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Archive for October 7th, 2009

Wife Bans FBI Dir. Mueller from Online Banking

This really does say it all. If the director of the FBI can almost fall for this, then you have to believe almost all of us can fall victim.

Robert Mueller III/file photo

Robert Mueller III/file photo

By Elinor Mills
CNET News
SAN FRANCISCO–No one is immune from cyberthreats, not even the head of the FBI.

FBI Director Robert Mueller was banned by his wife from doing online banking after he nearly fell for a phishing scam, he said on Wednesday during a talk at the Commonwealth Club of California.

He received an e-mail purporting to be from his bank that looked “perfectly legitimate” and which prompted him to verify some information. He started to follow the instructions but then realized that that “might not be such a good idea,” he said.

.”Just a few clicks away from falling into a classic Internet phishing scam,” Mueller “barely caught himself in time” and admitted he “definitely should have known better.”

He said he changed his passwords and tried to pass the incident off to his wife as a “teachable moment,” but she was having none of it and told him, “It is our money. No more Internet banking for you!”

To Read More

Feds Bust U.S.-Egyptian ID Theft Ring

Identity theft

International cooperation is good. But not in this case. The FBI has busted up a U.S. and Egyptian crime ring.

By Thomas Watkins
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES –– Authorities said Wednesday they have arrested 33 people in breaking up a crime ring in the U.S. and Egypt in which an elaborate “phishing” scam bilked bank customers out of at least $1 million.

Federal authorities said a total of 53 people were named in an indictment, while authorities in Egypt have charged 47 others in connection with the scheme. The 33 arrests so far in the U.S. were mostly in Southern California but also in Nevada and North Carolina.

All the U.S. suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, which potentially carry up to 20 years in federal prison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wes Hsu said.

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Report Shows Undercover Investigators For NY Mayor Buy Guns From Unlicensed Dealers

It’s not hard to buy an illegal gun on the streets. But this study shows what we’ve all known for a long long time: it’s not hard to illegally buy a gun at gun shows. It’s simply ridiculous. These guns shows have been a haven for dope dealers and unstable people looking for guns.

gun

By David S. Fallis
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Undercover investigators working on behalf of the New York City mayor’s office repeatedly bought guns from unlicensed dealers at gun shows even though they disclosed they probably couldn’t pass a background check.

That finding is among those outlined in a 36-page report released Wednesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office that documents alleged illegal gun sales by private and licensed dealers earlier this year at seven gun shows in three states.

The investigation tested private, unlicensed dealers at the shows in Nevada, Ohio and Tennessee to see whether they would sell weapons to someone who said he or she probably could not pass a background check.

For Full Story

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Law Enforcement Deaths Could Hit 5-Decade Low

nleomf photo

nleomf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
DENVER — The number of in the line of duty federal and local law enforcement fatalities could hit a five decade low this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The fund said law enforcement deaths, which increased in the first half of 2009, declined sharply in the third quarter, dropping from 43 in 2008 to 26.

To sum it up: As of Oct. 2, there were 92 officer fatalities this year compared to 99 in 2008.  In all, in 2008, 133 law enforcement agents and officers died in the line of duty, the lowest figure since 1960, the fund said.

The stats were released this week here in Denver at the National Association of Chiefs of Police Conference.

Read more »

Fed Grand Jury Probing Hilton Hotels in Theft of Documents

hilton-hotels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nothing like a good hotel war wrapped in a scandal.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a federal grand jury is probing whether Hilton Worldwide and several former executives swiped thousands of pages of confidential documents from rival Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

The paper, attributing the information to “people familiar with the situation”, said the grand jury is part of a six month Justice probe “into allegations that Hilton, which is owned by private-equity firm Blackstone Group, used trade secrets taken by former Starwood executives, who defected to Hilton last year, to develop its own luxury brand to compete with Starwood’s successful W chain.”

Interesting. And you thought Paris Hilton was the only interesting thing about the Hilton hotels.

Home Grown Pot Cutting into Mexican Cartels’ Bottom Line

This is an interesting twist in the drug war. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out and how the Mexican Cartels react. Then again, this won’t put the cartels out of business. They seem to be doing fine financially.

marijuana-umledu2

By Steve Fainaru and William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
ARCATA, Calif. — Stiff competition from thousands of mom-and-pop marijuana farmers in the United States threatens the bottom line for powerful Mexican drug organizations in a way that decades of arrests and seizures have not, according to law enforcement officials and pot growers in the United States and Mexico.

Illicit pot production in the United States has been increasing steadily for decades.

But recent changes in state laws that allow the use and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes are giving U.S. growers a competitive advantage, challenging the traditional dominance of the Mexican traffickers, who once made brands such as Acapulco Gold the standard for quality.

For Full Story

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FBI Reports Rapes at 20 Year Low

Here’s good news. It’s good to see law enforcement taking advantage of science.

istock_000009069522xsmall

By Donna Leinwand
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON –– Reported rapes have fallen to the lowest level in 20 years as DNA evidence helps send more rapists to prison and victims are more willing to work with police and prosecutors, victims advocates and crime researchers say.

The FBI estimates 89,000 women reported being raped in 2008 – 29 women for every 100,000 people. That’s down from a high of 109,062 reported rapes in 1992 – 43 women for every 100,000 people. Data for 2009 are not yet available.

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Joint Terrorism Task Force Lost Terror Suspect on NY Subway During Surveillance

With most investigations, there’s always that ooops moment investigators hope doesn’t amount to much. The question is: Did this one amount to much? Unclear.

subway-photo-istock

By Mark Hosenball
Newsweek
WASHINGTON — In the tense final days before the FBI arrested Afghan-American Najibullah Zazi on terror-conspiracy charges, the Feds had a major scare: NEWSWEEK has learned that Zazi managed to shake off the posse of Joint Terrorism Task Force investigators who were tailing him and disappeared for anywhere between 40 and 90 minutes.

Now the Feds worry that during the time he was missing, Zazi could have ordered associates to get rid of a suspected cache of bombmaking materials that they believe the suspects had amassed.

Two knowledgeable sources, who asked for anonymity when speaking about an ongoing inquiry, say that on Sept. 10, investigators pulled over Zazi for what they claimed was a random drug stop on the George Washington Bridge to New York City. It’s unclear why they stopped him, or what, if anything, Zazi told them.

But he may have grown suspicious, they say, because the next day he slipped the surveillance team during a ride on the New York subway. As one official put it: the investigators “freaked out,” in part because it was the anniversary of 9/11 and they feared Zazi’s plan might have been to launch his attack on the New York transit system that day.

The surveillance team eventually found Zazi. But investigators now want to know if, during the missing minutes, he somehow arranged for evidence of the alleged plot to be hidden or destroyed.

For Full Story