Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation’

Feds Step Up Probe Into Christie’s Aide in Bridge Scandal.


Two investigators have visited the home of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, as federal prosecutors appear to be actively investigating the role that the governor’s aides played in the bridge-gate scandal.

According to court documents, Stepien was not home at the time, and his lawyer Kevin Marino has declined a request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to interview Stepien, according to NJ.com.

Marino admitted that Stepien is under federal investigation in the probe surrounding the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge as political payback for the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election campaign.

The lawyer said Stepien was first contacted by an FBI agent in mid-January by phone seeking an interview. Stepien, who worked with Christie on both his campaigns for governor and had been his pick to lead the New Jersey Republican Party, turned down the request.

In mid-February, the court documents showed that the FBI agent and a criminal investigator from the U.S. Department of Justice visited Stepien’s home in Princeton.

The documents said, they “questioned his landlord about his conduct and his character —  was he was married, a rowdy tenant, did he pay his rent on time — and left behind their calling cards, which identified them as criminal investigators and left no doubt as to the nature of their investigation.”

The U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, confirmed last month that his office was looking into the lane closings, according to The New York Times.

Christie has cut ties with Stepien and fired his former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, who sent an email calling for traffic problems on the bridge last year.

Stepien’s lawyer claimed in the court documents that because his client is being investigated by federal authorities, he should not have to comply with a subpoena demanding that Stepien hand over documents to a state legislative committee also probing the traffic jam.

Stepien has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in declining to cooperate with the panel, which asked him to turn over calendars and electronic devices that might show communications regarding the closings.

Kelly is also refusing to comply with a subpoena on Fifth Amendment grounds. Both their cases will be heard in a Trenton courtroom next week, the Times reported.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Journalist Greenwald Denies He’s ‘Fencing’ Stolen NSA Secrets.


Image: Journalist Greenwald Denies He's 'Fencing' Stolen NSA Secrets

By Drew MacKenzie

Freelance journalist Glenn Greenwald has flatly denied the allegations of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers that he’s selling U.S. surveillance secrets stolen by fugitive Edward Snowden.

The Michigan Republican claimed on Tuesday during a committee hearing that Greenwald is receiving payments from news organizations worldwide for the intelligence secrets that Snowden had illegally taken while working for the National Security Agency.

“A thief selling stolen material is a thief,” said Rogers. “For personal gain, he’s now selling his access to information.”

But Greenwald, who once worked for The Guardian in Britain, said that he’s giving hisservices to foreign news agencies as a journalist and that he’s not, as Rogers suggested, “fencing stolen material.”

He said in an interview, “I’m never selling documents. I don’t get money and give them documents, like, ‘Hey, nice doing business with you.’

“We do the reporting first I vet the stories. We come with the story already formed. We work on drafts of the story. We always edit the story. We have approval rights.”

Greenwald, who works with the help of other freelancers, said that he is careful to make sure that he has signed freelance contracts with various agencies before filing his Snowden stories to ensure that he’s seen as a journalist rather than a source.

“If I went around and reported on this without a freelance contract or a freelance fee paid, the government would say I’m acting as a source and not a distributor of the documents,” Greenwald said. “I never work with any foreign media outlet without any kind of agreement. I have to do it that way. If I don’t, they would make other accusations.”

Politico noted that in the past sources have been prosecuted for revealing secret data while the U.S government has been reluctant to go after journalists or publishers.

Rogers had attempted during the committee hearing to make a connection between journalism and criminality while being briefed by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey.

“I I’m a newspaper reporter…and I sell stolen material, is that legal because I’m a newspaper reporter?” Rogers asked. “If I’m hawking stolen, classified material that I’m not legally in possession of for personal gain and profit, is that not a crime?”

But Comey said that if a reporter was “hawking stolen jewelry” it would be a crime, but added that reporting on classified documents was harder to quantify because “it involves a news-gathering function” and “could have First Amendment implications.”

Greenwald pointed out that Roger’s accusations, if they stood up in a court of law, could criminalize the profession of journalism, and in essence the rights of free speech.

The writer, who is also an attorney and civil rights activist, claimed that his contracts are for a “trivial amount.”

He added, “Any journalist who reports on top-secret documents is necessarily getting paid. If you’re going to characterize that as selling documents, you’re necessarily selling documents.”

Greenwald also pointed out that journalist Bart Gellman had written stories for the Washington Post as a freelancer using Snowden’s documents, but Rogers had not accused him of fencing stolen goods.

