FBI Arrests LulzSec – Hackers of StratFor, others

Editor’s Note – The FBI was successful in arresting a handful of hackers known to be part of the group called LulzSec which is still an operating subsidiary of the more robust hacking organization known as Anonymous.

Some time ago, the FBI arrested a key leader of LuluSec and then hired him to work as a squealing operative.

Both of these groups have caused tremendous losses and funds to be spent not only in computer systems protection upgrades, but also in recovery costs, lost jobs, military and political secrets being revealed, as well as the cost of the chase and investigation. Still, there is no relief on the horizon as countless hackers within many associated networks remain at large.

Six Hackers in the United States and Abroad Charged for Crimes Affecting Over One Million Victims

Four Principal Members of “Anonymous” and “LulzSec” Charged with Computer Hacking and Fifth Member Pleads Guilty; “AntiSec” Member also Charged with Stealing Confidential Information from Approximately 860,000 Clients and Subscribers of Stratfor.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York

LulzSec leader Sabu turns FBI snitch, reportedly gives up five top hackers

FBI.com

Five computer hackers in the United States and abroad were charged today, and a sixth pled guilty, for computer hacking and other crimes. The six hackers identified themselves as aligned with the group Anonymous, which is a loose confederation of computer hackers and others, and/or offshoot groups related to Anonymous, including “Internet Feds,” “LulzSec,” and “AntiSec.”

RYAN ACKROYD, a/k/a “kayla,” a/k/a “lol,” a/k/a “lolspoon”; JAKE DAVIS, a/k/a “topiary,” a/k/a “atopiary”; DARREN MARTYN, a/k/a “pwnsauce,” a/k/a “raepsauce,” a/k/a “networkkitten”; and DONNCHA O’CEARRBHAIL, a/k/a “palladium,” who identified themselves as members of Anonymous, Internet Feds, and/or LulzSec, were charged in an indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court with computer hacking conspiracy involving the hacks of Fox Broadcasting Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and the Public Broadcasting Service (“PBS”). O’CEARRBHAIL is also charged in a separate criminal complaint with intentionally disclosing an unlawfully intercepted wire communication.

HECTOR XAVIER MONSEGUR, a/k/a “Sabu,” a/k/a “Xavier DeLeon,” a/k/a “Leon,” who also identified himself as a member of Anonymous, Internet Feds, and LulzSec, pled guilty on August 15, 2011 in U.S. District Court to a 12-count information charging him with computer hacking conspiracies and other crimes. MONSEGUR’S information and guilty plea were unsealed today. The crimes to which MONSEGUR pled guilty include computer hacking conspiracy charges initially filed in the Southern District of New York. He also pled guilty to the following charges: a substantive hacking charge initially filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California related to the hacks of HBGary, Inc. and HBGary Federal LLC; a substantive hacking charge initially filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California related to the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Fox Broadcasting Company; a substantive hacking charge initially filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia related to the hack of Infragard Members Alliance; and a substantive hacking charge initially filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia related to the hack of PBS, all of which were transferred to the Southern District of New York, pursuant to Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, in coordination with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (“CCIPS”) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Late yesterday, JEREMY HAMMOND, a/k/a “Anarchaos,” a/k/a “sup_g,” a/k/a “burn,” a/k/a “yohoho,” a/k/a “POW,” a/k/a “tylerknowsthis,” a/k/a “crediblethreat,” who identified himself as a member of AntiSec, was arrested in Chicago, Illinois and charged in a criminal complaint with crimes relating to the December 2011 hack of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (“Stratfor”), a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas, which may have affected approximately 860,000 victims. In publicizing the Stratfor hack, members of AntiSec reaffirmed their connection to Anonymous and other related groups, including LulzSec. For example, AntiSec members published a document with links to the stolen Stratfor data titled, “Anonymous Lulzxmas rooting you proud” on a file sharing website.

The following allegations are based on the indictment, the information, the complaints, and statements made at MONSEGUR’s guilty plea:

Hacks by Anonymous, Internet Feds, and LulzSec

Since at least 2008, Anonymous has been a loose confederation of computer hackers and others. MONSEGUR and other members of Anonymous took responsibility for a number of cyber attacks between December 2010 and June 2011, including denial of service (“DoS”) attacks against the websites of Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal, as retaliation for the refusal of these companies to process donations to Wikileaks, as well as hacks or DoS attacks on foreign government computer systems.

