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Russians Prime Suspects in Cyberattacks Targeting U.S. Nuclear Plants

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, via the U.S Tennessee Valley Authority.

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, via the U.S Tennessee Valley Authority.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security have warned that Russia is the chief suspect behind recent computer network breaches at U.S. nuclear power plants and other energy facilities.

Federal authorities said hackers have been targeting the computer networks of companies that operate the energy plants in what security specialists worry could be a search for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid, Bloomberg reports. 

Among the targets was the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, which runs a nuclear power plant on a lake shore near Burlington, Kan.

A joint report from both intelligence agencies did not indicate whether the cyberattacks were intended to cause destruction or access industrial secrets.

But officials were worried enough to issue an urgent amber alert, the second-highest rating for a potential threat.

The possibility that Russia is involved has alarmed U.S. intelligence agencies because Russian hacker managed to disable parts of Ukraine’s electrical grid and are believed to be testing advance technology to disrupt power supplies.

‘You Don’t Want to Do This,’ FBI Agent Advised Thief Who Stole Bureau-Issued SUV

Chicago cityscape, via Allen McGregor on Wikipedia.

Chicago cityscape, via Allen McGregor on Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was good advice for a thief.

“I’m the police! I’m the police!” an FBI agent exclaimed. “You don’t want to do this.”

Despite the agent’s pleas outside of a Chicago gas station early Monday morning, the teenager who had snuck into a bureau-issued SUV sped off, dragging the agent about a half block, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The 32-year-old agent injured his back, arm and hip.

Inside the stolen 2014 Chevrolet Equinox were firearms and radio and tactical equipment.

The 17-year-old should have taken the agent’s advice.

By 7:21 p.m. Monday, the SUV was discovered a few blocks from the FBI’s Chicago headquarters. The teen, who has a long rap sheet, was arrested and charged as a juvenile, now facing time behind bars. 

Confirmation Hearing Set for July 12 for Trump’s FBI Director Nominee

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for FBI director will testify during a confirmation hearing on July 12.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, made the announcement Wednesday, setting the stage for what could be a contentious hearing.

Wray, who led the Justice Department’s Criminal Division under former President George W. Bush, is seeking confirmation for a 10-year term.

Democrats plan to grill Wray about his representation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie involving the Bridgegate scandal.

If confirmed, Wray will take over the bureau after Trump’s controversial – and some say illegal – firing of Director James Comey.

President’s Choice for FBI Director Supported Trump Foes Comey, Yates

FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s choice for the next FBI director doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the president on two former high-ranking Justice Department officials.

Roll Call reports that Christopher Wray previously voiced support for FBI Director James Comey and acting Attorney General Sally Yates, both of whom have been fired by Trump. 

Wray, for example, was among 10 former DOJ officials who expressed support in a letter to the Senate for Comey’s nomination to lead the FBI in 2013. The letter lauded Comey for his “integrity and independence.”

In another letter, Wray was among 12 former DOJ officials who recommended Yate’s nomination to the No. 2 post in the Justice Department, saying she garnered the respect of her peers “both in the Department and out.”

The recommendations are inconvenient for a president who has claimed Comey and Yates are partisan hacks bent on taking down Trump.   

Homeland Security Secretary Meets with Mexican President over Drug Cartels

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto met with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Wednesday to discuss ways the countries can jointly combat drug cartels.

The high-level talks come ahead of a planned meeting between President Trump and Nieto on Friday at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

In the first of three days of meetings, Nieto “emphasized the importance that both countries’ authorities continue working jointly to fight transnational organized crime, based on the shared responsibility that both nations have recognized,” said a statement from the Mexican president’s office, according to ABS-CBN

Nieto expressed concerns about the high demand for drugs and illegal weapons in the U.S., which helps fuel the cartels. 

President Trump Congratulates Secret Service on its 152nd anniversary

Photo via Secret Service.

Photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump congratulated the Secret Service on its 152nd anniversary.

Here is the president’s statement:

My family and I send our congratulations to the dedicated professionals of the United States Secret Service as it proudly celebrates its 152nd anniversary.

The Secret Service, most renowned for ensuring the personal protection of our Nation’s top officials and their families, began protecting the President in 1901, following President McKinley’s assassination. Every day, the elite Federal law enforcement officials of the Secret Service willingly put their lives on the line to ensure the security of the President, the Vice President, our former Presidents, the heads of visiting foreign governments, and many others.

As President of the United States, I am honored to recognize the men and women of the Secret Service for their hard work and dedication. Melania and I are especially thankful for those who selflessly stand by our side to safeguard our family every day.  We are privileged to benefit from the unfailing professionalism and skill of these extraordinary men and women.

Together, we send our very best wishes for success to Director Randolph “Tex” Alles and we pray for the continued safety of the entire United States Secret Service family.

Other Stories of Interest

Teen Charged in Chicago with Stealing FBI-Issued SUV That Contained Guns, Tactical Gear

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with stealing an FBI-issued SUV after an agent left the vehicle running at a gas station in Chicago early Monday.

When the white 2014 Chevrolet Equinox was stolen from a gas station on the Near West Side at 1 a.m., the SUV contained several firearms and tactical gear, including a bulletproof vest.

The teen was charged as a juvenile with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, aggravated battery to a government employee and vehicular hijacking, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Later Monday, police tracked down the SUV after it received a parking ticket parked less than a half-mile away from the FBI Chicago Field Office.

A tow truck removed the SUV, and some of the stolen gear was found in another vehicle earlier in the day.

Police arrested the teen about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Border Patrol Agent Charged with Lying to Grand Jury about Expense Vouchers

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent out of Tucson was charged with lying to a grand jury in San Diego following a military housing voucher scheme.

Agent David Wayne Skinner testified about two Marines who were accused of fraud by claiming to be renting each other’s homes, the San Diego Union Tribune reports

The Marines collected a total of more than $200,000 in travel expense vouchers that were supposed to be for their lease payments.

Skinner claimed to be one of the Marine’s landlords.