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Tag: Seattle

Homeland Security Closes Washington State Facility over Coronavirus Fears

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security temporarily closed one of its facilities in Washington state and directed employees to self-quarantine for two weeks after one of its employees visited a nursing home impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The 14-day closure of a Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Seattle was made “out of an abundance of caution,” Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, CNN reports.

Before an outbreak was reported at the Life Care Facility in Kirkland, Wash., Wolf said an employe visited a family member there. Four deaths from the coronavirus are tied to the nursing home and rehabilitation facility.

“I am pleased to report that this employee embodied what it means to lead by example,” Wolf said. “The employee and their family took every precaution and followed the guidance of public health officials. They stayed home from work when they felt ill, the family self-quarantined, and reported the exposure and their condition to their employers and other officials.”

The employee went to work before exhibiting “flu-like symptoms four days after visiting the nursing home,” Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli wrote in a series of tweets Tuesday morning.

Cuccinelli said the department “takes the safety & health of our employees & applicants seriously.”

“We’re following CDC’s guidelines & encourage all employees and applicants to stay home if they are feeling ill or exhibiting any flu-like symptoms,” Cuccinelli wrote.

Homeland Security employees are being asked to “telework.”

Black ATF Agent Settles Lawsuit Involving Supervisor with Nazi Tattoo

ATF Agent Bradford Devlin with a Nazi-themed tattoo, via U.S. District Court.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A black ATF supervisor will receive $450,000 to settle a lawsuit in which she claims the agency discriminated against her after she launched complaints about another supervisor with a Nazi-themed tattoo.

Cheryl Bishop, a senior supervisor agent in Seattle and former bomb-dog handler, alleged in the 2018 suit that the agency scuttled her appointment to a job at Washington D.C.’s headquarters after she blew the whistle on abusive behavior by Agent Bradford Devlin.

ATF settled the case before it was set to go to a seven-day trial this month.

In addition to the payout, Bishop will receive a private meeting with the agency’s director and get a ring commemorating her time as the first female member of ATF’s Special Response Team, the Seattle Times reports.

Devlin, who is now the senior supervisor in ATF’s Seattle Field Division, denied being abusive and says he got the Nazi tattoo while working undercover investigating an outlaw white-supremacist biker gang in Ohio.

Although the agency offered to pay for the removal of the tattoo, Devlin decided to keep it, calling it a “war trophy.”

“While I am grateful to put the lawsuit behind me, healing the emotional scars will take more time,” Bishop said in a prepared statement. “What happened to me should never happen to anyone, anywhere. Since harassment, discrimination, and retaliation are alive and well, I encourage anyone who encounters them to speak out — that’s the only way change happens.”

ATF Supervisor with Nazi Tattoo Is Accused of Discriminating Against Black Agent

ATF Agent Bradford Devlin with a Nazi-themed tattoo, via U.S. District Court.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An African American ATF supervisor claims in a lawsuit that the agency discriminated against her after she launched complaints about another supervisor with a Nazi-themed tattoo.

A seven-day trial is set to begin Oct. 26.

Cheryl Bishop, a former bomb-dog handler, said the agency scuttled her appointment to a job at Washington D.C.’s headquarters after she blew the whistle on abusive behavior by Agent Bradford Devlin, The Seattle Times reports.

Now the senior supervisor in the ATF’s Seattle Field Division, Devlin denies being abusive and says he got the Nazi tattoo while working undercover investigating an outlaw white-supremacist biker gang in Ohio.

Although the agency offered to pay for the removal of the tattoo, Devlin has decided to keep it, calling it a “war trophy.”

Raymond Duda Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Seattle Office

Special Agent Raymond Duda

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Raymond P. Duda, a 27-year veteran of the FBI, has been named as the new special agent in charge of the bureau’s Seattle Field Office.

At the end of November, Duda will take over the Seattle office, which has nine satellite offices.

Duda most recently served in the FBI’s Cyber Division and as a senior liaison to the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.

Duda is replacing Special Agent Jay S. Tabb Jr., who recently left to serve as the executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch in Washington D.C.

Airport Worker Who Crashed Stolen Plane Asked, ‘Can This Thing Do a Back Flip?’

Via YouTube video taken by a resident near the accident scene.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

FBI agents have recovered the flight data recorder from a plane that was stolen and crashed by a 29-year-old airport worker whose only training appears to be video games.

