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Archive for October 17th, 2014

Weekend Series on Crime: The 10 Most Notorious Hackers

FBI Director: Google, Apple Have ‘Gone Too Far’ with Encrypted Software

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that Apple and Google have “gone too far” by offering cell phones that are fully encrypted, the New York Times reports.

Comey hinted that federal action should be taken to prevent companies from offering phones that make it impossible for law enforcement to access e-mails, text messages and photos.

Critics counter that Americans have the right to prevent government violating their privacy.

Whatever the case, the new software, which encrypts data by default, will make it more difficult for law enforcement to conduct investigations. The fear is that more technology companies will follow suit.

“We may get to a place where the U.S. Congress forces” companies to stop offering the software.

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Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole to Step Down, Take Job in Private Sector

Dep. Atty. Gen. James Cole/doj photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is about to lose another high-ranking officials.

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, second-in-command, announced Thursday that he’s taking a job in the private sector, the Washington Post reports.

The Post said possible successors include Sally Quillian Yates, who is U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Cole’s job was to run the Justice Department’s daily operations.

Cole spoke to the Washington Post about the difficulties of balancing security with civil liberties.

“If you just want to keep people safe and you’re willing to sacrifice people’s constitutional rights and their civil liberties, that’s not so hard,” he said.

“If you just want to protect people’s constitutional rights and their civil liberties and you’re willing to sacrifice their safety, that’s not so hard either,” Cole said. “The hard part is to do them both.”

TSA Administrator Pistole to Retire After More Than 4 Years at Helm

John Pistole

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Pistole, head of the TSA, will retire after leading the agency for more than four years, Reuters reports.

Pistole was in charge of 60,000 employees and security operations at more than 415 airports nationwide.

Pistole “has been integral in leading TSA’s transformation to a risk-based, intelligence-driven counterterrorism agency dedicated to protecting our transportation systems,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

“Because of his efforts over the past four and a half years, our country’s transportation systems are more safe and secure,” Johnson added.

Johnson did not say what prompted the retirement.

Vanity Fair Explores Whether Secret Service Could Have Saved J.F.K

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When bullets were fired in Dallas on November 22, 1963, many of the Secret Service agents hired to protect President John F. Kennedy failed in their duties, the Vanity Fair reports in an examination of the actions taken by the White House security detail.

“Roy Kellerman, the leader of the security detail, did not seem to know what was happening. He thought a firecracker had gone off,” Vanity Fair reporter Susan Cheever wrote. “William Greer, at the wheel of the president’s car, did not immediately speed up or swerve away from the shots. Paul Landis, in the vehicle trailing Kennedy’s, did not jump forward to protect the president with his body; neither did Jack Ready. Clint Hill, riding a few feet behind and to the president’s left, was part of the First Lady’s detail. After the fatal shot was fired, he leapt onto the rear of the presidential limousine and kept her from jumping off the back.”

Of the 28 Secret Service agents who were in Dallas that fateful day, nine out until the early mornings. Some were drinking and sleep deprived.

Abraham Bolden, who wrote a book about his experience as agent protecting Kennedy, said he believes the drinking contributed to a “lackadaisical response.”

“The biggest problem I ran into with the Secret Service when I was an agent was their constant drinking,” he told Vanity Fair. “When we would get to a place one of the first things they would do was stock up with liquor. They would drink and then we would go to work.”

Agents often worked double shifts and were sleep-deprived, wrote Agent Gerald Blaine sin his book The Kennedy Detail.

“Working double shifts had become so common since Kennedy became president that it was now almost routine. The three eight-hour shift rotation operated normally when the president was in the White House, but when he was traveling . . . there simply weren’t enough bodies.”

FBI Director Comey Says No Evidence of Terrorists Trying to Weaponize Ebola

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that there’s no evidence that terrorists are trying to weaponize Ebola, The Hill reports.

Comey had a one-word response when asked whether there was credible evidence of an Ebola threat from terrorists: “No.”

Comey didn’t elaborate after a speech at the Brookings Institute.

Some Republicans and others have expressed fear that terrorists have considered Ebola as a possible weapon.

President Obama’s administration has come under fire for its response to Ebola after a second U.S. heath worker contracted the virus.

Other Stories of Interest