Thursday, October 16, 2014

Policing the Cyber World: Three FBI Agents' Perspectives on Digital Crime

Cybercrime has been a security threat since the early days of Silicon Valley. This new criminal frontier required law enforcement to adapt with new tools and techniques. Today the FBI’s Cyber Division administers a national program to combat digital threats, but in the early years small, underfunded task forces led the way. The National Law Enforcement Museum’s growing oral history collection includes some unique first-hand perspectives on the development of cyber policing. Follow the development of the FBI’s fight against cybercrime through the experiences of three FBI agents.


Jim Freeman
Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Office
1993-1996
In 1993, Jim Freeman took his new position in San Francisco located near the heart of the US technology boom in Silicon Valley. Freeman understood the threat of cybercrime early on and setup a high tech theft squad in the Palo Alto residence office. Freeman also saw first-hand how the FBI’s outdated equipment affected his team when pursuing the Unabomber. “The FBI operated in those days using a teletype system, which required an FBI agent to…dictate a teletype [to a stenographer]...Then it goes into the teletype room where another individual… retypes it onto a teletype machine... And when it’s received on the other end there’s a whole other laborious process.” You can read the transcript of Freeman’s complete oral history here.

Jana Monroe
Assistant Director of Cyber Division
2002-2004
In the late 1990s, cybercrime grew exponentially and small cyber squads like Freeman’s Palo Alto operation were implemented across the country. In 2002, FBI Director Robert Mueller appointed Jana Monroe as the first Assistant Director of the FBI’s Cyber Division. Monroe recalled, “The FBI had been working cybercrimes for quite a while, but not with a program in place, so it was just various entities within the field office[s]…But the Director, and rightly so, seeing that cyber was certainly a crime of the future…wanted to make a program out of it and have it funded.” Read more about Monroe’s experiences here.

J. Keith Mularski
Special Agent at the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance
2005–2012
Part of the new group of tech-focused agents, Mularski’s introduction to cybercrime began with his transfer to the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "When I came to cyber in 2005, my view of cyber crime was war games and Matthew Broderick sitting in the basement trying to hack into the Pentagon, and it couldn’t be further from the truth…[the criminals] are very structured.” Mularski’s biggest case to-date was the 2008 infiltration and dismantling of DarkMarket, one of the world’s Top 10 virtual black markets for illegal goods and services. Learn here how Mularski became Master Splyntr and more about his experience in the FBI.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tenth Witness to History Event Recounts the Investigation of the Unabomber


On Saturday, September 20th, 140 people attended the National Law Enforcement Museum’s Witness to History: Investigating the Unabomber program, held in partnership with the Newseum in their Knight Studio in Washington, DC and generously sponsored by Target. The program was the tenth in the Witness to History series. Panelists included Jim Freeman, Donald Max Noel, and Terry Turchie, three principal members of the Task force credited with apprehending the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Their experiences are documented in a new book, Unabomber: How the FBI Broke Its own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Memorial Fund Chairman and CEO Craig Floyd. Floyd was followed by discussion moderator, John Maynard from the Newseum, who prompted  panelists to recount their experiences while serving on the Unabomber task force. Topics included how the task force changed their policies in order to find and capture the Unabomber, and the importance of the 35,000 word manifesto that the Kaczynski sent to major newspapers.

Kaczynski sent homemade bombs that targeted universities, airlines and computer stores, killing three people and injuring 23 others. The search for the Unabomber became one of the largest and most expensive cases in FBI history, spanning almost 17 years, involving a file consisting of 59,000 volumes of information, and thousands of viable suspects.

Turchie, assistant Special Agent in charge of the task force, discussed how the FBI changed their strategies in order to apprehend the Unabomber. Turchie and Freeman came onto the task force towards the end of the investigation, when morale was low and not much progress was occurring. “They’d worked really hard, they’d been there a long time, and they were just tired,” Turchie said. Each member of the task force was encouraged to choose a partner in the hopes that if one was having a down day, the other could bring spirits up and help promote creativity.

Regarding the importance of the manifesto Freeman, Special Agent in charge of the task force, said that it is difficult to find a criminal when they are not communicating. However, “once [a criminal] starts communicating, you have an opportunity for lead material to develop. And the Unabomber had been quiet for about seven years up until he started bombing again in 1993 … and he started writing letters.”

