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Thread: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

  1. #261
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"


    US Pushing Local Cops To Stay Mum On Surveillance

    US pushing local police departments to keep quiet on cell-phone surveillance technology

    June 12, 2014

    The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned.

    Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment.

    Federal involvement in local open records proceedings is unusual. It comes at a time when President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance and called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified federal surveillance programs.

    One well-known type of this surveillance equipment is known as a Stingray, an innovative way for law enforcement to track cellphones used by suspects and gather evidence. The equipment tricks cellphones into identifying some of their owners' account information, like a unique subscriber number, and transmitting data to police as if it were a phone company's tower. That allows police to obtain cellphone information without having to ask for help from service providers, such as Verizon or AT&T, and can locate a phone without the user even making a call or sending a text message.

    But without more details about how the technology works and under what circumstances it's used, it's unclear whether the technology might violate a person's constitutional rights or whether it's a good investment of taxpayer dollars.

    Interviews, court records and public-records requests show the Obama administration is asking agencies to withhold common information about the equipment, such as how the technology is used and how to turn it on. That pushback has come in the form of FBI affidavits and consultation in local criminal cases.

    "These extreme secrecy efforts are in relation to very controversial, local government surveillance practices using highly invasive technology," said Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has fought for the release of these types of records. "If public participation means anything, people should have the facts about what the government is doing to them."

    Harris Corp., a key manufacturer of this equipment, built a secrecy element into its authorization agreement with the Federal Communications Commission in 2011. That authorization has an unusual requirement: that local law enforcement "coordinate with the FBI the acquisition and use of the equipment." Companies like Harris need FCC authorization in order to sell wireless equipment that could interfere with radio frequencies.

    A spokesman from Harris Corp. said the company will not discuss its products for the Defense Department and law enforcement agencies, although public filings showed government sales of communications systems such as the Stingray accounted for nearly one-third of its $5 billion in revenue. "As a government contractor, our solutions are regulated and their use is restricted," spokesman Jim Burke said.

    Local police agencies have been denying access to records about this surveillance equipment under state public records laws. Agencies in San Diego, Chicago and Oakland County, Michigan, for instance, declined to tell the AP what devices they purchased, how much they cost and with whom they shared information. San Diego police released a heavily censored purchasing document. Oakland officials said police-secrecy exemptions and attorney-client privilege keep their hands tied. It was unclear whether the Obama administration interfered in the AP requests.

    "It's troubling to think the FBI can just trump the state's open records law," said Ginger McCall, director of the open government project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. McCall suspects the surveillance would not pass constitutional muster.

    "The vast amount of information it sweeps in is totally irrelevant to the investigation," she said.

    A court case challenging the public release of information from the Tucson Police Department includes an affidavit from an FBI special agent, Bradley Morrison, who said the disclosure would "result in the FBI's inability to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal activity because through public disclosures, this technology has been rendered essentially useless for future investigations."

    Morrison said revealing any information about the technology would violate a federal homeland security law about information-sharing and arms-control laws — legal arguments that that outside lawyers and transparency experts said are specious and don't comport with court cases on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

    The FBI did not answer questions about its role in states' open records proceedings.

    But a former Justice Department official said the federal government should be making this argument in federal court, not a state level where different public records laws apply.

    "The federal government appears to be attempting to assert a federal interest in the information being sought, but it's going about it the wrong way," said Dan Metcalfe, the former director of the Justice Department's office of information and privacy. Currently Metcalfe is the executive director of American University's law school Collaboration on Government Secrecy project.

    A criminal case in Tallahassee cites the same homeland security laws in Morrison's affidavit, court records show, and prosecutors told the court they consulted with the FBI to keep portions of a transcript sealed. That transcript, released earlier this month, revealed that Stingrays "force" cellphones to register their location and identifying information with the police device and enables officers to track calls whenever the phone is on.

    One law enforcement official familiar with the Tucson lawsuit, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak about internal discussions, said federal lawyers told Tucson police they couldn't hand over a PowerPoint presentation made by local officers about how to operate the Stingray device. Federal officials forwarded Morrison's affidavit for use in the Tucson police department's reply to the lawsuit, rather than requesting the case be moved to federal court.

    In Sarasota, Florida, the U.S. Marshals Service confiscated local records on the use of the surveillance equipment, removing the documents from the reach of Florida's expansive open-records law after the ACLU asked under Florida law to see the documents. The ACLU has asked a judge to intervene. The Marshals Service said it deputized the officer as a federal agent and therefore the records weren't accessible under Florida law.

  2. #262
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    U.S. Cops Getting More and More Military Gear

    .
    By Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News
    Robert Shellmyer was relieved to see last week at his hometown’s 175th anniversary celebration that the local police department’s new prized possession was not driving alongside the tractors and floats in the parade.
    That’s because a 45,000 pound, explosion-resistant vehicle from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might spoil the mood.
    Shellmyer, a 78-year-old city councilman for the small town of Washington, Iowa, was the sole local politician to vote against the department of 12 police officers getting the free MRAP—short for mine resistant ambush protected vehicle—from the Defense Department two months ago. Washington is one of hundreds of towns and cities to get a recycled MRAP from the Pentagon over the past year and a half.
    “Here’s the thing,” Shellmyer says. “Washington, Iowa has 8,000 people. We have an MRAP now. We have a SWAT team. We have [police] dogs, and we have a SWAT team transportation vehicle that’s not armored.”
    The city councilman began to think: “Goodness, this is overkill.”
    But as a new report by the ACLU demonstrates, Washington’s use of military tactics and equipment has become the norm. Most of America’s police departments now have special paramilitary units—called SWAT teams—to respond to emergency situations, conduct drug raids, and even, in some cases, patrol the streets. In the past few years, more of these SWAT teams are getting armored vehicles provided by the federal government to expand their capabilities.
    Law enforcement leaders say the increased military equipment and tactics are necessary to respond to violent emergency events, like school shootings. Critics counter that the militarization of police causes needless violence. The ACLU report found that 46 civilians were injured in 818 SWAT raids over two years in 11 states. Children were present in the home in 14 percent of the raids the group studied. In 60 percent of the raids, police had a search warrant for a drug offense. Only 7 percent of the SWAT deployments the ACLU studied were for hostage or active shooter scenarios.
    The MRAPs, designed to protect U.S. soldiers from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, are now providing more firepower to these raids thanks to the Defense Department’s 1033 program, which began in the late 1980s to recycle old military equipment to cops. (That includes tens of thousands of machine guns, as well as more quotidian items like office furniture and computers.) The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, provides millions of dollars in grants to local cops to buy lighter armored vehicles, like BearCats, to combat terrorism or drug running. (Keane, New Hampshire received a DHS grant on the strength of an application that listed their annual pumpkin festival as one of several potential terrorist targets.)
    Unlike when they apply for DHS grants, police departments do not have to make the case that they are facing a terror threat to receive an MRAP under the Defense Department program. The Pentagon has given away 600 MRAPs since it began unloading the vehicles last year. The demand for the hulking machines is growing.
    [See if your county has an MRAP here.]
    “There’s been a real steady increase in police stations taking advantage of this,” said Mark Wright, a Defense Department spokesman. “It’s a heck of a good deal… ‘Here’s the MRAP free of charge. You’ve got to pay for maintenance and gas, but other than that we’ll take care of the rest.’”
    Police departments can cruise for MRAPs and other free military equipment online. A government website that advertises the available equipment shows armored vehicles covered in American flags and branded “POLICE.” Police departments are asked to specify if they want an armored vehicle that is tracked, like a tank, or one that is on wheels.
    The supply of extra MRAPs is likely to only increase—the government spent $50 billion to produce 27,000 of them in 2007.

