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Tag: warrant

Cell Phones Seized by Border Patrol Triples in One Year; Congress May Intervene

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of cell phones turned over to demanding Border Patrol agents has nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016.

That has led Congress to consider legislation the would require a warrant before people would be entitled to turn over their phones on the requests of agents, according to a new NPR report. 

Here’s a partial transcript of the interview:

As the Trump administration looks to carry out extreme vetting of those who want to enter the U.S., one screening practice has already been amped up. In 2016, the number of people asked to hand over their cell phones and passwords by Customs and Border Protection agents increased almost threefold over the year before. NPR’s Brian Naylor reports this is happening to both foreign visitors and American citizens.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: It happened to Sidd Bikkannavar in January. He was returning from a trip to Chile and at the Houston airport was told to report to passport control by Customs and Border Protection, CBP.

SIDD BIKKANNAVAR: And the CBP officer started a series of questions and instructions. It was all pretty benign and uneventful. He ultimately told me to hand over my phone and give the password to unlock it.

NAYLOR: Bikkannavar is an American citizen. In fact, he’s a NASA engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

BIKKANNAVAR: You know, as politely as I could, I refused. I told him I wasn’t allowed to give up the password. I have to protect access. It’s a work-issued phone. So I pointed out the NASA barcodes and labels on the phone.

NAYLOR: But all that didn’t matter to the CBP agents who continued to insist and handed Bikkannavar a document warning there’d be consequences if Bikkannavar didn’t go along. And so he did. Now, you might be wondering – doesn’t the Constitution protect Americans from this sort of thing? Well, it turns out the law isn’t entirely clear. CBP maintains it has the authority to look through everyone’s phones at border crossings and airport customs checkpoints. Here’s Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly before a Senate panel last week.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Killed in Shootout While Trying to Serve Arrest Warrant

Dontrell Carter

Dontrell Carter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A deputy U.S. marshal was shot and killed Friday evening while while trying to serve an arrest warrant in south Georgia.

Patrick Carothers, 53, entered a house near Ludowici to arrest Dontrell Montese Carter when the suspect opened fire and hit the officer twice, according to the U.S. Marshal Service.

Carothers, who left behind a wife and five children, was a deputy commander and 26-year veteran.

Officers fired back and struck Carter multiple times.

Both Carner and Carothers died at the hospital.

Carter, 25, was wanted for attempted murder of police officers and domestic violence.

“Our deputies and law enforcement partners face dangers every day in the pursuit of justice nationwide,” the U.S. Marshall Service wrote in a statement. “The fugitive who killed Deputy Commander Carothers was extremely dangerous, wanted for trying to kill law enforcement officers and deliberately evading authorities. Pat is a hero and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and five children.”

Classified Rules Allow FBI Agents to Spy on Journalists without Warrant

spy graphicBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Without a warrant, the FBI is permitted to use secret surveillance to obtain journalists’ phone records with the approval of two government officials.

The Intercept obtained classified rules that show agents only have to get the consent of the FBI’s general counsel and executive assistant director of its national security branch.

Privacy and media advocates said the FBI has made it too easy to bypass courts to get subpoenas or search warrants to access journalists’ information.

The classified rules mean that agents could try to identify leakers and sources of new.

“These supposed rules are incredibly weak and almost nonexistent — as long as they have that second sign-off they’re basically good to go,” said Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which has sued the Justice Department for the release of these rules. “The FBI is entirely able to go after journalists and with only one extra hoop they have to jump through.”

Denver Post: Senate Made Right Choice by Rejecting Warrantless FBI Searches

Data securityBy Editorial Board
Denver Post

Privacy in electronic communications stands in a precarious position, and the U.S. Senate this week might take another shot at knocking it off its perch.

Last week, the Senate came two votes shy of agreeing to permit the FBI to track Americans online without any oversight or due process. An amendment to a federal spending bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would allow the FBI to see whom you e-mail and what websites you visit without bothering to get a warrant.

The FBI already has adequate tools to investigate suspected terrorists and other criminals. Agents need only go to a judge, produce evidence for reasonable suspicion, and they’ll get a warrant faster than a defense attorney can shout “Fourth Amendment.” There’s even an exception for imminent threats.

Law enforcement and nosy federal agencies repeatedly have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to use these sorts of powers without judicial oversight. The National Security Agency conducted a covert national surveillance system involving e-mail and phone calls. And on a more mundane level, local, state and federal law enforcement insisted they could attach GPS trackers to people’s cars without a warrant until the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.

Supporters of such invasions of privacy hold up ideals of public safety and fighting terrorism to justify their cause. For them, nearly any sacrifice of liberty is acceptable to reduce danger, real or hypothetical.

The most shameless among them invoke tragedies as cover.

“Our failure to act to grant this authority, particularly in the wake of this terrible tragedy in Orlando, would be inexcusable,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said about McCain’s amendment.

To read more click here.

Man Who Shot FBI Agent Was Known As ‘Longhorn Bandit’ in Denver Area

The "Longhorn Bandit"

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The 19-year-old man who killed himself after shooting an FBI agent was wanted for Denver-area bank robberies, the Denver Post reports. 

The man, Jesus Emmanuel Avila, was known as the “Longhorn Bandit” and was wanted in about a half dozen Denver-area robberies.

At the time of the shooting, FBI agents were serving a warrant for his arrest.

A member of the FBI SWAT team was shot in the leg and received non-life-threatening injuries.

“As (Avila’s) actions firing on law enforcement agents and wounding an FBI agent show, the robber was armed, dangerous and posed a grave risk to the public,” Colorado’s U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a statement.

Robert Durst Attorneys: FBI Illegally Searched Hotel in New Orleans

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Robert Durst, the millionaire real-estate heir who was the subject of a popular TV show, was subjected to an illegal FBI search before he was arrested on murder charges, his attorney said this week.

The Boston Herald reports that the FBI “rummaged” through the 71-year-old man’s hotel room without a proper warrant.

The warrant led to Durst’s arrest and the confiscation of a revolver and 5 ounces of marijuana in New Orleans.
Durst’s attorneys argued that the sworn statement used to get the warrant “contains a material misrepresentation designed to cover up the FBI’s unlawful, warrantless search of Mr. Durst’s hotel room.”

Durst is accused of killing his friend friend Susan Berman in 2000 to keep her quiet about another murder investigation involving Durst.

FBI Uses E-mail Communications Collected by NSA without Warrants

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI has been quietly using information gathered during warrantless NSA surveillance to comb through emails belonging to foreigners to assist in investigations, the New York Times reports.

The Times discovered the FBI was gathering copies of unprocessed communications that were received without a warrant.

The Inspector General report commended the FBI for assuring that no Americans were targeted in the warrantless collection of communications.

Much of the report was redacted, making it impossible to gauge the extent of the communication gathering, the Times wrote.

The records were released after The Times filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Gambling Case Postponed While Judge Decides Wether FBI Overstepped Authority

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A federal judge has postponed an illegal Internet gambling trial to determine whether FBI agents went beyond the law when they entered Las Vegas hotel suites without a warrant and obtained information from the computers of the suspects, the Associated Press reports.

The Jan. 12 trial date was vacated pending a ruling on the warrantless search.

U.S. Magistrate Juge Peggy Leen said she expects to decide soon whether the rights of Wei Seng Phua and his son Darren Kit Phua were violated.

Defense attorneys argued the case she be tossed out because agents had no right to pose as repairman to fix bogus Internet problems.