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Air Force Admits Missing Chances to Prevent Church Shooter from Buying Guns

airforceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Air Force took responsibility for not alerting the FBI to the Texas church shooter’s domestic violence-related convictions, a failure that allowed former Airman Devin Kelley to purchase guns.

Had the Air Force reported the incidents to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, he would have been barred from buying a firearm.

“The offenses for which the shooter in Texas was court-martialed should have been reported, and that’s why we launched a full-scale review of this case, and all others like it,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson told reporters on Thursday, ABC News reports.

The failure has prompted several investigations. In addition to the Air Force’s internal probe, the Department of Defense Inspector General is investigating all military branches to see if there is a pattern of failing to report violent crimes to NCIC.

“We are looking at all of our databases, and if we have problems that we find, we’ll fix them,” Wilson said. “Our approach here is to act in accordance with our values, which include integrity and excellence, and that’s the way we’re proceeding.”

In 2012, Kelley was court-martialed while serving in the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child. He served a year in confinement and received a bad conduct discharge.

That information was never passed on.

Mueller Investigating Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plot to Deliver Cleric to Turkey

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is accused of plotting to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and delivering him to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the allegations involving Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who reportedly were paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to several reports

Flynn is accused of meeting with senior Turkish officials in December, a few weeks before Trump’s inauguration, to discuss the return of Gulen, who is a rival of Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Flynn and others also are under investigation for allegedly plotting to free a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who is jailed in the U.S.

Authorities said the meeting allegedly occurred at an upscale restaurant just a few blocks from Trump Tower.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-Secret Service Agent Sentenced to Additional 2 Years in Prison for Bitcoin Theft

bitcoin_bigBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Secret Service agent received an additional two years in prison for stealing bitcoins during an investigation into drug marketplace Silk Road.

Shaun Bridges, 35, was sentenced in 2015 to nearly six years in prison stealing more than $800,000 worth of bitcoins during the Silk Road probe.

Bridges pleaded guilty in August to money laundering in another criminal case involving the theft of more than $350,000 with of bitcoin that today is worth more than $800,000. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco sentenced Bridges to another two years in prison, the Justice Department announced

The investigation shut down Silk Road in October 2013, and authorities said the site generated more than $214 million in sales of drugs and other illicit goods and services, relying on bitcoins for payment.

FBI Supervisor’s Gun Stolen After Night of Heavy Drinking at Hotel

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An internal investigation is underway after an FBI counterterrorism supervisor was allegedly so drunk after a night of heavy drinking that a woman stole his gun at a Westin hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

Robert Manson, a unit chief in the FBI’s international terrorism section, and other agents were in Charlotte for training and ended up drinking with women who described themselves as exotic dancers, the New York Times reports.

A woman who went back to Manson’s hotel room stole his Glock .40-caliber handgun, a $6,000 Rolex watch and $60 in cash.

“Investigators determined that the victim, Robert Manson, met a woman in the hotel bar the prior night and took her back to his hotel room,” Robert Tufano, a spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said in a statement.

Another agent filed a police report at 6:30 a.m. the next morning because Manson was allegedly incapacitated because of alcohol. The items were reportedly stolen between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Republicans Warn of ‘Coup’ if Robert Mueller Continues Russia-Trump Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A conservative group of Republicans called for Robert Mueller to resign, saying the special counsel’s investigation amounts to an attempted overthrow of the government.

“We are at risk of a coup d’etat in this country if we allow an unaccountable person, with no oversight, to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States,” said Florida Congressman Rep. Matt Gaetz from the chamber floor, Newsweek reports

Gaetz and other members of the House Freedom Caucus proposed a non-binding motion last week to demand Mueller resign or be fired because of “obvious conflicts of interest.” They allege Mueller has a conflict because he was the FBI director when the Obama administration approved a deal allowing a Russian company to buy a Canadian energy company with uranium operations in 2010.

