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Tag: Philippines

How the Secret Service Foiled an ISIS Plot to Assassinate Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents foiled an ISIS plot by ISIS to assassinate President Trump while he was in the Philippines last year.

The botched assassination attempt was in November 2017, when Trump was in Manila for a summit and met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The National Geographic disclosed the assassination attempt for the first time during its television special Sunday about the Secret Service, United States Secret Service: On the Front Line.

According to the report, threats had been made on Twitter, and a series of ISIS videos threatened the president with an ambush.

While in Manila, Secret Service agents discovered and apprehended a jihadi hiding out and waiting for an “associate” just blocks from the hotel where the president was staying.

One of FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists Killed in Philippines

Isnilon Hapilon

Isnilon Hapilon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the U.S.’s most-wanted terrorists was killed as Philippine forces advanced quickly to defeat pro-ISIS militants who took over Marawi City.

Isnilon Hapilon, who is listed among the FBI’s most-wanted terror suspects, was killed in a gun battle, and their bodies were discovered Monday in Marawi, the Wall Street Journal reports

According to Philippine officials, about 30 pro-ISIS militants were still in the area.

Troops rescued a hostage, who provided critical information to help find Hapilon. American officials said Hapilon was responsible the ransom kidnappings of several Americans.

FBI Announces the Latest Crackdown on Child Sex Trafficking

FBI photo

FBI photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

San Diego — Trying to keep a focus on the plague of child sex trafficking,  FBI Director James Comey on Monday announced that 82 minors were rescued and 239 traffickers and their associates were arrested in a nationwide crackdown titled Operation Cross Country X that ran from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16 and involved members of state, local and federal law enforcement.

“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” Comey said at the International Association of Police Chiefs in San Diego.  “As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but through our Office for Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.”

For the first time, Comey said, the program, in its 10th year, included foreign countries: Cambodia, Canada, the Philippines, and Thailand.  In Canada, authorities recovered 16 children, while in Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines, authorities recovered 25 children, including a 2-year-old girl.

Comey said while some are relieved when law enforcement intervenes, not all are grateful, and may require counseling and other assistance to essentially be deprogramed.

FBI Believes ‘Most Wanted Terrorist’ Killed in Air Strike in Philippines

Zulkifli bin Hir

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists is believed to be dead following a raid in the Philippines last week, Reuters reports.

The FBI collected body matter at the scene of the deadly raid, and a DNA sample shows a strong link to Zulkifli bin Hir.

Still, the tests don’t prove with certainty that the body matter belonged to Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah militant group behind numerous bombing attacks in the Philippines.

The decision to conduct the raid to capture bin Hir was a costly one, ending in the deaths of 44 police commandos and undoing a three-year ceasefire with Muslim rebels.

Authorities also believed they killed bin Hir three years ago in an air strike, but he emerged to the surprise of the U.S.

 

FBI Agent Tells of Sex in the Philippines But Says he Didn’t Pay for It

By Hailey Branson-Potts
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — A day after meeting a pretty young woman working at a karaoke club in the Philippines, Marc Napolitano started getting text messages from her, he said.

The woman, named Maui, wrote that she missed him, loved him and wanted to see him. Within days of their first meeting, Maui went to Napolitano’s hotel room, where they had sex, he said.

The room was paid for by American taxpayers, he said. So was the cellphone on which he got her messages, and so were the trips that took him to the Philippines.

Napolitano, an FBI agent, traveled to Manila several times in 2010 and 2011 while working on cases involving weapons trafficking from the Philippines to the United States. He was posing as a club patron while providing security for another undercover FBI agent.

On Friday, he testified in a federal courtroom in downtown Los Angeles as part of a defense motion seeking to throw out criminal charges against three Filipino nationals charged with weapons smuggling.

Read the full story

FBI Agent Slammed in Trial Over $14,5000 Spent on Entertainment in Philippines

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Charles Ro, an FBI agent, spent more than $14,500 in taxpayer money on entertainment, cocktails and tips while investigating weapons smugglers in the Philippines, the LA Times reported following testimony during a trial.

The defense for Filipino national Sergio Santiago Syjuco, who is accused of smuggling assault rifles, grenades and mortar launchers from the Philippines to Long Beach, Calif., said Ro had committed “outrageous government misconduct,” defense attorney John Littrell said, accusing the agent of paying for prostitutes, possibly including minors, to encourage participation in the smuggling case, the AP reported.

The “government’s actions in this case, if committed by a private citizen, would be serious federal crimes,” Littrell said in court documents.

