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June 2013


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for June, 2013

Opinion: Congress Should Promptly End NSA Phone Surveillance

By Eugene Robinson
Washington Post

From the evidence so far, there’s no good reason to let the National Security Agency (NSA) continue its massively intrusive practice of logging our private phone calls. Congress should pull the plug.

I’m not ignoring all the officials, including President Obama, who swear that the electronic snooping has foiled dozens of terrorist plots and saved untold lives. I’m just listening carefully, and what we’re getting is a lot of doublespeak and precious little clarity.

It’s important to keep in mind that Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who absconded to Hong Kong and started blabbing secrets, has thus far disclosed the existence of two separate clandestine programs. One, known internally as PRISM, involves the international harvesting of e-mails and other electronic communications. The other involves the domestic collection of phone call “metadata” – a vast, pointillist record of our contacts and movements.

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NSA Outlines Rules for Using Phone, Internet Surveillance on U.S. Citizens

Steve Neavling 

The NSA, which has come under fire for its widespread use of surveillance, may keep copies of intercepted material involving an American if it contains evidence of a crime or significant intelligence, the Associated Press reports on the agency’s secret rules.

The documents, published by The Guardian in the latest leak, require feds to first build a case before spying on someone on the phone or Internet.

The person also must not be an American, according to the Associated Press.

But if the surveillance leads to involvement from an American, the feds may keep the records indefinitely.

President Obama to Announce Nomination of James Comey to Head of FBI Today


James Comey

Steve Neavling 

President Obama today plans to make the long-anticipated announcement that he’s nominating James B. Comey, a senior Justice department under President George W. Bush, to take the helm at the FBI, White House officials told The New York Times.

The administration’s plan is to convince the Senate to conform Comey by Sept. 3, when the current FBI head, Robert S. Mueller III, is prepared to step down, according to The Times.

But administration officials expect a grueling nomination process that likely will begin when the Senate is back in session in August.

FBI officials said they want to avoid having an interim FBI director.

Possible Human Remains Found at Former Home of Mobster Who Inspired ‘Goodfellas’


James Burke

Steve Neavling 

FBI agents searching for evidence of a 30-year-old mob murder said they found possible human remains in a New York home once occupied by a famous gangster, the Associated Press reports.

The Queens house was once home to James Burke, a Lucchese crime family associate known as “Jimmy the Gent” and who inspired the character Jimmy Conway in the movie “Goodfellas.”

The FBI didn’t divulge details but said agents have gathered evidence that may be related to the decades-old murder.

Burke, who masterminded a nearly $6 million robbery at New York’s Kennedy Airport, died in Jail in 1996.

The home that was searched is still owned by Burke’s wife, the AP wrote.

FBI Stops Man from Building Strange X-Ray Weapon, Possibly to Kill President Obama

FBI’s Mueller: Bureau Uses Surveillance Drones Domestically in ‘Very, Very Minimal Way’

Robert Mueller

Steve Neavling 

Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged for the first time that the bureau uses surveillance drones inside the U.S., the L.A. Times reports.

Testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Mueller said remotely piloted aircraft are used “in a very, very minimal way and very seldom.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, called drones one of “the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans.”

Mueller responded that the FBI is still in the “initial stages” of crafting a fair policy to limit the how Americans are monitored by drones.


CBP Employees Dodge Furloughs with Congressional Approval

 Steve Neavling

Customs and Border workers won’t be forced to take furloughs this year as originally feared, Government Executive reports.

CBP employees, who initially faced 14 furlough days in fiscal 2013, dodged the forced days off through appropriations approved by Congress.

It was good news for the more than 20,000 CBP workers who feared a cut in pay.

But union leaders cautioned against early celebrations.

“Sequestration, which is the underpinning for all manner of problems for federal agencies, is scheduled to continue until 2021,” Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement. “And even with the decision not to furlough employees, CBP remains particularly hard-hit by the sequester.”

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