    “Now that the Iraq and Afghanistan war has wound down, the military has a tremendous amount of surplus,” said Pete Kraska, a criminology professor at Eastern Kentucky University who has studied SWAT teams for 25 years. But Kraska doesn’t think it’s a good thing for local cops to inherit those leftovers. Though military-style tactics are necessary to respond to extreme situations—like an active shooter—SWAT teams are predominantly being used to raid private homes in search for drugs. The decommissioned Defense Department gear is likely just to encourage more of those raids carried out by cops wearing battle fatigues, another item the 1033 program doles out.
    Because the Pentagon just started handing out the MRAPs in 2013, it’s unclear how they’re being used. Some SWAT teams just use them for transportation to a raid, but at least one department has used the vehicle to bust through a door. The ACLU wasn’t able to determine how often the vehicles were used by SWAT teams, according to the report’s author Kara Dansky.
    Many of the armored vehicles end up in hamlets like Washington, which may seem surprising, except that SWAT teams have grown exponentially in small towns over the past 20 years. Kraska found that 80 percent of small towns had SWAT teams by the mid 2000s, up from just 20 percent in 1980. More than 90 percent of city departments have the special units.
    Police say the vehicles are necessary to protect officers in a violent world.
    William Brister, a captain in the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana, said his department decided it needed an armored vehicle after a shootout in 2003 left two officers dead and four more wounded. The Rapides SWAT team was delivering a search warrant to a gunman’s house after he was suspected of shooting at a police car the week earlier. Hundreds of shots were fired over two hours, and one resident told the local paper at the time that it sounded like “a warzone.”
    The MRAP could also come in handy for rescue missions after flooding or a hurricane, he said.

    The armored vehicle ended up costing the Rapides department $15,000 through various state and transportation fees, which Brister calls “a good chunk of change,” but he feels it’s worth it. That’s not counting gas for the 75-gallon tank, though, or training, which the Pentagon doesn’t provide. “A guy from MRAP University,” came and trained eight of the officers in how to operate the heavy vehicle, Brister said. For now, the hulking MRAP is just sitting in the yard near a police building.
    In Washington, meanwhile, Shellmyer gets ribbed by the locals for the vehicle and the local media attention it’s garnered. “I go down to a little filling station and there’s always two or three boys sipping coffee and they say, ‘Well Shellmyer do you feel safer now that we have a tank?’”
    The city councilman just shrugs it off. “We’re just trying to put the blanket over the top of it and hopefully people will forget we have it.”
    http://news.yahoo.com/as-wars-wind-down–small-town-cops-inherit-armored-vehicles-233505138.html

    Related:
    Militarized American Police Forces — We May Need To Rethink and Demilitarize
    America’s expanding police state
    Is America Starting To Target Thought Crime?
    Police officer safety or surplus zeal: Military equipment spurs debate
    Many Local American Police Armed To The Teeth With Tools Of War
    Militarized American Police Forces — We May Need To Rethink and Demilitarize
    Libertatem Prius!


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  3. #263
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    http://youviewed.com/2014/06/24/dhs-swat-team-trashes-home-strips-woman-leaves-with-no-arrests-no-evidence/

    DHS SWAT Team Trashes Home , Strips Woman , Leaves With No Arrests , No Evidence


    Video Filed under: Civil Liberties, Constitution, Law Enforcement Thuggery, Police State, Statism, VideoLeave a comment
    June 24, 2014


    DHS Ransacks Florida Couple’s Home Without Explanation, Strips Woman Naked



    ” A Florida couple was traumatized after a dozen heavily armed SWAT agents crashed through their front door, flash-banged their cat, aimed rifles at them and searched their home without explanation.
    The raid took place in the pre-dawn hours of June 10th, 2014. At approximately 6:16 a.m., Kari Edwards and her live-in boyfriend were intruded upon by men dressed in full SWAT gear and wielding rifles. After smashing down the couple’s front door, agents tossed concussion grenades and proceeded into the home.
    “ They busted in like I was a terrorist or something,” said Ms. Edwards.
    “ [An officer] demanded that I drop the towel I was covering my naked body with,” Ms. Edwards said, “before snatching it off me physically and throwing me to the ground.”
    “ While I lay naked, I was cuffed so tightly I could not feel my hands. For no reason, at gunpoint,” Edwards said. “[Agents] refused to cover me, no matter how many times I asked.”
    Ms. Edwards said her boyfriend told her that an agent holding an assault rifle to her back was gawking at her exposed body. “Eying me up and down like I was eye candy,” she said.
    The house was equipped with a surveillance system, which captured video of the agents from a couple different angles. “






    Ms Edwards describes the assault this way …

    ” At 6:16 am on Tuesday June 10, 2014 a team of over a dozen heavily armed men in full swat gear smashed my front door, threw flash bang grenades at my cat (a normally friendly cat who greets everyone is now fearful and hard of hearing), demanded that I drop the towel I was covering my naked body with before snatching it off of me physically and throwing me to the ground.
    According to my boyfriend, the agent with his assault rifle to my back kept eying me up & down like I was eye candy. I requested to see ID and the agent pointed at his uniform that read POLICE and said “Isn’t this ID enough for you?” When I told him I could buy that up in Miami he called me retarded and said I was fucking stupid. They spent bout 2 hours trashing my house, even smashing clear glass shower doors and a vintage statue.
    My boyfriend, who is asthmatic, started having trouble breathing due to the lingering smoke created by the flash bang grenade and asked for his inhaler. The agent said “do I need to call paramedics? My boyfriend said no, I just need my inhaler can someone get it for me?, Again he was answered with a paramedic offer. Finally another agent asked where it was and brought it out then helped him use it. The video is short because they ripped out my surveillance DVR stating they “can’t be recorded”.”







