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Authorities Discover Massive U.S.-Mexico Drug Tunnel, Seize 1 ton of Cocaine

Part of the tunnel.

Part of the tunnel.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities discovered a massive drug-trafficking tunnel underneath the California-Mexico border, seizing one ton of cocaine and seven tons of marijuana and arresting six people.

“We believe this to be the longest tunnel that we have discovered in this district to date,” Laura Duffy, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, told ABC News.

The cocaine was worth about $22 million.

The 800-yard tunnel began at a house in Tijuana and ended in the Otay Mesa neighborhood of San Diego.

“On the surface, few would ever suspect that traffickers were moving multiton quantities of cocaine and marijuana worth tens of millions of dollars in such an unassuming way, through this rabbit hole in the ground, in full view of the world around it,” Duffy said.

FBI Finds Useful Information on Unlocked iPhone of San Bernardino Shooter

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is making progress after cracking an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino killers.

Fortune reports that the phone reveals Syad Farook likely did not coordinate with another plotter.

The phone has been at the center of a heated debate over privacy and encryption.

After Apple refused to help open the iPhone, the FBI found help from professional hackers.

The FBI continues to search the phone for evidence.

Federal Judge: FBI Improperly Seized Child Pornography Website

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI failed to obtain a proper warrant before hacking a child pornography website, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge William G. Young said evidence against at least one defendant must be suppressed, TechCrunch.com reports.

The FBI seized the child pornography site, Playpen, and continued to run it to get information on the users.

The public defender for one of the defendants in the case, Alex Levin, successful argued that the warrant wasn’t valid because it was issued by a magistrate judge in Virginia. Levin’s computer was at his home in Massachusetts.

“The court concludes that the NIT Warrant was issued without jurisdiction and thus was void,” Young wrote. “It follows that the resulting search was conducted as though there were no warrant at all.”

Young also expressed concerns about the FBI running a child pornography site.

“Unlike those undercover stings where the government buys contraband drugs to catch the dealers, here the government disseminated child obscenity to catch the purchasers — something akin to the government itself selling drugs to make the sting,” he wrote.

Future FBI Headquarters Likely Won’t Be Named After J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When the FBI moves its headquarters, the new building may no longer be graced with J. Edgar Hoover’s name.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, argued that the future headquarters should not be named after Hoover, who has been frequently criticized for targeting civil rights leaders.

In a latter to the Obama administration, Leahy wrote that the former FBI director “routinely violated the law and infringed on the constitutional rights of American citizens by ordering investigations of individuals and groups who were not suspected of any criminal wrongdoing,” according to the Washington Post. 

Leahy wrote that Hoover’s FBI “illegally compiled thousands of dossiers on nonviolent civil rights groups” and “waged a concerted campaign against gay and lesbian Americans working for the Federal government and against gay and lesbian organizations.”

He wrote: “Given the systemic abuses carried out under Director Hoover’s leadership, it would be a mistake to associate his name with the new FBI headquarters. If the new building will be named for anyone, the Federal government must consider individuals who represent our values and who have dedicated their public service careers to upholding the rule of law.”

The FBI did not respond for comment.

FBI Investigates Border Patrol-Involved Shooting in South Central Arizona

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a shooting involving Border Patrol agents in south central Arizona.

The incident happened while agents were tracking suspected marijuana smugglers, KPBS reports. 

One agent fired a weapon after being assaulted with rocks.

Border Patrol’s Office of Professional Responsibility also is investigating.

The Border Patrol has been criticized for its use of force in recent years.

So far this fiscal year, Border Patrol agents used their weapons six times.

Records indicate that agents were assaulted nearly 180 times.

Other Stories of Interest

Senate Passes Bill That Would Improve Security at Airports

airport-people-walkingBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate approved a bill to overhaul aviation safety, security and consumer programs and policies, the Associated Press reports. 

In an effort to shorten security lines, the Senate wants to expand the TSA’s PreCheck program to include more travelers.

The number of TSA “viper teams” also could increase from 30 to 60 to stop and search suspicious passengers.

The bill calls for enhancing the vetting of employees who have access to secure areas.

Senators also addressed drones, saying criminal penalties need to be established to deter the reckless use of drone near airports.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Can’t Access 13% of Password-Protected Cell Phones Because of Encryption

cellphone-tower-photo2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Password-protected cellphones have become a big problem for the FBI.

Since Oct. 1, the bureau has been unable to unlock 13% of the password-protected phones that were part of an investigation, a top bureau official told a House panel Tuesday.

Investigators are having a tougher time than ever cracking into phones since data encryption has become stronger, the USA Today reports. 

“Clearly, that presents us with a challenge,” Amy Hess, executive assistant director of the FBI’s science and technology branch, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Congress is debating whether to pass legislation that would make it easier for law enforcement to bypass security features.

How a Fence-Jumper Managed to Get inside the White House in 2014

white house big photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It seemed almost unfathomable at the time: A fence-jumper managed to make it inside the White House in 2014.

An investigation of the incident by Homeland Security’s inspector general found that the Secret Service was hindered by technical problems with radios and notification systems, CBS News reports. 

Omar Gonzalez eluded eight Secret Service members after a communications breakdown when he scaled the iron fence on the north side of the White House.

Within four minutes, Gonzalez sprinted across the White House grounds to a door that was open and unlocked.

When he was apprehended, he was found with a knife.

“No other fence jumper has ever made it so far through the Secret Service’s defenses,” the report said.