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Weekend Series on Crime History: ATF Agent Infiltrated Biker Gangs

FBI Allows Tens of Thousands of People with Outstanding Warrants to Buy Guns

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The names of tens of thousands of people wanted by police have been purged from the FBI criminal background check database this year after the FBI narrowed its legal interpretation of “fugitives from justice.”

In February, the FBI said only people who have crossed state lines are considered “fugitives from justice,” prompting the removal of tens of thousands of names, the Washington Post reports

That means fugitives under the old definition can now buy guns, unless they are barred for some other reason. In other words, people with outstanding warrants are now allowed to buy firearms.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he ordered the FBI and ATF to conduct a comprehensive review of the criminal background check database.

Other Stories of Interest

Judge Drops Child Pornography Case, Saying FBI Misrepresented Facts

Best Buy, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A judge dismissed child pornography charges against a California doctor whose computer was searched following a repair by Best Buy’s Geek Squad because the FBI agent made “several false or misleading statements or omissions... with reckless disregard for the truth” in a search warrant affidavit, The Washington Post reports

The pornography case was triggered by the Geek Squad’s discovery of a photo of a naked girl, believed to be 9 years old. She was not involved in a sex act, and her genitals were not shown.

Technicians tipped off the FBI.

But U.S.District Judge Cormac J. Carney said the FBI misrepresented the case in obtaining a search warrant for the home and computers of oncologist Mark Rettenmaier. Agents found hundreds of pornographic photos on his iPhone.

Carney concluded the search was illegal because FBI agents received the warrant by inaccurately saying “the image was child pornography.” The judge said the photo was “one image of child erotica” and that it “is simply not sufficient to search Dr. Rettenmaier’s entire home, the place where the protective court of the Fourth Amendment is most powerful.”

‘Big Trouble’ for Trump? Flynn’s Legal Team Stops Talking with President’s Lawyers

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Revelations that lawyers for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn have stopped communicating with President Trump’s legal team over the special counsel investigation is a good indication that he’s cooperating or negotiating a deal, legal experts said.

The New York Times first reported Thursday that Flynn’s lawyers have stopped sharing information with Trump’s attorneys about the investigation led by special counsel, Robert Mueller, whose legal team is trying to determine whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn has been a top target of the investigation and resigned as national security adviser after acknowledging he had secretly discussed sanction with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

“I negotiated a cooperation deal for a target with Mueller’s office when he was U.S. Atty and lemme tell ya, he’s not gonna give one to Flynn unless he implicates someone up the ladder. That means Kushner, Don Jr., or Big Daddy,” Norm Eisner, a former White House Special Counsel for Ethics, tweeted.

The Washington Post wrote, “If Flynn is indeed cooperating, Trump is in big trouble.”

The Post continued:

That’s because if Flynn is cooperating, it can only be because he has information to offer Mueller on someone more important than himself. That’s how it works. And who is more important than Flynn? Only a very small number of people. Among those implicated in this whole affair, that group may consist of Jared Kushner and Trump, and that’s about it.

Which means we may be getting closer to answering a question I’ve been asking for a long time: Why was President Trump so intensely focused on protecting Michael Flynn?

You’ll recall that Flynn was supposedly fired because he lied to Vice President Pence about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign and the transition, claiming he had only exchanged pleasantries with them when in fact they had discussed substantive policy matters, something Pence then repeated to the media. This was always an odd explanation for the firing. Even more odd was the fact that immediately, President Trump began telling anyone who would listen what a great guy Michael Flynn is and how unfair the whole mess was to him.

Memorial Services Set for Border Patrol Agent in Mysterious Death in Texas

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was found dead at the bottom of a ravine in west Texas.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While authorities investigate the mysterious death of a Border Patrol agent in Texas, his family, friends and colleagues are preparing for the 36-year-old’s memorial service. 

Angelo Rogelio “Roger” Martinez, who was responding to a triggered sensor on Sunday night in west Texas, was found with “traumatic head injuries” and broken bones. He died early Sunday from head injuries.

His partner, who has not been identified, also was found with head injuries and was in critical condition. They were found at the bottom of a ravine.

The union representing Border Patrol officers insist the agents were attacked with rocks, but the FBI is not so sure.

In the meantime, Martinez’s family is struggling to make sense of what happened.

“I loved him, and I miss him,” Elvia Martinez told CNN.

Visitation services are scheduled for today at from 5-9 p.m. local time at Martin Funeral Home in El Paso, followed by a vigil at 7 p.m. The funeral is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.

Most of Homeland Security’s Uniforms Are Bought Outside U.S., Including South of Border

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

So much for Made in America.

A report by the Government Accountability Office found that Homeland Security bought 46% of its uniforms from Mexico and Central America, compared to just 42% in the U.S., the Washington Times reports

Homeland Security spent nearly $75 million over the past three years on department uniforms from Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras.

Under Homeland Security rules, the agency is supposed to buy uniforms that originated in the U.S.

The GAO said Homeland Security was aware of the requirements but ignored them.

“As of June 2017, under the current uniforms contract, 58 percent of the value of ordered uniform items by DHS came from foreign sources,” the investigation found.

Other Stories of Interest

Witnesses: Kushner Urged Trump to Fire FBI Director Comey

Jared Kushner. Photo by Lori Berkowitz Photography, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was behind the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

According to four people familiar with the discussions, The Wall Street Journal reports that Kushner urged the president to fire Comey during meetings with other top officials.

Kushner believed Comey was too unpredictable, and the White House adviser wrongly believed Democrats would applaud the FBI director’s firing because of his handling of the Clinton investigation. Kushner also believed FBI agents were cheer the firing because of their unhappiness with Comey’s performance.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team is looking into the allegations.

“When the president made the decision to fire FBI Director Comey, Mr. Kushner supported it,” Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, told the the Wall Street Journal.

“There’s no apparent evidence of Jared’s involvement in any decision-making process having to do with Mr. Comey’s firing,” a White House attorney said.

FBI Investigating Mysterious Death of Border Patrol Agent in Texas

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Was a Border Patrol agent killed or did he fall? What about his partner, who is in critical condition at a hospital?

The FBI is investigating what happened to the agents on a treacherous stretch of west Texas late Saturday night.

“There are a number of possible scenarios, but right now we are going to pursue it as an assault on a federal agent,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. said during a Tuesday briefing in El Paso, the Los Angeles Times reports. “This is the most important investigation in the El Paso division of the FBI. We will be aggressively investigating all leads.” 

Here’s what the FBI knows: Angelo Rogelio “Roger” Martinez, who was responding to a triggered sensor, was found with “traumatic head injuries” and broken bones. He died early Sunday from head injuries.

His partner, who has not been identified, also was found with head injuries. As of Tuesday evening, he was in critical but stable condition.

The union representing Border Patrol officers insist they were attacked with rocks.

“There’s no way he fell,” Chris Cabrera, a union spokesman and veteran agent based in McAllen, Texas, said of the agent who died. “Border Patrol agents are like mountain goats. They don’t fall. Especially two at the same spot.”

The FBI isn’t so sure. The agents were found at the bottom of a 9-foot-deep culvert in a treacherous area.

The death is still be investigated as a homicide.