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James A. Tarasca Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Detroit Field Office

Special Agent in Charge James A. Tarasca

By Steve Neavling

James A. Tarasca, who was serving as deputy assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters, has been named special agent in charge of the Detroit Field Office, the bureau announced.

Tarasca’s career with the FBI began in 1999, when he was assigned to the Orlando Resident Agency of the Tampa Field Office in Florida to investigate white-collar crime. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he began investigating counterterrorism throughout Central Florida. He also served as a firearms instructor and a member of the Tampa SWAT team. 

In 2003, Tarasca joined the Hostage Rescue Team, based at Quantico, Va. In addition to participating in numerous domestic operations, he was deployed internationally, including to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008, he became supervisory special agent and team leader. 

In 2011, Tarasca transferred to the Philadelphia Field Office, where he served on the Violent Crimes Task Force. In 2013, he became supervisory special agent of the task force before returning to Afghanistan in 2016 to work counterterrorism and kidnapping matters. 

In 2017, Tarasca was named assistant special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division of the New York Field Office and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

In 2018, Tarasca was promoted to section chief in the International Operations Division, where he oversaw FBI operations in Europe and Eurasia and the Global Readiness Unit. In 2019, he returned to the New York Field Office, serving as special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division and JTTF. 

In 2021, he was named deputy assistant director of operations in the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters in 2021. 

Tarasca received the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence in Leadership, two FBI Shields of Bravery, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery. He has a bachelor’s degree in management from Eastern University and was a Pennsylvania state trooper before joining the FBI.  

Weekend Series on Crime: The New Orleans Mob Boss

William Webster, Ex-FBI, CIA Director, Is Selling D.C. Home for $2.8M

By Steve Neavling

William Webster, the former director of the FBI and CIA, is selling his 1947 home in Washington D.C. for $2.8 million, The Washington Post reports

The 4,530-square-foot home was designed by famed architect Van Tuyl Hart Bien and includes a sunken living room with French doors, a family room with a gas fireplace, and a bedroom with a fireplace and balcony. 

Webster and his wife Lynda purchased the house in 1993. 

Webster was the FBI director from 1978 to 1987 and head of the CIA from 1987 to 1991. 

FBI Begins Investigating Handling of Classified Documents Removed from Trump’s White House

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is starting to investigate former President Trump for removing 15 boxes of White House records that contained classified documents, The New York Times reports.

The records were taken from the White House at the end of Trump’s term and were found at his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago after he left office. 

The Justice Department said the investigation is in its preliminary stages. 

The National Archives was ordered not to disclose details about the documents to the House Oversight Committee, which is conducting its own investigation. 

In turn, committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., accused the Justice Department of obstructing the committee’s probe, The Washington Post reports.

In a letter Thursday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Maloney requested an explanation.

“The Committee does not wish to interfere in any manner with any potential or ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice,” Maloney wrote. “However, the Committee has not received any explanation as to why the Department is preventing NARA from providing information to the Committee that relates to compliance with the [Presidential Records Act], including unclassified information describing the contents of the 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago.”

AG Garland Tests Positive for COVID-19 After Unmasked Press Conference with FBI Director

Attorney General Merrick Garland. (Photo: DOJ)

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Merrick Garland has tested positive for COVID-19, the Justice Department announced just hours after he held a news conference with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and others. 

Garland, 69, was not experiencing symptoms and tested positive after learning he may have been exposed to the virus, the DOJ said, according to ABC News.

“He asked to be tested after learning that he may have been exposed,” the DOJ said in a statement.

Garland, who is vaccinated and boosted, will follow CDC guidelines and work virtually from home while in quarantine. 

Garland tested positive after attending a Gridiron dinner in Washington D.C. on Saturday. Others who attended the event – Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas – have tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

As of Thursday morning, there was no word on Wray, Monaco and others who attended the unmasked press conference Wednesday.

2 Men Accused of Impersonating Homeland Security Agents, Providing Secret Service with Free Gifts

By Steve Neavling

Two men are accused of impersonating federal agents and providing expensive gifts to Secret Service officers and agents for the past two years.

More than a dozen FBI agents barged into a luxury apartment building in Southeast Washington on Wednesday evening and arrested Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36, The Associated Press reports

They are accused of falsely claiming they worked for Homeland Security and were on a special task force investigating gang and violence connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The pair allegedly posed as law enforcement in order to build a relationship with real agents. 

Taherzadeh gave Secret Service officers and agents rent-free apartments, surveillance systems, a drone, a TV, iPhones, a generator, a gun case and other policing equipment, according to prosecutors. Taherzadeh is also accused of offering to buy a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the first lady. 

Four Secret Service agents who associated with the pair have been placed on leave pending an investigation. 

Taherzadeh and Ali’s next court appointment is scheduled for Thursday. 

Retired LAPD Officer Alleges CBP Officers Sexually Assaulted Her at Border

By Steve Neavling

A retired Los Angeles Police Department officer filed a lawsuit against CBP, alleging she was sexually assaulted and harassed by border officers. 

Janine Bouey said she was crossing into the U.S. after a dentist appointment in Tijuana in June 2020 when a CBP officer was “flirtatious and pushy, and he pressed her to give him her home address,” according to the lawsuit, NBC-7 San Diego reports. After Bouey declined, the lawsuit alleges “the officer pulled her out of line and took her to the main building.”

Then a female officer “intentionally groped Bouey” over her clothes, the lawsuit claims, and she was placed in a “holding pen with other people,” even as she repeatedly said she was a U.S. citizen and a retired LAPD officer. 

She was then forced to remove all her clothes except for her bra and underwear while “the police officer who had inappropriately searched me the first two times was behind me with a flashlight,” Bouey said at a news conference Tuesday. She was eventually forced to remove her bra and underwear. 

“After I took off my clothes, I was made to turn around. I had to bend over, I had to squat multiple times at their direction,” Bouey said.

Andrea Guerrero, executive director of the community organization Alliance San Diego, said a lot of people were at fault for what happened. 

“It was not one officer alone who harmed Janine. Everyone who came into contact with her was complicit in her degrading treatment,” Guerrero said. “That includes the officer who racially profiled her and pulled her out of line, the officer who shoved a dog’s nose into her buttocks, the officer who penetrated her genitalia, the officer who forced her to remove all her clothes and had her bend over while others looked, the officer who took her shoelaces, her jewelry and belongings, handcuffed her to a bench, dismissed her pleas and tossed her out the back door.”

CBP declined to comment on the case. 

Biden to Nominate Former U.S. Attorney to Serve As ATF Leader

Former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach

By Steve Neavling

President Biden plans to pick a new nominee to lead the ATF after his previous nomination fell short in the Senate last year, Politico reports

The nominee is former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach, a Democrat who has advocated for reinstating the assault weapons ban and universal background checks on firearms purchases.

Dettelbach served as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio from 2009 to 2016. He ran an unsuccessful campaign to serve as attorney general in Ohio in 2018.  

He has been working in the private sector for BakerHostetler, serving as co-leader of the firm’s national Whte Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations team.  

Dettelbach is married with two children. 

Biden’s first pick to lead the ATF, David Chipman, couldn’t get enough votes in the Senate for confirmation. The National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation were putting up a fight to stop Chipman’s nomination and have spent more than $4 million in radio and TV ads in the home states of moderate Democrats and Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine.

The ATF’s acting director, Marvin G. Richardson, has been accused by gun control advocates of cozying up to the gun industry.