Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Text Missing from Firefox 27.0.x Tabs (Solved) (Updated)

TLDR: FF27.0.x + FEBE 7.3.0.1 causes text (but not icons) in FF tabs in additional FF windows to vanish after FF restart. Solution: upgrade to FEBE 8.0 beta. Do not blame Tab Mix Plus. Update: see below.

Long version: After upgrading to Firefox 27.0 (and FF 27.0.1) I began to experience an annoying bug. I am in the habit of having a lot of tabs open at once. Thanks to Tab Mix Plus, one of my very favorite addons, I can have the tabs arranged in multiple rows and they stay big enough to have an idea of which is which.

I also tend to have at least two firefox windows open, one for each monitor. I also use the session manager in TM+ to restore my tabs when I close and re-open firefox.

After the upgrade to FF 27.0, I found that the text was vanishing from the tabs when I did a re-open. The icons were there, but the rest was blank. This didn’t happen in the first window I opened, but it was happening in the second window, and every new window. The problem didn’t happen if I closed all the tabs before shutting down firefox. It did happen whether I used TM+’s session manager of FF’s native session manager (yes, I even if I unchecked the setting the in FF privacy manager that tells it to forget my browsing history).

I figured this was a Tab Mix Plus issue. The extension is so powerful that it regularly has issues when I update Firefox. But his time, disabling TM+ didn’t solve the problem.

So it was time to start disabling all my many other extensions in the hope of finding the culprit. This is tedious, even doing half at at time, but it did reveal that the source of my problem was FEBE, the Firefox Environment Backup Extension. Upgrading to FEBE version 8.0beta solved the problem. The beta actually looks a lot better than the old version (the author says it is a complete rewrite and I believe it). It seems noticeably faster, and (hooray!) it allows you to add incompatible add-ons to the ignore list from an interactive dialog as the backup is happening, rather than having to go to the preferences after the backup is over.

If you are updating FEBE from an old version be sure to delete existing FEBE preferences before the update. Tools > FEBE > FEBE Options > Advanced > Clear FEBE preferences.

After the install, whether or not this a new install, you MUST go to Tools > FEBE > FEBE Options. The only option that absolutely must be set is your Backup destination directory under the Where to backup tab. Without this it will not work.

Update: Having tried to fix this on a second computer, I have to agree with commentator parabel that in fact TM+ is involved in some way. With FEBE updated to the beta, I was only able to get a second window to open properly — but not a third. Disabling TM+ solves the problem, but I lose all the TM+ functionality.

Update 2: As noted by commentator John, installing Tab Mix Plus version 4.1.3.1 seems to fix the problem. Yay!

Posted in Software | 8 Comments

Did AG Eric Holder Commit Perjury? Whose Head Should Roll?

David Kravitz’s Wired article, How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error begins like this:

After seven years of litigation, two trips to a federal appeals court and $3.8 million worth of lawyer time, the public has finally learned why a wheelchair-bound Stanford University scholar was cuffed, detained and denied a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii: FBI human error.

FBI agent Kevin Kelley was investigating Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 when he checked the wrong box on a terrorism form, erroneously placing Rahinah Ibrahim on the no-fly list.

What happened next was the real shame. Instead of admitting to the error, high-ranking President Barack Obama administration officials spent years covering it up. Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and a litany of other government officials claimed repeatedly that disclosing the reason Ibrahim was detained, or even acknowledging that she’d been placed on a watch list, would cause serious damage to the U.S. national security. Again and again they asserted the so-called “state secrets privilege” to block the 48-year-old woman’s lawsuit, which sought only to clear her name.

The article includes a link to Attorney General Eric Holder’s declaration in Ibrahim v. DHS. It’s pretty awful — even worse than the article makes it sound. Here are the last two paragraphs (emphasis added):

16. On September 23, 2009, I announced a new Executive Branch policy governing the assertion and defense of the state secrets privilege in litigation. Under this policy, the Department of Justice will defend an assertion of the state secrets privilege in litigation, and seek dismissal of a claim on that basis, only when necessary to protect against the risk of significant hann to national security. See Exhibit 1 (State Secrets Policy),§ l(A). The policy provides further that an application of a privilege assertion must be narrowly tailored and that dismissal be sought pursuant to the privilege assertion only when necessary to prevent significant harm to national security. !d. § 1(B). Moreover, “[t]he Department will not defend an invocation of the privilege in order to: (i) conceal violations of the law, inefficiency, or administrative error; (ii) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency of the United States Government; (iii) restrain competition; or (iv) prevent or delay the release of information the release of which would not reasonably be expected to cause significant harm to national security.” !d. § 1(C). The policy also establishes detailed procedures for review of a proposed assertion of the state secrets privilege in a particular case. !d. § 2. Those procedures require submissions by the relevant Government departments or agencies specifying “(i) the nature of the information that must be protected from unauthorized disclosure; (ii) the significant harm to national security that disclosure can reasonably be expected to cause; [and] (iii) the reason why unauthorized disclosure is reasonably likely to cause such harm.” ld § 2(A). Based on my personal consideration of the matter, I have determined that the requirements for an assertion and defense of the state secrets privilege have been met in this case in accord with the September 2009 State Secrets Policy.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

