TIME Law

Secret Service Prostitution Investigator Resigned Over Own Scandal

A new report found that David Nieland may have resigned in August after being implicated in an incident also involving prostitution

An investigator who led an internal review of the 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal resigned in August because he had been implicated in an incident involving prostitution, according to a new report.

Officials said the investigator, David Nieland, was seen entering and leaving a building that was being monitored as part of a prostitution investigation, which was unrelated to the Secret Service scandal, the New York Times reported. When they interviewed the prostitute, she identified Nieland and said he had paid her for sex.

Nieland had cited health problems for his resignation, but officials said he stepped down after refusing to answer questions asked by a Department of Homeland Security official regarding his activities. Nieland denied the reports, stating to the New York Times in an e-mail that, “The allegation is not true.”

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said an investigation is underway.

[NYT]

TIME Video Games

Judge Dismisses Manuel Noriega’s Call of Duty Lawsuit

(L) Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega takes part in a news conference at the Atlapa center in Panama City on Oct. 11,1998.(R) The character Noriega claims was created in his likeness.
Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega (left) sues Activision over a portrayal of him in Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 game (right) Alberto Lowe—Reuters; Activision/AP

The former dictator of Panama sought damages for a character based on him

A California judge Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed by former dictator Manual Noriega against a video game he claimed depicted him in a bad light.

Manuel Noriega, who ruled Panama for most of the 1980s, sought charges in July against video game publisher Activision, for creating a character based on him without permission in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Wall Street Journal reported. Noriega said the 2012 shooter game unlawfully depicted him “as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state,” according to court documents.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William H. Fahey tossed the lawsuit on grounds that Noriega’s likeness was sufficiently “transformative”–meaning that its use was adopted for the sake of commentary or expression. Fahey also argued that the video game did not benefit from Noriega’s inclusion, as the former soldier and convicted drug trafficker had argued.

“The Court concludes that the marketability and economic value of the challenged work in this case comes not from Noriega, but from the creativity, skill and reputation of defendants,” Fahey wrote in court documents.

The dismissal was supported by former NYC major and Activision co-counsel Rudy Giuliani, who called Noriega’s claims “audacious,” as it touches on the issue of the many other video games and works of art that draw from and freely interpret historical or political figures.

“This ruling is an important victory and we thank the court for protecting free speech,” said Rudy Giuliani. “This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win. This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.”

TIME National Security

U.S. Boosts National Security After Ottawa Shooting

Exact locations of increased security will not be disclosed

Security at U.S. government buildings around the nation will be boosted in the wake of violence that targeted government officials and federal establishments in Canada last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced Tuesday.

The presence of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) will be enhanced around several locations in Washington, D.C. and other major cities in the country, Johnson said in a statement. FPS protects more than 9,500 federal government buildings that are visited every day by some 1.4 million people, according to the Associated Press. The exact locations and actions will not be disclosed, as they are are sensitive to law-enforcement, but Johnson added that the security presence will be re-evaluated continuously.

The increased security is a precautionary measure to protect government personnel and facilities after a Canadian soldier was fatally shot in Ottawa just outside Parliament, Johnson said. The shooting is the latest crime linked to extremism that targeted government buildings or officials, following a hatchet attack last week on four New York Police Department officers.

“Given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance in the protection of U.S. government installations and our personnel,” Johnson said. “We urge state and local governments and their law enforcement personnel, along with critical infrastructure owners and operators, to be equally vigilant, particularly in guarding against potential small-scale attacks by a lone offender or a small group of individuals.”

TIME Law

Report: FBI Created Fake News Article With Spyware to Track Suspect

FBI Director Robert Muller Speaks About Bureau Reforms
The Federal Bureau of Investigation seal is shown at the FBI Headquarters July 26, 2006 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

The FBI maintains that its fake news article was justified

The FBI created a fake Seattle Times article containing surveillance software in order to track a school bomb-threat suspect in 2007, according to documents obtained by an advocacy group.

