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NYT: Internet Users Should Be Alarmed by DOJ’s Pursuit of DreamHost Information

computer-photoBy Editorial Board
New York Times

Do you use the internet? Are you interested in politics? Do you value your privacy? If you answered yes, you should be alarmed by the shockingly broad search warrant sought by the Justice Department, and approved by a judge in Washington, D.C., last month, targeting DreamHost, an internet hosting company based in Los Angeles.

As DreamHost explained in a blog post on Monday, it hosts disruptj20.org, a website that helped organize anti-Trump protests on Inauguration Day, and posted pictures of those protests in the days after. There were large-scale protests across Washington on Jan. 20, most of which involved peaceful marches or sit-ins. But some people turned to violence, breaking store windows, setting fires, throwing rocks at police officers and, in one case, assaulting Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, during a television interview. More than 200 people have been charged with felony rioting.

As part of its continuing investigation, the Justice Department demanded that DreamHost turn over “all records or other information” relating to the site, which received more than 1.3 million requests to view its pages in six days after the inauguration. Those records include personal information like I.P. addresses, which identify a specific computer; data about which of the site’s pages a user viewed, and when; and the type of operating software on that person’s computer. Federal prosecutors are also seeking all emails, photos and other content sent to and from the site.

“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost wrote in its blog post.

It doesn’t matter whether the visitor is suspected of participating in a crime, or is even known to have attended the protests. If someone clicked anywhere on the site from anywhere in the world, the government wants to know.

To read more click here. 

Vermont Man Accused of Spraying Liquid Manure on Marked Border Patrol Car

Border Patrol car covered in liquid manure. Photo via CBP.

Border Patrol car covered in liquid manure. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Vermont man accused of spraying liquid manure on a marked Border Patrol car pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of disorderly conduct and simple assault of a law enforcement officer with fluids.

Authorities said Mark Johnson, 53, covered the vehicle in manure after telling an agent that he should do more to arrest people in the country illegally, the Associated Press reports.

The agent said Johnson sprayed the car after shouting profanities on Aug. 3 in Alburgh, a community just out of the Canadian border on a peninsula in Lake Champlain.

DEA Discovered 30,000 Counterfeit Pills Laced with Deadly Fentanyl

About 30,000 pills laced with fentanyl were discovered by the DEA. Photo via DEA.

About 30,000 pills laced with fentanyl were discovered by the DEA. Photo via DEA.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA and Tempe Police Department seized about 30,000 counterfeit pills containing the powerful and deadly opioid fentanyl.

Local and federal authorities said the pills, discovered Sunday during a traffic stop, are tied to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, Tucson News Now reports. 

“This massive seizure removed thousands of potentially lethal doses of this powerful narcotic off the streets,” said Doug Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of DEA in Arizona. “DEA will never relent in its pursuit of Mexican cartels who manufacture huge quantities of fake oxycodone pills using fentanyl.”

Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that is much more powerful than heroin, is to blame for thousands of deaths a year.

The counterfeit pills were made to look like oxycodone.

Authorities said Mexican cartels are lacing pills with fentanyl, which is cheaper and easier to produce.

Other Stories of Interest

Ukrainian Hacker Cooperating with FBI in Investigation of Russia, Trump Campaign

hacker-artBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A hacker in Ukraine known as “Profexer” is cooperating with the FBI as it investigates Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, the New York Times revealed Wednesday evening. 

Profexer, who wrote and sold malware on the dark web, is accused of writing a program used to break into the Democratic National Committee  servers and obtain thousands of emails that were leaked ahead of the election.

The hacker, whose real identity has not been released, turned himself into the FBI earlier this year and became a witness in the case. He has not been arrested, and there is no proof that he worked for Russian intelligence, according to Ukranian police.

But U.S. intelligence officials, based on a sample of the malware, believe Russians used the program to hack into the DNC.

The FBI, federal lawmakers and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to leak damaging information about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

Survey Contradicts Trump’s Assertions That FBI’s Comey Was Disliked

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump and his administration have repeatedly asserted that fired FBI Director James Comey was unpopular among the rank-and-file and was to blame for low morale.

But an internal survey released Wednesday suggests Comey, whom Trump fired in May, was trusted and highly respected, the Associated Press reported

A majority of survey respondents gave Comey high marks when asked if the then-director had “a positive impact on my morale.” The results mirror similar surveys dating to the start of Comey’s tenure in 2013.

The AP wrote:

Using a 1-to-5 scale, where scores between 3.81 and 5 are considered a “success in those areas,” Comey received average scores of 4.67, 4.39 and 4.38, respectively, on the morale question. Those results were tallied from 36 respondents in 2015, from 47 in 2016 and from 48 in 2017.

Respondents’ “trust and confidence” in Comey as a leader did drop slightly between 2015 and 2017 — from an average score of 4.78 to 4.46 — though it still fell within the higher end of the top benchmark for the surveys.

Trump initially cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s personal email server as justification for firing him. The deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, wrote a three-page memo criticizing those decisions, saying that as a result the FBI was “unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a director who understands the gravity of the mistakes.”

But Trump later said he had intended to fire Comey all along, dubbing him a “showboat.” A White House spokeswoman said then she had personally heard from “countless” agents who had complained about Comey’s leadership.

FBI Special Agent Injured After Concussion Grenade Detonates

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A special agent for the FBI was checking a concussion grenade in the back of a car at the bureau’s headquarters in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon when the device accidentally detonated.

The agent sustained injuries to his hand when the device, which often is used by law enforcement during raids to disorient people, went off, the New York Times reports

The explosion, which occurred in an underground parking garage at 26 Federal Plaza, initially prompted fears of an act of terrorism.

It’s unclear what caused the device to detonate.

The extent of the agent’s injuries weren’t immediately clear, but the Office of Emergency Management suggested his hand may have been severed.

“Today, an F.B.I. special agent sustained non-life threatening injuries following the accidental discharge of a diversion device in the 26 Federal Plaza garage,” the FBI said in a statement. “We have no further information to provide regarding the agent’s condition, and there is no threat to public safety at this time.”

FBI Veteran Leaves Special Counsel Mueller’s Investigation of Russia

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now special counsel for the Russia investigation.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has lost one of its top FBI investigators.

Sources told ABC News that FBI veteran Peter Strzok stepped down for unknown reasons, marking the first known hitch in the investigation. 

Strzok, who is a counterintelligence expert, is now working for the FBI’s human resources division.

ABC wrote:

He is no stranger to complex and controversial investigations.

As chief of the FBI’s counterespionage section last year, he helped oversee the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and he took part in the FBI interview of the Democratic presidential candidate.

Within weeks of the Clinton probe ending, Strzok found his office facing a new challenge: investigating Russia’s alleged efforts to influence last year’s presidential election, including a cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Pair Arrested After Trying to ‘Forcibly Stop’ FBI Employee’s Vehicle in Dallas


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Police arrested a man and woman after they tried to “forcibly stop an FBI employee’s vehicle” as it existed the bureau’s Dallas office parking lot Tuesday evening. 

CBS DFW reports that the pair was taken into custody and turned over to Dallas police. 

screen-shot-2017-08-17-at-8-37-16-amIt wasn’t immediately clear why the driver, Erling Beck, tried to stop the FBI vehicle.

Beck had an outstanding warrant. The woman was released, police said.

Investigators used a bomb squad robot to remove items from a nearby SUV following the incident.

Other Stories of Interest