“How is that any different than what Bart Gellman does?” Greenwald asked. “He’s freelance for the Washington Post and he gets paid per story.”

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

State Dept. Whistleblower’s Emails Destroyed by Hacker.


A State Department whistleblower’s computer has had four years of emails deleted by a hacker, including messages detailing alleged wrongdoing at the agency, according to the New York Post.

The Gmail account of Diplomatic Security Service criminal investigator Richard Higbie was hacked earlier this month, confirmed his lawyer Cary Schulman. And now Higbie has asked the FBI in Dallas, where he lives, to investigate the hack attack.

Schulman said that the e-mails included Higbie’s proof of misconduct by leading department officials, his correspondence with other potential whistleblowers at the agency, and his communications with members of Congress investigating the allegations.

“They took all of his e-mails and then they deleted them all,” said Schulman, adding that he had no evidence to suggest the hacker’s identity or whether he or she was working in collusion with anyone else.

Calling the hacking “sophisticated” and saying Higbie’s targeting was “alarming,” the lawyer added, “Obviously, somebody is not happy with something he’s doing and wanted to get that information and also cause him an inability in the future to have ready access to that.”

Higbie, the second-highest-ranking agent in the Dallas office, played a vital part in helping fellow whistleblower Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator for the department’s Inspector General, lift the lid earlier this year on a series of coverups by leading officials, the Post reports.

The alleged coverups included keeping an Inspector General investigation under wraps that confirmed members of then-Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s security detail had paid for hookers and that the Belgian ambassador had solicited underage prostitutes.

The Post says that several investigations by the service, which protects dignitaries and investigates crimes at the agency, were allegedly derailed by senior officials, including one case in which Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills allegedly interfered.

Higbie has claimed in an employment lawsuit against the department that it took revenge against him for being a whistleblower.

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Man Arrested for Plotting to Blow Up Kansas Airport.


Authorities have arrested a man who was plotting to blow up the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kansas, with a carload of explosives, officials said Friday.

Terry Loewen, a 58-year-old aviation technician from Wichita, intended to die a martyr in the bombing, Barry Grisson, the U.S. district attorney for Kansas, said at a news conference.

Authorities said Loewen was believed to have been motivated, at least partly, by religious beliefs.

The man was taken into custody early Friday, officials said, as he attempted to make his way onto airport property with what he thought were active explosives. They said he had planned the attack for months.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

White House Declines to Discuss Levinson CIA Ties.


The White House is declining to talk about any CIA ties of an American who has been missing since a 2007 trip to Iran.

An Associated Press investigation has found that retired FBI agent Robert Levinson was a contractor for the CIA, though the U.S. government has said he was on private business when he disappeared.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said in response to questions Friday that Levinson was not a U.S. government employee when he went missing, but he wouldn’t comment on whether the man was on contract with the CIA.

He said he was limited in what he could say and criticized the AP report as “highly irresponsible to publish.” He said he wouldn’t say anything that could harm the government’s continued efforts to find Levinson.

“He was not a U.S. government employee when he made that trip,” said Carney, responding to questions about an Associated Press story that said Levinson was working for the Central Intelligence Agency when he disappeared.

“As there is an ongoing investigation into his disappearance, I’m not going to comment further on what he may or may not have been doing in Iran,” Carney said, calling the story “highly irresponsible.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

FBI Can Hijack Your Webcam — And Much More.


The FBI‘s advanced surveillance methods can even activate a computer’s webcam to spy on computer users — without switching on the device’s tell-tale green light — reports about the investigation behind a bomb threat suspect reveal.

The covert snooping in the case of a mystery man, “Mo,” also shows how investigators can download files, photographs and stored e-mails from a computer without its owner knowing, reports The Washington Post. 

“We have transitioned into a world where law enforcement is hacking into people’s computers and we have never had public debate,” Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union said.

According to The Post, “Mo” had threatened to blow up several people-filled facilities, including airports and colleges, if authorities wouldn’t free James Holmes, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity earlier this year for killing 12 people in a Denver-area movie theater in 2012.

Mo, sending photographs of himself dressed in an Iranian military uniform, first contacted the FBI in July 2012, two days after Holmes was arrested. Authorities said Mo hid his location through programs that allowed him to use e-mail, video chat and an ­Internet-based phone service, but it was believed the messages were coming out of Iran.

Federal officials haven’t commented on the case, but court documents reveal the FBI’s experts installed a piece of malicious software to launch into Mo’s computer files when he signed on to his Yahoo e-mail account. The software would then work to gather information about his location and websites he’d visited, in hopes of tying him to the threats.

