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July 3, 2016

FBI interviews Hillary Clinton over emails

FBI interviews Hillary Clinton over emails

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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Yesterday, Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was interviewed at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. during a process which took over three and a half hours.

File photo of Hillary Clinton, 2016.
Image: Iorie Shaull.

The interview was part of the ongoing probe by the FBI into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, created and hosted at her home in Chappaqua, New York, which she reportedly used while she was Secretary of State. The FBI is investigating emails sent on this server, particularly any classified emails regarding the 2012 Benghazi attack that occurred on September 11, 2012 — eleven years after 9/11 — and left four US citizens dead.

The interview comes at a problematic time for Clinton as she is the favorite for Democratic Party nomination for US President at the 2016 Democratic National Convention which is set to take place at the end of July. Any indictment could alter the result of the Democratic National Convention’s decision on a nominee, paving the way for other politicians such as Bernie Sanders to receive the nomination.

Both Clinton and the FBI have declined comment on the interview, but her spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton is “pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the Department of Justice in bringing this review to a conclusion.” The Justice Department reportedly hopes to conclude the investigation before the Democratic Convention at the end of July.

GOP lawmakers are suggesting a conflict of interest after United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch reportedly met with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, on Lynch’s plane at a Phoenix airport on Monday. This prompted Lynch to state on Friday she would accept the investigation’s findings. Clinton and Lynch described it as a “short chance meeting” and “exchange of pleasantries”. Lynch expressed her regret for the meeting, stating she “certainly wouldn’t do it again”. GOP lawmakers said the emails should be investigated by a third party, as they questioned the Department’s impartiality.

The FBI is expected to conclude their investigation sometime before the convention on July 25.



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June 21, 2016

FBI release transcript of Orlando shooter\’s 911 call

FBI release transcript of Orlando shooter’s 911 call

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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An unredacted transcript and timeline of events of Omar Mateen’s attack at Pulse Nightclub was publicly released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation‘s Tampa division on Monday, following the criticism of Paul Ryan, current Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and others of an edited transcript initially released. The press release includes an uncensored 911 call between Mateen and an operator where he pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, the night he shot 49 people at the gay bar in Orlando, Florida.

According to friends and family, Mateen was a member of the gay community and had been to the nightclub several times.

Speaker Ryan made a public statement that selectively editing the transcript was “preposterous”. He said in his statement, “We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS […] The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this and why.”

During the 50-second phone conversation with the 911-operator, Mateen pledged his loyalty to al-Baghdadi on behalf of the Islamic State. However Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, has stated they were not able to find any connection between Mateen and the Islamic State.

Three negotiation calls lasting nine, fifteen and three minutes occurred after the initial 911 call. Throughout the calls Mateen identified himself as an Islamic soldier and said to the negotiators to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq, and this is why he was “out there right now.”

The transcript shows Mateen threatened he had a vest like the ones “used in France”, and that his vehicle outside of the club contained bombs. He also stated, “In the next few days, you’re going to see more of this type of action going on.” A search of his vehicle and person on scene revealed no explosives or vests. Special agent in charge in Orlando, Ronald Hopper, said there’s no evidence Mateen was directed by a foreign-armed group.

The Tampa Divison stated in Monday’s press release they will not be releasing the audio of Mateen’s call, or any audio and transcripts of the victim’s calls out of respect for the victims and their families.



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March 29, 2016

FBI rescind court case against Apple after breaking into San Bernardino gunman\’s iPhone

FBI rescind court case against Apple after breaking into San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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The US justice department filed yesterday to dismiss a court case against Apple Inc., as they said the Federal Bureau of Investigation have broken into the iPhone of San Bernardino, California gunman Syed Rizwan Farook without the help of the technology company.

Apple had previously been refusing to comply with a February court order to help the FBI crack into the phone, expressing fears any platform they produced would lead to a significant weakening of all iPhones’ security systems. Apple CEO Tim Cook said “In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession”.

This development comes three months after the massacre in the Californian town in which Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed fourteen people and injured 22 more. The FBI said access to Farook’s phone would allow them to further their investigation into Farook and his potential relationship to terrorist groups.



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October 31, 2015

Nine arrested for human trafficking in southeastern United States

Nine arrested for human trafficking in southeastern United States

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

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Nine people were arrested on Thursday at cities in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi and have been charged as part of a 32-court federal indictment in an interstate human trafficking case. According to William Thornton from AL.com “the indictment was announced by Christopher P. Canova, Acting United States Attorney from the Northern District of Florida.”

According to the indictment, between July 2015 and August of this year, the defendants transported, housed and marketed women for prostitution in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. They took the proceeds and wired them out of the country.

“Jose Juan Ruiz Prudencio, 40, and Emerson Corvera, 30, both of Montgomery, were arrested along with defendants in Florida, Mississippi and Georgia,” William Thornton reported.

The nine arrested were also charged with three counts of enticing individuals to travel to engage in prostitution, seven counts of transporting people to engage in prostitution, four counts of money laundering, six counts of harbouring an alien for the purpose of prostitution and illegal entry by a deported alien.