    ” After about 2 hours of pure hell, a female agent asked if there were any laptops in the house. They left us thinking that they were here for child pornography but the more I thin about it, I don’t think they would have come in full force, shields, helicopter, etc for kiddie porn.
    I’m still scratching my head but have made complains to the ACLU, DHS OIG and the White House but I don’t want to just sit there waiting so decided to spread the word and increase awareness.
    PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT EVEN ENCRYPTED WIFI IS NOT SAFE. SOMEONE CAN HACK IT, FORGET YOUR PERSONAL INFO, THEY CAN HAVE YOUR HOME RAIDED… I’M NOT THE FIRST OF THESE VICTIMS,”

    PoliceStateUSA has more original reporting including pictures of the trashed house provided by Ms Edwards here .

    Libertatem Prius!


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  4. #264
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    FBI Raids Home of Dangerous Doomsday Prepper: Agents Find Legally Owned Firearms, Barrels of Food

    By wkchild on • ( 2 )
    Source: SHTFPlan, by Mac Slavo
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies blasted alerts all over the country earlier this week advising Americans to be on the lookout for ‘Doomsday Prepper’ Martin Winters, who police say was stockpiling over fifty “high powered” rifles, deadly booby traps and food in preparation for an “end times” event. Neighbors interviewed by mainstream news were terrified about the allegations, leaving some with the impression that Winters was “crazy” because he allegedly claimed that he would kill federal agents if necessary.
    While SWAT officials indicated the likelihood that they would have to engage Winters in a firefight was high, friends and family suggested otherwise, saying that Winters may have had views different from most people but insisting that he is a “good guy” who wouldn’t hurt others unless it was necessary to do so in self defense.
    Police went so far as to suggest that Winters had essentially gone off the reservation and that he didn’t care whether he lived or died, and that he was “plotting” a confrontation with the federal government.
    But the claims and allegations may have been blown way out of proportion. After police obtained a warrant to search Winters’ home based on information obtained from a confidential informant they were probably surprised that not only did Winters have no explosive booby troops set up all over his property as had been claimed, he was also far short of having possession of the fifty high-powered rifles that police said he had been stockpiling.
    Read More Here: SHTFPlan.com
    ==================




    FBI Raids Home of Dangerous Doomsday Prepper: Agents Find Legally Owned Firearms, Barrels of Food

    Mac Slavo
    June 22nd, 2014
    SHTFplan.com

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies blasted alerts all over the country earlier this week advising Americans to be on the lookout for ‘Doomsday Prepper’ Martin Winters, who police say was stockpiling over fifty “high powered” rifles, deadly booby traps and food in preparation for an “end times” event. Neighbors interviewed by mainstream news were terrified about the allegations, leaving some with the impression that Winters was “crazy” because he allegedly claimed that he would kill federal agents if necessary.


    While SWAT officials indicated the likelihood that they would have to engage Winters in a firefight was high, friends and family suggested otherwise, saying that Winters may have had views different from most people but insisting that he is a “good guy” who wouldn’t hurt others unless it was necessary to do so in self defense.
    Police went so far as to suggest that Winters had essentially gone off the reservation and that he didn’t care whether he lived or died, and that he was “plotting” a confrontation with the federal government.


    But the claims and allegations may have been blown way out of proportion. After police obtained a warrant to search Winters’ home based on information obtained from a confidential informant they were probably surprised that not only did Winters have no explosive booby troops set up all over his property as had been claimed, he was also far short of having possession of the fifty high-powered rifles that police said he had been stockpiling.
    Federal agents this week searched the Florida home of a ‘doomsday prepper’ they alleged had stockpiled over 50 high-powered assault rifles and several explosive devices buried around his property as ‘booby traps’.
    However the warrant showed up little more than barrels of food.

    But in federal court on Wednesday, Winters’ defense attorney, Ellis Faught, said the confidential informant’s estimates were wide of the mark.
    The informant had bought four so-called destructive devices from Winters, but they were not buried as booby traps.
    Five guns were found locked in a safe, according to 10 News.

    ‘None of this was there,’ Fraught told the court, the station reported.
    ‘And it’s my understanding that no guns were dug up.
    ‘It was alleged by the government that there were 50 to 60 guns and I’m only aware of five of them that were found and they were found in his house in a safe.’
    Source: Daily Mail
    While Martin Winters’ political ideology and interests may differ from those of most Americans, the government had tried him in a public court before any evidence had been presented or found. Some of his neighbors were terrified of this “crazy” individual after they had been told of his alleged crimes, and the mainstream media was happy to oblige the narrative that this right-wing survivalist extremist was a danger to himself and society.


    The FBI issued the following photo to its media surrogates during the manhunt in an effort to depict Winters as a survivalist who had gone off the deep end:




    His daughters, however, say that Winters is not violent at all and that he is a loving father and grandfather.


    “I think they took the whole context of him being prepared and twisted it,” says his daughter Tracy.


    (Pictured: Martin Winters with daughters)


    Video: “This whole manhunt happened because Winters was trying to protect his family”


    Senator Rand Paul warned Americans about this growing trend of demonizing innocent Americans in a speech he delivered to Congress three years ago in opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act noting that those who don’t subscribe to the status quo could be branded as extremists and terrorists. Paul’s prediction couldn’t have been more accurate, especially considering the manhunt and circumstances surrounding the ordeal with Martin Winters:

    There are laws on the books now that characterize who might be a terrorist.



    Someone missing fingers on their hands is a suspect according to the Department of Justice. Someone who has guns, someone who has ammunition that is weatherproofed, someone who has more than seven days of food in their house can be considered a potential terrorist.



    If you are suspected by these activities do you want the government to have the ability to send you to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention?


    I suspect, we’re not talking about someone who has been tried or found guilty. We’re talking about someone suspected of activities.
    We have, unfortunately, reached a point in America where talking about ideas that don’t go along with mainstream thought has become suspicious activity and those engaging in it are now identified as extremists or persons of interest. With the surveillance state rapidly expanding its capabilities to monitor conversations and interactions with those around us, it has become more important now than ever before to keep our personal activities as private as possible.

    OPSEC, a term preppers use to describe operational security, is a key tenet of staying safe in the event of a major disaster. But in this day and age it is a concept that is just as important to implement while everything is seemingly stable, because sharing too much with the wrong people may make you a target, not just to looters and thieves, but overzealous government agents as well.

