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.
Theo de Raadt: I have received a mail regarding the early development of the OpenBSD IPSEC stack. It is alleged that some ex-developers (and the company they worked for) accepted US government money to put backdoors into our network stack, in particular the IPSEC stack. [more inside]
A worshiper at a California mosque called frequently for violent jihad against the West. This freaked out his fellow attendees so much that they took out a restraining order on him... and learned he was an informant planted by the FBI.
The FBI has a long history of targeting peace and social justice activists. Now activists across the country are sounding the alarm. It's happening again.
Civil Rights Photographer Unmasked as Informer. This week, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis published the results of a two year investigation that revealed that iconic Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers was also a paid FBI informant. The timing of the report is awkward.
The Smoking Gun has come into possession of an unusual RFP from the DEA: they want 'Ebonics experts' to help decipher wiretaps.
Did you forget about what the TSA allows in carry on bags? Need to know if that guy behind you in line is on the FBI's most wanted list? Need to look up a zip code? Calculate your BMI on the road? The US Government has an app for that. [more inside]
ACLU launches "Spyfiles" to track domestic surveillance. "The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new website Tuesday to track incidents of domestic political surveillance by the government along with a report (PDF) claiming such incidents have increased steadily since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to the report there have been 111 incidents of illegal domestic political surveillance since 9/11 in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The website, Spyfiles, will serve as the ACLU's online home for all news and reports of domestic spying."
The FBI has released their extensive files on US Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the public, covering their relationship with him between 1961 and 1985. The seven files, totaling more than 2,200 pages of documents reveal (among other things,) the perhaps unsurprising news that the late Senator received "scores" of death threats from radical groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, “Minutemen” organizations, and the National Socialist White People’s Party. The release was initiated by a Freedom of Information Act Request from Judicial Watch on May 3, 2010, (Complaint pdf) but the FBI gave the Senator's family the "rare opportunity" to raise objections before releasing the file.
DNA’s Dirty Little Secret: A forensic tool renowned for exonerating the innocent may actually be putting them in prison.
About 8 years ago, U.S. Representative James Traficant (D-Ohio) was sentenced to 8 years in jail for kickbacks, fraud, bribery, and racketeering. He was tightly connected with the Youngstown Ohio Mafia. At the time, he was only the second Congressman since the Civil War to be expelled by his peers from the institution in a vote of 420:1. The fascinating story of the Youngstown Mafia - and Traficant's rise and fall - is told by David Grann (of Lost City of Z and The New Yorker) in a 2000 article called "Crimetown, U.S.A.". Traficant was released from prison on September 2, 2009 to a hometown hero welcome. On February 23, 2010, Traficant announced he will running for Congress as an Independent.
The investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks (dubbed "Amerithrax" by the FBI) is now closed. Yesterday, the Department of Justice released a 92-page summary [pdf] of their investigation. Their conclusion -- that USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins was the culprit -- was backed by an impressive amount of evidence, including microbiological detective work (p. 23 ff). But some of the investigation was downright bizarre.... [more inside]
The FBI has arrested James O'Keefe, one of the filmmakers behind the ACORN "pimp" video, and three others over an alleged plot to tap the phones in the office of Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., according to a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (Previously: 1,2,3)
The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions. E-mails obtained by The Washington Post detail how counterterrorism officials inside FBI headquarters did not follow their own procedures that were put in place to protect civil liberties. The stream of urgent requests for phone records also overwhelmed the FBI communications analysis unit with work that ultimately was not connected to imminent threats. A Justice Department inspector general's report due out this month is expected to conclude that the FBI frequently violated the law with its emergency requests, bureau officials confirmed. Among those whose phone records were searched improperly were journalists for The Washington Post and the New York Times, according to interviews with government officials. [more inside]
December 4th, 2009 marked the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. [more inside]
A long-standing element of ufo/paranormal conspiracy theory, cattle mutilation has been reported in the United States for several decades. Here's some FOIA documents relating to the FBI's investigation (and discussions of whether they had jurisdiction to investigate) from the 1970's. All links are PDFs: cattle1.pdf, cattle2.pdf. cattle3.pdf, cattle4.pdf,cattle5.pdf.
You like documents? We got documents:
For your perusal: The New FBI Operations Manual. "Agents may begin such assessments against a target without a particular factual justification. The basis for such an inquiry “cannot be arbitrary or groundless speculation,” the manual says, but the standard is “difficult to define.”
The movie adaptation of Mark Whitacre's story, Steven Soderbergh's The Informant, based on the book by Kurt Eichenwald was released last month. Whitacre's life belies easy explanation: a hugely important corporate whistleblower, at some point during the five years he spent informing on agribusiness behemoth Archer Daniels Midland Whitacre embarked on a massive embezzlement scheme that would see him imprisoned for nearly eight and a half years. To this day, the FBI remain divided on whether he is more hero or villain. [more inside]
The May 2009 issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin has a special focus: "Beyond Survival," helping law enforcement officers to do more than survive in their careers. [more inside]
Just released: Saddam Hussein Talks to the FBI. FBI special agents carried out 20 formal interviews and at least 5 "casual conversations" with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein after his capture by U.S. troops in December 2003, according to secret FBI reports released as the result of Freedom of Information Act requests by the National Security Archive. Via this Washington Post article.
