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Biden Plans to Withdraw Nomination to Lead ATF After Senate Support Fell Short

Former ATF Agent David Chipman, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

President Biden plans to withdraw his pick to lead the ATF, David Chipman, after the nomination floundered in the Senate, The Associated Press reports.

Chipman, a gun owner and former ATF agent, has come under fire for his support of firearm restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. He’s also a former adviser at the Giffords, a gun control group. 

Since no Republicans were supporting the nomination, Chipman needed the support of all 50 Democrats. Sens. John Hickenlooper, Colo. and Jon Tester, Mont., were among at least two holdouts.

The National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation were putting up a fight to stop Chipman’s nomination and have spent more than $4 million in radio and TV ads in the home states of moderate Democrats and Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine.

Chipman’s nomination advanced from the Senate Judiciary Committee after a 10-10 vote in June. But since then, Democrats have not scheduled a confirmation vote because they weren’t sure if Chipman had enough support. 

Without a permanent ATF leader, the Biden administration will likely have a more difficult time pushing forward gun control measures. 

Secret Service Shares Chilling, Never-Before-Seen Photos from Sept. 11 Attacks

The World Trade Center collapses. Photo: Secret Service

By Steve Neavling

As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks approach, the Secret Service is releasing chilling, never-before-released photos from attack.

The Secret Service announced this week that it will be sharing photos “from that day and the days that followed,” including some that “have never been seen” before.

Two of the photos show damaged armored limousines parked at the former Secret Service New York Field Office. Another image shows plumes of black smoke streaming out of the World Trade Center towers.

The World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Photo: Secret Service
Armored limousines damaged at the Secret Service’s former New York Field Office. Photo: Secret Service
New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. Photo: Secret Service

FBI Releases New Video of Suspect Who Placed Bombs Outside RNC, DNC on Eve of Jan. 6 Riot

Screenshot from a new video released by the FBI of the pipe bomb suspect.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI on Wednesday released new information and video surveillance of the suspect wanted for placing pipe bombs in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington D.C. the night before the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

The new video, which is the clearest to be released, shows the suspect sitting on a park bench near the Democratic National Headquarters, close to where the suspect placed one of the bombs. 

Included in the video is a virtual map that shows where the suspect walked while depositing the bombs between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The suspect was wearing a face mask, glasses, a grey-hooded sweatshirt, gloves, and black-and-light grey Nike Air Max Speed Turf shoes with a yellow logo. The bombs were transported in a backpack. 

The FBI believes the suspect is not from the area. 

“The FBI is extremely grateful to the American people who have already provided us with vital assistance in this case,” Steven M. D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said in a statement. “Since January, the FBI has conducted more than 800 interviews, collected more than 23,000 video files, and assessed more than 300 tips related to this investigation. Those tips have helped us uncover new information, which we are releasing today and asking the public to view it and call us with any information you think may be relevant.”

He added, “We know it is hard to report information about a friend or family member, but these pipe bombs were viable devices that could have detonated, causing innocent bystanders to be seriously injured or killed. Your tip could be the one that prevents this person from harming themselves or anyone else.”

FBI Investigates Vermont State Troopers Accused of Making Bogus COVID-19 Vaccination Cards

An authentic vaccination card. Photo: Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating three Vermont State Police troopers for allegedly making fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. 

The troopers, Shawn Sommers, Raymond Witkowski and David Pfindel, have resigned, according to a state police statement obtained by VTDigger.

The troopers “are suspected of having varying roles in the creation of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards,” the statement reads. 

The investigation began after fellow troopers notified their supervisors about the allegations. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what the bogus vaccination cards were for. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also is investigating. 

“The accusations in this case involve an extraordinary level of misconduct — a criminal violation of the law — and I could not be more upset and disappointed,” said Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. 

“If these allegations are proved to be true,” he said, “it is reprehensible that state troopers would manipulate vaccination cards in the midst of a pandemic, when being vaccinated is one of the most important steps anyone can take to keep their community safe from COVID-19.”

