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New ATF SAC in Phoenix Wants to Focus on Infiltrating Criminal Groups

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John Durastanti, the new head of ATF in Phoenix, is taking aim at groups involved in violence, people he refers to as “trigger pullers.”

“Those gangs, those groups that are contributing to the most violence in any community, that’s one of our priorities. Our primary goals? Go in, infiltrate those gangs and take them off the streets,” he tells 3TV/CBS5.

He came from ATF headquarters in D.C.

3TV | CBS 5

Ex-FBI Negotiator Evaluates President Trump’s Negotiating Style

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI crisis negotiator Chris Voss talks to CNBC’s “Power Lunch” about the negotiating tactics of President Donald Trump and Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Voss calls Trump “an assertive, openly aggressive negotiator” and notes that the problem with that style is that “people get tired of dealing with them.”

Voss says, for example, Trump’s recent openness to working with Democrats on policy projects like tax reform and health care. “The reason why he’s going to the Democrats is because Republicans are tired of him,” Voss tells CNBC.

Voss, founder of the  business consulting company, The Black Swan Group, says of Kim Jong Un has a tendency toward self importance, with someone like that you should ask “what does he see in the future that he wants?”

The tactics of a master negotiator from CNBC.

NSA Leaker Reality Winner Says ‘I Screwed Up Royally’

Reality Winner

Reality Winner

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Accused National Security Administration leaker Reality Winner revealed she “screwed up royally” when she smuggled classified information — hidden in her pantyhose — out of an NSA facility in Georgia and sent material to the media, according to documents of her FBI interview, ABC News reports.

A transcript of Winner’s FBI interview was made public in a court filing on Wednesday night.

Winner, 25, faces charges of leaking government information to the media outlet The Intercept about Russian interference in the 2016 election, including information on hacking into a voting machine software supplier, ABC News reports.

She admitted in the FBI interview she had read reports of Russian efforts to compromise voter data and wondered why the information she possessed wasn’t public.

“I saw the article and was like, ‘I don’t understand why this isn’t a thing,'” she said. “It made me very mad. I guess I just didn’t care about myself at that point. Yeah, I screwed up royally.”

She faces up to at least 9 years in prison if convicted at trial.

Acting DEA Administrator to Step Down at End of Month

DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Chuck Rosenberg, acting head of the DEA, plans to resign at the end of the month.

A holdover from President Obama’s administration, Rosenberg told his staff in an email that he was proud to have run a “remarkable agency,” the Washington Post reports. 

“The neighborhoods in which we live are better for your commitment to the rule of law, dedication to the cause of justice, and perseverance in the face of adversity,” he wrote. “You will continue to do great things. I will continue to root for you, now from the sidelines.”

Rosenberg, who has been the acting administrator of the DEA since 2015, didn’t shy away from criticizing the White House and Justice Department.

In July, for example, Rosenberg criticized Trump’s comments that suggested law enforcement should handle criminal suspects roughly.

“We have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong,’’ he wrote in the email.

It’s not yet clear who will replace Rosenberg, who also served as a U.S. attorney and senior counselor to then-FBI Director James Comey.

FBI Nets 10 Arrests in Ongoing Investigation of College Basketball Corruption

Basketball jump - dark silhouettesBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI led one of the largest investigations into corruption in college basketball, arresting four NCAA basketball coaches, a top Adidas executive and five others.

The arrests are part of a two-year investigation into bribery schemes in which star athletes are recruited and then pointed to particular schools, financial advisers, agents and shoe sponsors, the New York Post reports. 

And the probe is far from over.

“We have your playbook,” New York FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney said during a Manhattan news conference. “Our investigation is ongoing, and we are conducting additional interviews as we speak.”

The investigation involved undercover FBI agents who exposed what acting Manhattan U.S. attorney Joon Kim called the “dark underbelly of college basketball.”

“The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one,” said Kim, adding that the defendants were “circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes” and exploited them to enrich themselves.

Justice Department Reveals ‘Systemic’ Misconduct Often Ignored at FBI

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Inspector General revealed the FBI was not reporting “high-risk security concerns” about some agents, concluding that “systemic” misconduct issues were not properly addressed.

The examination found “seriously allegations of misconducts” that were never reported or properly addressed, Newsweek reports

“Despite these requirements, we identified several instances in which the FBI could not demonstrate that allegations of employee misconduct were referred either to the INSD or the OIG,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in a memo to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

In one case, an FBI agent who used bureau computers to download pornography was never disciplined.

Horowitz warned that the failure to properly address the misconduct is a national security issue.

“Allegations against employees with access to [sensitive information] are particularly important given the potential risk to U.S. national security,” the memo states.

Bills to Prevent Trump from Firing Special Counsel Run into Legal Hurdles

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Senators from both sides of the aisle are backing legislation to make it more difficult for President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

But the New York Post reports that the legislation “ran into legal hurdles Tuesday at the Senate Judiciary Committee.” 

The issue is whether the proposals are legal.

Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School and a Democrat, told the committee that the legislation likely won’t pass constitutional muster.

“I must sadly report as a scholar who has studied the Constitution I believe the bills in their current forms are unwise and unconstitutional. It gives me no pleasure to say this,” said Amar, who suggested instead a new bipartisan senatorial oversight panel.

University of Texas Law School Prof. Stephen Vladeck and University of Chicago Law School Prof. Eric Posner disagreed.

“I conclude that they do not violate the principles of separation of powers and, on the contrary, advance important constitutional values,” Posner testified.

Two bills are being considered by the committee.

“Both bills were introduced when media speculation was rampant that President Trump was contemplating firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” said Committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “The President has said that he does not intend to fire the special counsel, and I think that he made the right decision.”

IRS Finally Discloses Tax Information to Special Counsel about Trump Campaign

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After clashing with the special counsel investigating Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, the IRS is now sharing information with Robert Mueller, the head of the ever-growing probe.

CNN reports the IRS Criminal Investigation division is disclosing tax records about campaign aides, including former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former White House national security adviser, Michael Flynn. 

The disclosure of information to special counsel happened after the IRS and Mueller’s team met with officials at the Treasury Department.

CNN wrote:

CNN has learned the IRS Criminal Investigation agents had been working with the FBI to investigate Manafort since before the election in a similar probe that centered on possible money laundering and tax fraud issues, according to the sources. It’s unclear if Flynn is now or was previously under investigation by the IRS. CNN has reported that Mueller’s team is examining Flynn’s payments from Turkey and Russia.

A former high-level Justice Department official says the information shared would include anything tax return-related such as real estate and banking records. The former official added the IRS is very restricted in what information it can share under Title 26 US Code and would normally need a specific grand jury subpoena in order to share tax returns with another agency.

The new information about the depth of IRS involvement renews questions surrounding the controversial issue of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, which he refused to release during the campaign despite decades of precedent by presidential candidates.

Other Stories of Interest