Tag Archives: FBI

Baltimore Police used secret technology to track cellphones in thousands of case

Baltimore Police used secret technology to track cellphones in thousands of cases

Baltimore police often surveil cellphones amid US secrecy

The Baltimore Police Department has an agreement with the U.S. government to withhold certain information about secretive cellphone surveillance technology from the public and the courts.


The Baltimore Police Department has used an invasive and controversial cellphone tracking device thousands of times in recent years while following instructions from the FBI to withhold information about it from prosecutors and judges, a detective revealed in court testimony Wednesday.

The testimony shows for the first time how frequently city police are using a cell site simulator, more commonly known as a “stingray,” a technology that authorities have gone to great lengths to avoid disclosing.

The device mimics a cellphone tower to force phones within its range to connect. Police use it to track down stolen phones or find people.

Related:  See How This Spying Technoloyg, Stingray, works.

FBI Stingray device technology listening cell phones
FBI Stingray device

Until recently, the technology was largely unknown to the public. Privacy advocates nationwide have raised questions whether there has been proper oversight of its use.

Baltimore has emerged in recent months as a battleground for the debate. In one case last fall, a city detective said a nondisclosure agreement with federal authorities prevented him from answering questions about the device. The judge threatened to hold him in contempt if he didn’t provide information, and prosecutors withdrew the evidence.

The nondisclosure agreement, presented for the first time in court Wednesday, explicitly instructs prosecutors to drop cases if pressed on the technology, and tells them to contact the FBI if legislators or judges are asking questions.

Detective Emmanuel Cabreja, a member of the Police Department’s Advanced Technical Team, testified that police own a Hailstorm cell site simulator — the latest version of the stingray — and have used the technology 4,300 times since 2007.

Cabreja said he had used it 600 to 800 times in less than two years as a member of the unit.

Nate Wessler, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said 4,300 uses is “huge number.” He noted that most agencies have not released data.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says its officers have used the device about 1,800 times. Police in Tallahassee say they have used it more than 250 times; police in Tacoma, Wash., 170 times.

Former U.S. Judge Brian L. Owsley, a law professor at Indiana Tech, said he was “blown away” by the Baltimore figure and the terms of the nondisclosure agreement. “That’s a significant amount of control,” he said.

Agencies have invoked the nondisclosure agreement to keep information secret. At a hearing last year, a Maryland State Police commander told state lawmakers that “Homeland Security” prevented him from discussing the technology.

Wessler said the secrecy is upending the system of checks and balances built into the criminal justice system.

“In Baltimore, they’ve been using this since 2007, and it’s only been in the last several months that defense attorneys have learned enough to start asking questions,” he said. “Our entire judicial system and constitution is set up to avoid a ‘just trust us’ system where the use of invasive surveillance gear is secret.”

Cabreja testified Wednesday during a pretrial hearing in the case of Nicholas West, 21, and Myquan Anderson, 17. West and Anderson were charged in October 2013 with armed carjacking, armed robbery, theft and other violations stemming from an attack on a man in Federal Hill.

Cabreja took what he said was a copy of the nondisclosure agreement to court. It was dated July 2011 and bore the signatures of then-Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III and then-State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein.

Defense attorney Joshua Insley asked Cabreja about the agreement.

“Does this document instruct you to withhold evidence from the state’s attorney and Circuit Court, even upon court order to produce?” he asked.

“Yes,” Cabreja said.

Cabreja did not comply with a defense subpoena to produce the device in court. He said he was barred from doing so by the nondisclosure agreement.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the technology or the document.

The signatories to the document agree that disclosing the existence of the stingray would “reveal sensitive technological capabilities possessed by the law enforcement community and may allow individuals who are the subject of investigation … to avoid detection.”

They agree that “disclosure of this information could result in the FBI’s inability to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal activity” by rendering the technology useless for investigations.

The signatories agree that if they receive a public records request or an inquiry from judges or legislators, they will notify the FBI immediately to allow “sufficient time for the FBI to intervene.”

Cabreja testified Wednesday that his unit received information about a stolen cellphone. He said detectives obtained a court order to get the phone’s general location using cellphone towers from a cellphone company.

With that information, detectives ventured out to the Waverly neighborhood with the Hailstorm. The device is portable and can be used from a moving vehicle. Cabreja likened it to a metal detector for cellphone signals.

