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FBI ordered to explain withholding of documents
Tuesday, July 2, 2013


A federal judge has ordered the FBI to explain its refusal to release documents about its surveillance of the Occupy movement in Northern California, saying general claims of "national security" and "law enforcement" aren't enough.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, the FBI provided 13 pages of documents in September and withheld 24 pages, citing privacy, security, law enforcement concerns and "the interest of national defense or foreign policy."

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco said the FBI's explanations were not specific or detailed enough to justify nondisclosure.

For example, she said, the FBI said it withheld some documents because they were collected for law enforcement purposes, to assist local police agencies and aid in investigations of "crimes and terrorism." But she said the FBI did not identify the laws it was enforcing or explain how release of the documents would interfere with any current investigation.

The FBI also said one document, if released, would threaten "serious damage to the national security" by disclosing intelligence-gathering methods and an assessment of one source's "penetration of a specific target." But Illston said the FBI had failed to explain how any such disclosures would affect national security.

The judge also said one document the FBI released, about a November 2011 protest at the Port of Oakland, contained evidence that the agency hadn't searched all of its files for surveillance records.

In that document, the FBI said it had contacted police in Stockton to "share intelligence" about Port of Oakland demonstrators, an indication that the bureau had something to share, Illston said. But she said none of the documents, including those the FBI withheld, contained intelligence about protesters in Oakland, information that presumably is stored elsewhere.
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Washington Whispers
FBI Hasn't Responded to Sen. Rand Paul's Request for 'Prompt' Answers on Domestic Drones

July 5, 2013
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing on Capitol Hill, June 19, 2013.

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing on Capitol Hill, June 19, 2013.

More than two weeks have passed since Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., requested "prompt" answers to questions about the FBI's use of drones within the United States, but he is still waiting for a response.

It's unclear why the FBI did not immediately provide answers to Paul's 11 questions, but the delay could conceivably morph into an unwelcome spectacle for the Obama administration.

Paul inquired about the domestic use of drones in a June 20 letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, after the director told the Senate Intelligence Committee his agency was using the unmanned devices without clear guidelines.

Paul asked Mueller to explain how long the FBI has been using drones, how many drones the FBI has, whether or not FBI drones would ever be armed, why they are used, what policies guide their use and what has been done with the information they collect.

[ENJOY: Editorial Cartoons About Drone Policy]

Moira Bagley, Paul's communications director, told U.S. News Friday that the FBI has not provided answers to the questions. She declined to speculate if Paul would filibuster the confirmation hearing of James Comey to replace Mueller as FBI director in response to the delay.

Comey, a Republican, was nominated by President Barack Obama in June and is widely expected to be easily confirmed.

In June Bagley said it was "too early to tell" if Paul would filibuster Comey's nomination. Now, Bagley says, she would need to confer with other Paul staffers to learn what steps might be taken to wring out answers.

In March Paul stood on the Senate floor for 13 hours to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA after Attorney General Eric Holder failed to definitively rule out using drones to kill people within the U.S.
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4 or 5 stories including one about the Boston FBI  trick DesLauriers
I checked all the links and they work

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Jul 13, 2013

New studies: ‘Conspiracy theorists’ sane; government dupes crazy, hostile
Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:3AM GMT
By Dr. Kevin Barrett
In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests that the negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist – a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory – accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it.”
Recent studies by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK suggest that contrary to mainstream media stereotypes, those labeled “conspiracy theorists” appear to be saner than those who accept the official versions of contested events.

The most recent study was published on July 8th by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent (UK). Entitled “What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories,” the study compared “conspiracist” (pro-conspiracy theory) and “conventionalist” (anti-conspiracy) comments at news websites.

The authors were surprised to discover that it is now more conventional to leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventionalist ones: “Of the 2174 comments collected, 1459 were coded as conspiracist and 715 as conventionalist.” In other words, among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority.

Perhaps because their supposedly mainstream views no longer represent the majority, the anti-conspiracy commenters often displayed anger and hostility: “The research… showed that people who favoured the official account of 9/11 were generally more hostile when trying to persuade their rivals.”

Additionally, it turned out that the anti-conspiracy people were not only hostile, but fanatically attached to their own conspiracy theories as well. According to them, their own theory of 9/11 - a conspiracy theory holding that 19 Arabs, none of whom could fly planes with any proficiency, pulled off the crime of the century under the direction of a guy on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan - was indisputably true. The so-called conspiracists, on the other hand, did not pretend to have a theory that completely explained the events of 9/11: “For people who think 9/11 was a government conspiracy, the focus is not on promoting a specific rival theory, but in trying to debunk the official account.”

In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests that the negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist - a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory - accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it.

Additionally, the study found that so-called conspiracists discuss historical context (such as viewing the JFK assassination as a precedent for 9/11) more than anti-conspiracists. It also found that the so-called conspiracists to not like to be called “conspiracists” or “conspiracy theorists.”

Both of these findings are amplified in the new book Conspiracy Theory in America by political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, published earlier this year by the University of Texas Press. Professor deHaven-Smith explains why people don’t like being called “conspiracy theorists”: The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination! “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

In other words, people who use the terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” as an insult are doing so as the result of a well-documented, undisputed, historically-real conspiracy by the CIA to cover up the JFK assassination. That campaign, by the way, was completely illegal, and the CIA officers involved were criminals; the CIA is barred from all domestic activities, yet routinely breaks the law to conduct domestic operations ranging from propaganda to assassinations.

DeHaven-Smith also explains why those who doubt official explanations of high crimes are eager to discuss historical context. He points out that a very large number of conspiracy claims have turned out to be true, and that there appear to be strong relationships between many as-yet-unsolved “state crimes against democracy.” An obvious example is the link between the JFK and RFK assassinations, which both paved the way for presidencies that continued the Vietnam War. According to DeHaven-Smith, we should always discuss the “Kennedy assassinations” in the plural, because the two killings appear to have been aspects of the same larger crime.

Psychologist Laurie Manwell of the University of Guelph agrees that the CIA-designed “conspiracy theory” label impedes cognitive function. She points out, in an article published in American Behavioral Scientist (2010), that anti-conspiracy people are unable to think clearly about such apparent state crimes against democracy as 9/11 due to their inability to process information that conflicts with pre-existing belief.

