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Archive for January 8th, 2018

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Pressuring Teenage Girls for Nude Photos

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent is accused of posing as a boy online to pressure girls for nude photos and to share sexually explicit messages.

Micah Mardo, 36, faces a federal sex crime after he was arrested last week at a northwest Washington state Border Patrol station, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports

The FBI began investigating after a tipster reported that Mardo’s wife found disturbing images and messages on her husband’s computer.

Investigators said Mardo used the Kik app to contact young teen girls for nude photos. The FBI said he also sent obscene images of himself.

Blaine sector Chief Patrol Agent Brian Martin said the federal agency is cooperating with the FBI probe.

“A vast majority of the men and women employed with our agency meet this high standard day in and day out,” Martin said by email. “As public servants, our agents are rightly held to a higher standard of conduct and are subject to the same laws and rules that apply to private citizens.”

Loaded Guns, Inert Grenades, Throw Star Among Top Confiscated Items at Airports in 2017

Sculpture made with an inert grenade, via TSA

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Festively wrapped narcotics, loaded guns, inert grenades and “Satan’s” pizza cutter are among the top 10 items confiscated at U.S. airport in 2017.

In a YouTube video, the TSA’s “Blogger Bob” Burns lists the most unusual forbidden items confiscated at airports.

Other eye-popping confiscated items include a menacing-looking “face-tenderizer,” a sculpture with inert grades, a pointed fidget spinner, a throwing star, a scythe, a bone knife and an umbrella that resembled a knife.

“Some people travel with weird stuff because they are collectors: it’s an heirloom, they have ADHD [attention deficit hyperactive disorder] and it’s their fidget, or they want to use the item as a training aid in a seminar,” Jeff Price, an aviation security expert and professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, told CNBC

Still, “a lot of people who don’t travel frequently just don’t understand that some of these items can be used as weapons,” he said.

Bloomberg: Mueller Comes Under Unfair, Partisan Attacks over Russia-Trump Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Editorial Board
Bloomberg

Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is coming under growing attack from those most blinded by partisanship and — in the case of the White House — self-interest. Their motivations do not automatically render them wrong. A dispassionate review of the facts, however, does.

Their assaults fall into three main categories. The first two are easily rebuffed. The third lands a punch — but not the knockout blow they seek.

•    Discrediting Mueller. When President George W. Bush nominated Mueller, a fellow Republican, to lead the FBI in 2001, the Senate confirmed him by a unanimous vote. After he served his 10-year term, President Barack Obama gave him a two-year extension — and Senate support was again unanimous. Few people in Washington serving at the highest level of government can equal Mueller’s reputation for integrity and independence.

Yet critics charge that Mueller is somehow compromised by his longstanding relationship with James Comey, his former deputy and successor at the FBI, who initiated the Russia investigation. Republicans have had a hatelovehate relationship with Comey over the past two years, which says more about them than it does about him. Whatever one may think of how he handled his job, there is no evidence suggesting that Mueller is being influenced by him — or anyone else — in any way.

•    Discrediting Mueller’s work. Critics also charge that Mueller’s team is on a fishing expedition that has found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election –and thus should be shut down. They often cite the indictment of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, whose charges concern not his campaign activities but his work for a pro-Russian government in Ukraine.

But — leaving aside the seriousness of those charges — Mueller’s mandate is to investigate not only Russian interference in the campaign, including any collusion, but also “any matters that arose or may arise” from the investigation. Manafort’s actions certainly qualify, as do the lies of two campaign officials (both of whom have already pleaded guilty) about their contacts with Russia.

It’s reasonable to expect Mueller to conclude the investigation in a timely fashion. But Congress cannot permit the White House to short-circuit his work.

To read more click here. 

Trump’s Attorneys Hope to Prevent Mueller from Interviewing the President

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s attorneys are seeking potential alternatives to avoid a sit-down interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russian election meddling. 

Among the alternatives under consideration are written responses to questions and “an affidavit signed by the president affirming he was innocent of any wrongdoing and denying any collusion,” NBC News reports.

Trump’s attorneys also are trying determine whether Mueller wants a direct interview, the legal standards for interviewing a president, the location of a possible interview, the duration and the topics.

Since the special counsel investigation began with the appointment of Mueller in May, four people formerly in Trump’s inner circle have been indicted, and two have pleaded guilty in exchange for cooperating with authorities.

But veterans of the Justice Department are skeptical Mueller would forgo the chance to interview the president directly.

“Prosecutors want to see and hear folks in person,” said Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and chief of staff to FBI Director Comey. “They want to probe and follow up. Body language and tone are important,” said Rosenberg, now an NBC News analyst. “And they want answers directly from witnesses, not from their lawyers. The odds of prosecutors agreeing to written responses are somewhere between infinitesimally small and zero.”