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Alleged Hackers Who Dumped Data about CIA, FBI Were Arrested

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A hacking group that called itself “Crackas With Attitude” bragged earlier this year about hacking the CIA, FBI and Justice Department, gaining access to thousands of names, phone numbers and email addresses.

Now two alleged members of the group are behind bars, accused of executing the data breaches, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Andrew Otto Boggs, 22, and Justin Gray Liverman, 24, both from North Carolina, were charged with  conspiring to commit offenses against the U.S. in late 2015 and early 2016.

Among the victims were CIA Director John Brenna and then-Deputy FBI Director Mark Giuliano.

Investigators also are looking into three teenagers in the U.K. who may have been involved.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Authorities said the suspects often gained access to the accounts by calling the help lines at Internet-service companies and impersonating employees at those companies or the victims they were targeting. They were then able to reset the account passwords to their targets’ private email accounts, giving them access to those accounts. Computer-security experts refer to such techniques as social engineering, rather than hacking, because they typically depend on one person tricking another into providing key information that allows the suspect to access private accounts.

The “Crackas With Attitude’’ then used their access to taunt the officials, particularly Messrs. Brennan and Giuliano, with harassing phone calls and public ridicule posted online.

FBI Director Comey Sick And Tired of Talking about Hillary Clinton Investigation

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey is sick and tired of talking about Hillary Clinton’s email investigation.

So much so that he wrote a defensive two-page memo to FBI employees Wednesday, saying the bureau acted with integrity, Vice News reports.

In the memo, Comey said he expected the lawmakers to question him more about the Clinton investigation while he testifies before a Congressional oversight committee later this month about unrelated bureau work.

“Despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn’t a prosecutable case” against Clinton or her aides, Comey wrote.

“You may be sick of this, but let me leave you with a few words about how I have been describing the email investigation in private to our former employees as I meet them around the country,” he wrote. “I explain to them that there are two aspects to this: (1) our judgment about the facts and prosecutive merit; and (2) how we decided to talk about that judgment. I tell them that the difficult decision was actually the second part, not the first. At the end of the day, the case itself was not a cliff-hanger.”

Justice Department Drops Charges Against Ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison in 2014 for allegedly accepting gifts from a businessman promoting a tobacco-based dietary supplement.

But his sentence was on hold as he appealed the case.

Now, the Justice Department is dismissing the 11 felony counts after the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in June that prosecutors mishandled the case by mixing evidence of illegal activity with routine courtesies, Politico reports. 

The Justice Department said the Supreme Court has made it too difficult to retry McDonnell.

McDonnell and his family went on vacations and received gifts and loans valued at $177,999 from the dietary supplement businessman, Johnnie Williams.

The Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors failed to show that McDonnell intended to provide help to William in exchange for gifts and loans.

“After carefully considering the Supreme Court’s recent decision and the principles of federal prosecution, we have made the decision not to pursue the case further,” said a statement issued Thursday by the Justice Department. “The department thanks the trial team and its investigative partners for their outstanding work on this case.”

McDonnell’s legal team applauded the victory.

“We have said from the very first day that Bob McDonnell is an innocent man. After a long ordeal traversing the entire legal system, that truth has finally prevailed. We are thrilled Governor McDonnell can finally move on from the nightmare of the last three years and begin rebuilding his life,” McDonnell lawyers Hank Asbill, John Brownlee and Noel Francisco said in a statement.

Justice Department Investigations Uncovers Serious Problems within ATF

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal investigation into the ATF’s handling of undercover storefront operations revealed numerous problems within the agency, including the failure to follow federal law on people with disabilities.

The 112-page report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, which took 2.5 years to complete, recommended 13 reforms, USA Today reports. 

“Our review determined that while undercover operations can be an important component of ATF’s efforts to fight violent crime, ATF failed to devote sufficient attention to how it was managing its undercover storefront operations. It lacked adequate policies and guidance for its agents, and in some cases supervision, necessary to appropriately address the risks associated with the use of this complex investigative technique,” the report found.

The investigations found problems in several cities, including Milwaukee, Portland, Ore. and Pensacola, Fla.

The inspector general investigation was prompted by widespread problems with ATF that were uncovered by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Other Stories of Interest

DEA’s Intention to Ban Kratom Spurs Outrage in Petition to White House

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

Kratom pill, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s plan to ban kratom, a natural substance that is abused and can be dangerous, has spurred outrage from people who say it is an effective treatment, including for people addicted to opioids.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition to urge President Obama to intervene in the DEA’s fight against kratom, the Huffington Post reports. 

“Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” reads the petition. “This is not true for Kratom, it has been shown numerous times in reports from users to help recovering Opiate addicts, treat pain, combat depression and anxiety, and much more.”

The DEA insists kratom should be banned to “avoid an imminent hazard to public safety.”

Supporters of kratom criticized the DEA for failing to ask for public comment.

“Rather than have an emergency scheduling, why not host a summit meeting with all of the groups and organizations and investors that are out there selling this product and say, ‘Hey, these are our concerns. If you don’t clean this up this is what we’re going to do’?” Susan Ash, founder of the American Kratom Association, a nonprofit that supports kratom consumers, told The Huffington Post last week. “Why not go to the sources that they’re having the problems with?”

Huffington Post wrote:

Kratom is made from the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, a Southeast Asian tree related to coffee, and has been consumed in Asia for millennia, typically as a tea or powder. The herb contains alkaloids that appear to activate opioid receptors in the brain and reduce pain. Although most opioids have sedative qualities, low to moderate doses of kratom serve as a mild stimulant.

Wall Street Journal: FBI’s Handling of Clinton Investigation Looks Like Political Favoritism

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Editorial Board
Wall Street Journal

The closer we look at the FBI’s investigative file on Hillary Clinton’s emails, the more we wonder if Director James Comey always intended to let her off the hook. The calculated release before the long Labor Day weekend suggests political favoritism, and the report shows the FBI didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.

Mr. Comey’s concessions start with his decision not to interview Mrs. Clinton until the end of his investigation, a mere three days before he announced his conclusions. Regular FBI practice is to get a subject on the record early then see if his story meshes with what agents find. In this case they accepted Mrs. Clinton’s I-don’t-recall defenses after the fact.

The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem. But Congress has written many laws that don’t require criminal intent, and negligent homicide (for example) has never been unconstitutional.

The FBI notes also blow past evidence that Clinton advisers may have engaged in a cover-up. Consider page 10 of the FBI report: “Clinton’s immediate aides, to include [Huma] Abedin, [Cheryl] Mills, Jacob Sullivan, and [redacted] told the FBI they were unaware of the existence of the private server until after Clinton’s tenure at State or when it became public knowledge.”

That’s amazing given that Ms. Abedin had her own email account on the private server. It is also contradicted by page 3: “At the recommendation of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s long-time aide and later Deputy Chief of Staff at State, in or around fall 2008, [ Bill Clintonaide Justin] Cooper contacted Bryan Pagliano . . . to build the new server system and to assist Cooper with the administration of the new server system.”

To read more click here.