    Today Martin Winters is a domestic terrorist. Tomorrow it might be you.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  5. #265
    Super Moderator Malsua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    So did they find Martin Winters or not?
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


  6. #266
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Quote Originally Posted by Malsua View Post
    So did they find Martin Winters or not?
    Apparently:

    Doomsday prepper Martin Winters surrenders, held without bail


    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:23pm


    Suspected Fla. 'doomsday prepper' sought by FBI


    Suspected Fla. 'doomsday prepper' sought by FBI








    TAMPA — Federal authorities sought doomsday prepper Martin Winters for two days in the woods of east Hillsborough County, attempting to arrest him on weapons charges.



    On the third day, agents didn't need to look far at all.


    Winters, soggy-shoed and hungry, waited with a daughter in a car outside the FBI field office on Gray Street in Tampa on Wednesday morning as his attorneys stepped up to a reception desk and arranged his surrender.


    In trade, he got cheeseburgers, fries, Gatorade, dry shoes, praise from the FBI and a morning free of gunfire — all this from the agency that had spent months chronicling his antigovernment rhetoric and spying on his preparations for an imminent "last stand" with law enforcement.


    "We're glad to report that Mr. Winters did the right thing," said FBI spokesman David Couvertier. "We were hoping for a peaceful resolution, and today we got that."


    Winters invoked his right to remain silent and was moved to the federal courthouse in downtown Tampa for a first appearance before Magistrate Judge Thomas Wilson.


    The defendant's three adult daughters sobbed when he was led into the room in restraints. He wore dark camouflage pants and a brown T-shirt, his face rimmed by a Zeus-like mane of churning black and white curls.


    He stood when the judge entered the room. He called Wilson "Sir."


    But Wilson called Winters a danger to the community and ordered him held without bail.


    Federal authorities say Winters, 55, leads a group known as the River Otter Preppers that advocates survival preparations in advance of an end-times event foretold in the Bible's Book of Revelation.


    He and five others were indicted by a grand jury nearly two weeks ago. He's accused of designing and building destructive devices without a permit, among other charges. He pleaded not guilty.


    Defense attorney Ellis Faught Jr., who first represented Winters 35 years ago on a hunting violation, told the judge that an undercover FBI agent who spent months building a case against Winters had witnessed only talk.


    But Wilson didn't accept that.


    "This is not just talk," the judge said. "There were, in fact, destructive devices found and sold."


    Winters talked about booby traps and stashes of weapons he had around his house at 3032 Williams Blvd., according to an FBI affidavit. He also discussed elaborate plans to kill government agents in the event that they raided his property.


    The FBI had tried to arrest Winters on Monday as he was driving near Durant High School in east Hillsborough County, but he sped away.


    Prosecutor Donald Hansen told the judge that agents exercised caution because Winters' two grandchildren were with him. Eventually, he let them out and then abandoned the vehicle and ran into the brush.


    On Tuesday, the FBI announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to Winters' capture, calling him "armed and dangerous."


    "It could have been a catastrophe had he not turned himself in," attorney Faught said.


    The surrender process began with a phone call just after 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to Faught.


    Winters' 26-year-old daughter, Tracey Winters, arranged to meet the attorney at his office. Once there, she said her father wanted to surrender, Faught said. They picked him up in the general area of his home, several miles southeast of Brandon.


    "He got in the car immediately, and we didn't stop anywhere," Faught said. "We went on State Road 60 all the way in. I just wanted to make sure to get to the FBI office as fast as we could without incident."


    Patty Ryan can be reached at pryan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3382.



    Doomsday prepper Martin Winters surrenders, held without bail 06/18/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2014 1:34pm]
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    DHS adviser brings jihad to America

    Posted on June 24, 2014 by traildustfotm | Leave a comment
    BREITBART

    ELIBIARY: AMERICA IS AN ISLAMIC COUNTRY


    by JOHN ROSSOMANDO 23 Jun 2014
    Last fall, a top Obama Homeland Security adviser generated controversy when he wrote that the U.S. Constitution was”Islamically compliant.”

    Mohamed Elibiary returned to the topic in a Saturday morning Twitter post: “… I said America was an Islamic country not a Muslim country. Pls study up on the difference b4 attacking me.” The post appears to have been deleted from Elibiary’s Twitter feed.
    Elibiary declined to explain what he meant when the Investigative Project wrote to him asking for clarification. The tweets are puzzling considering that there were 2.6 million Muslims in the United States as of the 2010 census – roughly less than .2 percent of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.
    A source close to Elibiary told the IPT, however, that the Homeland Security adviser meant to say that he feels there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution and the American system that runs contrary to Islam.
    Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, rejected the theory.
    “His entire attempt to repeatedly say that ‘American is Islamic’ is pure deception in the context of an Islamist ideologue like him who has not only never critiqued Islamism but rather continuously advocates for it,” Jasser said. “In fact it is not. American Islamists like Elibiary have consistently rejected debate with other anti-Islamist Muslims about the threat of Islamism and the way to separate Islam from Islamism.
    “Why? If they lose that debate, his entire raison d’ętre inside the U.S. government ceases to exist.”
    Elibiary also compared criticism of Islamism, or political Islam, with “segregation era standards,” and invoked the memory of the “separate & unequal doctrine” that marked that era.
    Elibiary’s defense of Islamism ignores how Islamist luminaries such as Sayyid Qutb – whom he previously praised – advocated forcing non-Muslims to enjoy an inferior legal status under the “protection” of the Islamic state.
    Wherever Islamists have exercised power through violent or non-violent means, religious minorities such as Christians and Jews have found themselves facing violence or discrimination. This has certainly been the case in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.
    A week earlier, Elibiary tweeted that the restoration of the long-defunct Muslim Caliphate was “inevitable.”
    Elibiary also predicted that conservatives would evolve on the foreign policy front to accept a “Muslim majority world.”
    “Islamism is incompatible with liberty and is a supremacist doctrine for which he deceptively argues is Islam the faith,” Jasser said. “In all of his work, you will not find any critique of Islamism, the Islamic state, or government imposed shariah in his opinions or any admission of the deep reforms necessary for American ideals to be compatible with Islam.”
    Read this article on Breitbart: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2...slamic-Country

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  8. #268
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Oh brother.....


    Verne Troyer shares photo of thorough TSA search in Los Angeles

    By kchild2013 on • ( 1 )
    The ‘Austin Powers’ star known for portraying Mini-Me went through a security screening at LAX on Sunday and the photo caused concern from some fans. ‘The screening was in accordance with established TSA policies and procedures,’ a TSA rep told The News.
    Source: New York Daily News, by Zayda Rivera, June 16, 2014
    VerneJTroyer/via Facebook Verne Troyer posted this photo on his Facebook page with a caption reading ‘TSA struggles’ after he was searched by a TSA agent at Los Angeles International Airport.


