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Archive for October 6th, 2016

NTSB: Kentucky Truck Driver’s Meth Use, Fatigue Caused Crash That Killed 6 People

Chattanooga Truck accident, via Chattanooga Police Department.

Chattanooga Truck accident, via Chattanooga Police Department.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Kentucky truck driver who crashed on a Tennessee highway last year, killing six people, was fatigued, high on methamphetamine and failed to slow down in a construction zone, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The June 2015 crash occurred on I-75 near Chattanooga and sparked safety changes.

The driver, Benjamin Brewer of London, crashed several times in the past, the Associated Press reports. 

“Our investigation reveals how this driver’s choices and actions, in the days and hours before the crash, led to the crash and loss of life,” NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart said.

The AP wrote:

After probably going without “sustained rest” for 40 hours, Brewer was working for Cool Runnings Express Inc., also of London, when he failed to slow down with traffic entering a marked construction work zone. His truck first hit a Toyota Prius at speeds of 78 to 82 mph, and seven other vehicles and 18 people were involved. In addition to the six deaths, four people were injured. Brewer had stopped in Florida about 5:16 a.m. and was on his way to London when the crash occurred about 7:10 p.m. June 25, 2015. Brewer was arrested in Lexington.

Brewer didn’t take evasive action to avoid the crash, the NTSB found.

After the crash, he tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the NTSB, which saidthe drug affected his driving ability.

There were indicators that Brewer was unsafe, the NTSB said.

NSA Contractor Charged with Stealing Highly Classified Information

The NSA headquarters in Maryland.

The NSA headquarters in Maryland.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former NSA contractor was secretly arrested in August by the FBI and is being investigated for possibly stealing and disclosing highly classified information.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the contractor, Harold T. Martin III, stole computer code the enables the agency to hack into the networks of foreign governments, the New York Times reports.

Martin was a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton, where Edward Snowden also worked when he stole and disclosed a trove of documents that exposed surveillance programs.

Martin, who is from Glen Burnie, Md., was charged with theft of government property and the unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents.

The FBI arrested the 51-year-old at his home on Aug. 27.

The Times wrote:

According to court documents, the F.B.I. discovered thousands of pages of documents and dozens of computers or other electronic devices at his home and in his car, a large amount of it classified. The digital media contained “many terabytes of information,” according to the documents. They also discovered classified documents that had been posted online, including computer code, officials said. Some of the documents were produced in 2014.

But more than a month later, the authorities cannot say with certainty whether Mr. Martin leaked the information, passed them on to a third party or whether he simply downloaded them.

Yahoo Conducted Surveillance for Federal Government by Scanning Emails

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Yahoo searched hundred of millions of incoming emails for the federal government in 2015, the Associated Press reports. 

Citing three former Yahoo employees, the report states that the NSA or FBI demanded that the internet company search for a string of letters, numbers or other characters.

To conduct the surveillance, Yahoo built a software program.

Google said Tuesday that it has not received similar surveillance demands, and if it did, the response would be, “No way.” Microsoft said it has “never engaged in secret scanning of email traffic.”

Twitter and Facebook also responded that they have not received similar requests.

Secret Service Investigating Veteran Who Is Accused of Threatening to Shoot Trump

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigating a veteran who is accused of carrying a gun to a Donald Trump rally in Virginia after he said he was going to shoot the Republican presidential candidate.

The suspect claims he was “only messing around,” but investigators aren’t so sure, New York Magazine reports. 

According to a police investigation, the veteran said a neighbor asked him what he was doing, and he responded he was going to “shoot Trump.”

The veteran’s identity has not been released.

The Secret Service responded in less than an hour. During an interview with the Secret Service, the suspect allegedly said Trump was “creating problems instead of helping people.”

Homeland Security Deputy Secretary to Step Down to Join Private Sector

Alejandro Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Alejandro Mayorkas is stepping down as deputy secretary of Homeland Security after accepting a job in the private sector.

Mayorkas served as the No. 2 at Home Security for the past there years and will step down on Oct. 28, Federal News Radio reports. 

He will join Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

“I began my government service as a federal prosecutor, a position I held for nearly twelve years, and I have been a member of our department for nearly seven years,” Mayorkas said in a staff email. “I have cherished every moment of public service. Thank you for making it so.”

In a press release, Secretary Jeh Johnson said Mayorkas was an effective leader.

“Over the last 34 months, Ali has spearheaded much of our Unity of Effort campaign and employee engagement initiatives, and has taken a leading role on issues ranging from immigration to cybersecurity,” said Johnson in the statement. “His legacy as deputy secretary will be the number of things we did to improve how this department functions, and the significant increase in employee satisfaction we saw this year as a result. We are all grateful for Ali’s many contributions.”

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