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Federal Agencies Complain of Being Unable to Access NSA’s Surveillance Information

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal intelligence agencies have been complaining of a lack of access to the NSA’s trove of surveillance information, creating what the New York Times called “turf fights.”

The Times reports that the NSA has been rejecting numerous requests for information from agencies working on cases that range from cyberattacks to money laundering.

NSA investigators said the requests were rejected because the cases weren’t considered high priority enough.

NSA officials maintain they have been careful about violating Americans’ privacy rights.

“It’s a very common complaint about N.S.A.,” said Timothy H. Edgar, a former senior intelligence official at the White House and at the office of the director of national intelligence. “They collect all this information, but it’s difficult for the other agencies to get access to what they want.”

 

Report: FBI Background Checks Are Riddled with Inaccuracies That Cost People Jobs

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As employers increasingly rely on FBI background checks before hiring prospective employees, a new report shows the process is riddled with errors and omissions, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

The report from the Employment Law Project estimates that 1.8 million workers are subjected to faulty background checks.

“As millions of workers struggle to navigate a still-challenging job market, the FBI must avoid creating wrongful barriers that cause unnecessary job loss and financial harm,” the report’s authors wrote. “The FBI is more than a mere receptacle of information; the imprimatur of the FBI marks the records as authoritative and trustworthy.”

That’s not good news for the increasing number of people who are subjected to FBI background checks. In the past decade, the number increased six times to 17 million last year.

USA Today Exclusive: FBI Allowed Informants to Commit 5,600 Crimes

By Brad Heath
USA Today

WASHINGTON — The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.

The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. The FBI submits that tally to top Justice Department officials each year, but has never before made it public.

Agents authorized 15 crimes a day, on average, including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies. FBI officials have said in the past that permitting their informants — who are often criminals themselves — to break the law is an indispensable, if sometimes distasteful, part of investigating criminal organizations.

To read the full story click here.

Ex-F.B.I. Agent Is Charged In Plot to Sell Documents


Robert Lustyik Jr.

By Benjamin Weiser
New York Times
A former F.B.I. special agent has been accused of conspiring to sell confidential bureau documents to a Bangladeshi man who was seeking to harm the reputation of a political rival in his native country, authorities said Friday

The former agent, Robert Lustyik, was with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in late 2011 when he began plotting with a friend, Johannes Thaler, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday in Federal District Court in White Plains, N.Y.

“I will work my magic …. We r sooooooo close,” Agent Lustyik wrote in an exchange of text messages with Mr. Thaler, the complaint said.

“I know,” Mr. Thaler replied. “It’s all right here in front of us. Pretty soon we’ll be having lunch in our oceanfront restaurant.”

To read full story click here.

 

Read the press release 

Weekend Series on Crime: How Hackers Changed the World

httpv://youtu.be/Rj35GguOAGE

U.S. Blasts Russia for Granting Asylum to NSA Leaker Edward Snowden

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government has expressed deep disappointment over Russia’s decision to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the BBC reports.

The White House is considering a number of moves to express that disappointment, including canceling a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We’re extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and in private to have Mr Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. “We’re evaluating the utility of a summit in light of this and other issues.”

Snowden walked out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport Thursday with a gray shirt and a dark backpack, the Guardian reported.

“The Snowden story has exposed the impotence of 21st-century US power,” the Guardian wrote.

FBI Concludes It Could Not Have Prevented Boston Marathon Bombing

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Facing mounting pressure to explain how the Boston Marathon bombers eluded suspicion, the FBI concluded Thursday that there was nothing the agency could do to prevent the attacks, the New York Times reports.

The FBI conducted server internal reviews of the bureau’s handling of Russian intelligence that warned the U.S. about one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Some members of Congress have argued the FBI could have done more to investigate Tsarnaev, who was killed during a shootout with police.

FBI officials said federal laws and Justice Department protocols prevented them from conducting a more extensive probe. Agents, for example, couldn’t conduct surveillance , such as wire-tapping, for that kind of investigations, the Times wrote.

The FBI also dismissed criticism that it should have investigated Tsarnaev after he returned from a trip to Russia in 2012 because there was no evidence he was radicalized.

Photos Showing Another Side ‘Whitey’ Bulger Includes a Priest Defrocked for Abusing Boys

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

But one photo showed Bulger relaxing on a sofa with a Catholic priest who had been defrocked for abusing young boys, ABC News reports.

The pictures were part of Bulger’s racketeering and murder trial as the defense winds down its arguments.

Other shots include Bulger with NFL hockey player Chris “Knuckles” Nilan holding the Stanley Cup, his two pet dogs and his girlfriend Catherine Greig.

“This is clearly an attempt to salvage his reputation. What other possible purpose is there to filing these kinds of documents?” Prosecutor Fred Wyshak said.

Today, Bulger must decide whether he’ll take the stand.