Between December 2010 and May 2011, members of Internet Feds similarly waged a deliberate campaign of online destruction, intimidation, and criminality. Members of Internet Feds engaged in a series of cyber attacks that included breaking into computer systems, stealing confidential information, publicly disclosing stolen confidential information, hijacking victims’ e-mail and Twitter accounts, and defacing victims’ Internet websites. Specifically, ACKROYD, DAVIS, MARTYN, O’CEARRBHAIL, and MONSEGUR, as members of InternetFeds, conspired to commit computer hacks including: the hack of the website of Fine Gael, a political party in Ireland; the hack of computer systems used by security firms HBGary, Inc. and its affiliate HBGary Federal, LLC, from which Internet Feds stole confidential data pertaining to 80,000 user accounts; and the hack of computer systems used by Fox Broadcasting Company, from which Internet Feds stole confidential data relating to more than 70,000 potential contestants on “X-Factor,” a Fox television show.

In May 2011, following the publicity that they had generated as a result of their hacks, including those of Fine Gael and HBGary, ACKROYD, DAVIS, MARTYN, and MONSEGUR formed and became the principal members of a new hacking group called “Lulz Security” or “LulzSec.” Like Internet Feds, LulzSec undertook a campaign of malicious cyber assaults on the websites and computer systems of various business and governmental entities in the United States and throughout the world. Specifically, ACKROYD, DAVIS, MARTYN, and MONSEGUR, as members of LulzSec, conspired to commit computer hacks including the hacks of computer systems used by the PBS, in retaliation for what LulzSec perceived to be unfavorable news coverage in an episode of the news program “Frontline”; Sony Pictures Entertainment, in which LulzSec stole confidential data concerning approximately 100,000 users of Sony’s website; and Bethesda Softworks, a video game company based in Maryland, in which LulzSec stole confidential information for approximately 200,000 users of Bethesda’s website.

The Stratfor Hack

In December 2011, HAMMOND conspired to hack into computer systems used by Stratfor, a private firm that provides governments and others with independent geopolitical analysis. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators, as members of AntiSec, stole confidential information from those computer systems, including Stratfor employees’ e-mails as well as account information for approximately 860,000 Stratfor subscribers or clients. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators stole credit card information for approximately 60,000 credit card users and used some of the stolen data to make unauthorized charges exceeding $700,000. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators also publicly disclosed some of the confidential information they had stolen.

The Hack of International Law Enforcement

In January 2012, O’CEARRBHAIL hacked into the personal e-mail account of an officer with Ireland’s national police service, the An Garda Siochana (the “Garda”). Because the Garda officer had forwarded work e-mails to a personal account, O’CEARRBHAIL learned information about how to access a conference call that the Garda, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies were planning to hold on January 17, 2012 regarding international investigations of Anonymous and other hacking groups. O’CEARRBHAIL then accessed and secretly recorded the January 17 international law enforcement conference call, and then disseminated the illegally-obtained recording to others.

***

MONSEGUR, 28, of New York, New York, pled guilty to three counts of computer hacking conspiracy, five counts of computer hacking, one count of computer hacking in furtherance of fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum sentence of 124 years and six months in prison.

ACKROYD, 23, of Doncaster, United Kingdom; DAVIS, 29, of Lerwick, Shetland Islands, United Kingdom; and MARTYN, 25, of Galway, Ireland, each are charged with two counts of computer hacking conspiracy. Each conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

O’CEARRBHAIL, 19, of Birr, Ireland, is charged in the indictment with one count of computer hacking conspiracy, for which he faces 10 years in prison. He is also charged in the complaint with one count of intentionally disclosing an unlawfully intercepted wire communication, for which he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

HAMMOND, 27, of Chicago, Illinois, is charged with one count of computer hacking conspiracy, one count of computer hacking, and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

DAVIS is separately facing criminal charges in the United Kingdom, which remain pending, and ACKROYD is being interviewed today by the Police Central e-crime Unit in the United Kingdom. O’CEARRBHAIL was arrested today by the Garda.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The investigation was initiated and led by the FBI, and its New York Cyber Crime Task Force, which is a federal, state, and local law enforcement task force combating cybercrime, with assistance from the PCeU; a unit of New Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Directorate, SCD6; the Garda; the Criminal Division’s CCIPS; and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Eastern District of California, the Central District of California, the Northern District of Georgia, and the Eastern District of Virginia; as well as the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.

