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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department’s Highest-Ranking Openly Gay Leader to Step Down

Stuart Delery

Stuart Delery

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s highest-ranking openly gay leader is stepping down to explore jobs in the private sector.

The department’s No. 3 official, Stuard Delery, has served as acting associate attorney general after rising the ranks since starting with the DOJ in 2009, NPR reports. 

Delery was a top counterterrorism expert and also agreed cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.

“It’s been a complete privilege to work here at the Department of Justice,” Delery, 47, told NPR in an interview Tuesday morning. “It’s been a real honor to be part of it, and I feel really lucky as a lawyer to have had the chance to do it.”

Delray also investigated financial scams, voting rights and tainted food and medicine.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch called Delery “an indispensible source of wisdom, leadership and inspiration.”

“We can all take pride in the many ways he has helped to make this country more fair, more equal, and more just,” Lynch said.

Bill Baer, who leads the department’s antitrust division, is expected to replace Delery.

Justice Department Reviewing ‘Panama Papers’ to Determine if U.S. Laws Were Violated

department-of-justice-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is investigating the so-called Panama Papers to determine if global politicians and public figures broke the law.

“The U.S. Department of Justice takes very seriously all credible allegations of high level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the United States or the U.S. financial system,” Peter Carr, spokesman for the Justice Department’s criminal division, told Reuters.

The 11.5 million leaked files came from a Panama law firm, which specializes in creating offshore bank accounts.

The “Panama Papers” were published by numerous news organizations, revealing financial arrangements involving tens of thousands of rich and powerful people.

“In spite of some of the lack of transparency that exists in many of these transactions, there are determined experts, at both the Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice who can examine these transactions,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Buffalo News: Congress Must Act to Resolve Issues Between Apple, FBI

congress copyBy Edtorial Board
Buffalo News

One could say that the Justice Department’s finding a way to unlock an iPhone without help from Apple is unfortunate.

To some, it could further delay serious discussion about privacy rights in this age of fast-evolving technology.

Congress needs to face up to its obligation to have this debate and to come to some reasonable conclusion. It needs to balance privacy rights with the increasingly challenging task of keeping the country safe from those who would commit mass murder.

This is a long-standing and continually developing issue, and one that Congress has largely ignored, as technology changes and becomes a tool of terrorists. Fundamentally, the law has not kept pace with science. But the need for a response is plain, even if the answers are difficult.

More and more Americans keep personal information, sometimes sensitive information, on their smartphones. Constitutionally, they have a right to privacy.

Yet the ability to monitor terrorists, who value body counts above all else, is also tied to technology, as is the investigation of crimes such as the San Bernardino, Calif., massacre that prompted this confrontation.

Both sides have compelling cases, which is a prescription for court action. It would be better for Congress to debate and resolve these questions.

Privacy advocates say they will keep the issue at the forefront, but the Justice Department has withdrawn its legal effort to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone and, in so doing, assist in an investigation of a mass shooting.

The phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino killers, Syed Rizwan Farook, may contain information about where he and his wife, an accomplice in that horrific attack in which 14 people died, may have traveled, who they contacted or any further plots.

Group to Justice Department: Donald Trump Bribed Ben Carson for Endorsement

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did Donald Trump illegally promise Ben Carson a position in his administration in exchange for endorsing the GOP frontrunner?

A group tied to Hillary Clinton supporters filed a complaint with the Justice Department that alleges Trump bribed Carson for the endorsement, the Hill reports. 

“It has recently come to light that Mr. Donald Trump may have willfully offered Dr. Ben Carson an appointment to his administration should he become president in return for supporting his candidacy,” wrote Brad Woodhouse, head of the American Democracy Legal Fund.

“ADLF respectfully requests that you investigate this matter and take all appropriate action as soon as possible,” Woodhouse wrote.

Carson told Newsmax earlier this month that he would serve in an “advisory capacity” for the Trump administration, if Trump is elected.

“Again, I’m not going to reveal any details about it right now because all of this is still very liquid,” Carson said.

Woodhouse wrote that “Dr. Carson’s comments strongly suggest that Mr. Trump promised him an administration position in return for his endorsement.”

Independent: How FBI’s iPhone Hack ‘Made Us All Vulnerable’

Apple logoBy Gus Hosien
The Independent

Since the horrific Brussels and Istanbul attacks we’ve all looked at our daily lives and saw vulnerability and risk. Where else could terrorists attack?

We begin to formulate security responses. CCTV, communication, surveillance, identity cards – they aren’t panning out. Perhaps we need to take things to the next level? How about we build an uber anti-terrorism system that grinds all our data together and identifies the people who wish to do us harm?

That uber-system has been built: it’s your smart phone. Health information? Apple Watch and other fitness trackers record your heart rate throughout the day. Financial information? Apple Pay and Google Wallet process your purchases. Locations? Your phone has recorded them all. Biometrics? You probably recorded your fingerprint, along with enough selfies too.

The FBI claimed that the iPhone, along with all of this information was impregnable. It decided to take Apple to court in order to access the phone – owned by the employers of Syed Rizwan Farook – one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino terrorist attack in December.

