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Archive for March 11th, 2016

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Appears on the Stephen Colbert Show

Weekend Series on Crime: The Lucchese Crime Family

Apple Executive Says FBI Could Spy on People Using iPhone’s Camera, Microphone

Apple's Eddie Cue

Apple’s Eddie Cue

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple is worried the FBI could begin spying on people using an iPhone’s to camera or microphone.

Eddie Cue, the company’s online-services boss, said Apple’s fight with the FBI is about more than opening a phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino killers.

“When they can get us to create a new system to do new things, where will it stop?” Cue said in a Spanish-language interview broadcast on Univision on Wednesday, warning of a slippery slope. 

“For example, one day [the FBI] may want us to open your phone’s camera, microphone. Those are things we can’t do now. But if they can force us to do that, I think that’s very bad,” Cue said, according to a translation provided by Apple and reported by Business Insider. 

At issue is the so-called back door that the FBI wants access to.

“What they want is to give them a key to the back door of your house, and we don’t have the key. Since we don’t have the key, they want us to change the lock,” Cue said.

Nine Years Later, Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Still Missing After Visiting Iran

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

This past Wednesday marked the ninth anniversary of the disappearance of  ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished after going to Iran. In hopes of keeping the issue at the forefront, the White House, State Department, FBI and family issued statements this week.

“Bob’s wife, children, and grandchildren have waited nine long years for the release of their loved one. Nine years is an incomprehensible amount of time for him to be missing without any word of his whereabouts,” FBI Director James B. Comey said in a statement. “The FBI family feels personally connected to ensuring Bob’s safe return and we are doing everything in our power to investigate all leads.”

In 2013,  the Levinson family acknowledged he was actually working as a freelance “spy” for a rogue CIA operation. The Iranian press initially reported after his disappearance that he was being held by Iranian authorities, but since then, the Iranian government has denied even knowing his whereabouts.  Some are skeptical of that, and some have wondered whether he’s still alive.

Still, the FBI has been operating under the assumption that he is still alive.

Levinson’s wife, Christine, issued a statement:

A few days ago, hundreds of people from around the country came together with our family in Florida to demand “Where is Bob Levinson?”  and ask how it is possible that, 9 years after being taken hostage in Iran, this wonderful man is still not home.  My children and I ask those same questions every day.

These past 9 years – 3, 288 days – have been harder for our family than anyone could ever imagine.  But, as difficult as it has been for us, we know that Bob is living a nightmare that is 100 times worse.  We need the United States government and the country of Iran to work together to resolve what happened to Bob and return him safely to his family.

The White House said:

“Today marks the ninth year since retired FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared during a trip to Kish Island, Iran. We continue to call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide assistance in his case, as agreed to as part of the prisoner exchange finalized earlier this year, so that we can bring Mr. Levinson home.

“Finding Mr. Levinson remains a top priority for the United States, and we continue to spare no effort to bring him home. Today the United States renews its unrelenting commitment to securing Mr. Levinson’s return. Our hearts remain with the Levinson family. They have endured the pain and suffering of his disappearance for far too long.”

And Secretary of State John Kerry said:

On the anniversary today of Robert Levinson’s disappearance from Kish Island, Iran, nine years ago, I want to underscore our commitment to locate Bob and bring him home.

For almost a decade, a beloved husband, brother, father, and grandfather has been kept from celebrating family milestones most take for granted. No one should have to endure what Mr. Levinson and his family have endured for so long.

As the President has said, and as I have told the Levinson family when I have met with them, we will never forget Bob, and we will not rest until the Levinson family is whole again.

The U.S. government in its entirety will continue all efforts to locate Bob and bring him home. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed to cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Mr. Levinson, and we are holding Iran to its promise.

In March 2015, the FBI also announced a $5 million reward for any information that could lead to his safe return. We call on anyone with information about this case to contact the FBI at http://tips.fbi.gov or email the FBI at levinsonfbireward@ic.fbi.gov.

Information will be kept confidential and can be provided anonymously.

 

Not Forgotten: 9th Anniversary of the Disappearance of Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson in Iran

Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

This past Wednesday marked the ninth anniversary of the disappearance of  ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished after going to Iran. In hopes of keeping the issue at the forefront, the White House, State Department, FBI and family issued statements this week.

“Bob’s wife, children, and grandchildren have waited nine long years for the release of their loved one. Nine years is an incomprehensible amount of time for him to be missing without any word of his whereabouts,” FBI Director James B. Comey said in a statement. “The FBI family feels personally connected to ensuring Bob’s safe return and we are doing everything in our power to investigate all leads.”