In the same issue of ABS, University of Buffalo professor Steven Hoffman adds that anti-conspiracy people are typically prey to strong “confirmation bias” - that is, they seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, while using irrational mechanisms (such as the “conspiracy theory” label) to avoid conflicting information.

The extreme irrationality of those who attack “conspiracy theories” has been ably exposed by Communications professors Ginna Husting and Martin Orr of Boise State University. In a 2007 peer-reviewed article entitled “Dangerous Machinery: ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ as a Transpersonal Strategy of Exclusion,” they wrote:

“If I call you a conspiracy theorist, it matters little whether you have actually claimed that a conspiracy exists or whether you have simply raised an issue that I would rather avoid… By labeling you, I strategically exclude you from the sphere where public speech, debate, and conflict occur.”

But now, thanks to the internet, people who doubt official stories are no longer excluded from public conversation; the CIA’s 44-year-old campaign to stifle debate using the “conspiracy theory” smear is nearly worn-out. In academic studies, as in comments on news articles, pro-conspiracy voices are now more numerous - and more rational - than anti-conspiracy ones.

No wonder the anti-conspiracy people are sounding more and more like a bunch of hostile, paranoid cranks.


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Content Section

How Local Police Missed a Chance to Stop Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011

by Michael Daly Jul 12, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

The Boston Marathon bomber would have been a suspect in the triple murder on the anniversary of 9/11—if Waltham, Mass., police asked one simple question. By Michael Daly.

The Boston marathon bombing might never have happened if the police had asked a murder victim’s girlfriend one obvious question back in 2011.
Tamerlan Tsamaev, seen here at a boxing competition in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2009. (Glenn DePriest/Getty Images)
The victim was 25-year-old Brendan Mess, who had been found with his throat slashed, along with two other men murdered in a similar fashion, in a Waltham, Mass., apartment.
His girlfriend, who prefers to be unnamed, was one of at least five people who told the police that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a close friend of Mess. She reportedly told police that Tsarnaev was a regular visitor to the apartment.
That should have been the cue for the police to ask the question that could have changed everything.
“What else can you tell us about Mr. Tsarnaev?”
The girlfriend then might very well have told them something that she has since told the Boston Globe, something that would have given even the dimmest cops reason to consider Tsarnaev a suspect, given that the killings took place on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Shortly before the killings, the girlfriend says, Mess confided to her that Tamerlan had been interrogated by the FBI. Tsarnaev had told Mess said the agents seemed to suspect him of being a terrorist and supposedly had placed him on some kind of watch list.
The girlfriend, who is Muslim, recalls that she and Mess had just laughed. The idea of Tsarnaev being a terrorist had seemed ludicrous, even though he did sometimes chide her for drinking and failing to cover her head and otherwise not acting as he felt a woman of his faith should.
Had the police taken a step back, they might have considered the possibility that Tsarnaev had come to view his Christian friend, Mess, as a corrupter. The other two victims of this September 11 massacre were Jewish.
The police would have only needed to call the FBI to confirm that Tsarnaev had indeed been questioned, at the behest of Russian intelligence. The FBI had concluded that there was nothing to warrant further investigation, but the agents might well have reconsidered had they learned of the triple murder and its timing.
One thing the girlfriend apparently did tell the police was that there had been considerably more cash in the apartment than the $5,000 that was actually vouchered. The money had apparently come from selling marijuana, a quantity of which had been scattered over the bodies.
Watch the first bomb go off, as seen by a marathon runner.
Drug-related killings, like those involving prostitutes, do not always rouse police to their most strenuous and impassioned efforts.
The girlfriend also told the police that Mess had acquired a handgun after previously being beaten by a marijuana supplier. That gun, possibly the very one that Tsarnaev would later use to kill one police officer and seriously wound another, was missing from the apartment.
Instead, the police deemed the murders a drug ripoff that involved people who knew each other, noting that there were no signs of forced entry. The police also said that two unidentified people had been seen in the vicinity around the time of the killings.
But the police apparently failed to take even cursory steps to investigate whether Tsarnaev might be one of those people. The police would have been taking a step toward identifying both of the people in question if they had bothered to visit the Wai Kru mixed martial arts gym where Mess worked out.
Wai Kru’s owner, John Allan, could have told police that Mess and Tsarnaev had once considered each other best friends. Allan also could have mentioned that Tsarnaev had shown a surprising lack of grief after Mess was murdered, instead half smiling and saying “that’s what can happen.” Tsarnaev had attended neither the wake nor the funeral of his onetime best friend and started telling people he had no American friends at all.
The owner could have informed the police that Tsarnaev was a gym buddy with Ibragim Todashev, who was given to flashes of temper and anti-American outbursts. The two would work out together and then bow toward Mecca to pray as Tsarnaev became increasingly fundamentalist in his beliefs.
After the Boston bombing and the wild shootout and manhunt that resulted in Tsarnaev’s death on April 19, FBI agents learned the 26-year-old frequented the Wai Kru gym and they paid the place the kind of visit the police should have made after the triple murder two years before. The owner told the FBI what he would have told the cops, including about Tamerlan’s friendships with Mess and with Todashev.
The FBI noted numerous cellphone and email communications between Tsarnaev and Todashev, who had since moved to Florida. Todashav was repeatedly questioned at an FBI office there regarding any possible involvement in the bombing, which he steadfastly denied.
Todashev finally told the agents that he was fed up and that they would have to come to him if they wanted to ask him anything else. The FBI and Massachusetts authorities had by then looked into the link with Mess enough to suspect what the police should have come to suspect in 2011. Two Massachusetts state troopers joined the two FBI agents who went to went to see Todashev at an Orlando co-op on May 22.
Todashev sat at the kitchen table while an agent across from him questioned him for hours. Todashev continued to deny any involvement in the bombing, but he did admit to joining Tsarnaev in committing the triple murders, senior law-enforcement officials say.
The agent across from Todashev is said to have presented him with a pad and he began to write a confession. The state trooper standing behind and slightly to the right of Todashev noted the 27-year-old Chechen immigrant was becoming increasingly agitated. And Todashev’s recent arrest record had given some insight into his volatility. He had gone into a blind rage over a parking space and given the object of his fury a terrible beating.
According to these law enforcement officials, the trooper did not want to interrupt the momentum of the confession by calling for a break. He decided instead to text a warning to the agent that the guy seemed ready to blow. As the agent looked down to read the message, Todashev apparently took the unguarded instant as opportunity. Todashev leapt up and pushed back the table with such force that the agent cracked his head against the wall.
The stunned agent would later say that he had his gun in his hand before he fully realized he had drawn it. Todashev reportedly came at him with what looked like a metal pipe, but reportedly proved to be an aluminum broom handle. The agent fired twice. Todashev kept coming. The agent fired as many as four more times and Todashev fell mortally wounded.
The written confession was left forever unfinished, but Todashev had given a full verbal account. The FBI has not revealed what Todashev said was the exact motive for the murders, though it seems that for Tsarnaev it was a way to cast off the last vestige of his westernized, party-hearty ways by killing his American pothead friend and two Jews, jihadi style, by slashing their throats on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
If the killings were indeed also a robbery, the FBI and the state police have no doubt compared the amount that Todashev said he and Tsarnaev took with what Mess’s girlfriend estimated was in the apartment.
Otherwise, the internal affairs bureau of the Waltham police is no doubt putting in extra hours in an effort to determine what happened to the difference. The Waltham police referred questions about the case to the Middlesex district attorney’s office, which offered no comment regarding an “ongoing investigation,” as it has been called since it was going nowhere at all. The police certainly need no more scandal—their chief was forced to resign this week after being convicted of battering his wife.
Whatever happened to whatever money was there, the new chief should investigate why his investigators showed so little enterprise in a triple murder.  At least five people say they told the police about Mess’s relationship with Tsarnaev. Yet the police do not seem to have made the slightest effort to follow that lead.
A conspiracy-minded person might suggest the police did not want the case solved. But that becomes all the more unlikely when you consider that the investigation was overseen by Gary Leone, then the Middlesex County district attorney.  He also happened to be a senior member of the joint terrorism task force. He resigned just before the bombing to become a partner in the same law firm where former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown landed.
Were he still in office, Leone might be facing tough questions about whether a more aggressive investigation into the triple murders might have prevented the Boston bombing, as well as the killing of a police officer. Who knows, if the police had gathered enough against Tsarnaev to secure a search warrant in 2011, they might have recovered a gun before it harmed anybody.






