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Tag: agents

Former FBI Analyst Says Trump’s Firing of Comey Shocked, Saddened Bureau

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Nora Ellingsen
Lawfare

On May 9, immediately after the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CBS that the administration fired Comey, at least in part, because “rank-and-file” FBI employees had lost confidence in the Director—a claim that Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe later disputed when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee a few days later.

I know a little something about rank and file FBI employees, having been one myself. I worked at the FBI for five years as an analyst in counterterrorism investigations before going to law school, and I still have a lot of friends and former colleagues there.

So Benjamin Wittes asked if I would write a short piece on morale at the Bureau following the firing. For the record, given what follows, let me stress that he didn’t ask for a puff piece about Comey. He asked what I could glean about the disparity between the White House’s account of the matter and McCabe’s. What is the mood like, he asked? And is there anything to be said for Huckabee Sanders’ claim?

I was hesitant to post on the subject. I am no longer an employee of the FBI, and even if I were, I would have concerns about presuming to speak on behalf of the more than 35,000 employees. I wasn’t sure I could write a fact-based post that would be able to capture or do justice to the mood of a massive and diverse organization. I’m not a pollster, after all.

But here’s the thing: opinion on the subject within the Bureau is not, as far as I can glean anyway, diverse at all. I spoke about my concerns with a friend and former coworker, explaining that I was worried that if I were to write on the subject, the post would devolve into a weepy love letter to Director Comey. My friend’s response went a long way towards summing up what, I believe, is actually the overwhelmingly consistent reaction of FBI employees to the firing of the director: “But how could the post be anything except a weepy love letter?”

Because the basic truth is that while Comey was a controversial figure in the larger political system and among Justice Department officials, he was not a controversial figure at the FBI at all. Nearly everyone loved him. In any other piece, I would caveat this statement as obvious hyperbole and oversimplification of the situation, but the degree of consensus on this point as I have talked to people has been incredible. In the most literal sense of the word, it’s almost hard to believe.

Sewage from Mexico Causes Festering Rashes on Border Patrol Agents

Tijuana River from a pedestrian bridge, by BrokenSphere. via Wikipedia.

Tijuana River from a pedestrian bridge, by BrokenSphere. via Wikipedia.


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sewage seeping out of Mexico and into South California caused festering rashes on Border Patrol agents, who were sent to the hospital for treatment.

The Washington Times reports that the ongoing spill has hampered efforts to stop illegal immigration and drugs from coming across the border in that area.  

Mexican officials said the latest contamination came after they were forced to shut down a pump station after a reported suicide attempt, causing sewage to flow in the Tijuana River. More than 300,000 gallons of wastewater was leeched into the U.S.

Just hours later, another 3,800 gallons of wastewater seeped into the water.

“As crude and nasty as this sounds, this is not American sewage, this is Third World sewage,” said Christopher Harris, a Border Patrol agent and director of legislative and political affairs for Local 1613, the union for agents in the sector.

“There’s whole areas now that are biologically and chemically impacted, just like if you had a biological or chemical attack. There are areas that are no-go zones,” he said.

Trump’s Budget Calls for Tightening Border Security with a Wall, New Agents

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s new 2018 budget asks for $2.6 billion to begin building a wall along the border of Mexico.

To follow through on his pledge to combat illegal immigration, Trump also is requesting money for 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 new ICE agents and officers.

In his new budget, revealed today, Trump said he’s exploring ways to calculate “net budgetary effects of immigration programs and policy” before implementing big changes.

“Once the net effect of immigration on the federal budget is more clearly illustrated, the American public can be better informed about options for improving policy outcomes and saving taxpayer resources,” the president said in the new blueprint. “In that regard, the budget supports reforming the U.S. immigration system to encourage: merit-based admissions for legal immigrants, ending the entry of illegal immigrants, and a substantial reduction in refugees slotted for domestic resettlement.”

Border Patrol Agents Rescue 2 People from Drowning Near Mexico Border

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are known for tracking down undocumented immigrants at the border with Mexico.

But they also save a lot of lives.

On Tuesday, Border Patrol agents rescued two drowning men in the Rio Grande near the Texas and Mexico border, Fox News reports. 

