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Archive for March 16th, 2016

Apple Says America’s ‘Founders Would Be Appalled’ by FBI’s Demands to Unlock Phone

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple took its final legal shot at the FBI before next week’s courtroom showdown over unlocking an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Apple’s legal team warned in court papers of “serious risks” to the privacy of “millions of citizens” if a federal judge orders the tech giant to hack an iPhone, the San Jose Mercury News reports. 

“This case hinges on a contentious policy issue about how society should weigh what law enforcement officials want against the widespread repercussions and serious risks their demands would create,” Apple wrote. “This case arises in a difficult context after a terrible tragedy. But it is in just such highly charged and emotional cases that the courts must zealously guard civil liberties and the rule of law and reject government overreaching.”

Arguments in the case are scheduled for next week in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, who tentatively ordered Apple to comply with the FBI’s request to unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook.

The Justice Department has argued that unlocking the single phone is necessary to “leave no stone unturned” in the terrorism investigation.

Apple said the order would result in “catastrophic security implications.”

“(According) to the government, short of kidnapping or breaking an express law, the courts can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up,” Apple wrote. “The Founders would be appalled.”

FBI Investigating Alleged ISIS ‘Kill List’ Containing Law Enforcement Officials in Minnesota

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

State and federal authorities are investigated an alleged ISIS “kill list” that contains personal information of dozens of Minnesota law enforcement officers, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. 

A group of hackers affiliated with ISIS in Iraq and the Levant is accused of creating a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least 36 officers across Minnesota. The group calls itself the Caliphate Cyber Army.

The list also included instructions to kill and was posted on the encrypted app Telegram.

Authorities are trying to determine how legitimate the group is.

“It is on our radar and we have been working with the various agencies which have been both named and unnamed,” FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said of the list. “We’re proceeding forward with this matter and treating it as a serious threat.”

Ex-Army Soldier Accused of Plotting Attacks in Name of ISIS Not Charged with Terrorism

us-army-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Daniel Seth Franey is a former U.S. Army soldier who is accused of planning to ambush police officers, attack a Seattle-area military base and kill everyone at an annual gathering of top military brass, Vice News reports.

Yet Franey, who was arrested on Feb. 6, was never charged with terrorism, raising serious questions about how the FBI and federal prosecutors handled the case.

Instead, Franey was charged with three counts of unlawful possession of firearms and two counts of unlawful possession of machine guns.

After receiving tips that Franey was bent on attacking Americans in the name of ISIS, an FBI informant spent eight months with the former soldier to gauge how serious he was. The informant even furnished Franey with guns before arresting him for illegal possession of weapons.

Franey faces up to 50 years in prison.

American Man Accused of Fighting for ISIS Was Not on FBI’s Radar

Syria mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American man accused of fighting for ISIS and detained by Kurdish forces in Iraq was not on the FBI’s radar, the Washington Post reports. 

Mohamad Khweis traveled to Turkey and Greece for vacation with friends about two months ago, his family members said.

But the Kurdish publication, Rudaw, reported that Khweis traveled to Syria from Turkey two months ago and was arrested on his way back to Turkey.

Kurdish authorities said they hot at Khweis because they believed he was a suicide bomber. Khweis surrendered.

Friends of Khweis were shocked.

“I’m like, ‘I can’t even comprehend what I’m looking at right now,’” friend Harrison Weinhold, 27, of Alexandria, said. “It could not have been a more normal guy.”

More than 250 Americans have joined or attempted to join extremist groups overseas, according to a congressional report release last year.

Donald Trump Rallies Are Putting Strain on Secret Service Agents

secret-service-3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The head of the Secret Service said his agents’ jobs are tougher because of the rowdy rallies held by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“There’s no question that some of these events create even more challenges for us,” Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy told lawmakers at a House Appropriations committee hearing Tuesday.

On Saturday, agents jumped on stage to protect Trump after a man jumped over a fence and appeared to be lunging at the Republican frontrunner. Just a day earlier, Trump canceled a rally in Chicago after hundreds of protesters turned out in loud opposition to the Republican.

But Clancy reiterated that his agents are not responsible for removing disruptive protesters, NBC News reports. 

“We are there to protect our protectee,” Clancy said. “If there are people that are disrupting the event, that is not our primary responsibility.”

The responsibility for handling protesters is up to event security or local law enforcement, Clancy aid.

“We do not interfere with people’s First Amendment rights. People have the right to voice their opinions and it’s for the host committee to decide whether that’s disruptive to that event.”

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