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     – – – Photo “FBI Agent” by Tim Pierce. CC BY 2.0.
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation may have conducted as many as 3.4 million searches of Americans' elecronic data without a warrant last year.  The Wall Street Journal  first cited the number Friday, saying it came from an annual report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  The report doesn't allege that the FBI was illegally or improperly searching American data, but still could alarm members of Congress over privacy concerns. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Friday's press briefing she had not discussed the Journal's report with President Joe Biden. 'My understanding is that some of this was about researching and doing an investigation into potential hacking, but I will get you more from the FBI after this,' she told the press.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation may have conducted as many as 3.4 million searches of Americans' elecronic data without a warrant last year. The Wall Street Journal first cited the number Friday White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Friday's press briefing she had not discussed the Journal's report with President Joe Biden. 'My understanding is that some...
    Dustin Volz, a Washington D.C.-based reporter who covers cybersecurity and intelligence, was careful to note in the article that intelligence officials are not suggesting the searches were in any way improper or illegal, no matter how nefarious the practice may sound. Rather, officials assert that the FBI's ability to conduct searches using the program remains an extremely important part of its mission to protect the country from threats to its national security. Futhermore, Biden administration officials told the Wall Street Journal that the total number of searches is likely far lower than 3.4 million due to remarkable difficulties in counting and sorting the data. For example, each time an individual’s name, phone number, email address, or social security number is queried, it counts as one search. Still, officials have acknowledged that the massive number published in the report is likely to raise alarms. "[It] is certainly a large number," a senior FBI official reportedly said Friday in a press release about the report. "I am not going to pretend that it isn’t." A battle over whether or not to...
    (CNN)Court documents unsealed Tuesday reveal the breadth of technical information federal investigators were permitted to collect on President Donald Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen. Notably, the FBI made use of Cohen's use of Touch ID and Face ID on his Apple devices, which allow users to quickly log into iPhones and computers by scanning their face or fingerprint rather than typing in a password. Those features are marketed as faster and more secure ways to securely log into one's devices, as it's harder, though not impossible, to replicate someone's fingerprint or appearance. But that gives law enforcement an additional means to access those devices. In one warrant application for Cohen, an FBI agent requested authorization "to press the fingers (including thumbs) of Cohen to the Touch ID sensors of the Subject Devices, or hold the Subject Devices in front of Cohen's face, for the purpose of attempting to unlock the Subject Devices via Touch ID or Face ID." READ: Newly released Michael Cohen court documentsWhile the issue has never come before the Supreme Court, tech civil liberties experts warn that...
    1 hour ago Apple News Alban Martin React Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that a special US version of Pegasus spyware was developed by the NSO and purchased by the FBI to access the iPhones and Android of individuals suspected in high-profile cases. Today, two Republican lawmakers put pressure on Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. lawmaker demands explanation about Pegasus Letters received by CNBCDated Thursday and signed by Jim Jordan, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Mike Johnson, a senior member of the Civil Rights Subcommittee, indicating that the committee is investigating the case: The team is examining the FBI’s acquisition, testing and use of NSO spyware, and the potential civil rights implications of using Pegasus or pandemonium against U.S. individuals. In particular, Jordan and Johnson have asked Apple CEO Tim Cook to provide details about the company’s ability to detect when iPhones are being targeted by NSO Group tools. According...
    by Paul Sperry   Long before FBI computer contractor and Clinton operative Rodney L. Joffe allegedly trolled Internet traffic for dirt on President Trump, he mined direct-marketing contact lists for the names and addresses of unwitting Americans to target in a promotional scam involving a grandfather clock.Not just any clock, mind you, but a “world famous Bentley IX” model, according to postcards his companies mailed out to millions of people in the late 1980s claiming they’d won the clock in a contest they never entered. There was just one hitch: the lucky winners had to send $69.19 in shipping fees to redeem their supposedly five-foot mahogany prize.en-California partner, Linda M. Carella, were eyed by federal postal authorities and several state attorneys general for allegedly operating a multi-state mail-order scheme. Joffe settled several state lawsuits by agreeing to refund hundreds of thousands of dollars mainly to elderly victims, according to several published reports at the time. Joffe and his attorney did not respond to requests for comment. But in a phone interview, Carella told RealClearInvestigations that Joffe ran the operation. “I...
