FBI

The ongoing court battle over warrantless cell phone location tracking continues and the latest decision is another setback for the Fourth Amendment. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that individuals have no reasonable expectation of privacy over their location data. The decision states that location data is a “business record” created by private companies with the implicit consent of cell phone users and therefore are not subject to privacy protections.

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* Obama nominates a Bush Republican to head the FBI. James Comey was on all sorts of Bush short lists. Kumbaya. [New York Times]

* A nice summer reminder: this woman didn’t recover damages from Great Adventure water ride injury. Here’s another reminder: Six Flags destroys Disney. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* NASDAQ gets BTCHSLAPD. [National Law Journal]

* Meanwhile, Total Oil is also getting slapped by the SEC. Looks like somebody over there ate their Total. [Breaking Energy]

* The “elitist white boy” approach to law enforcement gets called out. Bobby Rush is now my hero. [Talking Points Memo]

* Darius Kingsley, a former Treasury official, is the new co-general counsel of JPMorgan’s commercial bank. [Corporate Counsel]

* Florida Governor Rick Scott can’t randomly drug test all state workers. I’d be in favor of random drug testing for Rick Scott voters. [Reuters]

* Justin Bieber has apparently abandoned his 20-week-old monkey, Mally, after having her confiscated because he couldn’t comply with animal control laws in Germany. Now in a shelter somewhere in Germany, there’s one more lonely girl. [Lowering the Bar]

* Ann Althouse posted FOUR TIMES about Barack Obama’s umbrella over the weekend. Somebody is really putting off grading those papers. [Althouse]

* Alabama judge faces $25 million lawsuit alleging he improperly took a case from another judge and issued damaging rulings. This is the judge who ran against Chief Justice Roy “Don’t Remove the Ten Commandments From the Courthouse” Moore. The moral of the story is: don’t use the Alabama judicial system. [Legal Schnauzer]

* The FBI may be looking into whether lawyers conspired to have opposing counsel arrested on DUI charges by using a “comely paralegal” to get the lawyer drunk and then ask him to drive her home. [Tampa Bay Times]

* Statewide Virginia Republican candidates are no friends of the libertarian wing of the conservative movement. On the other hand, are there viable conservative candidates not named “Paul” that are friends of the libertarian wing of the conservative movement? [CATO at Liberty]

* The IRS scandal gets the SNL treatment courtesy of Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler. Video after the jump…

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Yesterday, with hours to spare, the Mississippi Supreme Court stayed the execution of Willie Manning by a vote of 8-1. The stay was granted based on letters from the Department of Justice casting doubt on the scientific value of testimony from FBI experts at the trial almost 20 years ago.

The lone dissenter, Justice Mike Randolph, outlined his interest in putting someone to death immediately over the objections of the Department of Justice and its FBI experts. The decision reads like satire, making the case for the stay stronger than any majority opinion could. Oh, and then there’s some conspiracy rantings about the Obama Administration because, you know, Mississippi…

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* The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to wade into the constitutional contretemps of recess appointments, but if the high court refuses to take up the case, it may be back to the drawing board for the NLRB. [National Law Journal]

* The Am Law 100 law firm rankings are out, and it looks like there’s a new leader of the pack in terms of gross revenue. But which firm could it be? Not Skadden or Baker & McKenzie. We’ll likely have coverage on this later. [American Lawyer]

* Apparently the FBI wanted to continue questioning Dzhokhar Tsarnaev under Miranda’s public-safety exception, but a judge read the accused bomber his rights anyway. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* “This case is over. Someone should put it out of its misery.” Be that as it may, New York’s attorney general is desperate to get AIG’s Maurice Greenberg on the stand at trial. [DealBook / New York Times]

* “I have had it with these motherf**king snakes in my motherf**king files!” This spring, clerks in this old Mississippi courthouse are finding more and more snakes filed under “Ssssssss.” [Associated Press]

* Fast moving developments in the Boston case. The FBI wanted your help finding these guys. Now it says one is already dead and the other is on the run. [New York Times]

* Wow. The accused ricin mailer is messed up. [Washington Post]

* Lawyer turns down an $8M settlement and wins $130M. If you believe the New York Post. And you shouldn’t. [New York Post]

* Morgan Stanley is boring. [Dealbreaker]

* Remember our ally Musharraf? He’s in jail. [Los Angeles Times]

* Sorry wife, former Justice of the Peace charged with TOTALLY violating the peace. [CNN]

Kevin Ring in happier times.

