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Archive for December, 2019

Ex-FBI Agent Strzok Argues FBI, DOJ Violated his Free Speech Rights

Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who was at the center of the bureau’s Russia investigation in 2016, argues in a new court filing that the FBI and Justice Department violated his privacy and free speech rights.

The claims on Monday were a response to the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit in which he alleged he was wrongfully terminated, The Hill reports.

Strzok’s legal team argues that he, like other rank-and-file government employees, have a right to share personal political opinions. He claims he was fired for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.

“The government’s argument would leave thousands of career federal government employees without protections from discipline over the content of their political speech,” the filing said.

“Nearly every aspect of a modern workplace, and for that matter nearly every non-workplace aspect of employees’ lives, can be monitored,” it added. “The fact that a workplace conversation can be discovered does not render it unprotected.”

The DOJ counters that his high-profile role in the investigation held him to a higher standard.

The FBI declined to comment on the court filing, citing ongoing litigation.

Border Patrol Agent Injured, K-9 Killed After Service Car slips on Icy Patch in Washington

Border Patrol K-9, Jackie, was killed.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent was sent to the hospital and her K-9 was killed after their patrol vehicle lost control on an icy patch in Colville, Wash.

The vehicle rolled down a steep embankment on Highway 395 at about 2 a.m. Sunday, and the agent was pinned in the car until rescuers used the Jaws of Life to extricate her, the agency said in a news release.

The dog, Jackie, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jackie had been with the agency since 2015.

The agent, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital in an unknown condition, but the injuries were not-life threatening, the agency said.

“Thank you to all the rescuers and medical staff involved and please remember K-9 Jackie and the agent in your thoughts and prayers,” David BeMiller, acting chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s Spokane sector, said in a statement. “We understand the risks that we take as well as our K-9 partners; it is never easy when we lose a partner.”

You Won’t Believe the Bizarre Banned Items Confiscated at Airports in 2019

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA confiscated tens of thousands of banned items at security checkpoints in 2019.

Some of the items were dangerous, and others were just strange. They ranged from slingshots and fireworks to a gun-shaped toilet paper roller, according to a compilation by The Washington Examiner.

Here is a sample of what TSA officers found:

 

Former FBI Agent Reportedly Killed Texas Church Gunman Just Seconds After Shooting Began

Shooting captured on a live-streaming video on YouTube.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent who was serving as a voluntary clergy security guard reportedly fatally shot a gunman who opened fire at a Texas Church on Sunday.

The quick actions of the security guard were caught on a video that the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement was live-streaming on YouTube around 10:50 a.m.

The gunman, who had a rifle stashed under his coat, fatally shot two people before the church security guard quickly returned fire. The identity of the security guard has not yet been identified.

Another congregant, who also was serving as a voluntary security guard, returned fire as well, according to media reports.

“Two of the parishioners who were volunteers of the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said at a press conference.

Former FBI agent and security expert Greg Shaffer said the quick response by armed guards demonstrates that more houses of worship should consider armed security.

“This incident certainly drives home the critical need of having an armed response,” Shaffer told 5NBC-TV. “Had they not been there, there would have been dozens upon dozens of casualties in that church.”

DEA’s Joe Piersante Named ticklethewire.com Fed of The Year for 2019

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joe Piersante in 2010.

DEA agent Joe Piersante has been named ticklethewire.com’ Fed of The Year for 2019.

Piersante, who retired this month in Detroit, took a different path in his career, and showed remarkable resolve. He joined the Detroit Police force and then the DEA in 1997. He spent the next decade in Arizona battling drug traffickers.

In 2011, he was as part of an elite  Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), a commando-style squad that battled terrorist organizations that trafficked drugs to support their efforts.  While raiding a bazaar in Afghanistan, gunfire broke out and he ended up getting hit in the head by an armored-piercing round. He was wounded and left legally blind.

He eventually returned to the DEA, where he began talking to groups on behalf of the agency about the dangers of drugs and helping addicts with treatment strategies. He also talked to people about putting their lives on the line for their country.

He finished his career in the Detroit office, sometimes taking an Uber or getting rides from co-workers to carry out his duties.

In 2015, Piersante became the first DEA agent to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart award for injuries sustained in combat.

“Joe embodies what our agency is about, the core mission, to go wherever we have to go to attack organized crime and go after trafficking organizations,” said Jack Riley, the agency’s deputy administrator in an interview with Bloomberg in 2016 . “It really means something that he stuck around, that he continues to work. He embodies the fighting spirit. He never quits.”

Previous recipients of the ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year award include: Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008):  Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009), Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010);  Thomas Brandon, deputy Director of ATF (2011); John G. Perren, who was assistant director of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Directorate (2012); David Bowdich, special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Los Angeles (2013);  Loretta Lynch, who was U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn at the time (2014); John “Jack” Riley,  the DEA’s acting deputy administrator (2015); D.C.  U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips (2016); Joe Rannazzisi, a retired DEA deputy assistant administrator (2017); Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (2018).

Weekend Series on Crime History: Former Detroit Investigative Reporter Says Irishman Didn’t Kill Hoffa

FBI Investigating British Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Other Linked to Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein, via the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Now that Jeffrey Epstein is dead, the FBI is beginning to investigate people linked to the U.S. financier, who committed suicide while awaiting a trial on sex trafficking charges, according to a new report.

One of those is British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

The probe is in its early stages as the FBI follows up on leads received from women who said they were victimized by Epstein, law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told Reuters.

In a civil lawsuit, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, accused Maxwell of recruiting her into Epstein’s web, where she says she was forced to have sex with Epstein and his friends.

Since Epstein’s death, Maxwell has been in hiding. She previously dated Epstein, whom she met in the early 1990s.

The sources did not reveal the other “people who facilitated” the abuse.

Former FBI Agent Trains Businesses, Community Groups to Respond to Mass Shootings

Former FBI agent Jonathan Lacey, via Security and Training Solutions.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Jonathan Lacey knows a thing or two about mass shootings.

The retired FBI agent spent the latter part of his career studying active shooters. At the FBI’s Buffalo office, he served as a crisis manager and active shooter coordinator, training law enforcement and community groups to respond to mass shootings.

Now he operates Security and Training Solutions, a Buffalo-based firm that teaches businesses, community groups and even families how to prepare for an active shooting.

“The training needs to be delivered in a way that is realistic and empowers individuals, but does not traumatize them,” he told The Buffalo News.

The goal is to help people create a comprehensive prevention policy at a time when mass shootings have become all too common in the U.S.