I think someone should lose their job over this. Perhaps that someone is the person who misinformed the Attorney General as to the facts of the case, perhaps not. In any event, Attorney General Eric Holder owes us all an explanation as to why that someone is not him.

Posted in 9/11 & Aftermath, Law: Ethics, Law: Right to Travel | 4 Comments

Dan’s First First Media

My brother has his inaugural article up at First Media’s “The Intercept”: The Terrible Toll of Secrecy.

Posted in Dan Froomkin, Surveillance | Leave a comment

Nobody Home at Rubio’s Office?

The Day We Fight BackAs part of the “Today We Fight Back” initiative I clicked the “call your legislator” button on the pop-up I’ve installed here for the day. The way it works is you give your phone number, then their bot calls your phone, asks for your zip code, and connects you to your representatives.

I was duly connected to Sen. Nelson’s office, where they answered on the second ring, and a polite gentleman noted my concerns and promised “to pass it along to the Senator” (uh-huh).

Then the app connected me to Senator Rubio’s office. The phone rang eight times and no one answered. Is no one home? Do they have caller ID and not bother answering calls that come in via the EFF’s app?

Then it was on to Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s office, where it barely rang twice, and another nice gentleman, this time with an Australian accent, took down my info.

Back when I did politics, I used to only half-jokingly say that one indication of a struggling political outfit was if the phone ever rang more than three times. By that standard Rubio is tanking.

Not answering the phone is no way to treat constituents, even if you know they don’t agree with you. Lame. Very lame.

Posted in Florida, Politics: FL-18, Surveillance | Leave a comment

This is So Ugly

An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year.

The CIA drones watching him cannot strike because he’s a U.S. citizen and the Justice Department must build a case against him, a task it hasn’t completed.

Four U.S. officials said the American suspected terrorist is in a country that refuses U.S. military action on its soil and that has proved unable to go after him. And President Barack Obama’s new policy says American suspected terrorists overseas can only be killed by the military, not the CIA, creating a policy conundrum for the White House.

Two of the officials described the man as an al-Qaida facilitator who has been directly responsible for deadly attacks against U.S. citizens overseas and who continues to plan attacks against them that would use improvised explosive devices.

But one U.S. official said the Defense Department was divided over whether the man is dangerous enough to merit the potential domestic fallout of killing an American without charging him with a crime or trying him, and the potential international fallout of such an operation in a country that has been resistant to U.S. action.

Another of the U.S. officials said the Pentagon did ultimately decide to recommend lethal action.

and more from AP via Huffington, Drone Attack Controversy: Obama Administration Wrestling With Whether To Target U.S. Terror Suspect.

Shorter version: our government has a kill list for its own citizens. There is no indictment, no judicial review, no trial. Someone in the government signs an order and the execution proceeds.

Posted in Law: Constitutional Law, National Security | 2 Comments

New Media

Pierre Omidyar’s new venture, First Look Media, has its first online ‘magazine’ up and running. It’s called The Intercept. First big story is The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program.

It does go a little beyond what we already knew–that the US can use voice recognition to ID a cell phone user, then use geo-targeting to send a drone strike aimed at the phone–to discuss how the program works in practice (hint: not so great, especially once targets started adopting counter-measures).

Posted in Dan Froomkin, The Media | 1 Comment

The Nadir of the Florida Democratic Party

The leading candidate for the Florida Democratic Party’s nomination for the Governorship just said that Jeb Bush was a ‘great’ governor and would make a good President. And the Democratic party wants me to vote for Crist?

Of course, Crist himself was a Republican governor not so long ago. And before that, he was ‘chain-gang Charlie’, the Florida Attorney General who, in addition to wanting endless harsh sentences, personally argued before an appeals court that a high school girl who sent a naked picture of herself to a boy who then shared it around should have to register as a sex offender.

Vote for Nan Rich in the primary on August 26, 2014.

Posted in 2014 Election | Leave a comment