Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In The Line Of Duty: FBI's Law Enforcement Officers Killed And Assaulted, 2013 Report Released


The FBI released the below announcement on Monday:

According to statistics collected by the FBI, 76 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2013. Of these, 27 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 49 officers died in accidents. In addition, 49,851 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults.

Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks and selected assaults resulting in injury are included in the 2013 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, released today.

Felonious Deaths

The 27 felonious deaths occurred in 16 states. The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2013 decreased by 22 when compared with the 49 officers who were feloniously killed in 2012. The five- and 10-year comparisons show a decrease of 21 felonious deaths compared with the 2009 figure (48 officers) and a decrease of 30 deaths compared with 2004 data (57 officers).

Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 39 years. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 13 years at the time of the fatal incidents. Twenty-five of the officers were male, and two were female. Twenty-five of the officers were white, and two were black.

Circumstances: Of the 27 officers feloniously killed, six were killed in arrest situations, five were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, five were ambushed, four were involved in tactical situations, four were answering disturbance calls, and two were conducting traffic pursuits/stops. One was conducting an investigative activity, such as surveillance, a search, or an interview.

Weapons: Offenders used firearms to kill 26 of the 27 victim officers. Of these 26 officers, 18 were slain with handguns, five with rifles, and three with shotguns. One officer was killed with a vehicle used as a weapon.

Regions: Fifteen of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, six in the West, four in the Midwest, and two in the Northeast.

Suspects: Law enforcement agencies identified 28 alleged assailants in connection with the felonious line-of-duty deaths. Twenty of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and six of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.

Accidental Deaths

Forty-nine law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2013. The majority (23 officers) were killed in automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths increased by one from the 2012 total (48 officers).

Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were accidentally killed was 41 years; the average number of years the victim officers had served in law enforcement was 13. All 49 of the officers were male. Forty-one of the officers were white, six were black, and race was not reported for two officers.

Circumstances: Of the 49 officers accidentally killed, 23 died as a result of automobile accidents, nine were struck by vehicles, four officers died in motorcycle accidents, four officers were killed in falls, two were accidentally shot, two drowned, one died in an aircraft accident, and four officers died in other types of duty-related accidents. Seatbelt usage was reported for 22 of the 23 officers killed in automobile accidents. Of these, 14 officers were not wearing seatbelts, three of whom were seated in parked patrol vehicles. Eight officers were wearing their seatbelts at the times of the accidents.

Regions: Thirty-one of the accidental deaths occurred in the South, nine in the West, five in the Northeast, and 4 in the Midwest.

Assaults

In 2013, of the 49,851 officers assaulted while performing their duties, 29.2 percent were injured. The largest percentage of victim officers (31.2 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls. Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 79.8 percent of the incidents, firearms in 4.5 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.8 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 13.9 percent of assaults. Expanded assault details have been included in the 2013 publication. Data for assaults during which officers were injured with firearms or knives/other cutting instruments are located in new tables, figures, and selected narratives.

'You're Too Much Of A Pussy To Shoot Me': Grand Jury Evidence Reveals How An 'Aggresive' Michael Brown Taunted Cop Darren Wilson Before He Was Shot Dead


The British newspaper the Daily Mail offers a piece on the Grand Jury decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown. The Daily Mail's  web site also offers some good photos and videos.

Explosive evidence heard by the grand jury in the Michael Brown case has been released following the panel's decision not to indict Fergusion police officer Darren Wilson. 

The evidence, unveiled by St Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, includes the testimony of 28-year-old Wilson after he fatally shot the unarmed black 18-year-old on August 9.

It also features never-before seen photos of the white officer's injuries, clothing and car - from which he fired two rounds at Brown - witness statements and more then 1,000 other legal documents.  

It comes just hours after after McCulloch announced the jury of seven men and five women found 'no probable cause exisits' to indict Wilson in the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

In his testimony, the officer described the moment he shot Brown - minutes after the 'aggressive' teenager taunted him by saying 'You're too much of a f****** p***y to shoot me'.
 
