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Archive for March 22nd, 2017

Family of Missing Former FBI Agent Sues Iran for Kidnapping, Torture

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran a decade ago, is suing the Middle Eastern country.

Levinson’s wife and children filed suit against Iran in U.S. District Court in Washington, CNN reports. 

The family filed suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, claiming “injuries suffered by each of them as a result of Iran’s unlawful acts of hostage taking, torture and other torts.”

If Levinson is still alive in Iran, he would be the longest held civilian by a foreign government. Iran continues to deny involvement in Levinson’s disappearance.

“Three weeks after his disappearance an Iranian government news outlet, Press TV, announced that he had been taken into custody by Iranian security authorities but was expected to be released shortly,” the complaint alleges.

“Despite this report, Robert Levinson was not released and the Iranian government began falsely denying any knowledge of his capture or whereabouts.”

Trump’s Political Consultant Roger Stone Jr. Is Under an FBI Investigation

Donald TrumpBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s political consultant Roger J. Stone Jr. is under investigation for possibly colluding with the Russians to help interfere in the presidential election.

Stone, a full-time provocateur, was mentioned during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, when FBI Director James Comey was asked if he was familiar with Stone, the New York Times reports. 

“Generally, yes,” Comey responded before saying he wouldn’t discuss individual people.

Hillary Clinton campaign chairman, John D. Podeta, accused Stone, 64, of knowing about the hacks before they became public.

“Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” Stone had mused on Twitter before Podesta’s emails were released.

When asked how Stone would know about the leak before it happened, Comey balked, saying “That’s not something I can comment on.”

The New York Times wrote:

Mr. Stone has denied advance knowledge of the hacks or any involvement with the Russians. But his public statements have given investigators something to focus on.

Before the Podesta emails were released, Mr. Stone said in a speech that he had “communicated with” Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder — whom he has defended for years — and that he had a large trove of material on the Clintons that he would publish shortly before the election. He has acknowledged having communicated over Twitter with the online persona Guccifer 2.0, who American officials believe is a front for Russian intelligence officials. And there was the Podesta tweet.

But Mr. Stone has explanations for each: The timeline of his “benign” contacts with Guccifer 2.0 — “who may or not be a Russian asset” — disproves claims of collusion; his communication with Mr. Assange was through an intermediary and was “perfectly legal;” and the Podesta tweet referred to information in an article he wrote that appeared two months later, not any emails.

Now under scrutiny by both F.B.I. and Senate investigators, Mr. Stone has hired two lawyers to represent him. But in an interview, Mr. Stone maintained that this was “a scandal with no evidence.”

Attacks on Border Patrol Agents Increased 179% Over Past 5 Months

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are increasingly becoming victims of violence, according to new data from Homeland Security.

From Oct. 1, 2016, to Feb. 28, 2017, attacks against agents increased 179% from the same period last year, KXAN.com reports.

“We are becoming more effective in dealing with the increase in assaults and flow of traffic, we’re making sure our agents are prepared to address any tactics and/or force that is used against us,” said McAllen Station Patrol Agent in Charge Melissa Lucio. “Our priority is to ensure that everybody is safe and that we have an appropriate response to assaults on our agents.”

The attacks involved weapons, projectiles and close-quarters fighting.

DEA: 30+ People Died in County in Arizona from Counterfeit Painkillers

Synthetic opioid tablets

Synthetic opioid tablets laced with fentanyl.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA said more than 30 people died in Maricopa County in Arizona from counterfeit oxycodone pill laced with fentanyl.

The county confirmed 32 deaths from black-market pill between March 2015 to February 2017, the Arizona Republic reports

The DEA said the counterfeit pills were manufactured in Mexico and smuggled into the U.S.

“What we have is a rapidly expanding opioid-based drug addiction in the country, and we have Mexican drug cartels adjusting to push dangerous drugs on streets,” said Doug Coleman, special agent in charge of the DEA in Arizona. “…They think they’re taking oxy, but they’re actually taking fentanyl, and it’s lights out.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Investigating Far-Right News Sites’ Potential Connections to Russia

Alex Jones of InfoWars

Alex Jones of InfoWars

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the role far-right news played in Donald Trump’s election victory.

Russian operatives appear to have saturated social media with links to pro-Trump stories during the election, two people familiar with the inquiry told the Chicago Tribune

Millions of posts on Facebook and Twitter linked to stories on conservative news sites such as Breitbart News , InfoWars, the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News. Some of the stories were fake, while others contained numerous falsehoods.

The investigation is part of the FBI’s probe into Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election.

Agents want to know whether the news sites took any actions to assist Russian operatives.

“This may be one of the most highly impactful information operations in the history of intelligence,” said one former U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.