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Tag: terrorism

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. 

CIA Photographed Captives Nude Before Sending Them to Be Tortured

CIA Headquarters

CIA Headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

CIA captives were photographed naked before being sent to other countries for torture, the Guardian reports. 

The photographs, described by one U.S. official as “very gruesome,” raised serious questions about America’s willingness to resort to “sexual humiliation” of CIA captives following 9/11.

The photos, which are classified by the CIA, show captives blindfolded, bound and bruised. Some of the photos include what appears to be CIA officials alongside the naked captives.

Because the photos are classified, it’s unclear how many captives were pictured nude.

The purpose of the photographs was to show the physical conditions of the captives.

FBI Director Comey: Brussels Attacks Likely Won’t Inspire Copycats in U.S.

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said there’s no evidence that the terrorists behind the Brussels attacks are connected to anyone in the U.S.

The FBI has been looking for any indication of copycat attacks and so far has found none, NBC News reports. 

Counter terrorism authorities had known of the two brothers who carried out suicide bombings in Brussels this week, and they were listed as a potential terrorist threat in U.S. databases.

Comey said he doesn’t believe the Brussels attack will inspire copycats.

“I am an optimist, but I actually think that it may have the reverse effect,” he said

“When people see images of innocent men, women, and children being slaughtered around the world, I hope that will reinforce the notion that the Islamic State, so-called, is not engaged in some heroic, romantic battle on the side of good, but instead they’ll see it as a bunch of savages occupying a space that’s hell on earth right now.”

FBI Sends Special Teams of Agents to Help Investigate Terror Attack in Brussels

Flag_of_Belgium.svgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping Belgian officials investigate the terror attacks in Brussels, Fox News reports. 

A team of agents from the New York field office will help conduct interviews to gather intelligence on the bombings.

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team from the FBI Lab in Virginia also are being dispatched.

Agents also will share intelligence from U.S. databases.

The special teams have some of the best forensic experts in the world.

Security Experts Harshly Criticized Donald Trump’s Response to Terrorism in Brussels

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After the terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday morning, Donald Trump made a series of statements that have confirmed the suspicions of many terrorism experts: The Republican frontrunner’s rhetoric doesn’t translate well into good foreign policy.

That’s what many security experts said following a day full of comments from Trump, The Washington Post reports. 

Just hours after the bombings, Trump was asked what he would do if he were the president.

“I would close up our borders to people until we figure out what’s going on,” Trump said Tuesday morning on Fox News. “We have to be smart in the United States. We’re taking in people without real documentation, we don’t know where they’re coming from, we don’t know what they’re — where they’re from, who they are.”

On NBC’s Today, Trump said he would use waterboarding and other torture techniques to gather information.

“Frankly, the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws or had the laws, waterboarding would be fine,” Trump told Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer when asked about what techniques he favored. “If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people.”

Security experts responded with harsh criticism.

Michael Chertoff, who served as secretary of homeland security under George W. Bush, said Trump’s ideas were “preposterous.”

“First of all, we have a much, much tougher refugee program than the Europeans have,” Chertoff said. “The problem the Europeans have is people showed up on their doorstep — hundreds of thousands, coming directly from the region. That does not happen in the U.S. We check people very carefully before we admit them as refugees.”

Terrorism expert Malcom Nance said Trump’s heated rhetoric was endangering U.S. intelligence and armed forces.

“Donald Trump right now is validating the cartoonish view that they [Islamist militant groups] tell their operatives and that they tell their terrorists,” Nance said. “That the United States is a racist nation, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, and that that’s why you must carry out terrorist attacks against them.”

U.S. Warns Travelers of ‘Near-Term’ Attacks in Europe After Terrorism in Brussels

homeland2department-of-homeland-security-logo-300x300By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. authorities have issued a warning to Americans traveling to Europe that “near-term” attacks are possible throughout the continent.

“Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation,” said the State Department alert, which expires on June 20, reports ABC News. 

“U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.”

The warning urged Americans to take caution “during religious holidays and at a large festivals or events.”

The TSA also is beefing up security at major city airports and at rail and transit stations nationwide following the attacks in Brussels on Tuesday.

Homeland Security officials said there are “no specific, credible intelligence of any plot to conduct similar attacks here in the United States.”

“That said, we remain very focused on the threat posed by lone terrorist actors who may lack direct connection to a foreign terrorist organization,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in a statement.

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime: How ISIS Shook the World

American Captured by Kurdish Forces Says He Regrets Joining ISIS

Mohamad Jamal Khewis, via Kurdistan24.

Mohamad Jamal Khewis, via Kurdistan24.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The American who joined ISIS and was later captured by Kurdish forces said he “made a bad decision” and no longer supports the terrorist group.

U.S. law enforcement officials plan to interview Mohamad Jamal Khewis, 26, in hopes of getting information about how ISIS operates, The Daily Mail reports.

Khewis didn’t say why he joined ISIS, but indicated that he traveled to Syria from Turkey after meeting an Iraqi girl.

“At the time I made the decision, I was not thinking straight,” Khewis told Kurdistan24. “On the way there I regretted, and I wanted to go back home after things didn’t work out and saw myself living in such an environment.”

Khewis said ISIS “does not represent a religion.”

“I don’t seem that as good Muslims.”

The Justice Department is planning on charging Khewis.