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Tag: FBI

FBI Director Wray Once Again Talks About His Grave Concerns About Encryption

FBI Director Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Back in October, FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia and talked about his grave concern he had about getting access to thousands of cell phones in criminal cases due to encryption and privacy issues.

“In the first 11 months of this fiscal year alone, we were unable to access the content of more than 6,900, that six-thousand-nine-hundred, mobile devices using appropriate and available technical tools even though we had the legal authority to do so,” he told the law enforcement group.

“Each one of those 6,900 mobile devices is tied to a specific subject, a specific defendant, a specific victim, a specific investigation. That’s more than half …..of all the mobile devices that we attempted to access in that time frame. And that’s just the FBI.”

On Tuesday, he once again emphasized his concern at New York at Fordham University’s International Conference on Cyber Security, according to a report in the Washington Post by Ellen Nakashima.

“Being unable to access nearly 7,800 devices in a single year is a major public safety issue,” he said, echoing concerns of  his predecessor, James B. Comey.

“We’re not interested in the millions of devices of everyday citizens,” he said. “We’re interested in those devices that have been used to plan or execute terrorist or criminal activities.”

FBI Agent Shoots and Wounds Person While Serving Search Warrant in Los Angeles

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent shot and wounded a man during a confrontation Monday in the Sun Valley neighborhood in Los Angeles, KABC reports.

The shooting occurred while executing a search warrant around 5:40 a.m. in the 10300 block of Horse Haven Street. The identity of the person shot was not immediately disclosed.

The agent discharged the gun during an altercation with the person.

GOP Trying to Pinpoint DOJ-FBI Leaks to Media That Might Be Creating Anti-Trump Spin

President Trump, via White House

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Political allies of President Donald Trump are working hard to prove a bias on the part of the Justice Department when it comes the Trump-Russia investigation.

In recent weeks, GOP congressional investigators have publicly and privately questioned senior Justice Department and FBI leaders about interactions with reporters covering the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, hoping to expose any leaks by law enforcement to help put an anti-Trump spin on the case, Kyle Cheney of Politico reports.

“There are a number of other inappropriate communications that have transpired between the FBI/DOJ and media outlets that have not been disclosed,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a top House conservative and member of the Oversight Committee, according to Politico.

 

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Pressuring Teenage Girls for Nude Photos

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent is accused of posing as a boy online to pressure girls for nude photos and to share sexually explicit messages.

Micah Mardo, 36, faces a federal sex crime after he was arrested last week at a northwest Washington state Border Patrol station, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports

The FBI began investigating after a tipster reported that Mardo’s wife found disturbing images and messages on her husband’s computer.

Investigators said Mardo used the Kik app to contact young teen girls for nude photos. The FBI said he also sent obscene images of himself.

Blaine sector Chief Patrol Agent Brian Martin said the federal agency is cooperating with the FBI probe.

“A vast majority of the men and women employed with our agency meet this high standard day in and day out,” Martin said by email. “As public servants, our agents are rightly held to a higher standard of conduct and are subject to the same laws and rules that apply to private citizens.”

FBI: Terrorism Suspect Who Stopped Train Has Ties to White Supremacists

Terror suspect Taylor Michael Wilson.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An armed Missouri man who stopped a cross-country Amtrak train in southwest Nebraska has ties to white supremacists and advocated “killing black people,” new court documents show.

Taylor Michael Wilson, 26, of St. Charles, has been charged with terrorism and other violent-related crimes in U.S. district Court in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Lincoln Journal Star reports

FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski said there’s sufficient evidence to show that Wilson’s electronic devices and firearms “have been used for or obtained in anticipation of engaging in or planning to engage in criminal offenses against the United States.”

Newly unsealed court records indicate agents found videos and PDF files on Wilson’s phone that suggest ties to white supremacy. Also found on the phone was a book about how to kill people.

An acquaintance of suspect told the FBI that Wilson had joined a neo-Nazi group. Another informant told the FBI that Wilson supported “killing black people.”

Arrested Dec. 23, Wilson is now in federal custody. 

Congressional Republicans: New Evidence Shows Clinton Probe Was Rigged

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Key congressional Republicans reviewing the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server said they found evidence that the bureau’s top officials protected the former secretary of state from criminal charges.

Those Republicans say they have received written evidence and other information that reveal some FBI investigators believed Clinton broke some laws when she and her top aides used an insecure private email server to transmit classified information, the Hill reports

During a closed-door briefing on Dec. 21, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the House Judiciary Committee that he discovered the investigation and the decision on whether to file charges belonged to a small group in Washington D.C.’s headquarters, not the field office leaders who typically handle the outcome of  federal probes.

Among the evidence are FBI documents that indicate the voluminous amounts of classified information that was passed through Clinton’s insecure server amount to crime. Investigators also said a key witness admitted making false statements, which is a crime identical to the ones filed against some of Trump’s former campaign officials.

Some committee Republicans said the new discoveries suggest the top levels of the FBI protected Clinton from prosecution.

“This was an effort to pre-bake the cake, pre-bake the outcome,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a House Judiciary Committee member who attended the McCabe briefing before the holidays. “Hillary Clinton obviously benefited from people taking actions to ensure she wasn’t held accountable.”

Legal Expert: Why Trump Won’t Be Able to Stop Mueller Probe

President Trump, via White House.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fears that President Trump will orchestrate the termination of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether the Republican’s campaign colluded with Russia, are likely overblown, argues Jack Goldsmith, co-founder of Lawfare and Harvard Law School professor.

I believe that what we learned in 2017 should give us confidence in 2018 that Trump will not be able to terminate the Mueller investigation,” Goldsmith wrote

Goldsmith points out that the Justice Department “took the proper steps despite the allegiance that political appointees typically feel toward the president who appointed them.”

They did so because they are embedded in and charged with running an institution with rules and norms that they feel personal and professional responsibility to abide by and uphold,” he added.

Yet despite Trump’s rhetorical crusade against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and fired FBI Director James Comey, the investigation has continued unimpeded.

“In short, the political appointees in the Justice Department who are connected to the Mueller investigation have shown that they follow the rules and norms of the department despite the president’s wishes otherwise,” Goldsmith argued.

Even if Rosenstein gave into political pressure, he’d have trouble justifying kicking Mueller to the curb because he either has to show the special counsel’s proposed steps were “inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices” or that Mueller participated in “misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies.”

To do that, Rosenstein would need to explain his actions to Congress, which has been unwilling so far to intervene, save for a few conservative Republicans.

Trump’s has other options, but they too would be difficult to pull off. For example, Trump could fire Rosenstein, but he’d have trouble finding a Senate-confirmed official, as required by law, finding a replacement who interfere in the investigation.

Wife of Slain Journalist Sues FBI for Confidential Records about His Murder

Slain journalist Steven Vincent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The wife of a journalist who was beaten and shot dead in Iraq in 2015 won’t rest until she gets justice.

But first, Lisa Ramaci needs classified documents from the FBI to go after Iranian officials she believes are behind the death of Steven Vincent, a 49-year-old freelance reporter.

Ramaci has sued the FBI for those documents, saying the bureau has refused to release more than 100 pages of documents, the New York Post reports

Ramadi has filed a civil lawsuit against Iran, its central bank and its national oil company.

Vincent was captured, beaten and shot dead by local police in Iraq a few days after he published an article about Iranian-sponsored radicals.