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Federal Prosecutors Fire Back at Sen. Menendez in Misconduct Case

Robert Menendez

Robert Menendez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are fighting back against claims by Sen. Robert Menendez that the allegations against him are based on lies by the FBI and misconduct by the government.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the New Jersey Democrat is accusing prosecutors of relying on misstatements by girlfriends, lawmakers and members of the Obama administration.

Prosecutors fired back in a pair of federal court filings in New Jersey.

Menendez, 61, has denied charges that he accepted nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions from a Florida eye doctor. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors shifted the blame on the senator’s lawyers, saying the engaged in “naked rhetoric that conflicts with the facts and the law.”

Assault Charge Dropped Against Border Patrol Agent Accused of Hitting Mexican Boy

Aldo Artega

Aldo Artega

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent accused of assaulting a Mexican teenager at a Nogales station in January 2014 won’t be charged, the Tucson News reports. 

A misdemeanor charge was dismissed against Aldo Arteaga on Monday.

The case stems from surveillance video that showed the agent hitting a boy and taking his cell phone.

Since the teen was returned to Mexico just hours after the incident, prosecutors said they had no choice but to dismiss the case because the teen would not be able to attend any court hearings.

Other Stories of Interest

USA Today: Hillary Clinton E-Mail Controversy Is a Big Deal

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropBy Editorial Board
USA Today 

In 2009, when soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton first broached the idea of running her work email through a private server at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., the concept should have been dismissed as laughable.

But it wasn’t, and for reasons more likely having to do with control than convenience, Clinton went ahead with the plan. Now that top secret information, intelligence agency inspectors general, the FBI and federal judges are involved, the matter is far from amusing.

Clinton, though, seems to think she can dismiss the controversy by making light of it. Earlier this month in Iowa, the presidential candidate joked to a crowd of Democratic Party faithful about sending future communications over the app Snapchat, which famously makes text and photos disappear soon after they are viewed. At a testy press availability on Tuesday, Clinton went for the laugh line again after being asked whether her email server had been wiped clean. “Like with a cloth?” she replied, adding that nobody talks to her about the email controversy except reporters.

Maybe she doesn’t get asked about it at tightly controlled town meetings, but the episode raises serious questions about the Democratic front-runner’s decision-making and commitment to openness in government.  One of the many reasons that it was a bad idea to mix personal and business messages is well known to anyone with an email account: As hard as you might try, you can’t control what comes into your inbox. And if you’re the secretary of State, that’s inevitably going to include some sensitive information.

Last week, a Justice Department national security investigation kicked into higher gear after intelligence agency officials determined that top secret information had indeed passed through the private email account. The FBI has taken control of the server and thumb drives storing backup data. The number of potentially classified emails involved jumped from a handful to more than 300, according to a State Department count filed in federal court. A federal judge overseeing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit said, “We wouldn’t be here today if this employee” — Clinton — “had followed government policy.”

Clinton’s stance has evolved from saying that no classified material passed through her private account (March), to saying she didn’t send or receive anything that was classified at the time (last month), to saying she didn’t send any material that was explicitly marked or designated classified (last week).

The laws about handling classified material are complex, and way too much information is classified in the first place. It’s entirely possible that Clinton didn’t do anything illegal. Even so, presidential candidates should be held to a higher standard.

FBI Makes Rare Move to Fire Agent for Shooting Unarmed Suspect

fbi badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a rare move, the FBI is trying to fire an agent after he intentionally shot a suspect.

The New York Times reports that the FBI concluded the off-duty agent violated bureau policy for shooting an unarmed suspect who was accused of breaking into a Lexus in Queens.

According to internal reports obtained by the Times, the agent shot the man from a second-story window, striking him in the back.

The bureau accused the agent, Navin Kalicharan, of violating its lethal force policy, which permits agents to shoot their weapons only when there is an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm.

Kalicharan is contesting the dismissal.

Donald Trump: Border Patrol Agents Unable to Enforce Lax Immigration Laws

Donald Trump, via Twitter

Donald Trump, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said immigrations laws are so lax that Border Patrol agents can’t do their jobs, The Hill reports. 

“People are walking across the border right now, right in front of these great people we have,” Trump told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We have wonderful Border Patrol people,” he said. “They can do their job, but they’re not allowed to do the job.”

“People are walking into the country [and] nobody even knows where they come from,” he added. “They walk right past guards that are told not to do anything.”

At times, Trump sounded almost paranoid.

“We have lost control of our country,” he said. “We have lost control of our borders.”

Trump wants to tighten border security, cease birthright citizenship and require Mexico to build a wall at the border.

How Anti-Drug Message Became Ubiquitous on Arcade Games in 1980s

This message appeared on countless arcade games

This message appeared on countless arcade games

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Beginning in the late 1980s, the federal government extended its anti-drug message to arcade games.

“Winners Don’t Use Drugs” was a popular slogan that was hatched during a dinner between old friends, Inverse.com reports. 

Bob Davenport, the the FBI’s director of public affairs, met with former FBI Agent Bob Fay, who at the time was the executive director of the American Amusement Machine Association.

“We were talking about my new career and how he had this emphasis on drug awareness,” Fay told Inverse, “and I said, ‘Hey, I might be able to help you out. I’ve got thousands of video games that we could put a message on.'”

That turned into trip to FBI headquarters in Washington.

The two friends decided the best message was “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” because it was concise and snappy.

“We wanted to get it to something that was short,” Fay said, “something that you could say winners not only applied to game-playing, but also if you want to be a winner in life, you can’t use drugs.”

The message became ubiquitous on video arcades in the late ’80.s.

Did it work?

“From some of the feedback that we were getting from the video game industry and others in the drug awareness program, we felt that it was pretty successful,” Davenport said.

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime History: Bank Robber Explains How He Robbed Armored Truck

Border Patrol Finds Drug Smuggler in Scuba Gear Near Long Tunnel to Mexico

Photo via Border Patrol.

Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Border Patrol agents found a man in scuba gear, they knew something odd was afoot.

Turns out, the man was smuggling drugs through a tunnel that was partially underwater at the end of the All-American Canal, about 7 miles east of Calexico, Calif., The Associated Press reports.

Near the man was a breathing tank and several vacuum-sealed packages containing 55 pounds of cocaine.

The April 25 discovery unearthed a 150-foot-long tunnel that stretched from the canal to a house in Mexicali, Mexico.

“Drug smugglers will try anything to move their product — even scuba diving in an underwater tunnel,” U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement. “The ingenuity of the smugglers is matched only by our determination to thwart it.”