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Archive for March 23rd, 2017

FBI Wiretapped Trump Tower over Russian Crime Organization Working out of Building

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI acknowledged it wiretapped Trump Tower, but it was not because of the president or his political campaign.

The FBI had court approval to monitor a Russian crime organization operating on the tower’s 63rd floor.

Prosecutors described the mafia members as an “international money-laundering, sports gambling and extortion ring,” ABC News reported.

One 0f the ring’s leaders, Vadim Trincher, is accused of laundering ten of millions of dollars from the Soviet Union through Cyprus and into the U.S.

As a result of the FBI investigation, a grand jury indicted more than 30 people in April 2013.

What’s unclear is whether Trump met any of the mafia members.

FBI Investigates Threats Against Pizza Shop Following Fake News about Sex Slaves

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s investigation into Russian interference during the U.S. presidential election has widened to include reviewing continuing threats against a Washington D.C. pizza shop that has been targeted by right-wing conspiracy theorists.

Comet Ping Pong Pizza has been accused, with no evidence, of operating a child sex ring out of the nonexistent basement with the help of senior members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Tweets alleging that Comet Ping Pong Pizza ran a sex ring – called Pizzagate – were sent out by anonymous online bots. As a result, a 28-year-old North Carolina man entered the shop with a loaded automatic rifle and shot three rounds as he searched for a nonexistent basement sex chamber.

The suspect, Edgar Madison Welch, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

Two Guatemalan Sisters Claim They Were Raped by Border Patrol Officer

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two sisters who were lost in the Texas desert after fleeing Guatemala claim they were sexually assaulted by a Border Patrol officer.

The sisters, age 17 and 19, said they waved down a CBP truck for help. The officer is then accused of placing them to closet in the Presidio, Texas, intake office, where they were forced to strip and were sexually assaulted in July 2016, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

On behalf of the sisters, the ACLU of Norther California filed suit Tuesday against Homeland Security.

The sisters now live in Fresno with their mother.

“What happened in that closet has caused me so much pain and sadness,” the older sister said.” I’m telling my story because I don’t want anyone else to go through this. I hope the officer will be honest about what he did and take responsibility for his actions. This is the only way we’ll be able to ensure this never happens again.”

ACLU attorneys said the officer must be held accountable.

“CBP must be held accountable for its officer’s sexual abuse of these vulnerable victims,” said ACLU of Northern California staff attorney Angélica Salceda. “There has been no criminal prosecution against the officer involved. CBP is not above the law, and its abuses of power must not be tolerated.”

Trump’s Gaudy Lifestyle Is Draining Resources of Secret Service

secret serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump has refused to give up many of his creature comforts, and that has exhausted the budget of the Secret Service.

Now the agency is asking for an additional $60 million in funding for next year to keep up with Trump’s gaudy lifestyle, Vanity Fair reports.

The problem is that Trump visits his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, every weekend. Secret Service also has to protect the Trump Tower because First Lady Melania Trump has so far refused to move into the White House. Now Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, is using an office in the West Wing and is expected to soon receive security clearance.

Secret Service projects it will need $26.8 million in additional funds to protect the First Family and the Trump Tower.

Vanity Fair wrote:

President Trump is 70 years old—the oldest president to be sworn in for a first term. He has five children, two of whom have eight children between them. Eric Trump announced earlier this week that he and his wife, Lara, are having a baby boy in September, bringing the total count of Trumps to 19. The Secret Service asked for six additional full-time-equivalent positions for the Trump detail, the Post reports.

The remainder of the proposed budget additional funding—$33 million—would go toward travel costs. It is no secret that the president is fond of taking trips to Mar-a-Lago. The Trump children have also jetted to Dubai, Vancouver, and Aspen since he took office, for both business and pleasure. All of these trips require advance and detail, and thus, come out of the agency budget.

They also require a great deal of money from local police protection. Between Election Day and Inauguration Day, the Post reports that New York police spent about $24 million to secure Trump Tower, and on any given day, the city spends between $127,000 and $145,000 to protect the First Lady and First Son in Manhattan while President Trump is in Washington—which has been most weekdays and a handful of weekends, as well.

Palm Beach County, too, has had to foot the bill when the president comes to town. The sheriff’s office has said it has spent $1.5 million so far in overtime pay for on-duty officers securing the private club and taking care of traffic in the surrounding area. The cost is so overwhelming that officials are considering raising taxes or possibly charging Mar-a-Lago a fee in order to cover the costs without impacting residents.

Other Stories of Interest

Congress Slams FBI’s Use of Facial Recognition Technology Software

Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Elijah Cummings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Democrats and Republicans in Congress slammed the FBI’s use of facial recognition software, saying it relies on racial biases, leads to the arrests of innocent people and violates privacy.

NBC reports that more than 400 million pictures of Americans’ faces are archived in various facial recognition networks, representing about half of all U.S. adults.

“I have zero confidence in the FBI and the [Justice Department], frankly, to keep this in check,” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Massachusetts, said at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation.

“This is really Nazi Germany here, what we’re talking about,” Lynch said. “And I see little difference in the way people are being tracked under this, just getting one wide net and getting information on all American citizens.”

Rep. John Duncan, R-Tennessee, added: “I think we’re reaching a very sad point, a very dangerous point, when we’re doing away with the reasonable expectation of privacy about anything.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said facial recognition software is less accurate at identifying people with dark skin, women and younger people.

“If you’re black, you’re more likely to be subjected to this technology,” said Cummings, who is black. “And the technology is more likely to be wrong. That’s a hell of a combination, especially when you’re talking about subjecting someone to the criminal justice system.”