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Archive for November, 2017

Our Apologies: Our Site Was Hacked

hacking

The past couple days someone hacked our site repeatedly and posted dozens of rambling sports stories.

We apologize if you came looking for stories on federal law enforcement and found these stories. We’re working on resolving the situation.  — Allan Lengel, editor of ticklethewire.com

Weekend Series on Crime History: What a DEA Agent Did After Being Offered $3 Million

L.A. Times: Mission of Justice Department Is Not ‘Lock Her Up’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions


By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

We live in a country of laws and no one should be above them. That includes the president. And it also includes Hillary Clinton, the president’s former campaign opponent. Where there is reason to believe wrongdoing or self-dealing has occurred in violation of the laws there should be an investigation and if necessary a prosecution.

But the calls by some Republicans for a special counsel to investigate Clinton smack of something other than a desire for evenhanded enforcement of the law. Rather, they are part of a desperate effort by the president, his allies in Congress and the right-wing media to take the focus off the tangled investigations into the Trump campaign’s conduct, and particularly into any possible collusion with Russia.

Earlier this month Trump tweeted: “Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems.” Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress have offered up a grab bag of incidents and insinuations they claim justify the appointment of a special counsel.

This dubious bill of particulars includes Clinton’s (minimal) role as secretary of state in the approval of the purchase by a Russian company of a controlling stake in Uranium One, a uranium company whose major investor had contributed to the Clinton Foundation; the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server (yes, they’re still on about that); and the Democrats’ funding of the so-called “dossier” about Trump and Russia, which some Republicans theorize was the genesis of electronic surveillance of members of the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee that any decision to name another special counsel would be guided by law, not politics. But his comments were only partly reassuring.

To read more click here.

Judge: Charged Trump Aide Gates Barred from Leaving House for Kids, Holidays

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A judge agreed with Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday that Donald Trump aide Richard Gates is a flight risk and therefore should remain under house arrest and should not leave his home for Christmas or to pick up his children from school.

Gates and his business partner, Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Trump’s campaign, were indicted last month and are both facing a dozen federal charges, from conspiracy to money laundering.

Gates was placed under houser arrest and given a $5 million bond.

The judge denied Gates’ request to be allowed to take his children to school every day and to birthday parties and other extracurricular activities, Newsweek reports. The judge also said Gates could not leave, as requested, for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Jared Kushner Failed to Disclose Emails about Wikileaks, Russia from 2016

Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, received emails last year about Wikileaks and a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” without disclosing the information to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Politico reports

Kushner is accused of receiving the emails last September and forwarding them to another campaign official.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, saying that other witnesses have disclosed emails from Kushner that he didn’t turn over, sent a letter to Kushner about the missing documents.

“We appreciate your voluntary cooperation with the Committee’s investigation, but the production appears to have been incomplete,” the pair wrote in a letter dated Thursday to Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell.

In a statement, Lowell said Kushner has been responsive to requests for records.

“We provided the Judiciary Committee with all relevant documents that had to do with Mr. Kushner’s calls, contacts or meetings with Russians during the campaign and transition, which was the request,” Lowell said, adding that he and Kushner had also told the committee they would be open to additional requests for information.

Hacker Accused of Stalking FBI Agent Back in Jail for Criticizing Bureau

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An alleged hacker accused of online stalking and harassment of an FBI agent is back in jail after criticizing the FBI on a blog post. 

The Texas man, Justin Shafer, had been free of jail after his March arrest on charges of online stalking and harassment of an FBI agent who was investigating a link between him and a notorious hacking group, the TheDarkOverlord

A judge said Shafer violated conditions of his release that included avoiding posts on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, The Dallas Morning News reports

But 12 days after the order, the 37-year-old criticized the FBI agent on his bog post, prompting a federal magistrate to order him held in custody until trial.

Share’s attorney claims the jailing violating his client’s rights to free speech.

“Mr. Shafer has a First Amendment right to criticize his prosecution and rebut the accusations made against him,” said his New York lawyer, Tor Ekeland, in an appeal of that judge’s order.

Other Stories of Interest

Poll: Most Americans Don’t Believe Mueller Probe Is ‘Witch Hunt’

PrintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Most Americans don’t buy President Trump’s repeated claims that the special counsel investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign team and Russia is a “witch hunt.”

Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found that 60% of those surveyed believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the issue fairly. By contrast, only 27% people think the investigation is unfair.

Some Congressional Republicans recently introduced a non-binding measure that claims Mueller’s investigation amounts to a “coup” attempt.

The poll found that 47% of Americans believe Trump should be impeached if he fires Mueller, a former FBI director who has announced charges and one conviction against several Trump aides.

Trump’s Nominee for Homeland Security Has Conflict of Interest

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, has found herself in a tough position following the discovery that she was guided through the confirmation process by a private consultant with a conflict of interest.

The consultant and cofounder of Command Group, Thad Bingel, represents companies seeking millions in DHS contracts, the Washington Post reports, citing government-ethics watchdog groups and current and former national security experts. 

Bingel’s firm offers “full spectrum solutions related to safety, security, and intelligence” to clients “on six continents.”

Nielsen was jointed by Bingel as she made rounds on Capitol Hill ahead of the Senate Homeland Security committee’s nomination vote.

“He was introduced to our staff as Nielsen’s aide,” said one Senate staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley denied the relationship amounted to a conflict of interest.

“There’s nothing inappropriate or new about an individual volunteering their time to help prepare a nominee for the Senate confirmation process,” said Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, in a statement.

The Post wrote:

In copies of recent emails viewed by The Washington Post, Bingel was included in internal communications between DHS officials and White House staffers working to advance Nielsen’s nomination. The messages involved nearly a dozen officials, and Bingel was the only person who wasn’t a government staffer.

The exchanges show Bingel, a private contractor, leading briefings to DHS officials. Bingel, whose role in Nielsen’s nomination was first reported by Cyberscoop, did not respond to interview requests.