Tag Archives | FBI

The Battle Over FBI’s Warrantless GPS Tracking

GPS TrackerKim Zetter writes on WIRED’s Threat Level:

Kathy Thomas knew she was under surveillance. The animal rights and environmental activist had been trailed daily by cops over several months, and had even been stopped on occasion by police and FBI agents.

But when the surveillance seemed to halt suddenly in mid-2005 after she confronted one of the agents, she thought it was all over. Months went by without a peep from the FBI surveillance teams that had been tracking her in undercover vehicles and helicopters. That’s when it occurred to her to check her car.

Rumors had been swirling among activists that the FBI might be using GPS to track them — two activists in Colorado discovered mysterious devices attached to their car bumpers in 2003 — so Thomas (a pseudonym) went out to the vehicle in a frenzy and ran her hands beneath the rear bumper. She was only half-surprised to find a small electronic device and foot-long battery wand secured to her metal fender with industrial-strength magnets.

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9/11 First Responders To Be Screened By FBI Against Terrorist List

452px-EPA_WTC_2001-10-10

One of the many air sampling locations set up around the site of the World Trade Center.

This is really just the cherry on top of the icing on the cake in terms of how ailing 9/11 heroes have been treated. Michael McAuliff writes in the Huffington Post:

A provision in the new 9/11 health bill may be adding insult to injury for people who fell sick after their service in the aftermath of the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks, The Huffington Post has learned.

The tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake will soon be informed that their names must be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list, according to a letter obtained by HuffPost.

Any of the responders who are not compared to the database of suspected terrorists would be barred from getting treatment for the numerous, worsening ailments that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law was passed to address.

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FBI Reveals Documents In Biggie Smalls Death Probe

Suspect Sketch

Composite sketch of the suspect in the Christopher Wallace shooting.

View the documents in the FBI’s Vault, a new website for records never before released to the public. Via CNN:

The 1997 murder of Christopher Wallace, the rapper also known as The Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls, remains an unsolved crime despite Los Angeles police and FBI investigations that lasted for years.

The FBI, which joined the case five years after the shooting, opened up its files this week by publishing hundreds of pages of investigation reports and notes from its probe on the agencies website.

Readers get a behind-the-scenes look at the FBI and LAPD’s work, but the documents are heavily redacted, hiding the names of sources, investigators and suspects.

The drive-by shooting, in front of dozens of witnesses who were leaving a music industry party in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997, spurred several conspiracy theories, but no arrests.

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FBI Releases Utah UFO Files

FBI vaultLee Davidson reports on new FBI document releases for the Salt Lake Tribune:

On April 4, 1949, FBI agents in Utah sent a cable marked “urgent” to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. It said an Army guard at the Ogden Supply Depot, a Logan policeman and a Utah Highway Patrol officer in Mantua each saw from miles apart a UFO — which they said exploded over Utah.

Under the title “Flying Discs,” the cable said they “saw a silver colored object high up approaching the mountains at Sardine Canyon” that “appeared to explode in a rash of fire. Several residents at Trenton … [reported] seeing what appeared to be two aerial explosions followed by falling object.”

That and other documents show the FBI was investigating whether UFOs were real, and it figured they could be. Such documents are now available in “The Vault,” vault.fbi.gov, a revamped FBI website for documents that have been released through the Freedom of Information Act and have been recently or often requested.

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The FBI Wants You! … To Crack This Code

CypheredNoteVia the FBI’s official website:

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.

Despite extensive work by our Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU), as well as help from the American Cryptogram Association, the meanings of those two coded notes remain a mystery to this day, and Ricky McCormick’s murderer has yet to face justice.

“We are really good at what we do,” said CRRU chief Dan Olson, “but we could use some help with this one.”

In fact, Ricky McCormick’s encrypted notes are one of CRRU’s top unsolved cases. “Breaking the code,” said Olson, “could reveal the victim’s whereabouts before his death and could lead to the solution of a homicide. Not every cipher we get arrives at our door under those circumstances.”

