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Archive for March 2nd, 2016

Ex-FBI Agent Fired After Blowing Whistle on Sexual Misconduct Wins Appeal

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI special agent was wrongly fired after he blew the whistle on alleged sexual misconduct among his co-workers, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the bureau lacked sufficient cause to fire former special agent John C. Parkinson in 2012, four years after he alleged that a colleague had a “career-long pattern of soliciting sex with prostitutes,” the Fresno Bee reports. 

Now the FBI must rehire Parkinson or pay him.

Parkinson alleged that another Sacramento-based colleague had a “history of viewing Internet pornography, both on government and personal computers during work hours.”

A decorated Marine Corps Reserve lieutenant colonel, Parkinson was fired in 2012 for allegedly obstructing investigators and lacking candor in his responses to a probe involving in building new Sacramento quarters for the Special Operations Group.

“It should be appreciated that . . . the penalty of removal, which was predicated on the now-overturned lack of candor charge, cannot be sustained,” wrote Judge Richard Linn of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Parkinson’s attorney celebrated the ruling, which was quietly released Monday. 

“We are thrilled at this victory,” attorney Jesselyn A. Radack, with the watchdog group ExposeFacts, said in an interview Tuesday with the Fresno Bee. “It truly is a rare and historic ruling.”

FBI Chief Says Bureau Error Locked iPhone of San Bernardino Shooter

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI conceded Tuesday that it made a mistake when trying to capture data from an iPhone belonging to one of the an Bernardino shooters.

FBI Director James Comey said the error in the early stages of the investigation made it impossible to get information from the phone, the New York Times reports.

“There was a mistake made in the 24 hours after the attack,” James B. Comey Jr., the director of the F.B.I., told lawmakers at a hearing on the government’s attempt to force Apple to help “unlock” the iPhone.

The FBI tried to reset the iCloud password, an error in judgment that locked investigators out.

The Times wrote that members of the House Judiciary Committee “seemed torn over where to draw the line” between consumer privacy and national security.

“The big question for our country is how much privacy are we going to give up in the name of security,” Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, told Mr. Comey. “And there’s no easy answer to that.”

Other lawmakers criticized Apple for refusing to help and making it difficult to open the phone.

“We’re going to create evidence-free zones?” asked Representative Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who once served as a federal prosecutor. “Am I missing something?”

“How the hell you can’t access a phone, I just find baffling,” he said.

Gizmodo Calls FBI Director ‘a Clown’ for Handling of iPhone Debate

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

Kate Knibbs
Gizmodo 

Bipartisanship, baby! Congress finally found something to agree on this Super Tuesday – how slippery the FBI’s stance on encryption is.

At a House Judiciary hearing on Capitol Hill, representatives grilled FBI Director James Comey and Apple’s lawyers over their ongoing battle. The key to the dispute is whether the FBI can compel Apple to create software that would unlock a terrorism suspect’s iPhone.

Most Democrats and Republicans asked Comey pointed questions. (A few complimented the FBI director on his candor, a sad reflection of how conditioned House members are to getting stonewalled by intelligence officials.)

Comey’s prepared testimony rehashed an argument he has trotted out before: Encryption is a cloak for evildoers that lets criminals “go dark” and escape law enforcement. As we’ve said before, this argument simplifies a complex issue into an inaccurate Bad Guys vs. Good Guys situation. The stale prepared statement was nothing compared to how Comey responded to the barrage of questions.

Members of Congress thanked Comey for furthering dialog at the end of the session, but the only thing the FBI Director cleared up is how flexible his relationship with truth is. The only time he spoke an unambiguous truth was when he said that Apple is a company with a responsibility to its investors, and that it is motivated to maximize profit.

Comey compared Apple’s security measures to a “vicious guard dog.” It’s a bizarre metaphor, but here’s a match: The FBI sent a clown to Congress today, spewing silliness to distract from the agency’s objective to expand its surveillance powers.

To read more click here. 

Border Chief Says Agents Should Quit If They Dislike Obama’s Amnesty Program

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The strong message Tuesday came as tensions grow between Congress and the White House over the executive amnesty program, the Washington Times reports. 

Kerlikowske dismissed Congressional testimony by the National Border Patrol Council chief, who said last month that agents are told to release illegal immigrants.

“I would not stand by if the Border Patrol was releasing people without going through all of the formalities,” Mr. Kerlikowske testified to the House Committee on Appropriations.

Still Republican leaders in the House said they plan to vote on joining a lawsuit that seeks to halt the amnesty.

“This executive amnesty is a direct attack on the Congress’s Article I powers under the Constitution,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said. “The president is not permitted to write law. Only Congress is. The House will make that very clear.”

Secret Service to Investigate Agent Who Threw Photographer to Ground During Trump Rally

secret-service-3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigating one of its agents after he threw a Time photographer to the ground by his neck.

The Washington Post reports that the incident “raised questions about the role of the Secret Service on the campaign trail.”

Still, government officials defended the Secret Service, saying agents only become involved if someone threatens the candidate.

“We don’t care if people are standing and yelling at a candidate, or saying they want peace in the Middle East, but if they say they’re going to kill the candidate, then it’s going to get pretty bad,’’ said one official familiar with Secret Service procedures, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the events at Monday’s rally remain under investigation.

Trump has had Secret Service protection since early November, a common services for presidential candidates.

Time requested an investigation over “the level and nature of the agent’s response.”

FBI Director Said He’s Closely Monitoring Investigation into Clinton’s Use of Private E-mail Server

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey assured Congress on Tuesday that he’s closely monitoring the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server, The Hill reports. 

Comey was asked about the progress of the investigation while addressing the battle to get Apple to help unlock an iPhone.

“A few weeks back, the FBI’s general counsel James Baker acknowledged the the FBI is, quote, working on matters related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, end quote,” Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, told Comey. 

Cabot asked Comey: “Is there anything that you can tell us as to when this matter might be wrapped up one way or the other?”

Comey answered: “I can’t, congressman, as you know we don’t talk about our investigations. What I can assure you is that I am very close personally to that investigation to ensure that we have the resources we need, including people and technology, and that it’s done the way the FBI tries to do all of it’s work: independently, competently and promptly. That’s our goal, and I’m confident that it’s being done that way, but I can’t give you any more details beyond that.”

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