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News Story

James Comey Expected to Reveal Today Whether FBI Is Investigating Trump, Russia Ties

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey pledged to reveal today whether the FBI is investigating ties between the campaign of Donald Trump and Russia, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said.

The Rhode Island Democrat said the promise was made in a March 2 meeting with him and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Rhode Island, CNN reports

Whitehouse said Comey pledged to confirm if an investigation exists and  “the scope of their Russia/Trump investigation because he had not been able to at that point say that there was one.”

Whitehouse and Graham, who are leading one of three Congressional investigations into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections, requested evidence from the Justice Department last week  that Trump Tower was wiretapped by former President Obama.

The FBI did not return calls for comment.

FBI Places Jordanian Woman on ‘Most Wanted Terrorist’ List

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi was placed on FBI's "Most Wanted Terrorist" list.

Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi was placed on FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorist” list.

Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi was captured, pleaded guilty and sentenced in 2003 to 16 life prison terms, Al Jazeera reports.

The case involves an Aug. 9, 2001, bombing at a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem that killed 15 people and injured about 120 others.

In 2011, al-Tamimi was freed from prison as part of a prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel. Jordan has refused to let the U.S. take her into custody because the constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals.

“This is the first time the US government has attempted to achieve the extradition and prosecute someone involved in a Palestinian attack against the Israeli occupation,” Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi, reporting from Washington, DC, said. “There have been civil wrongful death suits filed by relatives of Americans killed but this is the first time the government is taking such action.”

DOJ Expected to Announce Charges Against Yahoo Hackers with Russian Ties

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four people with suspected ties to the Russian government are expected to be charged soon for alleged hacking attacks against Yahoo!, sources told ABC News. 

The Justice Department is expected to announce today charges against three people in Russia and one in Canada.

Federal authorities expected to arrest the Canadian, but detaining the Russian suspects may be more difficult because officials don’t have access to them yet.

Yahoo was breached in 2013 and 2014, affecting 1.5 billion user accounts.

The Justice Department is holding a press conference this morning.

New Border Patrol Chief Says Wall Will Be Effective If Done ‘Right’

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Ron Vitiello

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Ron Vitiello

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New U.S. Border Patrol Chief Ron Vitiello said a wall at the Mexican border will be effective if done “right.”

“Placement is important, where it is in relation to the actual boundary and then what kind of equipment and resources support it because in it of itself, it won’t do that job,” said Vitiello in an interview with ABC News

Vitiello said agents will be the critical component of a successful wall.

“Somebody has to arrest the people who are going to continue to attempt to enter even if there is a border wall,” he said.

Vitiello added that the wall will need adequate surveillance technology and sensing equipment to alert agents when someone attempts to breach the wall.

Secret Service Aware of Snoop Dogg Video with Mock Trump Shooting


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service has its eye on Snoop Dogg after he released a video that featured him shooting a clown-faced Trump impersonator with a toy gun.

On Wednesday, President Trump appeared to call for Snoop Dogg’s arrested on Twitter: “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”

The Secret Service declined to comment on the issue, so it’s unclear whether the agency is investigating the video “Lavender.”

The Wrap wrote:

In the video, directors Jesse Wellens and James DeFina depict an America where everyone’s a clown, including president “Ronald Klump.”

After Klump holds a press conference to announce the deportation of all dogs, Snoop chains up the Clown-in-Chief and shoots him with a toy gun.

Since the video was released, it has drawn criticism from U.S. senator and hip-hop fan Marco Rubio, who said that the rapper should be “very careful” about such depictions.

Other Stories of Interest

Fake News Sites Perpetuate Myth That Obama Tapped Trump’s Phones

president obama state of unionBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s claims that Obama wiretapped the Republican’s phones during the presidential “have proven to be a petri dish for fake news,” Politifact has found

Multiple fake news sites have posted stories alleging that the FBI has a warrant to arrest Obama for wiretapping Trump’s phones.

“FBI issues Warrant For Obama’s Arrest After Confirming Illegal Trump Tower Wiretap,” read the headlines on multiple fake news sites.

Politifact concluded: “These stories don’t have a grain of truth. There’s no warrant out for Obama’s arrest, and he’s definitely not getting arrested by the FBI. We’ve also found no evidence to support Trump’s claim that the wiretapping even took place.”

Fake news has contributed to confusion, resentment and anger among people who have trouble discerning real news from fictional news.

Justice Department Requests More Time on Wiretapping Evidence

US CapitolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department said it needs more time to provide information on President Trump’s wiretapping claims.

The House Intelligence Committee has asked for wiretapping applications, orders and warrants involving President Trump or his associates.

The Justice Department called the committee “to ask for additional time to review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities and to determine what if any responsive documents may exist,” the Washington Post reports. 

The committee wants the records by Monday’s deadline.

President Trump has yet to provide a shred of evidence that Obama ordered wiretapping of the Trump campaign.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer walked back some of the claims.

“If you look at the president’s tweet, he said very clearly, quote, ‘wire tapping’ — in quotes,” Spicer said, gesturing with his fingers to symbolize quotes. “There’s been substantial discussion in several reports. ... There’s been reports in the New York Times and the BBC and other outlets about other aspects of surveillance that have occurred. The president was very clear in his tweet that it was, you know, ‘wiretapping’ — that spans a whole host of surveillance types of options.”

Border Agents Searched More Phones in February Than All of 2015

cell-phone-app-fbiBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection officers have demanded that American citizens turn over their phones and passwords in 25 cases examined by NBC News. 

The phones are being seized at the border and airports.

A New York couple said it happened to them twice while returning from a trip to Canada. Akram Shibly and his wife Kelly McCormick said Shibly was assaulted by officers to get their phone.

In February, 5,000 phones were searched, which is more than all of the phones searched in 2015. Homeland Security data show that Border Patrol agents searched nearly 25,000 phones in 2016, a five-fold increase over 2015.

NBC wrote:

The travelers came from across the nation, and were both naturalized citizens and people born and raised on American soil. They traveled by plane and by car at different times through different states. Businessmen, couples, senior citizens, and families with young kids, questioned, searched, and detained for hours when they tried to enter or leave the U.S. None were on terror watchlists. One had a speeding ticket. Some were asked about their religion and their ethnic origins, and had the validity of their U.S. citizenship questioned.

What most of them have in common — 23 of the 25 — is that they are Muslim, like Shibly, whose parents are from Syria.