The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday issued an “emergency” security alert urging federal civilian agencies to secure login credentials for their respective internet domain records. Read the rest
James Schwab worked as federal employee for 17 years, serving in the military, at the Department of Defense and NASA. His last gig with the government was as a spokesperson for ICE under President Obama and President Trump. After close to 20 years in the trenches, many career government employees would have a thousand-yard stare fixed squarely on their retirement. Schwab? Not so much: he resigned from ICE three months ago, rather than be complicit in spreading significant levels of disinformation to the American people. Put an emphasis on significant: Schwab, like many PR pros, was comfortable with a certain amount of bullshit flowing out from between his lips. But as he outlines in this video, there are limits.
Three months after he resigned, two Department of Homeland Security investigators showed up at his front door, looking to question him, allegedly, to intimidate him into keeping quiet about what he was privy to while working for ICE. It just so happened that a CBS This Morning news crew was at Schwab's home, interviewing him when the investigators knocked on his front door.
The Investigators told CBS' Jamie Yuccas and a surprised sounding Schwab that they were there to investigate the leaking of information to the Mayor of Oakland about an ICE operation that took place earlier this year.
Not greasy at all. Nope. Read the rest
Welp, the United States Department of Justice just finished off their first major initiative to take on drug dealers and other shifty types plying their trade on the dark net. So far as stings go, it went pretty well!
After seizing the reigns of an online money-laundering operation, Homeland Security Investigations just kept on for a year, offering to clean the currency for a number of criminal operations, swapping out their dirty cash in exchange for slightly less dirty cryptocurrency.
Homeland Security offered their fake money laundering services to users of a number of different dark net market places, including Wall Street, AlphaBay and Dream Market. Given the yen of the Feds to take down whole marketplaces in the past, the sting marks the shift to a new strategy that makes a whole lot more sense: go after the criminals that use a given market instead of the market itself. There’s no sense in shutting down a Silk Road when everyone that was pulling nefarious shit will just move their business to Silk Road 2.0 or another market. You’ve gotta go after the vendors themselves.
From The Verge:
Read the rest
So far, prosecutions have been launched across 19 states as a result of the operation, seizing more than $3.6 million in cash. The same raids seized large quantities of Schedule IV pharmaceuticals — including 100,000 tramadol pills and over 24 kilograms of Xanax — as is typical of trade on dark net markets. Agents also recovered more than 300 models of liquid synthetic opioids and roughly 100 grams of fentanyl.
The folks who make every visit to the airport intolerable are doing it without providing any results. ABC once again finds that the TSA nearly unable to stop folks from illegally carrying a handgun on to an aeroplane. The TSA does, however, make life miserable for breast-feeding mothers, and diabetics who need to travel with fluids or die, and pretty much everyone else.
Read the rest
In recent undercover tests of multiple airport security checkpoints by the Department of Homeland Security, inspectors said screeners, their equipment or their procedures failed more than half of the time, according to a source familiar with the classified report.
When ABC News asked the source familiar with the report if the failure rate was 80 percent, the response was, “You are in the ballpark.”
In a public hearing following a private, classified briefing to the House Committee on Homeland Security, members of Congress called the failures by the Transportation Security Administration "disturbing."
So I'm going to be charitable here and presume that whoever compiled that internet monitoring watchlist at the Department of Homeland Security thought that "Miss Thirteen," at www.msthirteen.com, was a site about the ultraviolent Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 gang, which originated in El Salvador and now operates in a number of US cities.
Quote, mangle-translated from the original German by Google: "Change in our lives, accompanying us from our childhood into adult life. The hormones go crazy and actually everything is always much too confusing."
Perhaps this was the source for the bad link. And perhaps the fact that this site was included in the watchlist tells us something about how the watchlist was compiled, or how reliable its contents are as a disclosure of what the agency's monitoring.
(thanks, Elizabeth Gettelman!)
Update: Probably a more simple explanation -- the content of the site changed over time. The version of the document at Cryptome was published in 2011. The Reuters article that made the rounds today appears to be based on a new version of the document for 2012, which we haven't seen. BB reader Todd Towles says, "According to DNS Stuff, the current msthirteen.com domain was created in Sep 2011. According to the WayBackMachine, the site was about MS-13 on Feb 2010.
I am outraged that our blog once again failed to make it on to the list of websites the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's command center routinely monitors. The grandfather of all rogue leak sites, Cryptome, published a copy of the 2011 edition of the government document (PDF link to document copy). Apparently, there's a new 2012 version some have seen, on which a current round of news coverage is based.
A "privacy compliance review" issued by DHS last November says that since at least June 2010, its national operations center has been operating a "Social Networking/Media Capability" which involves regular monitoring of "publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards."
The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to "collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture."
The document adds, using more plain language, that such monitoring is designed to help DHS and its numerous agencies, which include the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency, to manage government responses to such events as the 2010 earthquake and aftermath in Haiti and security and border control related to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"This is a representative list of sites that the NOC will start to monitor in order to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture under this Initiative," the document reads.
Oh fine, so, the imminent Yeti invasion isn't something that needs to be monitored? Read the rest