Sunday, July 7th, 2013 — Good Morning, Stay Safe
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Confines of the 90 Precinct
NYPD van strikes and kills man in Brooklyn
A uniformed officer struck 61-year-old Felix Coss under an elevated J line track in Williamsburg. The victim was taken to the hospital and declared dead on arrival. It is unknown if the officer was responding to an emergency prior to the accident.
By Peter Gerber AND Thomas Tracy — Sunday, July 7th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’
An NYPD van struck and killed a 61-year-old man in Brooklyn on Saturday, officials said.
Felix Coss was crossing Broadway at Hooper St. under the elevated J line in Williamsburg at 3:15 p.m. when the marked vehicle hit him, sources said.
The van, which witnesses said was being driven by a uniformed officer, was turning left from Hooper St. onto Broadway when it hit Coss, who lived on nearby Hewes St.
“It was pretty frantic, a lot of cops came,” said one witness, who wouldn’t give her name. “(The victim) didn’t seem to be moving or conscious.”
Coss was taken to Bellevue Hospital in extremely critical condition and was declared dead upon arrival.
It was unclear if the cop in the van was responding to an emergency. Police were still investigating.
Cop van hits & kills pedestrian
By MATT MCNULTY — Sunday, July 7th, 2013 ‘The New York Post’
An NYPD van fatally struck a pedestrian in Williamsburg yesterday, police said.
Felix Coss, 61, was crossing Broadway from north to south at the intersection of Hooper Street at around 4:30 p.m. when the marked police vehicle struck him, police said.
The cops were headed southbound on Hooper Street and making a left turn onto Broadway at the time of the accident, police said.
The victim was just two blocks from his Hewes Street home when he was hit.
Coss, who suffered severe head trauma, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he later died, cops said.
Police were still investigating the cause of the accident late last night. It was not immediately known whether or not the pedestrian was crossing against the light, cops said.
Impact Rookie Jamil Sarwar
‘Sniper-shot’ officer is true blue
By JENNIFER BAIN — Sunday, July 7th, 2013 ‘The New York Post’
Bullet or no, he always honors the badge.
Brooklyn rookie cop Jamil Sarwar, 30, said being shot in the leg by a sniper didn’t stop him from doing his duty on the Fourth of July.
“I heard the gunshot, and as a police officer, you’re in the uniform, and you just respond,” he told The Post yesterday. “Everyone is looking at us. I’m the police. I’m not a regular person [when I’m] in my uniform.”
Sarwar and his partner, Officer Javier Solis, were on foot patrol in the Cypress Hill Houses to monitor gang activity when Sarwar was shot in the leg by a mystery sniper, law-enforcement sources said.
The Bangladesh native came to the US in 2006 and became a traffic-enforcement officer, signing up for the Police Academy in 2012 after earning his citizenship.
“It was always a dream of mine to become a police officer, and the NYPD is the best police department in the world,” Sarwar said.
Cops said they have yet to nab a suspect.
Why is Chicago always so much more violent?
By Greg Hinz — Sunday, July 7th, 2013 ‘The Crain's Chicago Business’ / Chicago, IL
In 1934, the year Al Capone moved to the new federal prison on Alcatraz Island, Chicago had a homicide rate of 10.09 per 100,000 people—roughly twice the rate of New York and Los Angeles.
In 2010, the last year for which comparable figures are available, Chicago's homicide rate was 16.03 per 100,000—well above the figure from the gangland "30s, and again two to three times the rate of the two larger cities.
Those remarkable figures come from the number crunchers at the University of Chicago Crime Lab. They indicate that, except for the crack epidemic of the mid-1970s to mid-'90s, Chicago almost always has led New York and Los Angeles in a race you don't want to win. The question is, why? Why does Chicago seem to have the violence gene?
The U of C folks are still studying the just-compiled data. So I asked some other experts and, while I don't claim to know the whole answer, they provided some explanations that make sense.
For instance, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who finally seems to have turned the corner after an extremely rocky 2012, says that what's most apparent is the relative abundance of firearms here compared with the two coastal cities.
