Tag Archives | FBI

FBI Crime Maps Now ‘Pinpoint’ Average Muslims

Islamic Cultural Center Of New YorkSpencer Ackerman reports on WIRED’s Danger Room:

It started out as a crimefighting tool. But over the years, an FBI effort known as “geo-mapping” evolved into something more expansive — a method to track Muslim communities, without any suspicion of a crime being committed.

Last month, Danger Room revealed that the FBI was training its agents that religious Muslims tended to be “violent” and that Islamic charity is merely a “funding mechanism for combat.” In response, both the FBI and the Justice Department promised full reviews of their training materials. But the geo-mapping effort indicates that the FBI may have more than just a training problem: The suspicion of ordinary Muslims promoted in those lectures may be spilling over into its counterterrorism tactics.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union acquired some of the FBI geo-maps (.pdf), like the one pictured after the jump, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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Scientists Cast More Doubt On FBI’s Anthrax Story

Prof. Martin E. Hugh-Jones

Prof. Martin E. Hugh-Jones

The FBI’s story about Bruce Ivins being the sole perpetrator of the 2001 post-9/11 Anthrax attacks was never very convincing, to say the least. Now three brave scientists are contradicting the FBI’s all-too-convenient version of events publicly. The cynic in me worries for their health… Report from the New York Times:

A decade after wisps of anthrax sent through the mail killed 5 people, sickened 17 others and terrorized the nation, biologists and chemists still disagree on whether federal investigators got the right man and whether the F.B.I.’s long inquiry brushed aside important clues.

Now, three scientists argue that distinctive chemicals found in the dried anthrax spores — including the unexpected presence of tin — point to a high degree of manufacturing skill, contrary to federal reassurances that the attack germs were unsophisticated. The scientists make their case in a coming issue of the Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense.

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FBI Launching National Facial Recognition Program

FBI NGIMight be time to invest in one of those Pixelhead masks! Nextgov reports on the FBI’s new Big Brother-eque undertaking:

The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov.

The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings.

Often law enforcement authorities will “have a photo of a person and for whatever reason they just don’t know who it is [but they know] this is clearly the missing link to our case,” said Nick Megna, a unit chief at the FBI’s criminal justice information services division. The new facial recognition service can help provide that missing link by retrieving a list of mug shots ranked in order of similarity to the features of the subject in the photo.

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Enter the FBI’s ‘Stingray’ Phone Tracker, Able to Locate Cell Phones Even When Not In Use

StingrayJennifer Valentino-Devries reports in the Wall Street Journal:

For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply “the Hacker.” Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking device — a stingray — were they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest.

Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it’s not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told the Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.

A stingray’s role in nabbing the alleged “Hacker” — Daniel David Rigmaiden — is shaping up as a possible test of the legal standards for using these devices in investigations. The FBI says it obtains appropriate court approval to use the device.

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The Peter Pan Project

philip-weaver[disinfo ed.’s note: the following is a short piece of satirical fiction by Philip Weaver regarding the economy and job loss.]

Most people believe that COINTELPRO, the FBI program to infiltrate and neutralize domestic dissident groups, is a thing of the past; however, newly leaked documents by the hacker collective Anonymous have revealed a nearly ten year program in which the FBI colluded with school superintendents throughout the US to obtain recruits for it’s Peter Pan Project.

The Peter Pan Project was a series of mind manipulation experiments performed on unwitting children of the 1980s in the hopes of engineering sleeper agents who could be activated to quell future civil disorder in America. Documents reveal that the Peter Pan Project was the brainchild of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had outlined plans for the covert program shortly before his death in May 1972. The project was instituted in 1981 under then director, William H.… Read the rest

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State-Sponsored Counter-Terror Tactics?

Riverdale Jewish CenterAs we count down to the impending “credible terror threat” it is important to take a real look at the nature of many of the planned terror attacks in the USA. Gordon Corera takes an eye opening look at an interesting source of terror in the homeland for the BBC:

In May 2009 David Williams was keeping watch at the corner of 246th Street and Independence Avenue in the Bronx, New York — the look out for a terror group aiming to blow up a building nearby. The target was the Riverdale Jewish Center where the terror cell’s leader, James Cromitie, was planting what he believed to be two devices containing C-4 plastic explosive.

