"In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990 – as the city was preoccupied with Saint Patrick's Day celebrations – a pair of thieves disguised themselves as Boston police officers, gained entry to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and stole thirteen works of art."* "The stolen works have a total estimated worth of around $500 million, making the robbery the largest property theft ever"* and "considered the greatest art theft in history."* Today the FBI announced that they have identified the people who stole the masterworks. They also said they had determined where the artworks had traveled in the years after the robbery. The FBI said they did not know where they were now and were appealing to the public for their help in finding them. The Gardner Museum is offering a reward of $5 million for information leading to the recovery of these works.
Death in Singapore The body of a young US electronics engineer, Shane Todd, was found hanging in his Singapore apartment. Police said it was suicide, but the Todd family believe he was murdered. Shane had feared that a project he was working on was compromising US national security. His parents want to know if that project sent him to his grave.
"FBI files on Marilyn Monroe that could not be located earlier this year have been found and re-issued, revealing the names of some of the movie star’s communist-leaning acquaintances who drew concern from government officials and her own entourage." [more inside]
What does proper authorization to access a computer system mean? Robert Graham of Errata Security writes about the recent conviction of Andrew Auernheimer (aka weev) for “hacking” AT&T. Two years ago, weev discovered a bug in AT&T's website that exposed the email addresses of customers with iPads. According to weev, the flaw was reported as per responsible disclosure practices by first informing AT&T before bringing it public. However the FBI investigated and arrested him under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). On 20th November 2012, he was found guilty of identity fraud and conspiracy to access a computer without authorization.
Barrett Brown (previously), journalist, researcher, and activist formerly associated with Anonymous, was raided at his Dallas home on September 12 and brought into Federal custody in Texas. Video and audio of the raid exist, as Brown was hosting a video chat at the time of the raid. (Brown's girlfriend was present during the raid and has published a partial account.) Brown now faces indictment on counts related to his comments about an individual FBI agent in three Youtube videos he had posted in the day before his arrest, and to some of his recent tweets (including a retweet of a Fox News commentator's 2010 remark about Julian Assange). [more inside]
Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
The AntiSec hacking group claims to have released a set of more than 1 million Apple Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) allegedly obtained from breaching an FBI agent's laptop via a Java vulnerability. The group claims to have over 12 million IDs, as well as personal information such as user names, device names, notification tokens, cell phone numbers and addresses. There's a tool to help you check if your device is in the list. [more inside]
At the 2012 Gathering of the Juggalos, the Insane Clown Posse announced their intention of suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation over their recent designation of the ICP fan base as a hybrid gang. The band established Juggalos fight back to gather information regarding government harassment of the Juggalo population.
"Though now almost forgotten, the case of “the Chickens and the Bulls” as the NYPD called it (or “Operation Homex,” to the FBI), still stands as the most far-flung, most organized, and most brazen example of homosexual extortion in the nation’s history. And while the Stonewall riot in June 1969 is considered by many to be the pivotal moment in gay civil rights, this case represents an important crux too, marking the first time that the law enforcement establishment actually worked on behalf of victimized gay men, instead of locking them up or shrugging." [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
Last year, Wired reported that 'The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”' (previously) The FBI pledged reform, but the materials appeared to be deeply embedded. After the President ordered a review, the FBI 'purged' the documents from training materials. Earlier this year Wired reported that 'U.S. Military Taught Officers: Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics for ‘Total War’ on Islam.' [more inside]
Informant, former wiseguy and goodfella Henry Hill (website, Wikipedia) has been made dead by illness. He was not a schnook.
The Feynman Files. For the first time, FBI records for Dr Richard Feynman have been released to the public. They document the Bureau's apparent obsession in the 1950's with outing him as a communist sympathizer, and include notations from several background checks as well as interviews with his colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
The FBI has orchestrated "14 out of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks [on U.S. soil] since 9/11" according to the NY Times' counting. As noted previously though, Mother Jones' investigative report found that "all [but three] of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings" and one third of terrorist defendants were actually led by an FBI agent provocateur, often outside contractors. A Rolling Stone blogger has now called out the FBI for "singling out ideological enemies [of the State]", including the FBI's recent Ohio bridge plot, while ignoring much more dangerous right wing groups, including white supremacists. [more inside]
If you're a DVD/BluRay viewer who is already annoyed by delaying, annoying animated menus or previews, get ready for 20 additional seconds of wait time. Yesterday the U.S. government announced an update to the old FBI copyright warning on home video, which will now appear in the form of two different anti-piracy warnings, each ten seconds long and both unskippable.
