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Trump’s Gaudy Lifestyle Is Draining Resources of Secret Service

secret serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump has refused to give up many of his creature comforts, and that has exhausted the budget of the Secret Service.

Now the agency is asking for an additional $60 million in funding for next year to keep up with Trump’s gaudy lifestyle, Vanity Fair reports.

The problem is that Trump visits his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, every weekend. Secret Service also has to protect the Trump Tower because First Lady Melania Trump has so far refused to move into the White House. Now Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, is using an office in the West Wing and is expected to soon receive security clearance.

Secret Service projects it will need $26.8 million in additional funds to protect the First Family and the Trump Tower.

Vanity Fair wrote:

President Trump is 70 years old—the oldest president to be sworn in for a first term. He has five children, two of whom have eight children between them. Eric Trump announced earlier this week that he and his wife, Lara, are having a baby boy in September, bringing the total count of Trumps to 19. The Secret Service asked for six additional full-time-equivalent positions for the Trump detail, the Post reports.

The remainder of the proposed budget additional funding—$33 million—would go toward travel costs. It is no secret that the president is fond of taking trips to Mar-a-Lago. The Trump children have also jetted to Dubai, Vancouver, and Aspen since he took office, for both business and pleasure. All of these trips require advance and detail, and thus, come out of the agency budget.

They also require a great deal of money from local police protection. Between Election Day and Inauguration Day, the Post reports that New York police spent about $24 million to secure Trump Tower, and on any given day, the city spends between $127,000 and $145,000 to protect the First Lady and First Son in Manhattan while President Trump is in Washington—which has been most weekdays and a handful of weekends, as well.

Palm Beach County, too, has had to foot the bill when the president comes to town. The sheriff’s office has said it has spent $1.5 million so far in overtime pay for on-duty officers securing the private club and taking care of traffic in the surrounding area. The cost is so overwhelming that officials are considering raising taxes or possibly charging Mar-a-Lago a fee in order to cover the costs without impacting residents.

Other Stories of Interest

Congress Slams FBI’s Use of Facial Recognition Technology Software

Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Elijah Cummings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Democrats and Republicans in Congress slammed the FBI’s use of facial recognition software, saying it relies on racial biases, leads to the arrests of innocent people and violates privacy.

NBC reports that more than 400 million pictures of Americans’ faces are archived in various facial recognition networks, representing about half of all U.S. adults.

“I have zero confidence in the FBI and the [Justice Department], frankly, to keep this in check,” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Massachusetts, said at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation.

“This is really Nazi Germany here, what we’re talking about,” Lynch said. “And I see little difference in the way people are being tracked under this, just getting one wide net and getting information on all American citizens.”

Rep. John Duncan, R-Tennessee, added: “I think we’re reaching a very sad point, a very dangerous point, when we’re doing away with the reasonable expectation of privacy about anything.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said facial recognition software is less accurate at identifying people with dark skin, women and younger people.

“If you’re black, you’re more likely to be subjected to this technology,” said Cummings, who is black. “And the technology is more likely to be wrong. That’s a hell of a combination, especially when you’re talking about subjecting someone to the criminal justice system.”

Family of Missing Former FBI Agent Sues Iran for Kidnapping, Torture

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran a decade ago, is suing the Middle Eastern country.

Levinson’s wife and children filed suit against Iran in U.S. District Court in Washington, CNN reports. 

The family filed suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, claiming “injuries suffered by each of them as a result of Iran’s unlawful acts of hostage taking, torture and other torts.”

If Levinson is still alive in Iran, he would be the longest held civilian by a foreign government. Iran continues to deny involvement in Levinson’s disappearance.

“Three weeks after his disappearance an Iranian government news outlet, Press TV, announced that he had been taken into custody by Iranian security authorities but was expected to be released shortly,” the complaint alleges.

“Despite this report, Robert Levinson was not released and the Iranian government began falsely denying any knowledge of his capture or whereabouts.”

Trump’s Political Consultant Roger Stone Jr. Is Under an FBI Investigation

Donald TrumpBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s political consultant Roger J. Stone Jr. is under investigation for possibly colluding with the Russians to help interfere in the presidential election.

Stone, a full-time provocateur, was mentioned during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, when FBI Director James Comey was asked if he was familiar with Stone, the New York Times reports. 

“Generally, yes,” Comey responded before saying he wouldn’t discuss individual people.

Hillary Clinton campaign chairman, John D. Podeta, accused Stone, 64, of knowing about the hacks before they became public.

“Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” Stone had mused on Twitter before Podesta’s emails were released.

When asked how Stone would know about the leak before it happened, Comey balked, saying “That’s not something I can comment on.”

The New York Times wrote:

Mr. Stone has denied advance knowledge of the hacks or any involvement with the Russians. But his public statements have given investigators something to focus on.