FBI agent who investigated TWA Flight 800: There was no coverup

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PSU’s Former President Files Libel Suit Against Ex-FBI Director

July 11, 2013 10:44 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Penn State’s former president Graham Spanier initiated a libel and defamation case Thursday against Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who a year ago produced a report for the school that was highly critical of Spanier’s role in the child sex abuse scandal involving longtime assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Paperwork filed in Centre County, where the school is located, disclosed little about the nature of his claims but checked off a box on a court system form that described the case as “slander/libel/defamation.”




A Couple of Guys Smoked Cigars With Boston’s Retiring Top FBI Official

Special Agent Richard DesLauriers officially steps down from his post on July 13. He started the celebration early.

By Steve Annear | Boston Daily | July 12, 2013 2:22 pm
Photo via Imgur.com
What does the leading FBI official who handled cases like the capture of Whitey Bulger, and developed leads in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Art Museum heist do when he decides to retire? He smokes cigars with random strangers.
On July 13, Richard DesLauriers, FBI Special Agent in charge of the Boston Division, will step down after serving 26-years with the agency. To cap off his career successes, which also includes working on the Boston Marathon bombing case leading to the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, DesLauriers was awarded by two gentlemen in the form of a cigar when he was spending time in Faneuil Hall this week.
According to the person who posted the image to the photo site Imgur.com, they were hanging out in a cigar bar when they got to talking with a group of men in suits, smoking “big cigars.” The men at the bar told the duo, who appear in the photo with DesLauriers, that they were waiting for the outgoing FBI special agent so they could officially celebrate his retirement.
DeLauriers, who was the last to appear at the cigar bar, didn’t have his own, so the two people who were chatting away with FBI officials bought one for him—and then they smoked it together.
“I had a few to spare,” wrote the person who posted the photo, adding it was a “cheapie” from a 7/11 store.
DesLauriers, who has been the SAC since July 2010, has overseen some of the largest and most prominent investigations Boston has handled, including the arrest of Bulger, the terrorism convictions of Tarek Mehanna and Rezwan Ferdaus, the conviction of former Speaker of the Massachusetts House Salvatore DiMasi, and helped make progress in the hunt for the thieves responsible for swiping millions of dollars worth of artwork from the city’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
“It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve for the past three years as SAC of the Boston Division of the FBI. I thank the very hard-working women and men of the FBI for their dedicated public service to our great nation, and I thank our many law enforcement and United States Attorney’s Office partners for their enduring friendship and countless contributions to enhancing public safety and security across Massachusetts,” DesLauriers said in a statement when he announced his retirement last month.
Boston reached out to the person who posted the photo and the FBI division in Boston for a comment, but neither have immediately replied.
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“What Lies Across the Water”: Revealing new book on Cuban 5

July 17 2013

Publication of Stephen Kimber's book about Cuban anti-terrorists serving wildly extravagant terms in U.S. jails is a remarkable event. Previously appearing as an e-book, "What Lies Across the Water" is the first full-length book published in English on the so-called Cuban Five. They were arrested in Miami on Sept. 12, 1998, and a worldwide movement on their behalf is demanding their freedom. Many view them as political prisoners.

In comprehensive and convincing fashion the book explains how Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González came to be arrested, tried, and imprisoned. Its coverage of bias and legal failings that marred their prosecution and trial is adequate, but less detailed. Kimber devotes more attention to events and personalities directly affecting the Five than to the context of early anti-Cuban terror attacks and the Cuban revolution.

Kimber, a journalism professor at the University of King's College, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, drew upon news stories in the Florida, Central American, and Cuban media and read 20,000 pages of court transcripts. He interviewed officials and contacts in Florida, Cuba, and elsewhere, and also family members of the Five and the prisoners themselves, via correspondence. The author's clear, flowing, and often seat-gripping, even entertaining, narrative is an added plus. The book is highly recommended.

Kimber starts out by confessing he was no expert on the case initially. He was about to write a novel that touched upon Cuba. Then a Cuban friend with political and intelligence experience told him that "nothing can really be resolved between Washington and Havana until they [the Five] are returned to Cuba." So instead of writing a novel, Kimber began work on a story he realized was important and that "needed to be told by someone who didn't already know which versions of which stories were true."