You can read the rest of the piece and view the photos and videos via the below link:
 

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Guardian's 100 Best Novels: No. 62 - 'The Big Sleep' By Raymond Chandler (1939)


Robert McCrum at the British newspaper the Guardian offers a piece on Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, selected by the newspaper as number 62 in their 100 Best Novels series.

Enter Philip Marlowe, one of the great characters in the Anglo-American novel, a protagonist to rival and possibly surpass Sherlock Holmes. Marlowe holds the key to the enduring appeal of this novel and the six that followed. In 1951, Chandler told his publisher, “It begins to look as though I were tied to this fellow for life.”

Maybe he should not have been surprised. Chandler fully understood the archetypal fictional detective, and had been polishing the character for years. In The Simple Art of Murder (1950) he describes such a man in a famous passage:

“He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man… He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness.”

Chandler might have been describing Philip Marlowe, who made his debut in this first novel, after several appearances in Chandler’s pulp fiction stories. He once observed of his celebrated style: “I’m an intellectual snob who happens to have a fondness for the American vernacular, largely because I grew up on Latin and Greek.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/24/100-best-novels-the-big-sleep-raymond-chandler

  
You can also read my Crime Beat column on Raymond Chandler's influence on crime novels and crime films via the below link:
 
 
 
And you can read my interview with Tom Williams, who wrote a Raymond Chandler biography via the below link:
 

U.S. Southern Command Reaffirms Partnerships in Transnational Crime Fight


Michael Wimpish at the U.S. Southern Command offers the below piece:

MIAMI, Nov. 24, 2014 - The commander of U.S. Southern Command visited Belize, Guatemala and Honduras last week to reaffirm the U.S. military's commitment to helping Central American nations combat transnational criminal organizations.

At each stop in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly held high-level meetings with top leaders and security officials to review their security situations, address current collaborative efforts to counter transnational criminal organizations and discuss future U.S. military support to bolster security capabilities.

The governments of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras have committed to taking on transnational crime syndicates and disrupting illicit networks that move drugs, weapons, money and people through the region and into the United States. Southcom officials said the nations are critical allies in the international fight against transnational organized crime, which threatens regional and U.S. security.

Illicit Trafficking Destabilizes Central America

The destabilizing effects of transnational criminal organizations' illicit trafficking activities have produced security challenges in Central America, officials said. The organized crime groups use their immense resources and power to intimidate communities and corrupt local governments to enable the flow of their lucrative illicit networks, they explained. U.S. military support falls under the U.S. government's comprehensive assistance to the region known as the Central American Regional Security Initiative.

The support includes training and assistance to improve maritime, aerial and land security efforts, information sharing, and the provision of equipment and technology. The United States also provides operational and detection and monitoring support in the form of Operation Martillo, a joint U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner-nation effort to disrupt transnational criminal activity in the coastal waters of Central America.

The U.S. military also works with other nations, most notably Colombia, which has vast experience in successfully combating narcoterrorists and reinstituting governance and the rule of law. As Southcom's commander, Kelly oversees all U.S. military operations and engagements in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Visit to Belize

During his Nov. 18 visit to Belize, Kelly met with Brig. Gen. David N. Jones, commander of the Belize Defense Force, and Rear Adm. John A. Borland, commander of the nation's coast guard, and discussed security challenges and future U.S. engagement. Kelly also met with U.S. Ambassador Carlos R. Moreno. Current Southcom engagements with Belize focus on improving its capabilities to counter transnational organized crime, participating in joint and multinational training exercises, and increasing capacity to conduct humanitarian and disaster relief missions. Kelly most recently visited Belize in September 2013.

Visit to Guatemala

Kelly arrived in Guatemala Nov. 19 and met with Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Manuel Augusto Lopez Ambrocio and Chief of Defense Carlos Eduardo Estrada Perez. The general also met with U.S. Ambassador Todd D. Robinson. Discussions focused on continued support and training for Guatemala's interagency task force, human rights efforts and future U.S. military engagement activities. Recent focus areas for Southcom's engagement with Guatemala include joint operations and planning, maritime security, information sharing, human rights, communications, logistics and peacekeeping. Kelly previously visited Guatemala in July.

