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NSA’s Surveillance of Domestic Calls Was Permitted by Secret Court in Mid-2000s

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A secret court played a major role in the NSA’s ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decided in the mid-2000s to broaden the definition of “relevant,” which allowed the collection of millions of people’s phone records.

The information includes the phone numbers and locations of all domestic calls, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some attorneys are unsettled by the decision.

“I think it’s a stretch” of previous federal legal interpretations, says Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who, until December, was the Justice Department’s primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law. If a federal attorney “served a grand-jury subpoena for such a broad class of records in a criminal investigation, he or she would be laughed out of court.”

NYPD Cop Accused of Abusing Federal Database to Snoop on Co-Workers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Another New York City cop is accused of abusing a federal database operated by the FBI.

The Associated Press reports that Edwin Vargas looked up names of two fellow officers without their knowledge.

Vargas is just the latest NYPC officer accused of abusing the National Crime Information Center database. Others have used the database to tip off drug dealers and stage robberies.

The NCIC database has a lot of information and helps track down cars, stolen guns, fugitives, sex offenders and others, the AP wrote.

ACLU lists 10 Most ‘Disturbing’ Things About FBI Since 9/11

By Matthew Harwood
ACLU Media Relations Associate

Next Tuesday, James Comey will have his first job interview for succeeding Robert Mueller as director of the FBI.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will not only have the chance to determine whether Comey is qualified for the job—and we have our concerns—but an opportunity to examine what the FBI has become since 9/11 and whether it needs to change course over the next decade.

Over the past 12 years, the FBI has become a domestic intelligence agency with unprecedented power to peer into the lives of ordinary Americans and secretly amass data about people not suspected of any wrongdoing. The recent revelation about the FBI using the Patriot Act’s “business records provision” to track all U.S. telephone calls is only the latest in a long line of abuse stemming from the expanded powers granted to the bureau since September 2001.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime History: U.S. Atty. Chris Christie Talks About Anthrax Probe in 2002

httpv://youtu.be/rL0q8J0g6bo

ATF Official Who Oversaw Botched Sting Will Oversee Phoenix Office

By John Diedrich
Journal Sentinel

The ATF leader who oversaw a botched undercover operation in Milwaukee will now be in charge of the agency’s embattled Phoenix office, where agents allowed more than 2,000 guns to walk into the hands of suspected criminals through the infamous “Operation Fast and Furious.”

Bernard “B.J.” Zapor will be reunited in Phoenix with Fred Milanowski, another key figure in Milwaukee’s “Operation Fearless,” where a Journal Sentinel investigation found agents lost government guns, had their storefront ripped off and arrested at least four of the wrong people.

Zapor was in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ St. Paul Field Division, which covers Wisconsin and three other states. In November, shortly after the Milwaukee sting was abruptly shut down, he was promoted to a position in Washington, D.C., supervising eight field divisions.

Officials from the ATF and the U.S. Department of Justice told congressional staffers in April that disciplinary action was under way against Zapor because of the Milwaukee operation. They won’t say if Zapor’s assignment to Phoenix is punishment.

To read the full story click here. 

Appeals Court Denies Ex-FBI Agent Robert Lustyik Jr. Freedom Pending Trial

Robert Lustyik Jr.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI agent Robert Lustyik Jr. won’t be getting out federal prison in Utah any time soon.

The website Lohud.com reports that afederal appeals court in Utah has denied his request to get out of the fed prison pending trial on conspiracy charges. His freedom was revoked March 19 after a judge found he violated his bail conditions and had contact with a witness in his case.

An FBI agent was charged with using his position to try and derail a federal probe into a business partner, the Justice Department announced.

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City charged Lustyik Jr., 51, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; Michael L. Taylor, 51, of Harvard, Mass., the principal of Boston-based American International Security Corporation (AISC); and Johannes W. Thaler, 49, of New Fairfield, Conn., each with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.

At the time of his indictment, the Justice Department issued a statement by then Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

“According to the indictment, while active in the FBI, former Special Agent Lustyik used his position in an attempt to stave off the criminal investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer in a statement. “He allegedly acted through a childhood friend to secure promises of cash, purported medical expenses and business proceeds in exchange for abusing his position as an FBI agent. The alleged conduct is outrageous, and we will do everything we can to ensure that justice is done in this case.”

To read more click here.

 

 

Radical Anwar al-Awaki Liked the Hookers, FBI Documents Show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

So much for holiness and disdain for the vices of the west.

CNN reports that in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks,  FBI agents surveilled U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and found he was visiting prostitutes.

The network reports Al-Awlaki lived in a Washington suburb at the time and visited prostitutes at least seven times and paid up to $400 for sex.

The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Judicial Watch, a consevative watch-dog group.

Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 in Yemen in a U.S. missile strike.

To read more click here. 

 

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The prospect is on his mind, but even at his age, Elliott is

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