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Archive for May 20th, 2014

Justice Department Criminally Charges Five Chinese Military Officials with Hacking

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has charged five Chinese military officials with cyber-espionage after allegedly hacking into American companies’ computers in an attempt to steal trade secrets.

BBC reports that the army officials are accused of stealing trade secrets and internal documents from five U.S. companies and a labor union.

China quickly denied the charges, saying the accusations threaten to sour relations between the two countries.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the charges were the first against “known state actors for infiltrating U.S. commercial targets by cyber means.”

The victims have been identified as Westinghouse Electric, US Steel, Alcoa Inc, Allegheny Technologies, SolarWorld and the US Steelworkers Union.

“The alleged hacking appears to have been conducted for no reason other than to advantage state-owned companies and other interests in China, at the expense of businesses here in the United States,” Holder said.

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Hired Ex-FBI Agent to Investigate Referees Following 2006 NBA Finals

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The owner of the Dallas Mavericks hired a former FBI agent to investigate referees following the 2006 NBA finals in which the Miami Heat beat the Mavericks.

The Oregonian reports that owner Mark Cuban was so suspicious and angry after the finals that he hired retired FBI agent Warren Flagg, who spent more than 20 years at the bureau, to investigate.

Flagg said Cuban was considering pressing charges against the league.

“Cuban asked me what he should do. I told him, ‘Sue and you’ll win your case,’ but he knew he’d be killing the Golden Goose,” Flagg said.

FBI Informant Who Beat Murder Charges Acquitted Again in Assault Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI informant accused of putting his thumb in a man’s eye was acquitted Monday.

The acquittal is the second for Kimani Anderson, who was found not guilty of murder in September 2013 in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old, Mass Live reports.

Anderson was an FBI informant who helped bring down a cocaine trafficker.

Anderson said the incident happened after the alleged victim said, “Ain’t you supposed to be a federal informant? Snitches get stitches.”

FBI Agent Turns in Phoenix Boyfriend After Learning About His Shady Past

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Phoenix man is in custody after his girlfriend – an FBI agent – discovered some dirty secrets about him.

The Phoenix New Times reports that authorities arrested Caleb Heath VanGrinsven, 31, after leaving the agent’s Phoenix house on May 14.

FBI Agent Rachel Herrick said she discovered that her boyfriend “was a person of interest in a law enforcement investigation in Wyoming.”

The ATF also warned Herrick that her boyfriend had a history of dating law enforcement officials.

VanGrinsven is expected to appear at a detention hearing today.

Supreme Court to Decide When Federal Employees Can Blow Whistle to the Media

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When is a federal whistleblower allowed to release sensitive information to the public?

That’s the question before the Supreme Court, which must decide whether a federal air marshal was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle to the media about a security plan that he disliked, the Washington Post reports.

Robert J. MacLean, who was an air marshal in 2003, went to the media after his boss told him to be quiet about budget shortfalls requiring the agency to cut back on overnight trips for undercover air marshals.

After MSNBC began asking questions, Homeland Security canceled the cutbacks and called them “premature and a mistake.”
MacLean, who was fired in 2006, argued that he was protected by whistleblower laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed.

“Robert MacLean was a federal air marshal who spoke up about the consequences of a dangerous and possibly unlawful government decision,” wrote Washington lawyer and former deputy solicitor general Neal Katyal.

“Because he blew the whistle, the government changed policy and a potential tragedy was averted. But Mr. MacLean paid a hefty price.”

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