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Archive for December 14th, 2020

William Barr Stepping Down as Attorney General

By Allan Lengel

After the relationship turned contentious it came as no surprise that Attorney General William Barr would be leaving early, one way or another.

On Monday, President Trump tweeted:

Long-Unsolved Code from Zodiac Killer Has Been Cracked, FBI Confirms

The “340 cipher,” via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has confirmed that a coded message from the Zodiac Killer has finally been cracked, more than 40 years after it was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle

The cracked code, however, does not reveal any obvious clues about the identity of the serial killer, who has murdered at least five people in the Bay Area in California in 1968 and 1969. 

The “340 cipher,” which was sent to the newspaper in November 1969, was solved by a code-breaking team from the U.S., Australia, and Belgium, the Chronicle reports.

The message reads, “I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me. … I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me.”

“Over the past 51 years, C.R.R.U. has reviewed numerous proposed solutions from the public — none of which had merit,” the F.B.I. said in a statement. “The cipher was recently solved by a team of three private citizens.”

In a separate statement, the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office said the cipher “was recently solved by private citizens.”

“The Zodiac Killer case remains an ongoing investigation for the F.B.I. San Francisco division and our local law enforcement partners,” the office said. “The Zodiac Killer terrorized multiple communities across Northern California and even though decades have gone by, we continue to seek justice for the victims of these brutal crimes.”

FBI Investigates Suspected Russian Hacking of Government Networks

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating hackers who breached the Treasury and Commerce departments, along with other government agencies, gaining access to their email systems. 

Russian government hackers appear to be behind the intrusion, The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

The hackers, whose nickname is Cozy Bear or APT29, also were behind the hacking of the State Department and White House email servers during the Obama administration. 

Authorities are still trying to determine the nature and extent of the breach. It’s not yet clear whether classified material was obtained. 

The campaign may have begun as early as spring. 

Federal law enforcement declined to comment on the intrusion over the weekend.