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Triste cosa es no tener amigos, pero ms triste ha de ser no tener enemigos porque quin no tenga enemigos seal es de que no tiene talento que haga sombra, ni carcter que impresione, ni valor temido, ni honra de la que se murmure, ni bienes que se le codicien, ni cosa alguna que se le envidie. A sad thing it is to not have friends, but even sadder must it be not having any enemies; that a man should have no enemies is a sign that he has no talent to outshine others, nor character that inspires, nor valor that is feared, nor honor to be rumored, nor goods to be coveted, nor anything to be envied. -Jose Marti

From the desk of Craig B Hulet? Will Liberals Rise Up and Strongly Attack the Obama Targeted Assassination Program? American drone deaths highlight controversy The White House is Judge, Jury and Executioner of Both Drone and Cyber-Attacks Oops! Air Force Drones Can Now (Accidentally) Spy on You Homeland Security training TSA workers to save themselves in shooting The TSA's mission creep is making the US a police state Obama Signs FISA Warrantless Wiretapping Program Extension Into Law Obama Gives Foreign Cops New Police Powers in U.S. California gets face scanners to spy on everyone at once Obama executive order expands Homeland Security reach into local law enforcement All Three Branches Agree: Big Brother Is the New Normal David Kravets The game is rigged, the network is bugged, the government talks double-speak, the courts are complicit and theres nothing you can do about it.

Examiner Editorial:Why isn't gun control working in Chicago?


January 30, 2013 |

One week ago, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton performed with her high school band here in Washington at President Obama's inauguration. In addition to being a majorette, Pendleton was also an honor student and volleyball player who dreamed of visiting Paris this summer. On Tuesday, she was shot dead in a public park two blocks from her high school and less than a mile from Obama's Kenwood home in Chicago. The shooting prompted White House spokesman Jay Carney to remark, "If we can save even one child's life, we have an obligation to try when it comes to the scourge of gun violence." Pendleton was the 44th homicide victim in Chicago so far this year. That puts Chicago on pace to surpass last year's total of more than 500 murders. Chicago homicides have picked up dramatically in recent years and now outnumber killings in New York, which has three times Chicago's population. Meanwhile, in the Big Apple, fewer people were killed in 2012 than in any year since the 1960s. During a nine-day stretch this month, not a single New Yorker was murdered. Here in Washington, there have been only four murders so far in 2013. That's down 33 percent from the same period last year, when the city had the fewest killings in 50 years. Despite the media's intense attention to mass shootings, homicides, violent crime and gun deaths are all decreasing nationally, according to the latest FBI statistics. But not in Chicago. So what is causing the unacceptable wave of gun violence in Chicago? It's not because of lenient gun control laws. Chicago has the strongest gun control regime in the nation. Both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are completely banned in the city. And up until the 2010 Supreme Court decision that legalized them, handguns were banned too. You can now get a permit to own a firearm in Chicago, but it requires firearms training, two separate background checks and a firearm owner's identification card. As a result of these burdensome and punitive measures, only 7,640 people currently hold a firearms permit in Chicago. But criminals couldn't care less about Chicago's gun laws. Chicago police seized 7,400 guns used in crimes in 2012 alone. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in the U.S. Capitol titled "What Should America Do About Gun Violence?" Mass-shooting victim and former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords testified, as did National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. But no one from the new murder capital of the United States, Chicago, was invited to testify. If Senate Democrats continue to push for more gun control legislation while ignoring the failure of existing, similar gun control laws in the president's hometown, House Republicans should rectify the situation. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob

Goodlatte, R-Va., should take C-SPAN's cameras on the road and hold a field hearing in one of the few American cities where gun violence is bad and getting worse. We suggest a title that gets right to the point: "Why Isn't Gun Control Working in Chicago?" One question to address: If the real problem is that guns can be purchased in other jurisdictions, then why are America's other major cities seeing such huge declines in their murder rates, despite the fact that nearly all of them are near states with relatively lax gun laws? If Democrats are truly interested in making Americans safer, and not just in passing feelgood laws that will do nothing to decrease gun violence, then they should welcome a closer look at what is going so horribly wrong in Obama's hometown. American drone deaths highlight controversy

MSNBC Samir Khan (left) and Anwar al-Awlaki, both U.S. citizens, were killed in in Yemen by an American drone strike. By Andrew Rafferty, Staff Writer, NBC News Of the scores of people dubbed terrorists who have been targeted by American military drone strikes, three men -- all killed in the fall of 2011 -- were U.S. citizens.

And their lives illustrate the complexity of the issue, recently brought to light amid a newly discovered government memo that provides the legal reasoning behind drone strikes on Americans. Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed by a missile strike in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011, while al-Awlakis son, Abdulrahman, was killed in the country just weeks later. Since the attacks, family members have called the deaths unjust and sued the U.S. government, calling the killings unconstitutional. Anwar al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico, became well known for his fiery anti-American sermons posted throughout the Internet. Samir Khan, who'd lived in both New York and Charlotte, N.C., produced a magazine called Inspire that became known for its extreme jihadist views. But the most controversial drone strike took place on Oct. 14, 2011, when 16-year-old Abdulrahman was killed by U.S. forces. Family of the Denver-born teenager say he had no ties to terrorist organizations and was unjustly targeted because of his father. Nassar al-Awlaki, grandfather of Abdulrahman and father to Anwar, said he tried to protect his grandson as Anwar al-Awlakis profile grew. In December, Nassar al-Awlaki told CNN, In Anwar it was expected because he was under targeted killing, but how in the world they will go and kill Abdulrahman. Small boy, U.S. citizen from Denver, Colorado. Nassar al-Awlaki said his grandson snuck out of their Yemen home one night, leaving a note for his mother saying he would return in a few days. The boy never returned, killed instead while eating at an outdoor restaurant. Since the issue regarding Anwar came, I tried to insulate the family of Anwar from everything, regarding this matter, Nassar al-Awlaki told CNN. I took care of him, and suddenly after 2 year absence from his father, he decided to go to our government in Yemen to seek information from his father. That was the only reason he went, and he did not tell us. The Obama administration has remained mostly mum regarding Abdulrahman's death, and at times has struggled to explain it. "I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well-being of their children," former White House spokesperson

Robert Gibbs said to a gaggle of reporters in October. "I don't think becoming an alQaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business." During his presidential campaign, Republican Rep. Ron Paul criticized the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, saying: Al-Awlaki was born here, he is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes. No one knows if he killed anybody. ... But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it's sad. Anwar al-Awlakis ties to the United States go back to his father Nassar, who came to the country to earn a masters degree. His son was born in New Mexico, and though the family returned to Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki came back to the U.S. for college, eventually becoming an iman. Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, he became a popular spokesman for moderate Islam, and was often used to juxtapose perceptions that Islam is a religion that spreads hate. But less than a decade later, he was hiding in Yemen as a name on the CIA's kill list. I eventually came to the conclusion that jihad against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding on every other Muslim, he said in an audio message in March 2010. Conversely, Khan was never interested in the peaceful side of Islam. The New York Times reports that as a teen, Khans attraction grew exponentially to militant sites on the Internet after 9/11. Parental concerns and intervention from community leaders proved unsuccessful. Khan was 25 when he died in Yemen. In July 2012, Samir Khans mother, Sarah, joined Nassar al-Awlaki in a lawsuit against four senior national security officials. I dont really necessarily agree with some of the things Anwar said against the United States, but does that mean they should kill him outside the law? asked Nassar al-Awlaki. A secretive memo from the Justice Department, provided to NBC News, provides new information about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration's controversial policies. Now, John Brennan, Obama's nominee for CIA director, is expected to face tough questions about drone strikes on Thursday when he appears before the Senate Intelligence Committee. NBC's Michael Isikoff reports. Update: A fourth American-born citizen, Kamal Derwish, was killed by predator drone in Yemen in 2002. Derwish was not the primary target of the strike, but was riding in an SUV carrying an al-Qaida leader. CHRIS ROCK: 'THE PRESIDENT IS OUR BOSS'... OUR 'DAD'

Comedian Chris Rock showed up on Capitol Hill today to support President Barack Obamas gun control proposals. Here is what he said during the morning press conference: ROCK: I am just here to support the President of the United States. President of the United States is our boss, but he is also... you know, the President and the First Lady are kinda like the Mom and the Dad of the country. And when your Dad says something you listen, and when you don't it will usually bite you on the ass later on. So, Im here to support the President. Apparently the comedian has flip-flopped on his previous gun control position, i.e. "bullet control" ... You dont need no gun control, you know what you need? We need some bullet control. Men, we need to control the bullets, thats right. I think all bullets should cost five thousand dollars five thousand dollars per bullet You know why? Cause if a bullet cost five thousand dollars there would be no more innocent bystanders. Yeah! Every time somebody get shut wed say, Damn, he must have done something ... Shit, hes got fifty thousand dollars worth of bullets in his ass. And people would think before they killed somebody if a bullet cost five thousand dollars. Man I would blow your f****ing head offif I could afford it. Im gonna get me another job, Im going to start saving some money, and youre a dead man. Youd better hope I cant get no bullets on layaway. So even if you get shot by a stray bullet, you wouldn't have to go to no doctor to get it taken out. Whoever shot you would take their bullet back, like "I believe you got my property. Chris Rock: President Obama 'our boss,' 'dad of the country' By David Sherfinski - The Washington Times February 6, 2013, 12:25

Actor and comedian Chris Rock (left), actress Amanda Peet (right) and others

Actor and comedian Chris Rock called President Obama the "dad of the country" as he rallied on Capitol Hill to support his father figure's call for new gun controls. "I am just here to support the president of the United States," said Mr. Rock, a former "Saturday Night Live" cast member whose most recent acting roles include a voice role in the animated feature "Madagascar 3," a spot in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and guest turns on the FX comedy "Louie." "The President of the United States is, you know, our boss. But also, you know, the president and the first lady are kind of like the mom and the dad of the country. And when your dad says something, you listen. [And] when you don't, it usually bites you in the [expletive] later on. So I'm here to support the president." Though Mr. Rock kept his Wednesday remarks brief, he has often incorporated gun control into his comedy routines. "The gun lobby also says people need to be able to protect their property," Mr. Rock said last month, according to deadline.com, "but every mass shooting is done by guys who live with their mother. So I believe you should need to have a mortgage to buy a gun. A mortgage is a real background check. Even if you go to jail for 30 years, you've still got to pay your [expletive] mortgage." Will Liberals Rise Up and Strongly Attack the Obama Targeted Assassination Program? You would think that the left would draw the line somewhere on the President's policies.

