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Tag: Florida

FBI Arrests TSA Agent Accused of Downloading Child Pornography for Years

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 34-year-old TSA agent accused of downloading child pornography for years.

Curtis Fleming, who worked at Orlando International Airport, told authorities he had looked at child pornography since he was 14 years old, WFTV-9 reports.

The FBI said it tracked down Fleming from a file-sharing site and then traced the IP address to the home of his parents.

Fleming told agents he tried to curb his behavior but couldn’t, according to authorities.

One of the videos downloaded by Fleming allegedly depicted children as young as 3 years old getting raped.

Fleming faces up to 15 to 30 years behind bars.

Trump’s Threats of Large-Scale ICE Raids Never Materialized

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump threatened mass roundups of undocumented immigrants over the weekend, but nothing remotely close to that happened.

There were only scattered reports of ICE raids in New York City and a small town in Florida.

Raids expected in major cities, including Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Denver, Philadelphia and Atlanta, never happened, at least not on a large scale. Many of those cities only saw large protests, which underscore the anxiety nationwide as immigrant communities grapple with what’s next.

Mayors in Los Angeles and New York City criticized Trump’s threats.

“Here’s the blunt truth: @realDonaldTrump isn’t trying to ‘secure our borders.’ He’s trying to make America HATE again,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.

Ice declined to comment on the raids – or lack of them.

“As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” an ICE spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.

White House officials walked back some of the threats of large-scale raids.

“I take issue with the word ‘raids,’” Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary and communications director, said Sunday. “These are law enforcement officials carrying out law enforcement operations as they have done in the past and will continue to do.”

Russians Hacked 2 Florida Voter Databases, But FBI Won’t Identify the Counties

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Russian hackers accessed voter databases in two Florida counties, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday after a meeting with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

DeSantis’ meeting came after the Robert Mueller report revealed that “at least one” Florida county’s election system was successfully penetrated by Russians.

DeSantis said he was told to keep the information secret and was unable to identify the two counties that were targeted.

“I’m not allowed to name the counties. I signed a [non]disclosure agreement,” DeSantis told The Miami Herald, emphasizing that he “would be willing to name it” but “they asked me to sign it so I’m going to respect their wishes.”

DeSantis emphasized that the hackers were only able to glimpse at the voter polls and did not manipulate any information.

“It did not affect any voting or anything like that,” he said.

The FBI declined to divulge details to the media, but an FBI spokesperson told The New York Times that “investigators did not detect any adversary activity that impacted vote counts or disputed electoral processes during the 2016 or 2018 elections.”

FBI Investigates Whether GOP Donor Funneled Chinese Donations into Trump’s Campaign

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether a Republican donor and Florida massage parlor entrepreneur illegally funneled money into the President Trump’s re-election campaign from China.

The bureau also is investigator whether Li “Cindy” Yang committed other possible campaign finance violations, The Miami Herald first reported.

A source familiar with the probe said investigators have obtained a federal grand jury subpoena seeking records from Yang’s associate, Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa business who donated a maximum $5,400 to Trump’s reelection campaign.

The subpoena is targeting records related to the March 5, 2018, donation.

Peranio confirmed to The Miami Herald that she had received a subpoena and that she was interviewed at home by FBI agents Thursday.

FBI agents are investigating whether Yang reimbursed Peranio for the donation.

Yang’s business offered Chinese executives access to Trump and his family at the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. Yang is no stranger there, having promoted events at the club and selling tickets on social media in China.

FBI Believes Russian Hackers Penetrated At Least One Florida County’s Computers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI concluded Russian hackers breached “at least one” Florida county government as part of an operation to infiltrate the state’s computer systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The findings were revealed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which was released Thursday.

Mueller reported that Russia’s military intelligence agency was able to “gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government.”

Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU, attempted to breach other counties’ systems in Florda by sending spearphishing emails to more than 120 email accounts operated by Florida county election officials.

“We understand the FBI believes the operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government,” Mueller’s report states.

The report did not indicate whether any of Florida’s election results were compromised. Mueller said the FBI and Homeland Security were investigating the incidents.