"At a time when most old films were still protected by copyright and studios were urging the FBI to prosecute individuals owning copyrighted films, movie collecting was a largely underground and somewhat dangerous activity." In 1977, for example, a 20 year old film collector was visited by the FBI. The agents, posing as fellow collectors, entered his home and seized his collection. His case wasn't unique. Even the stars — most famously, Roddy McDowall — were subject to the legal wrath of the very studios they worked for. Still, some collectors got away with it (including one J. D. Salinger). [more inside]
According to an FBI press release and various news sources, five "self-proclaimed anarchists" were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to blow up an Ohio bridge. [more inside]
The 33 year-old search for six-year old Etan Patz, who disappeared walking home from school for the first time, may finally be over. “ After his disappearance, Etan was the first child to appear on a milk carton. [more inside]
Law enforcement agents on two continents swooped in on top members of the infamous computer hacking group LulzSec early this morning [more inside]
"Carried to its logical end, TSA policy would have to require passengers to travel naked or handcuffed."
"The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ... have made air travel the most difficult means of mass transit in the United States, at the same time failing to make air travel any more secure." Steve Moore has been an FBI Special Agent, head of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force's Al Qaeda and extra-territorial squads, a SWAT agent trained to interdict airplane hijackings, and a pilot. His father literally wrote the book on airline security. And he has come to the conclusion that "TSA is one of the worst-run, ineffective and most unnecessarily intrusive agencies in the United States government." [more inside]
FBI General Counsel reveals that around 3,000 warrantless GPS trackers were removed after the ruling in U.S v. Jones clarified their illegality (judgement PDF) (previous FPP). The ruling that a mosaic of surveillance technologies may form an issue when considered individually and the FBI's view of likely future judgements on the matter is particularly interesting in the light of the forthcoming cert/standing findings regarding warrantless eavesdropping.
Files have been released showing that the MI5 investigated Charlie Chaplin's origins at the request of the FBI, attempting to check claims that besides being a communist, he might be Jewish, and/or French. His life story by his own account has him born in London, but no birth certificate has been found and last year evidence emerged that he might in fact have been born in a gypsy camp.
Please be advised that the FBI’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release regarding (STEVEN PAUL JOBS) is now available.
Hacker group Anonymous joined the FBI - Scotland Yard conference call coordinating their strategy against Anonymous. Call recording is now on YouTube with some suspect names bleeped.
"Planning to make a joke on Twitter about bombing something? You might want to reconsider: According to a report from Britain, two tourists were detained and denied entry into the U.S. recently after they joked about destroying America and digging up Marilyn Monroe. That the Homeland Security Dept. and other authorities—including the FBI—are monitoring such social media as Twitter and Facebook isn’t surprising. That these authorities are willing to detain people based on what is clearly a harmless joke, however, raises questions about what the impact of all that monitoring will be."* [more inside]
This past November, news broke of a rather odd domestic terror plot that had been broken up by the FBI. Four senior citizens in northern Georgia who met regularly at a local Waffle House, were allegedly planning to spread ricin and botulinum toxin in Atlanta and Washington, DC, in order to kill millions of people and "save the Constitution." But was there ever really a conspiracy?
Americans Elect is an organization creating a ready-made slot on the 2012 presidential ballot for an unnamed independent ticket, thus removing the biggest barrier to a 3rd party challenge. (Donald Trump suggests himself.) The NYT thinks they'll qualify in all 50 states. They say they want a non-partisan, mixed-party ticket. Some on the left see a cabal of shadowy millionaires with ties to the FBI, CIA and military behind it. Team Obama is concerned.
Giving the F.B.I. What It Wants. "A Bangladeshi-born artist and academic is mistakenly detained at the Detroit airport. He doesn’t get mad. He gets even." [Via] [more inside]
Following a months-long investigation, the Department of Justice has announced the existence of a well-funded plot "conceived, sponsored and directed" by "high-ranking members of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir on U.S. soil in conjunction with informants in Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The "Hollywood" plot, revealed in an afternoon press conference and described in a detailed 21-page complaint [PDF], is alleged to have involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. One suspect, naturalized American citizen Arbab Arbabsiar, has been arrested, while co-conspirator and Quds Force member Gholam Shakuri remains at large. Iranian officials were quick to label the charges a "fabrication" intended to distract from America's economic troubles.
Though the posters and trailers promise quality performances, Clint Eastwood's biopic J. Edgar seems intent on skirting certain issues in the former FBI director's personal life. The JEH Foundation is already denying the "rumors" louder than ever, but so far there's little indication that they've got anything to fear beyond a little hand-holding. QUEERTY asks: if Clint Eastwood is cool with homos, why is he freaking out about J. Edgar not being a gay movie? Despite the tame promos, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black insists that the gay subplot makes up "about a third" of the story. Meanwhile, an upcoming memoir by former Hollywood pimpster Scotty Bowers is rumored to contain a firsthand account of a gay weekend getaway with Hoover and company.