The controversy was publicized Monday evening on Twitter by Christopher Soghoian, a technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, who linked to the FBI documents (pages 61-62) obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization. While the FBI’s use of data gathering software in this investigation was reported in 2007 by WIRED, which acquired an FBI affidavit seeking a search warrant for the tool’s use, the latest documents reveal for the first time the FBI’s use of a false news article.

According to the documents, the link to the article was “in the style of the Seattle Times” and used a false Associated Press byline. The article, titled “Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department,” was mocked up with subscriber and advertising information.

The link was then e-mailed to the to the MySpace account of the suspect, who police believe was responsible for a series of bomb threats at Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash. When clicked on, the link would deploy FBI software to track his location and computer IP address.

“We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,” said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best in a statement Monday evening.

AP’s Director of Media Relations Paul Colford also criticized the FBI’s actions, writing in a statement that, “We are extremely concerned and find it unacceptable that the FBI misappropriated the name of The Associated Press and published a false story attributed to AP. This ploy violated AP’s name and undermined AP’s credibility.”

The FBI in Seattle maintains that its technique was justified in locating the suspect, who was arrested on June 14, 2007, two days after the dateline that appeared on the agents’ e-mail correspondence discussing the plan.

“Every effort we made in this investigation had the goal of preventing a tragic event like what happened at Marysville and Seattle Pacific University,” Frank Montoya Jr., an FBI agent overseeing its Seattle operations, told the Seattle Times. “We identified a specific subject of an investigation and used a technique that we deemed would be effective in preventing a possible act of violence in a school setting.”

A spokeswoman for FBI’s Seattle unit also defended the strategy to the Seattle Times, arguing that the FBI did not use a “real Seattle Times article, but material generated by the FBI in styles common in reporting and online media.”

TIME Guns

Nebraska School OKs ‘Tasteful’ Senior Portraits With Guns

The school board unanimously passed the rule

A rural Nebraska school district decided Monday to allow graduating high school seniors to pose with guns in their senior portraits, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

Broken Bow school board members voted 6-0 to approve the rule, which permits only the “tasteful and appropriate” display of firearms, and prohibits pointing the weapons at the camera or displaying a hunted animal in distress, according to the policy.

“The board, I believe, felt they wanted to give students who are involved in those kinds of things the opportunity to take a senior picture with their hobby, with their sport, just like anybody with any other hobby or sport,” superintendent Mark Sievering told the World-Herald.

Nebraska has no age minimum for hunting, although hunters below 12 must be supervised by a licensed hunter, according to state law. It is illegal under Nebraska law to possess a firearm on school grounds, unless the holder is in an exempt category, such as the police force.

The issue of having guns in or around schools has been especially salient after the Dec. 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, an event that prompted policymakers to question whether adequate gun safety laws were in place. Since that shooting, several organizations have argued that several gaps in gun laws still exist despite many states tightening background checks for firearm purchases. Yet Nebraska’s overall gun policies still lag behind other states, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, whose 2013 Gun Laws Scorecard gave the state a D.

[Omaha World-Herald]

TIME Law

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Felons Can Sell Their Guns

Case will determine how much "ownership" felons have over their guns

The Supreme Court said Monday that it would decide the case of a convicted felon who attempted to sell his guns or transfer ownership to his wife after he was forced to relinquish them under federal law.

Tony Henderson is a former U.S. Border Patrol Agent who was convicted of felony drug offenses and served six months in prison in 2007. When he was arrested, he gave the FBI his 19 firearms, because felons are not allowed to own weapons. He later attempted to transfer ownership of the guns to his wife or sell them to a third party, which prompted a legal debate as to whether convicted felons relinquish all ownership rights when they turn over their weapons.

A federal judge refused Henderson’s request to transfer ownership, as did an appeals court, which led him to take the case to the Supreme court.

Henderson’s attorney told Reuters that if he doesn’t get the appeal overturned, it would “effectively strip gun owners of their entire ownership interest in significant, lawful household assets following a conviction for an unrelated offense.”

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who will argue the government’s case in front of the Supreme Court, says that allowing a felon to sell or transfer ownership of their guns presents a “significant risk” that he or she could still have access to them.