In a six-month period last year, police here seized nine times as many guns as counterparts did in New York and three times as many as in Los Angeles, relative to population, he says. “There are great cops here and great cops there. I don't think our cops are nine times better.”
Mr. McCarthy would know, at least about New York. A former deputy commissioner there before getting the job here, he says New York state enacted laws during the crack epidemic that really worked, things like mandatory reporting of “lost” or “stolen” guns to highlight the possibility of straw purchases, mandatory minimum sentences of three years for gun offenses and limits on the size of ammunition clips.
Other techniques employed there, such as targeting of police resources in hot-spot neighborhoods, are beginning to make an impact since he implemented them here, the police chief says. But, in the end, it comes down to the proliferation of firearms and the lack of punishment of offenders.
“The criminal justice system in Illinois is not designed to end gun violence,” he says.
Some very similar thoughts come from Dan Kirk, the chief of staff to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.
New York “has done a better job of devising laws that respond to known and emerging public safety problems,” he says. Ergo, Illinois just got a street-gang racketeering law that New York has had for decades. That should curb the “generational” quality here in which kids often join the same gang that lured their fathers or even grandfathers, he says. Another example is a New York statute requiring offenders to serve 85 percent of their sentence. Lawmakers here so far have balked at enacting a similar minimum.
Unfortunately, one thing Chicago can't do is move, Mr. Kirk adds. Unlike New York or Los Angeles, Chicago is close to states like Indiana where guns can be obtained handily, he says. “It's simply easier to get guns in Illinois.”
Perhaps that explains that stunning U of C data. Or, to cite another theory I've heard, perhaps officials here never cared enough to do what really needs to be done because gang violence has been viewed as mostly a black and Latino problem.
I don't know. What I do know is, we have to keep looking for answers.
In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.
By ERIC LICHTBLAU — Sunday, July 7th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’
WASHINGTON — In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.
The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court’s classified decisions.
The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come, the officials said.
Last month, a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward J. Snowden, leaked a classified order from the FISA court, which authorized the collection of all phone-tracing data from Verizon business customers. But the court’s still-secret decisions go far beyond any single surveillance order, the officials said.
“We’ve seen a growing body of law from the court,” a former intelligence official said. “What you have is a common law that develops where the court is issuing orders involving particular types of surveillance, particular types of targets.”
In one of the court’s most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the “special needs” doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures, the officials said.
The special needs doctrine was originally established in 1989 by the Supreme Court in a ruling allowing the drug testing of railway workers, finding that a minimal intrusion on privacy was justified by the government’s need to combat an overriding public danger. Applying that concept more broadly, the FISA judges have ruled that the N.S.A.’s collection and examination of Americans’ communications data to track possible terrorists does not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, the officials said.
That legal interpretation is significant, several outside legal experts said, because it uses a relatively narrow area of the law — used to justify airport screenings, for instance, or drunken-driving checkpoints — and applies it much more broadly, in secret, to the wholesale collection of communications in pursuit of terrorism suspects. “It seems like a legal stretch,” William C. Banks, a national security law expert at Syracuse University, said in response to a description of the decision. “It’s another way of tilting the scales toward the government in its access to all this data.”
While President Obama and his intelligence advisers have spoken of the surveillance programs leaked by Mr. Snowden mainly in terms of combating terrorism, the court has also interpreted the law in ways that extend into other national security concerns. In one recent case, for instance, intelligence officials were able to get access to an e-mail attachment sent within the United States because they said they were worried that the e-mail contained a schematic drawing or a diagram possibly connected to Iran’s nuclear program.
In the past, that probably would have required a court warrant because the suspicious e-mail involved American communications. In this case, however, a little-noticed provision in a 2008 law, expanding the definition of “foreign intelligence” to include “weapons of mass destruction,” was used to justify access to the message.
The court’s use of that language has allowed intelligence officials to get wider access to data and communications that they believe may be linked to nuclear proliferation, the officials said. They added that other secret findings had eased access to data on espionage, cyberattacks and other possible threats connected to foreign intelligence.
“The definition of ‘foreign intelligence’ is very broad,” another former intelligence official said in an interview. “An espionage target, a nuclear proliferation target, that all falls within FISA, and the court has signed off on that.”
