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News Story

Amazon Streaming ‘Disturbing,’ False Pseudo-documentary on DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena

A portion of this story, which appears in Spy Talk, is being republished here with permission.

By Elaine Shannon

Does the world need another Deep State conspiracy theory?  

Amazon Studios obviously thinks so. 

In these grim times, with tens of millions of Americans frightened, angry and ready to believe the worst about their government and each other, Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime have inexplicably chosen to stream a disturbing pseudo-documentary that falsely claims that the CIA and the DEA conspired with Mexican drug kingpins to torture and murder a brave American.

The Last Narc, produced by Texas filmmaker Tiller Russell, is a cynical reimagining of the 1985 death of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was dragged into a car outside the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara on February 7, 1985. DEA and FBI agents assigned to Operation Leyenda, as DEA called the murder investigation, plunged deep into Mexico. They didn’t find every fact, but they got enough of them to be sure that the horrendous crime was orchestrated by Guadalajara cartel kingpins and corrupt Mexican officials at all levels.

As a correspondent for Newsweek, then Time, I followed the investigators as they pounded the streets of Guadalajara, the dirt tracks along the border, the sterile hallways of the FBI forensics lab and government executive suites in Washington. I broke dozens of stories about the murder and the growth of the Latin cartels. I wrote a best-selling book, Desperados, published in 1988, about the Camarena case and the narcokleptocracy that killed him.

Along the way I met dozens of heroes—honest men and women, badge-wearers and civilians, citizens of several countries, who turned up truths deemed inconvenient by much of official Washington, Mexico City, Wall Street and international banks addicted to drug money.

One hero was U.S. Customs Commissioner Willy von Raab, who, a week after Camarena disappeared, ordered 100 percent inspections of all people and vehicles attempting to cross from Mexico. He effectively slammed the border shut and unrepentantly incurred the wrath of his  boss, Treasury Secretary (and future secretary of state) James Baker, one of the most formidable humans ever to park his wingtips under a mahogany desk in the nation’s capital. But Von Raab’s bold move worked. On March 5, after merchants on both sides of the border howled in financial pain, the Mexican police “discovered” Camarena’s body, exhumed from a shallow grave in Guadalajara and dumped on a roadside in the next state.

To Read the Rest Click Here

Weekend Series on Crime: Why Colombia is Losing the Drug War

At Least 11 Employees at Secret Service Training Facility Tested Positive for COVID-19 in August

By Steve Neavling

At least 11 employees tested positive for COVID-19 at a Secret Service training facility in Maryland in August, according to a new report. 

It’s believed the employees were infected during training sessions and a graduation ceremony that lacked social distancing, The New York Times reported on Friday morning.

The Times learned about the infections from the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group.

The news comes just hours after the bombshell announcement that President Trump and first lady Melanie Trump became infected with COVID-19.

In a statement, the Secret Service said it “has taken significant precautions at its training center to protect the health and welfare of its trainees and training staff.”  

It’s still unclear whether any of the Secret Service agents who work directly with the president have become infected. 

Trump Plans to Fire FBI Director Wray If He Is Re-Elected, Report Says

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray’s future at the FBI may depend on who wins the presidential election in November. 

If President Trump wins a second term, he has privately told “several officials and close associates that he intends to replace Wray near the start of a second term in office,” Daily Beast reports, writing that the president routinely expresses  “dissatisfaction with the director’s performance and apparent unwillingness to swiftly root out Trump’s perceived enemies in the bureau.”

Trump even asked close advisers for suggestions on a replacement.

It’s no secret that Trump has been unhappy with his FBI director for contradicting the president’s baseless rhetoric about widespread election fraud and efforts by Russia to interfere in the election. 

Last week, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows doubled down on his criticism of Wray for telling the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that there’s no evidence of any kind of coordinated national voter fraud.”

Since becoming president, Trump has lashed out at his FBI directors for refusing to show loyalty and not repeating his baseless rhetoric. Trump fired Comey in May 2017 after he declined to pledge loyalty, a move that was followed by the appointment of a special counsel probe.

ATF Sued in Effort to Reclassify Ghost Guns As Firearms to Make Them Traceable

Homemade gun seized by U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle in February 2020.

By Steve Neavling

California’s attorney general and the fathers of two children who were killed in school shootings have sued the ATF over ghost guns, saying the unfinished frames and do-it-yourself firearm kits are untraceable and ending up in the hands of killers.

The lawsuit aims to force authorities to classify ghost guns, which are often purchased online and assembled by hand, as firearms. They argue the ATF made an arbitrary and capricious decision in 2006 to stop considering the parts as firearms, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Since ghost guns aren’t classified as firearms, they rarely have serial numbers that make them traceable. 

