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Border Protection Employees Tasked with Stopping Nonessential Traffic Between Canada, U.S.

Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, where traffic comes and goes from Canada.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border protection employees have a new job at the U.S.-Canada border: Denying nonessential travelers entry into the country.

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday morning that the U.S. and Canada have reached a deal to close the border to nonessential traffic to combat the coronavirus.

“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic,” Trump tweeted. “Trade will not be affected.”

U.S. and Canadian officials had been working on a ban on nonessential travel between the two countries. Trade and commerce won’t be affected, Trump said.

Records: At least 13 Homeland Security Officials Tested Positive for Coronavirus, Nearly 500 More Are Quarantined

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The coronavirus has hit federal Homeland Security employees hard.

At least 13 employees for the agency have been confirmed or presumed positive for COVID-19, but only eight of those cases – all TSA screeners – have been publicly disclosed, according to documentation obtained by POLITICO.

The records also show that nearly 500 Homeland Security employees have been quarantined.

Homeland Security officials declined to comment for the story.

The risk to federal workers is high because many of the more than 240,000 Homeland Security employees are still working and in close proximity to the public.

“The department’s leadership is going to have to pay very close attention as this public health crisis evolves,” John Cohen, former acting undersecretary of intelligence and analysis., told POLTICO. “It has to be concerned that its ability to carry out its core mission could be compromised if there’s a widespread outbreak of the virus among DHS personnel. And quite frankly, that’s something that federal, state, and local officials need to be concerned about across the board — that this virus will spread among first responders, law enforcement, and Homeland Security personnel, compromising the ability of those organizations to protect the public.”

Number of TSA Screeners Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus Reaches 8

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The number of TSA screeners who have tested positive for the coronavirus has increased to eight, the agency has confirmed.

An undisclosed number of screeners who came into contact with their infected coworkers will be quarantined for 14 days, the TSA said.

The screeners were working in airports in Ohio, California, Georgia, and Florida.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents nearly 50,000 TSA officers nationwide, is calling on more protections for the screeners.

“I think that it is important that the American public understand what these TSOs are facing right now,” Everett Kelley, AFGE’s national president, tells ABC News. “They are afraid. No one knows or understands the extent of this virus so everyone is a little shaken by it.”

 

Biden Gets Secret Service Protection; Nickname is ‘Celtic’

Former Vice President Joe Biden

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden will receive Secret Service protection.

On Thursday, Biden’s campaign submitted a formal request for Secret Service Protection after protesters have repeatedly accosted him on the campaign trial.

On Tuesday, Biden’s lead in the primary election increased with sweeping victories in Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

“The U.S. Secret Service can confirm that we have initiated full protective coverage for Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Vice President Joseph Biden,” Secret Service spokesman Vincent Tutoni said in a statement.

Biden’s code name will be “Celtic,” CNN reported.

DOJ Moves to Dismiss Charges Against Russians Accused of Running Troll Farms

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department filed a motion Monday to dismiss charges against two shell companies involved in Russian inference in the 2016 presidential election.

The move comes just two weeks before jury selection was to begin in the case against Concord Management and Concord Consulting, which were charged in 2018 as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller probe.

Prosecutors say the companies were using the case to try to gain access to sensitive information that could harm U.S. national security, The New York Times reports.

“Concord has been eager and aggressive in using the judicial system to gather information about how the United States detects and prevents foreign election interference,” prosecutors said in a motion filed in court on Monday.

Michael J. Driscoll named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office

Special FBI Agent Michael J. Driscoll.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Michael J. Driscoll has been named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office.

Driscoll, who was serving as special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence and Cyber Division for the New York Field Office, began his career as an FBI special agent in 1996. He was first assigned to the New York Field Office to work on counterterrorism. In his role, he helped investigate al Qaeda conspirators involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the attacks on 9/11.

He earned an Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2002 for his work investigating al Qaeda and the 1998 embassy bombings.

In 2003, Driscoll was transferred to FBI headquarters to serve as the FBI’s representative to the al Qaeda Department of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

In 2005, Driscoll became supervisor and returned to the New York Field Office, where he headed the squad tasked with extraterritorial investigations in Africa. He also led the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts in the New York Hudson Valley region and was later promoted to the coordinating supervisory special agent for New York’s Counterterrorism Program.

In 2013, Driscoll was named assistant legal attaché for London, where he oversaw the Cyber Program and working closely with U.K. law enforcement and intelligence services. In 2016, he became assistant special agent in charge of Philadelphia’s counterintelligence and cyber programs.

In 2018, he returned to FBI headquarters, serving as the chief of the Violent Crime Section, which leads the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Program, as well as efforts to combat violent crime and gang-related violence.

In 2019, Driscoll was promoted to special agent in charge of New York’s Criminal Division and later began to lead New York’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division.

Before joining the FBI, Driscoll worked in commercial litigation as an attorney. He graduated from the State University of New York in Albany and received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, N.Y.

Sixth TSA Screener Tests Positive for Coronavirus at U.S. Airports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA screener at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida is the sixth employee of the agency to be tested positive for the coronavirus.

The screener “is receiving medical care and all TSA employees they have come in contact with over the past 14 days are self-isolated at home,” a TSA spokesperson said in a statement Sunday, The Sun-Sentinel reports. “Screening checkpoints remain open and the agency is working with the CDC, as well as the Florida Department of Health, Broward County office to monitor the situation as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public.”

On Saturday, the TSA said one of its agents also contracted the virus at Orlando International Airport.

Four screeners have tested positive for the coronavirus at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in California, the TSA announced on a web page dedicated to the virus.

The union representing TSA screeners is asking for more guidance for its members to avoid the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Congressional Democrats questioned the top TSA official about what the agency is doing to protect workers and the public from the quickly spreading coronavirus.

Trump Says He’s ‘Strongly Considering’ Full Pardon for Michael Flynn, Citing ‘Lost’ Records

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump announced Sunday he’s “strongly considering” a “Full Pardon” for his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying the FBI and Justice Department lost some of his records.

“So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has ‘lost’ the records of General Michael Flynn. How convenient,”Trump tweeted. “I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!”

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. but has since tried to withdraw his plea. In January, federal prosecutors reversed course, calling for up to six months in prison for Flynn, saying he shows no signs of remorse after embracing a combative defense strategy.

The Justice Department initially suggested it was open to probation for Flynn, the only member of the Trump administration to plead guilty in the Robert Mueller investigation. At the time Flynn was cooperating with investigators. But after that, Flynn took a different course and tried in vein to get the case dismissed.

In September, Flynn’s lawyers claimed prosecutors were unable to produce an internal Justice Department memo that cleared Flynn of being a Russian agent. Prosecutors countered that the allegations were irrelevant because Flynn was not accused of being a Russian agent.

Trump offered no explanation of his claims that the FBI and Justice Department lost records.