The two agents were alerted to the emergency by people on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande about 50 miles south west of McAllen and 175 miles southwest of Corpus Christi.

Agents Luis Gonzalez and Abel Flores pulled the men to safety and used a patrol boat to drop them back onto the Mexican side of the river.

“We are very proud of our agents [and] their actions which ultimately prevented the loss of human life,” said Manuel Padilla Jr., the chief Border Patrol agent in the Rio Grande sector. 

2 Secret Service Uniformed Officers Fired After Fence-Jumper Approached White House

white house big photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Secret Service uniformed officers were fired Thursday after a man jumped a White House fence and managed to wander around for 16 minutes.

In a statement, the Secret Service said the investigation is ongoing, but the agency declined to provide additional information.

The incident happened on March 10, when 26-year-old Jonathan Tran approached the doors and windows of the White House.

The fence-jumping was just the latest breach of security at the White House in the past year.

Other Stories of Interest

ATF: Law Enforcement Officers Increasingly Buying Guns, Illegally Selling Them to Public

File photo of guns, via ATF

File photo of guns, via ATF

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is warning police departments that federal law enforcement officers are increasingly buying and illegally reselling unlicensed guns, which often are ending up in the hands of criminals.

The agency called the scheme an “emerging problem” that is adding to the flood of illegal firearms in the country the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. 

Among the guns sold on the black market are “off-roster” guns that only can be purchased by law enforcement.

“Recently, ATF has discovered that some law enforcement officers who do not have a (Federal Firearms License) are purchasing ‘off roster’ firearms and reselling those firearms to non-law enforcement entities for a profit,” Special Agent in Charge of the ATF in Los Angeles Eric D. Harden wrote in an advisory.

Some of the guns are surfacing at crime scenes.

“In some instances, ATF has discovered officers who purchased more than 100 ‘off roster’ firearms that were subsequently transferred to non-law enforcement individuals,” Harden continued. “Such transactions potentially constitute violations of federal firearms laws, to include dealing firearms without a FFL, and lying on a federal firearms form when purchasing said firearm — also known as ‘straw purchasing.’ ”

Border Patrol Agents Make Unusual Rescue of Endangered Sea Turtle

South Padre Island National Seashore in Texas.

South Padre Island National Seashore in Texas.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Saving lives is nothing new to Border Patrol agents.

But what two agents found on the beach while patrolling South Padre Island National Seashore in Texas was anything but ordinary.

The agents came across a Kemp Ridley turtle, the most endangered species of sea turtle. Unfortunately, the nestling turtle wasn’t responsive while laying eggs, prompting the agents to call the park service for help.

A biologist showed up and recovered the eggs for incubation.

ATF Agents Use Off-the-Books Bank Accounts for Inappropriate Purchases

atf badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF agents dipped into an off-the-books bank account for personal trips and other inappropriate expenses.

The New York Times found that agents used the money to take a trip to Las Vegas and rent a $21,000 suite at a Nascar race. One agent even used the money to donate to the school of one of his or her children. 

The private bank account also was tapped to finance undercover operations, possibly violating laws prohibiting government officials from subsidizing their budgets with private money.

The Times wrote:

The revelations highlight the lax oversight at the A.T.F. that allowed agents and informants to spend millions while avoiding the normal accounting process. The Justice Department’s inspector general, who is investigating the secret account, criticized the A.T.F. recently for mismanagement and said the agency did not know how many informants it had or how much they were paid.

The New York Times revealed the existence of the bank account in February, prompting an investigation by the House oversight committee. The Justice Department, which oversees the A.T.F., has denied any wrongdoing, and the department has refused to say whether the bureau continues to operate such secret accounts, which the government called “management accounts.”

The A.T.F. has also refused to say who authorized the account, which was created by agents based in Bristol, Va., who were investigating tobacco smuggling. One government official said the bureau regarded the account as a hybrid of government funds and private money, a combination that is not authorized under federal law. Ryan Kaye, an A.T.F. supervisor, is quoted in public court documents as saying the agents received “verbal directives” from unidentified officials at headquarters to open the account.