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Homeland Security Fears Hackers Could Compromise Election

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As more voting machines use wireless technology, the Obama administration is trying to crack down on possible hackers.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson expressed concern Wednesday that the nation’s electoral system is vulnerable to hackers, BuzzFeed reports. 

“We are actively thinking about election cybersecurity … [and] whether our election system,” he said, “is critical infrastructure … like the electric grid.”

Speaking to reporters at the Monitor Breakfast in Washington D.C., Johnson said there needs to be new cybersecurity investments.

Trouble is, elections are handled by more than 9,000 jurisdictions with control over voting.

To get over that hurdle, Johnson said Homeland Security has to coordinate with “states, cities, counties, who all have their own way of doing business, down to the nature of the ballots, the nature of how votes are collected and tabulated.”

DEA Says Decision on Reclassification of Marijuana Could Be Soon

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA may be close to reaching a decision on rescheduling marijuana to recognize the medical benefits.

The DEA spokesman Russ Baer said no determination has been made yet on rescheduling pot, but the process is in the “final stages” of an eight-factor evaluating process, High Times reports. 

“I can’t give you a time frame as to when we may announce a decision,” Baer said. “We’re closer than we were a month ago. It’s a very deliberate process.”

High Times wrote:

All of the wild-eyed hope for a marijuana reschedule really heated up this year when the DEA fired off a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren in April, suggesting that the agency’s plan was to make a rescheduling announcement “in the first half of 2016.” Of course, confusion surrounding the implications of the DEA’s agenda quickly produced a number of ridiculous reports implying that marijuana was soon to be made legal in every state across the nation. This is far from true.

As it stands, marijuana is classified a Schedule I, dangerous drug under the confines of the Controlled Substances Act. In the eyes of the federal government, this means that anything derived from the cannabis plant has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. But a schedule downgrade would make some modest changes to Uncle Sam’s hammer-fisted attitude toward the herb—opening up the plant to be considered as having some worth in the scope of modern medicine.

USA Today Column: CIA Isn’t Providing Presidential Candidates with Classified Info

donald trump rallyBy Ray Locker
USA Today

Intelligence briefings for presidential candidates, a tradition since 1952, have stirred more controversy this year than in any campaign since 1960, as the critics of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump say they can’t be trusted with vital national security information.

Trump’s habit of saying or tweeting anything that comes into his mind has led to unsubstantiated claims that he spilled secret information about Saudi Arabia, while critics such as House Speaker Paul Ryan say Clinton’s past use of an unsecured email server makes her ineligible to receive classified information.

Since President Harry Truman started the briefings to make sure the two nominees didn’t inadvertently veer into topics that interfered with ongoing policy, most briefings have been routine and uneventful. But there was an exception in 1960, when the fate of U.S. policy in Cuba drove much of the political debate, and that led to a change in nominee briefings that endures to this day.

Republican Vice President Richard Nixon and Democratic Sen. John Kennedy of Massachusetts were locked in an extremely tight race for the presidency. Kennedy claimed the incumbent administration of President Dwight Eisenhower was soft on the newly minted communist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba.

A growing exile community in the United States wanted Castro gone, and in March 1960, Eisenhower approved a covert program to oust Castro.

During the final weeks of the campaign, the Kennedy campaign released a statement calling for a brigade of exiled Cubans to retake Cuba. Kennedy, who was sleepingwhen the statement was issued, never saw it before it was released.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Investigating Cyber Attack of Democratic Congressional Group

democratic national comitteeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Another group of Democrats has been hacked.

The FBI is investigating the cyber attack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and whether Russians were involved, as suspected in the hacking of the Demarcation National Committee, Reuters reports, citing four people familiar with the matter.

The Kremlin continues to deny being involved in the hacking.

Sources said the hacker may have been trying to gain information about donors.

It’s still unclear what information was stolen.

Detroit Man Arrested After Stockpiling Grenades, Assault Rifle, Other Weapons

fbi-logBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI had been tracking a 29-year-old Detroit man for 16 months a he collected an unusual array of weapons.

The bureau said Sebastian Gregerson was stockpiling grenades, assault rifles, combat knives and road spikes, the Detroit Free Press reports.

On Sunday night, Gregerson was arrested after trying to buy grenades from undercover agents.

It’s unclear what Gregerson planned to do with the weapons, and the FBI stopped short of calling him a terrorism suspect.

His attorney, Bill Swor, said the charges suggested “they don’t have any evidence that this person had any real attack plan or any activity planned.”

FBI Accused of Waiting Months to Alert DNC of Suspected Russian Ties to Hack

hacker-artBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI failed to notify the Democratic National Committee that investigators suspected the party was hacked by a group backed by the Russians, according to three sources knowledgable of the discussions.

Huffington Post also reports that the FBI failed to warn party officials months later that investigators failed to warn the party that they were investigating Russian espionage connected to the hack.

As a result, DNC staffers were unable to take the proper steps to prevent more confidential emails and documents from being stolen.

Neither the DNC nor the FBI would comment.

Authorities Made Alarming Finding at Home of Homeland Security Analyst

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The case against a Homeland Security analyst continues to get more alarming.

After Jonathan Wienke tried to walk into a Homeland Security building with a gun, knife, infrared camera, handcuffs and pepper spray in his backpack, authorities have found more weapons at his West Virginia home, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.

Investigators found sawed-off plastic pipes, glue, walkie-talkies with extra wiring, tools and 10 boxes of magnesium shavings, oxidizers and thermite in the 45-year-old’s house.

The ATF said the weapons could be used to make explosives but not in their current form.

Wienke, who faces up to 10 years in prison on the original charges, pleaded not guilty to firearms charges last month.

TSA: Batman Fans, Don’t Carry Your Superhero Weapons onto Planes

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 8.28.00 AMBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sorry, Batman fans. You can’t carry your superhero weapons onto planes.

The TSA has reported an influx of people trying to bring aboard “batarangs,” which are sharp, bat-shaped weapons, NPR reports. 

The “batarangs” are being confiscated at airport security checkpoints.

The TSA said the weapons should be “placed in your checked baggage along with your grapple gun, bat-saw, collapsible bat-sword, and other utility belt items.”

The TSA said it occasionally has problems with people thinking they can bring superhero weapons on to a flight.

Other Stories of Interest