“The only logical intended result of a ghost gun kit is that it will become a firearm,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra told reporters Tuesday.

The ATF declined to comment on pending litigation.  

Some recent high-profile shootings have involved ghost guns, including one at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita that claimed the lives to two students. The parents of those students joined the lawsuit. 

Comey Defends FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation, Takes Aim at Barr

Former FBI James Comey in previous testimony, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Former FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday defended the bureau’s investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, saying it was “essential,” as Republicans dismissed the probe as politically motivated.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the Trump-Russia probe, Comey also took aim at Attorney General William Barr’s assertion that the investigation was unwarranted. 

Asked about Barr’s criticism that the FBI had sufficient evidence to launch an investigation, Comey responded that he had “no idea what on earth” he meant, The Washington Post reports.

“This was an investigation that was appropriately predicated and that had to be opened, and it was in the main, conducted in the right way,” Comey said, pointing out the dozens of people who were charged as a result of the investigation. “The notion that the attorney general believes that was an illegitimate endeavor to investigate mystifies me.”

Comey also suggested Barr was “acting like the personal lawyer for the president.”

“It ought to be a concern for all of us, because we need that institution, and we need that institution to be seen as separate from our tribal warfare,” Comey said.

Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, setting off the special counsel investigation. 

Comey acknowledged mistakes were made, particularly with the bureau’s controversial surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. 

“I’m not looking to shirk responsibility,” he said. “The director is responsible.”

At the beginning of the hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., criticized the handling of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“This is not just an abuse of power against Mr. Page and the Trump campaign,” Graham said. “This is a system failure, and you could be next.”

An inspector general’s review of the FISA process found missteps, but concluded there was no political bias. 

Judge Doesn’t Dismiss Michael Flynn Case, Says He’s Not ‘Rubber Stamp’

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

A federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn raised more questions Tuesday about the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case. 

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said his role “is not intended to serve merely as a rubber stamp” for prosecutors who want to dismiss a case, NBC News reports.

By Steve Neavling ticklethewire.com

Accusing the judge of “abject bias” against Flynn, who served briefly under President Trump, Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell said she plans to ask Sullivan to recuse himself from the case. 

Powell also revealed to the court that she recently met in person with Trump and asked him not to pardon Flynn. 

“I provided the White House an update on the status of the litigation,” she said. “And I asked that the president not issue a pardon.”

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit ruled that Sullivan can does not have to promptly dismiss the case just because the Justice Department sought to drop it.

In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. 

Now the Justice Department and Flynn want the case to be dismissed, drawing criticism from Democrats and legal experts who have questioned Attorney General William Barr’s motives for intervening in a case tied to Trump.

Michael F. Paul Named Special Agent in Charge of Minneapolis Field Office

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael F. Paul has been appointed to serve as special agent in charge of the bureau’s Minneapolis Field Office after holding the active role since this summer.

Before the appointment, Paul also was serving as a section chief in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters.

Beginning in 1994, Paul was as an honors intern for the FBI before being hired as a management and program analyst for the Criminal Justice Information Services Division. 

In 1999, he was tapped to be a special agent and began working in the Detroit Field Office to investigate health care fraud, drug diversion, and environmental crimes. For several years beginning in 2001, Paul handled counterterrorism cases and served on Detroit’s SWAT Team, Hazardous Materials Response Team, and as an operational medic.

In 2005, Mr. Paul became supervisory special agent in the Counterterrorism Division and was assigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, coordinating investigations and intelligence-sharing about sensitive international weapons of mass destruction threats. 

In 2006, he served as a senior detailee and unit chief under the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, where he oversaw FBI personnel detailed to the CIA, National Counterterrorism Threat Center, and the National Security Agency.

In 2008, Paul became the chief of the WMDD’s executive staff, and in 2009, he was chosen as a Joint Terrorism Task Force field supervisor for the Cleveland Field Office, a position he held until 2013. 

After that, he was tapped as assistant special agent in charge of the Norfolk Field Office in Virginia, where he led the office’s counterintelligence, counterterrorism, intelligence, and crisis management programs.

Paul was promoted in 2015 to chief of the Domestic Terrorism Operations Section at FBI headquarters. In addition, he led the National JTTF and served as co-chair of the Department of Justice’s Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee. 

Paul transferred within the Counterterrorism Division in 2018 to serve as chief of the Technology and Data Innovation Section. 

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Paul earned advanced degrees from West Virginia University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.