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Archive for July, 2013

Privacy Rights Group Sues Federal Government Over NSA Surveillance Program

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A privacy rights group is suing the Obama administration over its NSA surveillance program, the USA Today reports.

The Electronic Privacy Center has taken the case to the Supreme Court to argue the program is unconstitutional.

In its petition to the court, the group said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ‘exceeded its statutory jurisdiction when it ordered production of millions of domestic telephone records that cannot plausibly be relevant to an authorized investigation.”

The Obama administration already is catching staunch criticism for its widespread surveillance of phone and email records.

The NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, is believed to still be in a Moscow airport in legal limbo.

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James Comey Defends US Surveillance Practices at FBI Confirmation Hearing

 

James Comey testifies Tuesday.

By Spencer Ackerman
The Gaurdian

President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the FBI forcefully argued to the Senate that the oversight mechanisms on the government’s widespread surveillance of phone records and online habits sufficiently protect Americans’ privacy.

James Comey, the former US deputy attorney general, said Tuesday that the secret surveillance court that approves wiretapping requests is “anything but a rubber stamp”, even though the so-called Fisa court approves nearly every surveillance request by the government.

“I think folks don’t understand that the FBI operates under a wide variety of constraints,” Comey testified during his confirmation hearing to succeed Robert Mueller as the second director of the bureau since 9/11. The combination of the Fisa court, investigative guidelines from the US attorney general, congressional scrutiny and internal inspectors general are “very effective” at checking FBI abuse, Comey argued.

To read more click here.

 

Mexican Police Chief killed with Rifle lost in ATF’s Fast and Furious

By Richard A. Serrano
Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON—A high-powered rifle lost in the ATF’s Fast and Furious controversy was used to kill a Mexican police chief in the state of Jalisco earlier this year, according to internal Department of Justice records, suggesting that weapons from the failed gun-tracking operation have now made it into the hands of violent drug cartels deep inside Mexico.

Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo, was shot to death Jan. 29 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. Also killed was one of his bodyguards. His wife and a second bodyguard were wounded.

Local authorities said eight suspects in their 20s and 30s were arrested after police seized them nearby with a cache of weapons — rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region.

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Listen Live to Senate Judiciary Hearing at 10 Today for Nomination of James Comey as FBI Director


Senate Judiciary hearing begins

 

James Comey testifies Tuesday.

Listen to live broadcast of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for nomination of James Comey for FBI director.

CLICK HERE

 

High-Ranking Mobster Asks to Be Released for Helping FBI Arrest Mafia Members

Joseph Massino/gov photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Bonanno crime boss and FBI informant wants to be freed from jail in exchange for damaging testimony against the mafia, the New York Post reportsBon.

Joseph Massino, who will be re-sentenced toady, provided key testimony against former colleagues, including Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano.

“It is fair to say that not only is Mr. Massino the most prominent La Cosa Nostra leader ever to cooperate but also that seldom in the history of the war against organized crime has anyone contributed as much to the government,” Massino attorney Edward McDonald wrote to the court.

The 70-year-old career criminal is in poor health, his attorney said.

Surrogate Son of Accused Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger Testifies in Murder, Racketeering Trial

Whitey Bulger/fbi

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man who was considered to be the surrogate son of James “Whitey” Bulger testified Monday against the accused Boston mobster, describing a cold killer who stopped at nothing to protect himself.

“I was with him for 20 years,” Kevin Weeks, who was a critical witness, told the court during Bulger’s murder and racketeering trial, ABC News reports.

Weeks is accused of helping Bulger murder Brian “Balloonhead” Halloran for going to the FBI with information about Bulger, ABC News reported.

Brazilian Official Seeks Protection from U.S. Secret Surveillance of Phone, Email Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A top Brazilian official has expressed anger over the U.S.’s secret surveillance of telephone and email conversations in his South American country, The USA Today reports.

Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said he’d learned that the NSA has subjected Brazilian residents to espionage through the widespread surveillance of phone and email records.

The USA Today wrote that Patriota and others are lobbying the U.N. to establish measures to protect countries from against unwanted surveillance.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded: “The U.S. government will respond through diplomatic channels to our partners and allies in the Americas … While we are not going to comment publicly on specific alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”