    (CNN)Special counsel John Durham, who has been investigating the origins of the FBI's Trump-Russia probe, ignited a firestorm in right-wing circles last weekend with a cryptic court filing. The new filing fleshed out the case against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign who was charged with lying to a top FBI official during a meeting about then-candidate Donald Trump's connections to Russia. In the filing, Durham suggested Sussmann's allies "exploited" government databases to snoop on the Trump White House. Right-wing media said it was exposing a scandal. What it really revealed is how bad information spreads in MAGA world This triggered a tsunami of coverage from pro-Trump outlets, and outrage from Republican lawmakers and Trump himself -- all of it rife with distortions, false claims and misinformation. In a rebuttal filing Monday, Sussmann's lawyers said Durham was wrong about critical facts. His lawyers say the data was properly obtained and predated Trump's presidency. They also accused Durham of deliberately ginning up a false narrative for right-wing media. Cyber researchers involved have said they are apolitical actors...
    (CNN)Imagine a world where the World Series winner is not announced until nine months after it has taken place; a world where teams collect only the most rudimentary statistics, and then decide to report only a handful of them to the public. Jeff Asher It would be lunacy for a major sports league to collect and report data in this way, but it is essentially how Americans are supposed to respond to the largest one-year increase in murder ever recorded. Murder rose nearly 30% nationally in 2020, and the available data suggests a smaller percentage increase occurred last year. But what's still missing from the picture is a national data infrastructure which could illuminate why things are getting better or worse.Understanding why murder rose so much in 2020 -- and why murder may be falling in some places but not others -- is literally a life-or-death problem which demands better data delivered faster. Learning why murder becomes more or less prevalent could help officials make better decisions about deploying police, regulating guns and designing, financing and providing social services....
    The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an already prevalent issue in our country, racism against Asian Americans. Reports indicating the surge in hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community continue as people report more often, allowing data to be more accurate. But while each report indicates alarming rates, newly republished data by the FBI has found that the percentage difference between crimes reported in 2019 compared to 2020 is a lot than what data previously indicated. In a previous report released in August, the FBI reported that hate crimes targeting people of Asian descent in the U.S. rose by nearly 70% last year compared to the number of such incidents in 2019. While this data is alarming, newly republished data by the FBI found that hate crimes actually rose by 76% in 2020. The correction is due to an error in reporting Ohio’s statistics, indicating that the first report’s data was incomplete. The new report was published Monday after the error was resolved. The original report indicated that more than 10,000 people reported hate crimes to law enforcement,...
    The number of assaults on police officers in the United States appeared to go up last year, according to recently released FBI data; but nearly half of that increase came from officers facing off with protesters during 2020’s historic civil rights protests. However, data reflecting the rise also seemed to be, at best, incomplete: Hundreds fewer law enforcement agencies reported this data in 2019 than in 2020. Regardless, last year 2,444 assaults on officers occurred during incidents described as civil disorder, according to the FBI’s report on law enforcement killings and assaults. In 2019, that number was just 488, a 400% increase. That rise would account for nearly half of the reported increase of 4,071 assaults on officers last year. Total assaults numbered 60,105, the first time since 2017 that assaults on officers rose above 60,000. Even with those numbers, however, the actual rate of assaults on officers barely budged, from 11.8 assaults per 100 officers in 2019 to 11.9 in 2020. Even fewer of those assaults actually resulted in injuries — the rate was just 3.7 assaults resulting in...
    Violence against law enforcement officials increased dramatically in 2020, according to a Monday FBI press release. Over 60,000 assaults on law enforcement officers while in the line of duty occurred in 2020, an increase of over 4,000 from just over 56,000 on-the-job assaults in 2019, according to the press release. During an interview last week, Director Christopher Wray reflected on the dangers that law enforcement officers face: “Law enforcement officers these days are dealing with a whole range of threats at a time when, in many ways, the job is more dangerous than ever.” pic.twitter.com/U7PTULzGxG — FBI (@FBI) October 18, 2021 Of all the officers assaulted in 2020, more than 18,500 or just over 30% sustained injuries. Just under 44,500 assaults employed “personal weapons,” including “hands, fists, or feet,” and 25.8% of officers attacked in this manner suffered injuries. Nearly 30% of on-the-job assaults of law enforcement officers resulted from responses to “disturbance calls such as family quarrels or bar fights,” meanwhile more than 16% followed attempted arrests by officers. As of Tuesday, 61 law enforcement officers were fatally,...
