FBI director wants access to encrypt Apple, Google users’ data, demands law ‘fix’

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The FBI director has slammed Apple and Google for offering their customers encryption technology that protects users’ privacy. “Deeply concerned” James Comey wants to push on Congress to “fix” laws to ensure police can still access private data.

“It’s the equivalent of a closet that can’t be opened. A safe that can’t be cracked,” Comey, speaking at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, referred to the encryption technology calling the new service “a marketing pitch.”

“But it will have very serious consequences for law enforcement and national security agencies at all levels,” he warned.

Apple has recently presented its latest Mac OS X operating system for desktop and laptop computers, encouraging its customers to use FileVault disk encryption technology to keep their data secure. The tool would also prevent NSA or FBI from having access to phones and computers.

Google said it wanted to follow suit with its Android operating system and “encryption will be enabled by default.”

If a customer does not decline the encryption offer, his or her computer or phone will be locked.

This means that the companies will not be able to unlock a phone or a hard drive to reveal photos, documents, e-mail or recordings stored within.

“Criminals and terrorists would like nothing more than for us to miss out,” Comey said, adding that encrypted information on “a bad guy’s phone has the potential to create a black hole for law enforcement.”

“Justice may be denied because of a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive,” he said.

READ MORE: Mass internet surveillance is ‘corrosive of online privacy’ – UN report

While law enforcements would still be able to intercept conversations, it would be impossible to access call data, contacts, photos and emails.

Comey believes that “encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place,” while the companies argue that it is a necessary option that will protect customers from unlawful surveillance and private data access.

Edward Snowden’s revelations have provoked the US tech companies to find better protection for personal information.

Comey acknowledged: “The post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction—in a direction of fear and mistrust.”

“Some believe that the FBI has these phenomenal capabilities to access any information at any time—that we can get what we want, when we want it, by flipping some sort of switch,” he said. “It may be true in the movies or on TV. It is simply not the case in real life.”

The FBI director would like to see changes made to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, “enacted 20 years ago—a lifetime in the internet age.”

Companies like Apple or Google, should be required to build lawful intercept capabilities for law enforcement, Comey says.

“We aren’t seeking to expand our authority to intercept communications,” he said. “We are struggling to keep up with changing technology and to maintain our ability to actually collect the communications we are authorized to intercept.”

CALEA only covers landline and cellphone companies, broadband services or internet phone services, which connect with traditional phones.

“We also need a regulatory or legislative fix,” Comey said, “so that all communication service providers are held to the same standard.”

Comey’s speech was not the first time he lashed out at Apple and Google for encrypting smartphones. In September, he told reporters in Washington that the encrypting technology offered by the companies, powering nearly 95 percent of the smart phones in the United States, severely hinder law enforcement operations.

FBI DIRECTOR: IF APPLE AND GOOGLE WON’T DECRYPT PHONES, WE’LL FORCE THEM TO

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Comey went ballistic on Apple and Google’s decision to make everything more private

Everyone is stoked that the latest versions of iOS and Android will (finally) encrypt all the information on your smartphone by default. Except, of course, the FBI: Today, its director spent an hour attacking the companies and the very idea of encryption, even suggesting that Congress should pass a law banning the practice of default encryption.

It’s of course no secret that James Comey and the FBI hate the prospect of “going dark,” the idea that law enforcement simply doesn’t have the technical capability to track criminals (and the average person) because of all those goddamn apps, encryption, wifi network switching, and different carriers.

ENCRYPTION THREATENS TO LEAD ALL OF US TO A VERY DARK PLACE
It’s a problem that the FBI has been dealing with for too long (in Comey’s eyes, at least). Today, Comey went ballistic on Apple and Google’s recent decision to make everything just a little more private.

“Encryption isn’t just a technical feature; it’s a marketing pitch … it’s the equivalent of a closet that can’t be opened. A safe that can’t be cracked. And my question is, at what cost?” Comey said. “Both companies [Apple and Google] are run by good people, responding to what they perceive is a market demand. But the place they are leading us is one we shouldn’t go to without careful thought and debate.”