The device forces cellphones to connect to it. In this case, it was a Verizon phone, so identifying information from every Verizon customer in the area was swept up.

Cabreja said the data was collected but “not seen.” Detectives were interested only in the target phone.
Cabreja said the device allows police to make a stronger signal emanate from the phone to help them find it.

“It, on screen, shows me directional arrows and signal strength, showing me the phone’s direction,” he testified.

The detectives traced the phone to a group home and knocked on the door. They told the woman who answered that they were conducting a general criminal investigation and asked to come inside, Cabreja said, and the woman agreed.

Seven detectives entered the home, he said. They used the Hailstorm to make the phone ring before anyone knew why they were really there.

Amid growing questions about the stingray, details of the technology have been trickling out of some jurisdictions, and it is now relatively easy to find descriptions online of what it does.

Insley, the defense attorney, called it the “worst-kept secret,” and questioned why local police continue to be gagged.

Cabreja took notes with him to court that he said came from a discussion last week in which the FBI coached him on what to say in court.

The talking points included: “Data is not retained.”
Cabreja did not refuse to answer any of Insley’s questions, but he said his answers were constrained by the nondisclosure agreement.

Defense attorneys and privacy advocates express concern about the scope of the stingray’s powers, and whether the courts are equipped to provide proper oversight of the police who use it. They argue that the use of the device amounts to a search and requires a warrant.

Baltimore police obtain court orders under the state’s “pen register” statute. Insley says that law authorizes police to capture only the numbers that are called or received by a phone, not the more detailed metadata and location information the stingray collects.

He said those orders also require a lower standard of proof than a search warrant, and judges are not aware of what they are authorizing.

“They’re basically duping these judges into signing authorizations to use stingrays,” Insley said. “If they can increase the signal strength of your phone or make it ring, they can pretty much make it do anything.”

But prosecutors say the language in the orders authorizes real-time GPS location, and Cabreja testified that police only use the stingray to find “target” phones and not to spy on the innocent.

In Maryland U.S. District Court last fall, an argument about the stingray device was cut short when the suspects took plea deals. And on Wednesday, following Cabreja’s testimony, prosecutors and defense attorneys entered into plea negotiations instead of debating the merits of the stingray further.

In cases where the stingray becomes a sticking point, Wessler said, “defense attorneys are being able to get really good deals for their clients, because the FBI is so insistent on hiding all of these details.”

“There are likely going to be a lot of defense attorneys in Baltimore who may have an opportunity to raise these issues,” Wessler said. “They are on notice now that their clients may have some arguments to make in these cases.”

General Petraeus Reaches Plea Deal Over Giving Classified Data to His Lover

General Petraeus Reaches Plea Deal Over Giving Classified Data to His Lover

At left, David Petraeus in September. CreditAaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — David H. Petraeus, the best-known military commander of his generation, has reached a plea deal with the Justice Department and admitted providing his highly classified journals to a mistress when he was the director of the C.I.A.

Mr. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, a misdemeanor. He is eligible for up to one year in prison, but prosecutors will recommend a sentence of probation for two years and a $40,000 fine.

The plea deal completes a spectacular fall for Mr. Petraeus, a retired four-star general who was once discussed as a possible candidate for vice president or even president. He led the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was the architect of a counterinsurgency strategy that at one time seemed a model for future warfare.

But the deal also ends two years of uncertainty and allows Mr. Petraeus to focus on his lucrative post-government career as a partner in a private equity firm and a worldwide speaker on national security issues. Even while under investigation, he has advised the White House on Iraq and terrorism issues.

Paula Broadwell at Mr. Petraeus’s confirmation hearings to be C.I.A. director in 2011.CreditYuri Gripas/Reuters

The mistress, Paula Broadwell, is a former Army Reserve officer who had an affair with Mr. Petraeus in 2011, when she was interviewing him for a biography, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.”

During one of the interviews for that book, Ms. Broadwell asked about his “black books,” the notebooks that contained handwritten classified notes about official meetings, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and the names of covert officers.

“They are highly classified, some of them,” Mr. Petraeus replied, according to an excerpt from the taped interviewincluded in court documents. Three weeks later, Mr. Petraeus emailed Ms. Broadwell and agreed to share the black books. He gave them to her the next day.

