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Grand Jury Indicts 6 Men Accused of Plotting to Kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer

Six suspects accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer.

By Steve Neavling

A federal grand jury has indicted six men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

The indictment comes more than two months after the FBI arrested the suspects, who face up to life in prison on one count of kidnapping conspiracy. 

No trial date has been set. 

The indictment sheds new light on the case. One of the suspects, Brandon Caserta, 32, of Canton Township, instructed his co-conspirators in an encrypted video message that “if they encountered police during reconnaissance, they should give the officers one opportunity to leave, and kill them if they did not comply,” according to a court filing. 

The other indicted men are Adam Fox, 37, of Potterville; Ty Garbin, 25, of Hartland Township; Kaleb Franks, 26, of Waterford Township; Daniel Harris, 23, of Lake Orion; and Barry Croft, 44, of Delaware. An additional six suspects in the kidnapping plot were charged in state court. 

According to new filings, investigators raided sites in multiple states, including a firing range in northern Michigan and homes in metro Detroit. 

Federal prosecutors say the men were anti-government extremists who were incensed over Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions. 

Anthony S. Good Named Chief Patrol Agent of Border Patrol’s Grand Forks Sector

Anthony S. Good, chief patrol agent of the Border Patrol’s Grand Forks Sector in North Dakota.

By Steve Neavling

Anthony S. Good has been named chief patrol agent of the Border Patrol’s Grand Forks Sector in North Dakota. 

Beginning Dec. 20, Good will replace acting Chief Patrol Agent William J. Maddocks. 

Good joined the Border Patrol in 2001, serving at the Calexico Station in the El Centro Sector. He was promoted to numerous leadership positions, including supervisory Border Patrol agent at Blythe Station in the Yuma Sector, special operations supervisor of the Deming Station in the El Paso Sector, assistant chief within the Planning Branch at Border Patrol Headquarters, and deputy patrol agent in charge of the Ajo Station in the Tucson Sector. 

In 2016, Good became division chief of Operational Programs and division chief of operations at the Laredo Sector in 2017. In 2018, Good was promoted to deputy chief patrol agent of the Havre Sector.

 “I am excited for this new opportunity and proud to be serving with everyone in the Grand Forks Sector,” Good said in a statement. “Border security is national security and everyone plays a role in keeping our nation and our communities safe. I will ensure that as a sector we continue to maintain and enhance our great relationships with our strategic partners as well as our communities.” 

Grand Forks Sector oversees North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri and includes seven Border Patrol stations along 861 miles of land and water border with Canada.  

White House Lawyers Advise Trump Against Firing Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The White House counsel’s office has “strongly” urged President Trump not to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray because of potential legal consequences, according to a new report.

While Trump has mulled for weeks whether to fire Wray, White House lawyers advised him against taking drastic actions because it could appear he is imposing a “loyalty test,” NBC reports.

The lawyers, including White House counsel Pat Cipollone, were worried that firing Wray could lead to the kind of legal issues that dogged Trump after he terminated then-FBI Director James Comey in 2017. 

They expressed concerns that the firing could be seen as retaliation because Wray didn’t launch investigations into the president’s political enemies. 

Although administration officials said Wray’s termination didn’t appear imminent, Trump has a habit of making decisions on a whim, and he’s expected to embark on a firing spree before his term expires next month. 

“I wouldn’t take anything off the table in coming weeks,” the senior administration official said, adding that he or she expects “some more fairly significant terminations in the national security or intelligence community.”

TSA Officer Credited with Saving Passenger’s Life at Orlando Airport

TSA Officer Kenneth Ordenana.

By Steve Neavling

A TSA officer at Orlando International Airport was on a coffee break at 5:30 a.m. when a member of the airport cleaning staff alerted him that a passenger was unconscious in a restroom. 

“My initial reaction was shock,” the officer Kenneth Ordenana said in a TSA news release. “Is this really happening? One-hundred thoughts raced through my mind not knowing what to expect while I was heading to the bathroom ready to dial 911 with my phone already in hand.”

Ordenana rushed to the restroom and found a man who wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. While on the phone with a 911 operator, he began CPR. 

A Delta Air Lines employee joined Ordenana, and the pair worked to revive the passenger for more than 10 minutes until paramedics arrived. 

“Life is precious,” Ordenana said. “Although I do not know this man, never met this man before, I had tremendous compassion and empathy for him. The only thing on my mind was I wanted him to get through this and for him to live.”

