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Archive for March 4th, 2016

Weekend Series on Crime: Inside Mexico’s Drug Labs

Numerous Tech Companies Join Apple’s Fight with FBI Over Phone Encryption

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple became the first big tech company to openly criticize the FBI’s attempts to force companies to unlock phones to help investigators get access to information.

But the company has been joined by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and a host of others who filed court briefs on Thursday to support Apple’s argument that it does not have to unlock phones for law enforcement, the New York Times reports. 

About 40 companies and organizations filed more than a dozen briefs with the Federal Court for the District Central California to challenge the government’s case.

They argue about the infringement of free speech, the importance of encryption and government overreach.

“These companies, which are often fierce competitors, have joined together to voice concern about the attempted government overreach in this case, which threatens the integrity and security of their products and privacy rights of consumers in general,” said Neal Katyal, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells for the tech companies and a former acting solicitor general of the United States.

FBI: Flight Attendant Set Fire in Airplane Bathroom, Then Played Hero by Extinguishing Flames

american airlines logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American Airlines flight attendant is accused of setting an airplane bathroom on fire, forcing an emergency landing in Detroit.

Authorities said Jonathan Tafoya-Montano pretended to discover the flames, which he then extinguished, the Washington Post reports. 

The incident occurred on a Feb. 1 flight from Dallas to Detroit.

Investigators are trying to determine a motive.

The FBI and Wayne County Airport Authority Police Department are investigating.

Justice Department Asks FBI to Investigate ExxonMobil’s Denial of Climate Change Dangers

earthBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ExxonMobil’s insistence that climate change was a sham has prompted the Justice Department to request the FBI to investigate whether the oil company violated federal laws.

Democratic lawmakers from California first raised the issue last fall, saying that Exxon executives knew that burning fossil fuels were dangerous but publicly tried to undermine the science behind it, the Huffington Post reports.

Some of the charges, the congressmen said, could include Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization, or RICO.

The Justice Department forwarded the issue to the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division to “determine whether an investigation is warranted.”

Border Patrol Agents Rescue Two Suicidal Men in Detroit on Same Day

Detroit riverfront. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Detroit riverfront. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents saved two men attempting to commit suicide in separate incidents in Detroit on Wednesday.

The Detroit News reports that a Border Patrol agent on patrol spotted a man stumbling in the street at about 7 p.m.

“The agent stopped to assist him and noticed he was covered in blood,” authorities said Thursday. “The individual stated he just tried to commit suicide and stabbed himself.”

Instead of waiting for an ambulance, agents rushed the man to the hospital.

At 10:30 p.m. that night, separate Border Patrol agents responded to a possible suicidal man near the Detroit River. The man jumped into the river but was rescued when the agents threw bags with ropes so the man could reach shore.

“Each of us in this world has a purpose,” Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison said in a statement Thursday. “I am proud that the purpose for these Border Patrol agents last night was to save the lives of two people who needed help.”

Dozens of Air Marshals Committed Crimes, Ranging from Attempted Murder to Human Trafficking

us-air-marshalsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dozens of federal air marshals have been committed crimes ranging from attempted murder to aiding a human trafficking ring, Patch.com reports. 

Between November 2002 and February 2012, air marshals were arrested 148 times.

Patch found that one air marshal tried to lure a young boy to a hotel room and another used his badge “to smuggle drugs past airport security.”

Air marshals also hired prostitutes and engaged in fights with security guards at a brothel.

The TSA responded, saying the incidents were relatively rare given the number of marshals.

“The vast majority of FAMs [federal air marshals] are dedicated law enforcement professionals who conduct themselves in an exemplary manner,” TSA said in a statement. “TSA and FAMS continually strive to maintain a culture of accountability within its workforce.”

Other Stories of Interest

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