When questioned by the F.B.I., Mr. Petraeus denied providing Ms. Broadwell with classified information. “These statements were false,” federal prosecutors wrote. “Defendant David Howell Petraeus then and there knew that he previously shared the black books with his biographer.” A lawyer for Mr. Petraeus did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Mr. Petraeus resigned as the director of the C.I.A. in 2012, three days after President Obama was re-elected. At the time, Mr. Petraeus acknowledged the affair, but denied any criminal wrongdoing.

The plea deal spares Mr. Petraeus a high-profile trial where embarrassing details about the affair would have been presented to the jury and made public. Mr. Petraeus is still married to Holly Petraeus.

Mr. Petraeus received most of his accolades for his service in Iraq. He was credited with directing the so-called surge of American forces in 2007 that pushed militants of Al Qaeda, who had taken control of several major cities and provinces, out of the country, stabilizing Iraq and allowing thewithdrawal of all American forces about five years later.

In 2010, Mr. Obama asked Mr. Petraeus to attempt the same feat in Afghanistan, where the Taliban had gained significant territory. His counterinsurgency measures at that time had some success, but not nearly as much as in Iraq. Nevertheless, he was revered by members of both parties, and in 2011, Mr. Obama tapped him to lead the C.I.A.

Since leaving the C.I.A., the globe-trotting Mr. Petraeus has carved out a lucrative life for himself as a partner in Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, one of New York’s wealthiest — and most secretive — private equity firms, and also in academia and as a paid public speaker. He has taught at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities, and is a visiting scholar at Harvard.

“The broader nation needs his advice, and I think it’s been evident that people still want to hear from him,” said Michael E. O’Hanlon, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. “People are forgiving and know he made a mistake. But he’s also a national hero and a national resource.”

Mr. Petraeus’s friends and allies have been highly critical of the Justice Department for keeping the investigation open so long. Republicans in Congress accused Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. of using the investigation to silence Mr. Petraeus. On the other side, some investigators were privately critical of the Justice Department for not moving more aggressively against Mr. Petraeus, particularly when Mr. Holder has led a crackdown on government officials who reveal secrets to journalists.

F.B.I. agents discovered the affair as they investigated cyberstalking allegations that had been made by Jill Kelley, one of Mr. Petraeus’s friends. Ms. Kelley, of Tampa, Fla., told the F.B.I. that an anonymous person had been sending her threatening emails that told her to stay away from Mr. Petraeus.

The agents determined that the emails were coming from Ms. Broadwell. As they investigated Ms. Broadwell, they learned of the affair and found evidence that Mr. Petraeus had shared classified information with her.

Despite the affair and reports that the F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors had recommended charges against him, several senators continued to support him.

In a letter to Mr. Holder in December, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said the investigation had robbed the United States of its most experienced military leader. On Tuesday, Mr. McCain said in a statement that it was time to consider the matter closed.

“At a time of grave security challenges around the world,” Mr. McCain wrote, “I hope that General Petraeus will continue to provide his outstanding service and leadership to our nation, as he has throughout his distinguished career.”

In the days after Mr. Petraeus resigned in 2012, Mr. Obama appeared to clear him of any significant wrongdoing. At Mr. Obama’s first news conference after being re-elected, the president said he had no evidence that Mr. Petraeus had disclosed classified information “that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security.”

“We are safer because of the work that Dave Petraeus has done,” Mr. Obama said, referring to his career in government. “And my main hope right now is — is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career.”

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Feds Raid Conservative Texas Political Meeting, Confiscate Phones, Computers

Feds Raid Conservative Texas Political Meeting, Confiscate Phones, Computers

Fingerprint, photograph all attendees, seize phones


In a deliberate “show of force,” federal and local police forces raided a political meeting in Texas, fingerprinting and photographing all attendees as well as confiscating all cell phones and personal recording devices.

Members of the Republic of Texas, a secession movement dedicated to restoring Texas as an independent constitutional republic, had gathered Feb. 14 in a Bryan, Texas, meeting hall along with public onlookers. They were debating issues of currency, international relations and celebrating the birthday of one of their oldest members. The group, which describes itself as “congenial and unimposing,” maintains a small working government, including official currency, congress and courts.

According to MySanAntonio.com: “Minutes into the meeting a man among the onlookers stood and moved to open the hall door, letting in an armed and armored force of the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, agents of the Texas district attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.

