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Archive for June 7th, 2016

A Chat With the Head of the Detroit FBI on ISIS, Corruption, Jimmy Hoffa and Flint

David P. Gelios

David P. Gelios

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — It has been anything but dull since David P. Gelios arrived eight months ago from FBI headquarters in Washington to head up the Detroit FBI office.

For one, his agents have been busy probing the highly-publicized Flint water crisis.  And then there’s the kickback scandal in Detroit Public Schools that has resulted in charges against a dozen principals, a school administrator and a greedy vendor.  He says the investigation, which is still open, hit close to home because of his previous life as a school teacher.

A native of the Toledo area, Gelios graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. He went on to work as a high school teacher in Bakersfield, Calif., a college volley ball coach at Ball State and an outreach officer for the University of California Office of the President.

In 1995, he joined the FBI, first working in the Sacramento Division. He then went on to work in a number of offices including Juneau, Louisville, New Haven and headquarters in D.C., his last stop before Detroit where he served as chief of the Inspection Division, overseeing all FBI field inspections, national program reviews and agent-involved shootings

Of his new assignment in Detroit, he says:

“I like to call it one of the better kept secrets in the FBI.”

In a wide ranging interview, Gelios recently sat down with ticklethewire.com’s Allan Lengel to talk about public corruption, the challenges of encrypted communication devices and apps, cyber crime, ISIS recruiting, the Hoffa investigation and organized crime.

The following interview has been trimmed for brevity. The questions have been edited for clarity.

DD: As a former teacher, did you look at the kickback investigation into the Detroit school principals and the administrator from more than just the perspective of an FBI agent?

Gelios: I absolutely did and in my remarks at the announcement of the charges at the press conference, I said, having been a former teacher, I found it especially disturbing to me knowing what I know about education and knowing what I know about education in the city of Detroit, that people would embezzle such limited funds from a struggling school district.

DD: Being an FBI agent, does it surprise you that people would take advantage of a situation like that?

Gelios: You know in my career, nothing really surprises me any more. School districts have been embezzled from in the past and they continue to be embezzled from.

DD: Do you expect more charges in the school scandal?

Gelios: I would only say that it’s possible. It remains a pending investigation, but that’s as far as I’ll go with that.

DD: In the Flint water system mess, the state has its own investigation and the FBI has an investigation with the U.S. Attorney and EPA. Are you working with state investigators?

Gelios: We have a separate investigation, but the door is open for collaboration between the state investigation and the FBI’s investigation. But I’d best characterize it as an independent investigation being conducted with EPA and the FBI.

David Gelios (far right) at press conference for school corruption probe.

DD: Are you concentrating more on federal employees and federal charges?

Gelios: It’s a pending investigation, so I’m not going to be able to say much. But I think we’re investigating the entire situation, so ours would not just be focused on federal employees. Often times when there’s a state investigation and a federal investigation, we work through the appropriate prosecutors at the state level and the federal levels to see where we can most effectively bring charges. It’s conceivable that some charges would simply be at the state level and some charges would be at the federal level, if and when there are federal charges.

Read more »

FBI Wants to Bypass Warrants to Access Internet Browser Histories of Terrorism, Spy Suspects

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wants the authority to access Internet browser histories and other electronic data of terrorism and spy cases without a warrant.

The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration supported a similar measure six years ago but abandoned the idea amid concerns from privacy advocates and the tech industry.

Some lawmakers support the effort and are encouraging colleagues to approve legislation that would enable the FBI to obtain “electronic communication transactional records” using a national security letter, which can be issued by the special agent in charge of the bureau field office.

FBI Director James Comey characterized the effort as the biggest legislative priority of the year.

Not having the authority to authorize national security letters “affects our work in a very, very big and practical way,” Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee in February.

Planning Officials Worried about Feds’ Plan for Parking at FBI’s New Headquarters

FBI's headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

FBI’s headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The search for a site for a new FBI headquarters may have hit yet another snag after the General Services Administration dramatically increased the number of parking spaces needed.

The Washington Post reports that planning officials are asking the GSA to reconsider its decision to require thousands more spaces than originally planned. 

The GSA has narrowed the location of the new headquarters to three sites – at Greenbelt, Springfield or Landover.

The GSA, after reviewing the three sites, dramatically increased the number of parking spaces and said it would not consider proximity to public transportation as a determining factor for choosing the location.

Planning officials said they’re worried about the ramifications of the new parking plan on traffic and the environment.

“I am writing to express concerns about GSA’s approach to parking for the new headquarters, which may have implications for local and regional transportation goals, environmental goals, and overall project costs,” National Capital Planning Commission Executive Director Marcel Acosta wrote to the GSA’s Mary Gibert.

Influential GOP Lawmaker: Republican Colleagues Would ‘Probably’ Accept No Indictment of Clinton

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The outcome of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server may have plenty of consequences for the presidential election.

But in a surprising statement Monday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he and his fellow Republicans would “probably” accept a decision not to indict Hillary Clinton, Politico reports.

“Oh, probably, because we do believe in [FBI Director] James Comey,” the Utah Republican said during an appearance on Fox News’ “Outnumbered.” “I do think that in all of the government, he is a man of integrity and honesty.”

Chaffetz said Comey’s “finger is on the pulse of this. Nothing happens without him, and I think he is going to be the definitive person to make a determination or a recommendation.”

Homeland Security Pressured to Adopt Strict Rule about Employee Behavior Abroad

visasBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security officials have been caught drinking, using drugs and soliciting prostitutes while working outside of the country.

Now the inspector general wants Homeland Security to adopt specific policies to prevent such behavior while abroad, the Federal Times reports. 

The inspector general examined the departments policies for the 1,5000 employees who work outside the country and discovered very few guidelines for off-duty behavior.

“To minimize the risk of misconduct and its potential negative effect on the Department’s ability to accomplish its mission, DHS should ensure it has comprehensive policies specifically addressing off-duty conduct abroad and make certain all employees traveling and working abroad are adequately trained and acknowledge and understand these policies,” the report said.

Documents Show Feds Tried to Discredit Snowden Using His Own Email

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Newly declassified documents show that Edward Snowden first raised concerns with the NSA before he leaked the information.

In one letter, Snowden questioned whether an presidential executive order allowing the spying program could supersede federal law, the Daily Mail reports.

 “I’m not entirely certain, but this does not seem correct, as it seems to imply Executive Orders have the same precedence as law,” Snowden wrote in the e-mail. “My understanding is that EOs may be superseded by federal statute, but EOs may not override statute. Am I incorrect in this? Between EOs and laws, which have precedence?”

The new documents lend credibility to Snowden’c claims that he repeatedly tried to raise concerns about the NSA’s surveillance of Americans.

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