April 2, 2016

Change in CdA Council Meeting Time?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 7:35 am

clockat515Citizens who pay attention to what the Coeur d’Alene City Council does will want to look carefully at the online agenda for the council meeting on April 5.  This agenda was retrieved at 7 AM on Saturday, April 2.

First, note the time-date line above agenda item ‘A’ shows that the meeting begins at 5:15 PM, not the usual 6 PM.

Second, note that agenda item ‘A’ and agenda item ‘M’ show the Council in Executive Session.  That is not a typographical error; the Council intends to hold two Executive Sessions during this meeting.    However, if the Agenda is followed as published, it will create a violation of Idaho’s Open Meetings Law.

The Open Meetings Law does not forbid multiple executive sessions in the same public meeting.  The Council is allowed to have more than one Executive Session as long as each is properly noticed on the council meeting agenda and convened only after passage of the statutorily required motion.

But the agenda published online and linked above shows that the first item of business at 5:15 p.m. will be conducted in Executive Session.  The next item of business after that would convene the public City Council meeting.  That would violate Idaho’s Open Meetings Law.

The Open Meetings Law absolutely requires that before going into Executive Session, the Council must first convene a properly announced public meeting, then during that meeting offer and pass a motion to go into Executive Session.  The Law forbids using an Executive Session “… for the purpose of taking any final action or making any final decision.”  Because the Executive Session motion results in a final action or final decision, it must be passed and memorialized in the minutes of the already-convened public meeting.

If Coeur d’Alene’s Mayor, City Council, City Administrator, City Clerk, and City Attorney care about following the Open Meetings Law, they need to amend the agenda as provided by the Law.  The agenda needs to be formally amended to simply reverse the position of agenda items ‘A’ and ‘B’.  The Tuesday, April 5, 2015, Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting needs to be convened in open session before the motion to go into Executive Session can be offered and passed.

March 30, 2016

Apple Bites, Part 6: Why Not Use the NSA?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 10:24 am

AppleCore copyMore than a few people have scoffed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) apparent inability to independently defeat the zero day safeguard designed and built into the Apple iPhone 5C used by the San Berdo Two  Islamist terrorists.

The scoffers often suggest the FBI should simply have turned to the National Security Agency (NSA), the nation’s codebreakers.  Couldn’t the NSA or other components of the US Intelligence Community (IC) have cracked into an iPhone 5C?

In OpenCdA’s opinion, the answer to the question posed is an unqualified “Yes.”

We also believe there is a reasonable explanation why the FBI handled this case the way it did. (more…)

March 29, 2016

Idaho’s Permitless Carry Law: Harmful or Beneficial?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:16 am

gfszaToday’s Idaho Statesman published an opinion piece headlined Permitless carry bill ‘sets Idaho up for failure’.  The op-ed’s writer, True Pearce, identifies himself as “…  an Idaho attorney, professional competitive shooter and gun rights advocate.”

Our OpenCdA post on March 17, 2016, SB 1389: Did They Ask?, wondered if Idaho’s legislators had bothered to diligently research possible conflicts between Idaho’s proposed SB 1389 and the federal Gun Free School Zone Act.  Certainly the resources for doing the research were available to the legislators even if the legislative skill and political will to pass a state law consistent with the federal law eluded them.

Our recommendation is simple:  If you’re inclined to carry a concealed weapon in Idaho, lawfully obtain the appropriate level of state permit and put it with your driver’s license or identification card.  Having the state-issued permit does not allow you to violate either federal or state laws, but failing to possess one can result in a federal statutory violation where one would not otherwise have been.

March 28, 2016

Apple Bites, Part 5: Not Surprising Result

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 7:44 pm

AppleCore copyAccording to the New York Times skews paper, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has asked the Federal District Court for the Central District of California to vacate its order to compel Apple to find a way to unlock the Apple iPhone 5C used by the San Berdo Two Islamist terrorists.

OpenCdA is not surprised at this outcome.  As we observed in a comment appended to our February 26, 2016 Apple Bites, Part 2 post:

“On the other hand, don’t overestimate the quality of Apple’s or any other product’s engineering and design people. People in those occupations often fall in love with their product and become blind to the vulnerabilities that they have inadvertently (and often carelessly and negligently) engineered in. When confronted with incontrovertible evidence of a major vulnerability, everyone from the lowest snuffy design engineer up through their lying lawyers and the CEO in another country will deny the proof proves what it clearly does prove.”

