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No ordinary informant

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]
posted by MuffinMan on Oct 20, 2009 - 19 comments

The FBI was as close to Leonard Bernstein as his nearest telephone

Alex Ross examines the 800-page FBI file of Leonard Bernstein. (single page print link.)
posted by NemesisVex on Aug 11, 2009 - 30 comments

The FBI looks Beyond Survival for law enforcement officers

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]
posted by rmd1023 on Jul 22, 2009 - 6 comments

"High Value Detainee #1"

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.
posted by amyms on Jul 2, 2009 - 25 comments

"I rob banks for a living, what do you do?"

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]
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 25, 2009 - 28 comments

The Sins of your Fathers

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)
posted by protorp on Mar 18, 2009 - 29 comments

The high cost of Lisa's tiger-repellant rock

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."

posted by orthogonality on Jan 29, 2009 - 71 comments

"A strong hunch, based on a pattern of damning circumstances."

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]
posted by availablelight on Jan 4, 2009 - 84 comments

Bust Em Before They Bite

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?
posted by Xurando on Aug 30, 2008 - 57 comments

How reliable is DNA in identifying suspects?

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.
posted by finite on Jul 20, 2008 - 30 comments

FBI After Vegans

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is infiltrating vegan potluck dinners (via the Harper's Weekly Review)
posted by punkbitch on May 27, 2008 - 66 comments

FBI raids Special Counsel Buildings

(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]
posted by spock on May 6, 2008 - 79 comments

FBI PowerPoint, Chinese Hackers, and Counterfeit Routers, Oh My!

FBI Fears Chinese Hackers Have Back Door Into US Government & Military. [Via /.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 23, 2008 - 62 comments

FBI loses FISA evidence over unpaid phone bills

FISA wiretapping: keeping us safe in the war on terror. [more inside]
posted by baphomet on Jan 12, 2008 - 20 comments

Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause

Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause
posted by rxrfrx on Nov 22, 2007 - 79 comments

Liberty Mint Raid

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]
posted by Sam.Burdick on Nov 20, 2007 - 97 comments

falafelfilter: FBI data mining bad ideas

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]
posted by tarheelcoxn on Nov 6, 2007 - 75 comments

freedom of information

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]
posted by nickyskye on Nov 2, 2007 - 30 comments

The horse is out of the barn

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]
posted by anotherpanacea on Oct 23, 2007 - 14 comments

Paranoia vs Preparation

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...
posted by nomisxid on Aug 21, 2007 - 33 comments

Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?

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...
posted by dersins on Jul 25, 2007 - 5 comments

Die for love, for art, for... what?

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.
posted by Scram on Jul 21, 2007 - 37 comments

FBI-CIPAV.exe is an unknown application. Install anyway?

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)
posted by mrgrimm on Jul 20, 2007 - 27 comments

"LOCK UP THE DATE!" --FBI for writers

FBI 101 -- "Essentials for Writers," an "exciting and informative" interactive workshop for writers being offered to members of my union -- the Writers Guild of America, East - by the FBI Office of Public Affairs and FBI New York. ... -- Very interesting account of a workshop the FBI puts on for writers in NY. What's in it for the FBI? ...The only question we have for you is 'Will it show us in a good light?'" ...
posted by amberglow on Jun 9, 2007 - 13 comments

Suspected murderer blogs his life on the run

"Dillan Kramer," the alias of a man accused of killing his family doctor, is currently on the run from the FBI with his son, "Michael," and he's liveblogging the entire thing. High potential to be fake, sure, but is it? Go, hive-mind -- use your powers; get to the bottom of this!
posted by c:\awesome on May 25, 2007 - 42 comments

Pink panther in Iran

Is now captured Robert A. Levinson a spy? a government agent?
Perhaps someone on non-official cover (NOC)? or just a guy doing some research for a book in Iran. The WaPo cuts through the mumbo jumbo here.
posted by specialk420 on Apr 3, 2007 - 11 comments

My National Security Letter Gag Order

My National Security Letter Gag Order "Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case -- including the mere fact that I received an NSL -- from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie."
posted by grouse on Mar 23, 2007 - 61 comments

AT&T Unity Plan FREE calling to 100 million customers.

