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Senators Work on Legislation to Require FBI to Disclose ‘All’ Records to Watchdogs

Sen. Grassley

Sen. Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Inspectors general are the watchdogs of federal agencies like the FBI, but they have been stymied by a bureau that has declined to turn over critical records during investigations.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Wednesday that the FBI is obligated to follow the law as he works on legislation that would require the bureau to cooperate with IGs, The Daily Caller reports. 

The legislation, which would ensure IGs have the right to access all federal records, comes after the FBI has delayed disclosing records of wiretaps and grand juries and occasionally even filtered the records.

“I think we need a more permanent solution, one that ensures IGs have access to the records they need to do their job, and I will work closely with Sen. Grassley to craft a legislative solution,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is the committee’s ranking minority member.

Facing Growing Threat over Homegrown Terrorists, FBI Tries New Approach

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the FBI scrambles to handle an increase in potential homegrown terrorists, the bureau is taking a new approach that would favor counseling over jail, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The bureau is struggling to keep pace with the thousands of Americans believed to be supporting the interests of ISIS.

Especially concerning is the proliferation of teenage suspects.

“Nobody wants to see a 15-year-old kid go to jail if they don’t have to,’’ said one official working on the effort.

But, the FBI official emphasized, criminal charges would still be pursued if the suspect becomes more dangerous.

Not everyone agrees with this approach.

“I get the principle, but there are a lot of potential problems with this, and I think it’s a wrong move,’’ said Peter Ahearn a former FBI counterterrorism agent. “I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done but it shouldn’t be done by the FBI. That’s not the mission.’’

Investigators: DeKalb County Officials ‘Rotten to the Core’ with Corruption

DeKalb_County_Georgia_Incorporated_and_Unincorporated_areas_Atlanta_Highlighted Map_of_Georgia_highlighting_DeKalb_CountyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DeKalb County government is “rotten to the core,” investigators said, outlining allegations of bribery, theft of government property and corruption, AL.com. 

“The misconduct starts at the top and has infected nearly every department we have looked at,” wrote the investigators, former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde. “Expenses range from the petty to the absurd.”

Investigators called the findings “stunning” but declined to identify suspects until the report was finalized.

From cruises to the Bahamas to a Christmas tree, county officials are accused of using tax dollars to buy a variety of services and items.

New DEA Leader: ‘El Chapo’ Likely Still in Mexico After Prison Escape

'El Chapo' Guzman

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is most likely still in Mexico after his escape from prison last month, the DEA’s new acting administrator said.

Chuck Rosenberg told reporters, though, that he has no hard evidence of the escapee’s whereabouts but said Guzman is likely relying on the vast resources of his Sinaloa organization in Mexico.

“I think he is still in Mexico,” Rosenberg said. “Do I know that? No, I do not know that. Where is he safest and best protected, probably Sinaloa.”

The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward for the capture of Guzman, a powerful cartel leader.

“I know the Mexicans are trying everything they can to find him,” he said. “They are working on it; we are working on it with them.”

Other Stories of Interest

Fearing Government Takeover, Trio Accused of Stockpiling Explosives, Tactical Gear

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.36.39 AMBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Three North Carolina men were stockpiling weapons and tactical gear because they feared a government takeover and martial law, the Associated Press reports.

The trio from Gaston County, near Charlotte, was arrested Saturday following an investigation that lasted more than a month and included allegations that the men were trying to make pipe bombs and live grenades. Some of the explosives were being made out of tennis balls filled in nails and coffee cans stuffed with ball bearings.

Their fears of a takeover appear to have been triggered by ongoing special forces training that “has drawn suspicion from residents who fear it is part of a planned military takeover,” the AP wrote.

The FBI acted on a tip that the men were trying to make homemade explosives.

Trial Begins in Case of FBI Agent Accused of Framing Former Cop

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal trial has begun in the case of an FBI agent accused of framing a man in the kidnapping and robbery of two Kansas City drug dealers.

FBI agent Robert Buchan is accused of framing Gary Engel, a former Willow Springs, Ill. cop, who was sentenced to 90 years in prison but released after 20 years after evidence surfaced that a mobster, Anthony Mammolito, had been paid $500 to be a key witness in the trial, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

Engel ended up hanging himself.

His brother sued.

During opening statements Monday in Chicago federal court, Engel’s attorney, Jon Loevy, said his client was “collateral damage” by FBI agents willing to do anything to put him behind bars.

“Gary Engel’s life was ruined by a completely unconstitutional trial in which he was railroaded,” Loevy said. “Gary went down in their quest for Steve Manning, but Gary is a real person.”

The agent’s attorney said Engel clearly committed the crime.

FBI Investigates Security of Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did Hillary Clinton put American security at risk by using a private email server to communicate when she was the secretary of state?

The FBI is investigating the security of the private email server, NBC News reports.

The bureau also also asked a Clinton attorney about the security of a thumb drive that held copies of the emails.

NBC reports that the investigation is into the procedures and email system, not Clinton.

The concern is that Clinton sent and received classified information on unsecured email.

Homeland Security Employee, 2 Family Members Murdered in ‘Witchcraft’ Killing

Blue Moon/Wikipedia

Blue Moon/Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Three family members in Florida, including a Homeland Security employee, were beaten with a claw hammer and their throats were slit in a triple murder that appears to be tied to “witchcraft” and the blue moon, The Washington Post reports. 

Law enforcement said the gruesome attack near Pensacola, Fla., was being investigated as a “ritualistic killing.” Killed were Voncile Smith, 77, and her sons John William Smith, 49; and Richard Thomas Smith, 47, a Homeland Security employee who also was shot in the head.

“The elements of this case are odd, at best,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said at a news conference, as Reuters reported. “We have a very reclusive family. Obviously we’ve canvassed the neighborhood, spoken to people who’ve lived there for years and years. Neighbors have related to us that they’ve never met members of this family.”

Police said they have an person of interest “with ties to witchcraft.”

“Initial research has led us to believe it was a ritualistic killing,” Morgan also said, as the Pensacola News Journal reported. “The method of the murder — blunt force trauma, slit throats, positioning of bodies — and our person of interest has some ties to a faith or religion that is indicative of that. The time of the death on Tuesday also coincides with what’s referred to as a blue moon, which occurs every three years.”