    It’s a lucky guess that Verne Troyer wasn’t saying “Yeaa, baby!” when he was thoroughly searched by airport security Sunday.
    The “Austin Powers” star shared a photo on his Facebook page that shows him bending over on his scooter as a member of the Los Angeles International Airport’s Transportation Security Administration appears to be conducting a patdown.
    “TSA struggles,” he captioned the pic.
    Troyer’s photo quickly sparked controversy as his followers gave varying opinions about the search due to his dwarfism disability, which is a recognized condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    Continue reading…

    ===================


    Verne Troyer shares photo of thorough TSA search in Los Angeles

    The 'Austin Powers' star known for portraying Mini-Me went through a security screening at LAX on Sunday and the photo caused concern from some fans. 'The screening was in accordance with established TSA policies and procedures,' a TSA rep told The News.

    BY Zayda Rivera
    NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Monday, June 16, 2014, 12:52 PM

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    VerneJTroyer/via Facebook Verne Troyer posted this photo on his Facebook page with a caption reading 'TSA struggles' after he was searched by a TSA agent at Los Angeles International Airport.

    It's a lucky guess that Verne Troyer wasn't saying "Yeaa, baby!" when he was thoroughly searched by airport security Sunday.
    The "Austin Powers" star shared a photo on his Facebook page that shows him bending over on his scooter as a member of the Los Angeles International Airport's Transportation Security Administration appears to be conducting a patdown.
    "TSA struggles," he captioned the pic.
    Troyer's photo quickly sparked controversy as his followers gave varying opinions about the search due to his dwarfism disability, which is a recognized condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    "They are profiling," Allan Volker wrote. "I bet they searched every little person that came through today and that is wrong!!!"
    Noel Vasquez/Getty Images Verne Troyer is famous for his Mini-Me character in the ‘Austin Powers' movies.

    "Oh wow it's nice to see how you guys don't give a f-k about the security of the country," Anthony Torina wrote. "I'd check everything if I were a TSA officer, people are screwed up. Famous or not, handicap or not."
    TSA security screenings typically include walk-through metal detectors, carry-on luggage scanners, explosives trace detection systems for checked baggage and, more recently, Advanced Image Technology, according to their website. For passengers with disabilities, searches like Troyer's are standard.
    "The screening process for a passenger who uses a wheelchair or scooter is determined by their ability to stand and walk," Ross Feinstein, press secretary for TSA said in a statement to the Daily News Monday.
    "A passenger can be screened without standing, walking, or being required to transfer out of a wheelchair or scooter," Feinstein added. "In this specific case, a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) conducted a thorough patdown while the passenger remained seated in their scooter. The screening was in accordance with established TSA policies and procedures."
    Verne Troyer Shares Extremely Awkward Photo Of Himself Getting...


    Where's Austin Powers when you need him?! While traveling over the weekend, Verne Troyer had a very hands-on encounter with airport security. The...








    While the image may have ruffled a few of his fans feathers, Troyer seems to be use to adhering to such thorough searches.
    "Another day another flight," the actor tweeted with the pic
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  9. #269
    Super Moderator Malsua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Leave Verne Troyer Alone!

    It's not like he's got a full sized H&K USP stuffed in his pants.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Why the hell does the TSA do this shit?
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Probable Cause, Here… There…

    Posted on June 23, 2014 by Battlefield USA
    Police claimed they had probable cause to the vehicle of 54-year-old Sherida Felders because she was nervous, had an air freshener and her license plate holder said “Jesus.”
    Cops Denied Immunity After Tearing Apart a Woman’s Car When K-9 Alerted to Beef Jerky
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  12. #272
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Again with the "K9 alerted" shit. It's bullshit. I believe that the handlers can say anything they want. The "Dog alerted" and that's free license for these jackbooted shitbags to toss someone's car for no reason. I guess it's a good thing that most police have a high rate of alcoholism and suicide. I can understand why since it makes sense if you're a miserable abusive prick.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    I guess it's a good thing that most police have a high rate of alcoholism and suicide. I can understand why since it makes sense if you're a miserable abusive prick.
    If my car EVER gets tossed, I'm going to use that exact phrase within hearing of the assholes doing it.
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    US police departments are increasingly militarised, finds report

    • ACLU cites soaring use of war zone equipment and tactics
    • Swat teams increasingly deployed in local police raids
    • Seven civilians killed and 46 injured in incidents since 2010








    Link to video: Minority Report meets the Wire: how New Jersey police use military technology to fight crime – video
    At 3am on 28 May, Alecia Phonesavanh was asleep in the room she was temporarily occupying together with her husband and four children in the small town of Cornelia, Georgia. Her baby, 18-month-old Bou Bou, was sleeping peacefully in his cot.


    Suddenly there was a loud bang and several strangers dressed in black burst into the room. A blinding flash burst out with a deafening roar from the direction of the cot.

    Amid the confusion, Phonesavanh could see her husband pinned down and handcuffed under one of the men in black, and while her son was being held by another. Everyone was yelling, screaming, crying. “I kept asking the officers to let me have my baby, but they said shut up and sit down,” she said.


    As the pandemonium died down, it became clear that the strangers in black were a Swat team of police officers from the local Habersham County force – they had raided the house on the incorrect assumption that occupants were involved in drugs. It also became clear to Phonesavanh that something had happened to Bou Bou and that the officers had taken him away.


    “They told me that they had taken my baby to the hospital. They said he was fine he had only lost a tooth, but they wanted him in for observation,” Phonesavanh said.
    When she got to the hospital she was horrified by what she saw. Bou Bou was in a medically-induced coma in the intensive care unit of Brady Memorial hospital. “His face was blown open. He had a hole in his chest that left his rib-cage visible.”


    The Swat team that burst into the Phonesavanh’s room looking for a drug dealer had deployed a tactic commonly used by the US military in warzones, and increasingly by domestic police forces across the US. They threw an explosive device called a flashbang that is designed to distract and temporarily blind suspects to allow officers to overpower and detain them. The device had landed in Bou Bou’s cot and detonated in the baby’s face.


    “My son is clinging to life. He’s hurting and there’s nothing I can do to help him,” Phonesavanh said. “It breaks you, it breaks your spirit.”


    Bou Bou is not alone. A growing number of innocent people, many of them children and a high proportion African American, are becoming caught up in violent law enforcement raids that are part of an ongoing trend in America towards paramilitary policing.


    The American Civil Liberties Union has released the results of its new survey into the use of Swat teams by police forces across the country. It concludes that policing has become dangerously and unnecessarily militarized, literally so with equipment and strategies being imported directly from the US army.


