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Tag: Congress

Republican Congressman Criticizes FBI Director for ‘Unprepared’ Testimony about Apple Case

Rep. Darrell Issa

Rep. Darrell Issa

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who is an electronic security expert, criticized FBI Director Jame Comey for being “unprepared” to answer questions about the fight to get Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“He hadn’t asked the questions or taken the steps that would have led to his discovering whether or not there was a one-time solution as he kept telling us there was,” Issa told NPR. 

Issa was commenting on Comey’s Congressional testimony this week about the debate over whether Apple should help to unlock a phone.

Issa said Comey “seemed befuddled” and couldn’t answer basic questions about finding ways to access the phone.

Listen to the entire interview above.

Gizmodo Calls FBI Director ‘a Clown’ for Handling of iPhone Debate

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

Kate Knibbs
Gizmodo 

Bipartisanship, baby! Congress finally found something to agree on this Super Tuesday – how slippery the FBI’s stance on encryption is.

At a House Judiciary hearing on Capitol Hill, representatives grilled FBI Director James Comey and Apple’s lawyers over their ongoing battle. The key to the dispute is whether the FBI can compel Apple to create software that would unlock a terrorism suspect’s iPhone.

Most Democrats and Republicans asked Comey pointed questions. (A few complimented the FBI director on his candor, a sad reflection of how conditioned House members are to getting stonewalled by intelligence officials.)

Comey’s prepared testimony rehashed an argument he has trotted out before: Encryption is a cloak for evildoers that lets criminals “go dark” and escape law enforcement. As we’ve said before, this argument simplifies a complex issue into an inaccurate Bad Guys vs. Good Guys situation. The stale prepared statement was nothing compared to how Comey responded to the barrage of questions.

Members of Congress thanked Comey for furthering dialog at the end of the session, but the only thing the FBI Director cleared up is how flexible his relationship with truth is. The only time he spoke an unambiguous truth was when he said that Apple is a company with a responsibility to its investors, and that it is motivated to maximize profit.

Comey compared Apple’s security measures to a “vicious guard dog.” It’s a bizarre metaphor, but here’s a match: The FBI sent a clown to Congress today, spewing silliness to distract from the agency’s objective to expand its surveillance powers.

To read more click here. 

Apple’s Fight Against FBI Over Unlock iPhone Heads to Congress This Week

IPhone 6By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple and the FBI will take their fight over a locked iPhone to Congress this week.

FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to lay out his position before the House Judiciary Committee after Apple fought a court order to help the bureau unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, The Hill reports. 

The same day, Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell will make his case in testimony during a second panel.

At issue is Apple’s refusal to create software to disable a feature that wipe a phone of its memory after an incorrect password is entered 1o times in a row.

“This is a huge issue which is very complex. It should not be decided by a single district judge in California, it should be decided right here,” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told The Hill this week. But, he added, “I don’t think we’re ready to articulate” what legislation is needed.

Congress May Create Commission to Address Debate Over Apple’s Fight with FBI


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As Apple and the FBI square off over hacking into an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, Congress is debating a solution over the divide between digital privacy and national security.

NPR reports that lawmakers may form a commission modeled after the one created to investigate the 9/11 security breakdowns.

“There is no easy, knee-jerk, legislative response at this time,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said. “If Congress does nothing, as some would advocate … and we get hit in the United States with a Paris-style attack? I don’t want that on my hands.”

Apple has said it supports the formation of a commission, which could include members from the tech industry, law enforcement, privacy advocates and the Obama administration.

The commission would then submit a report of its findings.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. said Congress should have acted earlier.

“In many ways the current litigation that’s taking place might not have been needed if we’d had this kind of approach a few years back,” says Warner, adding that he fears that the sides are “talking past each other.”

U.S. House Committee Demands Answers After Homeland Security Lost 165 Firearms in 3 Years

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Congressional leaders are demanding answers from Homeland Security following the discovery that it lost 165 firearms in three years.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, requested Homeland Security inventory records and policies, the Daily Caller reports. 

The discovery of lost firearms, badges and cellphones was made by the news site, Compete Colorado.

The loss of the firearms “shows that the department is consistently unable to safeguard sensitive property,” the congressmen wrote.

“The fact that hundreds of badges and cell phones are missing gives rise to a variety of different security threat possibilities,” the letter said. “It is particularly troubling, however, that the department cannot account for its entire inventory of firearms.”

Between 2006 and 2008, Homeland Security lost 289 firearms, according to the DHS Office of Inspector General.

U.S. House Committee Investigates Lucrative Bonuses Doled Out to TSA Managers

airport-people-walkingBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. House committee has launched an investigation into awards and bonuses doled out to senior management with TSA.

The news comes a day after FOX 9 revealed that TSA managers were receiving lucrative bonuses.

Kelly Hoggan, the assistant administrator at TSA headquarters in charge of security, received $70,000 in bonuses over three years.

The issue first came to light when Drew Rhoades, an assistant federal security director at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, blew the whistle on bonuses.

“It wasn’t tied to a performance rating, wasn’t tied to any objective basis, if you have a high salary you continue to get performance bonuses,” Rhoades recalled.

TSA said in a statement: “Since his confirmation, Administrator Peter Neffenger has sought to enhance respect, selflessness, collaboration, and accountability in all activities, across the agency, from executive decision-making to core security functions. TSA will not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct. When such conduct is alleged, it is investigated thoroughly, and when appropriate, by an outside authority. When an investigation finds that misconduct has occurred, TSA takes the appropriate action. This is the case regardless of seniority or position.”

Other Stories of Interest

Republican Congressman Tells Colleagues to ‘Shut Up’ About Hillary Clinton Probe

Rep. Trey Gowdy

Rep. Trey Gowdy

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Republican chairman of the House Select Committee, which is investigating the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Libya, is mincing no words about his colleagues in Congress who are speculating about the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton.

The Boston Herald reports that Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, told his colleagues to “shut up” about the case and let the FBI investigate.

“Everything I have heard about (FBI Director) Jim Comey tells me he is a straight arrow,” Gowdy said on Boston Herald Radio. “I am going to give him the room to do his investigation. He is not supposed to tell anyone what he is doing, he is not supposed to tell anyone what’s found and I wish my colleagues would shut up talking about the FBI investigation because this an executive branch entity.

“It should be a decidedly apolitical investigation and I’m convinced that’s what (Comey) wants to do,” the Republican congressman added.

The news comes after the White House confirmed Friday that 22 “top secret” emails were found on Clinton’s home server.

Clinton has denied she sent or received classified information on her personal e-mail account.

“The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told the Associated Press, adding the move was “not unusual.”

Congressman Demands to Know Why Justice Department Not More Involved in Oregon Standoff

Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Where is the Justice Department?

That’s what a Congressman from Oregon is asking about the standoff at a wildlife refuge in his state, The Hill reports. 

Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, said the federal government needs to act more aggressively to arrest the armed protesters.

“Well, the lights and the heat are on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge illegally occupied by ultra right-wing, anti-government extremists,” DeFazio said on the House floor Wednesday. “But you gotta wonder if the lights are on or anybody’s home down at the Justice Department.”

“Hello!” he yelled, waving his right hand. “I don’t think there’s anybody there.”

DeFazio said he doesn’t believe the Justice Department is doing enough to prevent armed protests against the federal government.