Government Executive: DOJ’s New FOIA Guidance Promotes Openness

Government Executive: DOJ’s New FOIA Guidance Promotes Openness. “In July 2016, President Obama signed a law that codified the ‘presumption of openness’ that he championed during his first year in office and later received mixed reviews on, as Government Executive reported in 2015. The new guidance from Garland follows Obama’s goals of a ‘presumption of openness’ and directs agencies ‘make it clear that the Justice Department will not defend nondisclosure decisions that fail to do so,’ said the Justice Department.”

US Justice Department: North Carolina Man Charged with COVID-19 Relief Fraud

US Justice Department: North Carolina Man Charged with COVID-19 Relief Fraud. “A North Carolina man was charged by criminal complaint unsealed today for fraudulently seeking more than $414,000 in COVID-19 relief guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”

USA Today: DOJ warns Nevada its plan to reopen discriminates against religious groups

USA Today: DOJ warns Nevada its plan to reopen discriminates against religious groups. “The Justice Department on Tuesday warned Nevada that its plan allowing certain businesses to gradually reopen amid coronavirus threats discriminates against religious organizations and places of worship. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, who heads the department’s Civil Rights Division, told Gov. Steve Sisolak that his plan to let businesses, such as restaurants and hair and nail salons, to reopen, while banning religious gatherings of 10 or more people may violate constitutional rights for free expression.”

Politico: Justice Department centralizes control of sensitive insider-trading probes

Politico: Justice Department centralizes control of sensitive insider-trading probes. “Multiple U.S. Attorney’s offices — including the Southern District of New York — wanted to handle insider trading investigations of lawmakers, one of the sources said, but all the probes have been centralized in D.C. It would have been logical for SDNY to have jurisdiction: Wall Street is located there, and the district has extensive experience investigating and prosecuting complex financial cases. Other offices that telegraphed interest were the residences of potential targets. Spokespersons for the Justice Department and SDNY declined to comment.”

The Register-Guard: How Chinese military hackers allegedly pulled off the Equifax data breach

The Register-Guard: How Chinese military hackers allegedly pulled off the Equifax data breach. “The criminals identified a flaw in the credit agency’s security system, executed a plan of attack to penetrate it and devised a scheme to cover their tracks on their way out, according to a criminal indictment unsealed Monday. Those alleged criminals, four members of the Chinese military, exploited a flaw in software that allowed U.S. consumers to dispute problems with their Equifax credit reports. That gave the hackers access to Americans’ personal information, according to the indictment.”

Washington Post: Justice Department investigates Sci-Hub founder on suspicion of working for Russian intelligence

Washington Post: Justice Department investigates Sci-Hub founder on suspicion of working for Russian intelligence. “The Justice Department is investigating a woman who runs a major Internet piracy operation on suspicion that she may also be working with Russian intelligence to steal U.S. military secrets from defense contractors, according to people familiar with the matter. Alexandra Elbakyan​, a computer programmer born in Kazakhstan, is the creator of Sci-Hub, a website that provides free access to academic papers that are usually available only through expensive subscriptions.”

MSN News: Citing ‘unprecedented’ surveillance, ACLU sues federal agencies over facial-recognition scans

MSN News: Citing ‘unprecedented’ surveillance, ACLU sues federal agencies over facial-recognition scans . “The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday sued the Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI for records detailing their use of facial-recognition software, arguing the agencies have secretly implemented a nationwide surveillance technology that threatens Americans’ privacy and civil rights.”

BuzzFeed: The Justice Department Deleted Language About Press Freedom And Racial Gerrymandering From Its Internal Manual

BuzzFeed: The Justice Department Deleted Language About Press Freedom And Racial Gerrymandering From Its Internal Manual. “Since the fall, the US Department of Justice has been overhauling its manual for federal prosecutors. In: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough-on-crime policies. Out: A section titled ‘Need for Free Press and Public Trial.’ References to the department’s work on racial gerrymandering are gone. Language about limits on prosecutorial power has been edited down.”

Sunlight Foundation: Tweets by @realDonaldTrump are official statements of the @POTUS, says Justice Department

Sunlight Foundation: Tweets by @realDonaldTrump are official statements of the @POTUS, says Justice Department. “The question of whether the personal or campaign social media accounts of elected officials are official statements has been debated for a decade now, with increasing relevance to our politics as more politicians and member of the public join. This week, federal government lawyers helped to put the debate to rest, at least for the presidency, when their filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia stated that President Donald J. Trump’s tweets at @realDonaldTrump are ‘official statements of the President of the United States.’ (Hat tip National Law Journal)”