The official, like a half-dozen other current and former national security officials, discussed the court’s rulings and the general trends they have established on the condition of anonymity because they are classified. Judges on the FISA court refused to comment on the scope and volume of their decisions.
Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case — the government — and its findings are almost never made public. A Court of Review is empaneled to hear appeals, but that is known to have happened only a handful of times in the court’s history, and no case has ever been taken to the Supreme Court. In fact, it is not clear in all circumstances whether Internet and phone companies that are turning over the reams of data even have the right to appear before the FISA court.
Created by Congress in 1978 as a check against wiretapping abuses by the government, the court meets in a secure, nondescript room in the federal courthouse in Washington. All of the current 11 judges, who serve seven-year terms, were appointed to the special court by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and 10 of them were nominated to the bench by Republican presidents. Most hail from districts outside the capital and come in rotating shifts to hear surveillance applications; a single judge signs most surveillance orders, which totaled nearly 1,800 last year. None of the requests from the intelligence agencies was denied, according to the court.
Beyond broader legal rulings, the judges have had to resolve questions about newer types of technology, like video conferencing, and how and when the government can get access to them, the officials said.
The judges have also had to intervene repeatedly when private Internet and phone companies, which provide much of the data to the N.S.A., have raised concerns that the government is overreaching in its demands for records or when the government itself reports that it has inadvertently collected more data than was authorized, the officials said. In such cases, the court has repeatedly ordered the N.S.A. to destroy the Internet or phone data that was improperly collected, the officials said.
The officials said one central concept connects a number of the court’s opinions. The judges have concluded that the mere collection of enormous volumes of “metadata” — facts like the time of phone calls and the numbers dialed, but not the content of conversations — does not violate the Fourth Amendment, as long as the government establishes a valid reason under national security regulations before taking the next step of actually examining the contents of an American’s communications.
This concept is rooted partly in the “special needs” provision the court has embraced. “The basic idea is that it’s O.K. to create this huge pond of data,” a third official said, “but you have to establish a reason to stick your pole in the water and start fishing.”
Under the new procedures passed by Congress in 2008 in the FISA Amendments Act, even the collection of metadata must be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation or other intelligence activities.
The court has indicated that while individual pieces of data may not appear “relevant” to a terrorism investigation, the total picture that the bits of data create may in fact be relevant, according to the officials with knowledge of the decisions.
Geoffrey R. Stone, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said he was troubled by the idea that the court is creating a significant body of law without hearing from anyone outside the government, forgoing the adversarial system that is a staple of the American justice system. “That whole notion is missing in this process,” he said.
The FISA judges have bristled at criticism that they are a rubber stamp for the government, occasionally speaking out to say they apply rigor in their scrutiny of government requests. Most of the surveillance operations involve the N.S.A., an eavesdropping behemoth that has listening posts around the world. Its role in gathering intelligence within the United States has grown enormously since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Soon after, President George W. Bush, under a secret wiretapping program that circumvented the FISA court, authorized the N.S.A. to collect metadata and in some cases listen in on foreign calls to or from the United States. After a heated debate, the essential elements of the Bush program were put into law by Congress in 2007, but with greater involvement by the FISA court.
Even before the leaks by Mr. Snowden, members of Congress and civil liberties advocates had been pressing for declassifying and publicly releasing court decisions, perhaps in summary form.
Reggie B. Walton, the FISA court’s presiding judge, wrote in March that he recognized the “potential benefit of better informing the public” about the court’s decisions. But, he said, there are “serious obstacles” to doing so because of the potential for misunderstanding caused by omitting classified details.
Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the N.S.A. director, was noncommittal when he was pressed at a Senate hearing in June to put out some version of the court’s decisions.
While he pledged to try to make more decisions public, he said, “I don’t want to jeopardize the security of Americans by making a mistake in saying, ‘Yes, we’re going to do all that.’ ”
AP Interview: Ex-FBI chief on risk of cyber terror
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK (The Associated Press) — Sunday, July 7th, 2013; 9:04 a.m. EDT
DUBLIN (AP) -- United States intelligence officials must do a better job analyzing the mountains of global internet, telephone and financial data they already collect to thwart the cyber terrorists of tomorrow, according to former FBI director Louis Freeh.