Authorities are trying to determine whether the crash in which Richard Russell died was deliberate or accidental.

The rogue Horizon aircraft took off Friday evening after Russell stole the twin-engine turboprop from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and flew it in circles above the Pugent Sound in Washington before crashing in a wooded area near the island.

CNBC reports that it’s unclear whether Russell had any formal training, but Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck said he did not appear to have a pilot’s license. 

A worker on the grounds crew told air traffic control that Russell played video games.

“There were some maneuvers that were done that were incredible maneuvers,” Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden said. “I don’t know how he achieved the experience that he did.”

Beck emphasized that “commercial aircraft are complex machines” that are not easy to fly.

“I wasn’t really planning on landing it,” Russell told air traffic controllers and a pilot, according to a recording of the incident.

 “I’ve played video games before and I know what I’m doing a little bit,” adding he knew how to “put landing gear down.”

Russell appeared to be having fun, asking, “Pilot guy, can this thing do a back flip, you think?”

The FBI, which also recovered parts of the cockpit voice recorder from the plane, said human remains were found at the crash site.

“I got a lot of people that care about me and it’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them,” Russell is heard saying before the recording ends. He called himself “just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess, never really knew it until now.”

FBI: Evidence Points to Hired Gunman Who Killed Seattle Federal Prosecutor

Murder weapon in the unsolved homicide of Seattle federal prosecutor Thomas Wales.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI has found strong evidence that a Seattle federal prosecutor was killed in 2001 by a hired gunman, indicating a possible break in a case that has long frustrated law enforcement.

The FBI and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plan to hold a news conference to discuss the unsolved murder of Thomas Wales, who worked as a white-collar criminal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

For more than a decade, agents suspected the involvement of a former Bellevue area airline pilot, the Seattle Times reports

Federal prosecutor Thomas Wales was killed by a gunman in his home.

Now the FBI is investigating a possible connection between the pilot and a “very small group” of people who may have been involved.

The 57-year-old pilot has maintained his innocence.

The news conference will be the first time the FBI has disclosed that multiple people may have involved in the murder.

Wales, 49, was shot several times in the basement of his Queen Anne Home late on the night of Oct. 11, 2001.

FBI Arrests Seattle-Area Couple Accused of Plotting to Drug, Rape And Record Children

Michael Kellar, 54, and Gail Lynn Burnworth, 50.

Michael Kellar, 54, and Gail Lynn Burnworth, 50.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has arrested a Seattle-area couple accused of planning to drug, rape and record children.

Federal prosecutors allege Michael Kellar, 54, and Gail Lynn Burnworth, 50, conspired to produce child pornography by recording the molestation of two young girls, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports

The couple was arrested after a passenger aboard a Southwest Airlines flight saw an explicit text message exchange about the plot.

In one text, Kellar allegedly wrote to Burnworth: “You can do this or are you just saying this???”

Burnworth responded: “No I think I can do it if I don’t have parents over my shoulder or worried about who’s going to walk in on me.”

When investigators confronted Kellar, he claimed he was “engaged in fantasy.”

FBI: Seattle Cop Smuggled Massive Amounts of Marijuana to Baltimore

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI busted a Seattle police officer who authorities say helped smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Baltimore.

Alex Chapackdee, a 17-year veteran of the force, was arrested and was among four men charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana, the Associated Press reports. The 44-year-old office is the brother-in-;aw of the group’s alleged ringleader.

“While (it is) always disturbing to investigate one of our own, I am proud of the detectives and commanders who worked diligently on this case,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a written statement. “Officer Chapackdee’s conduct is disgraceful and disappointing. While he will have his due process in the courts, I hope these charges demonstrate to our community that SPD will not tolerate corrupt behavior in our ranks.”

According to the FBI, Chapackdee drove marijuana from Seattle to Baltimore in his recreational vehicle several times last fall. The FBI said he deposited nearly $20,000 in cash into his bank account.

Chapackdee, who is on unpaid leave, also is accused of accepting $10,000 a month from his brother-in-law to alert him to any law enforcement investigations and to keep an eye on marijuana grow operations,

Chapackdee’s attorney, David Gehrke, declined to comment on the allegations but said the charges have been difficult for him and his family, which includes a wife and four children.

“This is a huge fall from grace, an embarrassment,” Gehrke said.

The investigation was prompted by a confidential source.