In a tightly moderated speech and discussion at the Brookings Institution—not one technical expert or privacy expert was asked to participate; however, several questions from the audience came from privacy-minded individuals—Comey railed on the “post-Snowden” world that has arisen since people began caring about their privacy.

CONGRESS MIGHT HAVE TO FORCE THIS ON COMPANIES
Comey’s speech and thinking was out-of-touch and off on many levels: He continually referred to potential “bad guys” as the only ones using encryption, and suggested that, with default encryption, people who are wrongly arrested won’t be able to unlock data within their phones that could exonerate them.

Comey also said, in all seriousness, that the FBI has “FOMO” on catching predators, just like the kids.

“With Going Dark, those of us in law enforcement and public safety have a major fear of missing out—missing out on predators who exploit the most vulnerable among us … kids call this FOMO,” he said.

Comey kept referring to the “debate” and “national conversation” that needs to be had regarding widespread encryption. That conversation, in Comey’s mind, should stop and start with the idea that there must be a “front door” means for the FBI, NSA, and other law enforcement agencies to blast through encryption. In other words, companies should be “developing [law enforcement] intercept solutions during the design phase,” a proposition that, beyond making encryption useless, is potentially not even technically feasible.

“Congress might have to force this on companies,” he said. “Maybe they’ll take the hint and do it themselves.”

Comey repeatedly noted that Apple and Google are simply responding to the “market” and consumer demand, as any good capitalist company would do. But he noted that encryption is not really what people should want, lest the “bad guys” win.

“If the challenges of real-time interception threaten to leave us in the dark, encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place,” he said. “Perhaps it’s time to suggest that the post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction—in a direction of fear and mistrust.”

It’s absolutely worth noting that this out-of-control pendulum has so corrupted the thinking of the people that Congress has found it prudent to not pass a single law, not do a single thing, to reign in government mass surveillance, despite Comey’s goal of real-time interception essentially amounting to the ability to peek into anyone’s phone as they use it.

“It might be time to ask: Where are we, as a society? Are we no longer a country governed by the rule of law, where no one is above or beyond that law?,” he said, without irony. “Are we so mistrustful of government—and of law enforcement—that we are willing to let bad guys walk away?”

It also might be time to ask: Are the people chosen to run our law enforcement agencies so out of touch with the American people that they believe that only “bad guys” want privacy?

FBI ASKS PUBLIC TO HELP IDENTIFY HOMEGROWN TERRORISTS

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FBI warns of impending attack

By Jason Meisner,
Tribune reporter

FBI: We need your help to identify homegrown terrorists
One day after a Bolingbrook teen was accused in federal court in Chicago of plotting to travel to the Middle East and join Islamic State, the FBI is asking for the public’s help to identify other individuals who have traveled — or are planning to travel — overseas to fight alongside terrorist organizations.

“We need the public’s assistance in identifying U.S. persons going to fight overseas with terrorist groups or who are returning home from fighting overseas,” Michael Steinbach, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, said in a statement posted Tuesday afternoon on the bureau’s website.

The posting also asked for information on the identity of an English-speaking man and others seen in a propaganda video released last month by Islamic State.

In the 55-minute video, a masked man alternates between English and Arabic in pro-Islamic State pronouncements that are intended to appeal to a Western audience, the FBI said.

“Dressed in desert camouflage and wearing a shoulder holster, the masked man can be seen standing in front of purported prisoners as they dig their own graves and then later presiding over their executions,” the FBI said. His accent is believed to be North American.

“We’re hoping that someone might recognize this individual and provide us with key pieces of information,” Steinbach said. “No piece of information is too small.”

Bolingbrook man arrested at O’Hare on terrorism charges
A Bolingbrook teen was arrested at O’Hare International Airport over the weekend on charges he was attempting to travel overseas to join the Islamic State terrorist group, federal authorities said today.
Submit a tip online at http://www.fbi.gov/ISILtips or by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI.