“In the end, at least 20 officers corralled, searched and fingerprinted all 60 meeting attendees, before seizing all cellphones and recording equipment in a Valentine’s Day 2015 raid on the Texas separatist group.”

“We had no idea what was going on,” said John Jarnecke, president of the Republic of Texas. “We knew of nothing that would warrant such an action.”

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Information Liberation noted, “The pretext of the raid was that two individuals from the group had reportedly sent out ‘simulated court documents’ — summonses for a judge and a banker to appear before the Republic of Texas to discuss the matter of a foreclosure. These ‘simulated documents’ were rejected and the authorities decided to react with a ‘show of force’ – 20 officers and an extremely broad search warrant.”

The invalid court summons was signed by Susan Cammak, a Kerr County homeowner, and David Kroupa, a Republic of Texas judge from Harris County.

The search warrant against the Republic of Texas authorized the seizure of “all computers, media storage, software, cell phones and paper documents.” Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said the seized devices “will be downloaded and reviewed to determine if others conspired in the creation and issuance of false court documents.”

Police searched and fingerprinted each person at the meeting, but they did not perform cheek-swab DNA testing as the warrant allowed.

“You can’t just let people go around filing false documents to judges trying to make them appear in front of courts that aren’t even real courts,” Hierholzer, who led the operation, told the Houston Chronicle.

“The Republic has a lengthy list of qualms with the federal government, among them that Texas was illegally annexed in 1845,” wrote TeaParty.org. “But most of their complaints have to do with the behavior of the American legislature and executive. Robert Wilson, a senator in the Republic, equated politicians in Washington, D.C., to the ‘kings and emperors’ of the past, and sees Texas independence as part of a worldwide movement for local control.”

Hierholzer determined a “show of force” consisting of officers from city, county state and federal law enforcement to serve a search warrant for an alleged misdemeanor crime was appropriate due to the potential for physical resistance by the group.

The Houston Chronicle reports, “He said he had worries that some extremists in the group could become violent, citing a 1997 incident when 300 state troopers surrounded an armed Republic leader for a weeklong standoff.”

“Contrary to patently false reports by KBTX that the Republic of Texas and its assemblage were a militia group,” states the Republic of Texas website, “the truth is that the Republic of Texas is a self-determined people attempting to throw off the yoke of military occupation of Texas through peaceful and lawful process.”

“We’ve had years of bad press, but we’re not those people,” said Jarnecke of the 1997 incident. “But yes, we are still making every attempt to get independence for Texas and we’re doing it in a lawful international manner.”

The raid has angered many people. “The tactics used went well beyond what was necessary to address a few individuals over a matter of disputed paperwork,” reported Information Liberation. “It is clear that full-blown raid was performed to intimidate and harass every member of the group. … The irony of the situation is that the thuggish tactics employed by the police and federal government actually validate the concerns of the members of the Republic of Texas and other Americans who would prefer independence from the United States federal government.”

No arrests were made, and the case is still under investigation.

3 arrested in New York City for allegedly conspiring to support ISIS

3 arrested in New York City for allegedly conspiring to support ISIS

By FoxNews.com

Three New York City residents — two with Uzbekistan citizenship, and one a citizen of Kazakhstan — plotted to travel to Syria to join ISIS militants and ‘wage jihad,’ the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

One of the defendants also offered to kill the president of the United States if ordered to do so, the criminal complaint alleged.

The men were identified as Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan; Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Kazakhstan; and Abror Habibov, 30, a resident of Brooklyn and a citizen of Uzbekistan.

Saidakhmetov and Juraboev appeared in federal court in Brooklyn late Wednesday. Both were held without bail on charges of attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. During the arraignment a federal prosecutor said both suspects confessed post-arrest that they wanted to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad.

Habibov appeared in federal court in Florida earlier Wednesday and was also held without bail.

Federal prosecutors say two of the men came to the attention of law enforcement last summer after one expressed online support for Islamic militants. Hilofatnews.com was an Uzbek-language website that called for readers to join the terror group, the complaint said. Authorities were able to link Juraboev to the post, the complaint said.

In August, federal agents met with Juraboev and he spoke of his hopes of fighting with the terror group in Iraq or Syria, the complaint said. He also allegedly mentioned to the agents that he hoped to harm President Obama because of  ‘Allah.’

“Juraboev added that he would also plant a bomb on Coney Island if he was ordered to do so by ISIS,” the feds charge.

