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December 2013


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for December 17th, 2013

NSA’s Policy of Collecting Phone Records in U.S. Likely Unconstitutional, Judge Rules

Steve Neavling

The National Security Agency is likely violating the Constitution by gathering the dialing records of all phone calls in the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reports.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon delivered a significant blow to the NSA and lays the groundwork for a Supreme Court battle.

Leon’s ruling doesn’t go into effect immediately because he stayed the action pending an appeal by the federal government, the Times wrote.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” wrote the judge, who was appointed to the federal district court by President George W. Bush.

President Obama Praises Newly Confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Steve Neavling

President Obama lauded new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as “a strong leader” who will “play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks.”

The statement follows Monday’s Senate confirmation of Johnson, a former general counsel at the Pentagon.

The president’s full statement:

“I am pleased the Senate has confirmed Jeh Johnson as our next Secretary of Homeland Security with broad bipartisan support.

“In Jeh, our dedicated homeland security professionals will have a strong leader with a deep understanding of the threats we face and a proven ability to work across agencies and complex organizations to keep America secure. Jeh has been a critical member of my national security team, and he helped to shape some of our most successful national security policies and strategies.

“As Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh will play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks, adapt to changing threats, stay prepared for natural disasters, strengthen our border security, and make our immigration system fairer — while upholding the values, civil liberties, and laws that make America great.

“I look forward to Jeh’s counsel and sound judgment for years to come.”

ATF Joins Investigation of Mammoth Fire at Apartment Building Site in Colorado

Steve Neavling

Federal agents are joining an investigation into a suspicious Colorado fire over the weekend that was so hot that flattened the apartment building and melted cars parked across the street, the Denver Post reports.

The 11 p.m. Saturday fire broke out in an apartment building that is under construction in Glendale, which is surrounded by Denver.

“We don’t know if it is arson,” Denver Fire Department Division Chief Joseph Gonzales said, “but we start every investigation to eliminate arson as a cause.”

No one was injured in the three-alarm fire, which caused an estimated $12 million in damage.


Levinson Family Wants to Meet with New FBI Director After News That He Worked for CIA


Robert Levinson

Steve Neavling

The family of former FBI agent Robert Levinson wants to meet with the new agency’s new director following recent reports that he was working for the CIA when he vanished, CNN reports.

FBI Director James Comey was supposed to meet with the family before the recent revelations but has delayed his meet-up, the family attorney, David McGree, said.

That meeting will still take place, the FBI said, once Comey become more available after extensive traveling since taking over in September.

Levinson, now 65, was in Iran in 2007 when he went missing.

Iranian authorities insist they don’t have Levinson or know where he is.

New Generation of FBI Agents Adds Youth, Passion to Fight Global Terrorism

Steve Neavling

It hasn’t been long since the FBI’s primary focus was putting away bank robbers, kidnappers and gang members.

That focus has dramatically shifted in the post-9/11 era, creating a new generation of counterterrorism experts who know the ins and outs of al Qaeda and Hezbollah, Newsweek reports.

Most of the counterterrorism experts are in their mid- to late-40s – a relatively young age for agents with their responsibilities.

“The last generation was more reactive,” an intelligence expert said, “and the current guys are extremely proactive. I think they will initiate things just to find out if there’s something there, as opposed to waiting and seeing.”

Leading the group of experts is Andrew McCabe, head of the FBI’s National Security Branch. He’s 45 and rose to the top by acquiring in-depth knowledge of terrorism, Newsweek wrote.

The FBI’s Most Popular Post on Its Website Involved a Famous Art Heist

By Alan Stamm  
The FBI uses the news area of its website to post arrests, convictions, awards and requests for crime-solving tips. The most-viewed post of 2013, the bureau tells a journalism blogger, is a March 18 item offering a $5-million reward for help cracking a notorious 1990 art theft.

The cold case is the two-man heist of 13 paintings from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. Without specifying how many online visitors saw it in nine months, the bureau says the multimillion-dollar bounty announcement is this year’s most popular post.

It was shared 2,857 times on Facebook and tweeted by 93 visitors to, stats on the site show. The multimedia post has a news release, videos in which two agents and others “discuss the case and their renewed efforts to recover the priceless art,” and a link for sending tips. The hefty reward from the feds and the museum is posted “to get the attention of those who might have or know the whereabouts of the 13 stolen works of art,” the FBI says.

Cleveland blogger Bill Lucey, an ex-newspaperman, contacted the FBI for a roundup headlined “Most Viewed News Stories of 2013.” The Boston case reward earns a spot Monday alongside coverage of Edward Snowden, the Boston Marathon bombing and May’s rescue of three Cleveland women held captive since 2002 and 2004.