The move comes as U.S. national security and counterterrorism officials have voiced growing concerns over radicalized Americans traveling overseas to join Islamic State. The terrorist group has killed thousands while taking over swaths of Syria and Iraq and has released a series of videos showing the beheadings of Americans and other captives.

In an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, FBI Director James Comey, who has said about a dozen Americans were believed to be fighting in Syria, described such homegrown terrorists as “troubled souls” who “engage in jihad after emerging from their basement.”

On Saturday, the FBI arrested Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, at O’Hare International Airport as he tried to board a flight to Vienna with plans to connect to Turkey, authorities said.

A criminal complaint filed against the Bolingbrook teen detailed his alleged plans to join Islamic State. Authorities charged he had a contact to take him across the Syrian border to the terrorist organization’s stronghold and had left a letter for his parents explaining his motivations.

“We are all witness that the western societies are getting more immoral day by day,” Khan wrote in the three-page letter discovered in his bedroom, according to charges filed in federal court. “I do not want my kids being exposed to filth like this.”

FBI agents also found handwritten documents that expressed support for the terrorist group. One drawing appeared to be of an armed fighter with an Islamic State flag with words written in Arabic saying, “Come to Jihad.” Other drawings showed an arrow pointing from the border of Turkey into Iraq and Syria, according to the complaint.

Khorasan terrorists will attack US ‘very, very soon,’ FBI director warns

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The Khorasan Group, the Al-Qaeda-linked cell that just landed on the US intelligence radar last month, allegedly has Americans in its ranks fighting in the Middle East whom the FBI cannot prevent from re-entering the country.

Last month, the world was introduced to yet another terrorist group – the Khorasan Group – a veteran group of Al-Qaeda-affiliated radicals purportedly running amok in the Middle East, which the head of the FBI says is “bent on destruction” – and most specifically in the United States.

“Khorasan was working and you know, may still be working on an effort to attack the United States or our allies, and looking to do it very, very soon,” James Comey said in an interview with 60 Minutes, a CBS news program.

The FBI chief, who has kept a low profile since becoming head of the internal intelligence agency last year, refused to put a time stamp on when an attack would occur.

“I can’t sit here and tell you whether it’s their plan is tomorrow or three weeks or three months from now,” he said. “Given our visibility we know they’re serious people, bent on destruction. And so we have to act as if it’s coming tomorrow.”

Perhaps most shocking, Comey revealed that there are about “a dozen or so” American citizens fighting in Syria on the side of Islamic fundamentalist groups. Moreover, the government knows the identity of the individuals who, as American passport holders, are free to reenter the United States.

“Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who’s fought with ISIL, with American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully,” he said.

Comey admitted that he knew the identity of the Americans fighting alongside radical groups in the Middle East, while suggesting there could be others he is unaware of added, “I hesitate only because I don’t know what I don’t know.”

For many Americans, such revelations may sound incredible for a group that nobody had heard of before the United States starting bombing northern Syria last month.

Reuters / Stringer Reuters / Stringer

While all of the media chatter prior to the September 22 aerial attacks in northern Syria focused on eliminating the Islamic State (IS formerly ISIS/ISIL), the US Department of Defense announced the next day that it is attacking other groups in Syria as well.

“Separately, the United States has also taken action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned Al-Qaeda veterans – sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group – who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations,” the statement said.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald argued that the Obama administration, lacking justification for a bombing campaign in Syria, was forced to invent the group.

Obama administration officials “suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland,” Greenwald wrote in the Intercept.

The Khorasan Group suddenly appeared on the scene on September 13, as first detailed by Associated Press and anonymous US sources:

“While the Islamic State is getting the most attention now, another band of extremists [Khorasan] in Syria — a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe — poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target US aviation, American officials say.”

What is the ultimate purpose of this shadowy group?

According to the AP report, the Khorasan militants did not travel to Syria to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, but rather “they were sent by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a US-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.”