Full disclosure: Former Jack Abramoff associate Kevin Ring, whose criminal conviction was recently upheld by the D.C. Circuit, is a friend of mine.  We grew up in the same town and have known one another for decades. In no way is what follows unbiased or objective in any sense.  That said, I know that I’m right and the case against Kevin Ring was simply, unambiguously wrong.  Not to say that there was no ambiguity as to whether he broke a law — there was a tiny bit of that. But under no sane system of justice would Kevin be going to federal prison. Though he almost certainly is, pending a request for en banc rehearing from the D.C. Circuit followed by a Hail Mary filing for a writ of certiorari.

We can all stipulate that Jack Abramoff is one of the sleaziest and most repellent characters to besmirch the legal profession in decades.  (My favorite Abramoff moment: the time he tried convince his rabbi to bestow upon him  a fake, back-datedScholar of Talmudic Studies” award, so he could get in the Cosmos Club.)

Anyway, Abramoff was Kevin’s boss for three and a half years, during the final period of which they were both partners at Greenberg Traurig.  In the words of the judge at his sentencing hearing, Kevin was a “cog” in the Abramoff operation, a “second-tier level” administrator of the firm’s lobbying team.  I won’t try to spin Kevin’s time as a lobbyist as some honorable endeavor.  I couldn’t. Generally speaking, lobbyists are regarded by most of us as only slightly less distasteful than the politicians whose favor they are trying to curry.  But that does not make them criminals….

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I spy with my little eye… FBI sext messages?!?

When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it’s for official use. It’s not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry.

Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, commenting on a “rash of sexting cases” detailed in an FBI disciplinary report.

(After taking a look at this report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation ought to consider changing its name to Frat Bros International. Let’s check it out.)

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Cyber security is all the rage this week, with President Obama announcing that he’s working on a new cyber war plan and the Internets freaking out that the Super Bowl blackout was really a Chinese hacking effort.

Some of you probably assume the ATL front page was hacked this week. Don’t worry though…we made all those problems ourselves.

Cyber attacks on U.S. businesses have increased dramatically as savvy hackers look to steal financial and intellectual assets from computer systems. The smartest cyber criminals have even figured out the best way to get what they want is to avoid the target corporation entirely and aim straight for their law firm — the soft underbelly of American cyber security…

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Thanks to spyware, an FBI dad got a gift-wrapped child porn case.

Like any dad, Joseph Auther was worried about what his son might get up to while exploring the wilds of the World Wide Web. So when his 7th grade son got a school-provided laptop from Whispering Palms School in Saipan in the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, Auther decided to install a monitoring program on it. He went with a spyware program called eBlaster from SpectorSoft, a company based in Vero Beach, Florida. Unbeknownst to his son, the program captured his website visits, his keystrokes, and every email, chat, and instant message he sent and received. This was all delivered up to his dad in emails, while giving the monitored person no hint that it was doing so.

Auther has a special appreciation for the benefits of surveillance. He’s an FBI special agent. In April, he discovered he was being transferred to the FBI office in Denver. At the end of the school year, Auther let Whispering Palms principal Thomas Weindl know that his family was moving and that they would be returning the school’s laptop. Weindl, 67, was actually a friend of the Auther family; when he got married earlier that year, Auther’s wife gave a reading at the ceremony. Auther told Weindl that he would return the laptop after he removed all of his son’s files, programs, and games.

Auther first took the laptop to his FBI office and asked his colleagues how to wipe it clean. Apparently they don’t have many cyber experts in the Mariana Islands, because they were unsuccessful. So Auther had to instead take it to a computer repair shop, which cleaned out the old files and allegedly re-imaged the hard drive to return it to its original settings. Auther didn’t tell the shop about eBlaster being on the computer — perhaps feeling a little Big Parent shame — but assumed that it would be wiped along with everything else. He then returned the computer to Weindl….

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