Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

November 2022
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



News Story

Was Hacker Able to Seize Plane Mid-Flight? FBI Investigates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether a purported hacker was able to control a plane mid-flight, The Washington Post reports. 

Chris Roberts, who’s with a security intelligence firm called One World Labs, tweeted on April 15 that he was able to manipulate the in-flight and crew-alerting system of a United Airlines plane. The FBI detained Roberts for several hours after the flight, seizing his equipment and barring him from taking another United flight.

“Lesson from this evening, don’t mention planes,” he later tweeted. “The Feds ARE listening, nice crew in Syracuse, left there naked of electronics.”

Roberts told Wired in an interview that he was only kidding and did not actually take control of the flight. But the point, he said, was to show that it can be done and to alert U.S. officials to the problem.

The FBI said Roberts claimed he was able to take control of the flight.

“He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights,” FBI Special Agent Mark Hurley wrote in his warrant application, as Wired reported. “He also stated that he used Vortex software after comprising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”

Dallas Morning News: Garland Flaps Illustrate Shifting Terror Focus

By the Dallas Morning News
Editorial Board

As terror attacks go, the charge of the jihadi wannabes in Garland will not be remembered as textbook. Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi had desire and tools, but their execution was lacking.

Their goal was to crash an American Freedom Defense Initiative meeting, Pamela Geller’s Muhammad cartoon contest. They arrived as it was ending May 3 but advanced no closer than the Curtis Culwell Center parking lot. Confronted by security officers, they tried to shoot their way in; a Garland police officer, with SWAT backing, put them down.

That might have been that, except for the lessons that would spill out. It’s unfortunate that so much attention has been paid to these terrorists’ incompetence. The next ones — and there will be more — may well prove more accomplished. And even Simpson and Soofi’s failure emphasizes how difficult these attacks are to stop.

Geller’s group had paid for private security and extra police. It wasn’t an unsuspecting soft target, like a shopping mall, baseball stadium or sports arena. The FBI had an investigative file on Simpson, based on past jihadi suspicions.

So how does this guy — with a partner, assault rifle and body armor — get so close? FBI Director James Comey said the bureau sent a bulletin alerting Garland police, among others, about Simpson before the Geller event. However, the FBI also said it had no reason to believe that Simpson intended to attack or that he had even left home base in Phoenix.

Garland Police Chief Mitch Bates said his department “had no information from the FBI or anyone else that Elton Simpson posed a threat to our event.” Yet Bates did concede that an assistant chief was on the distribution list for the FBI notice but didn’t see it.

So the FBI sent email that a terrorism suspect over in Arizona might have an interest in a Texas event but, as far as anyone knew, wasn’t headed to Texas. And Garland police missed the message. All things considered, several dozen people at the conference were quite fortunate that Garland officers had their range training in.

To read more click here. 

 

Other Stories of Interest


Column: The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI Urges Congress to Reauthorize USA Patriot Act

Ellen Glasser

Ellen Glasser
President of The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI

Today, the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is urging Senate leaders to pass legislation that will reauthorize the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act.

Representing 8500 current and former FBI Agents, the Society is an apolitical, professional membership organization with no agenda, other than to support efforts to keep our nation and citizens safe. Based on our experience, we know the necessity of the provisions that are set to expire. They have never been more necessary than they are in today’s threat climate.

Passed in 2001 after the attacks of 9/11, the Patriot Act provided law enforcement with critical tools in the fight against terrorism. The provisions set to expire govern how the FBI lawfully collects data, how we track “lone wolf” attackers, and how we obtain surveillance orders. The threats against America have grown even stronger and more brutal since 2001. Al-Qaeda, ISIL, AQAP, Al-Shabaab, and other groups and individuals like them, all seek to do deadly harm to us. The numbers have grown, their skills have increased, and their resolve is unwavering and absolute.

The terrorist threats that we face today, and particularly within our own borders, should alarm every citizen in America. FBI Director James Comey has addressed the use of social media to recruit increasing numbers of people to ISIL within the United States. Recently, ISIL claimed responsibility for an attack in Texas. A report now claims that ISIL has placed “soldiers” in fifteen states. This is surely not the time to let down America’s guard.

The FBI is committed to the rule of law and to the rights of our citizens to privacy. However, let us be clear. Unless we can successfully address imminent threats to safety, the American way of life cannot be preserved. Without the necessary tools and without trust in the FBI, our nation will be weaker and our citizens will be less safe. We believe that the FBI’s lawful efforts, along with vigilant oversight, strike the proper balance between security and privacy.

As its acronym suggests, the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act are essential to Protecting America. We ask members of Congress to do their part by supporting the reauthorization.

 

 

Weekend Series on Crime: Top 5 Deadliest Mafia Hitmen

Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced to Death

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death, the Boston Herald reports. The bombing claimed four lives and seriously wounded a score of others.

