Did Turkish Police Beat Information Out Of A Suspect In The TJ Maxx Credit Card Case?

Christopher Soghoian over at Cnet is reporting that Turkish police may have used violence to get the encryption keys of one of primary ringleaders in the TJ Maxx credit card theft investigation. The suspect, Maksym Yastremskiy, is apparently a “major figure in the international sale of stolen credit card information.”

Chris says:

According to comments allegedly made by Howard Cox, a US Department of Justice official in a closed-door meeting last week, after being frustrated with the disk encryption employed by Yastremskiy, Turkish law enforcement may have resorted to physical violence to force the password out of the Ukrainian suspect.

Mr Cox’s revelation came in the context of a joke made during his speech. While the exact words were not recorded, multiple sources have verified that Cox quipped about leaving a stubborn suspect alone with Turkish police for a week as a way to get them to voluntarily reveal their password. The specifics of the interrogation techniques were not revealed, but all four people I spoke to stated that it was clear that physical coercion was the implied method.

The Turkish interrogation seemed to have worked as Mr Cox was even able to share Yastremskiy’s encryption password with the audience.


Turkish police may have beaten encryption key out of TJ Maxx suspect [CNet]


Edit Your Comment

  1. BeeBoo says:

    Probably another CIA rendition.

  2. Johnny_Roastbeef says:

    …And this is a problem somehow.

    They should leave the T.J. Max execs who knew about this for months but failed to say anything with the same Turkish Police officer. It might jog his memory for next time.

  3. AMetamorphosis says:

    Thats great !

    I think considering the MILLIONS he stole that a beating is in order.

  4. Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

    Doesn’t say they beat him. They could have used countless ways to make him give up the info. Sleep deprivation, playing Barney songs, not giving him food, making him watch Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, etc… IIRC, beating is not very effective anyway.

    • ameyer says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: I’d argue that “enhanced interrogation techniques” aren’t that effective.
      They’ll probably get some information. However, the information isn’t likely to be truthful.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        @ameyer: Funny thing, those computer encryption keys, is that you find out rather quickly whether it’s good or not.

        • sir_pantsalot says:

          @Applekid: You would think that just the threat of leaving this guy as a VIP in a Turkish prison for a week would be enough to get the correct password from the guy. Since the information can be verified almost immediately then the guy only goes through as much bad treatment as he wants to.

  5. friendlynerd says:

    Yeah I’m having trouble rustling up any pity here

    • Raiders757 says:


      I’m with you.

      This soft stance we have on crimminals and idiots who are willing to do harm to us, is a figgin’ joke. I wish the U.S. would clamp down a little harder on the scum that taints our society. We’ve played this “give ’em a second chance game” long enough. We all can see where that got us. Nowhere.

      Torture? I don’t care. If we know they’re guilty, rip their nails out, and peel the skin off their face for all I care. Set an example that overrides the one the crimminals set for our youth these days.

      • friendlynerd says:

        That’s a really creepy comment. Don’t agree with me anymore, k?

      • howie_in_az says:

        @Raiders757: One could argue that by beating/peeling the skin off their faces/pulling their nails out we as a society become just like the people we’re supposedly protecting ourselves from.

        There are a bunch of cases where supposedly guilty people are freed after years of being in jail after DNA evidence proved them innocent. If we were to institute punishments as you’ve described… I don’t want to be in a country that’s OK with that.

      • agency says:


        Perhaps you should consider moving to a country more in line with your politics. Like Iran or North Korea.

    • Red_Flag says:

      @friendlynerd: Would your amount of pity differ if this story was instead about a suspect who was beaten and turned out to be innocent?

      Obviously, not the case here, but how many innocent people suffering is fair market value for the number of bad guys you’ll catch this way?

      • friendlynerd says:

        If it’s not the case here then why ask?

        • Red_Flag says:

          @friendlynerd: Because innocent people have been released from death row before. Because law enforcement doesn’t always do the right thing. Because torture has been and is being used to coerce false confessions.

          Just because the specific case involves a guilty party doesn’t mean that the next suspect or the suspect before were guilty. And if innocent people are tortured, can you say that the guilty one found vindicates the methods?

        • stopNgoBeau says:

          @friendlynerd: Because we don’t do it here, we shouldn’t accept those tactics from others. You don’t change from “he’s guilty, lets kick his ass” to “he might be guilty, but we don’t know, so lets play Barney songs” just because you think you know. When does it turn out that the sure thing isn’t as sure as you thought?

          You set a standard, and you follow it.

  6. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I’m not taking sides, but this seems like one of those stories that the “internet” jumps on and says “hell yeah!”
    Then when it’s the U.S. government doing it, everyone says it’s inhumane.

  7. TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

    Well frankly if it was my credit card that got ripped off by this guy I’d want him beaten too.