This was a great PR coup for Apple. Apple’s systems were perceived as out of reach to the most powerful technology force in the history of humanity: the US Government’s intelligence and law enforcement community. However someone found vulnerability in Apple’s old mobile phone operating system, iOS8, and the agency has now admitted that it has accessed the device. The FBI has announced that it will not inform the tech firm how it breached the phone’s security features leaving millions of devices compromised.

To read more click here. 

Washington Times: Justice Department Forces Courts to Punish Lawbreakers by Ability to Pay

justice-dept-photo-with-woman-and-courtBy Editorial Board
Washington Times

The rule of law is meant to guide the administration of justice. But in an administration obsessed with race, not necessarily. The Obama Justice Department has instructed judges across the nation to lighten up on the poor, and especially poor minorities, or else. The lady with the blindfold and sword has tossed her blindfold aside and put the weight of her sword on the scale to favor those with the right connections.

The Obama administration is all about payback. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has written to municipal and state judges from coast to coast warning them that federal funds for their courthouses could be cut unless they dial back fees and fines levied against “economically disadvantaged” defendants guilty of minor crimes, particularly those of ethnic minorities who don’t have the money to pay their fines.

The letter, dispatched March 14, was signed by Vanita Gupta, an assistant attorney general, and Lisa Foster, the director of the Office for Access, and lays out what they call “basic constitutional principles relevant to the enforcement of fines and fees.” Among them is a prohibition against jailing someone for failing to pay without first asking whether he is poor and whether the nonpayment was willful, together with a demand to consider alternatives to jail. Judges were warned that practices that “impose disparate harm on the basis of race or national origin” may violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the wake of Justice Department investigations into civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, municipal authorities are sensitive to racial discrimination, as they should be, but now judges are asked to be financial analysts and cut offenders a break if they’re broke. Who says crime does not pay?

To read more click here. 

Response

By James Burdick

What’s the point of printing the ka-ka that the Washington Times pouts out? This is their absurd take on a very serious problems. It’s not the assessment of costs, fines and fees that the economically disadvantaged suffer – typically black and other minorities – it’s putting them in jail “until” they can pay.

Which of course is never. How does that help society. Someone steals a pound of hamburger meat from a grocery store. What is he, a terrorist? A murdered? A rapist? No, he’s hungry and has no money for food for himself or his family. So order him to pay thousands in costs, court fees and fines and then jail him for not paying because he has no money? This the Washington Times thinks is evidence of race bias by the President’s administration. They should try living on $7.00 an hour with a few kids and see how long they can do that.

James Burdick, a former Wayne County prosecutor, is a criminal defense attorney who also handles health care cases at Burdick Law, P.C. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

FBI Opens iPhone without the Help of Apple; Justice Department Withdraws Case

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government has successfully cracked the security function on an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists and officially withdrew its legal battle against Apple.

But the USA Today suggests the bigger battle over tech privacy “is just getting started,” citing observers in the industry.

“This lawsuit may be over, but the Constitutional and privacy questions it raised are not,” Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who had criticized the Justice Department’s suit against Apple, said in a statement Monday.

An unidentified entity suggested a method to open the phone without erasing its contents, allowing the government to gain access to the phone.

Apple still defended its position that creating a backdoor for law enforcement would enable less scrupulous people from hacking into phones.

“This case should never have been brought,” Apple said in a statement released late Monday. “We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated. … This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy.”

Boston Globe: Apple’s Battle with FBI Is Not a Free Speech Issue

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By Editorial Board
Boston Globe

Apple may have won widespread public sympathy in its showdown with the FBI, but some of its less publicized decisions in the case should raise alarms. As part of its legal campaign to resist an order to break into a terrorist’s iPhone, the company is quietly pushing a pro-corporate interpretation of the First Amendment that could do real damage to the government’s ability to regulate commerce and protect consumers.

A bit of background: After the terrorist massacre in San Bernardino last year, federal investigators were unable to access an iPhone that belonged to Syed Farook, one of the attackers. To overcome the phone’s security features, authorities ordered Apple to write new software that would allow the FBI to break into the phone. Apple says creating the code the FBI demands would weaken privacy protections for all iPhone users and has engaged in a war of words with the Justice Department over the government’s demand. The legal battle is now on hold as the FBI explores a possible workaround that might allow investigators to enter the phone without Apple’s help. But if that method fails, the case could soon heat up again.

Much of the company’s case rests on reasonable objections to the FBI’s interpretation of a 1789 law, the All Writs Act, which the government claims gives investigators the power to demand Apple help them. But Apple goes a step further, adding a misguided constitutional contention. That part of the company’s case goes like this: Complying with the FBI order would require it to write code. Computer code, courts have ruled in other cases, is a form of speech. Thus, the order amounts to a First Amendment violation.“The government seeks to compel Apple’s speech” in the form of code it objects to writing, the company said in a court filing.

But while Apple has a lot of good reasons to fight the FBI in the San Bernardino case, the First Amendment is not one of them.

To read more click here.