The verdict was announced Friday in Boston by U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr.’s courtroom clerk Paul Lyness, the paper reported.

Tsarnaev will be formerly sentenced by O’Toole when survivors and loved ones of the victims will have the opportunity to present impact statements, the paper wrote.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released the following statement on the sentencing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:

 “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev coldly and callously perpetrated a terrorist attack that injured hundreds of Americans and ultimately took the lives of three individuals: Krystle Marie Campbell, a 29-year-old native of Medford; Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; and Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy from Dorchester who was watching the marathon with his family just a few feet from the second bomb. In the aftermath of the attack, Tsarnaev and his brother murdered Sean Collier, a 27-year-old patrol officer on the MIT campus, extinguishing a life dedicated to family and service.

“We know all too well that no verdict can heal the souls of those who lost loved ones, nor the minds and bodies of those who suffered life-changing injuries from this cowardly attack. But the ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime and we hope that the completion of this prosecution will bring some measure of closure to the victims and their families. We thank the jurors for their service, the people of Boston for their vigilance, resilience and support and the law enforcement community in Boston and throughout the country for their important work.”

LA Times Editorial: Indictment of L.A. County Undersheriff Holds Highest Officias Accountable

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

The encouraging message in the indictment Thursday of former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka on charges of obstructing an FBI investigation into the jails is that wrongdoers at the highest level of county government will be held accountable.

The indictments of Tanaka and former Capt. William “Tom” Carey, who oversaw the department’s internal criminal investigations, end the worry that federal prosecutors only went after the frontline deputies. So what about then-Sheriff Lee Baca? Did he direct Tanaka to frustrate the FBI probe? Or was he perhaps so detached and clueless that he could not see what Tanaka and other top department officials were doing under his nose?

That’s important, because for months it appeared that top leaders of the Sheriff’s Department might escape consequences for any role they played in separating a jailed bank robber-turned FBI informant from his handlers in a 2011 federal probe into abuse of inmates by deputies. Seven deputies were convicted and sentenced last year in the scheme to conceal the informant while Tanaka, rumored to be the mastermind of the operation, campaigned to become the new sheriff. Jim McDonnell easily defeated him, but in the ensuing months there were only occasional hints that Tanaka ultimately might be held to answer for any misdeeds.

It’s necessary to keep in mind that although Tanaka and Carey were indicted on suspicion of obstruction of justice, the underlying investigation targeted brutality in the jails; that investigation is ongoing. The structure, culture and oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department all contributed to a pattern of abuse of inmates and substandard jail conditions, problems that were so severe that they overshadowed the coverups, aggressive deputy cliques, racially biased patrolling in the Antelope Valley and other intolerable practices.

Some of those problems appear to have been exacerbated upon Baca’s appointment of Tanaka as undersheriff, and it will be tempting to believe they began at that point and ended with Tanaka’s 2013 retirement, last year’s election, Thursday’s indictment or some future indictment or conviction.

Texas Man Accused of Lying to FBI about Joining ISIS

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Texas man has been arrested after lying to the FBI about his allegiance to ISIS, according to a criminal complaint.

NBC DFW reports that Bilal Abood, 37, of Mesquite, faces up to eight years in prison for making a false statement to the FBI. http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/FBI-Mesquite-Man-Pledged-Allegiance-to-ISIS-Leader-303803121.html

A licensed security guard, Abood was born in Iraq and moved to the U.S. in 2009, becoming a naturalized American citizen.

Abood was captured while trying to travel from D/FW International Airport, where he told officials he was going to visit family. The FBI said he was actually going to fight for ISIS.

The complaint alleges that Abood admitted planning to go to Syria to fight with the Free Syrian Army.

Review: ‘1971’ Tells Story of Americans Who Broke into FBI Field Office

Dorothy Rabinowitz 
Wall Street Journal

“1971,” an Independent Lens documentary, resurrects the story of a group of Americans involved in the anti-war movement, who broke into a small field office of the FBI that year and stole its files—an act this film describes in worshipful terms, as it does the small band of activists who took part. These many decades later, the former burglars (none of them ever caught) seem to have got on with their lives, brought up their children—one or two even hint at having grown a bit more conservative.

Filmmaker Johanna Hamilton, is however, of another mind entirely—one that sees in them national heroes comparable to those in the great pantheon of classified-secrets leakers known to the world today. Watch the film’s camera linger reverentially on the gritty little bits of leftover hardware preserved by the burglar who had picked the lock on the door of that FBI office.

The film’s source of inspiration, made clear from the outset, is, not surprisingly, Edward Snowden. There are, Ms. Hamilton has said, “a lot of similarities between Edward Snowden and the burglars.”

A large claim, and still another indicator of the heroic status accorded Mr. Snowden by acolytes in the press, Libertarian and leftist ideologues, the anti-anti-terror legions, and assorted other groupies prepared to believe that government surveillance, intelligence secrecy itself, are threats far greater than enemy attack.