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FBI Agent Accused of Bankrolling Lavish Lifestyle with Seized Drug Money

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent is accused of bankrolling his lavish lifestyle with money seized from drug dealers.

Scott M. Bowman, 44, has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 confiscated from suspected drug dealers, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Bowman is accused of spending the money on a $27,500 sports car, a $44,000 Dodge Challenger, $25,000 worth of sound systems and wheels, $15,000 for cosmetic surgery for his wife and $1,000 boxing tickets.

In one case, according to the indictment, Bowman opened an evidence bag and removed “a substantial amount.”

Bowman “put his own greed above the trust placed in him by the FBI and the American public,” Assistant Atty. Gen. Leslie R. Caldwell said in a statement. “Corrupt law enforcement agents not only compromise those investigations in which they are involved, but also damage the reputations of fellow law enforcement officers who are dedicated to public service and the protection of all Americans.”

Bowman also was charged with obstruction of justice, witness tampering, money laundering and falsification of records.

Growing Cases of Extremism Is Draining FBI Resources Nationwide

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is using several dozen surveillance teams to track criminal suspects around-the-clock nationwide, USA Today reports. 

Comey said the surge of cases involving extremism is taking a toll on the bureau’s resources, noting that each of the bureau’s 56 field offices is investigating suspected violent extremists.

One suspect who required around-the-clock attention was Usaamah Ramim, who authorities said planned to attack police with military knives in Boston.

“This guy (Rahim) required 24/7 surveillance,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said. “We thought the threat was severe enough that we had to approach him.”

Rahim was shot by investigators after they said he lunged at them with a knife.

FBI: China-Based Hackers Stole Information on 4 Million Federal Workers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. investigators believe China-based hackers stole identifying information of at least 4 million federal workers across virtually every agency, leading to concerns that culprits could mimic American officials, the Boston Herald reports. 

The compromised data came from the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department.

“The FBI is conducting an investigation to identify how and why this occurred,” the statement said.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, called the breach “yet another indication of a foreign power probing successfully and focusing on what appears to be data that would identify people with security clearances.”

The skills of the hackers impressed experts.

“They were incredibly successful,” Anthony Roman, president of Roman & Associates, a global investigative and security consulting firm, said. “Certain types of malware are like little sleeper cells. It goes in there, it may stay dormant, then it collects a little information and it may go dormant again. It can be very difficult to detect as a result.”

DEA Agent Dies a Month After Motorcycle Crash in Indiana

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Scott Sieben, a DEA agent assigned to the Evansville, Ind., post, died this week from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash a month earlier, the Evansville Courier & Press reports.

Scott Sieben, 54, died Tuesday in an Indianapolis hospital where he had been since the May 3 crash.

Sieben previously worked overseas for the DEA but came to Evansville to be closer to his family.

“He was just really cool — an intellectual but a super nice guy,” said Karen Vaughn-Kajmowicz, an Evansville Police Department sergeant who is a member of the city-county drug task force that works with the FBI. “He just fit in well with this unit.”

Vaughn-Kajmowicz said Sieben was driven and dedicated to his family and job.

“Scott was the perfect balance of family, faith and work. All of us can learn from that — that you can be good at all of those things, Vaughn-Kajmowicz said. “You don’t have to put all of your eggs in one basket. You can be a good father, husband and a servant of God, along with being really good at what you do.”

FBI: Apple And Google Are Assisting Terrorists with Privacy Tecnhology

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Are Apple and Google the bad guys?

A senior FBI official told a Congressional committee that the technology giants are aiding terrorists by offering users encrypted communications, a senior FBI officials told the House Homeland Security Committee, The Register reports.

Michael Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, said the federal government should bar the companies from offering encrypted communication, a move that IT experts and even some members of Congress said would make the technology vulnerable to hackers.

Steinbach said terrorists are eluding detection using the encryption technology.

“Privacy above all other things, including safety and freedom from terrorism, is not where we want to go,” Steinbach said. “We’re not looking at going through a back door or being nefarious.”

 Other Stories of Interest


Proecutors: Terrorism Suspect in Boston Planned to Kill Police with Knives

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Not long before a 26-year-old terrorism suspect was fatally shot Tuesday during a scuffle with FBI agents and Boston police, he told a friend that he wanted to randomly kill police officers and bought three combat knives on Amazon.com, the Washington Post reports.

A criminal complaint filed against Usaamah Abdullah Rahim alleges he even wanted to behead an unknown person in a different state.

The complaint asserts that Rahim and two other men plotted the killing of police officers while they were visiting Rhode Island.

One of the suspects has been questioned but not identified. The other, David Wright, of Everest, Mass., was charged Tuesday with conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Sen. Franken Drills Justice Department with Questions about Spy Planes

Al Franken

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Less than a week after the discovery that the FBI was using fictitious names of companies to conceal the use of small planes to spy on Americans, Sen. Al  Franken is demanding more information on the surveillance flights, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

The small planes, mostly single-engine Cessnas, were used nationwide to assist in criminal investigations.

“Many Americans have been troubled by these reports, and as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, I believe it is important to ensure that these programs adequately protect Americans’ privacy while furthering public safety and national security,” Franken wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.

Franken wanted to know what kind of technology was being used and what the legal basis was for the flights.

“What safeguards are in place to ensure that innocent Americans’ privacy is protected during aerial surveillance utilizing technology that collects data and personal information?” he asked.

The FBI and Justice Department have declined to comment.

Lawmakers Try to Protect Medical Marijuana Users from Zealous DEA

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s defiant crusade against marijuana users may cost the agency a lot of money.

Federal lawmakers are considering several proposals that would severally limit the DEA’s ability to arrest marijuana users, the LA Weekly reports. 

One bill would protect hemp growers and sellers, and another would extend a law  designed last year to protect marijuana users in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Other proposals include trimming millions of dollars from the DEA’s hemp eradication program.

Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, saod “there’s unprecedented support on both sides of the aisle for ending the federal war on marijuana.”