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Archive for January, 2016

Judge: FBI Did Not Act ‘Outrageously’ by Taking Over Child Pornography Website

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI did not act “outrageously” by taking control of a child pornography website for 13 days in an attempt to capture people who were  using what authorities said was the largest site of its kind on the dark web, a judge has ruled, the International Business Times reports. 

A man who was charged with child pornography crimes argued the FBI overstepped its authority by taking over the site and using a tool to identify IP and MAC addresses of people who were logging into Playpen.

“We consider [the FBI’s running of the child porn site] outrageous, because even if there is a legitimate argument for doing that as an investigatory need, which is not true, judges need to be able to decide if it is appropriate. And, frankly, we believe it is appalling,” a lawyer for Colin Fieman said, Motherboard reports.

The attorney accused the FBI of “aiding and abetting the uploading and distribution of massive amounts of child pornography.”

Judge Robert J. Bryan disagreed.

“I am not shocked by this. I did not find it outrageous,” the judge said.

“We are dealing with actions by law enforcement that were necessitated by the actions of the offenders choosing to use, and in fact misuse, technology in order to hide their identity while they sought to exploit and abuse children online,”  Keith Becker from the Department of Justice Criminal Division, said.

ICE Agent Dies After Being Struck By Hit-and-Run Driver in Miami Beach

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An ICE agent who was hailing a cab with a fellow agent in Miami Beach on Jan. 15, and was struck by a hit-and-run driver who hopped the curb, died Monday from his injuries, the NBC station in Miami reports.

The driver, Jordana Rosales, 21, has been arrested and charged in the case.

ICE issued a statement about the agent, Scott McGuire:

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is saddened to announce that an ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent who was critically injured in a hit-and-run incident Jan. 15 while on duty in Miami Beach, Florida, died as a result of his injuries Sunday at a South Florida hospital. Befitting his selfless nature, the special agent was an organ donor, and although we are immeasurably diminished by his death, we can at least take some small comfort in knowing that his final act gave others the chance to live. ICE asks that you join us in keeping his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

To Capture Pedophiles Downloading Child Pornography, FBI Agents Turn into Hacker Spies

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents are turning into to hacker spies to capture pedophiles who hide anonymously on the Internet.

CNN reports that the Justice Department launched a massive investigation called Operation Torpedo, which began in 2011 and recently came to a close with the arrests of people downloading child pornography.

The case started when Netherlands police gained access to a large child pornography site whose web hosting service was located in Bellevue, Nebraska.

The FBI raided the home of the man who ran the site, PedoBook, where users could download photos of child pornography.

To break through Tor, which hides users’ location, the FBI was given a search warrant for a “network investigative technique” that allowed agents to use computer codes to track down people who downloaded photos and videos.

FBI Agent Jeffrey Tarpinian describes this hack as “the only available investigative technique with a reasonable likelihood of securing the evidence necessary to prove… the actual location and identity of those users” in court documents from 2012.

What the FBI found was more disturbing than they had realized: Some images were being viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

“They’re hiding in plain sight… we remain powerless to some extent,” said one senior Justice Department official who was authorized to speak without being named. “That’s what creates this sense of urgency.”

Border Patrol Agent Shoots Drug-Smuggling Suspect After Confrontation

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A physical confrontation with a Border Patrol agent didn’t end well for a suspected drug smuggler Monday morning near the Arizona-New Mexico border, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

The agent shot and wounded the suspect at about 10:45 a.m. in New Mexico

Agents were looking for suspects who fled a vehicle containing drugs when the incident began.

The suspect’s condition wasn’t immediately known, but the person was flown to an undisclosed hospital.

Homeland Security Secretary: Stop ‘Vilifying Muslims’ and Keep Focus on Terrorists

mosque

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke out against disparaging American Muslims, saying the focus is on radicals who are attempting to recruit would-be terrorists, Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. 

“Vilifying Muslim communities in this country is frankly contrary to our homeland security interests,” Johnson, a Morehouse College alum, told the Rotary Club of Atlanta at the Loudermilk Center. “Building bridges to these communities — encouraging them to work with us — is vital.”

Johnson, who in the past has criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his anti-Muslim messages, didn’t mention anyone specific in the speech.

Johnson said he’s communicating with Muslims across the country.

“We are working with the tech sector,” he said, “to help Muslim communities build the message that counters the targeting and the efforts of the Islamic State.”

Airport Security Confiscates Record Number of Guns at Checkpoints

body images airportBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As an unprecedented number of Americans are buying guns, a record number of firearms are being confiscated at airports.

The TSA confiscated 2,653 guns in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints nationwide, Homeland Security Today reports.

That’s a nearly 20% increase over 2014.

The TSA reported that more than 80% of the guns were loaded.

“The transport of firearms by commercial air in carry-on bags represents a threat to the safety and security of air travelers. Through increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items,” said TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger. “I am proud of the men and women who serve in the TSA and grateful for their hard work in the past year.”

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport seized the most guns in 2015 – 153.

CIA Releases Declassified Files of Investigations into UFO Sightings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The CIA released declassified files of never-before-seen footage of investigations into reported UFO sightings.

The investigations were posted  on the CIA’s website.

Conspiracy theorists have long claimed that the CIA was involved in a massive coverup of UFO sightings to hide evidence of aliens.

The declassified documents are from the late 1940s and 1950s.

The documents include a sighting in New Jersey, where a resent said he and a friend spotted and captured footage of a disc-shaped object in the sky.

“Below you will find five documents we think X-Files character Agent Fox Mulder would love to use to try and persuade others of the existence of extraterrestrial activity,” the CIA wrote.

The documents show no hard evidence of UFOs, but the records do reveal that the CIA was interested in sightings from around the globe.

Other Stories of Interest

U.S. Prisoner Released from Iranian Custody in Prisoner Swap Was FBI Consultant

iran-mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the Americans recently released from Iranian custody as part of a prisoner swap is a former FBI consultant and expatriate who was teaching English when he was imprisoned last May, The New York Times reports. 

Not much was known about Nosratollah Khosravi until he was recently featured by Iranwire, a news service run by expatriate Iranian journalists.

Khosravi left Iran in the 1980s for the United States after the country’s revolution in 1979. He later became a freelance consultant to the FBI before returning to Iran in 2013 to visit his mother.

Khosravi ended up staying to teach English before he was detained by Iranian officials.

As part of a prisoner swap, Khosravi and three other Iranian-Americans were released by Iran in exchange for the United Stated releasing seven people.