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Tag: FBI

Todd A. Wickerham Heads Up FBI’s Cincinnati Office

Todd A. Wickerham (Linkedin photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Todd A. Wickerham, who served as a special assistant for the FBI’s associate deputy director since 2017,  has been named special agent in charge of the Cincinnati Field Office.

Wickerham, who joined the FBI in 1997,  has held a variety of investigative, operational, and management positions in the bureau. He was first assigned to the Pittsburgh Field Office, where he investigated violent crime and criminal enterprises. He also served on the SWAT team and as a special agent bomb technician, according to a press release.

On Sept. 11, 2001, he responded to and worked the scene of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

In 2006, Wickerham was promoted to the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI Headquarters, where he served as a supervisory special agent in the Strategic Planning Unit.

In 2008, he became the supervisory senior resident agent of the Akron Resident Agency where he managed all FBI investigative programs in the Akron area.

During that stretch, he also completed a four-month temporary assignment in Kabul, helping to establish the Major Crimes Task Force – Afghanistan.

In 2013, he was  appointed as assistant special agent in charge of FBI Cleveland’s criminal branch.

Before joining the FBI, he served as a deputy sheriff for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina, an investigator for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and a combat engineer with the Ohio Army National Guard.

He began his new post last month.

Roger Stone Accuses Feds of ‘Gestapo Tactics’ But Leaves Door Open to Cooperate

Roger Stone on ABC’s “This Week.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Roger Stone, the longtime Trump loyalist and Republican strategist who was arrested last week on charges of lying to Congress, accused the FBI of engaging in “Gestapo tactics” to “depict me as public enemy No. 1.”

But during his appearance Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week,” he also left open the possibility of cooperating with Robert Mueller’s investigation.

When asked whether he would cooperate, the self-described “dirty trickster” responded, “You know, that’s a question I would have to — I have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion. If there’s wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is, I would certainly testify honestly.”

He added, “I’d also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president.” he

“It’s true that we spoke on the phone, but those communications are political in nature, they’re benign, and there is — there is certainly no conspiracy with Russia.”

Still, Stone questioned why FBI agents showed up with weapons during a pre-dawn raid at his home in Florida.

“This was an expensive show of force to try to depict me as public enemy number one … to attempt to poison the jury pool,” Stone said. “These are Gestapo tactics.”

At one point in the interview, Stone said, “They could have simply have called my lawyers and I would have turned myself in.”

Federal law enforcement has not yet said why they arrested Stone in such a dramatic fashion but indicated there was a legitimate reason that soon will be made public.

FBI: California Man Sought Chemical Weapon on Dark Web to Murder His Wife

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Sanford Faison knew he’d be a prime suspect if he killed his wife, so he turned to the Dark Web for an unconventional way to end her life, according to the FBI.

Agents said the 41-year-old Oakland, Calif., man began searching online for an extremely lethal chemical weapon, which the FBI did not identify, The Mercury News reports.

Faison, a PayPal employee who wanted custody of his two children, knew he’d be the main suspect “if she so much slipped on a banana peel,” according to a recently unsealed criminal complaint filed in federal court.

“I feel that [chemical #1] poisoning would reduce my culpability by delaying a final/accurate diagnosis and undermine any investigation,” he allegedly wrote.

An FBI agent, posing as a prospective seller of the chemical weapon, sent Faison the package, which contained surveillance equipment. As soon as he opened the package, FBI agents arrested him.

While awaiting trial, Faison is in federal custody.

FBI Details How Shutdown Is Impeding Investigations of Terrorism, Violent Crime, Child Trafficking

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The government shutdown is hindering the FBI’s investigations of terrorism, child trafficking and violent crimes, according to a report issued Tuesday by a group representing the bureau’s 13,000 special agents.

The 72-page report, Voices from the Field, describes how agents are being hampered by a shutdown that has no end in sight.

The spending freeze has left the bureau with no money for confidential informants, witnesses at criminal trials, translators, paralegals and other support staff. Agents also are working without pay.

“The shutdown has eliminated any ability to operate,” an unnamed agent who works on counterintelligence investigations said in the report. “The fear is our enemies know they can run freely.”