The charges contained in the indictment and complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

High Alert – U.S. on guard against possible Iran plots

Editor’s NoteKamikaze attacks are being planned by Iran against USA forces across the globe and locally in the Gulf should Israel attack according to late reports and breaking news, coupled with the following article, all seems very testy right now. Stay tuned for updates. It seems the ever increasing chatter across the board is making a lot of people nervous. It is at unprecedented levels now, and we at SUA want our readers to be prepared and vigilant.

Report anything out of the ordinary to the proper authorities! Anything!

U.S. on guard against possible Iran plots

By John Miller

CBS News 

The FBI is pulling out all the stops on Iran. A classified nationwide conference will be held Thursday to share the assessment of the intelligence community that an attack by Iranian agents, or even a surrogate group such as Hezbollah, may be more likely in the event of an Israeli air strike on suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.

The secure video teleconference, led by FBI Assistant Director Ralph Boelter, the Bureau’s top counterterrorism official, will be a 90-minute meeting with each of the 56 field offices.

The special agents in-charge of those offices will be polled on what operations they are running covering suspected Iranian agents, Hezbollah investigations and confidential sources that may yield valuable intelligence. They are also being asked to make sure their local police departments are attuned to the threat and focused on suspicious activity around government buildings, Israeli consulates in major cities and prominent Jewish organizations.

James Clapper, the US intelligence chief, who has warned that an Iranian attack on America and its allies is increasingly likely. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The increased concern that is driving this “leave no stone unturned” strategy has emerged from two developments: first, the assessment that Iran has increased surveillance of potential U.S. targets overseas; second, that Iran is suspected of being behind what appears to be a series of coordinated attacks against Israeli targets last week.

In India, the wife of an Israeli military attache was wounded in a car bomb. In Georgia, and Thailand, suspected Iranian agents were taken into custody. One Iranian suspect in Bangkok was severely wounded when the bomb he was carrying detonated prematurely.

In Azerbaijan, police broke up a plot in January that involved a group of Iranian suspects working with a local crime boss to target Israeli locations and victims. Police say the recovered diagrams, drawings, photos and dossiers of the targets along with a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight.

Intelligence analysts agree that the foreign attacks targeting Israelis are almost certainly in retaliation for a series of assassinations of Iranian scientist working for that country’s suspected nuclear weapons program. Iran has accused Israel and the United Sates of being behind the attacks.

The last scientist to be killed was blown up by a car bomb that was stuck to his car by a passing motorcycle. It was the exact same technique that was used in the attack against the Israeli attache’s wife in India last week.

“They are trying to be very clear with the Israelis that two can play this game,” said one U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Iran has denied involvement in any of the attacks against Israeli diplomats, and has suggested that Israel itself is to blame.

Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in a letter to Security Council President Kodjo Menan that Israel “has resorted in masterminding camouflaged assassination attempts and acts of terrorism or more specifically the so-called ‘false flag operations,’ and attributing them to others.”

While this has unfolded largely as a proxy war between Israel and Iran, the concern over a potential strike against the U.S. is one that was recently revised. On February 16, Director of National Intelligence General James Clapper said in testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee that a recent plot broken up the FBI targeting the Saudi ambassador for assassination in downtown Washington D.C. restaurant was a game-changer.

Clapper said the plot “shows that some Iranian officials – probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime. We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.”

Clapper also said that the economic sanctions and condemnations from the U.N. may be a factor in whether Iran would want to absorb the cost of going forward with an attack on U.S. soil.

While Israel has two intelligence agencies and one national police force, one of the challenges for the United States is coordinating the efforts against a single target across 16 intelligence agencies and 18,000 police departments. Coordination on terrorism issues is run through the National Counter Terrorism Center, (NCTC) a modern X-shaped complex in Northern Virginia where representatives from all agencies are assigned and have access to their databases.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence also has an Iran mission manager whose job it is to coordinate the intelligence community’s efforts on Iran across an array of issues.

“When you have Iranian-backed terrorist groups, but also Iranian intelligence operatives from the elite Quds force, and they are also working with Mexican drug cartels and Thai crime bosses, you have a number of intelligence streams to tap,” said a former intelligence official who asked to remain anonymous because he still consults with government agencies.

Tom Betro, the former Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) said that as tensions rise, it is likely that Iranian operations in the proxy war being carried out in diverse countries across the globe will increase.

“That’s the fear. The fear is that would be the the type of attack we’d see increasing in frequency and in seriousness as leading up to a conflict,” he said.

