What would happen if the FBI swooped into a town and arrested the mayor, the city attorney, and all but one member of the city council?
That’s the question Crystal City, Texas, city councilman Joel Barajas is going to have to answer. He’s the one man left on the city council after the FBI arrested the city’s mayor, mayor pro tem, the city attorney, and the rest of the council on corruption or human smuggling charges.
Here’s a link to the Washington Post article headlined FBI arrests nearly all of the top officials of Crystal City, Tex. The information about the city attorney has a Bell-like ring to it.
However, the federal indictment does have some useful information for other cities whose officials may be similarly inclined. This is a very plain-language indictment. One need not be an attorney to understand the federal jurisdiction, the object of the conspiracy, or the crimes alleged.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Ada County voters will see a new type of voting machine starting with the March 8 Republican primary election.
According to this morning’s Idaho Statesman newspaper article headlined Ada County voters may see faster results with new election system, voters will still complete a paper ballot just as in prior elections. The tabulation process will be done at each precinct, and each voter will immediately receive confirmation that his ballot has been accepted or rejected. A rejected ballot can be corrected in the voting booth and resubmitted.
The Statesman article asserts, “The machines do not go online, so there is no risk of hacking.” Unfortunately, the article did not explain if the equipment has been designed, tested, and certified to be resistant to external manipulation or data contamination by electromagnetic interference or radio frequency interference. Neither did the article state if the equipment has been similarly tested and certified to prevent premature revelation of data through electromagnetic or radio frequency emanations.
It will be interesting to see the Idaho Secretary of State’s technical evaluation of the new equipment’s real-world performance after its first election in Ada County.
This morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press skews paper ran an article headlined Press series sparks special council meeting.
In its article, the Press congratulated itself for prompting the Pinehurst, Idaho, city council to “…go into executive session Tuesday night to discuss the town’s police department and public safety.”
But the article also quoted Pinehurst Mayor Bob Jutila saying, “We’ll definitely have input from everybody and have some discussion about it.” That sounds like a public meeting.
OpenCdA wishes that Press writer Keith Cousins’ article had included a specific citation of the statutory authority cited in the agenda for the executive session. A discussion of “the town’s police department and public safety” would not seem to clearly meet the authorization requirements prescribed in § 74-206 of the Idaho Open Meeting Act.
A press release issued on Friday, February 5, by the US Attorney for the District of Idaho announced the federal indictment of eight individuals and the arrest of seven of them for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Among those arrested was Coeur d’Alene resident Dr. Stanley Toelle, a gastroenterologist. He was arrested in Coeur d’Alene.
The criminal enterprise was allegedly headed by Dr. Toelle’s wife, Loren ‘Mama’ Toelle (Hill). She was arrested in Las Vegas. The enterprise operated in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota including the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
Dr. Stanley Toelle was indicted for money laundering. In very simple terms, money laundering is the practice of changing the cash directly associated with and traceable to illegal transactions into some negotiable instrument or something else of value that cannot be connected back to the original crimes.
Cash transactions, particularly if unusually large or numerous, can attract unwanted attention from law enforcement. Money laundering charges frequently accompany charges of drug trafficking and public official corruption. And as HSBC learned, involvement in the money laundering process can be very expensive.
To those in Kootenai County who say it couldn’t happen here … Welcome to the real world. It’s been happening here for years.
OpenCdA will continue to follow this case through the federal court system.
The Tuesday, February 2, 2016, edition of the local skewspaper, the Coeur d’Alene Press, ran an article headlined Cadets gain tech experience in CyberPatriot competition.
OpenCda commends the CAP Cadets desire to better understand and develop countermeasures to overcome technological vulnerabilities.
However, we respectfully point out an error in the reader ASNichols’ comment “this computer will solve all those issues ‘IBM Selectric II’ hack proof and crash proof.”
We urge the Cadets and ASNichols to read the declassified NSA report entitled (U) Learning from the Enemy: The GUNMAN Project. A more abbreviated and readable derivation of this report is entitled IBM Selectric Bug — Operation Gunman.
The lesson we hope the Cadets take away is that while technology is vulnerable, developing effective countermeasures to those vulnerabilities also requires an understanding of the mindset of your adversary seeking to exploit your technology.
Respected Kootenai County businessman Frank Davis has filed a Petition for Relief Under Idaho Public Records Act in the First District Court of Idaho.
In his petition Davis asks the Court to compel the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office to release certain information Davis believes is being withheld contrary to Idaho law.
The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center by self-proclaimed supporters of ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond is coming to a close.
Here is a link to the now-unsealed 32-page federal criminal complaint filed in Oregon’s federal district court. (The complaint explains our choice of image to accompany this post.)
Careful readers will note that the allegations are for violations of 18 USC §372: Conspiracy to impede or injure officer. The complaint may be amended to add more charges later, however to better understand why the US Attorney for the District of Oregon may have chosen to file under 18 USC §372, read the Congressional Research Service Report released January 16, 2016, entitled Federal Conspiracy Law: A Brief Overview.
Many pundits allege that President Obama has overstepped his authority by imposing administrative actions without legislative approval. They suggest he has violated the Separation of Powers doctrine in the Constitution. That doctrine was built into the Constitution to keep power from consolidating in any single person or entity.
This CRS report dated January 8, 2016, tries to provide an overview of the Separation of Powers philosophy and doctrine.
On January 4, 2016, the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners heard an after-action report from Sandy von Behren, Director of the Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management. As itemized in the meeting agenda, her report discussed several emergencies that affected some or all of Kootenai County during 2015.
OpenCdA urges its readers to take about an hour and listen to the audio recording of her presentation and the responses from the County Commissioners. (After clicking on the hyperlink, click on the caption 01-04-2016 Office of Emergency Management Update – cs, then click the Open O button.) Readers may also want to review some or all of our previous posts on Windstorm 2015.
The Congressional Research Service has published a 23-page report entitled The Presidential Nominating Process and the National Nominating Conventions, 2016: Frequently Asked Questions. The report was released December 30, 2015.
CRS reports are intended for members of Congress, not the general public. Shouldn’t elected members of Congress already know this stuff?