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Archive for August, 2016

Democrats Urge FBI to Investigate Possible Ties Between Russia, Trump Campaign

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Democratic lawmakers are urging the FBI to investigate Donald Trump campaign advisers to determine whether they were involved in the suspected Russian hacking of election systems in two states and the party’s political organizations.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote a letter to FBI Director Jame Comey on Aug. 27, asking for an investigation into suspected Russian interference in the presidential election, The Washington Post reports. 

The letter refers to two Trump advisors who have been accused of having connections to Russia. One of Trump’s longtime friends, Roger Stone, claimed he was in touch with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. And Trump’s foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, traveled to Moscow in July.

“The prospect of individuals tied to Trump, Wikileaks and the Russian government coordinating to influence our election raises concerns of the utmost gravity and merits full examination,” Reid wrote, referring to Stone.

Four House Democrats made a similar request of Comey on Tuesday afternoon.

Serious questions have been raised about overt and covert actions by Trump campaign officials on behalf of Russian interests,” they wrote. “It is critical for the American public to know whether those actions may have directly caused or indirectly motivated attacks against Democratic institutions and our fundamental election process.”

State Department: FBI Recovered 30 New Benghazi Emails from Clinton’s Server

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The State Department says it recovered about 30 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server that may be related to the Benghazi attack in 2012.

State Department lawyers told U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta that the emails were not included in the 55,000 pages previously turned over by Clinton, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

Before the emails are released, the State Department said it needs until the end of September to comb through the emails and redact any classified information.

Mehta urged the State Department to speed up the review and questioned the amount of time it would take to release the documents.

The hearing is part of a lawsuit filed by the conservative group Judicial Watch, which has sued the government for access to the records.

The discovery raises questions about whether Clinton lied when she maintained that she only deleted emails that weren’t related to her job as secretary of state.

Homeland Security Director to Deliver Speech at Duke University for 9/11 Anniversary

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson will discuss counterterrorism and new threats to the U.S. at Duke University’s Stanford School of Public Policy on Sept. 8, just three days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Duke Today reports the event is free and open to the public.

Johnson, who took the helm at Homeland Security in 2013, will bring a lot of experience on the issues to the speech.

“Jeh Johnson has had a seat at the table in the key decisions about U.S. security policy over the past seven and a half years,” said David Schanzer, a Sanford School professor and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

“Secretary Johnson is a thoughtful leader and a man of integrity and is uniquely positioned to share his insights on national security,” added Gen. Martin Dempsey, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current Rubenstein Fellow at Duke.

The speech is the fifth annual event to commemorate the 9/11 attacks.

New York Post: Recovered Emails Are Reminder That Clintons Play by Own Rules

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Editorial Board
New York Post

How about that: Among the 14,900 “new” Hillary Clinton e-mails uncovered by the FBI are 30 or so that concern the Benghazi attack — the most controversial single episode in Clinton’s four years running the State Department.

So much for Clinton’s claim that she’d handed over all her work-related e-mails. Heck: So much for any remaining illusion that she even tried to provide a complete record.

But, as someone once asked: What difference, at this point, does it make? Can Hillary’s “trust deficit” get any deeper?

In part, that depends on what’s actually in the e-mails, which may not be released until the end of September.

But it also seems to up the odds that the overall FBI “dump” will have some kind of bombshell. Benghazi’s been a matter of prime public and congressional interest for the last four years. If Clinton wouldn’t even make a good-faith effort to hand over everything on that topic, then she wasn’t trying for full disclosure on any front.

Bigger picture: This is a taste of what a Hillary presidency would bring, just as Bill’s did back in the ’90s — endless low-level scandal, occasionally flaring up into something far larger.

To read more click here. 

Wanted: Researchers to Grow Marijuana to Study Medicinal Benefits

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is looking for researchers to grow marijuana in an effort to better understand whether cannabis has medicinal benefits.

Since the 1970s, the DEA gave exclusive license to the University of Mississippi to grow and research marijuana.

