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Archive for October 29th, 2014

Seattle Times: FBI ‘Obliterated a Line That Should Have Never Been Crossed’ with Fake News Site

By Seattle Times
Editorial Board

The Associated Press has a well-earned reputation as an independent, credible government watchdog. That’s why the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s appropriation of that credibility in a 2007 case obliterated a line that should never have been crossed.

The laudable end — conviction of a student making school bomb threats — does not justify the government’s outrageous disregard of the role of the press in a free society. In fact, it utterly undermines that role at a time when media companies are struggling to remain strong in the face of government abuses over the last two presidential administrations.

On Monday, Seattle Times reporter Mike Carter reported that, in 2007, the FBI mocked up a fake Associated Press story. The intention was to trick a suspect in a series of bomb threats at Lacey’s Timberline High School to click on a link sent to his MySpace account. All this was done under the authority of a federal warrant.

When the suspect clicked on the link, hidden FBI software revealed the suspect’s location to agents.

Initially, Carter found documents suggesting the FBI had nestled the AP story in an email that looked like it was from a Seattle Times’ website. But FBI officials waited almost a full day after Carter’s story was published Monday evening to suggest that, while using The Times name was contemplated and mocked up, the link to the AP story was not sent using a Times email.

The bomb-threat case was serious, no question, and deserved vigorous enforcement efforts. But agents could have tricked the student in other ways — a free concert ticket or free video game. They should not have assumed the identity of a media organization.

The damage matters: “This ploy violated AP’s name and undermined AP’s credibility,” said Paul Colford, director of AP media relations.

To read more click here.

FBI Agents Impersonated Repairmen to Gain Access to Computers in Las Vegas Hotel

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents acted against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney and impersonated repair technicians at a Las Vegas hotel to investigate online sports betting, the Associated Press reports.

The agents shut off the Internet at a Las Vegas hotel to make it appears as though the computer and hardware needed to be repaired.

Now defense attorneys representing some of the suspects are asking a federal judge to throw out the case because agents didn’t receive consent to examine the equipment being used by the suspects.

The hotel tipped off the FBI of a possible illegal gambling operation.

By gaining access to the computers, agents were able to get valuable evidence of an illegal online gambling operation.

 

Homeland Security Official Who Investigated Prostitution Scandal Accused of Hiring Prostitute

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
 
A federal investigator in charge of a prostitution scandal involving the Secret Service in 2012 has stepped down after surveillance allegedly caught him with a prostitute in Florida, the New York Daily News reports.
 
Homeland Security investigator David Nieland resigned Aug. 9, ostensibly for health reasons. But federal officials said Nieland wouldn’t discuss the allegations against him before stepping down. 

According to investigators, Nieland was seen in a building that was under surveillance for prostitution. A prostitute eventually identified Nieland as a client.

Nieland was the lead investigator probing the 2012 scandal in which Secret Service agents were accused of bringing back hookers to their hotel rooms in Columbia.

FBI Reaches 1M Followers on Twitter, Continues to Combat Crime with Social Media

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI announced Tuesday that it has reached 1 million followers on Twitter.

That’s quite an achievement for a federal agency that uses social media to help capture suspects, locate missing children and warn of dangers.

 

Rob 2 or More Banks in California And You Get a Nickname Courtesy of a Special Agent

File photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Plain Jane Bandit. Gone Plaid Bandit. Grandma Bandit.

Anyone who robs two more more banks in Los Angeles gets a nickname, Vanity Fair reports.

The idea is to help people keep track of the numerous bank robbers that are on the loose.

The practice began in the 1980s when Los Angeles was nicknamed “The Bank Robbery Capital of the World.”

The man who gets to nickname the robbers is Special Agent Steve May, the bank robbery coordinator for the bureau’s Southern California territory.

May names every robber and then adds the monickers in a database.

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