Visit to Honduras Honduras was Kelly's last stop in Central America. He met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Chief of Defense Maj. Gen. Fredy Diaz, and U.S. Ambassador James Nealon. The leaders discussed continued U.S. support to Honduran counterdrug efforts, long-term security assistance and human rights issues. Ongoing U.S. military support to Honduras includes logistical support to Honduran counter trafficking operations, information sharing, training and multinational exercises and increasing capacity to conduct humanitarian and disaster relief missions.

This was Kelly's third visit to Honduras in 2014. He previously visited Honduras in February and June. The Honduran president also visited Southcom headquarters in August.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pass It On: FBI Warns Of Cyber Scammers Targeting Holiday Shoppers


The FBI released the below information:

In advance of the holiday season, the Birmingham FBI Field Office reminds shoppers to beware of cyber criminals and their aggressive and creative ways to steal money and personal information.

Scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims, including fraudulent auction sales, reshipping merchandise purchased with a stolen credit card, sale of fraudulent or stolen gift cards through auction sites at discounted prices, and phishing e-mails advertising brand name merchandise for bargain prices or e-mails promoting the sale of merchandise that ends up being a counterfeit product.

Fraudulent Classified Ads or Auction Sales

Internet criminals post classified ads or auctions for products they do not have. If you receive an auction product from a merchant or retail store rather than directly from the auction seller, the item may have been purchased with someone else’s stolen credit card number. Contact the merchant to verify the account used to pay for the item actually belongs to you.

Shoppers should be cautious and not provide credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or other financial information directly to the seller. Fraudulent sellers will use this information to purchase items for their scheme from the provided financial account. Always use a legitimate payment service to protect purchases.

Diligently check each seller’s rating and feedback along with their number of sales and the dates on which feedback was posted. Be wary of a seller with 100 percent positive feedback if they have a low total number of feedback postings and all feedback was posted around the same date and time.

Gift Card Scam

The safest way to purchase gift cards is directly from the merchant or authorized retail merchant. If the merchant discovers the card you received from another source or auction was initially obtained fraudulently, the merchant will deactivate the gift card number and it will not be honored to make purchases.

Phishing and Social Networking

Be leery of e-mails or text messages you receive indicating a problem or question regarding your financial accounts. In this scam, you are directed to follow a link or call the number provided in the message to update your account or correct the problem. The link actually directs the individual to a fraudulent website or message that appears legitimate; however, any personal information you provide, such as account number and personal identification number (PIN), will be stolen.

Another scam involves victims receiving an e-mail message directing the recipient to a spoofed website. A spoofed website is a fake site or copy of a real website that is designed to mislead the recipient into providing personal information.

Consumers are encouraged to beware of bargain e-mails advertising one day only promotions for recognized brands or websites. Fraudsters often use the hot items of the season to lure bargain hunters into providing credit card information. The old adage “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is” is a good barometer to use to legitimize e-mails.

Black Friday has traditionally been the “biggest shopping day of the year.” The Monday following Thanksgiving has more recently (2005) been labeled Cyber Monday, meaning the e-commerce industry endorses this special day to offer sales and promotions without interfering with the traditional way to shop. Scammers try to prey on Black Friday or Cyber Monday bargain hunters by advertising “one-day only” promotions from recognized brands. Consumers should be on the watch for too good to be true e-mails from unrecognized websites.

Along with online shopping comes the growth of consumers using social networking sites and mobile phones to satisfy their shopping needs more easily. Again, consumers are encouraged to beware of e-mails, text messages, or postings that may lead to fraudulent sites offering bargains on brand name products.