The way Kimber's report unfolds serves to highlight convoluted linkages of the prisoners' experiences and their case to the many-faceted U.S. apparatus set up to undo the Cuban revolution. Implacable, non-stop U.S. enmity sets the stage for obfuscations, contradictions, intrigue, ambiguities, and strange twists. For Kimber, the resulting atmosphere was one where "Nothing, it seems, is ever as it seems."

For example, Cuba's "Wasp Network" included at least 22 agents it employed in an effort to block terrorism directed against it, not just the Cuban Five, as is often assumed. Agents were posted throughout the United States, away from Florida. Some of those arrested in 1998 pled guilty and served only short sentences. Cuban agents served as FBI informants. Far from exclusively monitoring private paramilitary groups, as many assume, one Cuban Five agent did gather non-classified intelligence from a U.S. military installation. For years, the FBI monitored movements, contacts, and communications of the Five and other agents. Meanwhile, the Cuban American Nation Foundation (CANF), darling of U.S. presidents, professed non-violence, yet operated a paramilitary wing.

Even the Miami Herald, reviled by Cuba solidarity activists, gains points through its reporter Juan Tamayo, who linked Havana hotel bombings to the Cuban exile terrorist Luis Posada.

The book attests to difficulties attending intelligence gathering in the midst of all but open U.S. war against Cuba. Cuban agents were well prepared, and superior officers in Havana supervised them closely. "Compartmentalized," they were unable usually to identify fellow agents in the United States. They relied on advanced technical skills, support from loved ones, fearlessness, their own resourcefulness, their sensitive understanding of hazardous situations, and very hard work.

Kimber's "What Lies across the Water" has the potential for stimulating new thinking on the case of the Five. Information it provides and the book's fact-based style of presentation ought to persuade readers to move beyond viewing the prisoners' fate as a sort of morality tale, one with U.S. over-reaction, prisoners' revolutionary virtue, and suffering. The book would encourage them instead to develop a response built on considering the larger context of generalized U.S. bullying of Cuba. The book may or may not succeed in this, but in all respects it is essential reading for those either new or old to the case of the Five.

The book exerts an appeal through effective portrayals of characters so far out of the ordinary, with such bizarre purposes, as almost to defy belief. They include: Cuban agent Percy Alvarado Godoy, CANF infiltrator for years; terrorist honchos Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada; the opportunistic Brothers to the Rescue leader Jose Basulto; and even Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, message carrier to the Clinton White House.

There is the flamboyant Wasp agent, pilot, unfaithful husband, and FBI informant Juan Pablo Roque, who returned to Cuba; CANF founder and Miami titan Jorge Mas Canosa; and not least, Francisco Avila Azcuy. That FBI informant, Cuban spy for 13 years, and chief of Miami's Alpha 66 private military formation, was unusual, even in a setting where double agents were, and undoubtedly are, routine.
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 Deputies: two teens made off with FBI agent's gear,  machine gun

Monday, July 22, 2013

WESLEY CHAPEL — When a local FBI agent walked out to his car Saturday, deputies say, he noticed a few things missing: a bullet-proof vest, several rounds of ammo and an MP5 9 millimeter submachine gun.
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 July 26, 2013
Los Angeles, CA – The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office hosted the Junior Special Agent Mentor Program graduation ceremony July 26 for children at the Salvation Army Westwood Transitional Village in Los Angeles.

Approximately 30 children, ages 7 to 13 years old, went through the academy in two sessions, some graduating last week. Approximately 10 children from the transitional housing center in the Westwood area of Los Angeles will receive their junior special agent badges and credentials.

The mentor program curriculum focused on a variety of subjects, including the history of the FBI; anti-bullying; conflict resolution; civil rights; abstinence from drugs and gangs; and internet safety, among others.

Students met SWAT Team members, FBI canines and their handlers, as well as FBI special agents assigned to the Evidence Response Team, Bomb Technician Program, and the Hazardous Evidence Response Team, who taught the students the importance of using science and mathematics to solve crimes.

FBI volunteers helped students to understand, appreciate, and develop a positive perspective of the FBI and law enforcement in general. In addition to the guest speakers and presentations, the program consisted of a variety of field trips to foster relationships between the FBI mentors and the children.

2nd read
I tested links and they work

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The Franklin Cover-up

"What you have to understand, John, is that sometimes there are forces and events too big, too powerful, with so much at stake for other people or institutions, that you cannot do anything about them, no matter how evil or wrong they are and no matter how dedicated or sincere you are or how much evidence you have. This is simply one of the hard facts of life you have to face."--- Former CIA director and Cercle member William Colby giving advice to his friend senator John DeCamp, urging him to quit his investigations into the Franklin child abuse affair and to write a book about his experiences (The Franklin Coverup, 2nd edition, foreword).

Court documents and a book publication by Paul Bonacci’s attorney, ex-senator John de Camp, state that Larry King organized groups of children to sexually blackmail and compromise politicians and businessmen while he served as Manager of the Franklin Credit Union in Omaha, Nebraska. King had political ties that reached the presidency of the United States and he sang at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans.
    Paul Bonacci, who suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder), stated that as a youth, he had been transported across the U.S., and was forced to have sex with various people, forced to deliver drugs, and forced to participate in satanic snuff films, where Larry King was present. He identified the Bohemian Grove in Northern California, a well known gathering/meeting site for politicians, as the location of a satanic murder, and he had inside knowledge about many satanic ritual abuse cases around the country that he claimed to have been present at. These include a case in Jordan, Minnesota, in which Jim Rud was the only defendant charged, and in Bakersfield, California, another case in which several individuals were criminally charged for the sexual abuse of children within the context of ritual abuse.
    The Omaha police chief, Robert Wadman and publisher of the local newspaper Harold Anderson, were implicated in the sexual abuse allegations. The FBI refused to investigate the child abuse allegations because the local FBI representative, Nick O’Hara, claimed that Robert Wadman was his “friend.” A Grand Jury was convened which labeled the children’s allegations as a “hoax,” apparently due to the high-profile nature of the alleged perpetrators, the ritual abuse allegations, and after one witness, Troy Boner, recanted his statements about abuse. John de Camp states that his retraction was a key factor in the Grand Jury’s findings that all the children had lied. Troy Boner later claimed that the FBI threatened him into recanting.
    One sexual molest victim, Alicia Owen, was charged with perjury due to naming the police chief, Robert Wadman, as one of her abusers. She served prison time for this charge but was released in the year 2000. Paul Bonacci claimed that the sex ring that plunged him into Satanism and mind control was centered at Offutt U.S. Air force Base, near Omaha. The main investigator assigned to this case, Gary Cadiori, died in a suspicious plane crash shortly after he took statements from the children.
    Larry King was convicted in 1991 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for embezzlement, conspiracy, and making false financial record entries. The Credit Union was missing 40 million dollars and there were allegations that funds were used to finance the Contras, and other clandestine operations by the CIA.
    John de Camp linked Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, leader of the satanic group, the Temple of Set, to mind control operations and writes:
    “Child victims gave evidence in depth of the role of Lt. Col Michael Aquino in this depravity. Aquino…was long the leader of an Army psychological warfare section which drew on his expertise and personal practice in brainwashing, Satanism, Nazism, homosexual pedophilia and murder.”
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Growing use of FBI screens raises concerns about accuracy, racial bias
July 29 2013
Employers are increasingly turning to the FBI’s criminal databases to screen job applicants, sparking concerns about the accuracy of the agency’s information and the potential for racial discrimination.

