.

Pro-Trump Militiamen on Trial in Plot to Blow Up Muslims in Kansas Apartment

Curtis Allen (left), Gavin Wright (center) and Patrick Stein (right).

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Patrick Stein, a right-wing militia member who thought Trump was “the Man” and Muslims were “cockroaches” that needed to be exterminated, met what he thought was a weapons dealer in a remote field in western Kansas.

“I’m sick of seeing these motherfuckers coming into this country,” Stein told the man, referring to Muslim refugees, Huffington post reports. “They’re here for one reason and one reason only.”

It was about a month before Donald Trump was elected president, and Stein had no idea he was actually meeting with an undercover FBI agent.

A few days later, the FBI arrested Stein, who was charged with a litany of federal offenses, including plotting to kill Somali refugees who lived in an apartment complex in nearby Garden City.

Since then, 18 months have passed, and Stein and his allege co-conspirators Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen are on the third week of a trial in Wichita.

While Stein met with the undercover agent in search of a weapon manufacturer, the co-conspirators did not demonstrate they were serious about the plot, their defense attorneys said.

Trump Pledges to Deploy National Guard Troops in Not-So Unprecedented Move

Distant border fence in the desert near El Paso and its Mexican neighbor Juarez.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump boldly signed a proclamation Wednesday directing National Guard troops to the southwest border in what he falsely called an unprecedented move to crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

President Barack Obama deployed 1,200 members of the National Guard to the border in 2010, President George W. Bush’s decision in 2010 to send up to 6,000 National Guard members to increase military presence at the border in a two-year operation dubbed “Jump Start.”

Under the previous presidents’ plans, the guard members built infrastructure and conducted surveillance but left the arrests and enforcement up to Border Patrol agents who were trained in border enforcements.

Trumps plans, which lacks details about the operation, would not allow troops to come into physical contact with immigrants, three administration officials told NBC News

Homeland Security announced the policy in a statement Wednesday afternoon that read, “To secure the border and make America safe, we need to deploy the National Guard. Deploying the National Guard will serve as an immediate deterrent while dramatically enhancing operational control of the U.S. border.”

The statement added the troops would “support federal law enforcement personnel … and that federal migration authorities “will direct enforcement efforts.”

Trump’s announcement, which caught some of his advisers by surprise, pledged Tuesday, Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding our border with the military.” 

Details like the number of troops to be involved and how long they will stay there remain unknown and are expected to be hammered out in the coming days, officials said.

Former Head FBI’s Minneapolis Division Running for Governor in Kansas

Michael Tabman, retired special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis division.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Michael Tabman, the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis division, is running for governor in Kansas.

The agent-turned-security consultant is among more than 20 candidates vying for the governor’s seat.

Since retiring from the bureau in 2007 after 24 years of service, Tabman has lived in Johnson County in Kansas with his wife and children and wants to give back.

“As Governor, I want to restore all that makes Kansas such a wonderful place to live,” the New York native said on his campaign website.

Tabman said his priorities are improving and protecting schools, reducing health care costs and protecting civil liberties.

No stranger to violence, Tabman advocates more stringent regulations on “weapons of mass murder” but still supports the right to own a firearm.

In 2005, Tabman was the special agent in charge of the mass shooting at a Native American reservation in Minneapolis known as the “Red Lake Massacre.”

After Tabman retired, he sued the FBI, claiming the bureau smeared his character and denied him promotions because of false allegations that he mishandled a complaint against Special Agent Harry Samit. 

A judge dismissed the suit.