Another unnamed agent said the bureau has been unable to help crack down on violent gangs.

“I currently investigate a particularly violent street gang,” an agent from the FBI’s central region said in the report. “I have had to tell our local law enforcement partners that I cannot assist in funding these operations because my field office does not have money. This means that the one chance we may have to take down several violent individuals may pass us by and we may not get the chance again.”

Without money for confidential informants, agents are at risk of “losing them and the information they provide forever,” an agent said in the report.

“It’s not a switch that we can turn on and off.”

Government Shutdown Is Stymying Investigations by Federal Agents And Lowering Morale

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ATF and Customs and Border Protection are finding that the government shutdown is stymying ongoing investigations.

Many law enforcement officials are being denied travel and money to pay informants involving investigations because there is a lack of available cash, The Washington Post reports.

“The lack of funding is impacting agents’ ability to travel to forward their cases,” said Thomas O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association. “As we go forward, those funds are not going to be available and in some cases are not available now.”

Low morale also is a factor. Federal law enforcement employees are considered essential and must work without a paycheck. The stress of financial problems at home can affect their work performance, law enforcement officials said.

“My biggest concern is there’s going to be an agent who is not going to be focused on his job,” Nathan Catura, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said. “He’s going to be out on the street doing some enforcement of something, and he’s going to get hurt. Heaven forbid there’s an agent who gets killed because his mind isn’t on the job.”

Catura added: “Other law enforcement people I continue to speak to, they share the same concerns. The longer this drags out, the more I’m concerned that something’s going to happen.”

AG Nominee Barr Was Influential in Removing Former FBI Director William Sessions

Trump’s attorney general pick, William Barr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, knows a thing or two about firing an FBI director.

As attorney general during the final years of George W.H. Bush’s presidency, Barr laid out a case for removing William Sessions as FBI director, The Wall Street Journal reports.  

His report detailed Sessions’ lapses in judgment and ethics in hopes that Sessions would resign. But Sessions refused, so Barr’s  successor, Janet Reno, affirmed the report’s findings, prompting President Clinton to fire Sessions in July 1993.

After some lawmakers alleged Trump’s May 201y termination of Comey amounted to obstruction of justice, Barr responded in a memo in June 2018 that the argument was “fatally misconceived.”

Secret Service Agents Who Sacrifice Their Lives to Protect the President Are Working without Pay

Photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The men and women who have sworn to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president are not receiving paychecks under the government shutdown.

The 7,000 Secret Service employees, including those on protective details and uniformed officers, missed their first paycheck of the new year.

“These are the people who are closest to him and clearly put their lives on the line for him every single day,” Rick Tyler, a Republican political consultant, told Huffington Post. “He has demonstrated no empathy for them over this situation.” 

Trump has been virtually mum on the tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officials who have been forced to work without pay. They include TSA screeners and FBI, DEA, ATF and Border Patrol agents who are considered “essential” employees.

Thousands of TSA screeners have been calling in sick in protest, causing snarls and security concerns at airports.

The irony is that the shutdown over border protection could make the country more unsafe.

FBI Group Calls for End to Shutdown, Saying National Security Is at Stake

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A group representing thousands of FBI agents is calling for an end to the government shutdown, saying national security is at stake.

The FBI Agents Association on Thursday released a petition demanding leaders reopen the government.

“On Friday, January 11, 2019, FBI Agents will not be paid due to the partial government shutdown, but we will continue our work protecting our nation,” the petition states. “We urge our elected representatives to fund the Department of Justice and the FBI because financial security is a matter of national security.”

The FBI is among several federal agencies that must continue to operate without paying its employees as the shutdown reached its 21st day Friday.

The petition said the shutdown will cause a signifiant financial burden on many agents and could make it more difficult for the bureau to recruit future employees.

“The men and women of the FBI proudly serve this nation and are honored to protect our country and Constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic,” the petition reads. “We are confident that our leaders share this commitment to protecting our country and will find a path forward to fund the DOJ and the FBI.” 

It continues, “As those on the frontlines in the fight against criminals and terrorists, we urge expediency before financial insecurity compromises national security.”