Many of the FBI’s records list only arrests and not the outcomes of those cases, such as convictions. Consumer groups say that missing information often results in job applicants who are wrongfully rejected. A lawsuit filed against the Commerce Department by minorities alleges that the use of incomplete databases means that African Americans and Hispanics are denied work in disproportionate numbers.

The FBI’s background checks “might be considered the gold standard, but these records are a mess,” said Madeline Neighly, staff lawyer at the National Employment Law Project.

NELP is slated to release a report Tuesday showing that the FBI processed nearly 17 million employment background checks last year — six times more than it did a decade ago. The advocacy group estimates that as many as 600,000 of those reports contain incomplete or inaccurate information.
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F.B.I. Agent Is Charged In Plot to Sell Documents
 August 2, 2013


The former agent, Robert Lustyik, was with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in late 2011 when he began plotting with a friend, Johannes Thaler, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday in Federal District Court in White Plains, N.Y.

“I will work my magic .... We r sooooooo close,” Agent Lustyik wrote in an exchange of text messages with Mr. Thaler, the complaint said.

“I know,” Mr. Thaler replied. “It’s all right here in front of us. Pretty soon we’ll be having lunch in our oceanfront restaurant.”

The Bangladeshi who had sought the materials, Rizve Ahmed, paid a total of $1,000 to Mr. Lustyik and Mr. Thaler for two F.B.I. documents concerning Mr. Ahmed’s political rival, the complaint said. One was a suspicious activity report; the other was a memo about the man that mentioned $300 million, the complaint said without elaboration. The men planned to seek tens of thousands of dollars in additional bribes for other confidential information, the complaint said.
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 August 16-18, 2013

The Real Crime is in the Crime Lab
The FBI and the Myth of the Fingerprint

Few law enforcement institutions have been so thoroughly discredited  as the FBI’s forensic lab. In 1997 the Bureau’s inspector general of the time issued a devastating report, stigmatizing one instance after another of mishandled and contaminated evidence, inept technicians, and outright fabrication. The IG concluded that there were “serious and credible allegations of incompetence” and perjured courtroom testimony.

Our view is that taken as a whole, forensic evidence as used by prosecutors is inherently untrustworthy. For example, for years many people went to prison on the basis of the claims of a North Carolina anthropologist, Louise Robbins. She helped send people to prison or to Death Row with her self-proclaimed power to identify criminals through shoe prints. As an excellent recent Chicago Tribune series on forensic humbug recalled, on occasion she even said she could use the method to determine a person’s height, sex and race. Robbins died in 1987, her legacy compromised by the conclusion of many Appeals Courts that her methodology was bosh. There have been similarly hollow claims for lip prints and ear prints, all of  them invoked by their supporters as “100 per cent reliable” and believed by juries too easily impressed by passionate invocations to 100 percent reliable scientific data.

Of course the apex forensic hero of prosecutors, long promoted as the bottom line in reliability–at least until the arrival of DNA matching–has been the fingerprint.

Fingerprints entered the arsenal of police and prosecutors in the late nineteenth century, touted as “scientific” in the manner of other fashionable methods of that time in the identification of supposed criminals, such as phrenology. A prime salesman was Francis Galton, Charles Darwin’s cousin and a founding huckster for the bogus “science” of eugenics. Actually fingerprints, at least in modern times, found their original use in the efforts of a British colonial administrator to intimidate his Indian laborers (whose faces he could not distinguish) from turning up more than once to get paid. He’d make a great show of scrutinizing the fingerprints he insisted they daub on his ledger book.

Then, as now, the use of the so-called “unique fingerprint” has been histrionic, not exactly scientific. In 1995, so the Chicago Tribune series discovered, “one of the only independent proficiency tests of fingerprint examiners in U.S. crime labs found that nearly a quarter reported false positives, meaning they declared prints identical even though they were not–the sort of mistakes that can lead to wrongful convictions or arrests.”

Decade after decade people have been sent to prison for years or dispatched to the death cell, solely on the basis of a single, even a partial print. So great is the resonance of the phrase “a perfect match” that defense lawyers throw in the towel, as judge and jury listen to the assured conclusions of the FBI’s analysts who virtually monopolize the fingerprint industry in the U.S.A. Overseas, in London’s Scotland Yard for example, the same mesmerizing “certainty” held sway, and still does.

In the U.S.A., part of the mystique stems from the “one discrepancy rule” which has supposedly governed the FBI’s fingerprint analysis. The rule says that identifications are subject to a standard of “100 per cent certainty” where a single difference in appearance is supposed to preclude identification.

The 1997 lab scandals threw a shadow over the FBI’s forensic procedures as a whole and the criminal defense bar began to raise protests against prosecutorial use of latent fingerprint identification evidence, as produced by FBI procedures. In 2002 Judge Louis Pollak, presiding over in a case in Pennsylvania, initially ruled that the FBI’s fingerprint matching criteria fell below new standards of forensic reliability (the Daubert Standards) stipulated by the   Supreme Court. Ultimately the judge was persuaded that the FBI’s fingerprint lab had never made a mistake. In 2004, in U.S. v. Mitchell, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld these same questionable procedures.

