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Archive for November, 2016

FBI May Have Been Investigating Donald Trump During the Campaign

Donald TrumpBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI may have been investigating Donald Trump before the November election, according to records obtained by Vice News. 

The news agency had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents connected to comments made by Trump on the campaign trail.

In July, Trump urged Russia to track down “30,000 emails [from Hillary Clinton’s private email server] that are missing.” And in August, Trump made an incendiary comment that some interpreted to be the Republican calling for the assassination of opponent Hillary Clinton.

“The nature of your request implicates investigative records the FBI may or may not compile pursuant to its broad criminal and national security investigative missions and functions,” the bureau responded. “Accordingly, the FBI cannot confirm or deny the existence of any such records about your subject as the mere acknowledgment of such records existence or nonexistence would in and of itself trigger foreseeable harm to agency interests.”

Vice wrote:

This is what’s known as a Glomar response, a term that came into use after the CIA denied a reporter’s request in the 1970s for information about a CIA ship, the Glomar Explorer, designed to recover a sunken Russian submarine. The agency refused to either confirm or deny the ship’s existence.

The FBI’s response states that any records the FBI has must be withheld because disclosure would interfere with enforcement proceedings and disclose information vital for effective investigations. This response is highly suspicious.

FBI Raids Apartment of Suspected Ohio State University Attacker

Abdul Razak Ali Artan

Abdul Razak Ali Artan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents raided the apartment of the Somali-born student accused of carrying out an attack Monday on Ohio State’s campus.

Dozens of agents swarmed the apartment of Abdul Razak Ali Artan at about 7 p.m., Cleveland.com reports. Agents also were investigating a Facebook declaration that may have been written by the Ohio State University student.

The attack, which included a car and a butcher knife, injured 11 people and left the suspect dead.

Cleveland.com wrote:

Agents carried briefcases, large equipment and evidence boxes into the Havenwood Townhome Community complex on Nationwide Boulevard while Franklin County deputies blocked off the street and stood guard outside the building.

It is unknown what the agents found inside. Residents said Franklin County sheriff’s deputies showed up at the home shortly after the attack. Federal agents arrived about 7 p.m. and began searching the apartment. The search was ongoing as of 9:45 p.m. 

A neighborhood business owner, Jack Ouham, said Artan visited his store daily. He described Artan as a good kid who loved going to Ohio State and who worked at a nearby Home Depot.

“He loved doing what he was doing,” said Ouham, who owns Home Town Market less than a half-mile from Artan’s apartment. “I’m shocked. He was very respectful. He was the nicest kid in the neighborhood.” 

Secret Service Investigated Ohio Man Who Wrote ‘Kill Trump’ on Facebook

1129-sub-trump-threat-facebook-7By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents investigated a man who appeared to threaten the life of President-elect Donald Trump.

Law enforcement officials confirmed to TMZ that the Secret Service and deputies in Greene County, Ohio, met Monday with a man who posted, “kill Trump” on Facebook.

Agents asked the man if he was serious, and he responded, “Not unless he starts going door-to-door rounding up people like he says.”

The Secret Service determined he was not a serious threat.

Donald Trump’s Candidate for Homeland Security Riles Border Hawks

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s potential selection of Rep. Michael T. McCaul for secretary of Homeland Security incensed border hawks because of the congressman’s position on immigration.

McCaul, a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security  Committee, is perceived by some as weak on border security and a supporter of amnesty, the Washington Times reports. 

McCaul has been frequently criticized by conservatives and border activists for co-authoring the 2015 Secure Our Borders First Act, which ignored the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

“We certainly hope that Donald Trump would not reward a deceptive pro-amnesty lawmaker like Michael McCaul with a Cabinet position,” said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. “That would be very disappointing to all of us that believed his campaign promises to secure our borders and deport millions of illegal immigrants under current U.S. laws.”

The Homeland Security secretary will be a critical nomination for Trump, who has pledged to fight illegal immigration. 

DEA’s War on Synthetic Opioids Targets Cousin of Deadly Fentanyl

Synthetic opioid tablets

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is waging a war against a deadly cousin of the synthetic opioid fentanyl to curb abuse and overdoses.

The move to ban furanyl fentanyl is part of a larger fight against synthetic opioids, which are becoming increasingly available, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The synthetic opioids are often sold over the internet by labs in China.

Already this year, the DEA has characterized five synthetic opioids as “Schedule I,” which means they have no medical purpose and can lead to abuse.

The Journal wrote:

Furanyl fentanyl, a relative newcomer, didn’t appear in a national database that tracks drug seizures until December 2015, according to the DEA. It has quickly emerged as a serious killer among designer opioids. NMS Labs, a major private lab that works with states around the U.S., has tallied 325 deaths linked to furanyl fentanyl this year through October.