And Betro believes that in the event of an Israeli airstrike on Iran, the odds of an attack against the U.S. for its long support of Israel increases.

“Yes, I could see them striking on U.S. soil. They do have a network of surrogate groups. They have provided material support, assuming that support is already in place. I think they know, psychologically, the impact that an attack on U.S. soil would have on our country and on our leadership.”

Betro, who led NCIS operations in the investigation of al Qaida’s attack on the USS Cole in Yemen and investigations into terrorist plots against naval bases overseas, was part of an intelligence community task force that targeted Iraq’s intelligence services. Betro says Iran, because its intelligence operations are larger and use more outside groups to carry out operations, will be a hard target to collect against.

“Quite frankly we – we don’t have as much intelligence about their networks as we would’ve had against the Iraqis,” Betro said. “I would say that the urgency, because of that type of warfare, that unconventional warfare, which I think everyone would agree is clearly part of Iran’s kind of battle plan … it’s much more important to aggressively disrupt those activities.”

The 'Cover-Up', how high does it really go on Fast and Furious?

By Scott W. Winchell, Editor – Just when we thought the Fast and Furious debacle was so reprehensible that numerous Congressmen, from both parties, joined a growing cacophony of calls from the blogo-sphere and media pundits for the resignation of US Attorney General Eric Holder it takes an even bigger twist.

SUA and many others have pointed out that the political ideology of current administration officials set the stage for such a debacle but its not just about Holder’s lies anymore, it goes further, into a blatant cover-up that may reach all the way up to the White House.

FBI Director Mueller, AZ Gov. Brewer and AG Holder

It now appears that the death of Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry was clearly avoidable, if only the FBI and DEA had practiced proper ‘deconfliction’, or more precisely, talked to each other, local authorities, and Border Patrol to avoid conflicts between cases, especially involving informants. Not informing Border Patrol of ongoing, extremely dangerous operations in an infamous area called “Smuggler’s Paradise” in Pima County Arizona’s Peck Canyon was unconscionable.

One must also wonder if Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik now famous for his outspokenness after the Gabby Giffords incident, knew anything was happening either. After all, it was happening in his jurisdiction and it was in an area Border Patrol frequently performed patrols as part of its duties.

Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano

The timing is also very curious here because Giffords and 19 others were shot on January 8, 2011, just a few weeks after Brian Terry was killed on December 14, 2010 and President Obama immediately sent FBI Director Mueller to the area to personally handle the situation. Why? The unprecedented move was curious at the time, but since a Congresswoman was a victim, it seemed to be a deft move, if not a political move, or was it?

Questions now arise that since both incidents happened within Pima County, within mere weeks of each other, the White House may have been worried the two may be related. Or possibly that with all that new publicity, the DoJ and the White House did not want prying eyes seeing anything related to the Terry death.

Additionally, questions rise that DoJ operations intentionally withheld information from DHS to cover for their own ineptitude prior to the incident where Terry was killed. Not informing Border Patrol of a building incident directly caused Brian Terry and his team to walk into a heavily armed ‘rip crew’ operation.

Terry had no way to defend himself facing much heavier ordnance, assault rifles that came from Fast and Furious operatives. In fact, one weapon is now missing, and the case has been sealed.

Janet Napolitano told Congress she never talked to DoJ about the killing of Brian Terry, but we now know that a debacle like this had to filter up to the top, especially since it happened so close to the Giffords incident. Her staff had to know what took place between agencies and with all the new publicity, it must have been discussed by everyone in DHS. It is simply unbelievable that she would not have confronted DoJ about such insanity unless she was directed to keep silent by the White House.

If Holder does resign, along with others, are they going to be liable for abetting a crime after the fact? What if Issa and others prove culpability and confront Holder when he testifies again on December 7th and demand his resignation right there in the hearing room? We can only hope.

FBI Criminal Informant Complicit in Brian Terry’s Death (PJM Exclusive)

From multiple sources come shocking charges of deadly ineptitude and an FBI coverup in Fast and Furious.

PJ Media

By Bob Owens

In the growing Fast and Furious scandal, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death in Peck Canyon, Arizona was previously described as a chance meeting that led to a firefight: an illegal alien “rip crew” working for the Sinaloa cartel was hoping to find other illegal aliens and to rob them at gunpoint. Instead, they stumbled across a Border Patrol unit and murdered Agent Terry.

Last week, the Washington Times offered a new version of the encounter: they reported that the rip crew was not hunting illegals, but Border Patrol teams — with the intention of engaging them in combat.