February 6, 2013 Last year Brown Universitys Michael Tesler released a fascinating study showing that Americans inclined to racially blinkered views wound up opposing policies they would otherwise support, once they learned those policies were endorsed by President Obama. Their prejudice extended to the breed of the presidents dog, Bo: They were much more likely to say they liked Portuguese water dogs when told Ted Kennedy owned one than when they learned Obama did. But Tesler found that the Obama effect worked the opposite way, too: African-Americans and white liberals who supported Obama became more likely to support policies once they learned the president did. More than once Ive worried that might carry over to bad policies that Obama has flirted with embracing, that liberals have traditionally opposed: raising the age for Medicare and Social Security or cutting those programs benefits. Or hawkish national security policies that liberals shrieked about when carried out by President Bush, from rendition to warrantless spying. Or even worse, policies that Bush stopped short of, like targeted assassination of U.S. citizens loyal to al-Qaida (or affiliates) who were (broadly) deemed (likely) to threaten the U.S. with (possible) violence (some day). Those ugly parentheses are made necessary by Michael Isikoffs exclusive report on the Obama administration white paper that justifies its unprecedented claim to the power to assassinate U.S. citizens without due process on foreign soil. The New York Times and the ACLU had sued to get the administration to release the Office of Legal Counsels opinion in the case of the targeted assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki by drone strike in Yemen last year. The administration fought that effort, but Isikoff was leaked a summary, Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qaida or An Associated Force. It lays out a legal rationale far beyond anything the administration has claimed before. Specifically, where Attorney General Eric Holder insisted such attacks would only be used to deter imminent threat of violent attack, similar to the rights police officers have to kill a suspect in a hostage situation or impending terror attack, the white paper clarifies what that means or rather obfuscates in chilling language:

The condition that an operational leader present an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future. So: the president doesnt need clear evidence of a specific attack planned for the immediate future. How about little or no evidence of some vaguely debated attack at some point some day? And while joining up with al-Qaida might be evidence that an American means his or her country grave harm, what about hooking up with associated force? The memo doesnt define it. And it doesnt restrict the power to make these judgments to the commander in chief either; its enough that an informed, high-level official deem the suspect an operational leader who presents the danger of an unspecified imminent threat some day. As Glenn Greenwald notes, the paper itself makes clear its establishing a kind of ceiling, not a floor it allows that targeted assassination may also be allowed under conditions not outlined in the paper. This paper does not attempt to determine the minimum requirements necessary to render such an operation lawful, it states; rather, it concludes only that the stated conditions would be sufficient to make lawful a lethal operation. And it reflects a continuation of the Bush-Cheney doctrine of global battlefield, justifying such operations anywhere al-Qaida may be operating. Opponents of Obamas targeted assassination program have tried to galvanize some public outrage by pointing not to the killing of the senior al-Awlaki, who went public many times with his fealty to al-Qaida and his desire to see the U.S. attacked, but of his 16-year-old son, Abduhrahman, who was killed in a separate targeted strike two weeks later. We dont know anything about the evidence against the younger al-Awlaki, and liberals who care about the rights of the accused, especially the minor accused, should be expected to care maybe a little bit more about the 16-year-old. Except many dont. Most famously, when former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs was confronted by a reporter who questioned an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial And, hes underage. Hes a minor, he replied: I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I dont think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business. Its hard to imagine Obama supporters defending the punishment of a 16-year-old because he should have a more responsible father let alone capital punishment. After the killing of Trayvon Martin, I got in ugly Twitter battles with tin-eared leftists who trashed Obama for defending Martin when he had presided over the killing of the younger al-Awlaki. They ignored the very real relief many African-Americans felt that the president spoke up for Martin with the poignant comment, If I had a son, hed look like Trayvon. Today on Twitter, some Obama supporters are accusing the presidents

critics without evidence of caring more about al-Awlaki than Trayvon Martin. Ugh. Its even been suggested that raising questions about the presidents targeted assassination policy is a form of white privilege. Goldie Taylor, someone I respect, clarified her Tweet to say that selective outrage over the Isikoff story reflects white privilege. But plenty of people questioning targeted assassination also protested George Zimmermans killing of the unarmed Martin. Weirdly, today would be Trayvon Martins 18thbirthday. I think people who care about justice have hearts and minds big enough to be concerned about all forms of injustice, and potential injustice. Late last year I admitted I looked away from some of the more disturbing national security policies of the Obama administration before the election because I knew President Romney would almost certainly pursue worse ones. But in the presidents last term, I think its incumbent on people who care about civil liberties to care about these policies. It would be a shame if Obamas popularity made people who once cared about such issues care less. Finally, it should be noted that the OLC white paper was leaked to Isikoff, not formally released. Im not going to be dishonest and say Id like the policies it describes any more had it been voluntarily disclosed, but at least it would be a gesture toward transparency by the administration. We also dont know if this is indeed the rationale the president used to justify killing the al-Awlakis; theres evidence that it is not, and that the specific legal case was outlined in another still secret memo. The worst thing about this policy is that its been pursued with zero checks, balances, accountability or transparency. That, at least, should change in the months to come. The White House is Judge, Jury and Executioner of Both Drone and CyberAttacks Posted on February 6, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog Bush and Obama Have Set Us Back 800 Years NBC News reports: Legal experts expressed grave reservations Tuesday about an Obama administration memo concluding that the United States can order the killing of American citizens believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida with one saying the White House was acting as judge, jury and executioner. Anyone should be concerned when the president and his lawyers make up their own interpretation of the law or their own rules, said Mary Ellen OConnell, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and an authority on international law and the use of force.

This is a very, very dangerous thing that the president has done, she added. Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional lawyer who writes about security and liberty for the British newspaper The Guardian, described the memo as fundamentally misleading, with a clinical tone that disguises the radical and dangerous power it purports to authorize. If you believe the president has the power to order U.S. citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then its truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable, he wrote. Senator Wyden said: Every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them. Top constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley notes: In plain language, [the Obama administration memo] means that [any Americans can be assassinated if] the President considers the citizens to be a threat in the future. Moreover, the memo allows killings when an attempt to capture the person would pose an undue risk to U.S. personnel. That undue risk is left undefined. I think Ive seen that movie before Given that drones are being deployed in the American homeland, some fear that the war is coming home. Indeed, the military now considers the U.S. homeland to be a battlefield. The U.S. is already allowing military operations within the United States. The Army is already being deployed on U.S. soil, and the military is conducting numerous training exercises on American streets. (For more background, see this, this, this, this, and this.) Similarly, the White House has claimed the unilateral power to launch pre-emptive cyber-strikes against foreign nations. As FireDogLake notes:

Like with the drone program, President Barack Obama is presiding over the creation and development of a power that previous presidents never imagined having. The national security state is effectively appointing him and all future presidents the proverbial judge, jury and executioner when it comes to cyber warfare. As Greenwald makes clear, virtually all of the U.S. efforts regarding so-called cybersecurity are actually efforts to create offensive attack capabilities. And given that the government may consider normal Americans who criticize any government policy to be terrorists and that the military is fighting against dissent on the Internet it is obvious that the cyber-attack capabilities are coming home to roost. Of course, indiscriminate drone strikes are war crimes (and here and here) , and cyberattacks are a form of terrorism. But that wont stop the U.S. because its only terrorism when other people do what we do. As Greenwald noted last year: We supposedly learned important lessons from the abuses of power of the Nixon administration, and then of the Bush administration: namely, that we dont trust government officials to exercise power in the dark, with no judicial oversight, with no obligation to prove their accusations. Yet now we hear exactly this same mentality issuing from Obama, his officials and defenders to justify a far more extreme power than either Nixon or Bush dreamed of asserting: hes only killing The Bad Citizens, so theres no reason to object! Greenwald notes in an article today: The core distortion of the War on Terror under both Bush and Obama is the Orwellian practice of equating government accusations of terrorism with proof of guilt. One constantly hears US government defenders referring to terrorists when what they actually mean is: those accused by the government of terrorism. This entire memo is grounded in this deceit. Time and again, it emphasizes that the authorized assassinations are carried out against a senior operational leader of al-Qaida or its associated forces who poses an

imminent threat of violent attack against the United States. Undoubtedly fearing that this document would one day be public, Obama lawyers made certain to incorporate this deceit into the title itself: Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a US Citizen Who is a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida or An Associated Force. This ensures that huge numbers of citizens those who spend little time thinking about such things and/or authoritarians who assume all government claims are true will instinctively justify what is being done here on the ground that we must kill the Terrorists or joining al-Qaida means you should be killed. Thats the reasoning process that has driven the War on Terror since it commenced: if the US government simply asserts without evidence or trial that someone is a terrorist, then they are assumed to be, and they can then be punished as such with indefinite imprisonment or death. But of course, when this memo refers to a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaida, what it actually means is this: someone whom the President in total secrecy and with no due process has accused of being that. Indeed, the memo itself makes this clear, as it baldly states that presidential assassinations are justified when an informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US. This is the crucial point: the memo isnt justifying the due-process-free execution of senior al-Qaida leaders who pose an imminent threat to the US. It is justifying the dueprocess-free execution of people secretly accused by the president and his underlings, with no due process, of being that. The distinction between (a) government accusations and (b) proof of guilt is central to every free society, by definition, yet this memo and those who defend Obamas assassination power willfully ignore it. Those who justify all of this by arguing that Obama can and should kill al-Qaida leaders who are trying to kill Americans are engaged in supreme question-begging. Without any due process, transparency or oversight, there is no way to know who is a senior alQaida leader and who is posing an imminent threat to Americans. All that can be known is who Obama, in total secrecy, accuses of this. (Indeed, membership in al-Qaida is not even required to be assassinated, as one can be a member of a group deemed to be an associated force of al-Qaida, whatever that might mean: a formulation so broad and ill-defined that, as Law Professor Kevin Jon Heller

argues, it means the memo authorizes the use of lethal force against individuals whose targeting is, without more, prohibited by international law.) The definition of an extreme authoritarian is one who is willing blindly to assume that government accusations are true without any evidence presented or opportunity to contest those accusations. This memo and the entire theory justifying Obamas kill list centrally relies on this authoritarian conflation of government accusations and valid proof of guilt. They are not the same and never have been. Political leaders who decree guilt in secret and with no oversight inevitably succumb to error and/or abuse of power. Such unchecked accusatory decrees are inherently untrustworthy (indeed, Yemen experts have vehemently contested the claim that Awlaki himself was a senior al-Qaida leader posing an imminent threat to the US). Thats why due process is guaranteed in the Constitution and why judicial review of government accusations has been a staple of western justice since the Magna Carta: because leaders cant be trusted to decree guilt and punish citizens without evidence and an adversarial process. That is the age-old basic right on which this memo, and the Obama presidency, is waging war. Weve previously pointed out the absurdity of the governments circular reasoning in the context of indefinite detention: The governments indefinite detention policy stripped of its spin is literally insane, and based on circular reasoning. Stripped of p.r., this is the actual policy:

If you are an enemy combatant or a threat to national security, we will detain you indefinitely until the war is over

It is a perpetual war, which will never be over Neither you or your lawyers have a right to see the evidence against you, nor to face your accusers But trust us, we know you are an enemy combatant and a threat to national security

We may torture you (and try to cover up the fact that you were tortured), because you are an enemy combatant, and so basic rights of a prisoner guaranteed by the Geneva Convention dont apply to you Since you admitted that youre a bad guy (while trying to tell us whatever you think we want to hear to make the torture stop), it proves that we should hold you in indefinite detention

See how that works? The Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves, as the separation of powers they fought and died for is being destroyed. Weve gone from a nation of laws to a nation of powerful men making laws in secret, where Congressional leaders themselves arent even allowed to see the laws, or to learn about covert programs. A nation where Congressmen are threatened with martial law if they dont approve radical programs. Indeed, Bush and Obama have literally set the clock back 800 years to before the signing of the Magna Carta. Obama Signs FISA Warrantless Wiretapping Program Extension Into Law

WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama has signed into law a five-year extension of the U.S. government's authority to monitor the overseas activity of suspected foreign spies and terrorists. The warrantless intercept program would have expired at the end of 2012 without the president's approval. The renewal bill won final passage in the Senate on Friday.

Known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law allows the government to monitor overseas phone calls and emails without obtaining a court order for each intercept. The law does not apply to Americans. When Americans are targeted for surveillance, the government must get a warrant from a special 11-judge court of U.S. district judges appointed by the Supreme Court. Known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law allows the government to monitor overseas phone calls and emails without obtaining a court order for each intercept. The law does not apply to Americans. When Americans are targeted for surveillance, the government must get a warrant from a special 11-judge court of U.S. district judges appointed by the Supreme Court. Homeland Security training TSA workers to save themselves in shooting

Photo: Armed guard at Portland Int'l Jetport (2001) / AP Saturday, January 26, 2013 - Freedom of the Press is not Free by Alan Jones Alan Jones

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2013 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint screeners are receiving training to prepare them for the possibility of a mass shooting at one of the agencys airport checkpoints, and those TSA personnel are being instructed to save themselves should a shooting occur. It is unclear whether the TSA is conducting the reported mass shooting scenario training at airports around the nation or only at the airport where our source, a veteran of the TSA, is assigned. The TSA source claims with obvious concern that his own life, along with the lives of other unarmed TSA personnel, would be in grave danger were an airport checkpoint shooting to unfold. The TSA screener, who claims to have recently undergone agency training during which TSA personnel were confronted with a chilling checkpoint shooting scenario, now tries to remain aware of how to get out alive were such a shooting to unfold. Every day when I arrive for work, I look for an escape route in case someone opens fire, said the TSA worker. We have been told to save ourselves. Does the TSA already have intelligence about a possible future checkpoint shooting? It is unclear whether the alleged training is simply a prudent attempt by the agency to protect its own employees from every imaginable contingency. Fears are that the Department of Homeland Security has detected a threat and is already moving to prepare staff to either handle it or get out of the way. Considering the full range of possible reasons for the alleged TSA training, it would be hard to say whether the agency actually expects a checkpoint shooting. The events surrounding the Christmas Day 2009 underwear bomber incident, however, provide reason to pay close attention to the details of Homeland Securitys operations. Shortly after the underwear bomber attempted to detonate an explosive device onboard Northwest Airlines flight 253, an Airbus A330 flying into Detroit from Amsterdam, a witness who saw the bomber board the flight approached the FBI with information about the events that day. His information suggests that the U.S. Government knew that 23year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a threat to air safety, and that it may even have taken steps to assure that the bomber actually got on board the flight. Michigan attorney Kurt Haskell, a 2012 Democratic Congressional candidate who lost to incumbent Tim Walberg (R-MI), stated by way of a Victim Impact Statement during Abdulmutallabs sentencing hearing in federal court that while he and his wife Lori waited to board the flight in Amsterdam, he observed a well-dressed man help the bomber board the flight without a passport. CNN Video: Kurt and Lori Haskell Interview

Haskell is convinced that a federal agent gave Abdulmutallab a defective bomb to carry onto the plane to create an incident that would cause the government to install full body scanners at airports nationwide, according to USAToday. "Regardless of how media and government try to shape this case, I am convinced that Umar was given an intentionally defective bomb by a U.S. agent, Haskell says. Haskells account of the events in Amsterdam was originally reported in the Detroit News. Reached by phone on Friday, Haskell said that the alleged TSA training for a checkpoint shooting doesnt surprise me at all and voiced fears that the government might be involved in such an incident. As a first-hand eyewitness to a proven false flag attack, I know that the government does stage fake attacks to further governmental policy, Haskell said. Patrick F. Kennedy, Undersecretary of State for Management, told the House Committee on Homeland Security on January 27, 2010, that Abdulmutallabs visa was not revoked by the State Department due to a national security override from within the intelligence and law enforcement community related to a larger al-Qaeda investigation. The name of the agency was not publicly disclosed during the hearing and implications were left unexplained. CNN Video: Patrick F. Kennedy, Undersecretary of Sate for Management Haskell observes, An airport is the perfect place setting to stage their play. "Terrorism" is defined as the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. Haskell believes that the government is willing to and has already terrorized the American public by staging fictitious attacks to coerce the acceptance of new government policies. Extrapolating on that scenario, the acceptance by the public and members of Congress of new gun restrictions would constitute only the latest policy initiative pursued through a program based on the implementation of terror. While in France, President Obama authorized the use of an autopen to sign into law the extension of three key components of the USA PATRIOT Act on May 26, 2011. Were another major shooting to unfold in the midst of congressional debate over additional gun control legislation, such as Diane Feinsteins proposed assault weapons ban, the ensuing crisis could sway wavering members of Congress to support the new gun restrictions.

The TSA employee who disclosed the existence of the checkpoint shooting training, when asked about the possibility that TSA personnel were being set up for a staged checkpoint shooting, responded I hope the government wouldnt do something like that. TSA screeners are not sworn law enforcement officers, and unlike airport police officers, do not carry firearms. The primary mission of the TSA is to protect commercial aircraft and the passengers travelling on them from terrorism threats. TSA checkpoints separate airport sterile areas in close proximity to aircraft where only ticketed passengers, airport workers, and airline crews are permitted from nonsterile areas accessible to all members of the general public. Nonsterile areas typically include airline ticketing and car rental counters, baggage claim belts, and passenger pick-up and drop-off zones. TSA screeners at the checkpoints look for weapons, explosives, and suspicious travelers who could present a threat to an aircraft, but like everyone else at airports around the country, they count on airport police for armed protection. Airport police officers, often under the supervision of a city or county law enforcement agency within the municipality where the airport is located, provide armed protection at large airports and have full powers to detain and arrest individuals. Airport police officers are typically required to have graduated from a police academy, where cadets undergo firearms training, TSA officers wear badges and law enforcement style uniforms, but are not sworn law enforcement officers and initially receive only about 80 hours of new-hire training. Last June, the House of Representatives voted 131-282 against an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Bill that would have blocked DHS from spending money on official-looking uniforms. Arming TSA checkpoint workers who are not sworn law enforcement officers would likely elicit backlash from some of the travelling public and from members of Congress who view current TSA screening procedures as overly invasive, and in some instances reaching the threshold of criminal sexual assault as defined by state laws. TSA Practices "stop" drill (raw video) A previously unheard of TSA all-stop airport freeze drill become widely known after video of a drill being conducted at Phoenixs Sky Harbor Airport emerged on YouTube in September 2012. During the drill, passengers were ordered to stay right where you are after passing through the checkpoint.

On October 1, 2012, Arizona radio station KTAR quoted TSA spokesman Nico Melendez saying, they use all-stop drills to help prepare employees for a security breach ... They're called in case something happens at the checkpoint where we need to have everyone stop to be able to identify a problem or an issue. Because TSA checkpoint workers have no authority to detain people, however, it appears that passengers would not have actually been required to freeze unless ordered to do so by law enforcement. A mass shooting at a TSA checkpoint would not only be a tragedy for the families of those passengers and TSA workers killed, but would likely lead to even more calls for gun control measures, as well as discussions of arming TSA workers, propositions that would likely face stiff resistance. As Americans grow increasingly fatigued by their experiences at TSA checkpoints, there have been calls from some quarters to scale back or eliminate the agency altogether. The TSA's mission creep is making the US a police state The out-of-control Transportation Security Administration is past patdowns at airports now it's checkpoints and roadblocks Jennifer Abel guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 18 April 2012

A TSA 'viper' (VIPR) team patrolling mass transit Ever since 2010, when the Transportation Security Administration started requiring that travelers in American airports submit to sexually intrusive gropings based on the apparent anti-terrorism principle that "If we can't feel your nipples, they must be a bomb", the agency's craven apologists have shouted down all constitutional or human rights objections with the mantra "If you don't like it, don't fly!"