Speaking to The Associated Press ahead of the Global Intelligence Forum starting Monday in Ireland, Freeh said hackers seeking to take control of, or take down, key pieces of U.S. infrastructure could do more damage than the attackers of 9/11. He said computer systems controlling power plants, the navigation of aircraft and ships, and even the switching of street lights could be hijacked to gridlock societies and kill large groups of people.
"People traditionally think of this threat as somebody stealing their identity or their credit card number, or making it inconvenient to go to the ATM (cash machine). That's a very benign view of the potential for what cyber terrorism really is," Freeh said.
"You could manipulate transportation systems, aviation guidance systems, highway safety systems, maritime operations systems. You could shut down an energy system in the northeast U.S. in the middle of winter. The potential for mass destruction in terms of life and property is really only limited by (the attackers') access and success in penetrating and hijacking these networks," he said.
Freeh said people shouldn't be lulled into complacency just because hackers' attacks on government and business targets to date hadn't directly killed anybody.
"There's a lot of technology and a lot of ability out there, particularly with state actors," he said, referring to other governments' cyber-spying operations including in China, which U.S. authorities previously have blamed for stealing American corporate trade secrets. "We went through the Cold War without anybody using a nuclear bomb, but that didn't mean the capability and threat weren't there."
Freeh, 63, directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1993 to 2001, leaving just before the al-Qaida attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In the years since he's become a top private investigator, most recently publishing the report into the cover-up of child abuse in the Penn State University football program. Last week he was appointed to oversee a probe into alleged corruption and malpractice in the payouts of billions in compensation from BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
He said his keynote speech Monday to an annual seminar organized by Mercyhurst University's Institute for Intelligence Studies would focus on how intelligence and law-enforcement agencies need to use the internet to identify threats - and keep their own secrets secure. The four-day conference brings together intelligence officials worldwide, with a focus this year on combating internet-based crime.
It takes place against the backdrop of continuing revelations from former U.S. National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden, who is believed still to be holed up in Moscow's airport three weeks after the U.S. Justice Department charged him with espionage and theft of government property.
Freeh questioned Snowden's description as a whistleblower - and why the NSA ever gave Snowden such access to its secrets without effective supervision.
He said Snowden should "come to a forum or an arena where he can raise his whistleblower defense." He said the NSA, like other U.S. government agencies, has an internal reporting process for whistleblowers alleging wrongdoing but Snowden appears not to have used this.
"He's said publicly that he was witnessing and participating at least indirectly in what he thought was a mass violation of U.S. rights, constitutional rights, human rights, and so was forced to publicly disclose this. It's just not accurate. It's Hollywood-esque and may be romantic for somebody to think: My God, this guy had no choice. But the reality is he had plenty of options and choices," Freeh said.
He said the NSA gave Snowden system-wide access with "the ability to extract and copy top-secret documents detailing secured and elaborate programs." He noted that a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that employee insiders committed around a third of all breaches of sensitive data.
And that, he said, was the biggest issue for government agencies and corporations: What should be accessible on its own internal intranet connections, and who should be cleared to see it?
As things stand now, he said, "too many people have too much access" to sensitive documents in companies and government agencies. He suggested that a group's most confidential information might have to be left without an electronic fingerprint at all and be kept, old school, like the Coca-Cola company's recipe for its soft drinks once was under lock and key in a safe.
But he said, conversely, everyone in the 21st century should assume that every time we click our keyboard, or thumb our smart phone, it's being put blindly into multiple databases ranging from internet aggregators to NSA hard drives.
For law enforcement officials, he said, the challenge was whether this tsunami of information could be mined effectively before an attack. While he described U.S. collection of data as "very robust," its analysis and use in detecting crimes was not.
"In the internet world we live in, all of our data is collected. I'm going to walk around with my cell phone today and my carrier is going to know my location on a minute-by-minute basis," he said. "So it's not really the data. It's how you protect it, how you manage it, and what people's expectations are for its utilization."
Online: Mercyhurst event, http://www.globalintelligenceforum.com/