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Amid Threats of Charges, WikiLeaks Founder Assange Still Waiting to Hear from U.S.

Julian Assange on Fox News

Julian Assange on Fox News

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government said more than a week ago that it’s preparing criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other members of his organization, but so far Assange has not heard from the government, his lawyer told Mother Jones. 

“The only thing that’s happened is there’s been a very vibrant rumor mill,” Barry Pollack, Assange’s US-based lawyer, tells Mother Jones. “Obviously there’s been a lot of chatter, but the only thing I’ve seen is that the Department of Justice has sort of confirmed that it is looking at the Vault 7 leak,” —WikiLeaks’ March 7 dump of thousands of pages of CIA hacking tools.

The Department of Justice has not gotten back to me in any way or answered any of my repeated attempts to enter a dialogue with them to tell us what they’re actually doing,” Pollack says.

Pollack says it’s unclear what the government is planning.

“It is uncommon, in fact unprecedented in my experience, that they’re not willing to engage in a broad conversation about the status of the investigation and where a particular person fits in with respect to an investigation.”

Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 to avoid being picked up on sex charges from Sweden.


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Wife of Bob Levinson Says FBI Believes Missing Ex-CIA Contractor Is Still Alive

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Is Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent and CIA contractor, still alive after going missing on a small Iranian island in 2007?

The FBI believes he is still alive, according to Gevinson’s wife, Christine Levinson.

The family last saw evidence that Levinson was alive when they saw a video of Levinson in late 2010. 

Levinson’s wife said the FBI told her that investigators have “no information to indicate” he’s not alive.

“[The Iranians] are responsible for him. He went missing on Kish Island, which is part of Iran. He was only there 24 hours and they know exactly what happened to him,” she said.

“Iran has said they will investigate and get back to us. Unfortunately, they never get back to us. They’ve said this for 10 years now,” said Levinson, adding she hopes the Trump administration will renew talks with Tehran about her husband.

“I know that President Trump is a deal-maker. He can get the job done,” she concluded.


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Homeland Security Agent Acquitted in Boca Road Rage Case

Angel Echevarria

Angel Echevarria

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Homeland Security agent who shot into an occupied vehicle following a road rage incident in September 2013 was acquitted Thursday by a Palm Beach County jury.

Angel Echevarria was charged with aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle, the Palm Beach Post reports. 

Police said Echevarria was cut off by a Toyota Camry and crashed as a result. When the former solider and special agent with Federal Protective Service honked his horn, “the driver and passenger of the red Toyota ‘flicked’ Echevarria off by making several threatening gun-like hand gestures, left the scene and turned into the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton,” Echevarria attorney Bruce Lehr wrote in court records.

Echevarria confronted the driver, Alla Juma, while carrying a .40-caliber handgun.

Jump tried to flee and nearly struck Echevarria and his wife, prompting the agent to fire one shot into the Toyota, missing Juma, his brother and Juma’s 3-year-old son.

“It is also undisputed that a subsequent search of the red Toyota revealed the following contraband: a loaded handgun located underneath the driver’s seat and a bag containing marijuana located in the trunk,” attorney Sherleen Mendez wrote in the Dec. 4, 2015 court filing.


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Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent Suspected of Starting Large Wild Fire

fire via pixabayBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are trying to determine whether an off-duty Border Patrol agent who was target shooting sparked a large wild fire in southern Arizona.

Border Patrol officials indicated in a statement to Fox News that they were aware of an investigation that “involves an off-duty Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent” that they did not identify.”

“The agent was involved in recreational shooting and immediately reported the fire after it begun,” officials with the Tucson Sector added.

State fire officials declined to comment on the investigation.

The fire burned 63 square miles of grass, brush and trees.

Other Stories of Interest


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National Review: Trump’s Immigration Enforcement Is More Important Than a Wall

Border fence along Mexico and the U.S.

Border fence along Mexico and the U.S.

