Police armed with guns last week handcuffed journalist Bryan Carmody and spent six hours searching his home, after he refused to reveal the source of a leaked police report. Carmody, 49, says police first came to his home and asked him to identify how he got a confidential report on the Feb. 22 death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who died of a cocaine-and-alcohol overdose. The freelance videographer, who covers police stories for TV news, refused, and a week later 12 officers returned, ready to break down his gate with a sledgehammer and battering ram. They showed Carmody a search warrant, drew their guns, handcuffed him, and scoured his home, carting away laptops, notebooks, cameras, and his fiancée’s old iPod. They also seized about $40,000 worth of office equipment, plus the police report from inside a safe. Carmody says his source’s identity remains protected.
A cache of more than 1,000 guns was discovered by police last week at a mansion owned by Cynthia Beck, the former mistress of the billionaire Gordon Getty. Beck’s current companion, Girard Saenz, was arrested and faces federal charges for selling firearms without a license. Responding to an anonymous tip, 30 federal and local investigators required more than 15 hours to remove all the weapons, which included rifles, shotguns, machine guns, and pistols, along with dozens of boxes of ammunition. Saenz, 57, was released after posting a $50,000 bond. The five-bedroom house, in a ritzy neighborhood where celebrities like Jay-Z and Beyoncé live, resembled a “hoarder’s dream,” authorities said. A police spokesman called it “beyond comprehension” that someone could have so many weapons “in a neighborhood like this.”
10,000 migrants targeted
The White House planned a blitz operation to arrest 10,000 migrants in 10 U.S. cities, The Washington Post reported this week. The proposal, pushed by President Trump’s immigration adviser Stephen Miller, was intended as a show of force after Trump’s “zero tolerance” crackdown failed to stop families from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The plan, which would have focused on migrant families who had missed hearings or were rejected for asylum, reportedly drew objections from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and 30-year Border Patrol veteran Ronald Vitiello. They felt coordinated raids in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles would divert resources and provoke public outrage. Vitiello’s nomination to serve as director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was rescinded on April 5, and Nielsen was ousted two days later.
Election software intrusion
Russian military hackers successfully breached software security to access voter data in two counties ahead of the 2016 elections, Gov. Ron DeSantis said this week. It was the first public confirmation of the hack referenced in the report from special counsel Robert Mueller. DeSantis, a Republican, said the voter data was already public, and no vote tallies were affected. The FBI found that Russian hackers employed a “spear-phishing campaign,” using fake email addresses to trick officials into providing access to their networks. Mueller’s office said more than 100 phishing emails were sent to organizations and officials throughout Florida. In last year’s U.S. Senate race in Florida, Democrat Bill Nelson warned that Russia had “penetrated” Florida’s voter registration systems. His opponent, then–Gov. Rick Scott, vehemently disagreed, saying Nelson’s claims “only serve to erode public trust in our elections.” Scott won the Senate seat.
Trump vs. FBI
Wray: Trump’s new target
President Trump berated FBI Director Christopher Wray this week for disagreeing with the claim that federal investigators “spied” on members of Trump’s 2016 campaign. In testimony to the Senate, Wray was asked whether he agreed with Attorney General William Barr’s assertion that “spying did occur” after the FBI acquired a warrant to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who had frequent contact with Russians. The FBI director demurred, saying, “I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity, and part of investigative activity includes surveillance.” Trump called Wray’s answer “ridiculous,” adding, “I thought the attorney general answered it perfectly.” On Twitter, Trump quoted a conservative pundit, Tom Fitton, who’d said, “The FBI has no leadership. The director is protecting the same gang that tried to overthrow the president through an illegal coup.”
Staying out of Ukraine
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, canceled a trip to Ukraine, where he’d planned to lobby the president-elect, Volodymyr Zelensky, to pursue probes into the Ukrainian activities of Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden, and into the origins of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Trump has claimed Ukrainian officials tried to aid Hillary Clinton in 2016 by leaking damaging information about his since-convicted campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Before bowing to public pressure to cut the trip, Giuliani said the probes could be “very, very helpful” to Trump, adding, “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation.” Democrats asserted Giuliani was, in fact, seeking Ukraine’s help to sway the 2020 election, with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) calling the trip “immoral, unethical, unpatriotic.” Giuliani said there was “nothing illegal” about his plans. ■