Tips

Here are some tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious of e-mails claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Always run a virus scan on attachment before opening.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the e-mail to the web address link you are directed to and determine if they match.
  • Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the e-mail, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify that the e-mail is genuine.
  • If you are requested to act quickly or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act impulsively.
  • If you receive a request for personal information from a business or financial institution, always look up the main contact information for the requesting company on an independent source (phone book, trusted Internet directory, legitimate billing statement, etc.) and use that contact information to verify the legitimacy of the request.
  • Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
To receive the latest information about cyber scams, please go to the FBI website and sign up for e-mail alerts by clicking the envelope in the upper right corner of the page. If you have received a scam e-mail, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fired Philadelphia Narcotics Cop Covered In Pulitzer Price-Winning Newspaper Series 'Tainted Justice' And True Crime Book 'Busted' Gets His Job Back


David Gambacorta at the Philadelphia Daily News offers a piece on the reinstatement of a Philly cop who was fired.

In a decision that Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey called "disappointing," an arbitrator on Wednesday moved to reinstate fired Philadelphia narcotics cop Jeffrey Cujdik.

Ramsey booted Cujdik from the force in May, following a long-running Internal Affairs investigation into allegations that the veteran cop lied on search warrants and had an inappropriate relationship with an informant - and then lied about both to investigators. The allegations were first unearthed in the 2009 Daily News series "Tainted Justice."

The series, based on interviews with dozens of victims, detailed incidents of misconduct among a group of undercover narcotics officers, including phony search-warrant applications, the looting of bodegas and even sexual assault.

The city has paid out at least $1.7 million to settle 33 lawsuits filed by bodega owners and two women who said they'd been assaulted by a member of Cujdik's squad.

Federal and local probes of the officers were triggered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning series.

Ramsey said Thursday that the arbitration hearing centered on whether he had just cause to fire Cudjik.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141120_Tainted_cop_gets_his_job_back.html

You can also read my interview with the Daily News reporters who wrote the newspaper series and the book Busted via the below link:

http://www.pauldavisoncrime.com/2014/05/my-crime-beat-column-my-q-with-wendy.html

Cybercom Chief Details U.S. Cyber Threats, Trends


Cheryl Pellerin at DoD News offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2014 - Cyber threats are real, hurting the nation and its allies and partners, costing hundreds of billions, and potentially leading to a catastrophic failure if not addressed, Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers told a House panel yesterday.

Rogers, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service, testified before members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on advanced cybersecurity threats facing the United States.

Cyber Challenges 'Not Theoretical'

"There should be [no] doubt in anybody's mind that the cyber challenges we're talking about are not theoretical. This is something real that is impacting our nation and those of our allies and friends every day," Rogers said. Such incidents are costing hundreds of billions of dollars, leading to a reduced sense of security and potentially to "some truly significant, almost catastrophic failures if we don't take action," the admiral added.

In recent weeks, cyber-related incidents have struck the White House, the State Department, the U.S. Postal Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Defense Department, the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the U.S. Treasury also have had cyber intrusions. Sophisticated malware has been found on industrial control systems used to operate U.S. critical infrastructure, and other major intrusions have been reported by J.P. Morgan Chase, Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, Yahoo! Mail, AT&T, Google, Apple and many more companies.

Intrusions Seek to Acquire Capability

"We have ... observed intrusions into industrial control systems," Rogers said. "What concerns us is that ... capability can be used by nation-states, groups or individuals to take down" the capability of the control systems. And "we clearly are seeing instances where nation-states, groups and individuals are aggressively looking to acquire that capability," he added.

Rogers said his team thinks they're seeing reconnaissance by many actors to ensure they understand U.S. systems in advance of exploiting vulnerabilities in the control systems. "We see them attempting to steal information on how our systems are configured, the specific schematics of most of our control systems down to the engineering level of detail so they [see] ... the vulnerabilities, how they are constructed [and] how [to] get in and defeat them," the admiral said. "Those control systems are fundamental to how we work most of our infrastructure across this nation," Rogers added, "and it's not just the United States -- it's on a global basis."

Growth Areas of Vulnerability

When he's asked about coming trends, Rogers said, industry control systems and supervisory control and data acquisition systems, called SCADA systems, come to mind as "big growth areas of vulnerability and action that we're going to see in the coming 12 months." "It's among the things that concern me the most," he added, "because this will be truly destructive if someone decides that's what they want to do."

