Tag Archives: FBI

‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s $16B in assets belong to Mexico, congressman claims

Members of the main opposition force in Mexico are demanding the federal government to take the necessary steps to claim the entirety of assets seized to drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, recently extradited to the United States.

On Wednesday Congressman Jorge Ramos Hernández, from the National Action Party (PAN), claimed Guzman’s fortune amounts to at least $16 billion and must be ceded to Mexico to restore the damages caused by the trafficker’s illicit activities.

Continue reading ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s $16B in assets belong to Mexico, congressman claims

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Ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele was so troubled by findings on Donald Trump that he worked for free: report

The former British spy who compiled the unverified dossier on Donald Trump got so concerned by what he was learning about the President-elect that he worked without pay for months, according to a report.

Christopher Steele, a respected ex-MI6 agent, rocked the geopolitical landscape when a 35-page document he’d written on Trump’s alleged ties to the Kremlin was published in full earlier this week.

Continue reading Ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele was so troubled by findings on Donald Trump that he worked for free: report

Hacker who stole nude photos of celebrities gets 18 months in prison

Ryan Collins ran a two-year phishing scam to gain the passwords of more than 100 people, including Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna and Avril Lavigne

The hacker who stole nude photos of female celebrities in 2014 has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, officials announced on Thursday.

Continue reading Hacker who stole nude photos of celebrities gets 18 months in prison

L.A. fashion district firms raided in cartel money laundering probe

Federal agents

Sinaloa cartel bosses had a problem. They were holding a hostage and needed to get the $140,000 ransom his family agreed to pay from the United States to Mexico in the form of pesos.

Continue reading L.A. fashion district firms raided in cartel money laundering probe

Report: FBI Created Fake News Article With Spyware to Track Suspect

FBI Director Robert Muller Speaks About Bureau Reforms

The FBI maintains that its fake news article was justified

The FBI created a fake Seattle Times article containing surveillance software in order to track a school bomb-threat suspect in 2007, according to documents obtained by an advocacy group.

The controversy was publicized Monday evening on Twitter by Christopher Soghoian, a technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, who linked to the FBI documents (pages 61-62)obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization.

While the FBI’s use of data gathering software in this investigation was reported in 2007 by WIRED, which acquired an FBI affidavit seeking a search warrant for the tool’s use, the latest documents reveal for the first time the FBI’s use of a false news article.

According to the documents, the link to the article was “in the style of the Seattle Times” and used a false Associated Press byline. The article, titled “Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department,” was mocked up with subscriber and advertising information.

The link was then e-mailed to the to the MySpace account of the suspect, who police believe was responsible for a series of bomb threats at Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash. When clicked on, the link would deploy FBI software to track his location and computer IP address.

“We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,” said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best in astatement Monday evening.

AP’s Director of Media Relations Paul Colford also criticized the FBI’s actions, writing in a statement that, “We are extremely concerned and find it unacceptable that the FBI misappropriated the name of The Associated Press and published a false story attributed to AP. This ploy violated AP’s name and undermined AP’s credibility.”

The FBI in Seattle maintains that its technique was justified in locating the suspect, who was arrested on June 14, 2007, two days after the dateline that appeared on the agents’ e-mail correspondence discussing the plan.

“Every effort we made in this investigation had the goal of preventing a tragic event like what happened at Marysville and Seattle Pacific University,” Frank Montoya Jr., an FBI agent overseeing its Seattle operations, told the Seattle Times. “We identified a specific subject of an investigation and used a technique that we deemed would be effective in preventing a possible act of violence in a school setting.”

A spokeswoman for FBI’s Seattle unit also defended the strategy to the Seattle Times, arguing that the FBI did not use a “real Seattle Times article, but material generated by the FBI in styles common in reporting and online media.”

Hackers breach some White House computers

Hackers thought to be working for the Russian government breached the unclassified White House computer networks in recent weeks, sources said, resulting in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the intrusion.

