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Archive for July 19th, 2017

Federal Appeals Court Approves FBI’s National Security Letter Gag Orders

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s use of gag orders to prevent companies from disclosing the number and details of national security letters does not run afoul of the First Amendment, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The three-judge panel found that gag orders protect national security and therefore do not violate the companies’ constitutional rights, the Washington Times reports

The ruling means that the FBI can continue issuing thousands of gag orders a year prohibiting recipients from disclosing their existence.

NSLs require communication providers to reveal customer records, and the FBI has argued that disclosing the information could compromise national security. 

The case stems from a lawsuit filed against the Justice Department by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented two NSL recipients that wanted to notify their users about orders compelling the disclosure of customer data. 

Fugitive Webb Told Wife to Dig His Grave in Secret Room Behind House

Donald Eugene Webb, mug shot.

Donald Eugene Webb, mug shot.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Eugene Webb, a long-sought fugitive with mob ties wanted in connection with the killing of a Pennsylvania police chief, told his wife to dig a hole in the backyard to bury him after he had a stroke and believed he was dying.

The latest revelation, which was disclosed in a newly unsealed search warrant, is another strange twist in the case of Webb, whose remains were found behind his wife’s North Dartmouth, Mass., home last week, WPRI.com reports

Webb was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list from 1981 to 2007, but it turns out, the career criminal with connections to the New England mob died in 1999.

Webb had been charged in the brutal beating and fatal shooting of Saxonburg Police Chief Gregory Adams during a traffic stop in December 1980.

The new documents indicate FBI Special Agent Thomas MacDonald discovered a secret room inside the home of Webb’s ex-wife, prompting detectives to secure a judge’s permission to search the home.

The wife, Lillian Webb, told investigators the room was built so “she could hide in the hidden room” in the event of a burglary. But MacDonald didn’t buy the explanation because the lock at the top of the door was too high for the wife to reach it.

Eighth Person to Meet Trump Jr. Identified As Employee of Russian Company

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The eighth person to take part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. was a senior vice president of a Russian real estate company run by an oligarch.

Ike Kaveladze, a senior vice president at Crocus Group, which is operated by Azerbaijani-Russian oligarchs and father-and-son Russian developers Aras and Emin Agalarov, the Washington Post reports

The Agalarovs hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.

Special counsel Robert Mueller requested an interview with Kaveladze, who has agreed to cooperate, his attorney confirmed.

The Post wrote:

The request is the first public indication that Mueller’s team is investigating the meeting.

The presence of Kaveladze at the Trump Tower meeting introduces a new and intriguing figure into the increasingly complex Trump-Russia drama. A native of the Soviet republic of Georgia who came to the United States in 1991, Kaveladze was the subject nearly two decades ago of a congressional inquiry into Russian money laundering in U.S. banks, although he was never charged with a crime and Balber said there was never any sign of wrongdoing by Kaveladze.

Trump, Putin Met for Undisclosed, Private Discussion During G20 Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump secretly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a one-on-one discussion over dinner during the Group of 20 summit meeting earlier this month, the New York Times reports

The White House, which didn’t disclose the meeting until confronted by the secret discussion Tuesday, said there was nothing unusual about the meet-up.

Trump slammed media reports about the secret meeting as “sick,” saying the “Press knew!” about the dinner since world leaders and their spouses had been invited by Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Times wrote:

While the leaders-and-spouses dinner was on Mr. Trump’s public schedule, the news media was not allowed to witness any part of it, nor were reporters provided with an account of what transpired. Mr. Trump’s traveling press contingent did note, however, that his motorcade left the dinner four minutes after Mr. Putin’s did.

The dinner at which the private conversation took place stretched for more than three hours after a concert for the leaders and their spouses at the Elbphilharmonie, a concert hall on the banks of the Elbe River.

In the earlier, formal meeting, Mr. Trump said later, he asked the Russian president twice about his role in the American vote. Mr. Putin denied involvement, and the two men agreed to move beyond the dispute in the interest of finding common ground on other matters, including a limited cease-fire in Syria.

There is no official United States government record of the intimate dinner conversation, because no American official other than the president was involved.

Homeland Security Enlists American College Students in Fight Against Terrorism

university of marylandBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security’s battle to stop the radicalization and recruitment of young people has tapped American college students for help.

The program, called Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism, gives students at 50 to 75 universities up to $2,000 each to counter online recruiting efforts by developing social media campaigns, the New York Times reports

Homeland Security and other national security officials judge a competition by students to develop online tools to counter recruiting efforts of terrorist groups like ISIS.

The University of Maryland placed first in the competition with a project, which was built around a video game and social media campaign, that teaches friends and neighbors to identify signs of radicalization.

“Who better to push back against the prejudice, bigotry and hate online than students?” said Tony Sgro, the president of EdVenture Partners, the company that created the program.

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