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Archive for March, 2016

Secret Service Investigating Radio Host Glenn Beck Over Alleged Threats to Donald Trump

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigating conservative radio host Glenn Beck following comments he made on his radio show about Donald Trump.

Beck said his remarks were not directed at the GOP front-runner.

On his radio show Friday, Beck responded to his producer’s mocking statements about Beck being in the shoes of Trump’s rivals: “Was it  gigantic shoes?” producer Stu Burguiere asked.

“If I was close enough and I had a knife. Really.  I mean the stabbing just wouldn’t stop,” Beck responded.

Beck wasn’t referring to Trump, Burguiere said on Facebook.

“It was reported that Glenn had threatened to stab a presidential candidate this morning which was odd since I was on the show with him and didn’t notice anything like that… Of course, if you were listening, you know that Glenn actually threatened me, not Donald Trump, so I am in the odd situation of defending my boss for threatening my life.”

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime: Inside Mexico’s Drug Labs

Numerous Tech Companies Join Apple’s Fight with FBI Over Phone Encryption

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple became the first big tech company to openly criticize the FBI’s attempts to force companies to unlock phones to help investigators get access to information.

But the company has been joined by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and a host of others who filed court briefs on Thursday to support Apple’s argument that it does not have to unlock phones for law enforcement, the New York Times reports. 

About 40 companies and organizations filed more than a dozen briefs with the Federal Court for the District Central California to challenge the government’s case.

They argue about the infringement of free speech, the importance of encryption and government overreach.

“These companies, which are often fierce competitors, have joined together to voice concern about the attempted government overreach in this case, which threatens the integrity and security of their products and privacy rights of consumers in general,” said Neal Katyal, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells for the tech companies and a former acting solicitor general of the United States.

FBI: Flight Attendant Set Fire in Airplane Bathroom, Then Played Hero by Extinguishing Flames

american airlines logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American Airlines flight attendant is accused of setting an airplane bathroom on fire, forcing an emergency landing in Detroit.

Authorities said Jonathan Tafoya-Montano pretended to discover the flames, which he then extinguished, the Washington Post reports. 

The incident occurred on a Feb. 1 flight from Dallas to Detroit.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive.

The FBI and Wayne County Airport Authority Police Department are investigating.

Justice Department Asks FBI to Investigate ExxonMobil’s Denial of Climate Change Dangers

earthBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ExxonMobil’s insistence that climate change was a sham has prompted the Justice Department to request the FBI to investigate whether the oil company violated federal laws.

Democratic lawmakers from California first raised the issue last fall, saying that Exxon executives knew that burning fossil fuels were dangerous but publicly tried to undermine the science behind it, the Huffington Post reports.

Some of the charges, the congressmen said, could include Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization, or RICO.

The Justice Department forwarded the issue to the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division to “determine whether an investigation is warranted.”

Border Patrol Agents Rescue Two Suicidal Men in Detroit on Same Day

Detroit riverfront. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Detroit riverfront. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents saved two men attempting to commit suicide in separate incidents in Detroit on Wednesday.

The Detroit News reports that a Border Patrol agent on patrol spotted a man stumbling in the street at about 7 p.m.

“The agent stopped to assist him and noticed he was covered in blood,” authorities said Thursday. “The individual stated he just tried to commit suicide and stabbed himself.”

Instead of waiting for an ambulance, agents rushed the man to the hospital.

At 10:30 p.m. that night, separate Border Patrol agents responded to a possible suicidal man near the Detroit River. The man jumped into the river but was rescued when the agents threw bags with ropes so the man could reach shore.

“Each of us in this world has a purpose,” Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison said in a statement Thursday. “I am proud that the purpose for these Border Patrol agents last night was to save the lives of two people who needed help.”

Dozens of Air Marshals Committed Crimes, Ranging from Attempted Murder to Human Trafficking

us-air-marshalsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dozens of federal air marshals have been committed crimes ranging from attempted murder to aiding a human trafficking ring, Patch.com reports. 

Between November 2002 and February 2012, air marshals were arrested 148 times.

Patch found that one air marshal tried to lure a young boy to a hotel room and another used his badge “to smuggle drugs past airport security.”

Air marshals also hired prostitutes and engaged in fights with security guards at a brothel.

The TSA responded, saying the incidents were relatively rare given the number of marshals.

“The vast majority of FAMs [federal air marshals] are dedicated law enforcement professionals who conduct themselves in an exemplary manner,” TSA said in a statement. “TSA and FAMS continually strive to maintain a culture of accountability within its workforce.”

Other Stories of Interest

Guardian: Congress Finally Did Its Job Over Battle Between FBI, Apple

US CapitolTrevor Trimm
Guardian

Members of Congress did something almost unheard of at Tuesday’s hearing on the brewing battle over encryption between Apple and the FBI: their job. Both Democrats and Republicans grilled FBI director Jim Comey about his agency’s unprecedented demand that Apple weaken the iPhone’s security protections to facilitate surveillance. This would have dire implications for smartphone users around the globe.

Normally, congressional committee hearings featuring Comey are contests among the members over who can shower the FBI director with the most fawning compliments in their five-minute allotted time frame. Hard questions about the agency’s controversial tactics are avoided at all costs. But on Tuesday, in rare bipartisan fashion, virtually every member of the House judiciary committee asked Comey pointed questions and politely ripped apart his arguments against Apple.

One judiciary member questioned how the FBI managed to mess up so badlyduring the San Bernardino investigation and reset the shooter’s password, which is what kicked this whole controversy and court case in motion in the first place. And if the case was such an emergency, why did they wait 50 days to go to court? Another member questioned what happens when China inevitably asks for the same extraordinary powers the FBI is demanding now. Others questioned whether the FBI had really used all the resources available to break into the phone without Apple’s help. For example, why hasn’t the FBI attempted to get the NSA’s help to get into the phone, since hacking is their job?

Comey readily admitted that the San Bernardino case could set a precedent for countless others after it, and that it won’t just be limited to one phone, as the FBItried to suggest in the days after the filing became public. Comey said the FBI has so many encrypted phones in its possession that he doesn’t know the number (that’s not including the hundreds of local police forces that are itching to force Apple to create software to decrypt those as well). Comey also admitted under questioning that terrorists would just move to another encrypted device if Apple was forced to do what the government is asking, and that there are companies all over the world offering similar products.

More than anything, though, the members of Congress expressed anger that theFBI director didn’t follow through earlier on his stated intention to engage in a debate in Congress and the public about the proper role for encryption in society. Instead, he decided to circumvent that debate altogether and quietly go to court to get a judge to do what the legislative branch has so far refused to do.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agent Testifies About Conversation with ISIS Suspect

FBI Files Pinpoint When Feds Learned of Attack Against U.S.

Ferguson Expected to Reconsider Agreement with Justice Department

Read CIA’s 1953 Report, ‘A Study of Assassination’

Why Airport Security Lines Have Grown Longer