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FBI Believes Russia Is Behind Attempted Hacks of Voting Registration Sites

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI believes Russia is behind attempted hacks of voter registration sites in more than a dozen states.

FBI Director James Comey relayed his concerns to a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, CNN reports. 

“There have been a variety of scanning activities which is a preamble for potential intrusion activities as well as some attempted intrusions at voter database registrations beyond those we knew about in July and August. We are urging the states just to make sure that their deadbolts are thrown and their locks are on and to get the best information they can from DHS just to make sure their systems are secure,” he said.

Comey is warning states that would-be hackers are “poking around” voter registration systems.

Comey said the hacking attempts weren’t successful and didn’t compromise voting systems, at least not yet.

“We are urging the states just to make sure that their deadbolts are thrown and their locks are on and to get the best information they can from (the Department of Homeland Security) just to make sure their systems are secure,” Comey said. “Because there’s no doubt that some bad actors have been poking around.”

New York Times: Be Careful to Read Too Much into FBI Crime Report

police lightsBy Editorial Board
New York Times

Over the last several decades, whenever there has been a reported increase in violent crime numbers, there have been people eager to seize on the statistics and argue, as the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has, that crime is “out of control.”

The opportunity arose again on Monday, when the F.B.I. released its annual snapshot of crime nationwide in 2015, showing that there was a 10.8 percent increase in the number of murders and nonnegligent manslaughter cases over 2014. The number of violent crimes — which the report defines as murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and assault — was up almost 4 percent, while the number of property crimes, such as burglary and larceny, was down 2.6 percent.

These are troubling figures, and they demand a level-headed, targeted response. But any single data point must be considered against the broader trend of declining crime rates: In fact, 2015 was the thirdsafest year in more than four decades. And the number of violent crimes was 16.5 percent below the 2006 level.

The surge in killings was fueled by street violence in a handful of major cities. While murder rates rose significantly in 25 of the 100 largest cities in 2015, an analysis by The Timesfound that half of the increase in killings in big cities came from just seven — Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville and Washington — where most of the victims were young African-American males. Guns were used in nearly three-quarters of the 15,696 homicides in 2015.

Unfortunately, the debate over how best to fight crime is always a combustible one, so even relatively small changes in crime rates can lead to big and often destructive changes in law and policy, like mandatory-minimum prison sentences or stop-and-frisk policing. In the name of greater public safety, policies like these have done immense damage to minority communities around the country, and particularly to the young black and Latino men who have borne their brunt, even as evidence shows that they do little if anything to reduce crime.

To read more click here. 

NRA’s Influence Over Congress Leaves ATF Understaffed

atf-gunsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Even if the government decided to take away people’s guns, the ATF is so understaffed that it would be unable to follow through.

“Look, we don’t have the people,” Corey Ray, an ATF spokesman told Mother Jones. “Even if we were like, ‘Yeah, we’re coming to take your guns,’ 30 years from now you might get a knock on your door.”

The ATF said the lack of manpower is the result of the NRA’s powerful influence over Congress.

“Look, we don’t have the people,” Corey Ray, an ATF spokesman told Mother Jones.  “Even if we were like, ‘Yeah, we’re coming to take your guns,’ 30 years from now you might get a knock on your door.”

The ATF estimates that there are more guns than people in the U.S., and an additional 10 million new guns are manufactured every year.

To put that into perspective, the ATF has 2,600 special agents. 

Detroit Man Charged After Allegedly Threatening to Kill Police at Cop’s Funeral

Deshawn Maurice Lanton

Deshawn Maurice Lanton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — A 21-year-old Detroit man threatened to kill police while they gathered at a funeral last week for a Detroit police sergeant who had been fatally shot, according to a criminal complaint.

Deshawn Maurice Lanton was charged in federal court with charges that he used the internet to transmit a threat, the Detroit News reports. 

The complaint alleges that Lanton said on a live video on Facebook, ““Maybe I should drop a bomb on that building and get rid of the rest of y’all.”

The post was made about 90 minutes after the funeral began in suburban St. Clair Shores.

An FBI review of Lanton’s Facebook page found that Lanton rejoiced about other police officers getting injured, saying “how pleased he was to see officers being injured,” according to the criminal complaint.

“This case is different from some other generalized threats on social media against police officers and other groups because this statement threatens specific harm to a particular group of people at a precise location,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement.

Other Stories of Interest

Gordon Johnson, a 21-Year-Veteran of the FBI, Takes Helm at Bureau’s Baltimore Division

FBI's Baltimore Division.

FBI’s Baltimore Division.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gordon Johnson, who has worked with the FBI since 1995, has been named special agent in charge of the Baltimore Division.

FBI Director James B. Comey announced the appointment this month of Johnson, who most recently served as deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI headquarters.

Gary Johnson

After entering the FBI in 1995, Johnson was first assigned to the New York Field Office, investigating national security issues.

Johnson has held numerous leadership positions, including in the Counterintelligence Division and Baltimore Division, a senior representative to the U.S. Cyber Command at the NSA, as special assistant to the FBI’s associate deputy director and as the acting special agent in charge of the Norfolk Division.

The FBI said Johnson will take the helm in Baltimore at the beginning of October.

As ISIS Is Pummeled in Iraq and Syria, FBI Director Warns of ‘Terrorist Diaspora’

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that he’s confident ISIS will be destroyed soon in Iraq and Syria, but that won’t stop the spread of extremism.

Testifying before Congress, Comey said he’s worried that terrorists will leave Syria and Iraq and flock to other countries, CBS News reports. 

“There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before,” Comey said.

Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said concerns remain high about al-Qaida and its affiliates.

There’s also the increase of “self-radicalized” attacks in the U.S.

Johnson said terrorists are difficult to detect because attacks can occur with little or no notice.

Border Patrol Agent Found Dead After Shooting at Officers in Arizona

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent was killed Monday night after an exchange of gunfire with police, who were responding to a domestic violence incident at his home in Maricopa, Ariz.

The couple’s 10-year-old daughter called 911 to report the domestic disturbance, according to 12News. 

The agent was identified as Jeremy Russo, 40.

Russo is accused of shooting at police as they arrived to his home.

One officer shot at Russo, and the rest of the family was able to safely flee the home.

SWAT officers sent a robot inside the home, where Russo was found dead in a closet.

“Before we went to bed, we heard shooting,” said Bonnie Kevicki, who lives around the corner from the scene. “I thought it was a gas explosion when the smash and boom went on about 12:30.”

Russo, who joined the agency in 2011, was assigned to the Casa Grande Border Patrol Station.

Police said it’s unclear whether Russo died from the officer’s fire or from a self-inflicted gunshot.

FBI Investigating Potential Hack of Cell Phones Used by Democratic Party Staffers

hacking By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a possible hack of cell phones used by Democratic Party staffers.

The bureau asked the staffers for access to the phones to examine the potential hack, CNN reports. 

Investigators are trying to determine whether the potential hack was connected to the original breach of the Democratic National Committee emails, which many authorities believe to be the work of the Russian government.

“Our struggle with the Russian hackers that we announced in June is ongoing — as we knew it would be — and we are choosing not to provide general updates unless personal data or other sensitive information has been accessed or stolen,” interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile told CNN.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and California Rep. Adam Schiff, who are the ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, blamed the Russian government for the cyberattacks in a joint statement.

“Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the US election,” they wrote.