Saidakhmetov was arrested early Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he tried to board a plane headed to Istanbul, authorities said. Juraboev had plane tickets for March 29 and Habibov helped fund Saidakhmetov’s trip, the complaint said.

Authorities have a recorded conversation where Saidakhmetov expressed interest in joining the U.S. military, the complaint said. He allegedly said he could offer information to Islamic militants or open fire on American troops to kill as many as possible.

According to the complaint, Saidakhmetov was recorded in January saying, “I will just go and buy a machine gun, AK-47, go out and shoot all police.”

The two had hopes of joining the terror group and–if their travel plans were dashed– had intentions to commit terror in the U.S., the complaint said. Saidakhmetov–if prevented from joining the terror group– wanted to purchase a machine gun and shoot law enforcement, the complaint said.

Saidakhmetov allegedly said, “It is legal in America to carry a gun. We will go and purchase one handgun…then go and shoot one police officer…Boom…Then we will take his gun, bullets and a bulletproof vest…then we will do the same with a couple others. Then we will go to the FBI headquarters, kill the FBI people…”

They were officially charged with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The three are expected to appear in court today.

“We will vigorously prosecute those who attempt to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad on behalf of ISIL and those who support them,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement. “Anyone who threatens our citizens and our allies, here or abroad, will face the full force of American justice.”

Reuters reported that there are ISIS-related investigations in all 50 states.

3 from St. Louis County accused of supporting ISIS terrorism

3 from St. Louis County accused of supporting ISIS terrorism

FBI search home of terrorist  ISIS Muslim St. Louis Missouri
FBI agents search the home of Ramiz Zijad Hodzic and his wife Sedina Unkic Hodzic in the 4300 block of Chateau de Ville Drive in St. Louis County after a federal indictment was unsealed on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, implicating the couple and four other Bosnian immigrants on charges of supporting terrorists overseas, including the Islamic State group and al-Qaida in Iraq Photo by Cristina Fletes-Boutte, cfletes-boutte@post-dispatch.com


ST. LOUIS • Three St. Louis-area residents and three others from around the country supplied money and military equipment to terrorist fighters overseas, including the Islamic State group and al-Qaida in Iraq, the U.S. Attorney’s office said Friday.

Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40, his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35, and Armin Harcevic, 37, all live in St. Louis County, prosecutors said. The others indicted were Nihad Rosic, 26 of Utica, N.Y.; Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34 of Schiller Park, Ill.; and Jasminka Ramic, 42 of Rockford, Ill.

All face charges of conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists and with providing material support to terrorists. Ramiz Hodzic, who also went by the first name Siki, and Nihad Rosic were also charged with conspiring to kill and maim persons in a foreign country.

The indictment claims that the conspiracy began by at least May 2013.

The Hodzics, Salkicevic, Ramic and others solicited money in the United States for fighters in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. All six donated their own money, the indictment claims. The Hodzics used some of the money to buy supplies including U.S. military uniforms, combat boots, military surplus gear, tactical gear, range finders and rifle scopes. They, and unnamed others, then sent more than $10,000 in cash and supplies to third parties in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, the indictment says.

The Hodzics also sent money to Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to support the families of fighters, the indictment says.

The indictment says all six knew that the money and supplies were going to those “engaged in violent activities overseas, including conspiring to murder and maim persons,” the indictment says.

The conspirators used Facebook, email and phones to communicate, coordinate, rally support and update each other about the status of the fighters, using coded words such as “brothers,” “lions” and “Bosnian brothers,” the indictment says. They used Western Union and PayPal to send money.

The fighters “fought with and in support of” the Islamic State group, al-Qaida in Iraq and the al-Nusrah Front, the indictment says, and one of those fighters included a former St. Louis-area resident, Abdullah Ramo Pazara. Pazara left St. Louis in May 2013 and traveled via Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina before arriving in Syria that July.

Pazara boasted in March 2014 that he’d just returned from a mission where fighters killed 11 people and captured one, whom they intended to “slaughter” the next day, the indictment says. Pazara was killed while fighting in Syria, according to news reports.

He was among an estimated 50 to 330 fighters from Bosnia who traveled to fight in Syria since mid-2012, according to a June report from the Counter Terrorism Center at West Point.

Rosic tried to board a Norwegian Airlines flight in July, intending to travel to Syria to fight, the indictment says.

