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Tag: bomb threat

Seattle Times: FBI ‘Obliterated a Line That Should Have Never Been Crossed’ with Fake News Site

By Seattle Times
Editorial Board

The Associated Press has a well-earned reputation as an independent, credible government watchdog. That’s why the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s appropriation of that credibility in a 2007 case obliterated a line that should never have been crossed.

The laudable end — conviction of a student making school bomb threats — does not justify the government’s outrageous disregard of the role of the press in a free society. In fact, it utterly undermines that role at a time when media companies are struggling to remain strong in the face of government abuses over the last two presidential administrations.

On Monday, Seattle Times reporter Mike Carter reported that, in 2007, the FBI mocked up a fake Associated Press story. The intention was to trick a suspect in a series of bomb threats at Lacey’s Timberline High School to click on a link sent to his MySpace account. All this was done under the authority of a federal warrant.

When the suspect clicked on the link, hidden FBI software revealed the suspect’s location to agents.

Initially, Carter found documents suggesting the FBI had nestled the AP story in an email that looked like it was from a Seattle Times’ website. But FBI officials waited almost a full day after Carter’s story was published Monday evening to suggest that, while using The Times name was contemplated and mocked up, the link to the AP story was not sent using a Times email.

The bomb-threat case was serious, no question, and deserved vigorous enforcement efforts. But agents could have tricked the student in other ways — a free concert ticket or free video game. They should not have assumed the identity of a media organization.

The damage matters: “This ploy violated AP’s name and undermined AP’s credibility,” said Paul Colford, director of AP media relations.

To read more click here.

Seattle Times Outraged After Discovering FBI Created Bogus News Site to Capture Suspect

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI created a bogus Seattle Times web page and posted a fake news story in an attempt to plant software on the computer of a juvenile suspected of making bomb threats at a high school in 2007, the Seattle Times reports.

The discovery by the ACLU was revealed on Twitter and comes less than a month after the FBI revealed it created a fake Facebook account using a real person and photos.

Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the ACLU, said the creation of bogus news site could result in “significant collateral damage to the public trust” if the FBI continues the practice.

Documents show that the FBI attributed the story about bomb threats to the Associated Press.

Once the juvenile clicked on the link, the software sent his location and Internet Protocol information to investigators.

The Seattle Times expressed outrage.

“We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,” said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best.

“Not only does that cross a line, it erases it,” she said.

“Our reputation and our ability to do our job as a government watchdog are based on trust. Nothing is more fundamental to that trust than our independence — from law enforcement, from government, from corporations and from all other special interests,” Best said. “The FBI’s actions, taken without our knowledge, traded on our reputation and put it at peril.”

How FBI Agents Tracked Down Harvard Student Accused of Making Bomb Threats

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI had a crisis on its hands.

Several bomb threats were sent via email to Harvard University, causing the school to close buildings during final exams.

The student accused of sending in the threat, sophomore Eldo Kim, took steps to hide his identity using two anonymity tools – the routing service Tor and the temporary mail service Guerrilla Mail, the Verge reports.

But the tools were no match for the FBI, which used the information to track down Kim, who was using Harvard’s wireless network.

Kim told authorities he was trying to get out of a final exam.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

FBI: Harvard University Student Sent Bomb Threat to Delay Taking Final Exam

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Harvard University student who wasn’t prepared for his final exam decided to buy himself some time.

On Monday, Eldo Kim, 20, emailed threats that claimed there were “bombs placed around campus” about a half hour before his test, NBC News reports, citing the FBI. Sure enough, the alarms rang at 9 a.m. to evacuate students.

“He knew that his plan had worked,” the affidavit read.

But the next day, the FBI tracked down Kim, who told authorities he was trying to avoid an exam, NBC News wrote.

The Cambridge man is scheduled for a hearing today in U.S. District Court. He faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted of communicating the bomb threat, NBC wrote.

 

Man Arrested After Threatening to Detonate Explosive-Laden Burrito at FBI Office

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man convinced that the FBI had implanted a tracking device into his head threatened to detonate an explosive burrito at the bureau’s Albuquerque field office, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Brian DeMarco, 50, called up the FBI from his Super 8 motel room to warn that he planned to blow up a explosives-rigged Mexican lunch wrap, the FBI told the Journal.

Additionally, DeMarco, who also complained that the FBI was beaming photos into his brain, said he had placed a bomb at the Albuquerque Social Security Administration building.

DeMarco, who said he’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was arrested at a bus station and no explosives were found.

Prosecutors Begin Presenting Evidence in Portland Bombing Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Prosecutors in the case against a former college student accused of trying to detonate a bomb near Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland will begin presenting evidence in the case today, KOIN Local 6 reports.

During open arguments Friday, the prosecution painted Mohamed Mohamud as a calculating jihadist intent on killing as many people as possible with what he thought was an 1,800-pound bomb packed into a van in November 2010, KOIN reported.

His attorney, Steve Sady, says Mohamud was entrapped by an undercover FBI agent who provided the fake bomb.

“It’s a matter of going too far,” Sady said during open arguments Friday.

Home Depot Worker Charged on Accusations of Planting Bomb in Store for Ransom Money

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Home Depot worker has been arrested for threatening to detonate bombs inside the stores unless he received $2 million in ransom money, the New York Daily News reports.

Daniel Patrick Sheehan, 50, threatened to shut down all Long Island stores on Black Friday by detonating three pipe bombs inside Home Depots, the Daily News wrote.

Police found one working pipe bomb.

After lowering his ransom demand to $1 million, Sheehan sent another letter saying he would pick up the money while being “wired up like a Christmas tree,” the Daily News reported, citing a complaint unsealed in Long Island Federal Court.

Sheehan was caught after police traced his phone number when he called to complain that the money drop was crawling with cops in late October.

Man Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI About Bomb Threat at Oklahoma Sports Arena

tulsaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There are lies. And then there are big fat lies that can land you behind bars.

Daniel Gerald Peterson, 26, told one of those big fat lies, and on Monday he pleaded guilty in Minneapolis federal court to providing the FBI with false information about a bomb threat he made up, authorities said.

Peterson admitted that on September 13, 2009, he told the FBI that someone was planning to bomb the Bank of Oklahoma Center, a sports arena, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The FBI conducted an extensive investigation and determined the story was made up, the FBI said.

He faces up to five years in prison.