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FBI Searches for ‘Ethical’ Hackers to Help Combat Increasing Cyber-Attacks

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The level of sophistication of today’s hackers has made it difficult for the FBI to combat cyber-attacks. 

With attacks on the rise, the bureau announced it’s looking for technology experts – even people with experience in “ethical hacking” – to become “cyber special agents,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Cyber permeates every aspect of what we do, whether it’s counterterrorism, criminal investigations or traditional cyberattacks, as we’ve seen in the recent past,” the FBI said.

The job candidates must be both technologically savvy and loyal to the country.

“The FBI seeks highly talented, technically trained individuals who are motivated by the FBI’s mission to protect our nation and the American people from the rapidly evolving cyberthreat,” said Robert Anderson Jr., executive assistant director for the bureau’s criminal, cyber, response and services branch.

The job pays between $59,340 and $76,568 a year.

A four-year degree also is required, and candidates must be between the ages of 23 and 37.

Oversight Report Blasts Homeland Security for Failing on All Its Missions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Homeland Security has failed on all five of its main missions, according to a scathing oversight report by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, Fox News reports. 

“Ten years of oversight of the Department of Homeland Security finds that the Department still has a lot of work to do to strengthen our nation’s security,” Coburn said.  “Congress needs to review the Department’s mission and programs and refocus DHS on national priorities where DHS has a lead responsibility.”

One unanswered question, according to the report, is whether the $50 billion that Homeland Security spent in the past 11 years on counterterrorism made the country any safer.

The report also criticizes Homeland Security for failing to properly protect the borders and combat cyber-attacks.

Still, Coburn said the future is bright if Congress acts quickly to resolve the problems.

“I am confident that Secretary Jeh Johnson is leading the Department in the right direction,” Coburn said.  “One of the biggest challenges that Sec. Johnson and DHS face is Congress and its dysfunctional approach to setting priorities for the Department.  Congress needs to work with the Department to refocus its missions on national priorities and give Secretary Johnson the authority to lead and fix the Department.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

NY Times: F.B.I. Employees With Ties Abroad See Security Bias

By Eric Schmitt
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. is subjecting hundreds of its employees who were born overseas or have relatives or friends there to an aggressive internal surveillance program that started after Sept. 11, 2001, to prevent foreign spies from coercing newly hired linguists but that has been greatly expanded since then.

The program has drawn criticism from F.B.I. linguists, agents and other personnel with foreign language and cultural skills, and with ties abroad. They complain they are being discriminated against by a secretive “risk-management” plan that the agency uses to guard against espionage. This limits their assignments and stalls their careers, according to several employees and their lawyers.

Employees in the program — called the Post-Adjudication Risk Management plan, or PARM — face more frequent security interviews, polygraph tests, scrutiny of personal travel, and reviews of, in particular, electronic communications and files downloaded from databases.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Story of the Ronald Reagan Shooting

Feds Won’t Charge John W. Hinckley With Murder in James Brady’s Death

John Hinckley Jr. -abc news photo

By Peter Hermann
Washington Post Staff Writer

Federal prosecutors said they will not charge John W. Hinckley Jr. with murder in the shooting of President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary in a 1981 assassination attempt, even though a medical examiner concluded his August death was caused by the old wounds.

The decision, announced Friday by the U.S. Attorney for the District, comes four months after the coroner decided that James S. Brady’s death at the age of 73 was caused by bullets fired 34 years ago outside the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue Northwest. Reagan, just 69 days into his presidency, was severely wounded. Brady was struck first, above the left eye, and the bullet shattered in his head into fragments.

“The decision was made following a review of applicable law, the history of the case, and the circumstances of Mr. Brady’s death, including recently finalized autopsy findings,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.

To read more click here. 

 

Man Claims Threats to Media Following Sony Hack Was ‘Fake’ And He Was ‘Messing Around’

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A threat to the news media following the Sony hack may have been a hoax from a tweeter who was just “messing around,” ABC News reports.

The FBI and Homeland Security believed the threat was credible enough to include it in a join intelligence bulletin last week to law enforcement agencies.

The bulletin alleges the suspected Sony hackers, known as the Guardians of Peace, also threatened the news media for covering the hack.

But the FBI has backed off after a man from Tennessee said on Twitter that the threat was “fake” and that he was “just messing around.”

The FBI defended its decision to issue a bulletin about the threat that  wasn’t corroborated.

“As part of our commitment to public safety, the FBI routinely shares information with the private sector and law enforcement community,” an FBI spokesman said in a statement. “We take all threats seriously and will continue to disseminate relevant information observed during the course of our investigations, in order to help protect the public against any potential threats.”

 

Border Patrol Agents Are Getting Attacked Fewer Times Than Previous Years

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Assaults against Border Patrol agents dropped for the sixth year in a row in fiscal 2014, the Arizona Republic reports.

The agency recorded 373 assaults against agents, a 20% decline over 2013. Of those, 366 occurred along the Southwest border.

That represents a two-thirds drop since fiscal 2008.

Although CPB has broken down the types of assaults in the past, it hadn’t by the Republic’s deadline.

Despite the drop in attacks, agents still feel more vulnerable to attack.

“Agents out there are saying that the people we arrest are less likely to listen to verbal commands,” said Art Del Cueto, president of the Tucson local of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing agents. “They tend to want to run more, to push back against the agent, to be verbally aggressive.”

FBI Assists Investigation into Disappearance of 43 College Students in Mexico

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com  

The FBI is beginning to help investigate the disappearance of 43 college students in Mexico, even as evidence recently surfaced that the country’s government may have been involved in rounding up the young people, NBC News reports.

The students, who were training to be teachers, vanished on Sept. 26 after protesting for more funds.

American scientists are helping analyze DNA evidence to determine whether bodies found in a mass grave in October are those of the missing students.

Prosecutors alleges that local officials were behind the disappearance. Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca, his wife and dozen of local officials have been jailed, accused of turning the students over to a local drug cartel, Guerreros Unidos, which grows opium poppies for heroin that is shipped to the U.S.

Investigative reporter Anabel Hernandez believes the Mexican government played a significant role in the disappearance.

“The government knew exactly what was happening,” she said, citing documents and cell phone videos that revealed the presence of federal police during the disappearance.

The Mexican government has denied any involvement.