When medics rushed the man to the hospital, he was breathing on his own and had a pulse. 

“The man would not have made it the 10 minutes it took for additional help to arrive without [Officer] Ordenana’s actions,” Orlando Deputy Federal Security Director Greg Hawko said. “We are proud he is a member of Team MCO. His quick thinking and care of others, especially during the current environment of distancing, saved a man’s life.”

Ordenana turned philosophical. 

“A single act of kindness throws roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees,” he said. “We don’t know what troubles others are going through in this chaotic world; it is also called being human. Whether it’s family, financial, personal or health, it’s important to be kind to one another more than ever because we do have a choice – a choice on how to treat others. A single and simple act of kindness can make someone’s day and the power to change someone’s life. So, choose kindness.”

Man Accused of Shooting FBI Agent in New Mexico Faces 20 Years in Prison

Derick Garcia

By Steve Neavling

A man accused of shooting an FBI agent who was helping execute a search warrant at an apartment in New Mexico last week was formally arraigned in federal court on Tuesday. 

Derick Garcia, 23, of Albuquerque, was charged with assault on a federal officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 

The agent, who has not been identified, was struck in the forearm, taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital for care and is recovering. 

The bureau said the agent was wearing a marked vest identifying him as an FBI agent when he and other agents knocked, announced they were with the FBI and had a warrant. 

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” said James C. Langenberg, special agent in charge for the FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office said in a news release. “FBI special agents courageously accept the danger as part of their job. Fortunately, our agent who was shot on Friday while performing his duty is out of the hospital and recovering. His bravery is an inspiration to all of us at the FBI who have sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and defend the American people, regardless of the sacrifices that may be asked of us.”

Garcia was taken into custody after the shooting. 

Jeffrey Rosen to Replace William Barr As Attorney General

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will succeed outgoing Attorney General William Barr after President Trump announced Barr’s resignation in a tweet  Monday afternoon.

In his letter to Trump, Barr said he was “greatly honored” to serve in the administration and would step down on Dec. 23.

The resignation came amid escalating tensions between Barr and Trump, who accused his attorney general of disloyalty for failing to publicly disclose the Justice Department’s investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of President-elect Joe Biden. Trump also criticized Barr for refusing to parrot baseless claims of widespread election fraud. 

In a tweet, Trump called Rosen “an outstanding person.”

Rosen, who has no prior experience as a prosecutor, was confirmed along party lines to the No. 2 spot in May 2019. Before joining the Justice Department, Rosen, 62, spent much of his career in the private sector but also worked for government agencies, including the Transportation Department and Office of Management and Budget. 

During his time as deputy attorney general, Rosen took leading roles in cases against Google and Purdue Pharma LP. 

In 1979, Rosen graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of arts degree in economics. In 1982, he graduated from Harvard Law School. 

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Intelligence Officials in Probable Death of Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson disappeared while in Iran.

By Steve Neavling

For the first time, the Trump administration has officially blamed two Iranian intelligence officials for the abduction, detention and probable death of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, whose 2007 disappearance has been a mystery. 

The administration imposed sanctions on the two high-ranking officers of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, Mohammad Baseri and Ahmad Khazai, The USA Today reports.

“No family should ever endure the pain the Levinson family has for nearly 14 years,” the White House said in a statement. “Iran is responsible and can end this nightmare by answering questions for which only they hold the answers. Any future talks with Iran must include resolution to this case.”

The Levinson family said the administration’s actions were “one step in a long road toward achieving justice.”

“Robert Levinson will never come home to his family alive because of the cruel, cynical and inhumane actions of the Iranian authorities,” the family said in a statement. “Because of these men and others like them, our wonderful husband, father and grandfather died alone, thousands of miles from everyone he loved.

“No matter how long it takes, we will find the individuals who are responsible for what happened to Bob Levinson, and we will hold them accountable.” 

U.S. officials believe Levinson, who would be 72 if he was still alive, was likely killed while in Iranian custody after disappearing from the island of Kish, a tourist spot off the coast of Iran. It’s believed Levinson was on a CIA operation at the time.

The Iranian government initially responded that it had detained Levinson but soon backed off that story and has since maintained it has no idea about Levinson’s whereabouts.  

William Barr Stepping Down as Attorney General

By Allan Lengel

After the relationship turned contentious it came as no surprise that Attorney General William Barr would be leaving early, one way or another.

On Monday, President Trump tweeted: