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Huffington Post Reporter Under FBI Investigation for Twitter ‘Joke’

fbi-logBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Huffington Post editor who joked about “destroying Trump ballots” at a Washington D.C. voting site is under investigation by the FBI, the journalist wrote. 

On Halloween, Nick Baumann tweeted, “I love my job working at a voting site in washington dc destroying trump ballots.”

A day later, Baumann said his tweet was “a joking reference” to the conspiracies peddled by Trump supporters that a man was destroying Trump ballots.

On Nov. 4, Bauman said the FBI called him, but he never called back because he thought it was a prank call. A day later, the FBI called again.

“The reason I’m calling is — I can’t give you too many details over the phone — we recently received some complaints regarding some online postings that were made. I don’t know if you know what that’s in reference to, but would you be willing to sit down with us for a couple minutes tomorrow morning by chance?” the agent asked, according to Baumann.

“I know this may sound ridiculous, but when we receive complaints we have to follow them up no matter what,” the federal agent added.

There has been no meeting, but Baumann wrote, “The investigation is ongoing.”

Senators Introduce Bill Aimed at Increasing Number of Border Patrol Agents

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake and Heidi Heitkamp introduced legislation aimed at increasing the number of Border Patrol agents at ports of entry.

The legislation, the Customs and Border Protection and Hiring Retention Act, is deigned to eliminate recruitment obstacles and help retain agents, the Republican and Democrat said in a press release

“Arizona can’t afford for its ports to go on strained and understaffed,” Flake, R-Ariz., said in the release. “By tackling CBP’s hiring problems head-on, this bill will help strengthen border security and facilitate the cross-border trade that is critical to Arizona’s economy.”

The senators said Border Patrol is short of about 1,000 agents.

The legislation would provide incentives for Border Patrol agents to stay on the job and not go to other agencies.

“In my visits with border security officials and personnel in Portal last month and Pembina last year, a key concern I heard over and over from agents on the ground was about their abilities to both attract and retain quality workers to best protect our communities – and it’s those challenges that our bipartisan bill would work to address. This effort expands on my work in the U.S. Senate to make it easier to hire and retain federal employees, like border patrol agents, at remote locations such as at the Northern Border. And my bipartisan bill to assess threats to the Northern Border and examine employee recruitment and retention issues is expected to soon be signed into law. Our border patrol agents work to keep our borders protected, and they need to have the resources and support to keep our communities safe,” said Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Special Agent Arrested After Police Say He Shot at Cop in Michigan

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI special agent was arrested after he was accused of shooting at a Grand Rapids police officer outside of a gym in Michigan.

Police said the 35-year-old agent from Las Vegas entered a Planet Fitness gym, showed off a gun and fired three shots early Tuesday morning, WZZM 13 reports. No one was injured. 

The agent is accused of shooting at an arriving police officer before being arrested at gunpoint in a parking lot north of Center Point Mall.

The FBI in Detroit released the following statement Tuesday:

“The FBI takes allegations of misconduct very seriously. We are aware of the matter involving the recent arrest of an FBI Special Agent and are fully cooperating with the Grand Rapids Police Department. This matter has been referred to the FBI’s Internal Investigations Section in Washington, DC, as well as the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General. Because this is an ongoing investigation, we will not comment further.”

FBI Found No Evidence to Support Terrorism Threat to LA Metro Stations

Los Angeles Metro

Los Angeles Metro

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears of a terrorist attack targeting Los Angeles Metro stations on Tuesday were eased after the FBI found no evidence that the threat was credible.

Authorities believe the tipster has made similar unsubstantiated claims, ABC News reports. 

“Based on significant similarities, law enforcement partners also believe the anonymous caller may have, on a previous occasion, reported threats that did not materialize,” an FBI official said.

“The Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to investigate to determine the identity of the caller and will continue to evaluate information developed from investigative efforts.”

The anonymous tip came from Australia, causing heightened security on Tuesday.

Murder Charges Are Possible After Oakland Warehouse Fire Killed at Least 36

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A massive warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif. that killed at least 36 people Friday night was “a potential crime scene,” officials said Monday as the ATF helped investigate what caused the blaze.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said murder or involuntary manslaughter charges are among the possible consequences of the fire.

“Right now, we have just started our investigation,” she said. “And we owe it to the community, to those who perished in this fire, and those who survived the fire to be methodical, to be thorough, and to take the amount of time it takes to be able to look at every piece of potential evidence. So that if — when we get to that point of making a decision, we know that we’re making the right decision, based on the evidence that we have discovered and has been presented.”

What’s not clear, yet, is whether there is any criminal liability, O’Malley said.

“Right now, we have just started our investigation,” she said. “And we owe it to the community, to those who perished in this fire, and those who survived the fire to be methodical, to be thorough, and to take the amount of time it takes to be able to look at every piece of potential evidence. So that if — when we get to that point of making a decision, we know that we’re making the right decision, based on the evidence that we have discovered and has been presented.”

The ATF was on the scene trying to determine where the fire began. Officials believe the fire started somewhere in the back of the warehouse.

“We are no closer to finding a cause,” said Melinda Drayton, battalion chief for the Oakland Fire Department.

FBI Investigating Imminent Terrorist Threat Against Los Angeles Metro System

Los Angeles Metro

Los Angeles Metro

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating what it’s describing as a potentially imminent terrorist threat against the Los Angeles Metro system.

Authorities received specific information about the threat, but investigators are trying to determine whether the threat is credible, ABC News reports.

The FBI received a tip from an international partner that the threat was for this morning against the red line Metro.

The international partner received an anonymous call reporting a threat.

Police Reforms Likely Won’t Be Priority of Trump’s Justice Department

Militarized police

Militarized police

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eight years of police reforms under President Obama could be undone with the election of Donald Trump.

That’s a big concern for former Attorney General Eric Holder, who has described the Civil Rights Division as the department’s “crown jewel,” Vice News reports. 

Trump’s choice of Alabama Sen. Jeff Session as attorney general has raised serious concerns because his voting record and statements as a senator suggest he believes the federal government should not be involved with policing.

And with Trump’s pledge to reestablish “law and order,” many worry that the Justice Department is poised for a dramatic shift in priorities

Vice News wrote:

The Justice Department under President Barack Obama focused on criminal justice and police reform more heavily than past administrations did.

Laurie Robinson, who served as assistant attorney general from 1993 to 2000 and then again from 2009 to 2012, characterized Obama’s personal interest in the issue as “highly unusual” for a president but “helpful in spearheading attention.”

Ezekiel Edwards, director of the Criminal Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, added that “the Obama administration understood better than previous administrations the calamities that were taking place.”

Marine Gen. John Kelly Appears to Be Trump’s Choice for Leading Homeland Security

Marine Gen. John Kelly

Marine Gen. John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Retired Marine General John Kelly appears to be President-elect Donald Trump’s top choice for leading Homeland Security.

The 66-year-old with more than four decades of military experience would play a major role in Trump’s plans to secure the border and crack down on illegal immigration, Politico reports. 

When Kelly was the chief of U.S. Southern Command, he oversaw military operations and clashed with the Obama administration on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Politico wrote:

His addition to the Trump administration would likely have implications on candidates for remaining cabinet posts. If formally offered the position, Kelly would be the third general tapped by the president-elect, in addition to Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will serve as Trump’s national security adviser, and retired Gen. James Mattis, who Trump said Thursday he intended to nominate as his Defense Secretary. Concerns about the number of military officials in Trump’s cabinet may harm the prospects of another military man, retired Gen. David Petraeus, whom Trump is considering for secretary of state.