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Tag: COVID-19

Cleaning Man Busted Stealing Valuable Information from FBI’s Detroit Field Office

Detroit riverfront. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling

A man hired to help sanitize the FBI’s Detroit Field Office at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has been convicted of stealing valuable information on a violent street gang in the city. 

Anthony Cassani, 22, photographed a chart that detailed the rank and hierarchy of the gang members in March 2020 and then sent the photo to his friends and others using social media account, prosecutors allege, The Detroit News reports.

The chart, which was displayed on an agent’s office cubicle, contained “proprietary information,” including photos of alleged gang members who were under investigation. 

Members of several street gangs ended up with the photos of the chart, “thereby depriving the FBI of the full benefit of its use,” according to a sentencing memo. 

Cassani pleaded guilty to theft of government property less than $1,000 on June 29. 

Federal prosecutors are calling for jail time during his sentencing hearing next week in U.S. District Court. 

“Rather than do the job he was being paid to do, Cassani chose instead to steal proprietary information about a gang investigation and post it on social media,” the sentencing memo reads. “His criminal conduct has earned him a three-month sentence followed by a one-year term of supervised release with the hope that this brief term of imprisonment will promote respect for the law and deter him and others from committing similar offenses.”

10,000+ TSA Employees Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

By Steve Neavling

More than 10,000 TSA workers have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. 

The agency also reported 26 deaths related to the coronavirus since March 2020. 

Of the 10,177 TSA employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, a vast majority are screening officers. 

Miami International led the nation in COVID-19 infections, with 506 employees testing positive. Miami International had 506 infections, Los International Airport had 452, and John F. Kennedy International in New York had 438. 

Others were more than 100 infections are:

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International 370

Orland International 356

Newark Liberty International 355

Chicago O’Hare International 341

Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport 331

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International 279

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas 257

George Bush Intercontinental in Houston 238

Phoenix Sky Harbor International 219

Logan International in Boston 190

Philadelphia International 181

LaGuardia in New York 169

Denver International 152

Seattle/Tacoma International 136

San Diego International 115

Charlotte Douglas International 117

Tampa International 111

Minneapolis-St. Paul International 110

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport 109

Salt Lake City International 101

To see the entire list of airports and infections, click here.

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.”

Federal Air Marshal Dies After Contracting COVID-19

A federal air marshal from the Las Vegas Field Office died after contracting COVID-19, the Transportation Security Administration announced.

Shawn Hennessee, who joined the Federal Air Marshal Service in October 2002 and worked in the Las Vegas Field Office for his entire career, died Thursday. 

“He was dedicated to our mission and worked hard to secure the nation’s transportation systems while on domestic and international mission deployments,” the TSA said in a news release. 

Hennessee also served 13 years in the Air Force. 

“TSA continues to urge that all employees get vaccinated and continue following CDC guidance, including mask requirements,” the TSA said. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to Hennessee’s family, friends and colleagues.”

The TSA didn’t say if Hennessee was vaccinated.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, 9,743 TSA employees tested positive for COVID-19, and 22 have died, according to the agency’s data.

There are currently 637 TSA employees with active infections. 

Homeland Security Requires All Employees to Wear Masks Following New CDC Advice

By Steve Neavling

By Steve Neavling

As COVID-19 cases make a resurgence, Homeland Security and other federal agencies are requiring all employees to wear masks indoors and socially distance. 

The mandate comes after the White House said masks must be worn in all federal buildings. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that vaccinated people should mask up indoors in areas where COVID-19 is on the rise. 

“Beginning today, all employees, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors & physically distance,” Homeland Security tweeted Wednesday. 

Also on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he’s working from home because he had come in close contact with an employee who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Other federal law enforcement agencies have not yet publicly announced mask mandates. 

President Biden is expected to discuss mask requirements for federal employees today. 

DHS Secretary Mayorkas Works Remotely After Potential COVID-19 Exposure

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is working from home this week because he came in close contact with an employee who later tested positive for COVID-19. 

“Secretary Mayorkas has a virtual schedule this week after coming into close contact with a DHS official who later tested positive for COVID-19,” DHS spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa said in a statement. “The Secretary is fully vaccinated, has no symptoms, and has tested negative twice. Official DHS contact tracing is underway. These recommendations have been informed by the Office of the DHS Chief Medical Officer and are taken in an overabundance of caution.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if other employees were exposed and are quarantining. 

COVID-19 cases are surging again with the spread of the Delta variant.   

Mayorkas testified remotely before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Tuesday.