    The findings set up a striking and troubling paradox. The Obama administration is completing its withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the US is on the verge of being free from war for the first time in more than a decade; yet at the same time the hardware and tactics of the war zone are quietly proliferating at home.


    The ACLU’s report, War Comes Home, looks at 818 Swat incidents that were carried out by more than 20 law enforcement agencies in 11 states. The raids spanned the period from July 2010 to last October.
    Heavily militarised equipment, such as APCs and flashbang grenades, are increasingly entering police arsenals. Photograph: Marcus Donner/Reuters
    At the very least, the ACLU finds, the growing use of battering rams to smash down doors is causing property damage to the homes that are raided. At worst, people are dying or being injured by police teams deploying the techniques of the battlefield.


    The survey, which covered only a small snapshot of what is going on around the country each year, found seven cases where civilians died in connection with the deployment of the Swat teams, two of which appeared to be suicides. A further 46 civilians were injured, often due to use of force by officers.


    The victims include Aiyana Stanley-Jones, seven, who was killed in 2010 when a Swat team threw a flashbang grenade like the one that injured Bou Bou into the room where she was sleeping. The device set fire to Aiyana’s blanket and when officers burst into the room they shot at the flames and hit her.


    Then there was Tarika Wilson who was shot dead by Swat officers as she was holding her 14-month-old son in Lima, Ohio; the baby was injured but survived. And Eurie Stamp, a grandfather of 12, who was sitting watching baseball on TV in his pajamas in Farmington, Massachusetts, in January 2011 when a Swat team battered down his door, threw a flashbang device into the room and forced him to lie facedown on the floor. One of the officers’ guns discharged and killed Stamp, who was not the man they had come to apprehend, as he lay there.


    Also in 2011, Jose Guerena, a veteran of the Iraq war, was shot 22 times in his kitchen at home in Tucson, Arizona, by officers in a Swat team that was searching the neighbourhood for drugs. Nothing was found in the Guerena home.


    Swat teams were a late 1960s invention that emerged out of the Los Angeles police department. Initially, they were designed to help officers react to perilous situations such as riots, hostage taking and where an active shooter was barricaded into a house.


    But they have developed into something entirely different. The ACLU survey found that 62% of Swat team call-outs were for drug searches. Some 79% involved raids on private homes, and a similar proportion were done on the back of warrants authorizing searches. By contrast, only about 7% fell into those categories for which the technique was originally intended, such as hostage situations or barricades.
    The ACLU found that 79% of Swat team raids were on private homes, and only 7% were meant for intended for missions in line with Swat teams' original purposes. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images
    “Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using paramilitary squads to search people’s homes for drugs,” the ACLU writes. It adds: “Neighbourhoods are not war zones and our police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies.”


    Research by Peter Kraska, a professor at Kentucky University, has tracked the exponential growth in the use of paramilitary tactics in the US. In the 1980s there were as few as 3,000 Swat raids a year, but by around 2005 that number had leapt to 45,000.


    Such a rapid proliferation has been actively encouraged by the federal government, particularly by the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11, and by the Defense Department. The Pentagon channels military equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan to domestic police forces under its 1033 programme, which the ACLU found had transmitted 15,000 items of battle uniforms and personal protective gear during the survey period.


    The amount of equipment handed over can be substantial. North Little Rock police force in Arkansas, for instance, was granted 34 automatic and semi-automatic rifles, two MARCbot robots from Afghanistan that can be weaponised, helmets for ground troops and a tactical armoured vehicle.


    Armoured personnel carriers, or APCs, have proliferated dramatically under the 1033 programme. About 500 law enforcement agencies believed to have received military vehicles built specifically to resist roadside bombs. The local police for Ohio state university even has an APC for use on American football match days.
    Once the equipment has been handed over, the temptation is to use it. That certainly was the case for the mayor of Peoria, Illinois, who in April sent a Swat team to search the house of someone who had poked fun at him in a satirical Twitter account.


    As the ACLU notes: “if the federal government gives the police a huge cache of military-style weaponry, they are highly likely to use it, even if they do not really need to.”
    As for the infant, Bou Bou Phonesavanh, he remains in intensive care after having been through a series of operations. “Everything is touch and go. Nothing is determined, nothing is decided,” Alecia Phonesavanh said.


    The Phonesavanhs’ lawyer, Mawuli Davis, said the Swat team should have known that young children were present in the room they were raiding as there were clear tell-tale signs: a playpen outside the door and a van parked outside with four child seats in it. “We have to address the way that police in this country are armed as if they are invading a foreign land,” Mawuli said. “It’s disturbing, and innocent people are hurting.”


    A few hours after the raid took place, police located the suspect they had been seeking at a different house in the neighbourhood. The officers knocked on the door, the suspect opened it, and agreed peacefully to come in for questioning.
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  15. #275
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Bou Bou Phonesavanh? Appropriate name I suppose, it's almost like they knew the government was going to honor his first name for him.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    The Supreme Court ruled today that cops need to "get a warrant" to search cell phones.

    Yesterday they ruled that people on No-Flight lists have the RIGHT TO FLY - and that at least 18 (or 19) people had their rights violated and with NO recourse couldn't get off the list. That's gonna get fixed pretty fast I think.
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Supreme Court limits police searches of cellphones






    WASHINGTON —- Cellphones and smartphones generally cannot be searched by police without a warrant during arrests, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday in a major clash between privacy and technology.


    Ruling on two cases from California and Massachusetts, the justices acknowledged both a right to privacy and a need to investigate crimes. But they came down squarely on the side of privacy rights.


    "We cannot deny that our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. "Privacy comes at a cost."


    The court struck down an extensive smartphone search in California that had been upheld by the state Court of Appeals, as well as a more limited probe of an old flip-top cellphone in Massachusetts that a federal judge already had thrown out.


    The result was a ruling that police cannot seek what they believe is relevant to the crime without getting a warrant. Currently, police can search the person under arrest and whatever physical items are within reach to find weapons and preserve evidence.


    The justices noted that vast amounts of sensitive data on modern smartphones raise new privacy concerns that differentiate them from other evidence. They reserved for police the right to claim "exigent circumstances."


    In the past two years, the court has ruled that police can swab a suspect's cheek for DNA to put into an unsolved crimes database, as well as conduct strip searches of prisoners without reasonable suspicion.


    But the justices also have said police need a warrant to attach a GPS device to a suspect's car, to obtain blood from a drunken driver who refuses a breathalyzer test, and to bring a drug-sniffing dog up to the door of a suspect's house.