This callous disregard for travelers' rights merely paraphrases the words of Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano, who shares, with the president, ultimate responsibility for all TSA travesties since 2009. In November 2010, with the groping policy only a few weeks old, Napolitano dismissed complaints by saying "people [who] want to travel by some other means" have that right. (In other words: if you don't like it, don't fly.) But now TSA is invading travel by other means, too. No surprise, really: as soon as she established groping in airports, Napolitano expressed her desire to expand TSA jurisdiction over all forms of mass transit. In the past year, TSA's snakelike VIPR (Visual Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams have been slithering into more and more bus and train stations and even running checkpoints on highways never in response to actual threats, but apparently more in an attempt to live up to the inspirational motto displayed at the TSA's air marshal training center since the agency's inception: "Dominate. Intimidate. Control." Anyone who rode the bus in Houston, Texas during the 2-10pm shift last Friday faced random bag checks and sweeps by both drug-sniffing dogs and bomb-sniffing dogs (the latter being only canines necessary if "preventing terrorism" were the actual intent of these raids), all courtesy of a joint effort between TSA VIPR nests and three different local and county-level police departments. The new Napolitano doctrine, then: "Show us your papers, show us everything you've got, justify yourself or you're not allowed to go about your everyday business." Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee praised these violations of her constituents' rights with an explanation asinine even by congressional standards: "We're looking to make sure that the lady I saw walking with a cane knows that Metro cares as much about her as we do about building the light rail." See, if you don't support the random harassment of ordinary people riding the bus to work, you're a callous bastard who doesn't care about little old ladies. No specific threats or reasons were cited for the raids, as the government no longer even pretends to need any. Vipers bite you just because they can. TSA spokesman Jim Fotenos confirmed this a few days before the Houston raids, when VIPR teams and local police did the same thing to travelers catching trains out of the Amtrak station in Alton, Illinois. Fotenos confirmed that "It was not in response to a specific threat," and bragged that VIPR teams conduct "thousands" of these operations each year. Still, apologists can pretend that's all good, pretend constitutional and human rights somehow don't apply to mass transit, and twist their minds into the Mobius pretzel shapes necessary to find random searches of everyday travelers compatible with any notion that America is a free country. "Don't like the new rules for mass transit? Then drive." Except even that doesn't work anymore. Earlier this month, the VIPRs came out again in Virginia and infested the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, also known as the stretch of

Interstate 64 connecting the cities of Hampton and Norfolk. Spokesmen admitted again that the exercise was a "routine sweep", not a response to any specific threat. Official news outlets admitted the checkpoint caused a delay (further exacerbated by a couple of accidents), but didn't say for how long. Local commenters at the Travel Underground forums reported delays of 90 minutes. I grew up in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. When I was a kid, my dad crossed the bridge-tunnel every day while commuting to work. When I was in university, I did the same thing. The old conventional wisdom said "Get to the airport at least two hours early, so TSA has time to violate your constitutional rights before boarding." What's the new conventional wisdom "Leave for any destination at least 90 minutes early, so TSA can violate your rights en route"? Airports, bus terminals, train stations, highways what's left? If you don't like it, walk. And remember to be respectfully submissive to any TSA agents or police you encounter in your travels, especially now that the US supreme court has ruled mass strip-searches are acceptable for anyone arrested for even the most minor offence in America. If you're rude to any TSA agent or cops, you risk being arrested on some vague catch-all charge like "disorderly conduct". Even if the charges are later dropped, you'll still undergo the ritual humiliation of having to strip, squat, spread 'em and show your various orifices to be empty. Can I call America a police state now, without being accused of hyperbole? TSA rail, subway spot-checks raise privacy issues By Thom Patterson, CNN updated 10:05 AM EST, Sat January 28, 2012

The Transportation Security Administration's Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams (VIPR) conducted 3,895 surface transportation operations in 2010, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Screenings occurred at some of the nation's 500 Amtrak stations.

PTION TSA rail, subway, bus, truck operations Screening rail passengers Subway baggage searches Spot-checking trucks Bus station screenings

More teams are approved for Transportation Security Administration rail, bus searches Civil liberties groups troubled by searches at passenger stations TSA "VIPR teams" created after 2004 Madrid railway terrorist bombings VIPR teams also monitor semi-trucks at highway weigh stations

(CNN) -- Rick Vetter and his teen son got a pretty good look at the legal line between privacy and security last month, as they wrapped up a day trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. After watching the NFL's Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers, they were looking forward to a three-hour train ride back home to Raleigh when they arrived at the train station. Walking up a ramp toward the platform, they noticed what appeared to be a uniformed Transportation Security Administration officer holding a leashed police dog. "He just loosened the leash on the dog, and the dog came over to check me out," Vetter said. Standing on the platform above Vetter were three other officers who appeared to be wearing bullet-proof vests. As the guard dog smelled him, Vetter -- who has two dogs of his own -- told the officer that it probably was reacting to the smell of Vetter's pets.

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Amtrak trains collide in California "The TSA officer said 'OK' or something like that. Then it was clear that the dog had done what he needed to do, and we went on up the ramp to get on the train."

"I'm sure somebody who wasn't comfortable with dogs would have found it a lot more disconcerting than I did, but I sort of didn't worry about it," said Vetter, an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency. The Vetters had encountered VIPR -- special TSA Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams that are tasked with performing random, unpredictable baggage and security checks at passenger train, subway and bus stations as well as trucking weigh stations across the nation. TSA officials like to point out that the acronym stands for Transportation Security Administration, not the Airport Security Administration. And that's where VIPR comes in. Born after 2004's Madrid railway bombings, VIPR suffered some embarrassing coordination struggles, transit officials say. The program has 15 teams and is expanding to get access to 12 new teams to spot-check thousands of transportation depots across the nation. VIPR teams conducted 3,895 operations in "surface modes" nationwide in 2010, according to the Department of Homeland Security (PDF). The expansion comes after intelligence from Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound revealed al Qaeda plans to target U.S. rail systems on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. At a time when TSA airport searches are unpopular among many air travelers, civil liberties groups say VIPR's joint participation with local police in "warrantless" searches have been "flying under the radar" in violation of constitutional protections. Transit police say it helps them better guard against attacks like those that have hit Madrid, London and Moscow since 2004. VIPR teams join local authorities for many of their operations aimed at searching passenger bags. Authorities say officers include plainclothes and uniformed team members -- some of them armed -- who arrive without telling passengers in advance. Officers in the joint operations then randomly ask travelers for permission to search their bags for explosives. To prevent accusations of profiling, searchers choose a random number -- eight for example -- and then search the bags of every eighth passenger before they board. Also, VIPR observers may be in the vicinity, keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior, police say. Local and federal authorities insist the searches are not mandatory. ... in a surprise situation like that, I would not have been pleased. Rick Vetter, Amtrak passenger But passengers who refuse are not allowed on the train, forcing some travelers to make a tough decision. "If you're going to make a choice between having somebody search you -- even though you question whether they have the right to do that -- or having to find another way home, I'd probably have let them search me," Vetter said. Luckily, he said, it didn't come to that. Officers did not ask to search his backpack. As an attorney for the EPA, Vetter is pretty familiar with his Fourth Amendment constitutional right protecting him from "unreasonable searches."

"At the airport, everybody now understands it's part of the process," he said. "You can either choose to deal with it or not. But in a surprise situation like that, I would not have been pleased." 'Security theater' New Jersey Transit Police Chief Christopher Trucillo, who works regularly with VIPR teams, acknowledged that the search system isn't perfect. Potential attackers carrying explosives who refuse searches are free to simply drive to the next station on the line and board there. "Because of the sheer number of passengers, there's nothing that would prevent you from doing that," Trucillo said. But there also are "things behind the scenes that are not visible to the traveling public that we employ to keep our system safe." The administrative search does not require probable cause. Kimberley Thompson, Transportation Security Administration This isn't security, Christopher Calabrese of the American Civil Liberties Union says. It's "security theater." Such searches offer no protection to society at the cost of passengers' civil liberties and convenience, he says. "We're very troubled by the VIPR program." A high-profile example of VIPR's growing pains, transit officials say, is a VIPR-assisted passenger screening a year ago at Amtrak's station in Savannah, Georgia. Instead of screening passengers as they boarded trains -- which is standard security procedure -- officers were screening passengers as they were getting off trains. Security experts know that makes no sense, because potential terrorists probably would be interested in bringing explosives onto trains, not taking them off. When Amtrak's police chief, John O'Connor, got wind of it, he "was very clearly angry," said Trains Magazine reporter Don Phillips, who spoke to O'Connor at the time. O'Connor and TSA officials then hammered out an agreement on how future VIPR/Amtrak operations would be conducted. The chief now says the Savannah operation simply "didn't make a whole lot of sense, and VIPR has since realized their misunderstanding and have corrected what they do." The TSA needs to understand that train stations are not airports. Sean Jeans-Gail, National Association of Railroad Passengers "We were pleased with the way O'Connor responded," said Sean Jeans-Gail of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, who fears that the searches might affect a more than century-old tradition in America's train stations. "The TSA needs to understand that train stations are not airports, they're publicly open hubs for community activity, which often include shopping facilities. The TSA needs to be more mindful of that." VIPR-assisted transit and rail searches haven't been challenged in court, but it's likely, civil liberties groups say. "I think expanding the program will be problematic politically and legally," said Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Any courtroom battle over VIPR searches will pick apart the Fourth Amendment, which bars police searches unless there's "probable cause" to believe a crime has been committed.

But the TSA claims "administrative search authority" to conduct random checkpoint searches of passengers and baggage at "surface transportation venues" without probable cause, according to TSA spokeswoman Kimberley Thompson. "... the administrative search does not require probable cause, but must further an important government need, such as preventing would-be terrorists from bringing an explosive device onto a crowded commuter train," Thompson said. In certain very limited circumstances, especially after the 9/11 attacks, courts have ruled that Fourth Amendment rights don't apply because of the threat of terrorism. In a 2006 case that didn't involve VIPR, subway rider Brendan MacWade and three others sued the City of New York and its police commissioner, challenging passenger bag searches at subway entrances where people were chosen at random. MacWade lost on appeal because the court ruled the searches were legal under the Fourth Amendment's "special needs doctrine." ... subways are a harder call because so many people ride them and they don't fly in the sky. Jeffrey Toobin, CNN Senior Legal Analyst "The courts have said that -- because airplanes are so vulnerable to hijacking and bombs - certain privacy interests have to be sacrificed," CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "I think subways are a harder call because so many people ride them and they don't fly in the sky. But because they're underground and vulnerable, the court said the searches were OK. Would it be the same at a bus station or a busy city street? The line starts to get very tough." Few Amtrak passengers have ever refused to be searched, O'Connor said. "We've done thousands of them, and I would say less than a handful of people have chosen to seek other transportation." The TSA says VIPR is performing the searches often at the invitation of local or state authorities. "TSA is not arbitrarily going out there now and searching passengers and trying to violate their rights," Thompson said. "We're conducting searches in conjunction with the stakeholders." Is VIPR working? It's hard to know. When asked if VIPR has ever directly resulted in discovered explosives or the arrest of suspected attackers, Thompson said, "Specific operational results are considered security sensitive information. Although the value of deterrence is difficult to measure directly the presence of law enforcement transportation security personnel VIPR assets increases the difficulty with which potential terrorists plan and conduct terrorist activity." VIPR's spot-checking role, rail security experts say, saves the high cost of deploying officers at every passenger transportation depot in the nation -- which they point out would be virtually impossible. The surprise element of a VIPR team accompanying local police at a train station or truck weigh station on the day of a planned attack might force a terrorist to cancel the attack. "This kind of unpredictability is another tool in the toolbox to manipulate and play with their minds and cause a level of tactical deterrence," Rand security analyst Brian A. Jackson said. As Amtrak's O'Connor puts it: "You never know where those search scenes are going to show up."

