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Tag: news

Justice Department Accuses Ferguson Officials of ‘Inappropriate Effort to Influence Opinion’

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department accused some Ferguson officials of leaking information to the media in an effort to support Officer Darren Wilson, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In recent days, details of the investigation have appeared in local and national news coverage at a time when a grand jury decision is imminent on whether Wilson will be charged in the killing of an unarmed black teenager.

The Justice Department called the leaks “irresponsible and highly troubling.”

“There seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence opinion about this case.”

The information is supposed to remain a secret through the Grand Jury process.

“There is no way there should be reports from all these anonymous sources and these ‘leaks’ ….This is supposed to play out in the courts and the justice system, and not the media,” said Ferguson protester and resident Patricia Bynes. “The whole damn system is guilty as hell.”

 

FBI Abruptly Changes Course on Hiring Company to Grade Positivity of News

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has ended its controversial quest to hire a company to grade whether news is positive, neutral or negative, the Washington Times reports.

The bureau abruptly removed the contract solicitation without explanation, and the FBI declined to discuss it.

Journalism ethicists expressed worries about the FBI’s plans to grade news coverage.

“You would certainly worry this could affect access,” Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor for Northeastern University, said. “It might affect the way they’re going to approach your questions, whether they’re going to be extra careful not to make news if you’re on the ‘bad list.’”

Now the FBI is looking for a clipping service but not a grading system.

FBI Wants to Hire Someone to Score Media Coverage of Bureau

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wants to know how it’s perceived in the media.

The Washington Times reports that the FBI is hiring a contractor to categorize news stories as “positive,” “neutral” or negative.”

But what the FBI plans to do with the information remains unclear. The FBI also wouldn’t divulge why it wants the information.

During the five-year contract, the winning bidder would “use their judgment” to score news coverage every day.

The Times wrote that President Obama’s administration also gave grades to measure media coverage of the BP oil spill.

Justice Department: No More Secret Subpoenas for News Organization – With Exceptions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Justice Department has pledged to stop secretly subpoenaing news organizations – for the most part.

Fox News reports that the Justice Department is changing its policy to notify news agencies of its desire to obtain records in leak investigations.

The revision will allow news organizations to challenge search warrants or subpoenas in federal court, Fox News wrote.

The change comes after the Justice Department subpoenaed telephone records of reporters and editors at the Associated Press.

The Justice Department, however, said exemptions may apply in some cases.

FBI Planted Informant Inside WikiLeaks for Information on the Secret-Revealing Group

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An Icelandic man is the first known FBI informant inside WikiLeaks, a secret-revealing website.

Wired.com reports that Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson was an informant for three months in 2011 when he worked for WikiLeaks and the FBI. Ticklethewire.com mistakenly printed that Julian Paul Assange was the informant.

He reportedly received $5,000 for his undercover work.

“It’s a sign that the FBI views WikiLeaks as a suspected criminal organization rather than a news organization,” says Stephen Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “WikiLeaks was something new, so I think the FBI had to make a choice at some point as to how to evaluate it: Is this The New York Times, or is this something else? And they clearly decided it was something else.”

FBI Probe of News Leaks Chills Relations with Media

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Media coverage of national security issues has become more difficult because employees at federal agencies have been afraid to speak out since the FBI began its hunt for leakers of sensitive information, the New York Times reports.

In one of the most thorough criminal investigations of intelligence disclosures in years, agents are questioning employees about leaks at the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Under President Obama’s administration, a record six leaks have been prosecuted.

“People are being cautious,” one intelligence official who, considering the circumstances, told the New York Times on condition of anonymity. “We’re not doing some of the routine things we usually do,” he added, referring to briefings on American security efforts and subjects in the news.

OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

Church of Scientology Faces Controversy Over Latest Abuse Allegations

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The Church of Scientology, which boasts such members as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is once again steeped in controversy, thanks to a magazine article that cites numerous allegations of abusive behavior and gross misconduct.

Author Lawrence Wright writes in The New Yorker magazine that ex-members told him of physical and psychological abuse and how the church brought “escapees back” through emotional, spiritual or psychological pressure and physical force if necessary.

The church did not immediately respond today to AOL News for comment but denied the allegations in a statement, according to NBC News.

The New Yorker also says the allegations have been the subject of an FBI probe. In December 2009, FBI agent Tricia Whitehill of the Los Angeles, who worked on the human trafficking squad, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the agency’s Clearwater office about “abuse,” the magazine reported. The church’s spiritual headquarters is based in Clearwater.

The author cites two sources in the FBI who “assured me that the case remains open.” However, a federal law enforcement source told AOL News the investigation has fallen short and no criminal charges are expected to be filed. Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, declined comment.

To read more click here.

Modern Mobsters Still Follow Dad into the Mafia

John Gotti Jr./youtube

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The historic mobster roundup that collared more than 120 people in the New York region last month provided a snapshot of the Mafia of today: murder, gambling and extortion; big bosses and small fries; “made guys” and associates. But what it didn’t show was the pervasive nepotism that still exists in organized crime — only one son with a father with alleged ties to a crime family was arrested that day.

Even so, organized crime experts say the mob of the 21st century, just like the one in the 20th century, is still a magnet for the younger generation.

Father John J. Gotti

“Unfortunately, there’s still quite a few sons in the business,” David Shafer, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Organized Crime Branch in New York, told AOL News. “Hollywood has glamorized the business with shows and movies like ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Goodfellas.’

“But it’s not a glamorous lifestyle. A lot of wise guys and associates aren’t living the luxurious lifestyle and living in a mansion like Tony Soprano.”

Adds Andrew DiDonato, a former associate of the Gambino crime family: “There’s still a ton of nepotism in organized crime. Nepotism still runs wild.”

To read more click here.