Sources now tell PJ Media that neither version of events is accurate: the rip crew was not waiting for a chance encounter with other illegals, nor did the members intend to engage American law enforcement agents.

The rip crew was in Peck Canyon that evening with the intention of stealing money and drugs from a specific shipment of which they had prior knowledge.

Sources claim the Department of Justice has been trying for almost a year to hide the key information — how the rip crew knew the shipment was coming through that night.

Criminal informants (CIs) are a common tool of law enforcement agencies. When agencies apprehend criminals, agencies often reduce or drop charges in exchange for information leading to the arrests of higher-ranking criminals. Earlier this year, reports claimed that Operation Fast and Furious weapons smuggled over the border were actually chosen by an FBI informant, and paid for with money provided by the federal government.

The rip crew knew to be in Peck Canyon that December evening because a CI working for the FBI found out about a smuggling run — from the FBI.

It is not clear if the information was provided intentionally, but a possible motivation for the FBI to provide the information is known to exist: the CI had previously lost a shipment of drugs, and wanted to regain the trust of the cartel with an offering of drugs or money. The other possibility is that the FBI mistakenly allowed the CI to discover the information.

The CI used this information to organize an ambush of the drug convoy. A source tells PJM that the FBI knew from wiretaps that the CI was using their information to set up an ambush.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — through its own CIs and communications intercepts — was also aware of the planned assault.

Neither the DEA nor FBI warned Border Patrol about the expected criminal activity.

The federal government will still not reveal if one of the two WASR-10 AK-pattern semi-automatic rifles located near the scene — provided to the Sinaloa cartel via Operation Fast and Furious — was the weapon that put a bullet through Brian Terry’s heart. The existence of a third recovered gun, an SKS carbine, has been disputed by the FBI despite the fact it had been talked about openly in the beginning of the investigation among federal agents.

Multiple sources tell PJM that this third weapon “disappeared” because it was the weapon carried by the FBI CI who ran the rip crew. When it was recovered near the scene of the murder and subsequently traced by the ATF, it traced back to the FBI CI via the gun shop in Texas where it was purchased.

Deconfliction is a major element of high-risk undercover law enforcement work. Undercover agents and informants often cross jurisdictional paths, and deconfliction is the process whereby agencies warn off other agencies so that their assets don’t end up in conflict, putting investigations and lives at risk.

In this case, the FBI and DEA failed to deconflict. Neither agency bothered to warn Border Patrol to keep their BORTAC teams out of Peck Canyon that evening. As a direct result of this FBI and DEA failure — combined with Homeland Security forcing BORTAC units to carry less-lethal beanbag rounds in some of their primary weapons — Brian Terry’s under-armed four-man unit walked into an ambush against a heavily armed rip crew, at least five of whom were carrying rifles.

Brian Terry’s murder was entirely preventable. The incompetence of the DEA and FBI let his Border Patrol unit walk into an ambush. After the ambush, it appears the FBI tampered with evidence to cover up that one of their informants was involved with the murder of a federal agent.

The government has recently sealed the case against the only suspect the FBI chose to keep behind bars.

Blame Game – Now DHS and FBI over Illegals

Editor’s Note – Maybe we need to read the NAFTA agreement and all the amendments again. Surely there is some paragraph that reveals that the true objective is to keep the borders open and ‘sanctuary cities’ are included in the scheme. The DHS tells us there are 400,000 criminal illegals in prisons across the United States but very few get deported while several that are deported return in short order.

We have lawmakers that are finally asking some hard questions of the DHS with regard to these criminals in our jails and who has ownership of the fingerprints and files. The response is, no, not me, no, not me either. These answers come from both the FBI and the DHS. Too big to fail, is really too big to be successful, and to keep America safe. Illegals of all sorts are making demands of our cities, states, and the Federal government their demands are being met.

There are two pledges that Janet Napolitano has taken, one to the Oath of Office and the other is to keep her law license, it is time we file complaints with the Bar Association on Napolitano, also with Eric Holder, as the FBI reports to him. No license, no job.

Also see Immigration Policy Center here.

FBI, Homeland Security defer to each other on criminal immigrants’ data

By Aliya Sternstein

Nextgov.vom

This story was updated to reflect the fact that Republicans late Friday issued subpoenas for the records they are seeking.

