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A Top Homeland Security Official Was Using Thousands of Tax Dollars on Personal Meals

Andrew Meehan

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security’s top spokesman, who plans to leave his post today, has been under investigation for spending large amount of tax dollars on personal dining expenses, the Washington Examiner has found.

Homeland Security acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Andrew Meehan announced last month that he was resigning, but his reasoning was never made public. Some senior administration officials suggested he was stepping down because of disagreements with the White House.

Turns out, Meehan federal authorities called for his termination after it was revealed he had spent thousands of dollars on meals. It’s not clear why he was allowed to stay in his position for nearly a month after announcing his resignation.

Homeland Security officials have declined to comment.


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Border Patrol Agents Take Over Screening Migrant Families from Asylum Officers

Via CBP

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The fate of migrant families seeking protection in the U.S. will now be determined by Border Patrol agents, instead of the highly trained asylum officers who are highly trained in refugee laws.

Border Patrol agents, who will screen families for “credible fear” in the new pilot program, are beginning to get trained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, lawyers and several employees at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told Los Angeles Times.

The Trump administration has long advocated using law enforcement officers to interview asylum seekers to determine whether families have a “credible fear” persecution in their home countries. The idea is that Border Patrol agents are less likely to provide asylum to families.

“It’s creating significant strain for our clients — not just because they’re unprepared and untrained,” Shay Fluharty, an attorney with the Dilley Pro Bono Project, told The Times. “We understand that the intention is to significantly limit asylum officers who are conducting these interviews and have them be primarily conducted by Border Patrol.”


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Top Homeland Security Lawyer Fired in Latest Shake-Up

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Shake-ups continue at the Department of Homeland Security with Tuesday’s departure of John Mitnick, the agency’s general counsel.

The White House fired Mitnick, who oversaw 2,500 lawyers at the agency, The New York Times reports.

“We thank John for this service, and we wish him well,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement.

The firing comes about four months after the White House ousted numerous top Homeland Security officials, including the secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen and the acting deputy secretary, Claire Grady. A month later, L. Francis Cissna, the head of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, left the agency a month later.

It’s not immediately clear who will replace Mitnick. Among the possibilities are Joseph B. Maher, the department’s principal deputy general counsel, and Chad Mizelle, an associate counsel to the president.


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Quick-Acting TSA Officer May Have Saved the Life of a Traveler in Alaska

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA officer may have saved the life of a passenger who was choking on a grape at an Alaskan airport.

Juneau International Airport Lead Transportation Security Officer Brenda Irizarry sprung to action last week after she was alerted that a woman was choking on a grape, Juneau Empire reports.
Irizarry performed the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the fruit from the 26-year-old Brenda Studley’s throat.

“We are extremely thankful to the excellent training that Brenda has obviously received,” a family member wrote in an email.

The family was on their way to a wedding in California and didn’t miss their flight thanks to the TSA officer’s quick actions.


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DEA Agent Who Protected Violent Puerto Rican Drug Cartel Pleads Guilty

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former police officer accused of joining the DEA so he could protect a violent Puerto Rican drug cartel has pleaded guilty.

Fernando Gomez, who infiltrated the DEA and was working in the Chicago field office, was arrested in December and charged with racketeering conspiracy for his alleged decade-long affiliation with the Organizacion de Narcotraficantes Unidos. The gang, which imported vast shipments of cocaine into the U.S., was accused in the indictment of participating in at least eight drug-related killings in New York and Puerto Rico and smuggling thousands of kilograms of cocaine.

Gomez is accused of helping the gang beginning in 2006 when he was a detective with the city of Evanston.

Under a plea deal, the 42-year-old former U.S. Marine faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, The Associated Press reports.


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Steven M. D’Antuono Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Detroit Field Office

FBI Special Agent Steven M. D’Antuono.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Steven M. D’Antuono has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.

D’Antuono spent much of his 23-year career at the FBI tracking down white-collar crime and public corruption. That experience will become handy in an office that handles a lot of public corruption.

D’Antuono, who recently served as section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., joined the bureau as a forensic accountant in 1996. His first assignment was the Providence Resident Agency in Rhode Island, where he handled criminal investigations into financial crimes, public corruption, organized crime, drugs, and counterintelligence.

In 1998, D’Antuono served as a special agent assigned to the Washington Field Office, where he investigated white-collar crime and public corruption.

In 2004, D’Antuono began teaching white-collar crime while serving as the supervisory special agent at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. In 2008, he was transferred to the Washington Field Office to supervise a public corruption and government fraud squad.

In 2014, D’Antuono became an assistant special agent in charge at the St. Louis Field Office, overseeing the Criminal and Administrative branches.

D’Antuono was promoted in 2017 to chief of the Financial Crimes Section of the Criminal Investigative Division, where he oversaw all of the bureau’s white-collar crime programs, including corporate securities and commodities fraud, economic crimes, financial institution fraud, money laundering, health care fraud, intellectual property, and forensic accountant programs.

D’Antuono earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Rhode Island. Before joining the FBI, he was a certified public accountant.


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Emmerson Buie Jr. Becomes First African American to Lead FBI’s Chicago Field Office

FBI Special Agent Emmerson Buie Jr. via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Emmerson Buie Jr. has become the first African American to serve as special agent in charge of the Chicago Field Office.

Buie, who most recently served as special agent in charge of the El Paso Office in Texas, joined the FBI in 1992, investigating criminal issues at the Colorado Springs Resident Agency of the Denver Field Office.

In 1999, Buie became supervisory special agent and worked in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Operations Unit in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 2002, Buie was promoted to senior supervisory resident agent at the Fairview Heights Resident Agency in Illinois.

In 2006, Buie was assigned to London, where he became the assistant and acting deputy legal attaché. He served as the primary contact for coordinating the FBI’s involvement in several international counterterrorism and anti-organized crime agencies.

In 2008, Buie was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of criminal matters and also handled national security and administrative issues in the Springfield Field Office. In addition, Buie was the office’s leadership development coordinator.

In 2014, Buie began serving as the Cyber Division’s senior liaison to the National Cybersecurity, Communication and Integration Center at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he helped coordinate public and private sector investigations and intelligence-sharing efforts between the FBI, DHS, and other agencies.

In 2017, he was named special agent in charge of the El Paso Field Office.

Before joining the FBI, Buie spent four years in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer and served in Desert Storm. His actions earned him a Bronze Star, Combat Infantry badge, and multiple accommodations and awards. Buie received a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University.


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