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FBI

FBI Dir. Mueller Has Concerns Over Detainee Provision

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By EVAN PEREZ
The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday said a Pentagon-funding bill that increases military authority over terrorism detainees injects new uncertainty into sensitive national-security investigations.

Mr. Mueller’s comments are the first indicating that the joint House-Senate conference bill failed to resolve concerns that had prompted the Obama administration to threaten to veto the legislation.

The legislation requires military custody of terrorism suspects who are members of al Qaeda and affiliated groups. In response to White House concerns, lawmakers included a provision to give the president broad discretion over whether the military or the civilian justice system takes the lead in terrorism investigations.

To read more click here.

Five Arrested in Foreclosure Bidding Conspiracy

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Creativity is one thing that never seems to be lacking when it comes to housing fraud, a pervasive problem.

The latest: Five men have been charged in an FBI probe into bid rigging on foreclosed homes at public auction in northern California, a local ABC affiliate reported on Tuesday.

A federal grand jury returned indictments on the men with charges including bid rigging and conspiracy to commit mail fraud on December 7th.

The indictment alleges that between September 2008 and October 2009 the men “entered into and engaged in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and restrain competition by rigging bids to obtain selected properties offered at public auctions in San Joaquin County,” according to the report.

More specifically, the station reported that the “men agreed not to publicly bid against each other then held private auctions amongst themselves and divided the profits, according to Assistant United States Attorney Russell Carlberg.”

To read more click here.

FBI Makes Arrest in Hacking of Gene Simmons Website

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a  Connecticut man  Tuesday in connection with a cyberattack on the website of KISS frontman Gene Simmons, NewsCore reports. Kevin George Poe is believed to be a part of the computer hacking collective Anonymous.

Poe was released on a $10,000 bond after being taken into custody without incident, according to the report. Poe took part in a distributed denial of service (DDos) attack in October of 2010 against the rock group frontman’s website GeneSimmons.com, which caused it to crash.

“Our legal team and the FBI have been on the case and we have found a few, shall we say ‘adventurous’ young people, who feel they are above the law,” Simmons wrote on his website.

To read more click here.

Appellate Judges Skeptical of Ex-Congressman Jefferson’s Appeal

file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s been six years since FBI agents raided ex-Congressman William Jefferson’s Capitol Hill home and found $90,000 in his freezer, and more than two years since he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for bribery and other public corruption charges.

Still, the 64-year-old New Orleans politician, who lost Jefferson a re-election bid in 2008, hasn’t served one day in prison. He’s out awaiting the outcome of his appeal on a sentence that was the harshest ever given to a member of Congress for a public corruption conviction.

Last week, Appellate judges expressed skepticism about his appeal, according to New Orleans Times-Picayune star reporter Bruce Alpert. Jefferson was convicted in August 2009 of 11 of 16 counts.

Alpert writes that legal experts say Jefferson could get some of the 11 counts overturned.

But the question, according to the Times-Picayune, is whether getting some overturned will make a difference and prompt the stoic federal judge in Alexandria, Va. T.S. Ellis III to lower his sentence.

“He really needs a home run in his appeal, a triple or double might not help him,” Dane Ciolino, a law professor at Loyola University told the Picayune.

To read more click here.

 

MORE STORIES OF INTEREST:

FBI Appoints Ralph S. Boelter as New Assistant Dir. of Counterterrorism Division

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Ralph S. Boelter, after 20 years with the FBI, has been named assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, the bureau said in a statement on Monday.

Boelter began his career at the bureau’s Boston Division in July of 1991, investigating white collar crime, violent crime and criminal enterprise matters, according to the statement.

In March of 2000 he was sent to the Los Angeles Division to supervise the Violent Crime and Criminal Enterprise Branch, later serving as the acting assistant special agent in charge of that branch. In 2005 he helped investigate the unauthorized disclosure of CIA Agent Valeria Plame.

In December of 2006 FBI Director Robert Mueller sent him closer to his native Wisconsin when he was put in charge of the Minneapolis Division, where he managed high-profile cases such as the $3.6 billion Thomas Petters corporate fraud investigation and terrorism investigations of Somali-Americans.

In 2010 Boelter earned the Presidential Rank Award for sustained meritorious performance as a senior executive.

 

FBI Denies Freedom of Info Request to Company About it’s Spyware for Cell Phones

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is a company entitled to know if the software it produces is being used by the FBI?

The FBI says No.

Carrier IQ, a Mountain View, Calif.-based tech company, aggravated many when news got out that it had installed tracking software on millions of peoples’ cell phones without their knowledge, and that it was capable of recording large amounts of user information including sites visited and even passwords entered on secure sites. The information could be sent to the cellphone carriers or Carrier IQ.

On Monday, it was announced that Carrier IQ’s  Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI was denied.  The company wanted to known if the bureau was using its software to gather information or manuals or other materials it produces.

The FOIA request was filed Dec. 1 by Michael Morisy, co-founder of MuckRock, a website that helps people file FOIA requests with the government, according to Computerworld.

The bureau responded by saying that, while they had documents pertinent to the request, releasing them would endanger ongoing investigations.

“What is still unclear is whether the FBI used Carrier IQ’s software in its own investigations, whether it is currently investigating Carrier IQ, or whether it is some combination of both – not unlikely given the recent uproar over the practice coupled with the U.S. intelligence communities reliance on third-party vendors,” Muckrock wrote on its website.

Muckrock said it  plans to appeal the FBI’s denial for the material.

 

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

 

FBI’s Preemptive Tactics Questioned in New York Terrorism Sting

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Were the Newburgh Four really intent on perpetrating terrorist attacks on US military planes and the homes of wealthy New York Jews?

A report by the Guardian on Monday questions the “ethos” of  FBI investigation that led to the conviction of the four suburban New Yorkers that were jailed for 25 years earlier this year from a 2009 plot to shoot down U.S. military planes and blow up Jewish targets.

An FBI operative, Shahed Hussain, coordinated, planned and even pushed the four men repeatedly to participate in a plot they were reluctant to join, according to the Guardian.

The four men were impoverished and desperate for money, and Hussain had offered a staggering $250,000 for their participation. One of the men was so mentally affected his apartment was littered with bottles of his own urine. Further, Hussain had a long criminal history which he sought to avoid punishment for by working with the FBI.

“The case will question the new ethos of the FBI, which, since the terror attacks of 9/11, has focused on pre-emptive prosecution,” writes the Guardian.

The lawyers have appealed the conviction.

To read more click here.

 

FBI’s Most Wanted Man in Houston Surrenders

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s most wanted man in Houston has turned himself in, reports the local ABC affiliate. The bureau had posted billboards with the man’s photos just days before.

Patrick Simmons is a suspect in a bank robbery where a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy was shot, according to ABC, putting him on the Houston FBI’s most wanted list on Thursday. Simmons turned himself in on Sunday evening at the FBI Houston office.

The 27-year-old and a group of eight others were said to be heavily armed when targeting banks, usually inside grocery stores–at least eight of them since August of 2010.

To read more click here.