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Timothy Waters, Head of Detroit FBI, Talks About Public Corruption, Terrorism and the Latest on Jimmy Hoffa

By Allan Lengel

Domestic terrorism in Michigan has become such a concern that the FBI has tripled its resources in that area in the past 18 months, says Timothy Waters, head of the Detroit office, which covers the state. But concern over links to international terrorism also looms large.

“Our adversaries are extremely active here, more so than what people could possibly even imagine,” says Waters, adding: “We have a robust counterterrorism program here for a reason. If we didn’t have the threat, we wouldn’t waste the resources to address it.” 

Waters, 53, is retiring as special agent in charge of the Detroit office at the end of the year to join the private sector. The New Jersey native and West Point graduate started his career with the FBI in Detroit in 2000 and advanced within the bureau. He was appointed head of the Detroit office a year ago.

He sat down recently with Deadline Detroit, a sister publication of ticklethewire.com, for a wide-ranging interview about domestic and international terrorism, Chinese thefts of intellectual property, the continuing Detroit corruption probe and the timing of the city hall raids, ransomware and the latest on Jimmy Hoffa in relation to a New Jersey dump.  

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Taiwan Mafia

Ex-Homeland Security Official Cuccinelli Questioned by Congressional Committee about Jan. 6

Ken Cuccinelli

By Steve Neavling

Former top Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli was questioned by the U.S. House committee that is investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Cuccinelli, who served as deputy Homeland Security secretary from 2019 to 2021, was asked about the events of Jan. 6 and what the agency did to prepare for them, CNN reports.

He said the committee also asked him about discussions he had with Trump. He said he declined to discuss details of those conversations. 

Cuccinelli was considered a Trump loyalist and was often in meetings when the administration discussed the election results. Trump even broached the idea of appointing Cuccinelli to serve as “special counsel” to investigate voter fraud.

Border Patrol Agent Who Was Struck by Drunken Driver Remains Hospitalized

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent who was struck by a drunken driver at a freeway checkpoint in southern California remained in the hospital Thursday with life-threatening injuries, The Times of San Diego reports.

The agent, who has not been identified, was helping operate the checkpoint on northbound I-15 at Rainbow Valley Boulevard at about 2:20 a.m. Monday when he was hit by the car. 

The driver, Jaime Alejandro Garcia, 30, of San Bernardino, sped through the area at 60 mph in a 2014 Mini Cooper, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Lassig. 

The agent was “propelled up and over the Mini Cooper” and landed in the freeway’s lanes, Lassig said. 

“(Garcia) continued to drive his vehicle northbound on I-15,” the spokesman said. “USBP agents caught up to the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop approximately one mile from the collision scene.”

The driver was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run.

As of Thursday evening, the agent was at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar in stable condition. No more details were available. 

Homeland Security Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Hiring First Female Secret Service Agents

Swearing-in ceremony for the Secret Service’s first female special agents on Dec. 15, 1971.

By Steve Neavling

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of women joining the ranks of the Secret Service.

Five women were appointed to become the agency’s first female special agents on Dec. 15, 1971. 

“We didn’t have an alternative other than to do it; to do it right, to jump a little higher, to try a little harder to shoot a little straighter,” Kathryn (Clark) Childers, one of the first five women sworn in, said, WDVM reports. “I am pleased and proud of the Secret Service for making gender a non-issue.”

Childers was joined by Laurie Anderson, Sue Ann Baker, Holly Hufschmidt and Phyllis Shantz, all of whom served in the Executive Protective Service, now called the Uniformed Division. 

Since then, virtually ever leadership position in the agency has been held by a woman. Some of the top leaders were Director Julia Pierson, Deputy Director Barbara Riggs, and Assistant Director for the Office of Protective Operations Kimberly Cheatle. 

Today, women make up 24% of the Secret Service. 

“What I am hoping for is that we continue the momentum of recruiting, hiring and retaining and advancing women in the Secret Service,” first Latina Deputy Assistant Director Darnelly DeJesus said. 

Watch the ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary.

Homeland Securities Offers Thousands of Dollars to Hackers to Find Vulnerabilities

By Steve Neavling

The Department of Homeland Security is offering hackers thousands of dollars to identify vulnerabilities in its computer systems. 

The bug bounty program, called Hack DHS, is aimed at helping the agency discover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by bad actors. 

Payments will range from $500 to $5,000, with the biggest payouts going to hackers who find the most severe bugs. 

“As the federal government’s cybersecurity quarterback, DHS must lead by example and constantly seek to strengthen the security of our own systems,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement.  “The Hack DHS program incentivizes highly skilled hackers to identify cybersecurity weaknesses in our systems before they can be exploited by bad actors.  This program is one example of how the Department is partnering with the community to help protect our Nation’s cybersecurity.” 

Homeland Security launched its first bug bounty program in 2019. 

Homeland Security Agent Tasered Following Confrontation with Detective

Carmelo Manuel Viera. Photo: Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office. 

By Steve Neavling

A sheriff’s deputy tasered a Homeland Security agent after he allegedly pointed a loaded handgun at two people in a South Carolina sports bar. 

Carmelo Manuel Viera, 47, of Summerville, was charged with two counts of pointing a firearm at a person, unlawful carrying of a pistol, domestic violence and resisting arrest with a deadly weapon, The Post and Carrier reports.

He faces up to 10 years in prison. 

Deputies were called to Shenanigan’s Bar to investigate a man pointing a gun at a woman and bouncer. 

A detective spotted Viera driving a car behind the pub with one of the victims. When Viera was ordered to get out of the car, he walked toward the detective, even though he had been ordered to stop walking. At one point, Viera swung a fist at the detective and then returned to his car and reversed out of the alleyway, according to police. 

Using his squad car, the detective blocked Viera in the alleyway. Viera again exited his car and walked toward the detective, who pulled out his gun and told Viera multiple times to stop walking, according to the report.  

An arriving deputy fired his Taser at Viera, who was incapacitated and then booked in the Dorchester County jail. 

At the time of the incident, Viera was on administrative leave from his Homeland Security job. 

Four FBI Agents Accused of Soliciting Prostitutes Overseas And Lying about It

By Steve Neavling

Four FBI agents hired prostitutes while working overseas and lied to internal investigators about it, according to the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. 

A fifth of agent is accused of soliciting a prostitute but not hiring her. 

The agents violated FBI and Justice Department policies when they “solicited, procured, and accepted commercial sex,” a summary of the investigation states.

During a polygraph test, the agents denied having sex with prostitutes, according to the report. 

One of the agents provided another FBI official with a “package containing approximately 100 white pills to deliver to a foreign law enforcement officer.”

“During the investigation, the OIG found indications that three of the FBI officials may also have failed to report unofficial contacts with foreign nationals,” the report states. 

So far, of the five agents who solicited sex, two have resigned, two retired and one was removed.”