Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

June 2021
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



News Story

FBI Now Says It Didn’t Err When Trying to Reset San Bernardino attacker’s iCloud password

IPhone 6By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI officials are backing off earlier claims made by Director James Comey that “there was a mistake” made by investigators when they tried to gain access to an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

In a court filing on Thursday, FBI officials said the decision to reset the password of an iCloud account tied to Syed Farook, who killed 14 people with the help of his wife in the Dec. 2 shootings, did not make a difference in accessing data from the phone, The Dallas Morning News reports. 

Farouk turned off iCloud backups for his mail, photos and notes, said FBI Agent Chris Pluhar.

The sworn declaration was intended to rebut claims from Apple that the FBI erred when it tried to change the iCloud password. If investigators hadn’t done that, Apple said investigator could have tricked the iPhone from automatically backing up to iCloud.

“In short, Apple is not some distant, disconnected third party unexpectedly and arbitrarily dragooned into helping solve a problem for which it bears no responsibility,” Justice Department lawyers wrote. “Rather, Apple is intimately close to the barriers on Farook’s locked iPhone because Apple specifically designed the iPhone to create those barriers.”

Apple took offense at suggestions that the company was trying to impeded the investigation.

“Everybody should beware because it seems like disagreeing with the Department of Justice means you must be evil and anti-American, nothing could be further from the truth,” Apple senior vice president and general counsel Bruce Sewell said in a conference call with reporters.

Other Stories of Interest

GOP Files FOIA Suit Against State Department for Access to Clinton E-Mails

GOP elephantBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Republican National Committee has filed two lawsuits against the federal government in hopes of accessing Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and text messages when she was secretary of state.

The GOP requested access to the records in Freedom of Information Act requests filed last year but so far has received no documents, Fox News reports. 

There are no at least 34 civil suits that have been filed for access to the records.

“For too long the State Department has undermined the public and the media’s legitimate right to records under the Freedom of Information Act, and it’s time it complies with the law,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

The FBI is investigating whether Clinton used her private e-mail server to pass on sensitive information.

Clinton continues to say that she never sent or received information that was considered classified.

On Wednesday, Republican senators also asked for more information involving the investigation.

The Hill: How Body Cameras on Border Patrol Agents Could Save Lives

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.By Pedro Rios
The Hill

In 2010, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a husband and father of five, was handcuffed, tortured and brutally beaten to death by 12 Border Patrol agents at the San Ysidro border crossing in California. The horrifying incident witnessed by dozens of people exposed a systemic problem with the nation’s largest law enforcement agency: that Border Patrol agents operate with impunity, without meaningful accountability, and in complete opaqueness.

The abuses by agents are widespread and well documented. Since January of 2010 more than46 people have died as a result of an interaction with the Border Patrol. This past June, a woman was killed when Border Patrol agents intentionally rammed their boat into another boat carrying 20 people. In 2012, a Border Patrol agent shot 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez repeatedly in the back before he died. He was on his way to a local market to buy food staples in the Mexican city of Nogales, along the border with Arizona.

In the Hernandez Rojas case, a civilian bystander recorded the incident from the safety of an elevated pedestrian walkway. The video shows 12 Border Patrol agents, who are armed with batons and a Taser, brutally beating and tasing Rojas — who was lying on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. Six years later, not one of the 12 agents has been charged or even fired.

Hernandez Rojas’s widow, Maria Puga, is leading the movement for expanded oversight and accountability, including the demand that Border Patrol agents wear body cameras, which are a proven deterrent of abuse. A study shows that when officers wear them, the use of force plummets over 50 percent. Both civilians and officers experience fewer injuries when officers wear body cameras.

 

Watchdog Group Sues CIA for Access to Osama bin Laden’s Porn Stash

Osama bin LadenBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A conservative watchdog group is suing the CIA for access to Osama bin Laden’s porn stash that was found in his Pakistan compound in 2011.

Judicial Watch argued in a lawsuit that the CIA should be forced to turn over the pornography collection as part of a Freedom of Information request filed last year, The Washington Times reports. 

The porn stash was found by the Navy SEALS when they raided the hideout and killed bin Laden.

The June 15 requested asked the CIA for copies of “All pornographic material collected during and/or after the U.S. military operation in Abbotabad, Pakistan on or about May 1, 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden,” along with an index cataloging the items recovered.

Judicial Watch said the CIA has failed to turn over copies of the collection.

“Plaintiff is being irreparably harmed by reason of Defendant’s unlawful withholding of records responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA request, and Plaintiff will continue to be irreparably harmed unless Defendant is compelled to conform their conduct to the requirements of the law,” Judicial Watch wrote in this week’s filing.

Concerns Raised About How Accused Shooter Boarded Commercial Airline

Kyle Odom

Kyle Odom

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man accused of shooting a church pastor was able to board a commercial airline in Idaho despite an attempted murder warrant for his arrest, the Associated Press reports. 

Kyle Odom managed to board the plane without problems and traveled to Washington D.C.

