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Archive for October 30th, 2014

It Ain’t Over Yet: ATF Appeals Judge’s Ruling Favoring Ex-Agent Jay Dobyns

Jay Dobyns/his website

By Paul Giblin
The Arizona Republic

The ATF is headed back to court in a long-running legal battle with a former undercover agent who infiltrated the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives filed a notice of appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., on Friday, to overturn a judgment against the ATF earlier this year. The single-sentence notice of appeal does not explain the basis of the appeal.

An ATF spokeswoman said shed was unfamiliar with the details of the matter and unable to comment further. An attorney for the Department of Justice did not immediately return messages left late Friday afternoon.

Retired agent Jay Dobyns of Tucson sued the ATF for reneging on previous agreements to respond to death threats against him following the Hells Angels case.

To read more click here.

 

Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting FBI Agents at Gas Station in Las Vegas

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man accused of ramming his truck into a car carrying two FBI agents pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports. 

Yatnier Gonzalez, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of assault on a federal officer.

He will be sentenced on March 12.

The two agents are members of the Las Vegas Criminal Apprehension Team, which searches for fugitives. They were not injured but the car was damaged.

The incident happened on June 2 when the agents tried to block in Gonzalez’s car at a gas station in Las Vegas. Gonzalez was a home invasion suspect at the time.

FBI Seeks New Authority to Hack into Computers, Spy on Users Anywhere

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is seeking new authority to hack into computers and spy on their users, the Guardian reports.

The Justice Department is requesting that an obscure regulatory advisory board change the rules of searches and seizures. The two will meet Nov. 5.

Civil liberties groups claim the new rules would violate the first and fourth amendments and are questioning why the Justice Department is seeking the permission without public debate or congressional oversight.

“This is a giant step forward for the FBI’s operational capabilities, without any consideration of the policy implications. To be seeking these powers at a time of heightened international concern about US surveillance is an especially brazen and potentially dangerous move,” said Ahmed Ghappour, an expert in computer law at University of California, Hastings college of the law, who will be addressing next week’s hearing.

The proposed changes involve court-approved warrants, which currently require surveillance to occur in the same district as the judge who approves the warrant.

The proposed changes would eliminate that requirement and allow the FBI to hack into any computer.

The FBI has been having troubles tracking some hackers because their locations are hidden by tools such as Tor.

 

First-Amendment Lawyer: AG Eric Holder Has Some Wrongs to Correct Before Leaving

By David A. Schulz
For Washington Post

As Eric Holder reflects on his six years as attorney general, one disturbing aspect of his legacy should give him significant pause. On Holder’s watch, legal protections traditionally afforded to communications between reporters and sources have been torn down, potentially damaging for years to come the media’s ability to uncover and report on government missteps. The attorney general should acknowledge the problems and address them before leaving office.

Holder has faced harsh criticism for pursuing two related strategies that undermined reporter-source communications. The first denied that any “reporter’s privilege” exists — and just this year the Supreme Court let stand an appellate court ruling adopting Holder’s position.

That ruling came in response to a prosecutor’s demand that Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen disclose his source for a report on the CIA’s effort to subvert Iran’s nuclear program. Although a reporter’s privilege has been recognized for decades in other contexts, a divided court of appealsaccepted the Justice Department’s argument that no evidentiary privilege allowed Risen to refuse to identify his source in a criminal prosecution. Under this ruling, the question of whether to require a reporter to reveal a source rests with the prosecutor alone.

The ruling is an unflinching rejection of a reporter’s right to make a binding promise of confidentiality in exchange for information. It is a direct assault on the foundation of trust needed for effective investigative reporting and threatens to limit severely disclosures by government whistleblowers. That Holder’s Justice Department fought for just this ruling caused some media lawyers to label this administration “worse than Nixon” for the free press.

The impact of this ruling is compounded by a second Holder strategy: relaxing regulations limiting prosecutors’ surreptitious surveillance of reporters’ communications.
To read more click here.

Attorney General Holder Says Ferguson Police Department Needs ‘Wholesale Change’

Courtesy of DOJ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called for “wholesale change” in the Ferguson Police Department, the Associated Press reports. 

Holder sad in a question-and-answer session with a newspaper at the Washington Ideas Forum that serious changes are needed.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the need for wholesale change in that department is appropriate.”

But Holder didn’t elaborate or discuss leadership changes at the department.

Holder defended his 2009 remarks that America is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to race, saying the country is “still reluctant to talk about issues of race.

Holder said he hopes his legacy involves improving the country.

“As a person who tried to make the country better and used the power of his office to raise issues that too often were not addressed,” Holder said.

Video: Right-Wing Artist Interviewed by Secret Service over Bizarre Tweets

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service paid a visit to an anti-Obama artist because of some unusual tweets.

And most of the interview was caught on video.

Th artist known as Sabo  aroused suspicion following several tweets.

One of them involved bringing Harvey Lee Oswald back from the dead as a zombie.

Other Stories of Interest