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Archive for October 14th, 2014

FBI Director Comey: New iPhone Encryption Shields Criminals from Investigators

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple’s privacy features on the new iPhone and iPad protect pedophiles, terrorists and other criminals because investigators can’t access the information, FBI Director James Comey said.

The new encryption scrambles information as it travels through Apple services.

Comey isn’t happy about that.

“The notion that people have devices… that with court orders, based on a showing of probable cause in a case involving kidnapping or child exploitation or terrorism, we could never open that phone? My sense is that we’ve gone too far when we’ve gone there,” Comey said in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Comey compared the iPhones to “cars with trunks that couldn’t ever be opened by law enforcement with a court order.”

Column: Americans Have Little Reason to Trust Secret Service After Recent Blunders

secret service photo

By Glenn Harlan Reynolds
USA Today Column

There’s a connection between the Secret Service’s Colombian hooker scandal and Americans’ increased worry about Ebola. Both have to do with trust.

Until recently, if you’d asked Americans to pick government institutions characterized by efficiency and professionalism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Secret Service would likely have been at the top of the list. In both cases, recent evidence now suggests otherwise. And that’s especially destructive because both agencies depend on trust to do their jobs.

In the case of the Secret Service, the story comes in two parts — first, the 2012 scandal involving Secret Service agents boozing and carousing with prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, ahead of a visit by President Obama, and second, the apparent coverup that gave favored treatment to a White House worker who was the son of an Obama donor.

Prostitution is legal in parts of Colombia, but Secret Service agents aren’t supposed to be getting drunk and cavorting with hookers while on official business, as that poses an obvious risk to security. When the scandal broke, nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military on the advance team were fired or punished. Butone person got a pass — a White House advance team employee who had a woman, who advertises herself as a hooker, overnight in his room. According to investigators, they got pressure from the White House to delay the report until after the 2012 election, and to “withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”

To read more click here.

Experts: Secret Service Could Benefit from Hiring Director from Outside Agency

Secret Service photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Some members of Congress and other experts believe the next director of the Secret Service should come from outside because much of the agency’s problems are its insular culture, the USA Today reports.

If the White House taps someone with no ties to the agency, it will be the first time an outside leader has taken over the Secret Service.

“If you are going to change the culture, you’re going to have to bring someone from the outside. That has to happen,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House panel that has been reviewing agency operations.

Four panelists are currently reviewing the agency’s operations with the goal of completing the study by Dec. 15. Part of the tasks of the panelists is to submit potential candidates for the director position.

‘”I have full confidence that these distinguished individuals will conduct a fair, thorough and unbiased assessment,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

Wooden Replica of Branch Davidian Compound in Waco Keeps ATF Memories Alive

photo from Wikipedia.org

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was one of the darkest days in ATF’s history – Feb. 28, 1993.

Four agents were killed that morning, instigating what would be a 51-day standoff that ended with a raging fire and the deaths of about 80 Davidians members.

To remember that fateful day, an architectural firm donated a wooden replica of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, which is on display at the ATF Houston Division headquarters, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Above the replica are photos of the four agents killed that morning.

While the replica may be a painful reminder, it also serves as a way to preserve history and continue the dialogue over what happened.