All six of those charged are natives of Bosnia who immigrated to the United States, prosecutors said. Three have become naturalized citizens and the rest either have refugee or legal resident status, they said.

Five have been arrested, and the Hodzics had a first appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in St. Louis Friday night. Ramic is overseas.

The charge of supporting a group designated as a terrorist organization carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Conspiring to kill and maim persons in a foreign country carries a penalty of up to life, prosecutors said.

Court records were not yet online Friday, so it was not clear if any of those charged had hired attorneys yet. None could be immediately reached for comment, nor could relatives.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan declined to comment on the case Friday, “because this case involved national security.”

William Woods, head of the St. Louis office of the FBI, released a statement that said, “The indictment unsealed today epitomizes the FBI’s commitment to disrupting and holding accountable those who seek to provide material support to terrorists and terrorist organizations. This case underscores the clear need for continued vigilance in rooting out those who seek to join or aid terrorist groups that threaten our national security.”

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, the U. S. Postal Inspection Service and police in St. Louis and St. Louis County were among the agencies that investigated the case, prosecutors said.

Speaking about the Islamic State earlier this week, FBI Director James Comey said, “We have open cases all over the place focused on this threat.” He said that the bureau had cases in every state but Alaska, and was focusing “keenly” on those traveling “to join this band of murderers” in Iraq and Syria, those returning from the fight and others who were not traveling but were inspired to acts of violence.

Comey issued a similar warning at a press conference in St. Louis in August.

The person listed as the owner of Hodzics’ condominium at the Chateau De Ville complex off Forder Road in South County could not be reached for comment. Larry Sorth is a property manager at the complex and lives there with his wife, Joyce Sorth.

Larry Sorth said that about 11:30 a.m. Friday, undercover FBI agents set up in the parking lot. A SWAT team and other FBI vehicles, including a white box truck, showed up later. The truck was parked at the complex into Friday evening as agents took evidence from the home and placed it into the truck.

“This is just a shock,” Larry Sorth said of the Hodzics’ arrest.

He and his wife said the Hodzics had lived there about 18 months, along with their three children. They described the pair as friendly.

“She was very sweet, to tell you the truth,” Joyce Sorth said of Sedina Hodzic.

Joyce Sorth said Sedina Hodzic had at first worn a head covering that revealed her entire face but recently had started wearing a veil that showed only her eyes.

Larry Sorth said that some neighbors said Ramiz Hodzic was a truck driver, but the man didn’t seem to have a job. “He was always at home,” Larry Sorth said.

He said that of the 41 units he oversees at the complex, 16 are home to Bosnian families. He said the Hodzics always made their required payments on time.

Vivian Franklin, 62, another neighbor said: “All of us we speak to each other, meet out here and talk in the parking lot. They really didn’t have anything to say to anybody, not that they were rude …”

She added: “You never know who is in your neighborhood, right?”

Valerie Schremp Hahn of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

2 Seattle planes evacuated, 3rd diverted over security concerns

2 Seattle planes evacuated, 3rd diverted over security concerns

Associated Press

Delta airplane landing

SEATAC, Wash. — Two planes were evacuated on arrival Sunday atSeattle-Tacoma International Airport due to what a spokesman called a “security concern.”

Airport spokesman Perry Cooper said a JetBlue flight from Long Beach (Los Angeles County) and a regional SkyWest jet from Phoenix were the aircraft involved.

Cooper said that out of an abundance of caution, passengers were bused to their gates from the airport’s third runway. He said the matter was under investigation, and he did not have further details.

Additionally, a Delta Air Lines spokesman says a flight from Los Angeles to Orlando, Fla., was diverted to Dallas on Sunday afternoon due to “a security concern.” Spokesman Morgan Durrant said passengers on Flight 1061 got off theBoeing 737-900 so authorities could search the aircraft.

Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, said online threats targeted the JetBlue and Delta flights. She said there was no known threat to any aircraft that departed from the Los Angeles area and that as part of the investigation agents will determine whether the threats were related.

The flight disruptions come a day after bomb threats targeted two jets bound for Atlanta, prompting F-16 fighter jets to escort the planes. The threats posted on the social media network Twitter targeted Southwest Airlines Flight 2492, which arrived at Atlanta from Milwaukee, and Delta Air Lines Flight 1156, which arrived from Portland, Ore. No explosives were found.