  8. mac-phisto says:

    to quote the new deniro/pacino movie, “some respect the badge, everyone respects the gun”.

    i don’t normally condone police brutality, but the mobsters that control the carding market have their own breed of violence that pales in comparison to anything that might occur in a turkish police station. live by the sword & all…

    • mac-phisto says:

      @mac-phisto: yeah, that sentence is all mish-mashed. strike that & reverse it. should be – “anything that might occur in a turkish police station pales in comparison to the violent nature of the carding mobsters.”

  9. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    Coincidentally, the towel that was shoved down Yastremskiy’s throat down to his stomach and then was pulled out was a FABULOUS clearance deal from TJ Maxx!

  10. AvDub says:


    There’s one way to dance around taking a stance on this one ;-)

    I don’t want to condone violence either, but it bothers me when people are too afraid to say that violence is appropriate at times. If you caught someone stealing your card, you’d want to personally administer a butt kicking, wouldn’t you?

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is one of those situations that proves the average citizen, no matter what country, really doesn’t have a problem with a little torture. As a group we seem to be appalled by torture but when you seperate each individual and ask them, their tune changes and they will say that the person got what they deserved…at least I’m guessing the majority would.

  12. starrion says:

    As someone who had to spend a couple hours talking to the bank, getting a new card, filing affidavits, ect ect.

    I’m really trying to muster some indignant outrage…..
    Nope. Sorry. Got what he deserved.

    He’s lucky he wasn’t outsourced to Saudi Arabia.

  13. SulochanaAethra says:

    But torture doesn’t work…right? I think in reality, when you know you have the right guy, you find out very soon whether the info is good and if not…

  14. starrion says:

    I think there is a difference between torture- physical abuse and inducing stress. Especially when you have something as simple as a password. I think it’s pointless when you don’t have an answer you can verify.

  15. Red_Flag says:

    Ah, rubber-hose decryption. Most effective method of password recovery in existence.

  16. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’ve thought about this a few times before… not being in law enforcement, I can’t really say how I’d react, but on one side, there are rules to follow. There are rules in place for a reason, and to consistently violate them and get away with it would make rules entirely ineffective. On the other side, there is a case to be made for survival. No one faults a hiker for killing the bear that attacks him, no one faults the soldier for opening fire when he/she is being fired upon. I don’t condone violence, but these people aren’t innocent. They’re thieves, they don’t care about others, they are looking out for themselves and their own greed.

  17. Jon R. says:

    I think that capital punishment is fitting for cases of identity theft. A beating for someone who committed millions in credit card theft? As far as I’m concerned, they can beat that useless piece of crap until he screams. Then they should do it again.

  18. esqdork says:

    As someone else who has had his identity stolen: I am not only comfortable with beating the suspect, I am pretty happy about it.

  19. ThickSkinned says:

    Police using strong arm tactics to get information from suspects? How shocking. Well, shocking in that it didn’t involve the NYPD or LAPD this time.

    • Pious_Augustus says:


      This is another country and culture in which they have the right to do as they please. In Turkey any American or Westerner who goes over there and flirts or whatever will know fast his place when he cries brutality they will knock out their teeth

  20. theblackdog says:

    I wonder if the workers of the City of San Francisco wished they could do it to that IT guy.

  21. Pious_Augustus says:

    Anyone seen Midnight express, one thing you don’t want to do is commit crime in turkey. I recommend everyone rent or buy midnight express

  22. Canino says:

    International Crime 101:

    If you commit a crime in the US, you can expect to not be beaten.

    If you commit a crime in Turkey, you can’t expect to not be beaten.

  23. rpm773 says:

    Have you ever been in a Turkish prison, Maksym Yastremskiy?

  24. Fitwit says:

    To the headline – GOOD.

  25. Corporate-Shill says:

    Turkish police “may have used violence”



    Oh geewhiz, the only time the Turkish police don’t use violence is when the suspect is already dead…. even then I would not completely trust the flunky hauling the body to the morgue.

    And I am not speaking ill of the Turkish Police. Substitute just about any country in the world in the place of Turkey and the results would be just about the same…. motivated law enforcement can always eztract a confession…. sometimes there are bruises, sometimes not.

  26. Eoghann says:

    Wait a minute…

    It’s OK to beat this guy to get his encryption key that could be important in a credit card fraud case, but it’s NOT OK to do the same to get information that could *prevent* a terrorist attack?

    What if a prisoner in Gitmo had encryption keys that could prevent a huge credit card theft? Would it be OK to beat them to get the key then?

  27. SoCalGNX says:

    Poor guy! If only he had come here the ACLU would protect him!!!

  28. Hyman Decent says:

    Very funny (not).

    IANAL, but I suppose what might’ve happened if he had been captured in the U.S. is, the U.S. authorities would’ve gotten a search warrant and he would have been required by the warrant to give up the password. If he refused, he would’ve been jailed for contempt of court.

  29. moore850 says:

    I would assume that if I jaywalked in Turkey, their would beat information out of me. Who would commit credit card fraud over there? The guy is lucky if he escapes with both hands still attached to his arms.