By Editorial Board
National Review

A head of a potential government-shutdown battle, President Trump is reportedly willing to forgo a congressional down payment on a “big, beautiful wall” on America’s southern border. Despite his insistence on the wall’s importance to his immigration-enforcement agenda, the president is apparently open to postponing negotiations on funding until September, when Congress will take up the 2018 budget.

The maximalist version of Donald Trump’s proposed border wall was always a quixotic enterprise. From Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego, Calif., the U.S.–Mexico border stretches nearly 2,000 miles, often across rugged, harsh terrain — including Texas’s Big Bend National Park and Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Building a single, monolithic wall is not feasible for much of this territory, as Trump himself acknowledges at times. The proposed route of a wall also cuts through privately owned land, raising serious legal questions. Nevertheless, more barriers in select places are welcome. We have repeatedly suggested as much and, the fulsome rhetoric of the president notwithstanding, this is the goal of the Department of Homeland Security.

But, as we have also suggested, physical barriers along the southern border ought to be just one element of a larger immigration-enforcement agenda. So far, President Trump has used his executive power fairly effectively toward this end, signing off on a series of orders that roll back some of President Obama’s worst overreaches, and directing executive-branch agencies to aggressively enforce laws rendered toothless by his predecessor. He has encouraged Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol to hire. Last week, he signaled an interest in ending the well-documented abuse in the H-1B visa program, which employers have used to undercut American workers in high-skilled jobs.

These and other policies, and their (usually) clear promulgation, are already having an effect on the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S. DHS reports that border apprehensions of parents and children decreased 93 percent — from 16,000 to just over 1,100 — from December 2016 to March 2017. DHS secretary John Kelly suggests that news of the new administration’s tougher line on illegal immigration is discouraging many would-be illegal immigrants from taking the risk of crossing the border.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest


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Baltimore Seeks Help with Its Skyrocketing Murder Rate

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Baltimore surpassed 100 murders so far this year, the quickest the city has reached that mark in two decades.

Now Mayor Catherine Pugh is asking for the FBI to help crack down on violence and help solve open homicide cases, the Baltimore Business Journal reports.  

Hoping to explore all options, the mayor said she expects the FBI to respond to her formal request for help by the end of the week.

“We just want more assistance by our FBI partners,” she said. “The conversation has been around what additional assistance they can provide. We believe there could be more people on the street. In terms of technology we’ve done some things … but there’s some more technology out there that the city has not had access to.”
It’s not yet clear what kind of help the FBI would offer, but Pugh said she’ll take any assistance she can get.


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Border Patrol Gets Its First Woman Leader in 93-Year History

Acting Director of the Border Patrol Carla Provost.

Acting Director of the Border Patrol Carla Provost.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol’s first woman to serve as acting chief was named Tuesday to lead the agency as the Trump administration tries to build a wall on the border of Mexico and hire an additional 5,000 agents.

Carla Provost, who was the deputy chief since October, replaces Ronald Vitiello, who became acting deputy commission of Customs and Border Protection, the Associated Press reports. 

Provost is the fourth person to lead the agency since late 2015. She is the first woman to lead the agency in its 93-year history.

Customs and Border Protection said it’s not yet clear how long Provost and Vitiello will serve in the acting roles.


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2 Arkansas Juvenile Detention Officers Plead Guilty to Assaulting Youth Inmates

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI said it is “appalled” after discovering that two former juvenile detention officers at an Arkansas facility conspired to assault youth inmates.

Investigators said the two officers peppers-sprayed inmates who posed no threat.

Those officers, former White River Juvenile Detention Center supervisors Capt. Peggy Kendrick, 43, and Lt. Dennis Fuller, 40, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to assault juvenile inmates in U.S. District Court. Kendrick also pleaded guilty to falsifying a report by trying to cover up that she pepper-sprayed a 16-year-old girl.

“In some instances, they then shut the compliant juveniles in their cells after pepper spraying them to ‘let them cook,’ rather than immediately decontaminating them,” a news release said. “Kendrick also encouraged the juvenile detention officers, who unjustifiably assaulted juveniles, to falsify their incident reports to cover up the assaults.”

The cause remains under investigation by the FBI in Little Rock.

The officers have been fired.


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