Watching the truckers Truckers driving their rigs through Tennessee last October were surprised to be caught up in a VIPR joint exercise with local law enforcement targeting five freight truck weigh stations and two bus stations, CNN affiliate WTVF reported. Unpredictability is another tool in the toolbox to manipulate and play with [terrorists'] minds. Brian A. Jackson, Rand security analyst "Transportation Security officers did not search the trucks," the TSA's Thompson told CNN. "Technically, if you think about a dog walking around a truck, sniffing for trace explosives, from my understanding is still technically a search. That's the only search the VIPRs were actually involved in." TSA officers, she said, were mostly handing out fliers. "They weren't out there searching people, and they weren't out there searching trucks." The action was described as a statewide VIPR operation, and officials told WTVF that it wasn't a response to any particular threat, which troubles the American Trucking Associations. "Adding security personnel at weigh stations in unfamiliar federal uniforms is not likely to raise the comfort level of commercial drivers entering weigh stations, unless there is a threat to the highway sector," ATA spokesman Martin Rojas said. It "doesn't seem like the best use of TSA resources unless there is information or intelligence that supports increased highway security." What other countries are doing Spain and Russia significantly beefed up their rail security in the years after deadly terrorist bomb attacks killed 191 in Madrid in 2004 and 40 in Moscow in 2010. Although there are no regular baggage checks for passengers on Spanish trains, subways and buses, the nation's bullet trains do use electronic scanners. Far more undercover plainclothes agents and uniformed officers are believed to be stationed in or near major transit hubs. Madrid's metro trains use a private security patrol force and closed-circuit video surveillance. Moscow -- with the world's second-busiest subway system -- has spent $1.6 billion over three years to strengthen its transit security, said security analyst Rick Nelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. U.S. transit officials look to VIPR to augment security during tough financial times for many communities. "We'd prefer to see a greater investment directly with the transit agencies," said Greg Hull of the American Public Transportation Association. "Failing that, having the ability to draw upon these resources that are under the control of the Department of Homeland Security certainly is a viable alternative." They could have provided some advance warning. Rick Vetter, Amtrak passenger For the Vetters, their father-and-son brush with train passenger searches offered a realworld life lesson. Rick Vetter remembers that his wife recently gave him a refrigerator magnet featuring a quote from Ben Franklin: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

"The VIPR operation certainly didn't amount to that," Vetter said. "They could have handled it better in the sense that they could have provided some advance warning that they're expanding this to train stations and bus stations." The Ben Franklin magnet sprang from his son's government lessons in school, Vetter said, which led to a family discussion about tradeoffs in society. "You've got to decide in society where you're going to draw some of those lines," Vetter said. "You, as an individual, may or may not agree where that line is drawn, but once it's drawn, you've got some choices to make." Obama executive order expands Homeland Security reach into local law enforcement Josh Peterson Tech Editor

FILE - In this March 15, 2011 file photo, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks at the National Fusion Center Conference in Denver. A multibillion-dollar information-sharing program that was created in the aftermath of 9/11 has improperly collected information about innocent Americans and produced no valuable intelligence on terrorism, according to a Senate report that describes an effort that ballooned far beyond anyones ability to control. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File) President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday that expanded the Department of Homeland Securitys ties to local law enforcement. The executive order creates a White House Homeland Security Partnership Council and Steering Committee, aimed at fostering local partnerships between federal and private institutions to address homeland security challenges. The council will be chaired by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (Chair), or a designee from the National Security Staff. The Council chair will also chair the Steering Committee. The executive order comes weeks after a damning Senate report on Homeland Securitys 77 fusion centers, which the Washington Post called pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions.

The fusion centers were created between 2003 and 2007 as part of a joint effort between DHS and the Justice Department to ease information sharing among federal intelligence agencies, military services, and state and local law enforcement. Those centers collected intelligence that the Senate report said was often irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever. To date, Obama has signed 141 executive orders, which is a smaller number than either President George W. Bush or President Bill Clinton signed during their first terms. California gets face scanners to spy on everyone at once Published: 19 November, 2012, 07:44

Facial recognition technology is expected to soon be the norm among law enforcement In a single second, law enforcement agents can match a suspect against millions upon millions of profiles in vast detailed databases stored on the cloud. Its all done using facial recognition, and in Southern California its already occurring. Imagine the police taking a picture: any picture of a person, anywhere, and matching it on the spot in less than a second to a personalized profile, scanning millions upon millions of entries from within vast, intricate databases stored on the cloud. Its done with state of the art facial recognition technology, and in Southern California its already happening. At least one law enforcement agency in San Diego is currently using software developed by FaceFirst, a division of nearby Camarillo, Californias Airborne Biometrics Group. It

can positively identify anyone, as long as physical data about a persons facial features is stored somewhere the police can access. Though that pool of potential matches could include millions, the company says that by using the best available facial recognition algorithms they can scour that data set in a fraction of a second in order to send authorities all known intelligence about anyone who enters a cameras field of vision. Live high definition video enables FaceFirst to track and isolate the face of every person on every camera simultaneously, the company claims on their website. Up to 4 million comparisons per second, per clustered server thats how many matches a single computer wired to the FaceFirst system can consider in a single breath as images captured by cameras, cell phones and surveillance devices from as far as 100 feet away are fed into algorithms designed to pick out terrorists and persons of interest. In a single setting, an unlimited amount of cameras can record the movements of a crowd at 30-frames-per-second, pick out each and every face and then feed it into an equation that, ideally, finds the bad guys. "I realized that with the right technology, we could have saved lives, Joseph Rosenkrantz, president and CEO of FaceFirst, tells the Los Angeles Times. He says he dreamed up the project after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and has since invested years into perfecting it. Not yet mastered, however, is how to make sure innocent bystanders and anyone who wishes to stay anonymous is left alone as he expands an Orwellian infrastructure that allows anyone with the right credentials to comb through a crowd and learn facts and figures of any individual within the scope of a surveillance cam. Speaking to reporters with Find Biometrics in August, Rosenkrantz said that the system is already in place in Panama, where computers there process nearly 20 million comparisons per second using a FaceFirst matching cluster with a large number of live surveillance cameras on a scale beyond any other system ever implemented. Within just a couple of seconds whoever needs to know receives an email containing all the evidence and stats about the person identified along with the video clip of them passing the camera so they may be approached then and there, he says. Earlier this year, RT broke the story of TrapWire, a surveillance system marketed by global intelligence firm Stratfor to law enforcement agencies across the world. Through investigation of TrapWire and its parent companies, it became apparent that surveillance devices linked to the system could be monitored from remote fusion centers with access to an endless array of cameras and databases. According to FaceFirsts developers, their technology doesnt need a second person to scour video feeds to find suspected terrorists. Complex algorithms instead make finding a match the job of a computer and positive IDs can be returned in under a second. "It doesn't do me any good if I'm able to look at a face with a camera and five minutes later, there's a match," says Paul Benne, a security consultant who tells the Los Angeles

Times that he recommended his clients use FaceFirst in high-security areas. "By then, the person's gone." Rosenkrantz admits in his interview to the use of the technology at Panamas Tocumen airport, as well as other border crossings along the perimeter of the country. The deployment of FaceFirst in the United States still begs questions concerning the relationship between security and privacy, though, and is likely to remain an issue of contention until agencies in San Diego and elsewhere explain what exactly theyre up to. According to a report in Southern Californias News 10 published this week, an unnamed law enforcement agency in San Diego County has been testing a handheld version of FacecFirst for about five months now. On the record, though, no agency in the US has been forthcoming with why its using those specific facial scanners or even confirming its in their arsenal of ever expanding surveillance tools. "If they spot someone who doesn't have identification, they can take their picture with their phone and immediately get a result," Joseph Saad, business development director for FaceFirst, tells News 10. Saad says his company predicts that "facial recognition will be in every day society soon, perhaps before many Americans want to admit. According to filings available online, Airborne Biometrics was already cleared by the Government Services Administration (GSA) last year to have FaceFirst sold to any federal agency in the country. The ability to apply our technology for the advancement of our country has always been my number one goal, Rosenkrantz said in April 2011 when Airborne was awarded an IT 70 Schedule contract for FaceFirst by the GSA. Because that contact has since been signed with Uncle Sam, Rosenfratz and company can see that goal through, at least until its up for renewal in 2017, through a deal that lets them sell FaceFirst to all federal agencies and other specified activities and agencies. In a demonstration video on the FaceFirst website, the company touts their product as being a great addition to any acquisition device, specifically suggesting that clients consider integrating the software with tactical robots, mobile phones and surveillance drones. Coincidently, just last month the sheriff of Alameda County, California asked the US Homeland Security department for as much as $100,000 in order to have an unmanned aerial vehicles a drone in his agencys arsenal for the sake of protecting the security of his citizens. Weeks earlier, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told congressional lawmakers that she endorses the idea of sending drones to California to aid with law enforcement efforts. Pleads like the one out of Alameda have been occurring across the country in a rate considered alarming by privacy advocates, but rarely has that opposition brought into the spotlight the scary surveillance capabilities that any police agency may soon have in their hands. While the issues of Fourth Amendment erosions and privacy