AT&T and Verizon obey FBI emergency requests, even if they're of dubious legality, and they get paid for it. But AT&T can't be sued, they say, because that would endanger national security.
posted by homunculus on Mar 20, 2007 - 42 comments

Top Secret: We're Wiretapping You

Top Secret: We're Wiretapping You It could be a scene from Kafka or Brazil. Imagine a government agency, in a bureaucratic foul-up, accidentally gives you a copy of a document marked "top secret." And it contains a log of some of your private phone calls. You read it and ponder it and wonder what it all means. Then, two months later, the FBI shows up at your door, demands the document back and orders you to forget you ever saw it.
posted by Postroad on Mar 5, 2007 - 29 comments

Porno-Terrorism?

Is Porn out of Control? As the internets exploded, Clinton didn't seem to care.. Should the government now focus on shutting down the industry? Some loudly think so.
posted by UseyurBrain on Feb 27, 2007 - 80 comments

Flowers By Irene

FBI turns to broad new wiretap method. "The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed." [Via TPMmuckraker]
posted by homunculus on Jan 31, 2007 - 25 comments

It's A Wonderful Life. It's A Subversive Film

The most inspirational film ever has an underexamined dark side, including a 1947 FBI memo that branded the film as subversive and "a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers." The film's script was influenced by the liberal populism of the 1930s, used suicide as a plot point, and was criticized by a Christian Right website for "lax attitudes on alcohol and drunkenness." The film also inspired a feminist art project on "bad girl" Violet Bick and a dead-on parody of a right-wing Christian movie review. Meanwhile, Jimmy Stewart paid back Frank Capra for reviving his post-WWII career by spying on him for the FBI. The hidden backstory behind It's A Wonderful Life.
posted by jonp72 on Dec 15, 2006 - 66 comments

Patriot Act challenge

"We are Muslims. We are American. We are patriotic," Mona Mayfield said. "We are unhappy with the current administration stripping away our rights." The federal government has agreed to pay Brandon Mayfield $2 million to settle part of a lawsuit he filed after the FBI misidentified a fingerprint and wrongly arrested him in the 2004 Madrid terrorist bombings.

The FBI did not mention Mayfield's faith in its press release issued following his release, and reiterated some of an OIG report's findings on their investigation in a follow-up. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Sensenbrenner also issued a statement praising the report, which did find that the Patriot Act was not misused. There is some controversy about what the report says about Mayfield's faith, and parts of the report were redacted before it was declassified.
posted by owhydididoit on Nov 29, 2006 - 21 comments

Crime and Punishment, Online Style

Crime and Punishment, Online Style Long a bastion of metaverse fantasies, avatars competing for style, and commercial dreams, Second Life has become a phenomenon. Lately, though, things are going a bit awry. Hacking attempts have been common, with the latest shutting things down only a few days ago. To address this crime, the SL crew is looking into creating a virtual FBI. Dibs on the Scully avatar.
posted by PreacherTom on Nov 21, 2006 - 8 comments

Let's play who's the Sunni

Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite? Should the FBI's counter-terrorism chief know the difference? How about the head of the FBI national security branch? How about a vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence?
posted by caddis on Oct 17, 2006 - 125 comments

What's sovereignty, precioussss?

The world's longest undefended border apparently gives the U.S. enough freedom to send in the FBI for routine investigations in another country. Of course, this is not the first time that American authorities operated illegally in Canada. How would Americans feel if it was the other way around? Pretty funny, eh?
posted by Kickstart70 on Oct 5, 2006 - 42 comments

Natty Stoppage or Batty Sabotage?

FBI Agent Chris Saviano Stop raping my wife.
posted by tomierna on Sep 8, 2006 - 59 comments

Webmasters, Feel Safe, The FBI Can't Find You

Federal Court to FBI: Learn To Use Google A federal court ordered the FBI to use Google. Apparently they didn't already know about it.
posted by expriest on Aug 22, 2006 - 24 comments

Missed Opportunities

Missed Opportunities...Lawrence Wright tells, for the first time, the story of the F.B.I. agent who had the best chance of foiling the 9/11 plot. Here, with Amy Davidson, Wright talks about how turf wars with the C.I.A. got in the way. Wright’s book “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” will be published by Knopf in August.
posted by Postroad on Aug 2, 2006 - 13 comments

CIA Gives Up

CIA Gives Up on Bin Laden Search says a post full of links on Sploid, it was revealed yesterday (when no one was paying attention) that the CIA disbanded its Bin Laden unit one year ago. The post also links to news that the FBI has "no hard evidence" connecting Bin Laden to the 9/11 attacks.
posted by cell divide on Jul 5, 2006 - 54 comments

Forty-Two years ago today.