What it means, he said, is that malware is on some of those systems and attackers may already have the capability to flip a switch and disrupt the activity the switch controls. "Once you're into the system ... it enables you to do things like, if I want to tell power turbines to go offline and stop generating power, you can do that," he explained. "If I want to segment the transmission system so you couldn't distribute the power coming out of power stations, this would enable you to do that."

Criminals as Surrogates for Nation-states

The next trend Rogers sees near-term is for some criminal actors now stealing information designed to generate revenue to begin acting as surrogates for other groups or nations. "I'm watching nation-states attempt to obscure, if you will, their fingerprints," he said. "And one way to do that is to use surrogate groups to attempt to execute these things for you." That's one reason criminal actors are starting to use tools that only nation-states historically have used, the admiral said. "Now you're starting to see criminal gangs in some instances using those tools," he added, "which suggests to us that increasingly in some scenarios we're going to see more linkages between the nation-state and some of these groups. That's a troubling development for us."

Such activities across the cyberscape, he said, make it difficult for private-sector companies to try to defend themselves against rapidly changing threats.

A Legal Framework for Cyber Sharing

But before Cybercom can help commercial companies deal with cyber criminals and adversarial nation-states, Rogers said the command needs a legal framework "that enables us to rapidly share information, machine-to-machine and at machine speed, between the private sector and the government."

The framework, he added, must be fashioned in a way that provides liability protection for the corporate sector and addresses valid concerns about privacy and civil liberties. Such legislation has passed in the House but not in the Senate, and the Senate has created its own similar legislation that has not yet passed the full Senate.

Rogers says there are several ways Cybercom can share what it knows about malicious source code with the private sector so companies can protect their own networks, and assure Americans that NSA isn't collecting or using their personal information while sharing information with private companies.

What the Private Sector Needs

With private-sector companies, Cybercom and NSA must publicly "sit down and define just what elements of information we want to pass to each other," he said, specifying what the private sector needs and what the government needs, and also areas that neither wants to talk about. "I'm not in that private-sector network, therefore I am counting on the private sector to share with us," the admiral said. What he thinks the government owes the private sector is this -- Here are the specifics of the threats we think are coming at you. Here's what it's going to look like. Here's the precursor kinds of activities we think you're going to see before the actual attack. Here's the composition of the malware we think you're going to see. Here's how we think you can defeat it.

What Rogers says he's interested in learning from the private sector is this -- Tell me what you actually saw. Was the malware you detected written along the lines that we anticipated? Was it different and how was it different? When you responded to this, what worked for you and what didn't? How did you configure your networks? What was effective? What can we share with others so the insights of one come to the aid of many? "That's the kind of back-and-forth we need with each other," Rogers said, and legislation is the only thing that will make it happen.

Helping Defend Critical Infrastructure

Rogers says he tells his organization that he fully expects during his time as Cybercom commander to be tasked to help defend critical infrastructure in the United States because it is under attack by some foreign nation or some individual or group. "I say that because we see multiple nation-states and in some cases individuals in groups that have the capability to engage in this behavior," the admiral said, adding that the United States has seen this destructive behavior acted on and observed physical destruction within the corporate sector, although largely outside the nation's borders. "We have seen individuals, groups inside critical U.S. infrastructure. That suggests to us that this vulnerability is an area others want to exploit," the admiral said. "All of that leads me to believe it is only a matter of time when, not if, we are going to see something traumatic." Rogers says he's "pretty comfortable" that there is broad agreement and good delineation within the federal government as to who has what responsibilities if Cybercom is called on during a major cyberattack in the United States.

"The challenge to me is we've got to ... get down to the execution level of detail," he said. "I come from a military culture [which] teaches us to take those broad concepts and agreements and then you train and you exercise. And you do it over and over. That's what we've got to do next."

Note: The above U.S. Navy photo shows sailors assigned to the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command. The photo was taken by Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua J. Wahl.