The Homeland Security Department and FBI apparently are at odds over which agency is responsible for the criminal records of illegal immigrants. House Republicans on Friday subpoenaed those records for evidence of possible public safety threats.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R) Texas

Some of the desired data is FBI criminal history information shared with DHS as part of a controversial immigrant fingerprinting program. The Secure Communities program allows law enforcement officials to run bureau prints collected by local police against the Homeland Security’s IDENT biometric database to identify offenders who are in the country illegally, according to department officials.

DHS officials at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement maintain they only deport the “most dangerous criminal aliens” flagged, such as murderers and rapists. Pro-immigration groups and some Democrats say the program entangles innocents, minor offenders and arrestees whose charges are later dismissed. House Judiciary Committee Republicans, however, say Secure Communities is purposely releasing criminals who become repeat offenders.

The committee’s immigration panel on Wednesday moved, in a 7-4 party line vote, to subpoena a list of illegal and criminal immigrants Homeland Security has declined to extradite. Full committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, accused the department of hiding crimes committed by hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens after DHS officials repeatedly stonewalled his calls for the data back in August. Homeland Security missed a Monday deadline to provide the information.

“The American people have a right to know what crimes these 300,000 illegal immigrants committed after ICE intentionally chose not to detain them,” he said. “It seems that at every single point in the process there is a new delay involving this request . . . The latest is that I have not been given the list supposedly because the FBI must review it.”

DHS officials on Thursday declined to address the question of whether difficulties locating and sorting the information prevented them from responding in time.

“DHS has stated to the committee it would provide the data requested without being compelled by subpoena to do so,” Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler said. “DHS is in the process of gathering the data and will provide it when complete.”

The ranking Democrat of the Immigration Policy and Enforcement Subcommittee said Wednesday that the FBI has been reluctant to disclose some of the criminal history data requested.

“I don’t know what information they have, but if the FBI — not known as a leader in privacy protection — has serious concerns, then we should pay attention to that,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said.

FBI is mandated by federal law to share criminal background data with Homeland Security. In an Oct. 24 letter, Nelson Peacock, assistant secretary for the DHS Legislative Affairs Office, explained to Smith that the data in question is first provided by the FBI. “Under the Secure Communities program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation forwards biometric fingerprint submissions from a state or local booking location to ICE,” after which ICE runs the prints against the DHS’ biometric database, IDENT, for matches.

When asked whether technical difficulties or IT privacy policies have complicated efforts to supply the committee with information, FBI officials said they defer to DHS for questions pertaining to Secure Communities.

In response to the assertion that the FBI had just deferred to another agency questions about bureau data shared as part of Secure Communities, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said, “Secure Communities is DHS. FBI maintains criminal history data.”

A House Judiciary aide said Homeland Security officials have the data but have been withholding it from the committee.

DHS officials have told the lawmakers that a match made by DHS and FBI computers does not always correspond to a person who can be extradited at Homeland Security’s discretion. For instance, naturalized citizens or legal residents that turn up in the FBI’s database as criminals are not subject to removal. And several matches may represent only one person, if a criminal alien has been fingerprinted multiple times or arrested for different crimes in the same month.

Between its inception in 2008 and late October, Secure Communities had removed from the United States more than 107,300 convicted immigrants, about 36 percent of whom had been sentenced for murder, rape, child sexual abuse and other aggravated felonies, according to DHS officials.

 

Long term political power – Diverts tax dollars while it silences

Editorial Note– It is without question that lawmakers in Washington DC have held the reins over our taxpayer dollars, not necessarily to achieve ends for the good of all, but put them to use in undisclosed objectives that in the end scratched backs and built wealth.

We have recently witnessed this very conclusion with the investments of US Tax dollars into Solyndra type deals where people like Nancy Pelosi were tied and associations and amassed wealth made by others like Al Gore. The following article reveals and reports that the late Congressman, John Murtha of Pennsylvania was a target of an FBI investigation for similar reasons. As long as he was alive, we heard nothing; power causes lips to seal as well.

Murtha and Pelosi 2007 "Begin America's Future" Rally

Now that we know, where are the fines and refunds back to the US Treasury, the arrests? Let it be known that Inspectors General assigned to track money and effective use, report and work under the Department of Justice. In light of recent revelations on other fronts involving the DoJ, red flags and sirens should be raised and heard in every lawmaker’s office, but most of all, among we the citizenry.

