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Tag: FBI

FBI Pulls Cybersecurity Expert from Plane After Blowing Whistle on Vulnerabilities

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A cybersecurity expert who recently exposed vulnerabilities in airplane technology systems is now a target of the FBI, Fox News reports.

Chris Roberts, of the Colorado-based security firm One World Labs, said two FBI agents and two uniformed cops removed him from a commercial flight after landing in Syracuse on Wednesday night.

The investigation came just hours after Fox News aired an interview with Roberts in which he said the cyberhacking of planes is possible.

“We can still take planes out of the sky thanks to the flaws in the in-flight entertainment systems. Quite simply put, we can theorize on how to turn the engines off at 35,000 feet and not have any of those damn flashing lights go off in the cockpit.”

Roberts said he thought he was doing the government a favor.

“You have one element in the FBI reaching out to people like me for help, but another element doing a hell of a job burning those bridges,” Roberts said. “Those of us who do threat research are doing it for the right reasons, and we work to build relationships with the intelligence community because we want to help them identify weaknesses before they become a problem.”

The FBI confiscated computer files and electronic devices, Fox News reported.

The FBI declined to comment.

James Comey: Why I Require FBI Agents to Visit Holocaust Museum

FBI Director James Comey

By James Comey
FBI Director  

I believe that the Holocaust is the most significant event in human history. And I mean “significant” in two different ways.

It is, of course, significant because it was the most horrific display in world history of inhumanity, one that simply defies words and challenges meaning. I was born into an Irish Catholic family in this great, wonderful and safe country, but the Holocaust has always haunted me, and it has long stood as a stumbling block to faith.

How could such a thing be? How is that consistent with the concept of a loving God? How is that in any way reconcilable with the notion of a God with a role in human history? How could there possibly be meaning in life, when so many lives were snuffed out in such a fashion?

I have asked those questions since I was a young teenager. I have asked them my entire life. I asked the same questions standing in the pit at Ground Zero in early 2002. I have asked those questions many times as I have confronted unimaginable suffering and loss.

And I know I am in good company asking such questions. Last month, on a flight home from Eastern Europe, I reread Viktor Frankl’s wrenching “Man’s Search for Meaning,” in which he seeks to find meaning in suffering and loving, among other things.

And going much farther back, back before I was a religious studies major in college, I recalled the voice from the whirlwind in the Book of Job, rebuking us for even asking the question “Why?” “How dare you!” the voice seems to say. “It is not for you to ask, it is not for you to know.”

And yet I ask, as so many of us do. And I still don’t know.

But I do know this: I know it is our duty, our obligation, to make sure some good comes from unimaginable bad. Not so we can comfort ourselves by saying, “Oh, that was worth it then.” That’s nonsense. That would be perverse. It will never be “worth it.”

Instead, I believe it is simply our duty to do that, and I believe this is truth no matter where you come from on a philosophical or religious spectrum. Our obligation is to refuse to let bad win, to refuse to let evil hold the field. As Abraham Lincoln said on a field of unimaginable pain and loss, it is essential “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” Our resolution does not justify the loss, but we simply cannot be alive and give up.

To read more click here. 

FBI Reveals Potential Break in Unsolved Times Square Bombing in ’08

Times Square

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A bomb that exploded in the heart of Times Square just after 3:30 a.m. in 2008 has gone unsolved for seven years.

The FBI hopes to end that streak after announcing Wednesday that progress has been made in the attack, which resembled two earlier bombings in Manhattan.

Investigators said three people who had been identified as “persons of interest” were now believed to be connected, The New York Times reports. 

“Someone knows those responsible for placing this device in the heart of New York City,” Diego Rodriguez, the head of the New York office of the F.B.I., said in a statement. “We need those people to come forward to help us solve this crime before they can strike again.”

The FBI has not yet identified the suspects.

Ex-FBI Investigator Claims Bureau Hid Evidence in 2001 Anthrax Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former director of the FBI’s anthrax investigation claims the bureau hid evidence that would punch holes in the case that Army scientist Bruce Ivins mailed anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and sickened 27 others in 2001, Fox News reports. 

Richard Lambert claims in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tennessee that investigators used flawed scientific methods to arrive at a conclusion to charge Ivins in the anthrax attacks. Ivina later committed suicide before any charges were filed.

Lambert alleges there’s a “wealth” of evidence casting doubt on the case, which “the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people. ”

While he headed up the investigation, he focused heavily on scientist Steven Hatfill.