Feds Bust New York Town’s Deputy Mayor After Raid Uncovers Assault Weapons, Bogus Federal Badges

Found during the search were bogus badges for the FBI, DEA, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshals Service. Photo: DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Federal agents raided the home of a deputy mayor of a New York town and made a shocking discovery: At least 16 unregistered assault weapons, 13 illegal silencers, and a locked box containing “numerous federal badges and credentials” bearing his name and “four FBI patches that could be seen onto a uniform or chest,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

Airmont Deputy Mayor Brian Downey, 47, a Republican, was charged with possession of unregistered firearms and bogus law enforcement badges and ID cards, The Daily Beast reports.

Homeland Security Investigations agents raided the home with a search warrant Thursday. Agents were forced to force up a small locked box in the home after Downey claimed he didn’t have the combination. Inside were numerous federal badges, bearing his name, from the FBI, DEA, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshals Service. His passport and driver’s license also were found in the box, according to prosecutors. 

Downey also has been charged with state crimes, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office announced.  

Unregistered assault weapons found in the home of Airmont Deputy Mayor Brian Downey. Photo: DOJ.

Border Patrol Agent Arrested Again on Sexual Assault Charges

Border Patrol Agent Steven Charles Holmes, via Tucson Police Department.

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent who was arrested in May 2019 for allegedly sexually assaulting multiple women is back in jail on similar charges. 

Steven Charles Holmes, who worked out of the Tucson Station, is being held in the Pima County Jail after a woman said he assaulted her while they were having sex last month, KVOA.com reports.

Holmes was placed on indefinite administrative duties after he was arrested two years ago on charges of sexually assaulting at least three women he met online. 

The investigation began after a woman told Tucson Police that she was sexually assaulted by Holmes after meeting him on a dating app. Police said a further investigation turned up multiple victims with similar reports from 2012 to 2019.

Holmes was out of jail on a $25,000 bond awaiting a court hearing when another woman said she was sexually assaulted by Holmes on Aug. 26. According to court records, she was having sex with Holmes when “something changed.” She said Holmes squeezed her neck until she lost consciousness, and he “continued in having sexual intercourse with her after she had asked him to stop.”

With bruises on her neck, eyes and behind her ears, the woman called police, leading to Holmes’ arrest. 

Asked to comment, Border Patrol resent a statement from 2019. 

“On May 21, 2019, Border Patrol Agent Steven C. Holmes from the Tucson Station was arrested by the Tucson Police Department for multiple charges of Sexual and Aggravated Assault. At the time, Holmes had seven years of service with the U.S. Border Patrol. He has been placed on indefinite administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation. The U.S. Border Patrol stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of its mission. We do not tolerate misconduct on, or off duty, and will fully cooperate with all investigations of alleged misconduct by our personnel.”

McCabe Says Federal Law Enforcement Should ‘Take Seriously’ an Upcoming Right-Wing Rally

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Steve Neavling

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe warned Monday about the potential for violence at an upcoming right-wing rally to advocate for the jailed Jan. 6 rioters.

“I think they should take it very seriously. In fact, they should take it more seriously than they took the same sort of intelligence that they likely saw on January 5,” McCabe told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

The Justice for J6 rally is scheduled for Sept. 18 in Washington D.C. and was organized by a former Trump campaign staffer. 

Federal law enforcement officials have been criticized for their handling of the Jan. 6 riot. The Government Accountability Office concluded that Homeland Security failed to provide adequate security at the Capitol, despite plenty of evidence of possible violence.

McCabe said federal law enforcement appears to be more prepared this time around. 

“It looks like, from all indications, our law enforcement partners are well prepared for this one,” McCabe said. “They seem to be taking the intelligence very seriously, which raises a question as to whether or not they did on January 6, but that’s another issue.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: ‘Sammy The Bull’ Talks About Killing, Fixing Cases And His Boss John Gotti