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News Story

Investigators Retrieve Data Recorders from Train That Crashed in New Jersey

New Jersey Transit train, via Wikipedia

New Jersey Transit train, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The investigation into the New Jersey Transit train crash hit a new phase after investigators reached the train’s lead car to retrieve data recorders.

It was a big break after investigators discovered that the data recorder in the rear of the train had malfunctioned.

“Now is when we get very, very busy,” Jim Southworth, investigator in charge for the transit safety agency, said, the USA Today reports.  

Recovered from the front of the train were the data and video recorders that “appears to be in good shape,” Southworth said Tuesday.

It still wasn’t clear whether the devices were working at the time of the crash, which killed one woman and injured more than 100.

“We expect the recorders will be able to provide the investigators with speed information, throttle positions, braking system information, and about 100 other parameters, as well as a video image of the accident,” Southworth said.

New Special Agent in Charge of San Fransisco Division Played Key Role in iPhone Hack

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just two months before Jack Bennett became special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco division in May, the 52-year-old played a key role in accessing the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

Bennet was working at the FBI’s computer investigation lab in Quantico, Va., when the bureau received help from an outside company to hack into the iPhone, the Associated Press reports. 

“There wasn’t high fives, and there weren’t people singing down the hallways,” he recalled. “It was very much business. ‘OK, let’s move forward to the next steps. Let’s get on the phone. What do we need to do to purchase the tool?'”

Bennett, who has nearly 30 years of experience in law enforcement, has battled drug smuggling operations for the DEA before tackling child sex crimes and animal rights extremists for the FBI.

“The U.S. government sometimes loses sight of what is important to corporations … and privacy is incredibly important,” Bennett said during a recent interview at his office.

DEA to Reduce Opioid Manufacturing by 25% in 2017 to Curb Abuse, Overdoses

Fentanyl tablets

Fentanyl tablets

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s fight against painkiller abuse has prompted the agency to reduce opioid manufacturing by 25% in 2017.

The cutback will affect drugs such as fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone, the Verge reports. 

The good news is, fewer prescriptions are being written for opioids as doctors are becoming more aware of painkiller abuse and its link to heroin use.

The abuse of heroin and opioids are a major reason that 2014 was the deadliest year on record for drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 60% of the overdoses involved an opioid.

Opioids also have become the second most popular drug for non-medical use after marijuana.

Other Stories of Interest

Depth in the Sands: The Horror of the U.S.-Mexico Border

How the FBI Wound Up Destroying Evidence in Clinton Investigation

FBI Nab ISIS Terrorist Trying to Kill U.S. Soldier

FBI Hopes Sketch Will Help Solve 40-Year-Old Ohio Cold Case

Former FBI Agent Named Head of Erie County Central Police Services

DEA Backs Off Kratom Ban – for Now – After Mounting Public Pressure

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Under mounting public pressure, the DEA has delayed the ban on Kratom, a Southeast Asian tree leaf that is said to be helpful for pain relief and heroin abuse.

The DEA had planned to name the herb as an illegal Schedule 1 substance, which would have placed it in the same category as heroin.

Despite the delay, Kratom sellers and users and some lawmakers are worried the ban will still happen, KTVU reports.

Owner of Twisted Thistle Apothicaire in Berkeley said Kratom is very popular and effective.

“We didn’t get into this business for Kratom. Kratom found us,” said owner Ethan Franc.

The DEA claims Kratom is addictive and has hallucinogenic properties and therefore should be banned.

Federal Investigators Struggle to Determine Cause of New Jersey Train Crash

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal investigation into the crash of a commuter train in Hoboken, N.J., has failed so far to uncover what went wrong because of a lack of evidence.

The New Kersey Transit train crashed into the wall of a station, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others.

Investigators said one of the train’s data recorder was not working at the time of the crash. The second data recorder is trapped in the front of the train, and it’s too dangerous to retrieve the device at this time, McClatchy reports. 

Also at the front of the train is a forward-facing camera that has also been inaccessible.

The NTSB has used a drone to survey the crash scene, but it wasn’t helpful in determining a cause.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI to Announce Location of New Headquarters in December

The FBI's current headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has been searching for a new headquarters for years.

Finally, the wait is about to come to an end, according to CPExecutive.com. 

The FBI is expected to announce its decision on the location of the new $2.5 billion headquarters in December. In July 2014, the potential sites were narrowed down to Greenbelt, Md., Landover, Md., and Springfield, Va.

Under the deal, the winning bidder will build the new headquarters and take possession of the current headquarters.

CPExecutive wrote:

Given the issues with the Hoover Building’s deferred maintenance and deteriorating concrete that were documented for some years before the decision was made to have the FBI bail out for a new headquarters, it seems likely that whoever the new owner is, they will demolish much or all of the hulking structure.

Finally, when the new location opens, it will be deja vu all over again for the FBI. When the Hoover Building opened in June 1974, the agency had headquarters employees scattered across nine buildings. And it took till June 1977 for the last of the FBI’s employees to finally relocate into the Hoover Building.

Veteran FBI Agent John F. Good, Who Oversaw ABSCAM Scandal, Has Died

FBI Abscam tape

FBI Abscam tape

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Veteran FBI agent John F. Good, who was integral to uncovering the ABSCAM scandal that brought down six House members, a U.S. senator and 12 others in the 1970s, has died.

Good was 80 and died Wednesday at his Island Park home, Newsday reports. 

Good oversaw the ABSCAM anti-corruption operation that was depicted in the film, “American Hustle.”

Good’s brother confirmed the death.

Outgoing Leader of Justice Department’s National Security Division Speaks out about Hackers

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Carlin, the leader of the Justice Department’s national security division, said cybersecurity has become a major focus as nation states and individuals target U.S. infrastructure and business.

NPR spoke to Carlin, who is leaving after serving in the government for 17 years, about the new challenges facing the Justice Department.

Here is a partial transcript of his interview with NPR:

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

We’re going to hear now from the man who’s led the Justice Department’s National Security effort. And one of his big priorities has been protecting the U.S. from hackers. John Carlin sat down with NPR’s Carrie Johnson as he prepares to leave the government.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: When he took the job three years ago, John Carlin didn’t expect to spend so much time on cybersecurity.

JOHN CARLIN: I would just say to any of those out there considering whether or not to try to harm the United States through cyber means, we have a message, which is we can figure out who did it and when we do, we’re not afraid to impose consequences, and we will.

JOHNSON: The U.S. government has already gone after three major cyber adversaries, China, North Korea and Iran. That leaves one more, Russia. Senior members of Congress have blamed Russia for hacking the Democratic National Committee and for breaking into the voter registration systems in nearly two dozen states. It’s part of what lawmakers call a plot designed to undermine confidence in the American electoral system.

Carlin wouldn’t say whether indictments are imminent against anyone in Russia. But he did say actions have consequences.

CARLIN: And we would take very, very seriously an attempt to undermine the integrity of our democracy.

JOHNSON: In 2014, his prosecutors indicted five members of the People’s Liberation Army of China for stealing secrets from American businesses.

CARLIN: And their activities spiked at 9:00 a.m. Beijing time. This is their day job.