FBI Saw Dark Side of Rep. John Murtha

Agency Suspected Lawmaker in Scheme Funneling Funds to Benefit Friends, Ex-Staffers

By Paul Singer

Roll Call Staff

Last week’s release of FBI documents finally put in writing what nobody had ever said on the record: The FBI suspected that former Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and lobbyists close to him were running a scheme to funnel earmarks to sham companies and nonprofits to benefit the lawmaker’s friends and former staffers.

Bits and pieces of this story were kicked around for years before Murtha died in February 2010. The Los Angeles Times, Roll Call, the Washington Post and others had documented the odd appearance of earmarks for tiny defense contractors that just happened to open an office in western Pennsylvania and just happened to hire one of the lobbying firms close to Murtha and just happened to begin making campaign donations to Murtha and other Members of Congress close to him.

Reporters could do little but assemble the coincidences and couldn’t prove there was anything wrong with the bigger picture.

But it turns out the FBI was reading the stories and was very interested — interested enough that the Justice Department had opened a criminal investigation into Murtha and some of the lobbyists in his orbit, a fact that never leaked while Murtha was alive.

In part, the probe never leaked precisely because he was alive.

Neither Rep. John Murtha nor anybody from KSA Consulting was ever charged with a crime, and it is unclear what happened to the FBI’s investigation.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Justice Department files on Murtha and other Members of Congress. Its requests have been denied for the living Members on the grounds that they have a right to privacy, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said last week. Murtha’s death eliminated the privacy exemption, and the Justice Department handed over a heavily redacted bunch of files to CREW on Oct. 14.

The files spell out for the first time a theory of the case that explains what Murtha’s cronies may have been up to.

In a memo dated June 19, 2009, FBI field agents requested the bureau “open a full public corruption investigation” regarding KSA Consulting, the lobbying firm that employed at various times the Congressman’s longtime defense aide Carmen Scialabba and the Congressman’s brother, Robert Murtha, widely known as Kit.

The FBI field agents concluded that “the relationships between Congressman John Murtha … and employees and partners of KSA Consulting provide for a potential Honest Services Fraud … if Congressman Murtha influenced the awarding of contracts to KSA-controlled entities or clients, in exchange for some personal benefit to the Congressman. KSA principals may also have committed Honest Services Fraud by lobbying Murtha to direct earmarks to KSA clients who ‘passed-thru’ the funds to subcontractor firms that did little actual work and were owned by KSA principles.”

Neither Murtha nor anybody from KSA was ever charged with a crime, and it is unclear what happened to the investigation.

A Nonprofit Called PAID

The best place to understand the FBI’s theory of the case is a defunct nonprofit called the Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities, which had as its mission helping people with disabilities find employment.

Murtha announced the creation of PAID on June 1, 2001, saying that Aeptec Microsystems Inc., a company that he helped bring to western Pennsylvania, would be opening a new headquarters and hiring two clients of the new organization. The company had just hired KSA Consulting as its lobbying firm. Murtha was the honorary chairman of PAID, and his longtime defense appropriations aide, Scialabba, was listed as the founder of the group.

PAID’s board of directors was a who’s who of lobbyists connected to Murtha, as well as executives from firms that had received Murtha earmarks, including KSA founder Ken Stalder. In May 2002, David Fyock, CEO of MountainTop Technologies, a Johnstown firm that received many Murtha earmarks, testified before Congress in his capacity as the vice president of PAID. In an odd quirk of timing, the Justice Department inspector general released a report Monday concluding that while MountainTop had a federal grant to distribute resources to local police departments, Murtha’s office actually made the decisions about which departments got funding, and MountainTop served simply as a “pass through.” The IG report was first reported by the website Main Justice.

Scialabba left Murtha’s office at the end of 2002, according to Congressional pay records maintained by LegiStorm. By Dec. 1, 2002, he was registered as a lobbyist at KSA.

Roll Call investigated PAID in 2007 and could find little evidence that the group was doing anything. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Labor told Roll Call that PAID had received $650,000 in “earmark grants” sponsored by Murtha in 2003 and 2004, but the group’s access to the funding was restricted because PAID had significant turnover and “did not have anyone qualified to make decisions or sign off on invoices.”

The FBI thought PAID may have been set up simply to provide a financial cushion for Scialabba, who was apparently having financial troubles. While the names in the documents obtained by CREW are redacted, the description matches Scialabba, and tax liens noted in the document match liens against Scialabba. “If PAID was set-up for the purpose of unjustly enriching [Scialabba], it appears that [Scialabba] and Murtha may have engaged in a conspiracy that could potentially violate federal statutes,” the FBI file reads.

