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Border Patrol Helicopter Comes Under Fire; FBI Investigates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to determine who fired shots at a Border Patrol helicopter on Friday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing near the Mexican border.

The helicopter was carrying at least one Border Patrol agent during an operational mission along the Rio Grande near Laredo, Texas, when it came under fire, Reuters reports.

“The rounds penetrated and damaged the aircraft, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing,” Special Agent Michelle Lee told Reuters.

No one was injured, she said.

It wasn’t clear this weekend whether the shots came from the American or Mexican side of the border, which the FBI is investigating.

The Texas Rangers also are helping investigate.

Homeland Security Chairman: Espionage Motivates China to Hack U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Evidence n0t only points to China as the culprit behind “the most significant breach in U.S. History,” but the hackers may have been sponsored by the Chinese government, The Hill reports. 

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said all indications are that hackers were motivated espionage because of the target, the Office of Personnel Management.

It’s not only looking very likely that someone located in China hacked the U.S.

“It was perhaps nation-state sponsored because of the way it was done,” he said. “It was done for espionage.”

“This is an area where there are no rules to the game,” McCaul added. “It raises all sorts of issues for Americans.”

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Weekend Series on Crime: Going Undercover as a Mexican Drug Lord

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.”

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