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Archive for April 15th, 2014

One-Year Anniversary of Boston Marathon Bombings Brings Unanswered Questions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One year after twin pressure cooker bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon bombings, many questions remain.

Why did federal authorities miss an opportunity to act on a warning from Russia that bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was becoming radicalized? How much of a role did his younger brother, Dzhokhar, play in attack? Would the brothers have launched an attack in New York?

“The obvious one is the motivation and how could two young men who were in a country that, from all appearances, was very good to them end up this radical,” former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who helped lead the investigation, told the Associated Press.

The April 15 bombings killed three people and injured 260 more. At least 16 people lost limbs, the AP wrote.

White Supremacist Accused in Shootings at Jewish Site in Kansas City Has No Record of Violence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Frazier Glenn Cross rarely missed an opportunity to espouse his white-supremacist beliefs.

But local and federal authorities are having a hard time finding evidence that the 73-year-old Army veteran and retired truck driver with ties to the KKK ever resorted to violence, the Associated Press reports.

That was until Sunday, when he opened fire outside of two Jewish sites near Kansas City and killed three people, none of whom turned out to be Jewish.

As prosecutors plan to charge Cross as early as today, many questions remain about the man who shouted a Nazi slogan at the media just minutes after his arrest.

“We don’t really see how this could have been prevented. There’s at least no obvious answer,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and had a considerable dossier on Cross. “He is one of the more frightening characters out there, no question about that.”

FBI Tried to Enlist Member of 9/11 Defense Team, Prompting Abrupt Recess in Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did the FBI try to turn a defense team security officer into a secret informant?

The question, which was raised by defense lawyers at the first 9/11 hearing of the year Monday, was enough to prompt a judge to abruptly recess the case, the Miami Herald reports.

Defense lawyers argued that the actions, if true, may compromise attorney-client privilege in the case against five men accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Defense lawyers said two FBI agents tried to turn a civilian on the defense team into a confidential informant.

The FBI declined to comment.

FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in Its Facial Recognition Database by 2015

RecognitionSource.net

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If all goes as planned, the FBI’s facial recognition database will include 52 million photos by 2015, the Verge reports.

That’s an increase of more than three-fold from the 16 million that were in the database in the middle of 2013.

Of those, 4.3 million images were for “non-criminal purposes,” according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

What remains unclear is where the non-criminal photos derived and why the FBI is using them.

“Facial recognition technology has the potential to improve services for consumers, support innovation by businesses, and affect identification and authentication online and offline,” the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said in a statement this past February. “However, the technology poses distinct consumer privacy challenges.”

FBI Video Warns American Students of Efforts to Recruit Them as Spies in 28-Minute Video

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has released a 28-minute video intended to warn American students preparing to study abroad about the dangers of being recruited by foreign intelligence agencies.

The video is a dramatization of Glenn Duffie Shriver, an American who accepted money from Chinese intelligence officers while living in China.

Shriver was convicted in 2010 of  “conspiring to provide national defense information to intelligence officers of the People’s Republic of China” and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Scott S. Smith Named As New Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Pittsburgh Office

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s Pittsburgh office has a new special agent in charge.

On Monday, the FBI named Scott S. Smith, a veteran agent with ties to northern Ohio, as the office’s new leader, replacing Doug Perdue, a two-year veteran of the post who is embarking on an assignment in Washington D.C., the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Smith most recently served as chief of the Employee Services Section in the Human Resources Division in Washington D.C.

Before becoming an agent in Cleveland, Smith was a deputy sheriff in Lake County, Ohio.

Since arriving at the FBI, Smith has had several roles. He worked the violent crimes desk in Cleveland, did a sting in the bureau’s International Terrorism Operations Section and organized a group of agents, analysts and language specialists in Iraq in 2005.

Ex-Homeland Security Supervisor Suspected of Using Government Credit Card to Gamble

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Homeland Security supervisor is accused of using his government-issued credit card to gamble at a West Virginia casino.

WHAG News reports that Gene Protogiannis, 55, of Virginia, has been indicted on 45 counts of wire fraud for allegedly using his card in 2013 to obtain cash advances at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia.

Officials said Protogiannis withdrew $115,853.

Protogiannis is expected to be formally charged Wednesday and will face up to 20 years in prison.

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