Tag Archives | FBI

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. Despite highlighting the ShadowHawk unmanned aerial vehicle, the group offered no clear reason for the attack on Vanguard Defense Industries besides its association with military and law enforcement agencies.

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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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FBI Recovers Stolen Ferrari, Crashes It, Then Refuses To Pay Owner

Photo: J.Smith831 (CC)

Photo: J.Smith831 (CC)

Via Russia Today:

In 2008 the FBI managed to track down a stolen Ferrari — much to the owners delight — but not for long. An agent decided to take the car for a spin before it was returned to the owner. He crashed it and no one is willing to pay-up.

The owner is suing the US Justice Department because the FBI refuses to pay the estimate $750,000 in damages to the vehicle.

The Ferrari F50 was initially stolen in 2003 from a dealer in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. After it was reported stolen the ownership was transferred to Motors Insurance. The vehicle is only one of 50 1995 Ferrari F50 sports cars in the United States.

After the sports car was found it was taken to an FBI facility in Lexington, Kentucky for the duration of the investigation. While in Kentucky however it met its demise.

FBI agent Fred Kingston was instructed to move the car from the FBI garage and decided to invite Assistant US Attorney J.

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Anarchist’s FOIA Requests Reveal FBI Infiltration

FBI_logoColin Moynihan and Scott Shane make anarchists look pretty smart in this report for the New York Times (or is it just that the FBI is utterly clueless?):

AUSTIN, Tex. — A fat sheaf of F.B.I. reports meticulously details the surveillance that counterterrorism agents directed at the one-story house in East Austin. For at least three years, they traced the license plates of cars parked out front, recorded the comings and goings of residents and guests and, in one case, speculated about a suspicious flat object spread out across the driveway.

“The content could not be determined from the street,” an agent observing from his car reported one day in 2005. “It had a large number of multi-colored blocks, with figures and/or lettering,” the report said, and “may be a sign that is to be used in an upcoming protest.”

Actually, the item in question was more mundane.

“It was a quilt,” said Scott Crow, marveling over the papers at the dining table of his ramshackle home, where he lives with his wife, a housemate and a backyard menagerie that includes two goats, a dozen chickens and a turkey.

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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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