The manifesto allowed the task force to get an idea of who the Unabomber was. Turchie described how the manifesto became a major clue in the case saying, “We spent months really reading and trying to understand the manifesto. And by the time we had someone step forward that could help us bring it together, we were already on those trails and we were able to go back and pull those pieces together.” The manifesto, which was published in media outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times at the urging of the FBI, brought forward the most crucial tip from the Unabomber’s own brother. David Kaczynski recognized the language and ideas of his brother, Ted, and had his attorney contact the FBI with the tip.

The discussion then moved on to the identification and capture of the Unabomber. Noel was  sent to investigate in Montana, where the Unabomber was hiding. He described  seeing Ted Kaczynski  for the first time: “I saw him a month before we actually took him into custody … I walked, along with his neighbor, up a skid road. And when we were about 40 yards away from his cabin, in a clearing, he opened up the door of his cabin and stuck his head out. And my first response was, ‘My God is that what we've been looking for all these years?’ He was a wild looking person; he had on an orange knit cap. You know, you conjure up an image of who you think you’re looking for over the years … and he’s this guy living in this little dinky cabin … that just amazed me.” Noel then went on to describe Kaczynski’s arrest. “It went like we planned it,” he said. There was no struggle.

At the end of the discussion, there was a Question and Answer session with audience members, after which guests were then invited to a reception in the Newseum. Everyone was encouraged to view the Unabomber’s Cabin, which will be on exhibit until January 15, 2015 in the Newseum’s G-Men and Journalists Exhibit.

The National Law Enforcement Museum would like to, again, thank Target® for sponsoring our Witness to History programs and the Newseum for partnering on this event.

For those unable to attend, a recording of the program can be viewed here on C-SPAN’s website. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and stay tuned for more Witness to History Events.



Friday, August 8, 2014

Director's Corner: SWAT Exhibit

One goal of the National Law Enforcement Museum has always been to represent the diversity of American law enforcement, both in the individuals who serve and the jobs they do. One exhibit, called Being an Officer, does just that by examining different types of specialized units, including Corrections, Bomb Squads, K9 Units, and SWAT Teams.

The SWAT section will be especially exciting, giving visitors an inside look into this inherently intense and action-packed job.  With the push of a button, an otherwise peaceful scene quickly becomes a dangerous situation that requires the intervention of tactical officers--and  visitors get to watch as the action unfolds. This 90-second two-story projection demonstrates the professional and efficient tactics used by SWAT to control a high-risk situation and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

To get the full picture of SWAT, visitors will learn how long tactical officers have been around and how they came into being. Many people do not know that tactical teams began to develop in response to a number of violent incidents that had occurred across the United States during the 1960s. Single-shooter incidents—such as the Texas Tower Shooting in 1966—had an impact, but SWAT was established mainly in response to the growth of armed, well-organized militant groups like the Black Panthers and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

This look at history combined with descriptions of duties and significant turning points in the profession will make for an exhibit that will grab visitors' attention and teach them something about what being a tactical officer really means.

Elevation of SWAT Audio/Visual Presentation in the Museum


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Artifact Spotlight: Lorton Prison Cells


video

Workers removing the cell bars and doors from the 
maximum security section of Lorton Prison for the Museum.

In July 2014, the National Law Enforcement Museum acquired an important historical artifact that is a key component of the exhibit design—30 feet of steel cell doors and bars from the former Lorton Correction Complex in Lorton, Virginia

Lorton was the primary corrections facility for the District of Columbia for nearly 100 years. Conceived in 1908 during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration, the Lorton facility was a national model for prison reform both with its dormitory style architecture and its philosophy of providing prisoners with healthy outdoor work and education. Over the years, Lorton became dangerously overcrowded and its buildings in need of extensive repair. In 2001, the prison was closed and all 1 million square feet of it was transferred to Fairfax County, Virginia

A design drawing of the two-story Maximum Security cells restored and re-created in the Museum.
The Museum thanks Chris Caperton of Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning for allowing us to extract the cells at the right time during the County’s extensive redevelopment plan for the old prison and grounds. The National Law Enforcement Museum is proud to make the cells of Lorton a centerpiece of its exhibition on corrections officers.

 
Scenes from Old Lorton Prison, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

19th Century True Crime – Crime May Not Pay, but it Sells

THE CORN DOCTOR OF GOTHAM.
An expert who whittles toes and never
loses a chance to take a hack at the
heart of any patient whose sentiments
are as tender as her feet.

