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Archive for February, 2020

Weekend Series on Crime History: Undercover ATF Agent Goes After White Supremacist Gang

Quick-Acting, Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent Saves Life of Bicycle Accident Victim in Arizona

Border Patrol Agent Travis J. Carter, via CBP

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A quick-acting, off-duty Border Patrol agent is being credited with saving the life of a bicycle accident victim in Yuma, Ariz.

Border Patrol Agent Travis J. Carter was watching his daughter’s soccer practice when he heard about a car striking a bicyclist down the road.

The agent sprinted to the accident scene and found an unconscious man in the middle of the road with a large laceration in the victim’s femoral artery.

Carter, with the help of a bystander, applied pressure to the wound to slow the bleeding from a wound that reached the victim’s thigh bone. When police arrived, the agent used a tourniquet on the victim’s leg until paramedics arrived.

The victim was rushed to Yuma Regional Medical Center, where he was in stable condition.

“These are the reasons why I joined this agency, acquiring the platform and training necessary to make a difference in the lives of the ones I come in contact with,” Carter says in a news release. “We do not have the advantage of choosing the type of situations we respond to, but we do have the benefit of choosing how we respond.”

Yuma Sector’s Acting Chief Patrol Agent Carl Landrum applauded Carter’s actions.

“Agent Carter’s quick thinking, ability to react in high-stress situations and preparedness saved this man’s life,” said Yuma Sector’s Acting Chief Patrol Agent Carl Landrum. “His expertise and training highlights the adaptability and first-response capabilities of U.S. Border Patrol agents in our community—on and off duty, I’m proud of Agent Carter’s actions.”

Border Agents Discover Third Underground Tunnel in Southern Arizona Since December

New tunnel found in Nogales, Ariz. Via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents found another illegal tunnel between the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona.

The 30-foot-long tunnel opened up in Nogales, Ariz. and is about 15 to 20 feet deep. It’s at least the third tunnel discovered in the area since December, ABC News first reported.

Border officials have not yet made any arrests.

It’s believed the tunnels are used for smuggling drugs.

Agents filled in the latest tunnel with concrete following the investigation.

FBI Arrests 4 People Tied to Neo-Nazi Group Atomwaffen Division

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI has arrested four people with ties to the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division on charges of plotting to intimidate and harass journalists, activists and others, including then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

The charges are part of a crackdown on violent white supremacists who have become emboldened by President Trump’s divisive rhetoric.

“These defendants from across the country allegedly conspired on the internet to intimidate journalists and activists with whom they disagreed,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a news release. “This is not how America works. The Department of Justice will not tolerate this type of behavior.”

The suspects are accused of conspiring to harass journalists and activists by delivering or mailing posters with swastikas, guns and Molotov cocktails to the journalists and activists.

“These defendants sought to spread fear and terror with threats delivered to the doorstep of those who are critical of their activities,” U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran for the Western District of Washington said.  “As Attorney General William Barr has made clear, rooting out anti-Semitic hate and threats of violence and vigorously prosecuting those responsible are top priorities for the Department of Justice.”

The suspects are Cameron Brandon Shea, 24, of Redmond, Wash.; Kaleb Cole, 24, of Montgomery, Texas; Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, 20, of Spring Hill, Fla., and Johnny Roman Garza, 20, of Queen Creek, Ariz.

“Today’s announcement serves as a warning to anyone who intends to use violence as intimidation or coercion to further their ideology that the FBI remains steadfast in our commitment to protect Americans from domestic terrorism,” Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Jill Sanborn said.  “These nationwide arrests are the result of the robust partnerships among the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Tampa, Seattle, Houston, and Phoenix and we appreciate their collective efforts.”

Trump’s Administration Imposes Temporary Ban on TSA Hiring and OT After Budget Cuts

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s administration has imposed a temporary ban on hiring at the TSA for the second time in recent months.

The moratorium on TSA hires is expected to be lifted in late April in time for the busy travel season this summer, KUER Radio in Utah reports.

The administration also placed a temporary hold on overtime.

“In anticipation of another record-breaking summer travel season, the Transportation Security Administration is managing resources by prioritizing overtime to the busiest of travel periods,” the TSA said in a statement. “Additionally, TSA will continue to assess applicants for entry into TSA, and will conduct two extended hiring windows to coincide with the busy summer travel season.”