That is a threat the FBI chief, considering the destruction that terrorists wrought on the United States on September 11, 2001, will certainly be taking very seriously.

Former Imam Of Oklahoma Beheader’s Mosque Apologizes To ISIS Day After Beheading

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PATRICK HOWLEY
Political Reporter

Patrick Howley is an investigative reporter for The Daily Caller.

The former imam of the Oklahoma City mosque attended by beheading suspect Alton Nolen apologized this week to ISIS for previously criticizing the group.

Suhaib Webb is currently the imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, which is part of the same entity under the same ownership as the Islamic Society of Boston, where Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev worshipped. Webb spoke alongside the late al-Qaida senior operative Anwar al-Awlaki at a Sept. 9, 2001 fundraiser for an Islamic radical who killed two police officers, according to FBI surveillance documents.

Webb previously served as imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where Nolen reportedly worshipped. It is not known whether Webb and Nolen ever met. Webb recently returned to the Oklahoma City mosque to deliver two sermons in October 2013, records reveal. Webb previously gave sermons there in November 2011, October 2010 and October 2008.

The day after Nolen beheaded a co-worker, and the same day that Webb was publicly linked to Nolen’s mosque, Webb apologized to ISIS in an online column he wrote for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center entitled “Shame on Me: A Commitment to Discourse Instead of Demonization.”

“I woke up the other day and decided to skim through my body of work over the last few years,” Webb wrote. “Boy was I surprised at some of my posts and talks — the tone and the demonization of others — I compared ISIS to Ebola. While I don’t agree with ISIS, al-Qāida, certain progressives and others, I’ve decided to apologize to anyone that I have spoken ill towards or demonized.”

“I ask Allah to forgive me and to guide me to observe better character in the future,” Webb continued. “I asked myself, ‘Suhaib did you forget the 49th chapter of the Qur’an, Surah al-Hujurāt?’ Moving forward, I promise myself to address ideas instead of people, to be critical of thoughts instead of personalities and commit to ethics as best I can. That will create a better climate to unpack and examine current trends in our community, but ensure that I recognize other’s humanity and worth.”

Webb then asked Allah for forgiveness in his column.

As The Daily Caller previously reported, Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and then-Boston Mayor Tom Menino appeared at inaugural events for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in 2009. The city of Boston gave a “subsidy” to construct that cultural center. The Muslim American Society of Boston, an affiliate of a Muslim Brotherhood front group, runs the cultural center.

Islam Is A Religion of Peace AND a Religion of DECAPITATIONS

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Yesterday at Vaughan Foods a former employee decapitated one person and was stabbing another before he was shot by the company C.O.O. who may have stopped a massacre. The very last line of the article reads, “The FBI is ‘probing whether (the killer’s) recent conversion to Islam had anything to do with the attack.’”

The first reaction most people probably secretly have to that is, “Of course it did! Muslims and beheading go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly, don’t they?” Incidentally, that was also probably their second reaction, because beheadings are just something that seem to happen with surprising frequency in areas teeming with Muslims. Violence and terrorism also go hand-in-hand with Islam and if you can’t figure that out from watching the news, you could learn it from reading a history book.

Moreover today, there are Muslims all over the world committing acts of terrorism along with raping, murdering, and enslaving their fellow human beings specifically for religious reasons. These aren’t bad people doing bad things who happen to be Muslims; these are bad people doing bad things BECAUSE they are Muslims. Just ask them; they’ll tell you.

Every religion has people who do repellent things in the name of God, but there are big differences in the degree of their offenses, their numbers, and how they’re treated. Just to give you a couple of examples, the Westboro Baptist Church claims to be picketing funerals in the name of God. There have also been a handful of people who have killed abortion doctors because of their Christian beliefs. Is this the equivalent to what’s going on with Islam? No, not even close. For one thing, these loons don’t even represent 10,000th of a percent of Christians and for another, they’re almost universally, harshly, publicly condemned by other Christians.