violations have indeed emerged, the actual abilities of surveillance devices snagging faces from large crowds in milliseconds and sending info to the authorities have not. Facial characteristics become biometric templates compared against multiple watch lists created from customer photos or massive criminal databases, the promo explains. Those lists can be custom created by law enforcement agencies to track a most-wanted roster of suspected criminals but can pull from databases where any biometric information is already available or can be inputted on the fly. Discovery of San Diegos use of FaceFirst comes just two months after the FBI announced it had already rolled out a program to upgrade its current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) that keeps track of citizens with criminal records across the country with one that relies on face recognition. The FBI expects the Next Generation Identification (NGI) program will include as many as 14 million photographs by the time the project is in full swing in just two years, relying on digital images already stored on federal databases, such as the ones managed by state motor vehicle departments. In the state of New Jersey, the DMV has recently told drivers that they are not allowed to smile for drivers license photos because it could cause complications in terms of logging biometric data in their own facial recognition system. The FBI said that, by rolling out NGI, they will be able to provide services to enhance interoperability between stakeholders at all levels of government, including local, state, federal and international partners. The unnamed San Diego law enforcement agency already with the ability to match millions of faces in a single moment may be relying right now on that connectedness to keep track of anyone they wish. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times last week, 70 percent of biometrics spending comes from law enforcement, the military and the government. The private sector is scooping up that scanning power too, though, with FaceFirst having already cut deals with Samsung to provide them with technology for use in closed-circuit surveillance cameras marketed to businesses. But while the Federal Trade Commission has informed companies and corporations that they need to be more transparent about how personally identifiable information is stored on their servers, the Times notes that no guidelines like that exist for law enforcement agencies, who may very well sit on mounds of intelligence without good reason. "You don't need a warrant to use this technology on someone," Sen. Al Franken (DMinnesota) said last year during a congressional hearing about the use of expanding surveillance technology. "You might not even need to have a reasonable suspicion that they're involved in a crime." Aside from FaceFirst, law enforcement is using that excuse to pull data on persons of interest and otherwise even when their faces are protected. As RT reported recently, an ever-growing number of police departments are investing in license plate scanners that let officers identify as many as 10,000 vehicles and their registered owners in a single shift. Much like how FaceFirst can pick out dozens of suspects from a single photograph

and send data to custom servers, those license plate readers can pick up the precise location of persons never suspected of a crime, making rampant invasion of privacy just collateral damage as the surveillance monster state grows larger The cameras will catch things you didnt see, cars you wouldnt have run, and the beauty of it is that it runs everything, Lieutenant Christopher Morgon of the Long Beach, California Police Department says in promotional material for an automated license plate recognition device manufactured by PIPS Technology. The Federal Trade Commission has offered the security industry best practice suggestions about how long to hold onto data picked up by surveillance cameras, but safeguards for law enforcement agencies are largely absent. In the case of the scanners used to find license plates on the streets of Southern California, Jon Campbell of LA Weekly writes, The location and photo information is uploaded to a central database, then retained for years in case it's needed for a subsequent investigation. Rosenkrantz says FaceFirst is experiencing triple digit growth in 2012 and expects sustainable expansion to continue throughout the next five years. By 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration expects that as many as 30,000 drones will be operating in US airspace. All Three Branches Agree: Big Brother Is the New Normal

By David Kravets 10.29.12 4:54 PM

Image: weegeebored/Flickr Despite Hurricane Sandy, the Supreme Court on Monday entertained oral arguments on whether it should halt a legal challenge to a once-secret warrantless surveillance program targeting Americans communications, a program that Congress eventually legalized in 2008. The hearing marked the first time the Supreme Court has reviewed any case touching on the eavesdropping program that was secretly employed by the President George W. Bush administration in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and largely codified into law years later. Just three weeks ago that the Supreme Court closed a six-year-old chapter in the Electronic Frontier Foundations bid to hold the nations telecoms liable for allegedly providing the National Security Agency with backdoors to eavesdrop, without warrants, on Americans electronic communications in violation of federal law. The justices, without comment, declined to review a lower courts December decision dismissing the

EFFs lawsuit. At the center of the dispute was legislation retroactively immunizing the telcos from being sued for cooperating with the government in Bushs warrantless spy program. Fast forward to Monday, and the court took the historic step of hearing a post-September 11 spying case. Judging by the high courts deference to Congress in general and how it killed the EFF spy case weeks ago, we likely already know the outcome of this highly complex issue now before the justices: Warrantless spying is expected to continue unabated for years, and possibly forever. University of Baltimore legal scholar Garrett Epps in a Sunday blog post in the Atlantic asked in a headline whether Big Brother is the New Normal? His own affirmative answer is spot-on: Whatever the court decides, Big Brother will still be watching. Big Brother may be watching you right now, and you may never know, he said. Since 9/11, our national life has changed forever. Surveillance is the new normal. Lets start with summarizing the legal issue before that Supreme Court. The same law that immunized the telcos is before the justices. This time, however, another section of the FISA Amendments Act (.pdf) is at issue. The act, subject to a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union and others, authorizes the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans phone calls and e-mails without a probablecause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed to be outside the United States. Communications may be intercepted to acquire foreign intelligence information. Theres more. The FISA Amendments Act generally requires the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, a secret tribunal set up in the wake of President Richard M. Nixon-era eavesdropping, to rubber-stamp terror-related electronic surveillance requests. The government does not have to identify the target or facility to be monitored. It can begin surveillance a week before making the request, and the surveillance can continue during the appeals process if, in a rare case, the secret FISA court rejects the surveillance application. Yet none of these details are even before the Supreme Court. Instead, the fight is about something much simpler. The Obama administration argues that the ACLU and a host of other groups dont have the legal standing to even bring a challenge.

A lower court agreed, ruling the ACLU, Amnesty International, Global Fund for Women, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, The Nation magazine, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union and other plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case because they could not demonstrate that they were subject to the eavesdropping. The groups appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that they often work with overseas dissidents who might be targets of the National Security Agency program. Instead of speaking with those people on the phone or through e-mails, the groups asserted that they have had to make expensive overseas trips in a bid to maintain attorney-client confidentiality. The plaintiffs, some of them journalists, also claim the 2008 legislation chills their speech, and violates their Fourth Amendment privacy rights. Without ruling on the merits of the case, the appeals court agreed with the plaintiffs last year that they have ample reason to fear the surveillance program, and thus have legal standing to pursue their claim. Thats it. Thats what this case before the justices is all about, whether a lawsuit can be brought at all. The courts are years away, if ever, of entertaining the constitutional merits of the law in question. So the spying will continue unabated no matter how the Supreme Court decides Mondays arguments. The governments argument can be reduced to this scary proposition: You cant sue us for secretly spying on you because theres no way for you to prove it. Case closed. Now the thing is, the spying law expires at the end of the year, if Congress fails to reauthorize it. But thats not going to happen. Its conventional wisdom that they are going to re-authorize, Alex Abdo, an ACLU attorney who was before the justices Monday, said in a telephone interview. Sure, Obama promised in 2008 to add oversight and privacy protections when he ostensibly held his nose and voted for telecom immunity as an Illinois senator. But now re-authorization, without any call for amendment, is the Obama administrations top priority. The House and a Senate committee (.pdf) have approved competing bills that renew the spy powers for between 3 and 5 years. But on the Senate side, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has stepped in to stop the bill because the government refuses to say how often the spy powers are being used to spy on Americans. Wyden asked the Obama administration a year ago for that information.

The administration replied that it was not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed under the authority of the FAA. Wyden has barred the Senate from a routine vote using a little-used legislative power called a hold to block lawmakers from taking a procedural consent vote. Instead, he demands a floor debate that can draw out the approval process indefinitely via the filibuster. But not even Wydens opposition will prevent renewal of the legislation. A Wyden spokeswoman has said the senator would be willing to agree to a short term extension of the measure, instead of seeing the spy powers lapse, in a bid to give lawmakers more time to reach a deal. So there you have it, the biggest opponent of the law is willing to reauthorize it rather than see it sunset. Now, back to Mondays case before the Supreme Court. Even if the justices side with the ACLU, that does not necessarily mean the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act would be litigated ever. The lawsuit would return to New York federal court, where the Obama administration likely would play its trump card: an assertion of the powerful state secrets privilege that lets the executive branch effectively kill lawsuits by claiming they threaten to expose national security secrets. The courts tend to defer to such claims. But in a rare exception in 2008, a San Francisco federal judge refused to throw out a wiretapping lawsuit against AT&T under the state secrets privilege. The AT&T lawsuit was later killed anyway. As I mentioned earlier, the FISA Amendments Act also granted the phone companies retroactive legal immunity for their alleged participation in the NSA spying program. Indeed. Big Brother is the new normal. The government got caught secretly and illegally turning its powerful spy agency on its own citizens and we let them then enshrine it into a law that cant be challenged in court. Dont take my word, just ask two American attorneys for an Islamic group called AlHaramain. The government accidentally sent them proof theyd been spied on it was ruled inadmissible. They then proved using open source info that the government spied on them without warrants, and won a small amount of money and lawyers fees. An appeals court then tossed that verdict, saying that the wiretapping law as designed by Congress doesnt actually let citizens sue the government for damages for violating the law.

The game is rigged, the network is bugged, the government talks double-speak, the courts are complicit and theres nothing you can do about it. Oops! Air Force Drones Can Now (Accidentally) Spy on You By Spencer Ackerman 05.08.12

Photo: U.S. Air Force As long as the Air Force pinky-swears it didnt mean to, its drone fleet can keep tabs on the movements of Americans, far from the battlefields of Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen. And it can hold data on them for 90 days studying it to see if the people it accidentally spied upon are actually legitimate targets of domestic surveillance. The Air Force, like the rest of the military and the CIA, isnt supposed to conduct nonconsensual surveillance on Americans domestically, according to an Apr. 23 instruction from the flying service. But should the drones taking off over American soil accidentally keep their cameras rolling and their sensors engaged, well thats a different story.

Collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent, reads the instruction (.pdf), unearthed by the secrecy scholar Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. That kind of incidental spying wont be immediately purged, however. The Air Force has a period not to exceed 90 days to get rid of it while it determines whether that information may be collected under the provisions of a Pentagon directive that authorizes limited domestic spying. In other words, if an Air Force drone accidentally spies on an American citizen, the Air Force will have three months to figure out if it was legally allowed to put that person under surveillance in the first place. Not all domestic drone surveillance is that ominous. Air Force components may, at times, require newly collected or archived domestic imagery to perform certain missions, the Air Force concluded. Acceptable surveillance includes flying drones over natural disasters; studying environmental changes; or keeping tabs above a domestic military base. Even those missions, however, raise policy and legal concerns that require careful consideration, analysis and coordination with legal counsel. The potential trouble with those local intelligence missions is once the drones powerful sensors and cameras sweep up imagery and other data from Americans nearby, the Air Force wont simply erase the tapes. Itll start analyzing whether the people its recorded are, among other things, persons or organizations reasonably believed to be engaged or about to engage, in international terrorist or international narcotics activities. Suddenly, accidental spying provides an entrance point into deliberate investigations, all done without a warrant. And it doesnt stop with the Air Force. U.S. person information in the possession of an Air Force intelligence component may be disseminated pursuant to law, a court order, or the Pentagon directive that governs acceptable domestic surveillance. So what begins as a drone flight over, say, a national park to spot forest fires could end up with a dossier on campers getting passed on to law enforcement. All this is sure to spark a greater debate about the use of drones and other military surveillance migrating from the warzones of Iraq and Afghanistan back home. The Department of Homeland Security which is lukewarm on its fleet of spy drones is expanding its use of powerful, military-grade camera systems. And police departments across the country are beginning to buy and fly drones from the military. Now the Air Forces powerful spy tools could creep into your backyard in a different way. Theres an irony here. The directive is actually designed to make sure that Air Force personnel involved in surveillance dont start spying on their fellow citizens. It instructs that Questionable Intelligence Activities that may violate the law, any executive order or Presidential directive have to be reported immediately up the chain of command. But whats most questionable might be the kind of local spying the Air Force considers legit.

The White House on Wednesday receieved a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (PDF link) from two attorneys with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), demanding that President Barack Obama release the text of what they called a secret new cyber security law that appears to enable military deployment within the United States. The FOIA was filed in response to an article that appeared in The Washington Post this week, claiming that Obama issued a secret directive shortly before the elections that empowers the military to vet any operations outside government and defense networks for cyber security purposes. However, because the exact text of the directive remains a secret, nobody can really say exactly what it does. That was somewhat disconcerting to American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel Michelle Richardson, who told Raw Story on Wednesday that without the text, its hard to see what they mean. In their FOIA, EPIC attorneys Amie Stepanovich and Ginger McCall go even further, arguing that the directive is tantamount to the president issuing a secret law that may enable military deployment within the United States in order to vet network security at companies like AT&T, Facebook, Google and others. And indeed, the Posts article seems to substantiate that concern, explaining that the order will help finalize new rules of engagement that would guide commanders when and how the military can go outside government networks to prevent a cyberattack that could cause significant destruction or casualties.

But thats literally all anyone outside of the chain of command knows about this order, McCall told Raw Story Thursday afternoon. We dont know whats in this policy directive and we feel the American public has the right to know. The NSAs cyber security operations have been kept very, very secret, and because of that it has been impossible for the public to react to them, Stepanovich added. [That makes it] very difficult, we believe, for Congress to legislate in this area. Its in the publics best interest, from a knowledge perspective and from a legislative perspective, to be made aware of what authority the NSA is being given. Such an order, reportedly issued last month, may have actually overridden Congress concerns amid a debate on cyber security. Senate Democrats failed on Wednesday to pass a cyber security bill that would have put the civilian-run Department of Homeland Security in charge of the nations cyber defenses instead of the military-run National Security Agency. Republicans succeeded in blocking the bill even though it had the support of 51 senators, in a move The New York Times described as setting the stage for executive action to safeguard the nations network infrastructure. Our concern is buttressed by an earlier FOIA request that we submitted, when [NSA Director] General Keith Alexander had been asked a few questions [during his confirmation hearing] that he did not answer publicly, Stepanovich said. He submitted answers in a private, classified supplement, which we also do not have publicly available. There was a question about the monitoring of private communication networks. Whatever answer he gave is not public, but it may implicate now what the NSA is attempting to do. The Police State Comes To Arkansas Posted: 12/18/2012 Unfortunately, not an exaggeration: "[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck," Stovall said. "If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, check for your ID." Stovall said while some people may be offended by the actions of his department, they should not be. "We're going to do it to everybody," he said. "Criminals don't like being talked to." Gaskill backed Stovall's proposed actions during Thursday's town hall. "They may not be doing anything but walking their dog," he said. "But they're going to have to prove it." . . .

"This fear is what's given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they're scared, we can do this," he said. "It allows us to do what we're fixing to do." . . . "To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason," he said. "Well, I've got statistical reasons that say I've got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you're doing out. Then when I add that people are scared...then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area." . . . "Anyone that's out walking, because of the crime and the fear factor, [could be stopped]," he said . . . Individuals who do not produce identification when asked could be charged with obstructing a governmental operation, according to Stovall. Here's the least surprising line in the article: Stovall said he did not consult an attorney before announcing his plans to combat crime. Stovall added that he realized there was little difference between what he was proposing and martial law--and that he didn't much care. The mayor and city attorney have apparently walked the idea back, at least a little. But the police chief isn't wavering. And of course it's his cops who will be enforcing the law. Using SWAT teams for routine patrols isn't uncommon. Fresno did this for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The city sent its Violent Crimes Suppression Unit into poorer neighborhoods and stopped, confronted, questioned, and searched nearly everyone they encountered. "It's a war," one SWAT officer told Christian Parenti in a a report for The Naiton (not available online). Another said, "If you're 21, male, living in one of these neighborhoods, and you're not in our computer, then there's something definitely wrong." A 1999 report in the Boston Globe found similar units patrolling the streets of Indianapolis and San Francisco, which the reporter noted gave the communities under siege "all the ambiance of the West Bank." In a 1997 survey, the criminologist Peter Kraska found that about one in five cities in his survey used their SWAT teams for routine patrols. It seems likely that number has fallen since then as the crime rate has dropped (the Fresno VCSU was disbanded in 2002), but it's hard to say for sure. The total number of SWAT teams has only increased since then, as has the number of situations in which they're utilized. But Stovall's comments show that it isn't so much a rise in crime that allows these sorts of police actions to happen, it's the fear of crime. (Though there has been an actual increase in crime in Paragould.) Back in the early 1970s when Nixon was preparing to impose his new crime bill on Washington, D.C., he ran into a problem. According to FBI data, crime was actually starting to fall in D.C. Nixon's strategy was to make D.C. the "model city" to show off his tough anti-crime policies. The fact that crime was already falling presented

two problems: 1) It could make the city less fearful, resulting in less pressure on Congress to push through his bill, and 2) it would make it more difficult for Nixon to claim credit for any crime drop in the city later. So Nixon's Justice Department sat on the figures. They refused to release them until after they had won on Capitol Hill. The fear of crime is ever-present, even when crime isn't. For example, despite the fact that the crime rate has been dropping dramatically for nearly 20 years*--to historic lows-70 percent of Americans still think crime is getting worse. I'm sure the cable news obsession with sensational crime stories and the emergence of tragedy vultures like Nancy Grace have a lot to do with it. Long-developing trends like the crime drop by definition aren't daily news. Crime is, even when it's down. I've seen it stated over and over in the Newtown coverage that mass shootings are on the rise. As I pointed out in the morning links, there is no evidence for that, and in fact the numbers suggest they're on the wane. They happen so infrequently that there simply aren't enough data points to say for certain. Unfortunately, empirical data aren't nearly as compelling as images of victims and mug shots of scary-looking criminals. And like Nixon, today's politicians and law enforcement officials know that you don't pass new laws and give the police new powers by assuaging public fear. You get these things by stoking it. (*There was a slight uptick in the crime figures in 2011, driven mostly by an increase in minor assaults.) Obama signs secret directive to help thwart cyberattacks

By Ellen Nakashima,

Nov 14, 2012 The Washington Post


President Obama has signed a secret directive that effectively enables the military to act more aggressively to thwart cyberattacks on the nations web of government and private computer networks. Presidential Policy Directive 20 establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace, according to several U.S. officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record. The president signed it in mid-October.

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Olga Khazan Pea Nieto on assault weapons, marijuana and Mexico's future The new directive is the most extensive White House effort to date to wrestle with what constitutes an offensive and a defensive action in the rapidly evolving world of cyberwar and cyberterrorism, where an attack can be launched in milliseconds by unknown assailants utilizing a circuitous route. For the first time, the directive explicitly makes a distinction between network defense and cyber-operations to guide officials charged with making often-rapid decisions when confronted with threats. The policy also lays out a process to vet any operations outside government and defense networks and ensure that U.S. citizens and foreign allies data and privacy are protected and international laws of war are followed. What it does, really for the first time, is it explicitly talks about how we will use cyberoperations, a senior administration official said. Network defense is what youre doing inside your own networks. ... Cyber-operations is stuff outside that space, and recognizing that you could be doing that for what might be called defensive purposes.

The policy, which updates a 2004 presidential directive, is part of a wider push by the Obama administration to confront the growing cyberthreat, which officials warn may overtake terrorism as the most significant danger to the country. It should enable people to arrive at more effective decisions, said a second senior administration official. In that sense, its an enormous step forward. Legislation to protect private networks from attack by setting security standards and promoting voluntary information sharing is pending on the Hill, and the White House is also is drafting an executive order along those lines. James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, welcomed the new directive as bolstering the governments capability to defend against destructive scenarios, such as those that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta recently outlined in a speech on cybersecurity. Its clear were not going to be a bystander anymore to cyberattacks, Lewis said. The Pentagon is expected to finalize new rules of engagement that would guide commanders on when and how the military can go outside government networks to prevent a cyberattack that could cause significant destruction or casualties. The presidential directive attempts to settle years of debate among government agencies about who is authorized to take what sorts of actions in cyberspace and with what level of permission. Obama Gives Foreign Cops New Police Powers in U.S. Posted by: The Liberty Beacon Staff Published February 4, 2013, filed under GOVERNMENT

A little-discussed executive order from President Obama giving foreign cops new police powers in the United States by exempting them from such drudgery as compliance with the Freedom of Information Act is raising alarm among commentators who say INTERPOL already had most of the same privileges as diplomats. At David Horowitzs Newsreal, Michael van der Galien said the issue is Obamas expansion of President Ronald Reagans order from 1983 that originally granted those diplomatic privileges.