The Trump administration reduced the agency’s $8.2 billion budget by $10.5 million in 2021.

Hydrick Thomas, who heads the union that represents TSA employees, said the hiring and overtime freeze is going to cause a headache.

“You always have overtime — no matter how much staff you hire. This agency has large turnover every month,” he said. “What are you going to do when you have no staff to process passengers?”

Supreme Court: Mexican Family Cannot Sue Border Patrol Agent Who Killed Teenager in Cross-Border Shooting

Border marker at San Ysidro Port of Entry, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The family of a Mexican teenager killed in a cross-border shooting a decade ago cannot sue the U.S. Border Patrol agent who fired the fatal shot from American soil, a deeply divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the parents of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who was fatally shot in 2010 by Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa Jr.

The teenager was on the Mexican side of the border when he was shot.

The central question: When Mexican teenagers are shot on the Mexican side of the border, can American families sue in U.S. courts?

The family of Guereca said the teenager was playing a game with friends when he was shot in the head by Mesa.

Mesa said he pulled the trigger because he was under attack by rock throwers.

The Supreme Court took the case in February 2017 but sent it back to a lower court for more proceedings.

At the time, the Trump administration argued the right to sue in U.S. courts “should not be extended to aliens injured abroad.”

The court’s decision will make it more difficult for foreign nationals to sue federal officers for civil rights violations.

“A cross-border shooting claim has foreign relations and national security implications,” Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote, The USA Today reports. “In addition, Congress has been notably hesitant to create claims based on allegedly tortious conduct abroad.”

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed because the shooting occurred on the U.S. side of the border.

“Neither U.S. foreign policy nor national security is in fact endangered by the litigation,” Ginsburg wrote. “Moreover, concerns attending the application of our law to conduct occurring abroad are not involved, for plaintiffs seek the application of U.S. law to conduct occurring inside our borders.”

John Brown Named Executive Assistant Director of FBI’s National Security Branch

Current FBI headquarters, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

John Brown has been named executive assistant director (EAD) of the National Security Branch at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

Brown’s responsibility is to ensure the FBI can defend the U.S. and its interests from national security threats.

Most recently, Brown served as the assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters.

Brown’s career with the FBI began in 1999, when he served as a special agent assigned to the Chicago Field Office, where he primarily worked counterintelligence investigations.

In 2004, he was part of an FBI team working counterterrorism operations with the Department of Defense in Iraq.

In 2005, Brown returned to FBI headquarters as a supervisory special agent in the Counterterrorism Division and later became unit chief, overseeing international terrorism investigations. He also led the creation of the bureau’s first unit dedicated to investigating terrorists using the Internet.

In 2008, Brown moved to the Chicago Field Office to supervise a counterterrorism squad.

From 2010 to 2011, Brown served with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan before returning to Chicago.

A year later, Brown was promoted to section chief in the Cyber Division at FBI headquarters in 2012 and returned to the Chicago office in 2014 to lead a social media cyber squad. Brown was later named assistant special agent in charge of Chicago’s cyber and counterintelligence operations.

In 2016, Brown was promoted to special agent in charge of the Administrative Branch of the Los Angeles Field Office. In 2018, Brown began serving as the special agent in charge of the San Diego Field Office.

Before joining the FBI, Mr. Brown served in the U.S. Army as an air defense and military intelligence officer.

Comey Acknowledges His Decisions During 2016 Presidential Election ‘Hurt the FBI’

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged his handling of investigations into presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016 “hurt the FBI,” but defended his tenure.

Speaking at a Harvard Institute of Politics forum Monday night, Comey spoke frankly about the dilemma he faced, saying he tried to make the best decisions in a difficult time.

“Decisions that I made hurt the FBI — and that’s important,” Comey said, The Harvard Crimson wrote. “I still believe if I had chosen the other door, I would’ve hurt the FBI worse. But there’s no doubt, I knew we were spending the FBI’s credibility.”

Many political observers criticized Comey for publicly announcing the FBI had reopened an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server less than two weeks before the election. Clinton also said Comey’s announcement contributed to her loss.

When asked by an audience member if he would apologize to Clinton, Comey said he wouldn’t.

“If you really understand the position we were in — that I was in — on October 28, you walk away saying, ‘Oh my god, that was a very hard decision,’” Comey said. “So I’d want her to understand that.”