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Trump to Nominate Tim Shea as New Acting Administrator of DEA

Tim Shea

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Tim Shea, the top federal prosecutor in Washington D.C. and a former senior adviser to Attorney General William Barr, will soon be tapped to become the DEA administrator, ABC News reports, citing an administration official.

President Trump plans to replace him with Justin Herdman, the U.S. attorney in Cleveland.

Shea oversaw the Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser. He also played a significant role in reversing the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally.

Shea will replace Uttam Dhillon, who was serving as acting DEA administrator. Dhillon will be transferred to a senior leadership position in the Justice Department.

FBI: Pensacola Gunman Who Killed 3 Sailors Planned Attack with Al Qaeda

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Saudi Air Force officer who killed three sailors at a military base in Florida in December 2019 worked with Al Qaeda to plan the attack, federal authorities said.

The connection was made after FBI technicians finally gained access to a cell phone that Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani tried to destroy, Attorney General William Barr said at a news conference, according to a New York Times report.

The FBI and Justice Department criticized Apple for refusing to unlock the gunman’s phone.

Authorities said the gunman, a Saudi Air Force cadet training with the American military in Pensacola, communicated with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to plan the attack, which injured eight others.

Apple said it helped the FBI and gave investigators access to the gunman’s online storage accounts.

“The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security,” Apple said in a statement.

TSA May Soon Begin Temperature Screenings at Certain Airpots to Ease Coronavirus Fears

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA is moving forward with a plan to administer temperature screenings at about a dozen airports as soon as next week.

The White House is reviewing the $20 million plan, which is intended to make passengers feel safer, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the plan, passengers with a temperature of 100.4°F or higher would be directed to the Centers for Disease Control.

The agency has expressed concerns over the plan, including whether temperature screenings fall within the scope of the TSA’s mission. Another concern is whether temperature screenings would put agents at a greater risk of getting infected.

Six TSA agents have died from COVID-19 and more than 500 have tested positive.

Secret Services Investigating Fraud Ring Targeting Unemployment Offices

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigating a well-organized, international crime ring that is targeting states’ unemployment systems.

The fraudsters appear to be using stolen identities to file for unemployment benefits on behalf of people who are still working, The New York Times reports.

The cyber attacks are exploiting states that are inundated with claims to process.

A memo obtained by The New York Times suggests a sophisticated Nigerian fraud ring is behind the attacks, which could result in “potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“We are actively running down every lead we are getting,” Roy Dotson, a special agent who specializes in financial fraud at the Secret Service, told NYT.

According to the memo, Washington State appears to be the primary target, but evidence also points to attacks in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Assassination Attempt of George Wallace

Border Patrol Agents Nominated for Awards After Saving Life of Car Crash Victim

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Three Border Patrol agents have been nominated for coveted awards after saving the life of a passenger in a car that had burst into flames.

Agents F. Gonzales, K. Carrol, and S. Roe were car-pooling home in southern California when they spotted flames from a car that had crashed into a center divider.

While one of the agents called 911, the others broke a car window to pull a passenger to safety. The driver was dead.

Carrol, who is a certified emergency medical technician, treated the passenger while awaiting for medics to arrive. Roe helped occupants of another vehicle involved in the crash.

“I am extremely proud of the heroism displayed by these agents during this catastrophic accident,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a news release. “If not for the quick action of these three agents, another life would have almost certainly been lost in this tragic accident.”

Gonzalez and Carrol were nominated for the Newton-Azrak Award, Border Patrol’s highest honor. Roe has been nominated for another notable award, the U.S. Border Patrol Commendation Award.

Sen. Burr Stepping Down as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Amid Federal Probe of Stock Sell-Off

Sen. Richard Burr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Sen. Richard Burr is stepping down as the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman after FBI agents seized his cell phone as part of a federal investigation of his mass sell-off of stocks.

Justice Department and SEC investigators are investigating whether Bur violated a law that bars members of Congress from trading on insider information obtained from their privileged position.

“This is a distraction to the hard work of the committee and the members, and I think the security of the country’s too important to have a distraction,” Burr told reporters at the Capitol in an interview recorded by C-SPAN.

It’s not yet clear who would replace Burr, a Republican from North Carolina.

Burr sold a significant chunk of his stock portfolio on Feb. 13, when his committee was receiving daily updates on the coronavirus.

A week later, the stock market declined sharply.

Judge in Flynn Case Appoints Ex-Judge to Look Into Case After DOJ Moves to Drop It

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a case riddled with unusual twists, the federal judge in Washington overseeing the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn has appointed a former prosecutor and judge to oversee and oppose the Justice Department’s effort to drop the case, the New York Times reports.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington appointed former judge, John Gleeson, who is also a former federal prosecutor. Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to investigators as part of a larger probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He later tried to withdraw his plea.

Last week, in what many considered a highly unusual move, the Justice Department moved to drop the charges. Subsequently, critics including former federal prosecutors, accused Attorney General William Barr of undermining the rule of law.
Sullivan’s appointment complicates the DOJ’s move to dismiss the case.