[Reuters]

TIME Laws

The CDC Has Less Power Than You Think, and Likes it That Way

Ebola isn’t likely to lead to a widespread quarantine but it certainly raises interesting constitutional questions

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden has come under fire in recent days for what some charge is the agency’s stumbling response to the appearance of Ebola in America. This week, reporters and lawmakers alike grilled Frieden over how two nurses in Texas contracted the virus and how one of them was able to board an airplane even after she reported a raised temperature.

Breakdowns in good practice notwithstanding, it’s important to remember that Ebola in the U.S. is largely contained and very unlikely to lead to any kind of significant outbreak. Still, the charges leveled against Frieden raise a question that leads to a surprisingly complicated answer: just what, exactly, can—and should—the CDC do?

Since time immemorial, public health officials’ main weapon against the outbreak of a disease as been to restrict the ability of people to interact with one another, also known as a quarantine. The term comes from the Latin “quadraginta,” meaning 40, and is derived from the 40-day period ships traveling from plague-stricken regions were kept at bay before being allowed to dock in medieval European ports.

Imposing a quarantine—effectively stripping innocent people of the most basic right to move freely in the world—is one of the most serious actions a government can take against its own citizenry. Partly for this reason, in the American federal system (designed from the outset to check the power of the national government) the power to quarantine resides largely with state and local authorities. Should Texas, or any other state, someday face the threat of a true epidemic, the states have broad authority to restrict the movement of people within their own borders. Public health codes granting the state power to impose quarantine orders vary from state to state, of course. Violating a quarantine order in Louisiana is punishable by a fine of up to $100 and up to a year in prison; in Mississippi the same infraction could cost a violator up to $5000 and up to five years in prison.

The federal government does have its own powers. The CDC, as the U.S.’s primary agency for taking action to stop the spread of disease, has broad authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to restrict travel into the country and between states of an infected person or a person who has come in contact with an infected person, according to Laura Donohue, director of the Center on National Security and the Law at Georgetown Law School. Federal quarantine can be imposed, too, on federal property, like a military base or National Forest land. And as the preeminent employer of experts on public health crises, the CDC is always likely to get involved within any affected state in the event of a looming pandemic.

But its power to act is extremely restricted. The agency traditionally acts in an advisory role and can only take control from local authorities under two circumstances: if local authorities invite them to do so or under the authority outlined in the Insurrection Act in the event of a total breakdown of law and order.

And here the picture becomes murkier yet because authority does not always beget power.

“It’s not a massive regulatory agency,” said Wendy Parmet, a professor in public health law at Northeastern University in Boston. “They don’t have ground troops. They don’t have tons of regulators. They’re scientists. Even if the states asked them to do it it’s not clear how they would do it.

Even in the highly unlikely event that the CDC were called to respond to a—let’s reiterate: extremely-unlikely-to-occur—pandemic, quarantine and isolation would be imposed not by bespeckled CDC scientists but by local or federal law enforcement or troops. Most importantly, the CDC is extremely reluctant to be seen as a coercive government agency because it depends as much as any agency on the good will and acquiescence of citizens in order to respond effectively to a public health emergency. When the bright lights of the Ebola crisis are not on it, the CDC will still need people to get vaccinated, to go to the doctor when they get sick, and to call the authorities if they see trouble.

“Our public health system is built on voluntary compliance,” Donohue tells TIME. “If the CDC starts to become the enemy holding a gun to [someone’s] head and keeping them in their house, they lose insight.”

TIME LGBT

Federal Judge Strikes Down Arizona’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Arizona is the latest state where gay marriage is legal following an earlier Supreme Court move

Arizona is now the latest state with legalized same-sex marriage after a federal judge on Friday struck down the state’s ban on the practice and ordered that his decision take effect immediately.

In a concise four-page decision, U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick cited rulings from higher courts to dismiss Arizona’s ban as unconstitutional.

“It is clear that an appeal to the Ninth Circuit would not succeed,” Sedwick wrote, referring to the higher court that has jurisdiction over a potential appeal in the case. The judge added that the United States Supreme Court has suggested that it would not hear an appeal in the Arizona case.

