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Tag: orlando

FBI Director Wray’s Low-Key Approach May Be What the Doctor Ordered

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Sunday in Orlando. (ticklethewire.com photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ORLANDO —  FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered a serviceable, but unimpressive speech to thousands of members of the federal, state and local law enforcement community on Sunday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

He talked about terrorism, the need for the FBI to work closer with local law enforcement, active shooters, officer deaths and the difficulties, but great rewards of working in the field.

Then, after 35 minutes, he was done and walked off stage to an obligatory round of applause. No questions. No schmoozing. No truly inspiring words. It wasn’t a very meaty speech.

Wray is a nice guy. Low key. Serious about the job. But he’s no rock star like his predecessor James Comey, or for that matter, Robert Mueller, a stoic man who looked and acted like an FBI director plucked out of central casting.

But in these challenging times for the bureau, he may be just what the agency needs. He’s flying under the radar in Washington and he’s not a regular fixture on the nightly news. Being a federal law enforcement official,  and flying too high inside the Beltway can lead to a public beheading from the president.

President Donald Trump has been on a jihad to discredit the bureau and the Justice Department as Mueller moves forward like a heat missile in the Russia probe, flipping one Trump insider after another.    

Not since the Nixonian years, has a president displayed such naked hostility toward the bureau.

The bureau has caught hell from Trump for not indicting Hillary Clinton and for investigating Russia ties to his campaign. To top that off, the FBI was put in an untenable situation when it was asked to do a background check on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but was then handcuffed and prevented from doing a first-rate job. Critics called the investigation a sham. And to some degree, considering agents weren’t allowed to do a full-court press, it was.

Federal agents are divided. Some think Trump is doing a good job. Some think he’s doing a good job, but think he’s a jerk. And some are simply appalled by his behavior and actions, including his free-flowing tweets. Comey never liked Trump, even before the firing.

Wray’s low key approach may not be publicly inspiring, but it may be just what Washington needs at a time like this.

And with all that’s going on, from the Russia probe, to the Trump attacks to the Brett Kavanaugh mess,  it may explain why he kept his head low on Sunday and walked away without allowing questions.

 

Orlando Shooter’s Father Was FBI Informant, But Judge Won’t Dismiss Case Against Widow

Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The discovery that the father of the man who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in 2016 was an FBI informant was an insufficient reason to reject the case against the widow of the mass shooter, a judge said Monday.

Lawyers for Noor Salman urged a judge to throw out the case because prosecutors withheld information that Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, worked as a confidential FBI informant at various times between January 2005 and June 2016.

But U.S. District Judge Paul Byron rejected a motion to dismiss or declare a mistrial, saying Seddique Mateen’s role as a former informant “does not change the dynamic of whether Noor Salman aided and abetted,” NBC News reports

Salman is on trial on charges of aiding and abetting her husband’s June 2016 attack on Pulse, a popular gay club in Orlando, and obstructing law enforcement’s investigation by falsely denying her role in the attack, which was one of the deadliest mass shootings on U.S. soil.

Omar Mateen told police before he was killed that he shooting was done in the name of ISIS. 

Wife of Orlando Mass Shooter Is Arrested by FBI for Aiding And Abetting

Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The wife of the Orlando nightclub killer has been arrested by the FBI and charged with obstructing the investigation of the mass shooting.

Noor Salman, the wife of Omar Mateen, also was charged with aiding and abetting by providing material support, the New York Times reports. 

The FBI arrested Salman at her home outside of San Francisco.

Her husband killed 49 people and wounded dozens of others in an Orland nightclub on June 12, 2016.

After interviewing Salman for hours following the attack, the FBI believed she was being untruthful about her husband’s plans to carry out a mass shooting.

Salman is expected to make her first court appearance in federal court in Oakland, Calif., this morning.

Homeland Security Chief: Threats of Lone-Wolf Attacks Keep ‘Me up at Night’


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Speaking on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said America remains “challenged when it comes to the prospects of the lone-wolf actor, the home-grown violent extremist.”

The good news is, Johnson said he believes the U.S. is less likely to see a similar coordinated attack on the level of 9/11, NBC News reports.

Johnson’s concerns relate to the kind of mass shootings in San Bernardino and Orlando, which “is upper most on our minds. It is the thing that keeps me up at night the most.”

“But we’ve got threats from, you know, cyber-security. We’ve got a mission devoted to the potential for bio threats, a dirty bomb. We’ve got to keep our eye on all of it. But obviously, there are things that are higher probability, there are things that are lower probability, but higher impact. And we’ve got to keep our eye on all of it.”

Maryland Man Who Plowed into CIA Headquarters Gate Pleads Guilty

CIA headquarters

CIA headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Maryland man has pleaded guilty to ramming his Ford Focus through the gate at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in June.

Thomas Luu, 35, managed to drive his car at least 75 feet onto the compound after slamming through an 8-foot-tall fence with barbed wire.

“The gate is clearly marked with a sign that notifies visitors that it is closed; there also are ‘no trespassing’ signs in the immediate area,” investigators said.

Investigators said Luu admitted he crashed the gate to get the CIA’s attention, but he didn’t explain specifics.

His mother said her son was distraught by the mass shooting inside an Orlando nightclub, which occurred the night before.

A judge ordered Luu to two years of supervised probation and 30 days in jail.

Other Stories of Interest

Hundreds of 911 Calls During Pulse Shooting Stay Private During FBI Probe

Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hundreds of 911 calls poured in during the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, but only the FBI can make those records public.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the FBI has control of the 911 calls from the June 12 shooting.

Responding to dozens of requests for the phone calls, the Justice Department said the investigation is active and therefore should not yet be released.

Lawyers for news agencies claim there is a “strong public interest in fully evaluating how first responders and police reacted during the most critical phases of this incredible tragedy.”

The city o f Orlando has denied requests at the direction of the FBI.

FBI Investigated Orlando Shooter for 10 Months But Found Nothing

Omar Mateen

Omar Mateen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI investigated the Orlando shooter for 10 months but found no evidence to charge him.

The Los Angeles Times said counter-terrorism investigators pursued Omar Mateen from May 2013 to March 2014, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

The FBI and local sheriff’s office ran his name through criminal and terrorism databases and checked his phone records for suspicious contacts. They watched him from unmark cars. And they even sent two confidential informants to record his conversations.

Still, the agent and his supervisor believed Mateen was not a threat and closed the case.

About two years later, on Jun 12, he killed 49 people and wounded dozens more.

FBI Finds No Evidence That Orlando Nightclub Shooter Had Secret Gay Life

Omar Mateen

Omar Mateen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did Omar Mateen, the man responsible for the Orlando nightclub massacre, have gay lovers?

Since the shooting that left 49 people dead, people have claimed Mateen had gay relationships and used gay dating apps.

But so far, the FBI has found no evidence to support those claims, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Investigators have discredited claims by some people who alleged Mateen had sex with men.

To look into the claims, the FBI searched Mateen’s electronic devices and found no photographs, text messages, gay pornography or smartphone apps to support the claims that he had a secret gay life.

During the massacre, Mateen said he was avenging the bombings in the Middle East.