But in 2006, the FBI’s new inspector general, Glenn Fine, grudgingly administered what should properly be regarded as the deathblow to fingerprint evidence as used by the FBI and indeed by law enforcement generally.

The case reviewed by Inspector General Fine, at the request of U.S. Rep John Conyers and U.S. Senator Russell Feingold, concerns the false arrest by the FBI of Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer from Beaverton, Oregon.

On March 11, 2004, several bombs exploded in Madrid’s subway system with 191 killed and 1,460 injured. Shortly thereafter the Spanish police discovered a blue plastic bag filled with detonators in a van parked near the Acala de Heres train station in Madrid, whence all of the trains involved in the bombing had originated on the fatal day.

The Spanish police were able to lift a number of latent prints off the bag. On March 17 they transmitted digital images of these fingerprints to the FBI’s crime lab in Virginia. The lab ran the images through its prized IAFIS, otherwise known as the Integrated, Automated, Fingerprint Identification System, containing a database of some 20 million fingerprints.

The IAFIS computer spat out twenty “candidate prints”, with the warning that these 20 candidates were “close non-match”.  Then the FBI examiners went to work with their magnifying glasses, assessing ridges and forks between the sample of 20 and the images from Spain. In a trice, the doubts of the IAFIS computer were thrust aside, and senior fingerprint examiner Terry Green determined that he had found “a 100 per cent match” with one of the Spanish prints of the fourth-ranked print in the IAFIS batch of 20 close non-matches. Green said this fourth ranked print came from the left index finger of Brandon Mayfield. Mayfield’s prints were in the FBI’s master file, not because he had been arrested or charged with any crime, but because he was a former U.S. Army lieutenant.

Green submitted his conclusions to two other FBI examiners who duly confirmed his conclusions. But as the Inspector General later noted, these examiners were not directed to inspect a set of prints without knowing that a match had already asserted by one of their colleagues. They were simply given the pair of supposedly matched prints and asked to confirm the finding. (These two examiners later refused to talk to the FBI’s inspector general.)

The FBI lost no time in alerting the Federal Prosecutor’s office in Portland, which initiated surveillance of Mayfield with a request to the secret FISA court, which issued a warrant for Mayfield’s phone to be tapped on the grounds, laid out in the Patriot Act, that he was a terrorist, and therefore by definition a foreign agent.

Surreptitious tapping and surveillance of Mayfield began. On April 2, 2004, the FBI sent a letter to the Spanish police informing them that they had developed a big break in the case, with a positive identification of a print on the bag of detonators.

Ten days later the forensic science division of the Spanish national police sent the FBI its own analysis. It held that the purported match of Mayfield’s print was “conclusively negative”. (The inspector general refered to this as the “Negativo Report”.)

The next day, April 14, the Federal Prosecutor in Portland became aware of the fact that the Spanish authorities were vigorously disputing the match with Mayfield’s left forefinger. But by now the Prosecutor and his team were scenting blood. Through covert surveillance they had learned that Mayfield was married to an Egyptian woman, had recently converted to Islam, was a regular attendee at the Bailal mosque in Portland, and had as one of his clients in a child custody dispute an American Muslim called Jeffrey Battle. Battle, a black man, had just been convicted of trying to go to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban.

Armed, so they thought, with this arsenal of compromising detail, the Federal Prosecutor and the FBI had no patience with the pettifogging negativism of the Spanish police. So confident were the Americans of the guilt of their prey that they never went back to take another look at the supposedly matching prints. Instead, on April 21, they flew a member of the FBI’s latent print unit to Spain for on-the-spot refutation of the impertinent Madrid constabulary.

The Inspector General’s report makes it clear that the FBI man returned from Spain with a false account of his reception, alleging that the Spanish fingerprint team had bowed to his superior analytic skills. The head of the Spanish team, Pedro Luis Melida-Weda, insists that his team remained entirely unconvinced. “At no time did we give our approval. We refused to validate the FBI’s conclusions. We kept working on the identification.”

By now either the U.S. Attorney’s office or, more likely, the FBI was leaking to the press news of the pursuit of a U.S. suspect in the Madrid bombing. But they knew that the actual evidence they had on Mayfield was virtually non-existent, aside from the fingerprint. On May 6, the Federal Prosecutor in Portland told U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jones that the Spanish police had ultimately accepted the FBI’s match, that Mayfield, alerted by the stories in the press about an unnamed suspect, might start destroying evidence, and that, therefore, they wanted to seize Mayfield, using the now favored charge du jour of the war on terror, claiming him to be a “material witness”. Judge Jones approved an arrest warrant.

Mayfield had no idea that the FBI had been tapping his phones and secretly rummaging through his office. The first time he became aware that he was a citizen under suspicion was on the afternoon of May 6. On that day eight FBI agents showed up at his law office, seized him, cuffed his hands behind his back, ridiculed his protestations. As they approached the door, Mayfield implored them to take the handcuffs off, saying he didn’t want his clients or staff to see him in this condition. The FBI agents said derisively, “Don’t worry about it. The media is right behind us.”

Mayfield ended up with two federal public defenders, Steven Wax and Christopher Schatz. Like many such, these two were dedicated to their interest of their client, tireless and resourceful. Their first concern was to get Mayfield out of the Multnomah Federal Detention Center in downtown Portland. Though jailed under an alias chosen for him by the Federal Prosecutor, the feds had immediately leaked this alias–Randy Barker–to The Oregonian newspaper, and a guard at the jail had promptly roughed up Mayfield.

The two public defenders went before Judge Jones and asked that as a material witness he be kept under house arrest, there being scant apparent evidence against him. Judge Jones finally compelled the U.S. Prosecutor to say what evidence he had against Mayfield. A fingerprint, said the Federal Prosecutor, withholding from the court the fact that this fingerprint was highly controversial and had been explicitly disqualified by the Spanish police.

The federal defenders questioned the imprisonment of their client, faced penalties of the utmost gravity, on the basis of a fingerprint. Judge Jones allowed as how he had sent people to prison for life on the basis of a single fingerprint. Mayfield’s attorneys asked to see a copy of the allegedly matched fingerprints and have them evaluated by their own expert witness. Knowing he was on thin ice the Federal Prosecutor refused, claiming it was an issue of national security. Under pressure from Judge Jones, himself pressured by the assiduous federal defenders, the U.S. Prosecutor finally agreed he would give the prints to an independent evaluator selected by Judge Jones.

