US once investigated Orlando shooter over ties to bombing in Syria, but did not arrest him

The shooter who killed 49 people at a gay-friendly bar in Orlando, Florida had been on the FBI's radar for three years.

Read the rest

Suspect arrested after Target bathroom explosion

A "small" bomb exploded in a women's bathroom at the Target store in Evanston, Illinois Wednesday, and police said they thought the attack was related to the company's pro-transgender policies. They changed their mind, however, after taking a 44-year-old woman into custody, reports the Chicago Tribune.

"The detectives are not currently looking for any known additional suspects, and (at) this point there is no indication that the incident is related to any policies that the Target store has in place," the release reads.

Evanston police requested the help of the Cook County bomb squad late Wednesday afternoon after an explosion in a Target store restroom

WGNtv's Patrick Elwood reported that no-one was in the bathroom when the device exploded and that it caused minor damage. The bomb was housed in a plastic bottle and contained no shrapnel.

Target upset conservatives recently by announcing that transgender customers would be permitted to use the bathrooms that they are most comfortable using, and police at first suspected a connection. Read the rest

Oregon militia leaders complain about no Internet in jail cell

Ammon Bundy, the jailed leader of the armed militia that took over a federal wildlife reserve in Oregon last January, says he needs Internet access. His brother Ryan, also in jail, is upset that he can't bear arms while he is in jail awaiting trial.

Read the rest

Saudi officials were "supporting" 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

The Guardian reports that a Republican member of the 9/11 commission is "breaking dramatically" with leaders of the commission by claiming that there is Saudi government employees supported the 9/11 hijackers. John F Lehman, who served as Navy secretary under Reagan, is calling for the declassification of a secret congressional report about the Saudis' role in the 2001 terrorist attack.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

He was critical of a statement released late last month by the former chairman and vice-chairman of the commission, who urged the Obama administration to be cautious about releasing the full congressional report on the Saudis and 9/11 – “the 28 pages”, as they are widely known in Washington – because they contained “raw, unvetted” material that might smear innocent people.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens. Read the rest

Florida man arrested in FBI sting over “weapon of mass destruction” synagogue bombing plans

A man in Florida was arrested last week for planning to use “a weapon of mass destruction” at a synagogue near Miami, federal authorities said today. The ill-fated words that James Gonzalo Medina reportedly uttered to the undercover FBI agent who sold him a fake explosive device, words which will likely seal the suspect's fate: “I’m ready, bro!”

Read the rest

TSA's full-body scanners in airports lead to more overall deaths, lawsuit claims

People who fear the TSA's airport body scanners might start driving more instead of flying, and that will raise the number of traffic deaths. That's the argument behind a new legal challenge filed against the Transportation Security Administration today over the much-loathed airport security scanning machines. We have blogged about them zillion times here at Boing Boing. We hate them too.

Read the rest

Turns out the U.S. military really is dropping “cyber bombs” on ISIS

There's been an awful lot of talk about “cyber pathogens” and “cyber bombs” lately from the mouths of American officials discussing terrorism, and how we will vanquish it. President Obama mentioned “cyber ops” against Islamic State terrorists in one recent address. Today, we know a little more about what was behind last week's cyber-hawkish hacking headlines.

Read the rest

Microsoft sues US government for the right to tell you when the feds are reading your email

“We appreciate that there are times when secrecy around a government warrant is needed,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Thursday. “But based on the many secrecy orders we have received, we question whether these orders are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy. To the contrary, it appears that the issuance of secrecy orders has become too routine.”

Read the rest

U.S. military claims to be dropping 'cyber bombs' on ISIS

America's military forces are dropping "cyber bombs" on Islamic State terrorist groups for the first time, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told reporters accompanying him on a military flight on Tuesday.

The ISIS internet attacks, whatever the particulars really may be, are part of a stepped-up coordinated effort to put increasing pressure on the militant organization.

Read the rest

Justice Department to drop 'FBI vs. Apple' case, because they've unlocked the iPhone

The #FBIvsApple legal case may be over, but the fight over security, privacy, and the right to live free of surveillance has just begun. The Justice Department is expected to drop its legal action against Apple, possibly as soon as today, because an 'outside method' to bypass security on the San Bernardino gunman's iPhone has proven successful, a federal law enforcement official said Monday.