The Transportation Security Administration said local law enforcement didn’t inform them of the arrest warrant until Monday evening, hours after Odom boarded the plane.

“TSA had not received a law enforcement bulletin to ‘be on the lookout’ for the suspect,” the agency said in a press statement.

Although TSA screens passengers on the government’s Terrorist Watchlist, it has no similar database for wanted criminals.

Odom, 30, who law enforcement said wrote a manifesto about Martians controlling Earth, was arrested after allegedly throwing items onto the lawn of the White House.

Other Stories of Interest

Stejskal: A Very Cold Murder Case in Detroit Dating Back to 1857

poster

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

By Gregory Stejskal

There is an apocryphal story – Ernest Hemingway was having lunch with some writer friends when he proposed a wager. He bet $10 that he could write a story in six words. With no doubt some curiosity, everyone at the table put $10 in the pot. Hemingway wrote on a napkin, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Hemingway passed the napkin around the table and collected his winnings.

Hemingway’s six word story is an extreme example of what is called flash fiction. My experience with something that might qualify as flash fiction was an 1857 reward poster that my wife found at an estate sale in Ann Arbor (Michigan).

The poster had a place, Detroit, and a date of April 14, 1857, and was offering “$1,500 Reward!” for information regarding a missing man, “John Rodgers, a resident of the town of Farmington, age 27.” The poster provides a physical description of John Rodgers and the clothing he was wearing when last seen leaving “Finney’s Hotel stable at dusk Tuesday evening, April 7th” (1857) where he left a span (pair) of horses.

The poster also indicates a suspicion of “foul play” and offers $1,000 “for the detection of any person or persons who may have been guilty of the murder of John Rodgers….” The reward is offered by Stephen Rodgers.

Like Hemingway’s baby shoes, the poster doesn’t so much tell a story as it suggests one.

My wife had the poster framed, and it has hung next to my desk. I have often wondered about the fate of John Rodgers, and what clues were contained on the poster.

The thing that literally stands out is the reward amount, “$1,500” In 1857 $1,500 was a very large amount of money worth about $42,000 today. It isn’t clear who Stephen Rodgers was from the poster, but he must have been a man of some means.

Since having the poster, I have made sporadic inquiries of local historians and checked records trying to find the rest of the story behind the poster.

Lee Peel, a historian of Farmington (Michigan), was able to determine that Stephen and John Rodgers were prosperous farmers with land in Farmington, but he wasn’t able to find any information regarding the incident described in the poster.

Later I happened on an article in the Detroit Free Press about the abolition movement and the rise of the Republican Party in Michigan. In the article Seymour Finney was mentioned. In the 1850s Finney was an abolitionist who ran a hotel in Detroit. Behind the hotel he had a large barn on the northeast corner of State and Griswald Sts. (Today there is an historical marker there.) Finney used the barn to hide runaway slaves until they could cross the Detroit River into Canada. The barn was located just blocks from the river.

Canada was a haven for the erstwhile slaves because in 1837 England had abolished slavery in their entire empire. So any slave that made it to Canada was free.

In the 1840s and 50s, an Underground Railroad developed in the US. Slaves followed established routes to northern states where they were relatively safe. Some of those routes led from the south to Michigan where there were many sympathetic people willing to hide them and aid their passage to Canada.

Read more »

FBI Under Investigation After Agents Shot at Wildlife Occupier But Never Reported It

Scene at federal wildlife refuge six weeks ago.

Scene at federal wildlife refuge six weeks ago.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents are under investigation after it was discovered they fired shots at LaVoy Finicum at the federal wildlife refuge and never reported it.

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said the two bullets fired by the FBI did not strike Finicum, who was shot three times by state troopers and killed about six weeks ago, Washington Post reports. 

State police were justified in the fatal shooting, but Nelson said the FBI agents “did not disclose their shots to investigators, nor did they disclose specific actions they took after the shooting.”

The sheriff’s office and the Justice Department’s inspector general are investigating the FBI’s involvement.

The FBI did not comment.

NSA Whistleblower Snowden Said FBI’s Claim That Only Apple Can Unlock iPhone Is ‘Bulls—‘

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said the FBI could have easily unlocked an iPhone and called the bureau’s fight with Apple a sham, CNBC reports. 

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’,” to unlock the phone, Snowden said during a discussion at Common Cause’s Blueprint for Democracy conference in Washington on Wednesday.

“Respectfully, that’s bullshit,” Snowden said.

Snowden explained that the FBI could have bypassed the iPhone’s auto-erase function but failed to do so.

Other technology experts backed up those claims, but said the FBI made a big error by trying to reset the iCloud password.

CNBC wrote:

Even so, security researchers say there are other options, like “de-capping” the phone’s memory chip to access it outside the phone (which Snowden has also mentioned), or resetting the phone’s internal counter so that you can guess the passwords as many times as you want. Those techniques are hard and expensive and could destroy the phone, experts say — but have worked in the past.