Having completed their task, the four man team planned to then head back to their hometown of Newburgh, a run-down town 60 miles (97km) north of New York City, where they intended to use a surface-to-air missile to take down a military plane at the Stewart Air National Guard Base.

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Anonymous Releases Defense Contractor’s Drone Data

Vanguard Defense IndustriesAlastair Stevenson reports in the International Business Times:

The hacker collective Anonymous has released a fresh batch of data taken from Vanguard Defense Industries, a Pentagon and FBI contractor.

The data release was revealed via a post on tor2web.org and later publicised on the group’s AnonymousIRC Twitter account. In it the group claimed to have released “1GB of private emails and documents belonging to Vanguard Defense Industries (VDI).”

Anonymous later said the e-mails belong to the contractor’s senior vice president, Richard T. Garcia, and contained information regarding “internal meeting notes and contracts, schematics, non-disclosure agreements, personal information about other VDI employees, and several dozen ‘counter-terrorism’ documents classified as ‘law enforcement sensitive’ and ‘for official use only.'”

A key bit of information highlighted in its release pertained to Vanguard Defense Industries’ ShadowHawk drones, which are used by military, law enforcement and private companies across the world and are loaded with grenade launchers and shotguns.

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Crikey! FBI Opens Inquiry Into Murdoch’s News Corp.

Richard A. Serrano, Jim Puzzanghera and Kim Geiger write in the LA Times:
The phone hacking scandal that has ignited a political firestorm in Britain jumped the Atlantic on Thursday as the FBI opened an investigation into whether British reporters tried to access cellphone messages and records of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in violation of U.S. law. The preliminary probe further rattled the New York-based global media empire of Rupert Murdoch, who was forced this week to withdraw his $12-billion bid to take over Britain's largest satellite broadcaster, and raises new questions about the future of News Corp. U.S. officials said the FBI is trying to determine if a full investigation is warranted, and no evidence has yet emerged to confirm that News Corp. employees sought to hack phones in the United States. But the unfolding scandal sent the company's battered stock down another 3% in trading.
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Ernest Hemingway’s Final Days and the FBI

Ernest HemingwayHemingway biographer A. E. Hotchner’s article in the New York Times details the rapid decline of Ernest Hemingway during his final years. Institutionalization, self-doubt and paranoia came to a head on July 1, 1961 when the author took his own life.

Hemingway’s depression and instability has been well-documented, but what is interesting is that the FBI’s monitoring of his phones, correspondence and activities contributed to his sense of fear and paranoia.

This could be the rare case of someone who’s paranoia about “being watched” is actually due to the fact that he/she is actually being monitored. A. E. Hotchner writes:

EARLY one morning, [on July 1st], while his wife, Mary, slept upstairs, Ernest Hemingway went into the vestibule of his Ketchum, Idaho, house, selected his favorite shotgun from the rack, inserted shells into its chambers and ended his life.

There were many differing explanations at the time: that he had terminal cancer or money problems, that it was an accident, that he’d quarreled with Mary.

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FBI Gives Itself Power To Follow You, Go Through Your Trash, Test If You’re Lying and More

We Are Watching You

Illustration: RadioKirk (CC)

Very startling observations from Sam Biddle on Gizmodo:

The easiest way to change the rules that apply to you is to just rewrite them yourself. So the FBI’s done exactly that, the NYT reports, self-releasing a new edition of its rulebook. Let’s dig through some garbage, Fed bros!

The “Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide” is the FBI’s big fat guide to investigative dos and don’ts. Formerly under the don’t category: administer lie detector tests, go through private residential garbage, and send out “surveillance squads” without any firm evidence that the person in question might possibly be a criminal. Not anymore! This is a new, chill, laid back FBI. Who needs evidence?

Now the Feds can do all of the above as an “assessment”—basically an entirely informal version of an official investigation, allowable without any proof that anyone’s up to anything illegal. So, if the FBI cares to, it can now “assess” you.

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