The FBI declined to comment because of the litigation.

FBI, NSA Officials Urge Congress to Retain Spy Powers Under Patriot Act

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and National Security Administration are on the verge of losing surveillance powers that were gained after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Authorities for both agencies are urging lawmakers to preserve the spy powers before the expire June 1, The Guardian reports. 

Some members of Congress want more surveillance reforms to protect the privacy of innocent Americans.

Losing the authority gained in Section 215 of the Patriot Act will make it difficult to conduct some federal investigations, authorities warned.

Whether Congress renews the powers may depend on the newest members of Congress.

“A lot of it is going to hinge on the freshmen. Right now, as far as I can tell, the select intelligence committee is making a real strong play to persuade the freshmen that all of these public concerns are overblown,” Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, said.

 

 

FBI Director James Comey: ‘We’re Making Progress’ Against Lone-Wolf Terrorists

Director James B. Comey speaking in Orlando.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI Director James Comey said the FBI is making progress combating so-called lone-wolf terrorists who are becoming radicalized on the Internet and are willing to act alone.

Comey made the statements during a “Q&A” with the Sun Sentinel while visiting Broward County in Florida to dedicate the bureau’s new Miramar headquarters.

There are reports of investigations into lone-wolf types happening in every state. How worried should America be, and what is the FBI doing about it?

“I think Americans should be comforted knowing that we’re working on this all day long, every day. I have a lot of people focused on this in all 50 states and we are covering it, I think, in a good way. It’s a challenge for us given how hard it is to spot these people because they’re on the Internet, in their homes. But as you can see, we’re locking a bunch of them up. So we’re making some good progress against this.”

Is the FBI getting involved in any investigation of officers on behalf of Fort Lauderdale police?

“We’ve been in touch with the department, as has the Department of Justice, but I don’t want to comment on what we’re doing in particular.”

What kind of lessons has the bureau learned from the Tsarnaev case?

“Well we’ve learned a lot of lessons. The first is we did a pretty good job with that investigation, but that we could work better with our partners and our joint terrorism task forces, and then a bunch of things related to our systems. We use every single case as an opportunity to learn and grow and there was learning there. But I think on balance we did a pretty good job there.”

What could have been done better?

“One of the issues was local police chiefs felt like they didn’t have a clear view of what cases we were closing, in case they wanted to do something additional. So we changed our process so that we now meet in every joint terrorism task force with the local chiefs and review the inventory: ‘Here’s what came in, here’s what we’re closing, are there any questions?’ That was a very important change.”

So more people are watching these lone-wolf suspects?

“Yes. But our relationship with our state and local partners is critical to these investigations. So one of the things that grew out of Boston is we even improved that relationship.”

To read more click here. 

Current FBI Employee Reflects on Decade Following Whistleblower Complaints

Correction: The original headline read that Robert Kobus was a former FBI agent. He is currently employed by the FBI.
 
By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When Robert Kobus blew the whistle on an FBI supervisor for allowing favorite employees to take off work during their birthday a decade ago, he found himself alone in an office in Lower Manhattan.

“You know, sitting on a deserted floor, you are basically a pariah,” Kobus told NPR. “My true friends stayed with me — the one, two that I had. But everybody else, they would avoid me like the plague.”

When Kobus asked for time off, his request went unaddressed.

The Justice Department later determined that Kobus was retaliated against for blowing the whistle, but it took nine years.

“This is a pattern,” says David Colapinto, a lawyer at the National Whistleblowers Center who worked on the Kobus case. “Robert’s case reflects how the FBI and the Department of Justice treat people who have the courage to come forward and report wrongdoing.”

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said he doesn’t like how the FBI handled a whistleblower.

“Whistleblowers should not have to fear retaliation for speaking up and they should not have to wait a decade for relief and they should not have to apply to Congress to see justice done,” Grassley says.

 

FBI Investigates Death of Black Teen Shot 16 Times by Chicago Cop

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the October 2014 fatal shooting of a black teenager in Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the bureau opened an investigation into the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot by on officer 16 times.

The FBI is leading the criminal probe with the help of the state’s attorney’s office and the Independent Police Review Authority.

Chicago is expected to reach a $5 million settlement over McDonald’s death.

The officer who fired the shots said he was in fear of his life.

Other officers, who were investigating McDonald for allegedly breaking into cars, never pulled a trigger and trailed McDonald until another cop opened fire.