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Tag: Justice Department

Facebook to DEA: Setting Up Fake Accounts to Capture Suspects Violates Policies

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s decision to set up a fake account on Facebook by stealing a woman’s identity was a “knowing and serious breach” of the social networks’ terms and policies, the company wrote in a letter to the DEA.

Gizmodo reports that Facebook will enforce its policy of users creating accounts under proper names.

Facebook “has long made clear that law enforcement agencies are subject to these policies.”

Despite that policy, the FBI created a fake account using the stolen identity of Sondra Arquiett, who had been arrested on suspicion of being in a drug ring. The idea was to catch others in the ring by using the account.

Nazi War Criminals Continued Collecting Social Security Benefits from U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

At least 38 suspected Nazi war criminals removed from the U.S. continued receiving their Social Security benefits as part of a strange deal struck with the Justice Department, the Seattle Times reports.

One of them is former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger, who fled to Germany and still collects about $1,500 a month in Social Security payments

The Social Security payments were used by the Justice Department as leverage to convince the suspected war criminals to leave the U.S.

The loophole that made it possible for the suspects to receive Social Security benefits would have been closed in legislation that was opposed by the Office of Special Investigations, which went after Nazis.

An analysis by the Associated Press found that 28 suspected Nazi criminals received $1.5 million in Social Security benefits after being removed from the U.S.

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole to Step Down, Take Job in Private Sector

Dep. Atty. Gen. James Cole/doj photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is about to lose another high-ranking officials.

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, second-in-command, announced Thursday that he’s taking a job in the private sector, the Washington Post reports.

The Post said possible successors include Sally Quillian Yates, who is U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Cole’s job was to run the Justice Department’s daily operations.

Cole spoke to the Washington Post about the difficulties of balancing security with civil liberties.

“If you just want to keep people safe and you’re willing to sacrifice people’s constitutional rights and their civil liberties, that’s not so hard,” he said.

“If you just want to protect people’s constitutional rights and their civil liberties and you’re willing to sacrifice their safety, that’s not so hard either,” Cole said. “The hard part is to do them both.”

Justice Department Puts End to Waivers That Prevented Defendants from Appealing

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has ended the controversial practice of asking defendants who plead guilty to waive their appellate rights over bad legal advice, CNN reports.

In a memo issued Tuesday, the Justice Department said it will ban the waivers that are still used in 35 U.S. attorney offices.

The waivers are controversial because make it difficult for defendants to have due process.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the new policy.

The Justice Department said the waivers were used to discourage frivolous lawsuits.

NYPD’s Use of ‘Broken Windows’ Crime-Fighting Strategy Comes Under Fire

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The Justice Department is mulling whether to investigate NYPD’s use of the controversial crime fighting strategy known as “broken windows,” the New York Daily News reports.

The Justice Department Civil Rights Division is considering a request from six members of Congress to investigate whether black people and Hispanics are disproportionately affected by quality-of-life violations.

“When a systemic pattern or practice of misconduct is determined to exist, we have the authority to initiate civil action against state or local officials to remedy the misconduct,” wrote Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik.

The Congress members said plenty of evidence exists against the NYPD.

“It’s now our job to convince the Department of Justice that the evidence exists to open a pattern and practice investigation,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. “The police department in New York City is out of control right now. It seems as though every day a new video surfaces of an officer brutalizing someone in the black and Latino community.”

 

Twitter Sues FBI, Justice Department for Right to Disclose Surveillance Requests

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Twitter wants its users to know how often the government has requested information for surveillance purposes.

The Associated Press reports that Twitter is suing the FBI and Justice Department in hopes of getting permission from a judge to release the information.

It’s currently against the law for companies to disclose how many national security requests they receive.

Twitter said the First Amendment should apply to the disclosure so the San Francisco-based company can “”respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance.”

“Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosing the exact number of national security letters (‘NSLs’) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (‘FISA’) court orders received — even if that number is zero,” Ben Lee, Twitter’s vice president of legal, wrote in a blog post.

The ACLU hopes other companies join Twitter.

“We hope that other technology companies will now follow Twitter’s lead,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement. “Technology companies have an obligation to protect their customers’ sensitive information against overbroad government surveillance, and to be candid with their customers about how their information is being used and shared.”

DEA Uses Woman’s Photos, Info to Create Fake Facebook Account in Drug Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Should law enforcement have the right to conduct an investigation by using photos and other personal information to create a fake Facebook page in a real person’s name?

The Justice Department said Tuesday it will examine the after Sondra Arquiett in Watertown, N.Y., filed a lawsuit that claims the DEA used photos, including one of her in a bra and underwear, and other information from her cellphone to create the fake account, the Washington Post reports. The information was gathered during a 2010 arrest for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

In hopes of finding others involved in the alleged drug ring, police set up the fake account.

The DEA also posted photos of her children.

“The allegations in this case are shocking,” said Mariko Hirose, staff attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union. “This case illustrates the importance of digital privacy and identity, and the possibility of abuse when law enforcement is able to access the trove of personal information that we store in our devices.”

Justice Department Wants to End Profiling Based Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation

By Steve Neavling

tickethewire.com

The days of profiling may be over for federal law enforcement, according to a report obtained by the Washington Post.

The ban on profiling would apply to people based on their ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

One impact of the policy, for example, would be prohibiting surveillance of mosques without proof of wrongdoing.

No exemption will be given for national security investigations either, the Post reports.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said his upcoming retirement from the position won’t stop him from pursuing this.

“There remains a great deal to be done,” he said. “I have no intention of letting up or slowing down.”