Arizona is the latest in a slew of states where same-sex marriage was effectively legalized after the Supreme Court earlier this month declined to hear cases addressing the issue. The court’s move effectively brought the total number of states with same-sex marriage to 30, while paving the way for legalization in other states as well.

TIME politics

We Should Treat Gun Violence the Way We Do Cancer and Heart Disease

YouTube / Elliot Rodger

Khawar Siddique, MD, MBA, is a spine surgeon and neurosurgeon.

The so-called “gun violence restraining order” recently passed in California is a commonsense policy that balances the need for public health and doesn't tread on the rights of gun owners

As a neurosurgeon and spine surgeon, I have had a front row seat to gun violence. Whether shot by someone else or self-inflicted, a bullet traveling through the brain and spine can cause extraordinary damage. You can’t put a brain back together. If we do succeed at preserving a life, the victim of gun violence is often left with tragic neurologic deficits such as paralysis, speech problems and cognitive issues.

Prevention is the key to improving health outcomes for gun injury victims. We’ve made great strides in diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes by investing in preventative medicine. Our health care system and our citizens have benefited as a result. Gun violence is no different. We need tools to help prevent gun violence and gun suicide.

Last month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will do just that. The so-called “gun violence restraining order” is a commonsense policy that balances the need for public health and safeguards the rights of gun owners. It answers a basic question we ask ourselves after horrific instances of mass violence or suicide: What could we have done to stop this?

AB-1014, now law, is modeled on the concept of domestic violence protection orders. Just as a woman can seek protection from her abuser in the courts, the law allows family members and key members of the community, like law enforcement, to petition a judge to provide temporary firearms prohibitions for those deemed to be in crisis. Whether protecting against suicide or mass violence, it will save lives.

This problem is not theoretical. There are far too many instances where individuals show signs of impending violence but there are no means to prevent them access to firearms. The recent shooting in Isla Vista is an example where limiting access to guns could have saved lives. Now, with the signing of this law, family members and police officers have legal means to prevent a potentially dangerous person from accessing firearms or ammunition.

Gun violence restraining order laws are wholly consistent with the Second Amendment. As a gun owner myself, I know the worst thing that can happen to our rights is to see irresponsible individuals use them to commit crimes. In the case of these new laws, there must be sufficient evidence for a judge to believe that an individual poses a danger to others or oneself before the gun violence restraining order can be issued. In California, the law would penalize anyone who files a petition with false information or uses a gun violence restraining order to harass another person.

You can pass this commonsense law in your state, too. Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention group headed by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, has toolkits for state legislators and advocates telling you exactly how to get it done. Gun violence restraining orders will help keep guns out of the hands of individuals proven to be a threat to the community or themselves while ensuring due process for all involved. As a physician, a citizen and a gun-owner, I encourage the legislatures and governors from across this great nation to act boldly and with common sense.

Khawar Siddique, MD, MBA, is a spine surgeon and neurosurgeon who resides in Los Angeles.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Crime

Judge Says Women Aren’t Entitled to Privacy in Public Places

The case of an alleged upskirt photographer was at issue

Correction appended, Oct. 15

Prosecutors have dropped a case against a man accused of taking photographs up women’s skirts at the Lincoln Memorial, after a local judge ruled the photographs inadmissible and said women in public places shouldn’t have an expectation of privacy.

Christopher Cleveland was arrested in June 2013 for allegedly taking photographs of the crotches and butts of women sitting on the steps to the national monument. On Aug. 28, D.C. Superior Court Judge Juliet McKenna ruled that the photographs would be inadmissible, leading the U.S. Attorney’s Office to drop the case against Cleveland last last month.

Prosecutors filed a motion to keep the photographs admissible, writing that women are entitled to a “reasonable expectation of privacy” while sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In her ruling to suppress evidence, Judge McKenna wrote, “Some women are seated in such a way that their private areas, including the upper inches of their buttocks, are clearly visible. … This court finds that no individual clothed and positioned in such a manner in a public area in broad daylight in the presence of countless other individuals could have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Which means Christopher Cleveland, and other photographers like him, are free to snap away as they please.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the date of Judge Juliet McKenna’s ruling.

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