    A Texas militiaman believed that by bombing a data center in Virginia operated by Amazon, he could bring down "70% of the Internet." The arrest and conviction of a Texas militiaman who planned to bomb an Amazon data center to “kill about 70% of the Internet” is more than just another case that makes us grateful that the FBI takes these matters seriously. It also offers a window into the mindset of far-right terrorists—how they think, what motivates them, and what their plans for attacking and undermining American society look like. The man, 28-year-old Seth Aaron Pendley of Wichita Falls, told an informant prior to his arrest in April that his purpose in blowing up a Virginia data center went beyond simply wreaking terrorist havoc: He wanted to inspire a government overreaction that would “let the world know that they are in a dictatorship” and awaken the public. It’s a strategy adopted increasingly often by domestic terrorists—and enabled by right-wing media figures like Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson. According to court documents, Pendley came to the attention of authorities after...
    Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov, a former Democratic strategist who holds two master's degrees and a Ph.D., destroyed her co-hosts' false claims and the conservative cable network's framing about the crime "surge" on Tuesday's edition of "The Five." Speaking about news that the murder rate had skyrocketed 30 percent, Tarlov made clear that the FBI statistic was from last year. "The data that we're talking about is 2020," Tarlov told Fox News viewers and her co-hosts, including Jesse Watters and Dan Bongino, as the chyron read: "PASSING THE BLAME," and "LIBERALS POINT TO PANDEMIC FOR SURGE IN VIOLENCE." "Those were the Trump years," Tarlov explained. "So all of this blaming on President Biden that's happening now – actually under President Biden's watch the murder rate has even gone down." She didn't stop there. "Another important component of the FBI data: that the short term increases was in all regions, not just in those liberal cities, all regions. That means in places where conservatives are. That means that this can't all be because of bail reform, defund the police, yada yada...
    John H. Durham, the attorney tapped by the Trump administration to oversee a special assessment of the Russian investigation, is now seeking an indictment of a cybersecurity lawyer accused of providing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with a false statement. According to the New York Times, Durham is seeking the indictment for Michael Sussmann, a former U.S. prosecutor who is now a partner at the law firm, Perkins Coie. The firm previously represented the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in a case involving the 2016 Russian hack targeting its servers. Per the New York Times: "The case against Mr. Sussmann centers on the question of who his client was when he conveyed certain suspicions about Mr. Trump and Russia to the F.B.I. in September 2016. Among other things, investigators have examined whether Mr. Sussmann was secretly working for the Clinton campaign — which he denies." Back in September 2016, Sussmann is said to have met with James A. Baker, the top-ranking lawyer for the FBI at the time. The two "spoke on condition...
    The number of hate crimes reported in 2020 was the highest recorded in over a decade, according to FBI data released Monday. The total number of incidents, 7,759, represented a 6% increase from 2019 and the highest number of hate crime incidents recorded since 2008, a year that had 7,783 incidents. The data shows that 7,554 single-bias hate incidents involving 10,528 victims were reported to the FBI in 2020. An additional 205 incidents fueled by multiple biases, and involving 333 victims, were also recorded. Advocates say that hate crimes are widely under-reported and that the data reported to the FBI only account for a portion of actual incidents. They warn that the data is based on voluntary reporting by local law enforcement agencies, and many who do participate report no hate crimes. The 2020 data is based on reports received from 15,136 out of 18,623 agencies in the country, according to the FBI.  Of the hate crimes reported in 2020, 61.9% involved victims targeted over race, ethnicity or ancestry bias; 20.5% of victims were targeted over sexual orientation bias;...