    The cellphone cases may be just a precursor to more expansive and potentially explosive high court inquiries. Among them: an examination of the National Security Agency's phone and computer surveillance methods, on which two federal district courts recently diverged.


    The two cellphone cases, heard back-to-back in April, involved different crimes, different responses and different lower-court rulings. What joined them was the fact that police searched cellphones without first obtaining warrants.


    A California court upheld David Riley's conviction on gang-related weapons offenses that police uncovered after stopping his car for expired tags, finding guns under the hood and then discovering incriminating photos and video on his smartphone. The justices overturned that ruling.


    In Massachusetts, a federal appeals court threw out Brima Wurie's conviction after a specifically targeted search of his old-fashioned flip-phone following a street arrest led police to find a cache of drugs and weapons at his home. The high court upheld that ruling.


    Because the California search was extensive and the Massachusetts search aimed only at incoming calls and addresses, both cases had appeared ripe for reversal. But with appeals courts divided on the issue of cellphone searches, the justices also were being asked to devise bright-line rules for police to follow — something Roberts emphasized in his opinion.


    That's particularly true because technology is advancing, creating new Fourth Amendment puzzles for police to solve. Nine in 10 adults in the U.S. own cellphones, more than half of them smartphones. Eight in 10 use those phones to send text messages; more than half send or receive e-mail, download applications, or access the Internet.


    Combine that data with the estimated 12.2 million arrests made nationwide in 2012 — not including citations for traffic violations — and you have a potential perfect storm of cellphone searches.
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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Cops Need Warrant to Search Cellphones, Court Rules

    In a sweeping decision in favor of digital privacy, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police almost always need a warrant to search a person’s cellphone, even in the case of someone placed under arrest.
    In an 8-1 decision, the court ruled against the Obama administration.



    The usual law is that police can search anything on a person when they make an arrest. Opponents argued that smartphones were different because they hold such vast and personal stores of information.
    “Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. Elsewhere in the decision, he said that phones are so pervasive that “the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.”
    But technological advances do not make such information less worthy of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure, Roberts wrote.
    “Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant,” he wrote.
    The case concerned a man named David Leon Riley, who was pulled over in San Diego five years ago for driving with an expired license. When police found guns in his car, they arrested him for carrying concealed weapons.
    Police then discovered pictures and videos on his Samsung phone, which led to charges that he took part in violent gang-related crimes.
    The court suggested that police could still move ahead without a warrant in extreme circumstances — for example, a suspect texting someone who might detonate a bomb, or in the case of a kidnapper who might have information about the child’s location on his phone.



    Those special circumstances can be evaluated by a court after the fact, the court pointed out.
    The Obama administration had argued that cellphones can be searched just like anything else carried by someone who’s arrested. And the court acknowledged that its decision could have an impact on police’s ability to fight crime.
    But warrants, Roberts wrote, are an important part of the machinery of government, not an inconvenience.
    — Pete Williams

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    Default Re: Police, TSA and other "Authorities"

    Tech 47,212 views


    NSA, DEA, IRS Lie About Fact That Americans Are Routinely Spied On By Our Government: Time For A Special Prosecutor

    Comment Now Follow Comments



    By Jennifer Stisa Granick and Christopher Jon Sprigman
    It seems that every day brings a new revelation about the scope of the NSA’s heretofore secret warrantless mass surveillance programs. And as we learn more, the picture becomes increasingly alarming. Last week we discovered that the NSA shares information with a division of the Drug Enforcement Administration called the Special Operations Division (SOD). The DEA uses the information in drug investigations. But it also gives NSA data out to other agencies – in particular, the Internal Revenue Service, which, as you might imagine, is always looking for information on tax cheats.


    The Obama Administration repeatedly has assured us that the NSA does not collect the private information of ordinary Americans. Those statements simply are not true. We now know that the agency regularly intercepts and inspects Americans’ phone calls, emails, and other communications, and it shares this information with other federal agencies that use it to investigate drug trafficking and tax evasion. Worse, DEA and IRS agents are told to lie to judges and defense attorneys about their use of NSA data, and about the very existence of the SOD, and to make up stories about how these investigations started so that no one will know information is coming from the NSA’s top secret surveillance programs.


    “Now, wait a minute,” you might be saying. “How does a foreign intelligence agency which supposedly is looking for terrorists and only targets non-U.S. persons get ahold of information useful in IRS investigations of American tax cheats?” To answer that question, let’s review this week’s revelations.


    Back in 2005, several media outlets reported that NSA has direct access to the stream of communications data, carried over fiber optic cables that connect central telephone switching facilities in the U.S. with one another and with networks in foreign countries. Reports suggested that the NSA had installed equipment referred to as “splitter cabinets” at main phone company offices, where they make a copy of all data traveling on the fiber optic cable and route it into a secret room where computers scan through the information – searching for names and terms that are themselves secret — as it goes by. For years, the federal government refused to comment on these reports. But on August 8, an unnamed senior administration official confirmed this practice to the New York Times.


    We also learned that the NSA can grab information off these fiber optic cables in near real time using a tool called XKeyscore (XKS). Searching the firehose of Internet and telephone data as it flows takes an immense amount of computing power. The XKS system dumps a portion of the communications information NSA snatches into a truly immense local storage “cache.” This cache can keep network information for a few days, depending on the amount of traffic. This gives the NSA’s computers time to search through what otherwise would be an unmanageable torrent of emails, phone calls, chats, social network posts, and other communications. And importantly, XKS searches do not involve just communications “metadata”. The XKS system searches the contents of our Internet and telephone communications. Which is directly at odds with repeated Administration statements suggesting that NSA mass surveillance was limited to metadata.


    To seize and search through all of this information without a warrant, the agency must comply with just a few legal limitations. Under the FISA Amendments Act, the NSA is not allowed to intentionally collect purely domestic information. That is, the NSA can search communications it believes begin or terminate in another country, either based on the facility where the information is collected (for example, an undersea cable) or other signifier, like an IP address that suggests origination abroad. Of course, these determinations are subject to error, particularly when the surveilled facility is in the U.S. and carries a substantial amount of purely domestic traffic.


    To reduce the amount of purely domestic traffic that ends up on the desks of NSA analysts, the agency relies on post-seizure “minimization” procedures. For several reasons, however, these procedures are fundamentally inadequate to protect communications privacy. First, the minimization procedures are themselves secret. Moreover, by law, purely domestic communications that the NSA inadvertently collects need be deleted only if they “could not be” foreign intelligence information – a provision that requires the NSA to delete very little. Some minimization procedures have been leaked to the public, and these show that the government may “retain and make use of “inadvertently acquired” domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity.” Even otherwise privileged communications between individuals and their lawyers are not deleted. The agency merely stores those in a separate database so they are not sent to a law enforcement agency for use in a criminal case.