Despite the advanced surveillance techniques, Mo has not been captured and no bombs were found anywhere. But search techniques like those launched to search for him are under fire by critics who say that they gather a broad range of information that has nothing to do with the case at hand.

‘You can’t just go on a fishing expedition,” Georgetown University law professor Laura Donohue told The Post. “There needs to be a nexus between the crime being alleged and the material to be seized. What they are doing here, though, is collecting everything.”

The FBI has been able to activate webcams for years, and has used the technique mainly to capture terrorists or for the most serious crime investigations, said Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico. He is now on the advisory board of Subsentio, which helps telecommunications carriers comply with federal wiretap statutes.

Meanwhile, Thomas said, FBI technology is advancing as people move away from using traditional computers and become smarter about hiding their identities.

“Because of encryption and because targets are increasingly using mobile devices, law enforcement is realizing that more and more they’re going to have to be on the device — or in the cloud,” Thomas said.
“There’s the realization out there that they’re going to have to use these types of tools more and more.”

Related Stories:

FBI Director Says All Surveillance Complies with U.S. Law
FBI Pushing Tech Companies to Install Tracking Software

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

US Charges 49 Russian Diplomats with Healthcare Fraud.


U.S. prosecutors have charged 49 current and former Russian diplomats and their family members with participating in a scheme to get health benefits intended for the poor by lying about their income.

The charges come against a backdrop of tense exchanges between Russia and the United States over law enforcement actions in both countries.

According to the charges, filed in November and unsealed on Thursday, the diplomats’ families got around $1.5 million in benefits from the Medicaid program for families with low monthly incomes – in many cases around $3,000 or less. The benefits covered costs related to pregnancies, births and infant care, the charges say.

Meanwhile, according to the charges, the family members had their housing costs paid for by the Russian government and spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on vacations, jewelry and luxury goods from stores like Swarovski and Jimmy Choo.

Each of the 49 people was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to steal government funds and make false statements relating to healthcare matters, according to the charges.

“We are puzzled by the stove-piping of information to the media about accusations against Russian diplomatic mission officials in the U.S.,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax news agency.

“One does not understand why the [U.S.] institutions involved considered it possible to make these accusations public without discussing [them] through diplomatic channels.”

A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Peter Donald, said no one was arrested.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a Manhattan press conference that the U.S. State Department would have had to request a waiver of immunity from Russia in order for U.S. authorities to arrest the defendants. If no waiver is granted, Bharara said the State Department can insist that the defendants leave the country.

“Diplomacy should be about extending hands, not picking pockets in the host country,” he said.

Bharara declined to say how the charges might affect U.S.-Russia relations. He said his office has not been in contact with the White House.

A spokeswoman for the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Russian mission to the United Nations was not immediately available for comment on the case.

The charges say the defendants obtained letters to prove their false incomes from officials at the Russian U.N. mission, including a former counselor and a former second secretary, as well as from former top officials at the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York and the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in the USA.

Only two of the seven officials who allegedly signed off on the income letters are identified in the charges by name. The other five are referred to as unidentified co-conspirators.

Timur Salomatin, a former Russian diplomat at the U.N., and his wife Nailya Babaeva, said they made $3,000 a month when Salomatin’s U.N. salary was actually $5,160 per month, according to the charges.

Another couple, Andrey Kalinin and Irina Shirshova, lied about their income and monthly housing costs in order to be deemed eligible for Medicaid and also sought benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, which subsidizes the cost of some types of foods and education. According to the charges, the family received more than $23,000 in Medicaid benefits over about three years.

Some families also lied about their newborns’ citizenship status, the charges say, because children born to many diplomats and their spouses do not automatically acquire U.S. citizenship the way others do.

Hundreds of Russian diplomats and their families live in a compound in the Riverdale neighborhood in the Bronx. Three dozen of the defendants lived in Russian-owned housing in the Bronx, according to the complaint.

Bharara said only 11 are still in the United States; ten are diplomats with the Russian Mission to the U.N. and their spouses, and one is now stationed at the Russian embassy in Washington.

Russia has in recent years accused the United States of biased and politically motivated prosecution of its citizens, including jailed arms dealer Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot sentenced to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking.

In response to a U.S. law enacted in December 2012 that bars Russians seen as human rights abusers from entering the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off that same month on a similar law barring Americans, including some U.S. Justice Department officials, from Russia. Bharara is among those banned from Russia.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,696 other followers