The prints were given to Kenneth R. Moses of San Francisco, an SFPD veteran who runs a company called Forensic Identification Services, which, among other things, proclaims its skills in “computer enhancement of fingerprints”. It was “quite difficult”, Moses said, because of “blurring and some blotting out”, but yes, the FBI had it right, and there was “100 per cent certainty” that one of the prints on the blue bag in Madrid derived from the left index finger of Brandon Mayfield.

Moses transmitted this confident opinion by phone to Judge Jones on the morning of May 19. Immediately following Moses’ assertion, the U.S. attorney stepped forward to confide to Judge Jones dismaying news from Madrid from the Spanish police that very morning. The news “cast some doubt on the identification”. This information, he added, “was classified or potentially classified”.

The prosecutors then huddled with the judge in his chambers. After 20 minutes, Judge Jones stormed back out and announced that the prosecutors needed to tell the defense lawyers what they had just told him. The prosecutor duly informed the courtroom that the Spanish police had identified the fingerprint as belonging to the right middle finger of Ouhnane Daoud, an Algerian national living in Spain. Daoud was under arrest as a suspect in the bombing. Judge Jones ordered Mayfield to be freed. The U.S. prosecutor said he should be placed under electronic monitoring, a request which the judge turned down.

Four days later, on May 24, the warrant for his detention was dismissed.

The FBI sent two of their senor fingerprint analysts to Spain on a mission to salvage the Bureau from humiliation. The two analysts did their best, returning with the claim that the fingerprint sent to the FBI by the Spanish police was of “no value for identification purposes”, a claim which the inspector general later shot down by pointing that only a few weeks thereafter the FBI’s latent fingerprint unit concurred with the Spanish national police lab’s determination that the print on the bag matched the right middle finger of Ouhnane Daoud.

The FBI lab fought an increasingly desperate rearguard battle, eventually claiming that it had been the victim of an excessive reliance on technology. The inspector general points out that the only investigator in the FBI’s lab to emerge with any credit is in fact the IAFIS computer that had stated clearly, “close, no match”.

The Inspector General wrote the bottom line on the “science” of fingerprint matching. He got the FBI’s top examiner to admit that if Mayfield had “been like the Maytag repair man” and not a Muslim convert married to an Egyptian, “the laboratory might have revisited the identification with more skepticism.”

And Daoud’s fingerprint match? We don’t know, but if he was convicted on the basis of fingerprints alone, we would say there is grounds for an appeal.

This essay is adapted from End Times: the Death of the Fourth Estate by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair.

JEFFREY ST. CLAIR is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature, Grand Theft Pentagon and Born Under a Bad Sky. His latest book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.
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tsa - Did the FBI break into this man's apartment after TSA racially profiled him?


Did the FBI break into this man’s apartment after TSA racially profiled him?

Aditya Mukerjee is a Hindu American man who lives in New York City, his family in California. He works in venture capital, and is an all around well-balanced dude. He has a Twitter. He has a blog. All in all, he’s a pretty regular tech industry guy. Once a year he visits his family in California and they go on a weeklong pilgrimage to temples.

This had never been a problem before, until Aditya tried to board a Jet Blue flight a couple of weeks ago.

Aditya was detained for several hours by the TSA and Jet Blue personnel after apparently setting off some red flags, due, apparently, to his traveling alone during the Muslim holy month Ramadan. Aditya is Hindi.

It’s a very long read – but if you have the time – please read the entire post. It does show, without a doubt, just how paranoid we’ve become as a country towards some of our very own citizens.

A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to take a trip from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles on JetBlue. Every year, my family goes on a one-week pilgrimage, where we put our work on hold and spend time visiting temples, praying, and spending time with family and friends. To my Jewish friends, I often explain this trip as vaguely similar to the Sabbath, except we take one week of rest per year, rather than one day per week.

Our family is not Muslim, but by coincidence, this year, our trip happened to be during the last week of Ramadan.

By further coincidence, this was also the same week that I was moving out of my employer-provided temporary housing (at NYU) and moving into my new apartment. The night before my trip, I enlisted the help of two friends and we took most of my belongings, in a couple of suitcases, to my new apartment. The apartment was almost completely unfurnished – I planned on getting new furniture upon my return – so I dropped my few bags (one containing an air mattress) in the corner. Even though I hadn’t decorated the apartment yet, in accordance with Hindu custom, I taped a single photograph to the wall in my bedroom — a long-haired saint with his hands outstretched in pronam (a sign of reverence and respect).

The next morning, I packed the rest of my clothes into a suitcase and took a cab to the airport. I didn’t bother to eat breakfast, figuring I would grab some yogurt in the terminal while waiting to board.

I got in line for security at the airport and handed the agent my ID. Another agent came over and handed me a paper slip, which he said was being used to track the length of the security lines. He said, “just hand this to someone when your stuff goes through the x-ray machines, and we’ll know how long you were in line.’ I looked at the timestamp on the paper: 10:40.

When going through the security line, I opted out (as I always used to) of the millimeter wave detectors. I fly often enough, and have opted out often enough, that I was prepared for what comes next: a firm pat-down by a TSA employee wearing non-latex gloves, who uses the back of his hand when patting down the inside of the thighs.

After the pat-down, the TSA agent swabbed his hands with some cotton-like material and put the swab in the machine that supposedly checks for explosive residue. The machine beeped. “We’re going to need to pat you down again, this time in private,” the agent said.

Having been selected before for so-called “random” checks, I assumed that this was another such check.

“What do you mean, ‘in private’? Can’t we just do this out here?”

“No, this is a different kind of pat-down, and we can’t do that in public.” When I asked him why this pat-down was different, he wouldn’t tell me. When I asked him specifically why he couldn’t do it in public, he said “Because it would be obscene.”

Naturally, I balked at the thought of going somewhere behind closed doors where a person I just met was going to touch me in “obscene” ways. I didn’t know at the time (and the agent never bothered to tell me) that the TSA has a policy that requires two agents to be present during every private pat-down. I’m not sure if that would make me feel more or less comfortable.