It was unclear if any of threats were connected.

Spokesman Morgan Durrant did not give specifics about the nature of the concern about Flight 1061, saying the company would defer to authorities on providing further details. He said passengers exited the Boeing 737-900, which was being examined by authorities.

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport spokesman David Magana told KXAS-TV that “the airport is responding per protocol.”

An FAA spokesman said the agency has no jurisdiction in security matters and directed inquiries to the airlines, FBI and TSA. Representatives of TSA could not immediately be reached.

FBI Uncovers ISIS-Inspired Plot To Bomb U.S. Capitol and Gun Down Lawmakers

FBI Uncovers ISIS-Inspired Plot To Bomb U.S. Capitol and Gun Down Lawmakers


FBI Uncovers ISIS-Inspired Plot To Bomb U.S. Capitol and Gun Down Lawmakers

The FBI has uncovered an extensive, ISIS-inspired plot targeting lawmakers by setting off bombs at the U.S. Capitol.

Christopher Cornell of Green Township, Ohio was arrested today and charged with attempting to kill a U.S. government official, authorities said, according to ABC News.

Government documents reveal that 20-year-old Cornell planned to detonate a series of pipe bombs which he hoped would force employees and officials to evacuate the building. He then planned to open fire, gunning down as many people as he could.

But Cornell wasn’t a crazed, right-wing extremist like the liberal media would hope. He is an American Muslim, and a supporter of ISIS and jihad.

Cornell has been watched intently for months by the FBI after an informant alleged that there was content on Cornell’s Twitter account which support violent jihad against unbelievers. Cornell also posted statements, videos, and other content supporting ISIS, ABC reports:

“I believe that we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks and everything,” Cornell allegedly wrote in an online message to the informant in August, according to the FBI. “I believe we should meet up and make our own group in alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves.”

In the message, Cornell said that such attacks “already got a thumbs up” from radical cleric Anwar Awlaki “before his martyrdom.”

Awlaki is an al-Qaeda leader in the Arabian Peninsula, according to U.S. officials.

Cornell was found out when he unknowingly told a FBI informant that he wanted to launch an attack on Congress members in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., documents show.

Cornell appears to have worked alone, financing the attack and building bombs himself.

He attempted to travel to Washington on Wednesday to carry out the attack, transporting two M-15 semiautomatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition with him when he was arrested,The Washington Times reports.

“The alleged activities of Cornell highlight the continued interest of US-based violent extremists to support designated foreign terrorist organizations overseas, such as ISIL, by committing terrorist acts in the United States,” according to a Homeland Security bulletin.

“Terrorist group members and supporters will almost certainly continue to use social media platforms to disseminate English language violent extremist messages.”

It won’t be long before the current administration and the liberal lap-dog media claim that this act has nothing to do with Islam. However, as long as Islam continues to breed radicals, there will be terrorist attacks that will be ineffectively fought with apologies, excuses, and denouncing.

FBI Says Doesn’t Need Warrant To Track Your Cell Phone

FBI Says Doesn’t Need Warrant To Track Your Cell Phone

Practically nothing to protect citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights

The FBI Says It Doesn’t Need a Warrant to Track Your Cell Phone in Public

The FBI claims that it doesn’t need a warrant to use so-called Stingray cell-phone tracking technology in public spaces, according to two US Senators raising privacy concerns over use of the devices.

Stingrays and similar devices intercept data by emulating a cell phone tower, say privacy groups. With the briefcase-size technology, police can identify and locate cell phone users in a general area or search for a specific person while also vacuuming upmetadata from phones.

The FBI recently settled on a new policy surrounding the use of Stingrays and similar technology that requires agents to obtain a warrant before using the technology in a criminal investigation. However, the policy includes such broad exceptions that privacy advocates worry they do practically nothing to protect citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights.

The new policy was first revealed by former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and the then ranking Republican on the committee, Chuck Grassley—who has since become chairman—in a letter to the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security released at the end of December.

In the letter, Leahy and Grassley question whether law enforcement agencies using cell-phone-tracking technology “have adequately considered the privacy interests of other individuals who are not targets of the inception, but whose
information is nevertheless being collected when these devices are used.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in November that the US Marshals Service was using cell-phone-tracking technology in small aircraft to search for criminal suspects, sweeping up thousands of other cell phone signals in the process.