    Once the NSA identifies the subset of international or “one-end” foreign communications (i.e., those where a foreigner is either a sender or recipient), analysts are supposed to search only for “foreign intelligence” information. But since “foreign intelligence” includes anything relevant to the conduct of U.S. foreign affairs, this limitation alone imposes no real restraint on NSA’s warrantless spying. Certainly, the NSA isn’t limited to counterterrorism operations.


    In undertaking their searches, NSA analysts use either “strong” or “soft” selectors. “Soft” selectors are a broad kind of search that pulls up messages based on content or even the language in which a message is written. When the NSA uses soft selectors, it can search the vast amounts of information it collects to retrieve all Internet users’ discussions of particular topics or in particular languages. The potentially very broad scope of searches using soft selectors is quite frightening, as ordinary Americans’ communications are likely to show up in search results.


    “Strong” selectors pull up information associated with a particular known individual. The Obama Administration has repeatedly assured us that these strong selectors may only target non-U.S. persons. But screenshots of the user interface for submitting selector queries tell a different story. Published by the Guardian, they show that NSA analysts are presented with dropdown lists of preapproved factors the NSA accepts as sufficient proof that a person is a foreigner, including being “in direct contact with (a) target overseas” or the use of storage media (like a server located abroad) seized outside the U.S. So any U.S. person who talks to a foreigner that the NSA has identified as a target, or who stores data on a server outside the U.S. (as someone might well do if emailing from a foreign hotel room) may be presumed to be a foreigner. And that’s not even the worst of it. Leaked NSA documents also suggest that the agency will presume that a person is a foreigner whenever there is no information suggesting otherwise. That sort of willful blindness gives the NSA a lot of leeway to target Americans.


    Worse, we now know that the NSA’s assertion that it does not “target” U.S. persons is either a lie, or is about to become one. Leaked NSA documents show that in 2011, the NSA changed its “minimization” rules to allow its operatives to search for individual Americans’ communications using their name or other identifying information. Such a change would turn “minimization” into a blanket authority to warrantlessly spy on Americans – in defiance of specific legal restrictions prohibiting this sort of domestic spying. Senator Ron Wyden has said that the law provides the NSA with a loophole potentially allowing “warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans”, and raised the issue when he met with President Obama on August 1. This is the first time we’ve had evidence that the NSA has — or will have — the authority to warrantlessly search its databases with the specific intent of digging up information on specific U.S. individuals.


    We can sum up very simply – at this moment, the NSA enjoys virtually unrestricted power to spy on Americans, without a warrant or any particular suspicion that any person spied upon has done anything wrong. Our phone, email and potentially other records are fair game for bulk collection. The contents of our communications with people overseas are also fair game, so long as there is an approved foreign intelligence purpose for the collection. The NSA does not believe that any stored emails are protected by the Fourth Amendment, so it can collect them from providers with little restraint. As far as we know, the only category of information the NSA currently believes is off limits to mass surveillance are the contents of phone calls it knows in advance are solely between Americans.


    This is an astonishing development in the U.S., a nation that, until recently, carefully restricted the power of its domestic spying agencies by forcing them to submit narrow requests for spying authority to a court, which would issue a warrant if the government showed probable cause to believe that the surveillance target was engaged in some sort of wrongdoing. At this point, it’s clear those limits are gone. The United States is now a mass surveillance state.


    In last week’s press conference, President Obama reassured the nation that “America isn’t interested in spying on ordinary people.” In other words, do not worry, because the information will only be used for narrow counterterrorism or broader foreign intelligence purposes. But the latest revelations show that these assurances too are a lie. Under current U.S. surveillance law, the NSA may share with domestic law enforcement information obtained both through authorized surveillance, and information unlawfully but unintentionally collected, if it contains evidence of a crime. This rule was worrisome when the NSA was only conducting targeted surveillance of foreign powers. It is terrifying now that the NSA scans virtually all American cross-border communications. And this is especially true in light of the recent reports showing that any number of other three-letter agencies are howling for access to NSA data for use in investigations of Americans’ drug use, tax evasion, and even copyright infringement. Usually, these agencies would need at least warrants based on probable cause that an individual was committing a crime before they could obtain the contents of our communications, and would need to certify to a public court that email or phone records are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation before it could collect such traffic data. But if they get their hands on NSA data, all these bothersome civil liberties protections simply vanish.


    Which brings us to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). As we noted previously, the DEA has a secret division called the Special Operations Division or SOD. The SOD receives intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records from its partner agencies, of which the NSA is just one, to distribute to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans. The SOD gets information from the NSA and shares it with, among other agencies, the IRS.


    And this is where things get truly ugly. When agents receive SOD information and rely on it to trigger investigations, they are directed to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.” IRS agents receiving SOD data, which presumably can include information from the NSA, have been similarly instructed. They are instructed, in other words, to create a fake investigative file, and to lie. To lie, in particular, to defense lawyers and to judges, about the source of the evidence used in criminal prosecutions.


    By hiding the fact that information comes from NSA surveillance, the government both masks the extent to which NSA’s domestic spying is used to trigger investigations of Americans, and prevents legal challenges to highly questionable surveillance practices like bulk phone record collection, warrantless access to American communications with friends and family overseas, and retention and use of illegally obtained domestic calls and emails.


    This is outrageous conduct. It is the sort of thing you expect from the Chinese government, or one of the now-vanished governments of the Warsaw Pact. And there is no stronger proof of the dangers of the NSA’s domestic spying effort than the fact that the government has consistently lied about it and attempted to cover it up. Think for just a moment about the stories J. Edgar Hoover could have plausibly concocted about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or any other civil rights activist with this kind of detailed information. The Obama Administration has gone after leakers, and the journalists at outlets like the Associated Press or the New York Times who use them as sources, with unprecedented force. Think about what the current Attorney General, Eric Holder, could do to bring down these reporters who cover – sometimes in ways the Obama Administration doesn’t like — the conduct of American foreign policy. At this point, it’s plain to see that the Obama Administration has no intention of honestly fixing this mess. So it’s time now for Congress to act. A good first step would be to appoint a Special Prosecutor with wide power to subpoena Administration officials, and to bring criminal indictments where appropriate. Congress should then begin the process of reforming surveillance law to make absolutely clear that the NSA has no power to conduct warrantless mass surveillance of Americans.

    First they came for the terrorists and the foreigners, and no one did anything. Then they came for the drug dealers. Then the tax cheats. Then the journalists. And that’s just what we know about. How much worse does it have to get before we say enough is enough?
    Libertatem Prius!


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