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Archive for January 25th, 2016

U.S. Prisoner Released from Iranian Custody in Prisoner Swap Was FBI Consultant

iran-mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the Americans recently released from Iranian custody as part of a prisoner swap is a former FBI consultant and expatriate who was teaching English when he was imprisoned last May, The New York Times reports. 

Not much was known about Nosratollah Khosravi until he was recently featured by Iranwire, a news service run by expatriate Iranian journalists.

Khosravi left Iran in the 1980s for the United States after the country’s revolution in 1979. He later became a freelance consultant to the FBI before returning to Iran in 2013 to visit his mother.

Khosravi ended up staying to teach English before he was detained by Iranian officials.

As part of a prisoner swap, Khosravi and three other Iranian-Americans were released by Iran in exchange for the United Stated releasing seven people.

FBI Meeting with Leader of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Takeover Ends Poorly

Burns, Oregon

Burns, Oregon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents met with a leader of the takeover of a wildlife refuge in Oregon on Friday in hopes to ending the armed occupation, but the meeting only lasted a few minutes and appeared to be unproductive, The Seattle Times reports. 

The meeting was with Ammon Bundy, a leader of the occupation that began on Jan. 2.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has criticized the FBI’s response to the takeover, which has been to keep a distance and allow the occupation to continue.

The FBI responded that its response has been “deliberate and measured as we seek a peaceful resolution.”

Bundy said he was upset that FBI agents wouldn’t meet face-to-face

“I really don’t think at this point having a phone conversation here … would be beneficial,” Bundy said.

Former Detroit FBI Chief to Help State Investigation of Flint Water Crisis

Andy Arena

Andy Arena

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former head of the Detroit FBI is helping assist a Michigan attorney general investigation into the handling of the Flint water crisis that led to thousands of residents being poisoned by lead, The Detroit Free Press reports. 

Attorney General Bill Schuette, who originally refused to get involved in the water crisis, said he’s tapping Andrew Arena, a former FBI Director in Detroit, to help investigate.

“We will do our job thoroughly and let the chips fall where they may,” Schuette said in a news release.

“This investigation is about beginning the road back to rebuild, regain and restore trust in government.”

The Republican, who appears to be planning to run for governor in 2018, said the investigation will determine whether city or state officials violated laws for their handling of the crisis.

Arena, a former prosecutor in Michigan, worked on high-profile corruption cases while he was the head of the FBI’s Detroit office.

“I am honored to return to public service on a case so important to the public trust,” Arena said in the news release. “We will enter the investigation with open eyes and follow the facts, whatever the outcome, and Flint families and Michigan families will receive a full and independent report of our investigation.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also investigating to determine if any laws were broken.

FBI Closer to Finding New Headquarters After GSA Launches Search for Builder

Current FBI Headquarters

Current FBI Headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After numerous delays, the FBI is finally one step closer to finding a new headquarters in the Washington D.C. area.

NDTV reports that the government began a formal search for a company to build a new headquarters at one of three proposed sites – Greenbelt, Landover or Springfield. 

A request for proposals by the General Services Administration was sent to several unnamed real estate firms that the government previously vetted to determine whether they were qualified to handle the project.

“The Administration is committed to acquiring a consolidated new headquarters facility for the FBI, a member of the intelligence community,” Bill Dowd, who manages the project for the GSA, said in a news release.

“The consolidated headquarters facility will allow the FBI to perform its critical national security, intelligence, and law enforcement missions in a new modern and secure facility.”

The current headquarters, the Hoover Building, is in poor shape and not modern enough to handle today’s law enforcement missions.

DEA Violated Policy by Offering to Pay TSA Screener to Help Seize Cash from Luggage

tsaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA recruited a TSA security screener to help seize cash from passengers’ luggage, according to a Department of Justice watchdog.

The DOJ’s Office of Inspector General officially condemned the DEA this month, saying the agreement, which allowed the agency to confiscate money, “violated DEA policy,” Huffington Post reports. 

The arrangement “could have violated individuals’ protection against unreasonable searches and seizures if it led to a subsequent DEA enforcement action.”

The idea was to pay a TSA agent to tip off the DEA about cash in travelers’ luggage.

State and federal agencies have relied on civil forfeiture to seize hundreds of millions of dollars in property each year.

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