Neither are we surprised that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook now wants the FBI to tell Apple what the vulnerability is so Apple can fix it.

Good luck with that.

It is not up to the FBI to use taxpayer money to identify and exploit the vulnerability your whizbang engineers stated out of ignorance or intention didn’t exist, then reveal it to you so Apple can gain a significant advantage over competitors (not to mention wiping the substantial egg off Apple’s corporate face).

Neither is it up to the FBI to compromise what may be a very effective intelligence and counterintelligence tool which it or one of its contractors developed in response to Apple’s denial.

We suspect the FBI and the rest of the Intelligence Community will consider giving Apple what it wants pursuant to a still-evolving Vulnerabilities Equities Process, but only after the value of the information to others has perished.

Or maybe Tim Cook really is a 21st century skunk … ? After all, the skewspaper article didn’t identify the company which did the break in.

March 26, 2016

Lesson Learned?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 6:50 am

Clinton 100OpacityWhat’s the lesson here?

August 2013 – US Army Private First Class Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning convicted and sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks.

March 2016 – US Navy Captain Daniel Dusek convicted and sentenced to 46 months in federal prison “… for selling military secrets to an Asian defense contractor in exchange for prostitutes, stays at luxury hotel and other favors.”

March 2015 – US Army General and former CIA Director David Patraeus accepts a plea bargain and receives no jail time for leaking classified and codeword documents to his biographer – girl friend in return for sex.

January 20, 2017 – Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inaugurated as 45th President of the United States after voters ignore her successful efforts to solicit millions of dollars in foreign financial contributions and her placement of classified and compartmented national security information on her illegal private email server where it could be accessed by foreign intelligence services and terrorist organizations.

March 23, 2016

Even Later to the Party …

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Bill @ 12:15 pm

EDITBOARDOur post entitled Late to the Party on October 27, 2015, pointed out that even back then, Coeur d’Alene Press Publisher Jim Thompson (left in photo) and Editor Mike Patrick were waaaaay late to the urban renewal agency examination party.

Well, again today Frick and Frack demonstrated their remarkable ability to editorialize in arrears. This morning’s editorial was headlined You can’t blame ’em for asking.

The editorial finally and we suspect begrudgingly acknowledged that for years Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, ignite cda (née Lake City Development Corporation), had been engaging in “… the practice of lining friendly pockets under the guise of resurrecting worn-down parts of town.”

Honest and diligent citizens like Mary Souza, Dan Gookin, Kathy Sims, Sharon Culbreth, Frank Orzell, and others have been delivering the evidence of that practice for years.    The Press chose not to investigate and then report it as news.

But today’s editorial contained a real whopper. (more…)

March 22, 2016

It’s Just a Little Tweaking, Right Deb?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:33 am

debconklinThe Spokane Police Ombudsman Commission seems to have a problem with its members.

First it was Coeur d’Alene’s own export, Rachel Dolezal.   Good ol’ Rach and two of her fellow commissioners were removed from the Ombudsman Commission in 2015 for abusing their authority.

Now in this morning’s Spokesman-Review skews paper article headlined Visa request of man picked to be Spokane police ombudsman denied, but commission hasn’t given up, we learn that provisional ombudsman selectee Raheel Humayun has been denied the expedited visa necessary for him to accept the job.  It seems the ombudsman job didn’t meet the requirements for an expedited visa.  (Didn’t the City of Cowlesville hire an immigration attorney to help him through the process to make sure that didn’t happen?)

But ne’er fear.  The current chairman of the Ombudsman Commission, Reverend Debra Conklin, has a workable solution:  Change some of the information provided by Humayun on his visa application, the one that was denied.  Or as the Cowles rag puts it:

Commission Chairwoman Deb Conklin suggested tweaking Humayun’s visa application and having him apply again at the Canadian border, an action recommended by an immigration attorney who has consulted with the commission. [emphasis ours]

Here’s the thing.  Visa appliction forms generally require the applicant to personally or digitally sign the application.  By signing, the applicant is certifying that he has read and understood the questions in the application and his answers are true and correct to the best of his knowledge and belief.   The applicant is also informed that the submission of an application containing false or misleading statements may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or the denial of entry into the United States.

