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Archive for June 3rd, 2015

Boston Police: Surveillance Shows FBI Agent, Officer Under Attack Before Fatal Response

Boston Police Chief Daniel Linskey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Boston police said they have video that should end any questions about whether law enforcement used appropriate force when they fatally opened fire on a 26-year-old terrorism suspect in his neighborhood Tuesday.

The Associated Press reports that Usaama Rahim lunged at a police officer and FBI agent with a military-style knife, prompting law enforcement to open fire, according to police accounts.

The man’s brother disputes the account.

The shooting happened as the Joint Terrorism Task Force went to question him about “terrorist-related information,” Police Commissioner William Evans said.

It’s not yet clear when the surveillance will be released.

Rahim, who was shot in the torso and abdomen, was pronounced dead.

A man connected with the case was arrested by the FBI late Tuesday.

FBI Focuses FIFA Investigation on Organization’s Leader, Sepp Blatter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The primary target of the widening FIFA investigation has become the organization’s president, Sepp Blatter, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Citing two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Times writes that Blatter has become the focus of an investigation into bribery by the soccer’s world governing body.

“He’s a target,” said one of the sources. “He has been for a while.”

The goal among prosecutors is to get help from the 14 others who have been indicted to learn the extent of the rigging of soccer venues and other criminal violations that are alleged.

Blatter announced his resignation Tuesday morning, just before news broke that he was a primary target of the investigation .

Senate Takes Some Muscle Out of Retooled Patriot Act, Worrying FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate on Tuesday ended the NSA’s controversial bulk phone-records program but reauthorized most of the Patriot Act that expired over the weekend.

President Obama signed the measure, which passed the Senate with a 67-32 vote, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The FBI warned that the move would hamper agents who must now obtain phone records on a case-by-case basis from telecommunications companies, rather than collecting data in bulk.

“After a needless delay and inexcusable lapse in important national security authorities, my administration will work expeditiously to ensure our national security professionals again have the full set of vital tools they need to continue protecting the country,” Mr. Obama said in a statement Tuesday.

Civil liberties proponents applauded the move.

“Today the American people are now safe from the federal government’s collection of their personal data,” said Sen. Mike Leeof Utah, the bill’s chief GOP proponent in the Senate.

 

 

NYT: TSA’s Appalling Performance Is ‘Harbinger of Potential Disaster’

By New York Times
Editorial Board

The performance of airport security screeners on a recent investigation by undercover agents was appalling. The screeners failed to detect weapons, mock explosives and other prohibited items 95 percent of the time at airports across the country, which may be a shock to travelers who assumed the hassle of screening was worth it if it kept them safe.

The investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general reportedly found that undercover agents were able to get prohibited items through security checkpoints in 67 out of 70 attempts. The report on the investigation is classified, but ABC News broadcast the findings on Monday. The network said that one undercover agent was stopped when he set off an alarm, but that the screener who patted him down afterward failed to detect a fake explosive device taped to his back.

After the ABC News report, Jeh Johnson, the secretary of homeland security, said he took the findings “very seriously.” He added that he ordered corrective steps at the Transportation Security Administration, the unit in his department that is responsible for airport screening. He cautioned that “the numbers in these reports never look good out of context” but acknowledged that such covert tests are a critical element in the evolution of aviation security.

It’s hard to see how such an incredibly high failure-to-detect rate could be considered anything other than a harbinger of potential disaster. Security experts say planes remain a high-priority target for many terrorists.

Mr. Johnson stressed that travelers are protected by multiple layers of detection and protection, “many of which are not visible to the traveling public.”

The corrective steps he is taking, some of which are already under way, make good sense. He directed the T.S.A. to brief all airports on the findings and fix the vulnerabilities revealed by the covert test. This would involve retraining airport security officers, re-evaluating all security equipment and conducting more covert tests to determine how well the new measures work.

To read more click here. 

DEA More Than Triples Use of Wiretaps, Other Surveillance Over Past Decade

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s use of wiretaps and other electronic surveillance more than tripled in the past decade, often bypassing courts and federal prosecutors, according to newly obtained records, the USA Today reports.

The DEA used electronic surveillance 11,681 times in the last fiscal year, compared to just 3,394 a decade ago.

The increase comes as the DEA has begun taking more of its cases to local prosecutors and judges, as opposed to federal ones, because they are finding an easier time getting approval.

State and federal laws are vastly different when it comes to wiretaps. On the federal level, a senior Justice Department official must approve. But state courts don’t have the same rules.

“That law exists to make sure that wiretap authority is not abused, that it’s only used when totally appropriate,” said Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That’s a burden. And if there’s a way to get around that burden, the agents are going to try to get around it.”

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