Read More: FBI’s official website

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FBI’s ‘Next Generation Intelligence’ Program Now Capturing Your Biometric Data

NGI logoSeveral years ago I received a notice from the U.S. Government requiring me to report to an austere federal office building in downtown Manhattan for biometric data collection. I was almost disappointed when it turned out to be little more than enhanced facial photography and fingerprinting. That was then. The FBI has now launched it’s “Next Generation Intelligence” program and it is far more akin to what I had in mind: So-called multimodal biometrics (i.e., voice, iris, facial, etc.). There’s a wealth of information on the FBI’s site explaining their impressive but worrying capabilities, current and future; here’s a taste:

Driven by advances in technology, customer requirements, and growing demand for Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) services, the FBI has initiated the Next Generation Identification (NGI) program. This program will further advance the FBI’s biometric identification services, providing an incremental replacement of current IAFIS technical capabilities, while introducing new functionality.

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FBI Sued For Surveillance Of Muslims

FBI_logoFox News reports:

A former FBI informant who infiltrated a California mosque violated the constitutional rights of Muslims by conducting “indiscriminate surveillance” because of their religion, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles was filed by the ACLU of Southern California and the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It named the FBI and seven of its agents and supervisors, the Washington Post reported.

The lawsuit alleges ex-FBI informant Craig Monteilh was ordered by his supervisors to target Muslims for surveillance, violating their First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The lawsuit seeks class-action status, unspecified damages and a court order instructing the FBI to destroy or return the information Monteilh collected.

Monteilh infiltrated an Orange County mosque and helped build a case against an Afghan-born man who was arrested on terrorism-related charges in 2009.

The lawsuit claims that Monteilh’s handlers, FBI agents Kevin Armstrong and Paul Allen, instructed him to collect e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other detailed information about Muslims and “explicitly told Monteilh that Islam was a threat to America’s national security,” according to the Post…

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Scientists Say 2001 U.S. Anthrax Attacks Can’t Be Pinpointed

Bruce Ivins. Photo: U.S. Army

Bruce Ivins. Photo: U.S. Army

Vindication of sorts for critics who said that the FBI falsely pinned blame for the mailed anthrax attacks shortly after 9/11 on the conveniently dead Bruce Ivins. Carol Cratty reports for CNN:

Using the available scientific evidence “it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion” about the source of the anthrax used in the 2001 anthrax letter attacks which killed five people, according to a report issued Tuesday by the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings come two and a half years after the FBI said Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins was allegedly behind the anthrax mailings, and the spores could be genetically traced to a flask labeled RMR-1029 in his lab.

The scientific panel said the anthrax used in mailings to news organizations and members of Congress was the Ames strain Bacillus anthracis, and spores from those letters shared “a number of genetic similarities” with spores in Ivins’ flask.

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EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Abuse

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation released a report over the weekend detailing an alarming amount of violations from FBI intelligence investigations between 2001 and 2008. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the FBI released 2,500 documents detailing violations made to the Intelligence Oversight board. The documents highlight nearly 800 specific violations stemming from FBI monitoring of American citizens, resident aliens and non-residents alike.

According to the report, violations include “submitting false or inaccurate declarations to courts, using improper evidence to obtain federal grand jury subpoenas and accessing password protected documents without a warrant.” Of those violations, “over 1/3rd involved rules governing internal oversight of intelligence investigations, 1/3rd involved abuse, misuse or careless use of the Bureau’s National Security Letter authority and almost one fifth involved a violation of the Constitution or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.” The EFF report states that could be just the tip of the iceberg, noting that tens of thousands of intelligence abuse violations could have occurred.

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Obtained Documents Reveal Misconduct Within FBI

FBI_logoFidelity, Bravery, Integrity. CNN reports:

An FBI employee shared confidential information with his girlfriend, who was a news reporter, then later threatened to release a sex tape the two had made.

A supervisor watched pornographic videos in his office during work hours while “satisfying himself.”

And an employee in a “leadership position” misused a government database to check on two friends who were exotic dancers and allowed them into an FBI office after hours.

These are among confidential summaries of FBI disciplinary reports obtained by CNN, which describe misconduct by agency supervisors, agents and other employees over the last three years.

The reports, compiled by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, are e-mailed quarterly to FBI employees, but are not released to the public.

And despite the bureau’s very strict screening procedure for all prospective employees, the FBI confirms that about 325 to 350 employees a year receive some kind of discipline, ranging from a reprimand to suspension.

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