OpenCdA does wonder what makes this Canadian citizen Raheel Humayun so indispensible to the Spokane Police Ombudsman Commission that its Chairman is encouraging him to “tweak” his visa application at the border?

March 18, 2016

Lucy’s Movin’ On …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:33 pm

LucyJonesAfter 33 years with the US Geological Survey, the Cal-Tech Earthquake Lady is movin’ on.  On March 30, 2016, Dr. Lucy Jones will retire.  Well, not quite.

Today’s Los Angeles Times has a deservedly flattering story about her life including her personal and professional accomplishments.  It’s headlined The Earthquake Lady is leaving her job — to shake up how you think about climate change.  This is a story that every parent with a student in grade school or high school ought to read.  Then have your daughters, sons, and grandchildren read it.

When we put up our OpenCdA post entitled We Love Lucy! on February 21, 2016, we didn’t know Dr. Jones was contemplating retirement.  We’re thrilled and completely unsurprised that she’s taking on a new scientific challenge.  Her philosophy of science is, “What good is scientific knowledge if people don’t use it?”

One of Dr. Jones’ biggest challenges was to get citizens and officials to take earthquake preparedness seriously.  More broadly, her biggest challenge was to get officials to incorporate verified science into public policy formulation.

In her next career, Dr. Jones hopes to create a center that helps bridge the fault between science and public policy formation.  We can’t think of a better person and a more qualified scientist to do it than Dr. Lucy Jones.

Car Hacking – More Information

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 6:19 am

car-hacking-jeepOn Thursday, March 7, 2016, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) jointly issued a public safety announcement entitled Motor Vehicles Increasingly Vulnerable to Remote Exploits.  This PSA is far more complete than the information-lite versions of it in various online articles.

OpenCdA thinks that another logical attack against automotive electronic systems will be the passive acquisition of measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) from those automotive systems that now or soon will store information collected by the vehicle’s event data recorder, its onboard GPS and call-for-help systems (note the date on the linked article) as well as the operator’s personal biometric identifiers.

Car hacking is real, and it won’t be going away.

March 17, 2016

SB 1389: Did They Ask?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:18 am

gfszaIdaho’s Senate has passed Senate Bill 1389 and sent it on to Idaho’s House for consideration.  According to its Statement of Purpose, “The purpose of this bill is to make consistent state law regarding concealed weapons carry.  The bill provides for concealed carry consistency between counties and cities.”

OpenCdA hopes that this bill’s proponents and the Idaho Legislature have asked federal authorities such as the US Attorney for the District of Idaho and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for their input on how Idaho’s proposed law change will interact with the federal law popularly known as the Gun Free School Zone Act (GFSZA) codified at 18 USC §§ 921 and 922.  Our concern is that in their haste and zeal, our legislators may not have fully explored the potential unintended consequences of SB 1389.

For example, a citizen holding a valid Idaho concealed weapons permit and carrying a concealed weapon can lawfully drive on a public street or walk on a public sidewalk within the 1000-foot school zone without violating the GFSZA.  Under Idaho’s proposed no-permit-required state law, it appears that same person who did not have a valid Idaho CWP could be in violation of the GFSZA.

Here is the ATF’s response to an inquiry submitted in 2013 by a private organization in Oklahoma.  (Oklahoma is in the Tenth Federal Judicial District whereas Idaho is in the Ninth.)

Here’s another question for consideration.  Idaho Code § 18-3302(5) exempts certain persons from requirement to secure a license to carry concealed weapons.  Those exempted include officials of a city, county or the state of Idaho and any publicly elected Idaho official.   Are these exemptions recognized by the federal government or are these officials who have been exempted under state law thereby liable under the federal GFSZA?

All we’re suggesting is that the bill’s proponents and Idaho’s legislators need to be certain that their proposed relaxation of Idaho’s concealed weapons permit laws do not, in fact, increase our citizens’ criminal liability under federal law.

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