The decision comes after the DEA declined to approve marijuana for medical use, saying there was insufficient evidence to remove cannabis from the Schedule I category.

Stat News contacted nearly a dozen agricultural schools to see if they were interested in growing marijuana. All said they had no plans to do so.

Stat News reported:

To register with the agency, applicants will need to show that they will have security measures in place to protect the marijuana and be willing to comply with a host of other requirements. And depending on the scale of the operation, prospective growers will likely have to make significant investments to get it up and running.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-FBI Agent Who Stole $136,000 in Seized Drug Money Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent who stole more than $136,000 in seized drug money to buy cars and cosmetic surgery for his wife was sentenced Wednesday in California to three years in prison.

Scott Bowman, 45, of Moreno Valley, Calif., confessed to stealing the money and pleaded guilty in May to charges of conversion of property by a federal employee, obstruction of justice, falsification of records and witness tampering.

U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal also ordered Bowman to pay $136,462 in restitution.

The Justice Department wrote:

According to admissions made in connection with his plea, Bowman misappropriated drug proceeds seized during the execution of three search warrants in June and August 2014 after they were transferred to his custody in his official capacity as a federal law enforcement officer.  Bowman admitted that he proceeded to spend the stolen money for his own personal use and enjoyment, including tens of thousands of dollars on vehicles and new equipment, including speakers, rims and tires.  Bowman also used $15,000 of the misappropriated cash to pay for cosmetic surgery for his spouse and opened a new checking account into which he deposited $10,665 of the stolen funds, he admitted.

According to the plea agreement, in order to conceal his embezzlement, Bowman falsified official FBI reports and submitted a deposit receipt – with a forged signature – that understated the amount of proceeds he had actually seized at the search site.  In October 2014, Bowman sent emails to a local police detective containing a detailed cover story that the detective was instructed to provide in case he was asked about Bowman’s handling of the drug proceeds and a copy of the receipt with the forged signature so that the detective could falsely claim the forged signature as his own, Bowman admitted.

FBI Investigating Breaches Against Two State Voter Systems

ballot box flintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to determine who hacked voting registration databases in Illinois and Arizona ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

The FBI discovered breaches in the databases in both states and is urging officials in both states to increase security, Reuters reports. 

Agents are now investigating whether other states also were targeted.

But it’s unclear whether there was an effort to manipulate votes since much of the information is already publicly available.

Still, the FBI has become increasingly concerned about Russian-sponsored hackers who likely targeted the Democratic National Committee and others within the party.

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency “routinely advises” on “various cyber threat indicators observed during the course of our investigations.”

Guardian: Internet Security Becomes Huge, Growing Problem

hacking By Editorial Board
The Guardian

The phone in your pocket gives you powers that were hard to imagine even five years ago. It can talk to you, listen, and give sensible answers to questions. It knows your fingerprint and recognises your face and those of all your friends. It can buy almost anything, sell almost anything, bring you all the news you want, as well as almost all the books, films and music you might want to look at. What’s more, it will even allow you to talk to your friends and to communicate with almost anyone.

The problem is that these powers are not yours – at least they don’t belong to you alone. They belong to whoever controls the phone and can be used to serve their purposes as well as yours. Repressive governments and criminal gangs are all contending to break into phones today, and this kind of hacking will increasingly become the preferred route into all of the computer networks that we use – the ones we don’t call “phones”.

Apple’s sudden forced upgrade to the iPhone operating system last week was a response to these anxieties. A dissident in the UAE appears to have had his iPhone hijacked by a very sophisticated piece of malware produced by a security company and sold legally, if in secret, to regimes that want to spy on their enemies. This offers its controllers complete knowledge of anything the infected phone is privy to: that’s all the contacts, all the messages of any sort, whether chats, texts or emails, all the calendars and even, potentially, any voice conversation that it overhears. It’s difficult to imagine a more assiduous or intimate spy. And once one phone has been subverted, it becomes a tool for spying into all other the networks to which it or the owner has access.

To read more click here.