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Last week, I blogged Brian Krebs's amazing piece on AsylumBooter, a cheesy denial-of-service-for-hire site apparently run by a 17-year-old Chicago-area honor-roll student named Chandler Downs, whose PayPal account was flush with more than $30,000 paid by people who'd launched more than 10,000 online attacks.
Now, Krebs has uncovered an even weirder booter story: Ragebooter is another DoS company, but this one is run by a guy who claims to be working part time for the FBI, and who says that the FBI has its own login to his site, and review all the IP addresses and other traffic data it logs.
Poland gave Krebs the working personal number of an FBI agent identified as "Agent Lies," who put him onto the FBI's press contact, who stonewalled. Meanwhile, Ragebooter leaks a lot of info and there's some reason to believe that the FBI really does have its own back door.
Ragebooter.net’s registration records are hidden behind WHOIS privacy protection services. But according to a historic WHOIS lookup at domaintools.com, that veil of secrecy briefly fell away when the site was moved behind Cloudflare.com, a content distribution network that also protects sites against DDoS attacks like the ones Ragebooter and its ilk help to create (as I noted in Monday’s story, some of the biggest targets of booter services are in fact other booter services). For a brief period in Oct. 2012, the WHOIS records showed that ragebooter.net was registered by a Justin Poland in Memphis...
... “I also work for the FBI on Tuesdays at 1pm in memphis, tn,” Poland wrote. “They allow me to continue this business and have full access. The FBI also use the site so that they can moniter [sic] the activitys [sic] of online users.. They even added a nice IP logger that logs the users IP when they login.”
When I asked Poland to provide more information that I might use to verify his claims that he was working for the FBI, the conversation turned combative, and he informed me that I wasn’t allowed to use any of the information he’d already shared with me. I replied that I hadn’t and wouldn’t agree that any of our discussion was to be off the record, and he in turn promised to sue me if I ran this story. That was more or less the end of that conversation.
An unconfirmed report of a UFO over New Mexico is the most popular item in the FBI's online reading room, the agency reports. Russell Contreras with the AP:
Vaguely written, the memo describes a story told by an unnamed third party who claims an Air Force investigator reported that three flying saucers were recovered in New Mexico, though the memo doesn't say exactly where in the state. The FBI indexed the report for its files but did not investigate further; the name of an "infomant" reporting some of the information is blacked out in the memo.
Further to Xeni's post from yesterday about the landmark ruling by a San Francisco district court judge that the FBI may not issue "national security letters" (NSLs), the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who fought the case, has posted a good explanation about what NSLs are and why they were so creepy:
The controversial NSL provisions EFF challenged on behalf of the unnamed client allow the FBI to issue administrative letters -- on its own authority and without court approval -- to telecommunications companies demanding information about their customers. The controversial provisions also permit the FBI to permanently gag service providers from revealing anything about the NSLs, including the fact that a demand was made, which prevents providers from notifying either their customers or the public. The limited judicial review provisions essentially write the courts out of the process.
In today's ruling, the court held that the gag order provisions of the statute violate the First Amendment and that the review procedures violate separation of powers. Because those provisions were not separable from the rest of the statute, the court declared the entire statute unconstitutional. In addressing the concerns of the service provider, the court noted: "Petitioner was adamant about its desire to speak publicly about the fact that it received the NSL at issue to further inform the ongoing public debate."
"The First Amendment prevents the government from silencing people and stopping them from criticizing its use of executive surveillance power," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "The NSL statute has long been a concern of many Americans, and this small step should help restore balance between liberty and security."
I am so proud of my friends at EFF this morning. Go team!
Aaron Swartz spent many years trying to get the FBI to cough up its file on him. Now that Aaron is dead, that file is automatically declassified, so FireDogLake's DSWright decided to request it, and has posted it, with a summary:
Exceptions aside, the records reveal that the FBI investigated Swartz for his role in the accessing the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) documents. Swartz himself was aware that he was being investigated and would later send a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for his own FBI file. Swartz’s request seems to be different than what I received at least in redactions for example the 4/16/2009 meeting was apparently with Swartz’s lawyer Andrew Good who refused to talk to the FBI unless an assurance was given that his client would not be hurt – no assurance would be given so no further conversation took place.
There is another odd redaction on 2/19/2009. The FBI agent writes a report that includes information from a New York Times article but redacts one of the names that is actually listed in the article – Carl Malamud. Malamud also seems to be the one referenced in the 4/15/2009 report in a conversation with the FBI claiming he did not know “how Aaron did it.”
Overall the files tell you more about the FBI than they do Swartz. They collected information from Linked In, followed his blog posts, and even thought his membership in the “Long-term Planning Committee for the Human Race” was worthy of note. There is also a Kafkaesque entry concerning Swartz’s blog post NYT Personals which includes the question “Want to have the F.B.I. open up a file on you as well?” – which I read for the first time in Swartz’s FBI file. One can only wonder what is in the two classified pages of Swartz’s FBI file.
Quinn Norton has an excellent piece over at Wired:Threat Level on the reactions within "Anonymous" to the news that LulzSec frontman "Sabu" (photo above) was collaborating with the FBI. Kim Zetter's take on the arrests and secret plea deals is here.
Government Attic's latest FOIA haul is a compilation of FBI documents concerning the security of telephone services, 1952-1995. The collection is posted as a single 66MB monster PDF. Get cracking! On reading the PDF, I mean.
The ACLU has sent a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder documenting its disturbing research into the use of racial profiling in the FBI's anti-terrorism efforts. According to the ACLU, the FBI practices "racial profiling on an industrial scale," targetting people of Muslim faith on the basis of their religion rather than any violent tendencies or beliefs.
Meanwhile, the ACLU has filed numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests – some backed up with lawsuits – to find out how the FBI is using racial and ethnic data as part of its investigations.
“The documents we have started to receive confirm our worst fears,” ACLU officials wrote to Attorney General Holder. “Although often heavily redacted, these documents, obtained from a number of different field offices, demonstrate that FBI analysts are using improper and crude racial stereotypes regarding the types of crimes committed by different racial and ethnic groups and then collecting demographic data to map where people of those racial or ethnic groups live.”
The result, charges the ACLU, has been “racial profiling on an industrial scale.”
(Eric Holder. Photo: REUTERS)
A congressional subpoena directed to Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to be issued soon, according to CBS News, and will order him to hand over documents to lawmakers showing when he became aware of "Fast and Furious," a "gunwalking" operation that supplied guns to Mexican drug cartels. Snip from CBS:
CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports the the subpoena will come from the House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Darrell Issa. It will ask for communications among senior Justice Department officials related to Fast and Furious and "gunwalking." The subpoena will list those officials, says Attkisson - more than a dozen of them - by name.
In Fast and Furious, the ATF allegedly allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels. The idea was to see where the weapons ended up, and take down a cartel. But the guns have been found at many crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S., including the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.
In related news, the very latest in a series of reports at the Los Angeles Times about "Fast and Furious" reveals that guns from that covert US operation were found literally inside the home of a narco boss in violence-plagued Ciudad Juarez, Mexico:
High-powered assault weapons illegally purchased under the ATF's Fast and Furious program in Phoenix ended up in a home belonging to the purported top Sinaloa cartel enforcer in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whose organization was terrorizing that city with the worst violence in the Mexican drug wars.
Photo, Los Angeles Times: The arsenal uncovered by police in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which included weapons from the ATF's ill-fated "Fast and Furious" operation. Note the highly classy "Scarface"-dollar-bill poster above the bookshelf, a favorite motif among gangsters worldwide.