The FBI presents: Laser Pointer Leads to Arrest. Laser events logged by the FAA in 2010 nearly doubled from 2009, with 2,836 reports. [more inside]
The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”While the FBI's monitoring of Muslims and infiltration of mosques in the United States is nothing new, this is the first time I've seen any of documents they use to train some of their agents. [more inside]
Straight outta Cleveland. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly headlined the Village Voice's music section last week ahead of a show in New York last weekend and after inking a deal with Bad Boy records earlier this month. [more inside]
And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered.
A FOIA request for Ernest Hemingway's FBI file has revealed that J. Edgar Hoover had placed him under surveillance due to his activities in Cuba. His fear that the FBI was spying on him was previously viewed as a consequence of the mental deterioration that eventually lead to his suicide.
The F.B.I raided a data center in Reston, VA yesterday morning, seizing three racks of servers and disrupting service to the Curbed Network, Pinboard.in, Instapaper, altlabs.co.au, and took the physical servers of tens of other clients. Curbed and AltLabs are currently still down. The F.B.I was reported in pursuit of one individual user, and agents took entire server racks, perhaps because they mistakenly thought that “one enclosure is = to one server” according to DigitialOne, the Swiss hosting company.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.
It started with a warehouse in the town of Milford. Now the investigation of Delaware businessman Christopher Tigani has expanded from a shady land deal to $200,000 in illegal campaign contributions to everybody from state legislators to Vice President Joe Biden. [more inside]
Battle Brews Over FBI’s Warrantless GPS Tracking. How to Check Your Car for a GPS Tracker. FBI Vehicle-Tracking Device: The Teardown. Video: The Dissection of an FBI Bumper-Beeper. Previously.
"I didn't realize I was playing a chess game for my life with the FBI. They were playing chess, and I was off finger-painting in the corner." Rick Wilson, an occasional activist who liked to throw after-hours parties in his Capitol Hill apartment, was the target of an intricate and costly 2-year long undercover sting operation led by the Seattle Police Department and the FBI. Their goal; to get Rick to reveal his ties to eco-terrorism groups and two of the more progressive city council members. (Members who have encourage increased oversight of the SPD) The only problem, there were no such ties. [more inside]
Crime Magazine features a rather matter-of-fact account of one of Leslie Ibsen Rogge's (wiki) bank robberies. The article is an excerpt from a new book by Dane Batty, Rogge's nephew, called Wanted: Gentleman bank robber: The True Story of Leslie Ibsen Rogge, One of the FBI’s Most Elusive Criminals. Rogge was once on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and is apparently the first from that list brought in due to the Internet. He is due to be released in 2047.
Mining the Mother of all Data Dumps We now have a relatively massive haul of digital data from the OBL strike. There are several forensic toolkits in use by the private (commercially available) and public sector as well as open-source. Best practices include inventorying all the sources, cloning the sources so as to not damage pristine data, recovering any partial or damaged content, making the cloned sources read-only, adhering to legally-admissible tools standards, and documenting everything. There is an excellent source titled Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content from the Council on Library and Information Resources [pdf, Resource Shelf]. But what to do next*? [more inside]
As part of making documents available following Freedom of Information Act requests, the FBI has set up The Vault, including documents on unexplained phenomenon. One document in particular, the Guy Hottel memo, had some proclaiming "these are the real life X-Files." Except it's not - the document is real, but the report was based on a hoax that is known by many UFO debunkers.
On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. He had been murdered and dumped in a field. The only clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim’s pants pockets. The FBI is now asking the public to help them solve the murder.
Anthrax Redux. Wired's gripping account of the FBI's investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Bernard NotHaus has been convicted of possessing and selling coins that resemble United States coins, violating U.S.C. 18 § 486 and other US statutes. This follows three years after a raid on the Liberty Dollar offices. The trial took four days, the deliberation all of two hours. The US government is now pursuing a forfeiture case against Liberty Services for approximately $7 Million. (previously) [more inside]
Fuhgedddaboutit! This morning, FBI agents conducted a multi-city raid across the Northeast, busting over 120 suspected mobsters in one of the largest raids in FBI history. The Village Voice blog helpfully provides this list of the 20 best nicknames of the suspects, including such immortals as Junior Lollipops, Tony Bagels, Jimmy Gooch, and Vinnie Carwash. They should have known something was up when the feds came looking for Joey Cupcakes.