On June 21st, 1964 civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner disappeared in Mississippi. Here is a strange story about how their bodies were found.
posted by flatlander on Jun 21, 2006 - 15 comments

Representatives from AOL, Microsoft, Google, Verizon and Comcast talk to US government

Newsfilter. Surveillenve of everything you do online: "It was clear that they would go beyond kiddie porn and terrorism and use it for general law enforcement." Offline: "I'm John Doe, and if I had told you before today that the F.B.I. was requesting library records, I could have gone to jail." Previously, here. On your phone? We've already discussed that, too.
posted by |n$eCur3 on Jun 2, 2006 - 36 comments

Ah, unity

Seperation of Power? (newsfilter) In a strange move, both the Rs and the Ds are livid that the FBI raided the congressional offices of Rep. William Jefferson, D-Louisiana, (who may have accepted substantial bribes). House speaker Hastert spoke directly with the president, so, The president steps in an orders the documents sealed as a cooling off period as congress demands this is a separation of Powers issue. Some predict it will go to the SCOTUS.
posted by edgeways on May 25, 2006 - 55 comments

cute.

Newsfilter: Home of Former CIA No. 3 Man, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo raided by FBI
posted by delmoi on May 12, 2006 - 56 comments

Using Big Laws to Catch Little Terrorists

The terrorists in New Jersey have been captured. They're, uhm, like 15 years old. A fine example of how anti-terror laws like the Patriot Act can be subject to mission creep. (The "terrorists" at the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice in Pittsburgh seem to be still at large.)
posted by digaman on Apr 7, 2006 - 59 comments

And We're Confiscating Those Cartoons, Professor

Miguel Tinker Salas is the Arango Professor in Latin American History at Pomona College, a political historian and sometime commentator on U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. On Tuesday, an FBI/LA County Sherrifs Office Joint Terrorism Task Force came calling during Tinker Salas's office hours. "After identifying themselves, they proceeded to ask about my relation to Venezuela, the government, the community, my scholarship, my politics...After they departed, the three or four students who were outside my office informed me that these individuals had asked them about my background, my classes, what I taught, my politics and they even wrote down the cartoons that are on my door."
posted by BT on Mar 9, 2006 - 47 comments

Morrissey Investigated by the F.B.I.

Morrissey Investigated by the F.B.I. The former Smiths lead singer was interviewed and taped. The FBI was apparently trying to determine if he was a threat to the government.
posted by ND¢ on Feb 23, 2006 - 89 comments

Look into my eyes, Lana Turner...

Murder for hire, hypnotism, celebrity marriage, Federal agents, million-dollar yachts, hang-gliding "accidents", collegiate endowments, and diploma mills. Even the author of the piece has an interesting back-story.
posted by BitterOldPunk on Feb 10, 2006 - 7 comments

We'll report, maybe....cryptome out??

Cryptome out??? FBI Special Agent Matthew J. Bertron, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278, left his card today, 8 February, 3 PM, while we were out, with a request to call his number, 718-286-7154, or the main number 212-384-1000. We called, he was out, he returned our call about 6 PM to ask to meet here at 10 AM tomorrow, 9 February. No reason given. In November 2003, two SAs visited, not sure if one or more this time. We'll report, maybe.
posted by OU812 on Feb 8, 2006 - 28 comments

Signaling Vulnerabilities in Wiretapping Systems

Signaling Vulnerabilities in Wiretapping Systems. The technology used for decades by law enforcement agents to wiretap telephones has a security flaw that allows the person being wiretapped to stop the recorder remotely [bugmenot]. It is also possible to falsify the numbers dialed [pdf].
posted by event on Nov 30, 2005 - 5 comments

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