Federal tax forms filed by PAID do not indicate any salary for Scialabba, so it is not clear how the group might have benefited him.

PAID is no longer in business. Its phone has been disconnected, and a receptionist in the building where the group had its office said that PAID moved out in February 2010 — the same month Murtha died.

Scialabba has never been charged in the case, and phone messages left on what appears to be his home phone were not returned.

Criminal Convictions

Aeptec and KSA were also at the center of the one Murtha earmark that resulted in criminal convictions.

By 2004, Murtha had helped Aeptec secure millions in earmarks, and in April of that year, the Congressman announced the opening of a new building in Indiana, Pa., that Aeptec would occupy. At the time, Aeptec’s lobbyists at KSA included Stalder, Scialabba and Kit Murtha.

But later that year, someone discovered a problem with Aeptec. “They were outsourcing to Taiwan,” Stalder told Roll Call in a June 2007 interview. A Murtha spokesman told Roll Call in 2009, “there was an import/export issue that had involved Aeptec, and when this was brought to light, they disappeared as a company.”

By the end of 2004, KSA had terminated its relationship with Aeptec, and in early 2005 — with Murtha as ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense — the House approved a supplemental defense spending bill with a technical amendment that stripped the firm’s funding. The technical amendment directed the Pentagon to transfer $8.2 million from Aeptec projects to a program known as the “Mobile Common Data Link Gateway.” That project was an earmark for Coherent Systems Inc., another KSA client.

The Mobile Gateway earmark money ended up scattered among companies that had close ties to KSA.

In 2009, the Justice Department filed charges against Coherent CEO Richard Ianieri, alleging that he had used money from the Mobile Gateway project to buy products unrelated to the contract from several companies, including KSA clients VidiaFusion and Gensym.

VidiaFusion had no website, no telephone number and no email address. The address listed for VidiaFusion on the lobbying registration form submitted by KSA is a condominium building in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Florida secretary of state has no record of a company called VidiaFusion. The government charged that Ianieri paid VidiaFusion $274,660 for “software” that was unrelated to the Gateway project and was never used.

Ianieri also transferred $300,000 to Gensym, another KSA client, which was passing funding through to a subcontractor called Applied Technology. The FBI described Applied Technology as “an example of a KSA-created business that acquired federal earmarks and has no legitimate purpose.”

The FBI records indicate two KSA lobbyists were on the Applied Technology payroll, though their names have been redacted.

Ianieri pleaded guilty to filing false purchase orders and accepting a kickback from another company close to Murtha, Kuchera Defense Systems, and was sentenced to a fine and probation.

Coherent did deliver to the Air Force a vehicle-based communications system envisioned in the original “Mobile Gateway” earmark.

Mark O’Hair, an Air Force contracting official who oversaw the Gateway contracts, and contractor Richard Schaller, who was paid by Ianieri, both went to jail for their roles in the scheme, but nobody else was ever charged. There is no evidence that the FBI conducted a serious probe of who in Murtha’s office might have known about the bogus earmarks.

Roll Call reported in March 2010 that KSA had folded. Stalder and other KSA lobbyists appear to have created a new firm called Edge Solutions, but the phone number at that office is now disconnected and emails sent to Edge Solutions went unanswered.

Potential Cases Not Pursued

The FBI files uncovered by CREW offer a tantalizing array of hints of other possible malfeasance.

Federal agents had begun investigating Murtha in 2007 upon hearing allegations that the PMA Group, a lobbying firm run by former defense appropriations staffer Paul Magliocchetti, had paid for Murtha to have a driver. The PMA Group was raided by the FBI in February 2008, and the firm shut down the following year. Magliocchetti is serving a 27-month prison sentence for running a scheme to reimburse friends, family members and colleagues for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions to Murtha and other Members of Congress.

The FBI investigation also suggested that a staff member in Murtha’s office may have failed to disclose thousands of dollars in income and assets on her annual financial disclosure forms; that money from Murtha’s campaign fund may have been used to buy guns for the personal use of another Murtha staffer; that Murtha may have steered contracts and earmarks to other family members; that staff members may have violated the one-year ban on lobbying Murtha’s office after leaving his employ; and that KSA may have run a fraudulent political action committee.

There is no evidence in the released documents that the FBI pursed any of these cases.

Sloan of CREW said the FBI files prove a long-sought point: “It was as bad as we said it was. It wasn’t nothing; it wasn’t OK.”