    (CNN)More than 10,000 people reported to law enforcement last year that they were the victim of a hate crime because of their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or disability -- a number that has been on the rise in recent years, according to FBI's annual hate crime statistics report.The report, released on Monday, found more than 7,700 criminal hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI in 2020, an increase of about 450 incidents over 2019. The increase comes even as fewer agencies reported hate crime incidents in their jurisdictions to the FBI than in previous years.Last year had the highest tally of reported hate crime incidents since 2008, when 7,783 incidents were reported to the FBI.Attacks targeting Black people rose to 2,755 from 1,930, and the number targeting Asians jumped to 274 from 161, the data showed. The data released on Monday showed that bias against African Americans overwhelmingly comprised the largest category of reported hate crime offenses pertaining to race, with a total of 56% of those crimes motivated by anti-Black or African American bias. Asians...
                      by James Bovard  Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s charge that the National Security Agency illegally spied on him and leaked his emails is enraging prominent liberals. Carlson sought “to sow distrust [of the NSA], which is so anti-American,” declared MSNBC analyst Andrew Weissman, formerly the chief prosecutor for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. CNN senior correspondent Oliver Darcy ridiculed Carlson for effectively claiming that “I’m not a crazy person overstating a case!” When did the NSA become as pure as Snow White? Do pundits presume that there is a 24-hour statute of limitation for recalling any previously-disclosed NSA crimes and abuses? The Carlson controversy cannot be understood outside the context of perennial NSA abuses. The NSA possesses a “repository capable of taking in 20 billion ‘record events’ daily and making them available to NSA analysts within 60 minutes,” the New York Times reported. The NSA is able to snare and stockpile many orders of magnitude times more information than did East Germany’s Stasi secret police, one of the most odious agencies of the post-war era. The FBI, for...
    Twenty-one state Attorney Generals signed a joint letter Monday to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) demanding that the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system include “non-binary gender designation.”  The UCR system currently categorizes individuals as either male or female with the respective gender codes of “M” or “F,” however, the AGs  “urge the FBI to make the ‘X’ gender code, which indicates that a person is non-binary,” their letter states. The AGs claim that having two only gender codes “discourages law enforcement agencies from collecting data that accurately reflects the gender of non-binary individuals” and that “refusing to recognize non-binary individuals’ gender identity in crime reporting is an affront to their dignity and can be harmful to their mental health and well-being.” “Non-binary individuals are already subjected to higher rates of violence and harassment, and they may choose not to report crimes if they know they will be misgendered in the process,” Massachusetts AG Maura Healey — one of the coalition’s leaders — said in a statement. “We are calling on the FBI to immediately take action and eliminate...
    (CNN)A newly released government report on domestic violent extremism warns lone wolf attackers with easily accessible weapons present the greatest terrorism threat to the US and the number of people dying at the hands of racially motivated extremists every year is on the rise since 2017.The joint report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security shows 2019 was "the most lethal year" for domestic violent extremist attacks since 1995 -- with 32 people killed, 24 of them by White supremacists. The report focuses on data from 2017-2019."In 2019, the FBI and DHS assessed RMVEs (Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists), primarily those advocating for the superiority of the white race, likely would continue to be the most lethal DVE threat to the Homeland," the report said. "Our agencies had high confidence in this assessment based on the demonstrated capability of RMVEs in 2019 to select weapons and targets to conduct attacks, and the effectiveness of online RMVE messaging calling for increased violence."There were 57 domestic terrorism-related deaths between 2017 and 2019, the data shows, 47...
    Twice last week, the federal government’s unconstitutional spying on ordinary Americans was exposed. One of these revelations was made by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., who wrote that the FBI is still using warrantless spying in criminal cases, notwithstanding the Constitution and federal laws. The other revelation was a surprise even to those of us who monitor these things -- the United States Postal Service acknowledged that it has been spying on Americans. Here is the backstory. The modern American security state -- the parts of the federal government that spy on Americans and do not change on account of elections -- received an enormous shot in the arm in 1978 when Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That naively misguided and profoundly unconstitutional law was sold to Congress as a way to control the security state’s spying in the aftermath of Watergate. Watergate had revealed that President Richard M. Nixon used the FBI and the CIA to spy on real and imagined domestic political adversaries. FISA set up a secret court that authorized domestic spying by issuing...
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