This case resulted from a 15-month investigation into human trafficking activities in the Northern District of Florida by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) – Panama City Resident Agent in Charge.

According to Kelsey Davis from Montgomery Advertiser, “The indictment also says at least 26 women were involved, who were sold for $30 per session. The price was later raised to $40 because the defendants allegedly stated they weren’t making enough of a profit at the former price.”

According to the FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation, the defendants are:

  • Edegardo Osorno Rodriguez, 37, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida;
  • Antonio Flores-Esparza, 31, Pensacola, Florida;
  • Jose Juan Ruiz Prudencio, 40, Montgomery, Alabama;
  • Jose Alvaro Trujillo-Santiz, 45, Panama City Beach, Florida;
  • Rosa Mirtha Cruz Vidal, 34, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida;
  • Mauro Gonzalez-Lira, 24, McComb, Mississippi;
  • Romon Tobon, 45, Starkville, Mississippi;
  • Lazaro Juarez-Juarez, 33, Atlanta, Georgia; and
  • Emerson Corvera, 30, Montgomery, Alabama.



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September 18, 2015

London court jails man after Dark Web ricin sting

London court jails man after Dark Web ricin sting

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Friday, September 18, 2015

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Mr Justice Saunders today imprisoned a man for eight years at the Old Bailey in London after an FBI sting in which he tried to buy ricin on the Dark Web.

Cquote1.svg Everyone needs to know that the possession of a chemical weapon is extremely serious and long prison sentences will follow Cquote2.svg

—Mr Justice Saunders

Mohammed Ali, 31, from Liverpool, was convicted at trial of attempting to possess a chemical weapon. He told the jury he was “curious” about the Dark Web, which is a largely hidden and difficult to police section of the Internet. Ali said he didn’t realise he had done anything illegal.

Ali was prosecuted under the Chemical Weapons Act 1996 after sending an undercover agent a message reading “Hi, would you be able to make me some ricin and send it to the UK?” He bought 500mg, which has the potential to kill about 1,400, but was sent a dummy package. Counter-terror police in the UK liaised with the FBI.

Illustration of ricin’s chemical structure.
Image: AzaToth.

The powder, which Ali paid for in BitCoin, was actually harmless. Hidden inside a toy car, the package was treated with markers and his face glowed under ultraviolet light, indicating he had handled it. The judge said today there was “real risk” involved.

Ali told his trial he had discovered drugs and guns for sale. Computer analysis showed he had looked up ricin and other poisons; he said he went for ricin simply because it had appeared in Breaking Bad. He also searched for small animals after being advised to test it on a rodent; a to-do list on his computer included “paid ricin guy” and “get pet to murder”.

Mr Justice Saunders said the case called for “a deterrent sentence”, which “will appear harsh to the defendant and his family.” “Everyone needs to know that the possession of a chemical weapon is extremely serious and long prison sentences will follow.”



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January 7, 2015

FBI investigating explosion near NAACP office in Colorado Springs

FBI investigating explosion near NAACP office in Colorado Springs

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

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An explosion that took place in a barber shop next door to the Colorado Springs, Colorado office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) yesterday is currently being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Officials said the explosive device was placed next to a can of gasoline but the gasoline did not ignite after the device detonated.

The FBI are seeking a balding white male, aged about 40 years old, as a “person of interest” connected to the case. The FBI statement continued: “He may be driving a 2000 or older model dirty, white pick-up truck with paneling, a dark colored bed liner, open tailgate, and a missing or covered license plate”.

FBI Special Agent Amy Sanders said: “The investigation is ongoing and it is not known at this time if the NAACP or a business in the vicinity was the intended target”.

Gene Southerland, owner of Mr. G’s Hair Design Studios, said: “I was cutting somebody’s hair and I heard the explosion […] It was such a loud explosion that some plastic containers fell off the shelf.” Southerland continued: “Some neighbors came out and said they saw a Caucasian gentleman get into a white truck […] It was such a beautiful day and everything, sunny. And in broad daylight, you hear this explosion. It’s frightening”.

Henry Allen Jr, the president of the Colorado Springs branch of the NAACP, told reporters: “We’ll move on. This won’t deter us from doing the job we want to do in the community.” The NAACP national office put out a statement stating that the group “looks forward to a full and thorough investigation into this matter by federal agents and local law enforcement”.

US Congressman Doug Lamborn told Colorado Springs newspaper The Gazette by email: “I’m thankful that none of the volunteers or employees of the Colorado Springs NAACP were injured in today’s apparent bombing […] I hope that the FBI investigation is able to swiftly apprehend the people responsible for this act of violence and intimidation.”



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September 26, 2014

Chicago air traffic facility evacuated for basement fire

Chicago air traffic facility evacuated for basement fire

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Aviation

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A Chicago, Illinois air traffic facility was evacuated early this morning due to a fire. The fire occurred in a telecommunications room in the basement. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all metropolitan Chicago flights and transferred airspace responsibilities to nearby facilities to accommodate affected air traffic.