The legal form of fentanyl is a strong, up to 50 times the potency of heroin, pain reliever that often is used to help cancer patients manage serious pain. But bootleg versions of fentanyl, often made in China and then mixed into the heroin supply or included in counterfeit prescription pills have amplified the U.S. opioid crisis.

Other Stories of Interest

Book Excerpt: The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets

Before Edward Snowden’s infamous data breach, the largest theft of government secrets was committed by an ingenious traitor whose intricate espionage scheme and complex system of coded messages were made even more baffling by his dyslexia. His name is Brian Regan, but he came to be known as The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell. The hunt that led to Regan’s arrest began in December 2000 when the FBI was tipped off to an anonymous package mailed to the Libyan consulate in New York. The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of the book, “The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell.”  Reprinted by arrangement with NAL, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2016 by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee.  Links to purchase the book are at the end of the excerpt.

 By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

On the morning of the first Monday in December 2000, FBI Special Agent Steven Carr hurried out of his cubicle at the bureau’s Washington, D.C. field office and bounded down two flights of stairs to pick up a package that had just arrived by FedEX from FBI New York. Carr was 38 years old, of medium build, with blue eyes and a handsome face. He was thoughtful and intense, meticulous in his work, driven by a sense of patriotic duty inherited from his father – who served in World War II – and his maternal and paternal grandfathers – who both fought in World War I. Because of his aptitude for deduction and his intellectual doggedness, he’d been assigned to counterintelligence within a year after coming to the FBI in 1995. In his time at the bureau – all of it spent in the nation’s capital – he had played a supporting role in a series of high profile espionage cases, helping to investigate spies such as Jim Nicholson, the flamboyant CIA agent who sold U.S. secrets to the Russians.

spy-who-couldnt-spell-cover-jpg

But like most agents starting out in their careers, Carr was keen to lead a high stakes investigation himself. A devout Catholic, Carr would sometimes bow his head in church and say a silent prayer requesting the divine’s help in landing a good case. That’s why he had responded with such alacrity when his squad supervisor, Lydia Jechorek, had asked him to pick up the package that morning. “Whatever it is, it’s yours,” she had said.

Carr raced back to his desk and laid out the contents of the package in front of him: a sheaf of papers running into a few dozen pages. They were from three envelopes that had been handed to FBI New York by a confidential informant at the Libyan consulate in New York. The envelopes had been individually mailed to the consulate by an unknown sender.

Breathlessly, Carr thumbed through the sheets. Based on directions sent from New York, he was able to sort the papers into three sets corresponding to the three envelopes. All three had an identical cover sheet, at the top of which was a warning in all caps. “THIS LETTER CONTAINS SENSITIVE INFORMATION.” Below, it read, in part:

“This letter is confidential and directed to your President or Intelligence Chief. Please pass this letter via diplomatic pouch and do not discuss the existence of this letter in your offices or homes or via any electronic means. If you do not follow these instructions the existence of this letter and its contents may be detected and collected by U.S. intelligence agencies.”

In the first envelope was a 4-page letter with 149 lines of typed text consisting of alphabets and numbers. The second envelope included instructions on how to decode the letter. The third envelope included two sets of code sheets. One set contained a list of ciphers. The other, running to six pages, listed dozens of words along with their encoded abbreviations: a system commonly known as brevity codes. Together, the two sets were meant to serve as the key for the decryption.

Read more »

FBI, NSA, CIA Expected to Expand Surveillance Powers Under Trump

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI, NSA and CIA are expected to receive expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, drawing opposition from privacy advocates and some lawmakers.

Trump’s first two appointment to law enforcement and intelligence agencies – Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Representative Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency – are proponents of expanded domestic government spying, Bloomberg Technology reports. 

Bloomberg wrote:

The fights expected to play out in the coming months — in Senate confirmation hearings and through executive action, legislation and litigation — also will set up an early test of Trump’s relationship with Silicon Valley giants including Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Trump signaled as much during his presidential campaign, when he urged a consumer boycott of Apple for refusing to help the FBI hack into a terrorist’s encrypted iPhone.

An “already over-powerful surveillance state” is about to “be let loose on the American people,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress, an internet and privacy advocacy organization.

Retired Army General Petraeus is Trump’s Top Contender As Secretary of State

Former CIA Director David Petraeus

Former CIA Director David Petraeus

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Retired Army general David Petraeus, who resigned as head of the CIA after divulging classified information, is President-elect Donald Trump’s top contender as secretary of State.

In November 2012, Petraeus resigned from the CIA amid the scandal of an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, who received classified information from Petraeus.

Petraeus accepted a plea agreement in March 2015, admitting he leaked a massive amount of sensitive material to Broadwell and then lied to the FBI about it, USA Today reports. 

Petraeus said last week that he would serve in Trump’s administration if asked.