In 2013,  the Levinson family acknowledged he was actually working as a freelance “spy” for a rogue CIA operation. The Iranian press initially reported after his disappearance that he was being held by Iranian authorities, but since then, the Iranian government has denied even knowing his whereabouts.  Some are skeptical of that, and some have wondered whether he’s still alive.

Still, the FBI has been operating under the assumption that he is still alive.

Levinson’s wife, Christine, issued a statement:

A few days ago, hundreds of people from around the country came together with our family in Florida to demand “Where is Bob Levinson?”  and ask how it is possible that, 9 years after being taken hostage in Iran, this wonderful man is still not home.  My children and I ask those same questions every day.

These past 9 years – 3, 288 days – have been harder for our family than anyone could ever imagine.  But, as difficult as it has been for us, we know that Bob is living a nightmare that is 100 times worse.  We need the United States government and the country of Iran to work together to resolve what happened to Bob and return him safely to his family.

The White House said:

“Today marks the ninth year since retired FBI agent Robert Levinson disappeared during a trip to Kish Island, Iran. We continue to call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide assistance in his case, as agreed to as part of the prisoner exchange finalized earlier this year, so that we can bring Mr. Levinson home.

“Finding Mr. Levinson remains a top priority for the United States, and we continue to spare no effort to bring him home. Today the United States renews its unrelenting commitment to securing Mr. Levinson’s return. Our hearts remain with the Levinson family. They have endured the pain and suffering of his disappearance for far too long.”

And Secretary of State John Kerry said:

On the anniversary today of Robert Levinson’s disappearance from Kish Island, Iran, nine years ago, I want to underscore our commitment to locate Bob and bring him home.

For almost a decade, a beloved husband, brother, father, and grandfather has been kept from celebrating family milestones most take for granted. No one should have to endure what Mr. Levinson and his family have endured for so long.

As the President has said, and as I have told the Levinson family when I have met with them, we will never forget Bob, and we will not rest until the Levinson family is whole again.

The U.S. government in its entirety will continue all efforts to locate Bob and bring him home. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed to cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Mr. Levinson, and we are holding Iran to its promise.

In March 2015, the FBI also announced a $5 million reward for any information that could lead to his safe return. We call on anyone with information about this case to contact the FBI at http://tips.fbi.gov or email the FBI at levinsonfbireward@ic.fbi.gov.

Information will be kept confidential and can be provided anonymously.

 

Federal Government Ramps Up Legal Assault Against Apple Ahead of Court Hearing

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department and FBI ramped up their legal assault against Apple on Thursday, saying in court papers that the technology grant is using “heated rhetoric” to interfere with a “modest” law enforcement demand to unlock one of the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhones.

Apple responded by calling the legal brief  a “cheap shot” and an “act of desperation,” the San Jose Mercury News reports. 

The federal government accused Apple of using security features to deliberately impede FBI investigations.

“The tone of their brief reads like an indictment,” said Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel. “I can only conclude the Department of Justice is so desperate at this point it has thrown decorum to the wind.”

A March 22 hearing is scheduled on the issue before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, who last month ordered Apple to help authorities hack the cell phone.

Federal prosecutors are asking the judge to leave the order intact.

“The order invades no one’s privacy and raises no Fourth Amendment concerns,” Justice Department lawyers wrote. “The government and the community need to know what is on the terrorist’s phone, and the government needs Apple’s assistance to find out.”

FBI Spies on Russian Intelligence by Bugging Binders with Listening Devices

spy graphic

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI resorted to Cold War spy tactics to eavesdrop on Russian intelligence agents in New York City, planting listening devices into binders full of “confidential” information, according to court documents revealed this week.

The covert action came to light in court filings in the trial of Evgeny Buryakov, who is accused of posing as a Russian bank employee. Federal prosecutors said Buryakov was really working for the Russian foreign intelligence agency, SVR, CNN reports. 

According to court documents, Buryakov thought he was meeting with an energy company analyst in 2012, but he actually was communicating with an undercover FBI agent.

The agent supplied the bugged binders to Buryakov in 2013, allowing the FBI to eavesdrop on hours of conversations among Russian intelligence.

The recordings “make clear” that the men “were operating as SVR officers by receiving taskings from Moscow, gathering responsive information and sending it back to SVR headquarters,” the court documents say.

Justice Department to Blame Iran for Cyber-Attack on Suburban New York Dam

iran_flagBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Iranian government launched a cyber-attack against a dam in suburban New York in 2013, the Justice Department is claiming in an indictment, a source told the New York Post. 

The federal government is drawing up the indictment, which is expected to be handed down soon.

Although hackers were unable to take control of the Bowman Avenue Dam in the suburban town of Rye, they managed to access an unspecified system, the source said.

The hacking has raised big concerns among the Obama administration, which has indicated that cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent.