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FBI Missed Critical 48-Hour Window to Open Church Shooter’s iPhone

IPhone 6By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI failed to ask Apple to help unlock the iPhone of the Texas church shooter in the two days following the massacre that left 26 people dead.

Apple, which has refused to offer help unlocking encrypted phones in the past, said it offered to assist the FBI but agents never reached out, Business Insider reports

“Our team immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference Tuesday that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone,” Apple said in a statement. “We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us.”

The phone, instead, was sent to a lab for analysis.

As a result, the FBI lost 48 hours without locking the device by using the finger prints of the shooter, Devin Kelley, if the phone was fingerprint-access enabled.

That’s significant because iPhones locked with a fingerprint for 48 hours or more require the user’s passcode.

The FBI declined to comment.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuits Requiring More Thorough Search of Clinton’s Emails

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge for the second time has dismissed a pair of lawsuits that would have required the State Department and FBI to do more to track down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled the FBI has done all it reasonably can to recover Clinton’s emails, the Washington Times reports

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2015 by two watchdogs, Judicial Watch and Cause of Action, demanded a more thorough effort to recover all of Clinton’s emails, claiming she violated open-records laws by failing to retain her messages.

“Those efforts went well beyond the mine-run search for missing federal records … and were largely successful, save for some emails sent during a two-month stretch. Even then, the FBI pursued every imaginable avenue to recover the missing emails,” wrote Judge Boasberg, an Obama appointee to the court.

It was the second time the case was dismissed, but a higher court reversed the original findings, saying the government had a responsibility to “shake loose a few more emails.”

Alert Off-Duty FBI Agent Busts 4 Suspects Breaking into Cars in Michigan

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An alert off-duty FBI agent busted three teenagers and an adult who were breaking into cars in the Detroit suburb of Lyon Township.

The agent called Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies after he spotted suspicious-looking occupants of a Ford Taurus peering into parked cars and checking to see if the doors were unlocked, The Oakland Press reports

Arrested were two 17-year-old girls, a 17-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man.

Deputies searched the car with permission from the owner and found several wallets, work boots, a backpack, medical equipment and a concealed-weapon permit.

Authorities believe two of the suspects were involved in a string of other vehicle break-ins.

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.