Read the rest

ISIS terrorist suicide bomber kills at least 30 people in Iraq soccer stadium

Just days after bloody attacks blamed on ISIS claimed scores of lives in Brussels, today dozens more people were killed by an ISIS-claimed terrorist at a soccer stadium near Baghdad.

Read the rest

Dozens killed in terror attack in Brussels

The BBC reports that several blasts hit the airport and a metro station in Brussels, killing at least 26 34 people (Updated below).

Two blasts hit Zaventem airport at about 07:00 GMT, and another struck Maelbeek metro station an hour later.

The government has not confirmed casualty numbers. Brussels transport officials say 15 died at Maelbeek and media say up to 13 died at the airport.

Belgium has now raised its terror threat to its highest level.

The attack comes days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, described as the main fugitive outstanding from the Paris attacks that claimed 130 lives in November. Live updates.

Update: An ISIS-affiliated group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, reports ABC News. At least 34 are reported dead: 14 at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and 20 in and around a platform at Maelbeek subway station. Some 180 people are reportedly injured.

Read the rest

NYT: If you see weird text on a computer screen, might be terrorist encryption software

From a March 19, 2016 New York Times article:

One of the terrorists pulled out a laptop, propping it open against the wall, said the 40-year-old woman. When the laptop powered on, she saw a line of gibberish across the screen: “It was bizarre — he was looking at a bunch of lines, like lines of code. There was no image, no Internet,” she said. Her description matches the look of certain encryption software, which ISIS claims to have used during the Paris attacks.

To summarize, if you see something on someone's computer screen that fits the description below, the person with the computer could be an ISIS terrorist! It looks like "a line of gibberish across the screen." It's "a bunch of lines, like lines of code." There's "no image." There's "no Internet."

It's good to know the spirit of Judith Miller lives on at the Times!

Read the rest

Iran: We snarfed up “13,000 pages of data” from detained Navy sailors' devices

The government of Iran claims to have obtained “thousands of pages of information” from devices used by the U.S. Navy sailors briefly detained in January.

Read the rest

How would you explain the difference between war and terrorism to a space alien?

Author and former CIA officer Barry Eisler spoke at the Association of Former Intelligence Officers opposite ex-CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden on Monday. In front of about a hundred former CIA, FBI, and NSA operatives, Eisler talked about bulk surveillance, whistleblowing, and why intelligence professionals need to take especially great care not to let propaganda pervert their intelligence.

Read the rest

Obama sends plan to close Guantanamo Bay to Congress

ABC News reports that President Obama has sent a plan to close Guantanamo Bay to congress. Good luck, Mr. President!

"We recognize that this is going to be a challenge," he said. "We are going to keep making the case to Congress."

The president’s plan has four primary element, including transferring to other countries detainees who are already designated for transfer. Although 91 detainees are now at Guantanamo, 35 are already eligible for transfer if the administration can find another country to take them. Officials anticipate getting the prison’s population below 60 later this year.

The plan aims at accelerating periodic reviews of authority to detain an individual, prosecuting detainees who are facing charges, and working with Congress to establish a location in the homeland to securely hold detainees who cannot be transferred. Lastly, the president wants to move all remaining detainees to the United States.

Guantanamo Bay, a tiny slice of Cuba maintained as a prison camp to house suspected terrorists, has long been an embarrassment to the U.S. Government, which is accused of abusing, torturing and inappropriately detaining dozens of inmates. But few legislators want its prisoners moved to U.S. soil, and some see its conditions as just desserts for national enemies. Read the rest

The only candidate not playing into ISIS hysteria is Bernie Sanders, and he's surging in the polls

U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to grab all the media attention, and Hillary Clinton remains a Wall Street favorite--so why is underdog Democratic Party candidate Bernie Sanders suddenly surging again in the polls? In a Guardian op-ed, Trevor Timm argues that part of the reason is his common-sense, non-hysterical approach to ISIS/ISIL and related Islamist terrorist threats.

Read the rest

More posts