White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said that the intruders did not damage any of the systems and that, to date, there is no evidence the classified network was hacked.

“In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network,” said one White House official. “We took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity. . . . Unfortunately, some of that resulted in the disruption of regular services to users. But people were on it and are dealing with it.”

The FBI, Secret Service and National Security Agency are all involved in the investigation. White House officials are not commenting on who was behind the intrusion or how much data, if any, was taken.

“Certainly a variety of actors find our networks to be attractive targets and seek access to sensitive information,” the White House official said. “We are still assessing the activity of concern.”

U.S. officials were alerted to the breach by an ally, sources said.

Recent reports by security firms have identified cyber-­espionage campaigns by Russian hackers thought to be working for the government. Targets have included NATO, the Ukrainian government and U.S. defense contractors. Russia is regarded by U.S. officials as being in the top tier of states with cyber-capabilities.

In the case of the White House, the nature of the target is consistent with a state-sponsored campaign, sources said.

The breach was discovered two to three weeks ago, sources said. Some staffers were asked to change their passwords. Intranet or VPN access was shut off for awhile, but the email system, apart from some minor delays, was never down, sources said.

White House officials said that such an intrusion was not unexpected.

“On a regular basis, there are bad actors out there who are attempting to achieve intrusions into our system,” said a second White House official. “This is a constant battle for the government and our sensitive government computer systems, so it’s always a concern for us that individuals are trying to compromise systems and get access to our networks.”

The Russian intelligence service was believed to have been behind a breach of the U.S. military’s classified networks, which was discovered in 2008. The operation to contain the intrusion and clean up the computers, called Buckshot Yankee, took months.

That incident helped galvanize the effort to create U.S. Cyber Command, a military organization dedicated to defending the country’s critical computer systems — including those in the private sector — against foreign cyberattack, as well as helping combatant commanders in operations against adversaries. The command is expected to have some 6,000 personnel by 2016, officials said. 

When directed by the president or defense secretary, Cyber Command can undertake offensive operations.

FBI admits to spying on Burning Man festival

Gerlach – Newly-released documents reveal the Federal Bureau of Investigation spied on Burning Man, the weeklong art and music festival in the northern Nevada desert.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by California-based journalist Inkoo Kang, the FBI released heavily redacted internal memos, first published on Muckrock, one of which states that the bureau was working with local authorities to “aid in the prevention of terrorist activities and intelligence collection” at Burning Man in 2010.

The FBI cited the “ongoing war on terrorism and potential for additional acts of terrorism” as justification for the operation. Another memo revealed that the FBI was contacted by a security company hired by Burning Man organizers to conduct a threat assessment. The bureau said it had “no intelligence indicating any outside threats, domestic or international” and concluded that the biggest threats during the event were “crowd control issues and use of illegal drugs by participants.”

Yet another memo lists the operation’s two “accomplishments”—one is redacted, the other states “local agency liaison established/utilized.”

It is not known whether the FBI has conducted any surveillance or other operations at Burning Man after 2010, or how many agents were involved in the operation that year. The bureau has not commented on the release of its documents.

The FBI memos were made public just as the 29th annual Burning Man was getting underway. The event began as a small countercultural gathering on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986 before relocating to the Black Rock Desert in 1990.

The festival has grown in popularity with each passing year and now attracts nearly 70,000 people to the temporary community participants call Black Rock City, which is for a week the 6th most populous place in Nevada.

Burners, as participants are called, strive to observe 10 core principles, including radical inclusion, decommodification (aside from the $390 ticket price and ice/coffee concessions, no money is exchanged during the event), radical self-expression, participation, radical self-reliance and ‘leave no trace.’

Burning Man is named for the giant wooden effigy, “The Man,” that is burned with much fanfare on the penultimate night of the festival. The event is the highlight of the year for many Burners and many first-time participants describe the festival as a life-changing experience.

According to Reuters, Burning Man adds an estimated $35 million to the local economy each year.

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