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Secret Service to Test Drone to Protect Trump at His Golf Course

drone-1142182_960_720By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the Secret Service looks for new ways to protect President Trump while he is vacationing at his New Jersey golf club, the agency will test a security drone.

Reuters reports that the Secret Service plans to test a small tethered unmanned aircraft system this month while the president is visiting the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. 

The testing comes as the president is expected to spend an extended period at the golf course this month.

While the Secret Service declined to discuss specifics of the drone, the agency said the idea was to determine the vehicle’s potential for protecting the president.

Trump Administration Mulls Rick Perry for Top Homeland Security Job

Rick Perry

Rick Perry

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration is considering replacing John Kelly at Homeland Security with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Three people family with the deliberations told Bloomberg that Perry is among an unknown number of potential candidates for the position, which was abandoned by Kelly when he became the White House chief of staff Monday. 

What unclear is whether Perry wants the job.

“Secretary Perry is focused on the important mission of the Department of Energy. He’s honored to be mentioned, but he loves what he’s doing,” said Robert Haus, director of public affairs at the department.

Some of Trump’s administration favor Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, for the job.

Perry, 67, has a lot of experience with border issues during his nearly 15 years as governor of Texas, but questions have been raised about whether he and the president agree on immigration policies.

Other Stories of Interest

Mueller Taps 16th Lawyer to Join Special Counsel Probe of Russia

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Justice Department official who specialized in white-collar crime is the 16th lawyer to join special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s meddling in the presidential campaign. 

Greg Andres, who most recently was a white-collar criminal defense lawyer for the New York law firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell, started working with Mueller’s team Tuesday, Reuters reports

From 2010-12, the 50-year-old attorney served as deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division. He focused on fraud and foreign bribery.

Mueller’s decision to continue expanding his team likely means the investigation is going to be extensive, said Robert Ray, who succeeded Kenneth Starr as independent counsel for the Whitewater investigation during the Clinton administration.

“It’s an indication that the investigation is going to extend well into 2018,” said Ray. “Whether it extends beyond 2018 is an open question.”

Only 5 Senators Voted Against the Nominee for FBI Director Since 1973

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since the Senate began voting on nominees for FBI director in 1973, only one senator cast a no vote – until Tuesday.

That’s when five Democrats objected to the confirmation of Christopher Wray to replace fired FBI Dire tor James Comey.

The final vote was 92-5. Voting no were Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden.

The only other nominee for FBI director to receive a no vote was Comey in 2013, when Sen. Rand Paul objected, according to CNN

The bureau’s first director, J. Edgar Hoover, was not subjected to a Senate vote, and he held the position for nearly 48 years.

Neighbor Hacked into College Students’ Wireless Account to Download Child Pornography

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Six years ago, FBI agents knocked on the door of three honor students at the University of California in Davis because the roommates’ AT&T wireless router was used to access child pornography.

“When it became pounding, I stumbled out to open the front door – to the complete and utter shock of having FBI agents on my front porch shoving a warrant in my face and suddenly appearing armed in my home,” Caitlin Fitzgerald wrote in a letter to the FBI two weeks ago, the Sacramento Bee reports. “Even thinking about it now, years later, my stomach starts to tighten.”

Turns out, the roommates’ 22-year-old neighbor was downloading child pornography by using “his great computer savvy” to hack into their password-protected wireless account, according to federal court records.

Today, the neighbor Alexander Nathan Norris is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Sacramento, where prosecutors are calling for a 17.5-year sentence on charges of possession and distribution of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

“This case is not a run-of-the mill child pornography case because the defendant hacked into and used his neighbors’ password-protected wireless internet to download and distribute child pornography, thereby roping innocent bystanders into his criminal activity,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Morris and Shelley Weger wrote in their sentencing memorandum to the judge.

“His actions caused the FBI to search his neighbors’ personal computers, cell phones, bedrooms and living space.”

Homeland Security to Waive Environmental Laws to Erect Border Wall

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A stretch of border wall will be replaced without an assessment to the environment, the Trump administration announced Tuesday.
The Washington Post reports that Homeland Security plans to waive requirements under the National Environmental Protection Act, which mandates extensive reviews of environmental impacts.
Calling it an overreach, the Center for Biological Diversity in San Diego plans to challenge the decision.
The Post wrote:

It will mark the sixth time that the department has exercised that authority since 2005 and the first time since 2008.

A law passed in 2005 gave Homeland Security broad authority to waive “all legal requirements” to build border barriers following years of ultimately unsuccessful court challenges to border wall construction in San Diego on grounds that it violated environmental laws.

Congress passed the law to blunt similar efforts elsewhere and it led to hundreds of miles (kilometers) of new U.S.-Mexico border fencing in the final years of President George W. Bush’s administration to its current total of about 650 miles (1,040 kilometers).

Last week, the House of Representatives approved the administration’s request for $1.6 billion to start building Trump’s border wall, which would include replacing 14 miles (22 kilometers) in San Diego covered by the latest waiver and building 60 miles (96 kilometers) of new barriers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. It was unclear if or when Homeland Security would issue waivers for Texas, which is currently the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.

Christopher Wray Is Easily Confirmed By the Senate for For FBI Director

FBI Director Christopher Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As expected, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday easily confirmed Christopher Wray as the new director of the FBI by a vote of 92-5, ABC News reports.

The confirmation comes nearly three months after President Trump fired James Comey.

The votes in opposition came from five Democrats, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Ed Markey, D-Mass.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

No nominee for the position, which has required senate confirmation since 1973, has ever received more than one “no” vote, ABC noted.

.

A Trump Coverup? President Drafts Misleading Letter about Son’s Meeting with Russians

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump personally drafted his son’s misleading statement in response to a report that Eric Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, the Washington Post reveals

The president’s advisers wanted to release a statement that was truthful so there was no chance it was repudiated later.

But that changed when the president decided to personally dictate the statement himself, suggesting the meeting with the Russian lawyer was to discuss “a program about the adoption of Russian children.” The statement emphasized the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

Turns out, those claims were misleading, with Trump Jr. acknowledging he was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a campaign by the Russians to help the elder Trump get elected.

The president’s advisers are now concerned that the president’s “direct involvement leaves him endlessly vulnerable to allegations of a coverup.”

Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, denied the president was behind the statement.

“But he was,” the Washington Post responded.