Science and Technology News

Friday, July 20, 2018

Attorney General Sessions Announces Publication of Cyber-Digital Task Force Report

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today the public release of a report produced by the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force.  The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the cyber-enabled threats confronting the Nation, and catalogs the ways in which the Department of Justice combats those threats.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein formally issued the report in remarks delivered today at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.

Attorney General Sessions established the Cyber-Digital Task Force within the Department in February 2018 and directed the Task Force to answer two basic questions:  how is the Department responding to global cyber threats?  And how can federal law enforcement accomplish its mission in this area more effectively?  Today’s report answers the first question.  It canvasses a wide spectrum of cyber threats; defines the multi-faceted challenges posed by cyber-enabled crime; describes the Department’s work in detecting, deterring, and disrupting threats; explains how the Department collaborates with other government departments and with the private sector to respond to cyber incidents; and explores how the Department trains and maintains a skilled workforce.

“The Internet has given us amazing new tools that help us work, communicate, and participate in our economy, but these tools can be—and frequently are—exploited by criminals, terrorists, and enemy governments,” Attorney General Sessions said.  “At the Department of Justice, we take these threats seriously.  That is why I am grateful to the members of the Cyber-Digital Task Force for providing me with this thorough, first-of-its-kind report, which comprehensively details the scope of the problem and provides initial recommendations on the most effective ways that the Department can confront cyber threats and keep the American people safe.”

The report begins by focusing on one of the most pressing cyber-enabled threats confronting the Nation: the threat posed by malign foreign influence operations.  Chapter 1 explains what foreign influence operations are and describes how foreign adversaries have used these operations to target our Nation’s democratic processes, including our elections.  It concludes by describing the Department’s efforts to protect the 2018 midterm elections and announces a new Department policy that governs the disclosure of foreign influence operations.

Chapters 2 and 3 discuss other significant cyber threats, particularly those relating to sophisticated cybercrime schemes, and describes how the Department is deploying its capabilities to combat them.  Chapter 4 focuses on the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in responding to cyber incidents.  Chapter 5 describes the Department’s efforts to recruit and train qualified personnel on cyber matters.  Chapter 6 concludes the report by identifying certain priority policy matters and charting a path for the Task Force’s future work.

The Task Force is chaired by Associate Deputy Attorney General Sujit Raman.  Task Force members include John P. Cronan, now the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division who until recently served as Acting Assistant Attorney General; John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division; Beth A. Williams, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy; John M. Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division; Andrew E. Lelling, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts; Peter A. Winn, the Department’s Acting Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer; and two senior executives at the FBI.  Components from across the Department contributed to the drafting of the Task Force report.  The initial report of the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force can be downloaded here, along with a fact sheet here.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

City to Launch 'Smart911' Allowing Citizens to Create an Emergency Profile
Cincinnati Enquirer, (07/11/2018), Sarah Brookbank
Cincinnati area residents now have the option of registering both cellphones and landlines with the city's system. Users can create a Safety Profile that can include persons to contact, medical notes, car make and model, and more; this profile will display whenever that number calls 911.
Link to Article

Secret Service Issues "Actionable" Guide to Help Identify Students Who May Be a Threat
CBS This Morning, (07/12/2018), Kolbe Nelson
The U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center has released a new step-by-step guide aimed at helping schools identify students who might be a threat. A threat assessment program helps students and teachers identify individuals who might be exhibiting questionable behavior or experiencing some sort of distress.
Link to Article

The Unlikely Crime-Fighter Cracking Decades-Old Murders? A Genealogist.
Washington Post, (07/16/2018), Justin Jouvenal
Since law enforcement used genealogical data to build a profile and locate a man suspected of being the Golden State Killer, other departments have adopted the technique for use in solving cold cases.  A team based at Parabon NanoLabs in Reston, Va., has proven instrumental in using similar techniques to solve several cases, most recently one in Indiana involving a case from 1988. However, there are a number of concerns about law enforcement's use of genealogical data as a crime-solving tool.
Link to Article