Reagans order carried certain exemptions requiring that INTERPOL operations be subject to several U.S. laws such as the Freedom of Information Act. Obama, however, removed those restrictions in his Dec. 16 amendment to Executive Order 12425. That means, van der Galien wrote today, this foreign law enforcement organization can operate free of an important safeguard against government and abuse. Property and assets, including the organizations records, cannot be searched or seized. Their physical locations are now immune from U.S. legal or investigative authorities, he wrote. Obamas order said he was removing the Reagan limitations on INTERPOL: AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER 12425 DESIGNATING INTERPOL AS A PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION ENTITLED TO ENJOY CERTAIN PRIVILEGES, EXEMPTIONS, AND IMMUNITIES By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words except those provided by Section 2(c), Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act and the semicolon that immediately precedes them, he wrote. At the ThreatsWatch.org website, authors Steve Schippert and Clyde Middleton gave their interpretation of the result. In light of what we know and can observe, it is our logical conclusion that President Obamas Executive Order amending President Ronald Reagans 1983 EO 12425 and placing INTERPOL above the United States Constitution and beyond the legal reach of our own top law enforcement is a precursor to more damaging moves, they wrote. When the paths on the road map converge Iraq withdrawal, Guantnamo closure, perceived American image improved internationally, and an empowered INTERPOL in the United States it is probable that President Barack Obama will once again make America a signatory to the International Criminal Court. It will be a move that surrenders American sovereignty to an international body whose INTERPOL enforcement arm has already been elevated above the Constitution and American domestic law enforcement, they said. For an added and disturbing wrinkle, INTERPOLs central operations office in the United States is within our own Justice Department offices. They are American law enforcement officers working under the aegis of INTERPOL within our own Justice Department. That they now operate with full diplomatic immunity and with inviolable

archives from within our own buildings should send red flags soaring into the clouds, they said. Ultimately, a detailed verbal explanation is due the American public from the President of the United States detailing why an international law enforcement arm assisting a court we are not a signatory to has been elevated above our Constitution upon our soil. Records show that the original order designated INTERPOL as a public international organization. Reagan had extended appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities, but kept it subject to searches and seizures under appropriate legal circumstances. Obamas decision, analysts have concluded, exempted Interpol from all restrictions. This international law enforcement body now operates now operates on American soil beyond the reach of our own top law enforcement arm, the FBI, and is immune from Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests, ThreatsWatch reported. At the Patriot Room, it was explained there is a reason for a certain level of immunity. Before we get our knickers in a bunch, there is logic to this immunity. While we like our Constitution and laws, other countries like their Constitution and laws. It doesnt matter if the concept of personal freedom is more expansive here. If we expect immunity in their country, we have to extend it to them here. But with Obamas change, It means that we have an international police force authorized to act within the United States that is no longer subject to 4th Amendment Search and Seizure. Anthony Martin at the Examiner noted the international agency now can operate in the U.S. will full immunity from U.S. laws and with complete independence from oversight from the FBI. At National Review Andy McCarthy asked, Why would we elevate an international police force above American law? Why would we immunize an international police force from the limitations that constrain the FBI and other American law-enforcement agencies? Why is it suddenly necessary to have, within the Justice Department, a repository for stashing government files which, therefore, will be beyond the ability of Congress, American law-enforcement, the media, and the American people to scrutinize? At UNDispatch, which is a blog on the United Nations, Mark Leon Goldberg, who explained he worked at Interpols headquarters in France in 2002, said there isnt much danger of INTERPOL agents whisking Americans off to jail. But he confirmed, As to the specific reason why the Obama administration would decide, last week, to extend to INTERPOL the same suite of diplomatic privileges that are typically accorded to international organizations? I dont have a good answer for that. My sense is that it

probably has something to with the accessibility of INTERPOLs secure criminal databases (on things like stolen passports and the like). But the Obama critics at the Obamafile werent convinced. By this EO, Obama has conferred diplomatic immunity upon INTERPOL, exemption from being subject to search and seizure by law enforcement, exemption from U.S. taxes, and immunity from FOIA requests, etc. Does INTERPOL have a file on Obama or his associations? Why All Americans Should Care About the Holy Land Foundation Case By Stephen Downs, Esq. and Kathy Manley, Esq.

Holy Land Foundation co-founder Shukri Abu Baker (c) and supporters leave the Earle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse in Dallas, Texas, after a U.S. District Court judge declared a mistrial, Oct. 22, 2007. All five defendants were convicted in their second trial, during which the government used anonymous expert witnesses. Baker is currently serving a 65-year prison term. On Oct. 29, 2012 the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi) In 2008, five directors of the Holy Land Foundation, formerly the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., were convicted on charges of material support for terrorismessentially for feeding the poor and for building schools and hospitals in Palestine. Although none of the defendants were accused of violence or even encouraging violence, some of them received sentences of up to 65 years, and are incarcerated in mostly Muslim isolation prisons.

At their first trial in 2007, the government conceded that no foundation money had gone to any terrorist organizations; rather, some money went to the same zakat (charity) committees in Palestine that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.N., the Red Crescent and many NGOs used to distribute aid to the Palestinian community during the same period. The zakat committees were not designated as terrorist organizations, and no practical way existed to distribute aid except through these committees, which is why other charities and the U.S. government itself used them. The first trial ended with a hung jury, without a single conviction on any count, and with some outright acquittals. At the second trial, the government called an "anonymous expert" to testify that some of these zakat committees were "controlled" in part by Hamasa designated terrorist organization but also, since January 2006, Palestine's lawfully elected government. The U.S. government claimed that channeling the foundation's charitable activities through these "controlled" committees helped raise the prestige of Hamas and thus constituted material support for terrorism. A known expert can be cross-examined by the defense and shown to be ignorant about the subject, but an "anonymous expert" cannot be challenged because he is unknownhe could be a man off the street, or the prosecutor's brother. By definition, an expert must have a public identity that establishes the claimed expertise. The 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to confront (cross-examine) the witnesses against the defendant. Anonymous expert witnesses violate this fundamental principle. Yet on the basis of this anonymous "expert" opinion, all the defendants were convicted at the second trial. On Oct. 29, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Holy Land Five's appeals, and let stand the criminalizing of charitable intent using the opinion of an anonymous expert to do so. Well, one may say, injustices are everywhere. Why should I care about this particular case? The reason goes back to a 2010 Supreme Court case, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which involved two groups that sued the government to determine if merely giving advice to a designated terrorist organization on how to stop engaging in terrorism would constitute material support. The Court held that it would, because even advice on how to live peacefully was material support. Under this ruling, then, coordinated free speech, peacemaking, charitable activities and social hospitality could all constitute material support, even if the defendant did not intend to engage in terrorism and in fact opposed it. The plaintiffs in the original Humanitarian case (as opposed to the Supreme Court appeal) argued that the government should have to prove that a person intended to engage in terrorismotherwise, anyone (like the directors of the Holy Land Foundation) could be convicted of terrorism without even realizing that he or she was doing anything wrong; due process requires that criminal laws give fair notice as to what conduct is prohibited. The Supreme Court disagreed with this argument, saying it was absolutely clear what is prohibited. The secretary of state publishes a list of designated terrorist

organizations: just avoid all contact with organizations on the list, and no one will violate the law. But that is exactly what the Holy Land Foundation directors did: they avoided providing aid to any designated terrorist organization on the list. On their own and through a former congressman, they even repeatedly asked the State Department and the Department of Justice for guidance on where they should and should not send their humanitarian aid. But the government refused to provide any guidance other than to refer them to the State Department listwhich did not include the zakat committees. Yet by dealing with these committees, which were not on the list, the directors were found to have violated the law anyway, in direct contradiction to the Supreme Court's holding in the Humanitarian case. By refusing to review the case, the Supreme Court signaled that due process no longer requires fair notice of prohibited conduct. Legal transactions could now be made criminal by discovering "associations" that were previously unknown to the parties involved. Moreover, the government could establish these "associations" by anonymous experts mouthpieces for the governmentthat could not be confronted or cross-examined within the meaning of the 6th Amendment. The implications are enormous. The government can now criminalize political, religious and social ideology and speech. Donating to peace groups, participating in protests, attending church, mosque or synagogue, entertaining friends, and posting material on the Internet, for example, could later be found to be illegal because of "associations," manufactured by anonymous experts, which in some way supposedly supported designated terrorist organizations one has never heard of. In this decade during which our civil liberties have steadily eroded, Americans have seen their government claim, under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the right to hold citizens without charges indefinitely, and we've seen the president of the United States claim the right to assassinate American citizens anywhere in the world without due process by using a presidential "kill list." Now the government can convict any American of terrorism crimes he or she was not even aware of committingbased on information provided by an "anonymous expert" who can be neither challenged nor confronted.

Stephen Downs retired in 2003 as chief attorney with the NY State Commission on Judicial Conduct. In 2006, he volunteered as part of the defense team in U.S. v. Yassin Aref. He is a member of the Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project SALAM, and executive director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF). Kathy Manley is an Albany, NY criminal defense attorney and one of Aref's attorneys. She is also a member of the Muslim Solidarity Committee, Project SALAM, the NCPCF and the NY Civil Liberties Union.

Craig B Hulet was both speech writer and Special Assistant for Special Projects to Congressman Jack Metcalf (Retired); he has been a consultant to federal law enforcement DEA, ATF&E of Justice/Homeland Security for over 25 years; he has written four books on international relations and philosophy, his latest is The Hydra of Carnage: Bushs Imperial War-making and the Rule of Law - An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire. He has appeared on over 12,000 hours of TV and Radio: The History Channel De-Coded; He is a regular on Coast to Coast AM w/ George Noory and Coffee Talk KBKW; CNN, CSpan ; European Television "American Dream" and The Arsenio Hall Show; he has written for Soldier of Fortune Magazine, International Combat Arms, Financial Security Digest, etc.; Hulet served in Vietnam 1969-70, 101st Airborne, C Troop 2/17th Air Cav and graduated 3rd in his class at Aberdeen Proving Grounds Ordnance School MOS 45J20 Weapons. He remains a paid analyst and consultant in various areas of geopolitical, business and security issues: terrorism and military affairs. Hulet lives in the ancient old growth Quinault Rain Forest.