Ro and the feds reject the allegations and are expected to present the prosecution side today.

Defense Attorney Alleges Undercover FBI Agent Spent $25,000 on Strip Clubs and Prostitutes for Himself and Targets

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The pre-trial battle continues in a Los Angeles case in which the defense claims an undercover FBI agent spent taxpayer dollars on prostitutes in the Phiippines for himself and three targets of a gun trafficking sting.

The latest: Federal defender John Littrell filed a motion Tuesday on behalf of his client Sergio Santiago Syjuco accusing the undercover agent of spending more than $25,000 “on strip clubs and prostitutes in this investigation.” He is asking that the judge dismiss the gun-trafficking case because of egregious government misconduct.

The government has denied wrongdoing and denied that the agent ever spent money on a prostitute.

The motion states:

The government does not dispute that the undercover agent spent $14,500.00 of taxpayer dollars in strip clubs and brothels in Manila. It does not deny this taxpayer money went toward alcohol consumed by the agents, as well as the fees of  “hostesses” that accompanied the undercover agent and his cover team. Since the motion to dismiss was filed in September 2012, the government has acknowledged that several thousand dollars more was spent in strip clubs and brothels in Manila.

And defense investigation has revealed that the undercover agent spent thousands of additional dollars beyond that at various strip clubs and brothels in the United States and the Philippines that the government has not disclosed to the defense. Taking into account the additional expenses that government disclosures and independent investigation has revealed, the total that the government appears to have spent on strip clubs and prostitutes in this investigation rises to more than $25,000.00.

The government offers no apology for its expenditures, despite clear evidence that the money went to brothels such as Area 51 in Manila that are known to betrafficking in under-aged prostitutes. The government contends that the undercover agent did not solicit prostitutes for himself, but defense witnesses who will testify at the hearing dispute that claim. Although the government argues that the undercover agent did not see prostitution engaged in first hand, and he was not explicitly told that the exorbitant bills that he was paying included the cost of that prostitution, it does not deny that the agent, based on his experience,training, and common sense, knew that he was paying for prostitutes, and did so intentionally.

Finally, the government argues, even assuming its agent did solicit prostitutes, his conduct was not so outrageous as to justify dismissal of the indictment because the prostitutes didn’t form “intimate” relationships with the defendants. This argument completely ignores the harm that the agent’s conduct had on the victims.

To read filing click here. 

 

Defense Attorney Still Questions Whether FBI Agent’s Text Messages Were Destroyed: Govt. Says It Did Nothing Wrong

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
The legal battle between the defense and prosecution is heating up in an undercover FBI sting into gun trafficking in the Philippines.

The battle began when deputy Federal Defender John Littrell in Los Angeles accused a a California undercover FBI agent of using taxpayer dollars to pay for prostitutes in the Philippines for himself and targets of the sting. The agent, in court papers, adamantly denied the allegation.

Then Littrell filed a motion last month alleging that the government only saved incoming text messages the FBI agent received from the targets, but didn’t save the ones that the agent sent out to the targets. Littrelle suggested the government may have intentionally destroyed the texts, which might be of  help in proving entrapment.

The government in a document filed on Oct. 24, said  that the undercover phone, which was a pre-paid phone purchased in the Philippines, was not capable of saving outgoing messages the agent sent to the defendants.

The government also noted that another phone used by the agent was lost in a cab in the Philippines and was not recovered.

“The government acted in good faith at all times, and there is no reason to believe that the agents’ outgoing texts were exculpatory in any way, particularly in light of the very incriminating nature of the defendants’ email, text, and other communications to the agent,” the government wrote.

But on Thursday, defense attorney Littrell, who represents one of three defendants, Sergio Syjuco, wrote in a motion:

In its opposition, the government admits that the undercover agent failed to preserve any of the outgoing text messages he sent during the 18-month investigation in this case. The government’s excuse for the undercover agent’s failure to preserve his outgoing messages from September 2010 to May 2011 (the “first phone”) was that  he lost the phone in a taxi in Manila. Its excuse for the undercover agent’s failure to preserve his outgoing text messages from May 2011 to January 5, 2012 (the “second phone”), was that the “undercover phone did not save outgoing text messages, and they are “not available on the undercover telephone.” The government does not explain why messages are unavailable on the second phone, and it does not attach a declaration from the agent. It does not rule out the possibility that the undercover agent deliberately lost the first phone, or deleted the messages or altered the settings on the second phone to prevent it from saving outgoing texts. The government says only that “there were no messages in the “sent” box.” This explanation is not complete, and it is not convincing.

The fight continues. Stay tuned.