Law enforcement agencies purchase Stingrays and similar devices—technically called International Mobile Subscriber Identity catchers—through federal grants under the auspices of anti-terrorism operations. Police say the technology can also be used for search-and-rescue operations, in kidnapping situations, and disaster response.

According to Leahy and Grassley, the FBI’s new policy contains an exception for “cases that pose an imminent danger to public safety, cases that involve a fugitive, or cases in which the technology is used in public places or other locations at which the FBI deems there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in a statement to VICE that it “seems that a carve out to allow the FBI to use an IMSI catcher in public without a warrant is an exception that swallows the rule.”

Fakhoury said the FBI’s new policy is “a good first step towards transparency, but there need to be a lot more information made public about how these devices are used.

“First, what was happening before the change in policy?” Fakhoury continued. “If the new policy requires the FBI to get a warrant to use the device but has an exception for when the device is in public use, does that mean the feds were using IMSI catchers to capture signals emanating from the home, a place clearly protected by the Fourth Amendment? Second, what is the requirement for FBI’s use of these devices in public places, which is presumably where the bulk of these devices are used?”

Leahy and Grassley are pressing the Justice Department for more details on the privacy implications of the technology.

“The Judiciary Committee needs a broader understanding of the full range of law enforcement agencies that use this technology, the policies in place to protect the privacy interests of those whose information might be collected using these devices, and the legal process that DOJ and DHS entities seek prior to using them,” Leahy and Grassley wrote in their letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Reports of police departments using Stingrays first surfaced in December 2013, whenUSA Today reported that cell phone surveillance technology originally designed for the US military was finding its way into state and local police departments across the country.

Since that report, the ACLU has unearthed public records showing police departments and federal law enforcement in 19 states and the District of Columbia are using IMSI catchers.

Transparency groups and news organizations trying to dig up more information on Stingrays have been stymied by an aggressive effort from federal agents, local police departments, and the company that manufactures the devices.

Earlier this year in Sarasota, Florida, the US Marshals Service confiscated records on Stingray surveillance from a courthouse just hours before the records were due to be handed over to the ACLU.

In September, a public records request revealed state and local police must sign a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI, keeping details of the devices secret.

Prosecutors in Baltimore went so far as to toss key evidence in a case rather than reveal details of how police used a Stingray to track the defendant.

The FBI and DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement to VICE, the Justice Department said only that it is reviewing Leahy and Grassley’s letter, which calls for a response to their concerns by the end of the month.

Follow CJ Ciaramella on Twitter.

The Charlie Hebdo cartoons that jihadist fanatics don’t want you to see

The Charlie Hebdo cartoons that jihadist fanatics don’t want you to see

Hebdo was killed by Muslim terrorist along with 11 others yesterday  in Paris at his office



“I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” –Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier (1967 – 2015), publisher, Charlie Hebdo.

On Wednesday morning, the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo was once again targeted by violent jihadists for the crime of depicting in print the image of the Prophet Mohammed.

According to initial reports, three gunmen killed 10 magazine staffers and two police officers who responded to the shooting.

The magazine’s offices were firebombed in 2011 after it initially published cartoons depicting Mohammed, one of a string of attacks retaliating against predominately European publications that dared to “blaspheme.”

Those attacks, like today’s shooting, were brutal and savage attempts to silence speech that their fanatical perpetrators find offensive to their seventh-century worldview and conception of their religion.

The Washington Free Beacon extends its deepest condolences to the staff of Charlie Hebdo, their families, and all of the people of France rocked by this morning’s shooting. We pray the shooters are found and brought to justice.

We also stand in solidarity with all journalists, cartoonists, and social commentators threatened with violence or attacked by censorious fanatics. We feel a fitting tribute to Charb and his publication would be to republish the cartoons for which he gave his life.

charlie hebdo Paris journalist cartoons
Left: a 2011 issue “guest-edited” by Mohammed. The caption reads “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.” Right: “Love is stronger than hate.”



The cover of a 2006 issue containing cartoons that mocked Mohammed. The caption reads “Mohammed overwhelms the fundamentalists.”
The cover of a 2006 issue containing cartoons that mocked Mohammed. The caption reads “Mohammed overwhelmed by fundamentalists.”


Just minutes before gunmen broke into the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, the magazine tweeted this mockery of “Islamic State” leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: