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FBI: Flight Attendant Set Fire in Airplane Bathroom, Then Played Hero by Extinguishing Flames

american airlines logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American Airlines flight attendant is accused of setting an airplane bathroom on fire, forcing an emergency landing in Detroit.

Authorities said Jonathan Tafoya-Montano pretended to discover the flames, which he then extinguished, the Washington Post reports. 

The incident occurred on a Feb. 1 flight from Dallas to Detroit.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive.

The FBI and Wayne County Airport Authority Police Department are investigating.

Justice Department Asks FBI to Investigate ExxonMobil’s Denial of Climate Change Dangers

earthBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ExxonMobil’s insistence that climate change was a sham has prompted the Justice Department to request the FBI to investigate whether the oil company violated federal laws.

Democratic lawmakers from California first raised the issue last fall, saying that Exxon executives knew that burning fossil fuels were dangerous but publicly tried to undermine the science behind it, the Huffington Post reports.

Some of the charges, the congressmen said, could include Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization, or RICO.

The Justice Department forwarded the issue to the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division to “determine whether an investigation is warranted.”

Border Patrol Agents Rescue Two Suicidal Men in Detroit on Same Day

Detroit riverfront. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Detroit riverfront. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents saved two men attempting to commit suicide in separate incidents in Detroit on Wednesday.

The Detroit News reports that a Border Patrol agent on patrol spotted a man stumbling in the street at about 7 p.m.

“The agent stopped to assist him and noticed he was covered in blood,” authorities said Thursday. “The individual stated he just tried to commit suicide and stabbed himself.”

Instead of waiting for an ambulance, agents rushed the man to the hospital.

At 10:30 p.m. that night, separate Border Patrol agents responded to a possible suicidal man near the Detroit River. The man jumped into the river but was rescued when the agents threw bags with ropes so the man could reach shore.

“Each of us in this world has a purpose,” Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison said in a statement Thursday. “I am proud that the purpose for these Border Patrol agents last night was to save the lives of two people who needed help.”

Dozens of Air Marshals Committed Crimes, Ranging from Attempted Murder to Human Trafficking

us-air-marshalsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dozens of federal air marshals have been committed crimes ranging from attempted murder to aiding a human trafficking ring, Patch.com reports. 

Between November 2002 and February 2012, air marshals were arrested 148 times.

Patch found that one air marshal tried to lure a young boy to a hotel room and another used his badge “to smuggle drugs past airport security.”

Air marshals also hired prostitutes and engaged in fights with security guards at a brothel.

The TSA responded, saying the incidents were relatively rare given the number of marshals.

“The vast majority of FAMs [federal air marshals] are dedicated law enforcement professionals who conduct themselves in an exemplary manner,” TSA said in a statement. “TSA and FAMS continually strive to maintain a culture of accountability within its workforce.”

Other Stories of Interest

Guardian: Congress Finally Did Its Job Over Battle Between FBI, Apple

US CapitolTrevor Trimm
Guardian

Members of Congress did something almost unheard of at Tuesday’s hearing on the brewing battle over encryption between Apple and the FBI: their job. Both Democrats and Republicans grilled FBI director Jim Comey about his agency’s unprecedented demand that Apple weaken the iPhone’s security protections to facilitate surveillance. This would have dire implications for smartphone users around the globe.

Normally, congressional committee hearings featuring Comey are contests among the members over who can shower the FBI director with the most fawning compliments in their five-minute allotted time frame. Hard questions about the agency’s controversial tactics are avoided at all costs. But on Tuesday, in rare bipartisan fashion, virtually every member of the House judiciary committee asked Comey pointed questions and politely ripped apart his arguments against Apple.

One judiciary member questioned how the FBI managed to mess up so badlyduring the San Bernardino investigation and reset the shooter’s password, which is what kicked this whole controversy and court case in motion in the first place. And if the case was such an emergency, why did they wait 50 days to go to court? Another member questioned what happens when China inevitably asks for the same extraordinary powers the FBI is demanding now. Others questioned whether the FBI had really used all the resources available to break into the phone without Apple’s help. For example, why hasn’t the FBI attempted to get the NSA’s help to get into the phone, since hacking is their job?

Comey readily admitted that the San Bernardino case could set a precedent for countless others after it, and that it won’t just be limited to one phone, as the FBItried to suggest in the days after the filing became public. Comey said the FBI has so many encrypted phones in its possession that he doesn’t know the number (that’s not including the hundreds of local police forces that are itching to force Apple to create software to decrypt those as well). Comey also admitted under questioning that terrorists would just move to another encrypted device if Apple was forced to do what the government is asking, and that there are companies all over the world offering similar products.

More than anything, though, the members of Congress expressed anger that theFBI director didn’t follow through earlier on his stated intention to engage in a debate in Congress and the public about the proper role for encryption in society. Instead, he decided to circumvent that debate altogether and quietly go to court to get a judge to do what the legislative branch has so far refused to do.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agent Testifies About Conversation with ISIS Suspect

FBI Files Pinpoint When Feds Learned of Attack Against U.S.

Ferguson Expected to Reconsider Agreement with Justice Department

Read CIA’s 1953 Report, ‘A Study of Assassination’

Why Airport Security Lines Have Grown Longer

Cleveland Man Arrested After Threatening to Kill President Obama, Hillary Clinton

Jonathan SmeadBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Cleveland man is accused of calling the Secret Service and saying he wants to kill President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The Secret Service and Cleveland police on Monday arrested Jonathan Smead, 35, who was charged Wednesday in Ohio Northern District Court, Cleveland.com reports. 

Authorities said Smead called the Secret Service at 10 p.m. Sunday and asked whether it was a federal crime to acknowledge that he wants to kill the president.

Smead, who cited past assassins, also said he wanted to kill Clinton, authorities said.

Smead even told the Secret Service that he “wants federal charges, not little state charges,” and offered up his social security number, name, date of birth and the home where he was living with his grandmother.    

Former Hillary Clinton Staffer Cooperates with FBI in Exchange for Immunity

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former State Department staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server in her New York home in 2009 is cooperating with the Justice Department and FBI in exchange for immunity, a senior law enforcement official told the Washington Post. 

The Justice Department has granted immunity to Bryan Pagliano, who is now cooperating wth the FBI as it investigates possible mishandling of classified information.

The FBI is expected to complete the investigation in the coming months.

The Post wrote that “agents are likely to want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails,” citing current and former officials.

No evidence has surfaced yet that prosecutors have convened a grand jury.

Republican Congressman Criticizes FBI Director for ‘Unprepared’ Testimony about Apple Case

Rep. Darrell Issa

Rep. Darrell Issa

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who is an electronic security expert, criticized FBI Director Jame Comey for being “unprepared” to answer questions about the fight to get Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“He hadn’t asked the questions or taken the steps that would have led to his discovering whether or not there was a one-time solution as he kept telling us there was,” Issa told NPR. 

Issa was commenting on Comey’s Congressional testimony this week about the debate over whether Apple should help to unlock a phone.

Issa said Comey “seemed befuddled” and couldn’t answer basic questions about finding ways to access the phone.

Listen to the entire interview above.