Before the Podesta emails were released, Mr. Stone said in a speech that he had “communicated with” Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder — whom he has defended for years — and that he had a large trove of material on the Clintons that he would publish shortly before the election. He has acknowledged having communicated over Twitter with the online persona Guccifer 2.0, who American officials believe is a front for Russian intelligence officials. And there was the Podesta tweet.

But Mr. Stone has explanations for each: The timeline of his “benign” contacts with Guccifer 2.0 — “who may or not be a Russian asset” — disproves claims of collusion; his communication with Mr. Assange was through an intermediary and was “perfectly legal;” and the Podesta tweet referred to information in an article he wrote that appeared two months later, not any emails.

Now under scrutiny by both F.B.I. and Senate investigators, Mr. Stone has hired two lawyers to represent him. But in an interview, Mr. Stone maintained that this was “a scandal with no evidence.”

Attacks on Border Patrol Agents Increased 179% Over Past 5 Months

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are increasingly becoming victims of violence, according to new data from Homeland Security.

From Oct. 1, 2016, to Feb. 28, 2017, attacks against agents increased 179% from the same period last year, KXAN.com reports.

“We are becoming more effective in dealing with the increase in assaults and flow of traffic, we’re making sure our agents are prepared to address any tactics and/or force that is used against us,” said McAllen Station Patrol Agent in Charge Melissa Lucio. “Our priority is to ensure that everybody is safe and that we have an appropriate response to assaults on our agents.”

The attacks involved weapons, projectiles and close-quarters fighting.

DEA: 30+ People Died in County in Arizona from Counterfeit Painkillers

Synthetic opioid tablets

Synthetic opioid tablets laced with fentanyl.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA said more than 30 people died in Maricopa County in Arizona from counterfeit oxycodone pill laced with fentanyl.

The county confirmed 32 deaths from black-market pill between March 2015 to February 2017, the Arizona Republic reports

The DEA said the counterfeit pills were manufactured in Mexico and smuggled into the U.S.

“What we have is a rapidly expanding opioid-based drug addiction in the country, and we have Mexican drug cartels adjusting to push dangerous drugs on streets,” said Doug Coleman, special agent in charge of the DEA in Arizona. “…They think they’re taking oxy, but they’re actually taking fentanyl, and it’s lights out.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Investigating Far-Right News Sites’ Potential Connections to Russia

Alex Jones of InfoWars

Alex Jones of InfoWars

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the role far-right news played in Donald Trump’s election victory.

Russian operatives appear to have saturated social media with links to pro-Trump stories during the election, two people familiar with the inquiry told the Chicago Tribune

Millions of posts on Facebook and Twitter linked to stories on conservative news sites such as Breitbart News , InfoWars, the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News. Some of the stories were fake, while others contained numerous falsehoods.

The investigation is part of the FBI’s probe into Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election.

Agents want to know whether the news sites took any actions to assist Russian operatives.

“This may be one of the most highly impactful information operations in the history of intelligence,” said one former U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Retired FBI Official on President Trump: ‘How In The World Can I Ever Believe Him on Matters of Substance?’

Kevin Kendrick was an FBI agent for 25 years. A native Detroiter, he worked as assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit field office from 1999-2002. He retired from the FBI in 2006 as head of the Charlotte Division. He currently works in private industry in Michigan. This column first appeared on Facebook and is being reprinted with permission.


President Donald Trump

By Kevin Kendrick

Does the truth matter to you?

It matters to me. As a Bureau Agent for 25 years, it certainly mattered. In so many cases, I saw employees who had violated simple rules, which might have resulted in what we call a letter of censure (reprimand).

The telling of a lie was officially called “lack of candor.” And a lack of candor finding in the FBI meant automatic suspension for a period of days with loss of pay at the very least, and it quite possibly could lead to being terminated.

Why so severe? Because an Agent who has found to have lied during an investigation, even if not originally something substantive, would be deemed to be an unreliable witness in any subsequent criminal case. That agent need only be asked by a defense attorney if he or she had ever been determined to have demonstrated a lack of candor and instantly, their credibility as a witness is impugned. Telling the truth mattered very much to Bureau employees.

Now, we have someone who is a few pay grades higher than a lowly FBI Agent, and who woke up one morning and decided to accuse his predecessor of something truly reprehensible – wiretapping his telephone.

When confronted with information to the contrary, rather than admit this was something completely made up, this administration doubled-down and even said the tapping had been committed by this country’s strongest ally in the world today, an assertion which has been completely rebuked by the U.K.

Fast forward to yesterday (Monday) and we have sworn testimony from the Director of the FBI that says this simply did not occur. Period.

If I cannot believe the President of the United States to tell a simple truth about something as small as a paranoia-induced early morning tweet, how in the world can I ever believe him on matters of substance?

The reality is I simply cannot. And that is because in my world, he has displayed a remarkable and substantial lack of candor.

Does the truth matter to you?

'