Collection of the
National Law Enforcement Museum.
2006.332.27
Detective stories have been around for centuries. But even as a source of entertainment, their appeal has evolved over time. The advent of the steam press in the early 19th century made the first cheap newspapers and serials affordable to the masses. This “penny press” seized on the popularity of crime stories and set about to feed the public’s interest. One such publication was the Police Gazette. When first published in 1845, it saw itself as a newspaper “devoted to the interests of criminal police.” These noble intentions, however, did not last long, and within a few years, the Gazette had lost all pretensions of being anything but a sensational crime rag. Around this same time, the depiction of crime transformed from somber moral stories to titillating tales.  Even the accompanying illustrations became more graphic and excessive, eventually evolving into the more realistic styles and depictions seen in recent true crime books and pamphlets.

During the mid-1800s, the fascination with these stories was edged with fear, as Americans became increasingly distrustful of the burgeoning immigrant populations in major US cities. Sensational headlines in newspapers touted crime as a problem and the abolition of the old, corrupt, inept watch system and the creation of a new full-time professional police as its solution.  The news media’s focus on crime and the inadequacies of the crime prevention system led to police reforms in most the major cities.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Director's Corner: PTSD Awareness Month

“Imagine the most horrific things that happen in this city that no one really hears about or sees. Homicides, rapes, car accidents, violent assaults, this is the kind of stuff we deal with on a daily basis.”

As you might know, June is PTSD Awareness Month. This quote (above)—from a Canadian law enforcement officer—conveys the magnitude of anxiety-inducing encounters officers may face. The National Center for PTSD encourages us to learn about posttraumatic stress and spread the word about effective treatment, connect with others to work together, and share information to support those in need.

PTSD may manifest in varying symptoms, which could develop soon after the traumatic event, or months or years later. Some common indicators  include reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and feeling keyed up or jittery.

This disorder can affect anyone who has an especially distressing experience, but law enforcement officers may be more susceptible to triggers due to the work they do. According to Cop Shock: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), by A R Kates, as many as one in three police officers may suffer from PTSD, which could lead to depression, family issues, addictions, and in some cases, suicide.

A study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that of 37 police officers who had been involved in serious shooting incidents between 1977 and 1984, seventeen (46%) were diagnosed with PTSD. Of those who were not immediately diagnosed, 17 still had notable PTSD symptoms. Only three officers showed no symptoms of PTSD at all.

The National Law Enforcement Museum is being built to tell the story of American law enforcement and make it safer for those who serve. Raising awareness about real dangers that affect the lives of officers, like PTSD, is essential to our mission. Do your part to learn, connect, and share today.

Sources: 




RoboCop Trivia

In honor of Detroit celebrating its first ever RoboCop Day this month, Museum staff thought it would be fun to shed some light on this futuristic cop character and the making of the RoboCop movies. How much do you know about the part-man, part-machine phenom known as RoboCop?


When wearing the full RoboCop costume, actor Peter Weller was too bulky to fit into his police car. That's why most shots show him exiting the car or preparing to get into it. When he needed to be in the car, he only wore the top part of the costume and sat in his underwear.

Concerned that various police forces would object to the scene of the title character throwing his nemesis, Clarence Boddicker, through glass while reading his rights, the producers had a preliminary screening for an audience of police officers. It turns out that the officers were delighted at the sight of the hero getting tough with a murderer in a way that they couldn't.

In Sacramento, California a robbery suspect fled into a darkened movie theatre to escape pursuing police. He became so engrossed in the movie playing on screen—RoboCop—that he failed to notice that police had evacuated all other patrons from the theatre. When the lights flipped on, the stunned man was taken into custody.

Even though the movie was set in Detroit, Michigan, most urban scenes in RoboCop were filmed in Dallas, Texas, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. RoboCop 2 was filmed mostly in Houston, Texas, and RoboCop 3 was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.

While filming the scene of the first movie where RoboCop catches a set of car keys, the foam rubber hands of Peter Weller’s costume made grasping the keys quite a challenge. It took around 50 takes and a day’s worth of filming to finally get the scene right.

The RoboCop suit for RoboCop 2 (which can be seen in the Museum when it opens) is constructed out of Fiberglass. It made it easier for actor, Peter Weller, to move in the suit and gave it a more metallic look.

One of the major plot elements of RoboCop 2 is when the city of Detroit must declare bankruptcy, something the city actually ended up doing in 2013.

Source: IMDb.com