FAA Seal.

Authorities, including a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said they suspected an FAA contractor set the basement on fire, but did not believe him to be a terrorist. He was later hospitalized for a self-inflicted wound. Another employee was treated for smoke inhalation.

Flights already en-route to the Chicago metropolitan area were still allowed to either continue more slowly or divert to another unaffected airport. The FAA said passengers in the area and surrounding airports and possibly airports around the region, might experience flight delays or cancellations, causing long lines at airports, and encouraged them to check flight information with their carriers.

The incident is being investigated by the FAA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Aurora Police and Fire departments.



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December 11, 2012

FBI agent arrested, charged with exposing himself in public

FBI agent arrested, charged with exposing himself in public

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crime and law
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A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent working for the field office in Buffalo, New York (NY) has been arrested and charged with exposing himself in public. The alleged incident, only now becoming public knowledge, allegedly occurred on Friday, December 7 at about 9:00 p.m on Interstate 90, also known at this part of its length as the New York State Thruway, between exits 57 and 57A in the town of Eden.

John A. Yervelli Jr., 48, was arrested and charged with public lewdness. He was later released and issued a ticket to appear in Eden Town Court on December 18. According to police, a truck driver was driving eastbound on the expressway when Yervelli pulled up to his window. According to the truck driver, Yervelli was naked from the waist down and making “lewd gestures” to him. The truck driver called police who stopped Yervelli’s car at the Hamburg toll plaza and detained him. Yervelli denies the charges.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you may do for a living. If you are suspected of committing a crime, and we have enough reasonable cause to do so, we are going to do our job and make an arrest,” said Lieutenant David Denz of the New York state police department to WGRZ‘s ‘2 On Your Side.’

Maureen P. Dempsey, public affairs specialist for the FBI said the Bureau considers the incident “an internal administrative matter” and “the FBI is not commenting on the matter beyond that.”

According to NY state law, individuals charged with public lewdness in New York could spend up to 30 days in prison and face fines up to US$500.



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FBI agent arested, charged with exposing himself in public

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent working for the field office in Buffalo, New York (NY) has been arrested and charged with exposing himself in public. The alleged incident, only now becoming public knowledge, occurred on on Friday, December 7 at about 9:00 p.m on Interstate 90, also known as the New York State Thruway, between exits 57 and 57A in the city of Hamburg

John A. Yervelli Jr., 48, was arrested and charged with public lewdness. He was later released and issued a ticket to appear in Eden, New York town court on December 18. According to police, a truck driver was driving eastbound on the expressway when Yervelli pulled up to his window. According to the truck driver, Yervelli was allegedly naked from the waist down and making “lewd gestures” to him. The truck driver called police who stopped Yervelli’s car at the Hamburg toll plaza and detained him. Yervelli denies the charges.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you may do for a living. If you are suspected of committing a crime, and we have enough reasonable cause to do so, we are going to do our job and make an arrest,” said Lt. David Denz of the New York state police department to WGRZ‘s ‘2 On Your Side.’

Maureen P. Dempsey, public affairs specialist for the FBI said the Bureau considers the incident “an internal administrative matter” and “the FBI is not commenting on the matter beyond that.”

According to NY state law, individuals charged with public lewdness in New York could spend between 15 and 30 days in jail and face fines from US$250 to $500.



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April 13, 2012

Kentucky men plead not guilty in gay hate crime case

Kentucky men plead not guilty in gay hate crime case

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Two Kentucky cousins were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, and assault against a gay man. They pleaded not guilty yesterday in a case the prosecution alleges is a hate crime motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation.

President Obama shakes hands with the sisters of James Byrd, Jr., and the mother of Matthew Shepard after the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is signed into law, Oct. 28, 2009.
Image: The White House.

US Attorney Kerry B. Harvey says it is the first time that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will be used in a prosecution of a case in US courts. President Barack Obama signed the law in October 2009.

Cquote1.svg David Jason Jenkins and Anthony Ray Jenkins made a plan to assault Pennington because of his sexual orientation. Cquote2.svg

—U.S. federal indictment

The charges were brought against David Jason Jenkins, 37, and his cousin Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20.

On April 4, 2011, the two were allegedly involved in a nighttime incident in which Kevin Pennington says he was lured into a dark vehicle with the two men by two women, driven to the Kingdom Come State Park and assaulted.

Pennington says he was able to escape during the attack, hide in the woods, and seek help from the park’s office. After the incident, Pennington was bruised and had visible head injuries.

Pennington said he knew of the two men and believed they had been involved in a beating of a friend who is gay.

The 20-year-old Jenkins’ wife and sister, both 19, were not charged with the two men although it has been alleged that they verbally supported the cousins during the incident and used anti-gay language. The case involves an FBI recording of the elder Jenkins talking about his younger cousin’s motivations.

Andrew Stevens, who is the 37-year-old Jenkin’s lawyer, said it would be difficult to prove what someone was thinking in order to connect a crime to sexual orientation.

A conviction of a hate crime could result in a life sentence.



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