John Dillinger was paroled from Indiana State Prison in May 1933 after serving eight years for assault and battery and attempted robbery and launched a Midwest Crime Wave from June 1933 to June 1934. [more inside]
Familial genetic profiling of law enforcement DNA databases has already been used to succesfully establish both guilt and innocence. Legal and moral questions on these expanded techniques abound and are comprehensively explored by a speaker at a recent FBI symposium on the topic. In the author's words, scenarios previously limited to movies like Minority Report are unfolding quietly, before most of us have thought about the consequences. (Via)
Leaving office, President Bush claimed "that he took 'a deliberate and comprehensive approach' to preventing terrorism that combined military action overseas with strong defensive measures at home."
[As early as 2002] "We knew that the mortgage-brokerage industry was corrupt... Where we would have gotten a sense of what was really going on was the point where the mortgage was sold knowing that it was a piece of dung and it would be turned into a security. But the agents with the expertise had been diverted to counterterrorism."
[. . . . FBI Director Robert] "Mueller actually circumvented the Justice Department and the OMB to get resources. But he was shut down" by the [Bush A]dministration. [. . . . Testifying in October 2004, ] Chris Swecker, then assistant director of the criminal investigation division said ... "The potential impact of mortgage fraud on financial institutions in the stock market is clear. If fraudulent practices become systemic within the mortgage industry and mortgage fraud is allowed to become unrestrained, it will ultimately place financial institutions at risk and have adverse effects on the stock market."
A New York Times investigative report on the case against alleged anthrax terrorist Bruce Ivins: "[U]nless new evidence were to surface, the enormous public investment in the case would appear to have yielded nothing more persuasive than a strong hunch, based on a pattern of damning circumstances, that Dr. Ivins was the perpetrator." [more inside]
Since at least February, the St, Paul police and the FBI have been trying to infiltrate protest groups planning to demonstrate and the RNC. Apparently they were successful because they have begun arresting protestors before the convention actually starts. They even went after the press. I have to wonder if any MeFites were busted?
A discovery leads to questions about whether the odds of people sharing genetic profiles are sometimes higher than portrayed. Calling the finding meaningless, the FBI has sought to block such inquiry.
The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is infiltrating vegan potluck dinners (via the Harper's Weekly Review)
(Big) Newsfilter: FBI Searches Office of Special Counsel Building "A multi-year investigation leads federal agents to search the Office of Special Counsel's building. Employees have alleged the agency was misused for political purposes. Neither Office of Special Counsel head Scott Bloch nor anyone else has officially been charged with a crime. But the FBI secured a separate subpoena for Bloch's home." [more inside]
Secret Service and FBI raid Liberty Mint, arguments of counterfeiting versus constitutional right to commerce ensue! I caught this on NPR this morning. It seems the US Mint doesn't like alternative currencies circulating within the US. The organization in question wants to abolish the Federal Reserve and the US mint and claims that both are the cause for the excessive inflation. [more inside]
The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area. I've read this article twice now because I was laughing too hard the first time. If I were more paranoid I might actually seriously ask what sort of data mining the FBI is doing, but... falafel sales! via. [more inside]
Do you have an FBI file? Or do your grandpa and grandma? "Find out now by ordering a copy of their FBI files and learn a bit more about your family history. Best of all, it's free! (Well, except for the cost of a postage stamp.)" This web site helps you generate the letters you need to send to the FBI to get a copy of your own FBI file. While we're at it, we can generate request letters to some other Federal agencies besides the FBI that you may be interested in (or who may have been interested in you!). [more inside]
Most have forgotten Abdallah Higazy, but he's proceeded with his lawsuit against the FBI. In an interesting twist, the details of the threats made against his family by FBI Agent Michael Templeton have been classified. Sadly for the Second Circuit, they released the unredacted version briefly before withdrawing and replacing it with the classified decision. Good on How Appealing for keeping the opinion online. [more inside]
Traditionally, media doesn't print names/photos of people only accused, but not yet convicted, but not always. Lots of towns have a police blotter section where arrests are listed. Here in Seattle, the FBI recently asked the public for help in identifying two men seen acting suspicious on the ferry system. The Seattle PI has decided not to publish the photos. Other local media have. The commentary on if the PI made the right choice follows predictable paths...
Bored on your summer vacation? Well, the US government has lots of fun stuff for kids to do on line. Learn fascinating facts about cows (and agricultural marketing!) from the Department of Agriculture. Take a ride to Money Central Station with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. If you live in a federally-funded housing project, HUD wants you to learn more about being a good citizen. Want something more action-packed? Help FBI Special Agent Bobby Bureau go undercover, or become one of America's Crypto-Kids at the NSA. Play thrilling puzzle games or visit the world's most secret museum at the CIA. Play more games or become a Disaster Action Kid at FEMA! And no list of government kids' pages would be complete without revisiting the children's art contest from the ATF, which I've linked to before...
Game developer/ perfume critic Theresa Duncan has died, and longtime companion Jeremy Blake is missing. The art world is buzzing about the seeming suicide-by-water of video installation artist Jeremy Blake. The perfume blogs are fizzing with sadness over the death of Theresa Duncan, whose suicide preceded Blake's. The cops are not releasing the notes left by the late, pretty people, but a clue might be found in the paranoiac screed Duncan posted on her blog in May, in which Blake's ex-girlfriend, the CIA, FBI, Church of Scientology, Jeff Gannon, bloated plutocrats and many other bugbears of the psy-ops crowd were put on Duncan's mental merry-go-round and given a real strong spin.
FBI's CIPAV nabs first victim: Former Timberline High School student is the first (known) person to be caught by the FBI's secret spyware program, known as CIPAV (Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier). Wired broke the story Wednesday, then received a form letter from the FBI in response to a few key questions. (more inside)