“We’ve got to clean this town up, and it will start with the resignation of Mr. Mueller and a proper investigation of all of this underlying case involving Comey, Lynch, the Clintons, and Russia,” Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert said Wednesday.

TSA Miserably Fails to Detect Weapons at Airports, Alarming Congress

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Undercover tests revealed that TSA failed to detect test weapons about 80% of the time, uncovering a slew of “vulnerabilities” at security checkpoints at multiple airports nationwide.

The results were shared with the House Committee on Homeland Security, which called the failures “disturbing,” ABC News reports

“This agency that you run is broken badly and it needs your attention,”Rep. Mike Rogers told TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

Inspectors “identified vulnerabilities with TSA’s screener performance, screening equipment, and associated procedures,” according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.

The TSA is working on implementing eight recommendations to improve safety and effectiveness.

In a statement, the TSA said the agency “concurs with the DHS OIG findings and is committed to aggressively implementing the recommendations.”

“We take the OIG’s findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints,” said Pekoske. “We are focused on staying ahead of a dynamic threat to aviation with continued investment in the workforce, enhanced procedures and new technologies,” he added.

Other Stories of Interest

Not Again? FBI Unable to Unlock Cell Phone of Texas Church Shooter

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Here we go again?

The FBI has been unable to unlock the encrypted cellphone of the Texas church shooter, mirroring similar difficulties trying to access the locked phone of a San Bernardino mass shooter more than a year ago.

The phone of Devin Kelley could provide critical information about his motive and whether anyone else was involved or knew in advance that he planned to unload his firearms inside a church in Texas. The phone has been sent to an FBI lab for analysis.

Phone encryption has been a source of frustration for the FBI, which tried to force Apple to help it access the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone last year. Professional hackers eventually helped the FBI unlock the phone

Congress has been reluctant to enact legislation that would force technology companies to help open the phones of criminal suspects.

“It highlights an issue you’ve all heard about before. With the advance of the technology and the phones and the encryption, law enforcement is increasingly not able to get into these phones,” Christopher Combs, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio division, said, according to the Associated Press. 

Combs added: “We’re working very hard to get into that phone, and that will continue until we find an answer.”

NYT: Behind the Desperate Propaganda to Discredit Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia Probe

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Editorial Board
New York Times

And then they came for Robert Mueller.

If there were any remaining hope that Republicans would accept the precise, methodical work of this veteran, highly respected, Republican-appointed law enforcement official — the man Newt Gingrich once called a “superb choice to be special counsel” — it has evaporated in a fog of propaganda and delirious conspiracy theories.

In the real world, Mr. Mueller, appointed as special counsel after President Trump fired the F.B.I. director, James Comey, in May, is doing the job he was hired to do — smoke out any and all links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government officials who assaulted American sovereignty in 2016 in an effort to get Mr. Trump elected. These days, the most serious attacks on American governance are coming not from abroad, but from Mr. Trump’s aides and his allies in the right-wing media and Congress. As ludicrous as these attacks seem, they could yet lead to a constitutional crisis.

Reading the increasingly outlandish theories cooked up by Mr. Trump’s defenders and apologists is like entering an alternate, upside-down universe where Hillary Clinton remains Public Enemy No. 1.

In these irrelevant tales, Mrs. Clinton (or, as Sean Hannity called her on Monday, “President Clinton”) is the real colluder, working stealthily with the Russians to — stay with us here — destroy her own candidacy. Also, she and Bill Clinton once sold American uranium to the Russians. Also, Robert Mueller failed to fully investigate that sale when he led the F.B.I., so he’s complicit in it, too, not to mention he has ties to Mr. Comey, who also led the F.B.I. Also, some of his investigators donated to Democratic candidates.

These efforts at obfuscation and misdirection would be laughable, but they are linked to a very real and dangerous move by Trump allies throughout right-wing media and the government to shut down the Russia investigation for good.

To read more click here.