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Archive for March, 2016

Donald Trump Rallies Are Putting Strain on Secret Service Agents

secret-service-3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of the Secret Service said his agents’ jobs are tougher because of the rowdy rallies held by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“There’s no question that some of these events create even more challenges for us,” Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy told lawmakers at a House Appropriations committee hearing Tuesday.

On Saturday, agents jumped on stage to protect Trump after a man jumped over a fence and appeared to be lunging at the Republican frontrunner. Just a day earlier, Trump canceled a rally in Chicago after hundreds of protesters turned out in loud opposition to the Republican.

But Clancy reiterated that his agents are not responsible for removing disruptive protesters, NBC News reports. 

“We are there to protect our protectee,” Clancy said. “If there are people that are disrupting the event, that is not our primary responsibility.”

The responsibility for handling protesters is up to event security or local law enforcement, Clancy aid.

“We do not interfere with people’s First Amendment rights. People have the right to voice their opinions and it’s for the host committee to decide whether that’s disruptive to that event.”

Other Stories of Interest

Former White House Official Said NSA Could Have Unlocked iPhone

nsa_sealBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former White House official Richard Clarke said the NSA “would have solved this problem” of unlocking an encrypted iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter.

But the FBI never asked for the NSA’s help and instead is fighting Apple in court to open the phone.

Clarke, a counterterrorism expert, said Monday on NPR that he would have asked the NSA to unlock the phone and suspects the FBI didn’t so that it could set a legal precedent to force tech companies to decrypt smartphones in the future, Newsweek reports.

“Every expert I know believes the NSA could crack this phone,” Clarke says. “[The FBI and the Department of Justice] want the precedent that the government can compel a computer device manufacturer to allow [them] in.”

FBI Wants Apple to Unlock iPhone of Reputed Boston Gang Member

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wants Apple to unlock another iPhone.

The phones were seized from an accused Boston gang member, who is facing federal charges of racketeering, committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering, using a firearm during a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm, the Boston Herald reports. 

Agents have been unable to unlock the phone after intercepting phone conversations in which Crawford discusses in March 2015 shooting a rival gang member.

In an affidavit, which was signed off by a federal judge, the FBI wrote that it suspects information about the gang is on the phone and could lead them to “substantial evidence” about the sources of guns, accomplices and drugs.

A federal judge signed

This is the latest example of the FBI and a court ordering Apple to unlock an iPhone.

‘Adopted Son’ of John Gotti Said He Helped FBI Take Down Former Deputy Sheriff

Lewis Kasman

Lewis Kasman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The so-called “adopted son” of John Gotti, the late Gambino crime boss, is taking credit for the FBI raiding the Florida home of a former deputy sheriff on Monday.

Lewis Kasman, 59, told The Daily News that he prompted the raid by secretly recording the ex-deputy, Mark Dougan, for the FBI.

“I did it because it was the right thing to do,” Kasman said, claiming he feared Dougan was planning to harm the current sheriff and deputy sheriff of Palm Beach.

But Dougan said “Kasman doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

“He’s a fucking whack job,” Dougan told The Daily News. “I knew he was recording me. That was seven months ago. He kept setting his phone on the table with the microphone toward me. He’s a moron.”

Doug said the law enforcement was pursuing him because someone had hacked the personal information of sheriff’s officials and dumped it on a website that he previously owned.

Report Concludes Border Patrol’s Internal “Discipline System Is Broken”

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol’s system for cracking down on abuse by agents and officers is seriously flawed and rarely deters criminal misconduct, according to an independent task force.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council, which commissioned the study, is expected to receive the 49-page final report today.

The task force contended that corrupt Border Patrol agents “pose a national security threat” because they are failing to protect the country from international terrorism, The Los Angeles Times reports. 

Cartels and other groups “attempt to target, recruit and corrupt law enforcement personnel who then can facilitate the smuggling of drugs and people and other criminal activity,” the report states. “Such corrupt officials can assist the cartels by providing intelligence and facilitating the movement of large amounts of contraband across our borders and into our country.”

An average investigation into serious misconduct takes more than a year and a half, which the report states is “far too long to be an effective deterrent.”

The report concluded, the “discipline system is broken.”

Defense Lawyers: Two DEA Employees Operated Strip Club Frequented by Law Enforcement

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two DEA employees are accused of lying during national security background checks about owning a strip club in South Hackensack, N.J.

Authorities said the DEA official and civilian DEA employee in New York City worked regular shift at the Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge and were in charge of hiring and firing dancers and bouncers, the New York Times reports. 

The defense lawyers have a strategy: They are arguing that the defendants’ ownership of the club was well-known in the agency and that law enforcement officials frequented the club.

David Polos, 51, a former assistant special agent in charge, and Glen Glover, 46, a telecommunications specialist, have been charged with conspiracy and making false statements.

The men are accused of lying during their criminal background checks, saying their only employment was with the DEA.

The defense lawyers said that law enforcement is trying to prevent the disclosure of DEA agents were frequented the establishment.

“What’s really going on here is they want to shut down the fact that D.E.A. agents go to adult establishments, which is an absolute legal right,” Polos’ lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Warns Courts to Stop Targeting Poor People for Money

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department on Monday urged state judges nationwide to end unconstitutional policies of jailing low-income people as a way to collect fines and debt.

The letter to chief judges and court administrators said courthouses are not money-making ventures and should not use arrest warrants to collect fees, the New York Times reports. 

The practice of locking poor people up creates a cycle of fines, debt and jail, the letter said.

“This unconstitutional practice is often framed as a routine administrative matter,” Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department’s top civil rights prosecutor, wrote. “For example, a motorist who is arrested for driving with a suspended license may be told that the penalty for the citation is $300 and that a court date will be scheduled only upon the completion of a $300 payment.”

Some courts lock people up on minor offenses and won’t release the defendants until their fines are paid.

“When bail is set unreasonably high, people are behind bars only because they are poor,” Lynch said at the White House in December. “Not because they’re a danger or a flight risk — only because they are poor. They don’t have money to get out of jail, and they certainly don’t have money to flee anywhere. Other people who do have the means can avoid the system setting inequality in place from the beginning.”

WhatsApp Poised to Become Subject of Next Justice Department Encryption Showdown

WhatsApp

WhatsApp

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple isn’t the only tech company fighting the FBI over privacy concerns.

The FBI is in court with WhatsApp, which allows users to send messages and make phone calls over the Internet, the New York Times reports.

The world’s largest mobile messaging service has added encryption that makes it impossible for the Justice Department to access, even when a judge orders a wiretap.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and the Justice Department declined to comment because the case is under seal. But it does not involve terrorism.

The Times wrote:

To understand the battle lines, consider this imperfect analogy from the predigital world: If the Apple dispute is akin to whether the F.B.I. can unlock your front door and search your house, the issue with WhatsApp is whether it can listen to your phone calls. In the era of encryption, neither question has a clear answer.