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Tag: FBI

Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting FBI Agents at Gas Station in Las Vegas

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man accused of ramming his truck into a car carrying two FBI agents pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports. 

Yatnier Gonzalez, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of assault on a federal officer.

He will be sentenced on March 12.

The two agents are members of the Las Vegas Criminal Apprehension Team, which searches for fugitives. They were not injured but the car was damaged.

The incident happened on June 2 when the agents tried to block in Gonzalez’s car at a gas station in Las Vegas. Gonzalez was a home invasion suspect at the time.

FBI Seeks New Authority to Hack into Computers, Spy on Users Anywhere

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is seeking new authority to hack into computers and spy on their users, the Guardian reports.

The Justice Department is requesting that an obscure regulatory advisory board change the rules of searches and seizures. The two will meet Nov. 5.

Civil liberties groups claim the new rules would violate the first and fourth amendments and are questioning why the Justice Department is seeking the permission without public debate or congressional oversight.

“This is a giant step forward for the FBI’s operational capabilities, without any consideration of the policy implications. To be seeking these powers at a time of heightened international concern about US surveillance is an especially brazen and potentially dangerous move,” said Ahmed Ghappour, an expert in computer law at University of California, Hastings college of the law, who will be addressing next week’s hearing.

The proposed changes involve court-approved warrants, which currently require surveillance to occur in the same district as the judge who approves the warrant.

The proposed changes would eliminate that requirement and allow the FBI to hack into any computer.

The FBI has been having troubles tracking some hackers because their locations are hidden by tools such as Tor.

 

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.

FBI Agents Impersonated Repairmen to Gain Access to Computers in Las Vegas Hotel

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents acted against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney and impersonated repair technicians at a Las Vegas hotel to investigate online sports betting, the Associated Press reports.

The agents shut off the Internet at a Las Vegas hotel to make it appears as though the computer and hardware needed to be repaired.

Now defense attorneys representing some of the suspects are asking a federal judge to throw out the case because agents didn’t receive consent to examine the equipment being used by the suspects.

The hotel tipped off the FBI of a possible illegal gambling operation.

By gaining access to the computers, agents were able to get valuable evidence of an illegal online gambling operation.

 

FBI Reaches 1M Followers on Twitter, Continues to Combat Crime with Social Media

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI announced Tuesday that it has reached 1 million followers on Twitter.

That’s quite an achievement for a federal agency that uses social media to help capture suspects, locate missing children and warn of dangers.

 

Rob 2 or More Banks in California And You Get a Nickname Courtesy of a Special Agent

File photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Plain Jane Bandit. Gone Plaid Bandit. Grandma Bandit.

Anyone who robs two more more banks in Los Angeles gets a nickname, Vanity Fair reports.

The idea is to help people keep track of the numerous bank robbers that are on the loose.

The practice began in the 1980s when Los Angeles was nicknamed “The Bank Robbery Capital of the World.”

The man who gets to nickname the robbers is Special Agent Steve May, the bank robbery coordinator for the bureau’s Southern California territory.

May names every robber and then adds the monickers in a database.

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Busts Training Facility for Pit Bulls As Part of Cocaine Investigation in South Carolina

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents listening to wiretaps of alleged cocaine dealers in South Carolina discovered a large training facility for fighting pit bulls in Lexington County, the Charlotte Observer reports.

During the raid, agents seized 48 pit bills, many of them emaciated and tied to chains outside.

On Oct. 1, the same investigation prompted the seizure of 35 dogs, in addition to guns, drugs and cash.

One of the suspects, Eric Dean “Big E” Smith, 41, of Gaston, is accused of selling cocaine.

According to the FBI, Smith was  “heavily involved in breeding dogs for the purpose of dogfighting.”

“Intercepts and physical surveillance have revealed that Smith stores cocaine and over 30 dogs at (his) residence.”

The discovery of dogs is part of an investigation into a Columbia area gang cocaine operation.

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.”