Florida is a key swing state in presidential elections.

FBI Puzzled by Mysterious Underground Tunnel Leading to Bank

An exposed portion of the tunnel leading to a Florida bank, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill bank heist.

Florida public works officials were responding to a reported sinkhole in Pembroke Pines when they discovered a secret underground tunnel leading to a Chase bank. The employees called the FBI after spotting the entrance of the tunnel in a wooded area.

A day later, on Wednesday, FBI special agent Michael Leverock told reporters that investigators were baffled how anyone believed they could penetrate a high-security bank from a “claustrophobic” tunnel that was 2- to 3-feet in diameter.

Leverock said there’s no evidence the bank or ATM was breached, but the tunnel was about 50 yards long and did reach Chase’s property.

“This is truly a unique case here,” Leverock said. “I would like to say that I saw something like this in movies, however, this hole is so small that – it’s unique.”

FBI agents found a power cord, small generator and other items that were not disclosed.

“I don’t know how they did it. I would like to put it into words for you. But it is so cramped in there, and that wagon is – I mean it’s a puzzle. I can’t imagine how they did it,” he said.

Bomb Suspect Left Behind Trail of Clues for FBI

Bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The part-time DJ arrested on charges of sending bombs to prominent Democrats left a trail of evidence for the FBI.

Lab technicians discovered matching DNA on separate pipe bombs and identical fingerprints on two packages.

On social media, he misspelled “Hilary” Clinton and Debbie Wasserman “Shultz” – the same mistakes made on the mailings.

US News reports that intercepted, bubble-wrapped manila envelopes contained vital forensic evidence that was sufficient for investigators to arrest 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc while he was spinning records at a Florida nightclub. 

“Criminals make mistakes so the more opportunities that law enforcement has to detect them, the greater chance they’re going to be able to act on that, and that appears to be what happened here,” said former Justice Department prosecutor Aloke Chakravarty, who prosecuted the Boston Marathon bombing case.

The evidence led authorities to a man with a long criminal history who appeared to be living in his van.

Sayoc is due in court Monday afternoon.

Updated: Fingerprint Match and Misspellings Lead to Arrest of Man Sending Bombs

One of the devices with a return address of Rep. Debbie Wasserman

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Updated: 4:16 p.m. Sat.  — The Washington Post reports: A Florida man with a criminal history and a fervor for President Donald Trump sent at least 13 mail bombs to prominent Democrats, Justice Department officials said, crediting DNA, a fingerprint match and misspellings for the key break in a case that spread fear of election-season violence with little precedent in the U.S.

Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, faces five federal charges in connection with a mail bomb plot that spurred a weeklong, coast-to-coast investigation that continued even after he was taken into custody Friday as investigators scrutinized additional suspicious packages.

______________________________

Federal authorities’ hunt for a serial mail bomber who targeted critics of President Trump is honing in on Florida, where at least some of the 10 packages originated.

Bomb squad, canine units and federal investigators examined a U.S. mail distribution center at Opa-Locka,  northwest of Opa-Locka, where authorities believe some of the packages were passed through.

“Some of the packages went through the mail. They originated, some of them, from Florida,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielse said during an interview with Fox News. “I am confident that this person or people will be brought to justice.”

Florida became a focal point after a device addressed to former Attorney General Eric Holder was discovered en route to the return address of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

So far, no suspects have been identified.

Each package consisted of a manila envelope with bubble wrap, a computer-printed address label and six “forever” postage stamps. Stuffed inside each envelope was a tape-wrapped device assembled with pieces of plastic PVC pipe that included black powder and shards of shrapnel, perhaps glass. Each pipe had a timing-like mechanism.

Trump initially called for “unity” and civility Wednesday, but at 3:15 a.m. Friday, he slammed CNN, where one of the bombs was sent.

“Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, ‘it’s just not Presidential!’” Trump tweeted.

The bombs have been sent to Bill and Hillary Clinton, former California Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former President Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former attorney general Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan, billionaire philanthropist George Soros and CNN’s New York headquarters.