Corrections News

Jail and Opioids Keep More Men Out of the Workforce in the US Than in Other Big Economies: Goldman
CNBC, (07/12/2018), Liz Moyer
In the United States, higher incarceration rates and opioid abuse have contributed to a low labor force participation rate among men of prime working age. According to research just released by Goldman Sachs, that rate is more than 3 percentage points less than the rate in other developed countries. The research says that one-third of the difference can be explained by opioid abuse and incarceration.
Link to Article

These Formerly Incarcerated Entrepreneurs Are Trying to Keep People Out of Prison
VICE, (07/06/2018), Mary Mazzoni
Unlocked Futures, a business accelerator, annually supports business ventures by eight entrepreneurs impacted by the criminal justice system to provide assistance. All of these initiatives offer help to others who have been incarcerated; this article profiles several of those initiatives.
Link to Article

College Degree Options Are Disappearing for Women in Texas Prisons
Observer, (07/12/2018), Michael Barajas
Texas A&M University-Central is in the process of phasing out several four-year degree programs offered to women in the state's prison system, leaving women with access to only associate's degree programs. Men in the state's system can continue to earn both bachelor's and master's degrees
Link to Article

Injunction Stops the Nevada Prison Planning to Use Fentanyl in an Execution
Slate, (07/11/2018), Rob Dozier
Alvogen, the pharmaceutical company that made one of three drugs to be used in an execution in Nevada, sued to stop the July 11 execution because it did not want its drug to be used. The "drug cocktail" was also to include fentanyl, a key factor in the nationwide opioid crisis. It was the first time any U.S. prison had planned to use fentanyl in an execution.
Link to Article

Drug Users on Probation Can be Required to Remain Drug-Free, Court Rules
WTVR6, (07/16/2018)
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that putting a person who is on probation back in jail after a single positive drug test is not cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling came as a result of appeals regarding a case in which a woman who had been struggling with opioid addiction relapsed while undergoing treatment. Her attorney argued that the time spent in jail hindered, rather than helped, her eventual recovery.
Link to Article

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dark Web Vendor Sentenced to 108 Months in Prison for Narcotics Trafficking and Money Laundering Charges

Adam Lemar Miles, a/k/a “NoStress,” 46, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Ursula M. Ungaro to a total of 108 months in prison, to be followed by 4 years of supervised release. 

Benjamin G. Greenberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Office; Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); Antonio J. Gomez, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Field Office; Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office; Ari C. Shapira, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office; and Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), made the announcement.

Miles previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846; three counts of distribution of a controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(l); and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h). As part of his plea agreement, Miles agreed to forfeit a shotgun, a rifle, two pistols, a revolver, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and $61,872 in seized U.S. currency.

According to publicly filed court documents, agents were investigating vendors who utilize Dark Web marketplaces to advertise and distribute controlled substances.  Agents identified a vendor with variations of the moniker “NoStress” who was advertising controlled substances, including methamphetamine and hydrocodone, on dark web marketplaces. On three separate occasions, agents purchased and received 7 grams of methamphetamine, 11 hydrocodone pills, and 14 grams of crystal methamphetamine from vendor accounts operated by Miles on the dark web.

On January 10, 2018, a search warrant was executed on Miles’ home in Riverside, California.  Evidence recovered from Miles’ home exposed the defendant as the vendor known as “NoStress.”  Additional evidence revealed Miles had distributed at least 350 grams of methamphetamine on the dark web, since 2015.

This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement.

Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the DEA, Miami and Riverside, California Field Offices; IRS-CI, Miami Field Office; USPIS, Miami Field Office; ICE-HSI, Miami Field Office; ATF, Miami and Riverside, California Field Offices; and the FBI, Miami Field Office.  Mr. Greenberg also thanked the staff of the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California for their assistance.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Breezye Telfair.