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Wray Returns to the Hot Seat a Week After Drawing Criticism from President Trump

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in February.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A week after President Trump criticized his FBI director for his testimony before a House committee, Christopher Wray will be back in the hot seat today.

This time, Wray is set to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Wray’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee drew criticism from Trump, who suggested he may consider replacing his director after he testified that Russia was interfering in the presidential election. Wray told lawmakers that Russia was trying to “denigrate” Biden by using social media to spread propaganda.

“I did not like his answers,” Trump said last week. “I’m not sure he liked them either. I’m sure he probably would agree with me.”

When asked if he may replace Wray, Trump responded, “We’re looking at a lot of different things.”

DOJ Operation Leads to Largest Seizure of Drugs Sold on Darknet sites

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators have arrested dozens of people accused of trafficking drugs through Darknet sites, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The operation led to the seizure of more than $6.5 million in cash and virtual currencies, about 274 kilograms of drugs ranging from fentanyl and oxycodone to methamphetamine to heroin in the U.S., and 63 firearms.

The busts were part of operation DisrupTor, an international effort involving the Justice Department and law enforcement partners in Europe. It was the largest seizure of drugs sold online in U.S. history.

Darknet sites, which are on encrypted networks to make access difficult, have become a popular way to distribute illicit drugs.

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a news release. “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries—with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well — shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”

“With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that today’s announcement is important and timely,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “The FBI wants to assure the American public, and the world, that we are committed to identifying Darknet drug dealers and bringing them to justice.  But our work does not end with today’s announcement. The FBI, through JCODE and our partnership with Europol, continues to be actively engaged in a combined effort to disrupt the borderless, worldwide trade of illicit drugs. The FBI will continue to use all investigative techniques and tools to identify and prosecute Darknet opioid dealers, wherever they may be located.”

Click here to read prepared remarks on the busts.

Operation Legend Nets 3,500+ Arrests in Nine Cities Since It Launched in July

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 3,500 people have been arrested across nine cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative launched by the Justice Department in July, Attorney General William Barr announced Tuesday.

Since the operation began on July 8, federal authorities and their local partners have arrested about 200 murder suspects and seized roughly 1,000 firearms, 19 kilos of heroin, 11 kilos of fentanyl, 94 kilos of methamphetamine, 14 kilos of cocaine, and $6.5 million in drug money, Barr said at a news conference in Milwaukee.

Of those arrested, about 815 have been charged with federal offenses, 440 with firearms offenses, and 300 with drug-related crimes.

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in nine cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, Kansas City and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

To see a breakdown by city, click here.

Border Patrol Agent Repeatedly Stabbed, Then Fatally Shoots Suspect Near Nogales

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent was repeatedly stabbed Monday night while trying to arrest what appeared to be a group of undocumented immigrants near Nogales, Ariz.

The agent, who is in his 30s, shot and killed the suspect, CBP leaders said.

The unnamed agent, who was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson in unknown condition, was patrolling on foot about 25 miles east of Nogales along the U.S.-Mexico border when he discovered the group and tried to apprehend them at about 7 p.m.

The FBI is investigating.

“I hope he wasn’t alone,” Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada told The Tucson Sentinel. “That’s remote, dangerous territory.”

Homeland Security’s Chad Wolf Set for Confirmation Hearing Wednesday Amid Uncertainties

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acing Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is scheduled to appear before a Senate committee Wednesday for a confirmation hearing amid doubts about his legitimacy as a candidate.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans to introduce Wolf at the hearing after President Tump officially submitted his nomination for Wolf on Sept. 10.

Wolf is Trump’s fifth Homeland Security secretary, but his confirmation is anything but a certainty. The last Senate-confirmed secretary was Kirstjen Nielsen, who was forced out in April 2019.

Courts and the Government Accountability Office have both suggested Wolf is not legally qualified to hold the position because he was appointed through an invalid process.

“Because the incorrect official assumed the title of acting secretary at that time, subsequent amendments to the order of succession made by that official were invalid,” the GAO said in August.

In a separate ruling last week, a Maryland judge blocked the Trump administration’s new asylum restrictions, saying Wolf appears to lack the authority to introduce them.

The White House has ignored the opinions and is moving forward with the nomination.

Whether Wolf has the votes to be confirmed remains unknown.

Trump, Angry over Wray’s Testimony about Russia And Antifa, Suggests He May Replace FBI Director

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump lashed out at FBI Director Christopher Wray and even suggested he may consider replacing him after he testified about Russia meddling in the presidential election.

“I did not like his answers yesterday,” Trump told reporters Friday, referring to Wray’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee.

When asked if he may replace Wray, Trump responded, “We’re looking at a lot of different things.”

Wray told lawmakers that Russia continues to be “very active” in interfering with the election, primarily to “denigrate” Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

“The intelligence community consensus is that Russia continues to try to influence our elections,” Wray said while testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee.

Trump suggested China was a bigger threat.

“The big problem is China,” Trump said. “And we can have others also, and I’m not excluding anybody, but the big problem is China. And why he doesn’t want to say that, that certainly bothers me.”

Trump also did not like how Wray characterized “antifa,” which the FBI director said is “more of an ideology or a movement than an organization.” Trump disagreed.

“Antifa is bad — really bad,” Trump said.

Trump has a history of butting heads with appointees who contradict his political rhetoric.

CBP Arrests Armed Woman Accused of Sending Ricin to President Trump

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers on Sunday arrested a woman accused of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin to the White House.

The woman was arrested with a gun in her possession soon after crossing the Canadian Border in Buffalo, The Associated Press reports.

The suspect’s identity had not been disclosed as of Monday morning. She is expected to be charged Monday.

The letter, which was addressed to President Trump, was intercepted at a mail-screening facility and traced back to Canada, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which helped the FBI investigate.

Ricin, which is derived from castor beans and has no antidote, can be deadly if inhaled or ingested.

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