Noticing my hesitation, the agent offered to have his supervisor explain the procedure in more detail. He brought over his supervisor, a rather harried man who, instead of explaining the pat-down to me, rather rudely explained to me that I could either submit immediately to a pat-down behind closed-doors, or he could call the police.

At this point, I didn’t mind having to leave the secure area and go back through security again (this time not opting out of the machines), but I didn’t particularly want to get the cops involved. I told him, “Okay, fine, I’ll leave”.

“You can’t leave here.”

“Are you detaining me, then?” I’ve been through enough “know your rights” training to know how to handle police searches; however, TSA agents are not law enforcement officials. Technically, they don’t even have the right to detain you against your will.

“We’re not detaining you. You just can’t leave.” My jaw dropped.

“Either you’re detaining me, or I’m free to go. Which one is it?” I asked.

He glanced for a moment at my backpack, then snatched it out of the conveyor belt. “Okay,” he said. “You can leave, but I’m keeping your bag.”

I was speechless. My bag had both my work computer and my personal computer in it. The only way for me to get it back from him would be to snatch it back, at which point he could simply claim that I had assaulted him. I was trapped.

While we waited for the police to arrive, I took my phone and quickly tried to call my parents to let them know what was happening. Unfortunately, my mom’s voicemail was full, and my dad had never even set his up.

“Hey, what’s he doing?” One of the TSA agents had noticed I was touching my phone. “It’s probably fine; he’s leaving anyway,” another said.

The cops arrived a few minutes later, spoke with the TSA agents for a moment, and then came over and gave me one last chance to submit to the private examination. “Otherwise, we have to escort you out of the building.” I asked him if he could be present while the TSA agent was patting me down.

“No,” he explained, “because when we pat people down, it’s to lock them up.”

I only realized the significance of that explanation later. At this point, I didn’t particularly want to miss my flight. Foolishly, I said, “Fine, I’ll do it.”

The TSA agents and police escorted me to a holding room, where they patted me down again – this time using the front of their hands as they passed down the front of my pants. While they patted me down, they asked me some basic questions.

“What’s the purpose of your travel?”

“Personal,” I responded, (as opposed to business).

“Are you traveling with anybody?”

“My parents are on their way to LA right now; I’m meeting them there.”

“How long is your trip?”

“Ten days.”

“What will you be doing?”

Mentally, I sighed. There wasn’t any other way I could answer this next question.

“We’ll be visiting some temples.” He raised his eyebrow, and I explained that the next week was a religious holiday, and that I was traveling to LA to observe it with my family.

After patting me down, they swabbed not only their hands, but also my backpack, shoes, wallet, and belongings, and then walked out of the room to put it through the machine again. After more than five minutes, I started to wonder why they hadn’t said anything, so I asked the police officer who was guarding the door. He called over the TSA agent, who told me,

“You’re still setting off the alarm. We need to call the explosives specialist”.

I waited for about ten minutes before the specialist showed up. He walked in without a word, grabbed the bins with my possessions, and started to leave. Unlike the other agents I’d seen, he wasn’t wearing a uniform, so I was a bit taken aback.

“What’s happening?” I asked.

“I’m running it through the x-ray again,” he snapped. “Because I can. And I’m going to do it again, and again, until I decide I’m done”. He then asked the TSA agents whether they had patted me down. They said they had, and he just said, “Well, try again”, and left the room. Again I was told to stand with my legs apart and my hands extended horizontally while they patted me down all over before stepping outside.

The explosives specialist walked back into the room and asked me why my clothes were testing positive for explosives. I told him, quite truthfully, “I don’t know.” He asked me what I had done earlier in the day.

“Well, I had to pack my suitcase, and also clean my apartment.”

“And yesterday?”

“I moved my stuff from my old apartment to my new one”.

“What did you eat this morning?”

“Nothing,” I said. Only later did I realize that this made it sound like I was fasting, when in reality, I just hadn’t had breakfast yet.

“Are you taking any medications?”

The other TSA agents stood and listened while the explosives specialist and asked every medication I had taken “recently”, both prescription and over-the-counter, and asked me to explain any medical conditions for which any prescription medicine had been prescribed. Even though I wasn’t carrying any medication on me, he still asked for my complete “recent” medical history.

“What have you touched that would cause you to test positive for certain explosives?”

“I can’t think of anything. What does it say is triggering the alarm?” I asked.

“I’m not going to tell you! It’s right here on my sheet, but I don’t have to tell you what it is!” he exclaimed, pointing at his clipboard.

I was at a loss for words. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Well, I haven’t touched any explosives, but if I don’t even know what chemical we’re talking about, I don’t know how to figure out why the tests are picking it up.”

He didn’t like this answer, so he told them to run my belongings through the x-ray machine and pat me down again, then left the room.

I glanced at my watch. Boarding would start in fifteen minutes, and I hadn’t even had anything to eat. A TSA officer in the room noticed me craning my neck to look at my watch on the table, and he said, “Don’t worry, they’ll hold the flight.”

As they patted me down for the fourth time, a female TSA agent asked me for my baggage claim ticket. I handed it to her, and she told me that a woman from JetBlue corporate security needed to ask me some questions as well. I was a bit surprised, but agreed. After the pat-down, the JetBlue representative walked in and cooly introduced herself by name.

She explained, “We have some questions for you to determine whether or not you’re permitted to fly today. Have you flown on JetBlue before?”


“How often?”

“Maybe about ten times,” I guessed.

“Ten what? Per month?”

“No, ten times total.”

She paused, then asked,

“Will you have any trouble following the instructions of the crew and flight attendants on board the flight?”

“No.” I had no idea why this would even be in doubt.

“We have some female flight attendants. Would you be able to follow their instructions?”

I was almost insulted by the question, but I answered calmly, “Yes, I can do that.”

“Okay,” she continued, “and will you need any special treatment during your flight? Do you need a special place to pray on board the aircraft?”

Only here did it hit me.

“No,” I said with a light-hearted chuckle, trying to conceal any sign of how offensive her questions were. “Thank you for asking, but I don’t need any special treatment.”

She left the room, again, leaving me alone for another ten minutes or so. When she finally returned, she told me that I had passed the TSA’s inspection. “However, based on the responses you’ve given to questions, we’re not going to permit you to fly today.”

I was shocked. “What do you mean?” were the only words I could get out.

“If you’d like, we’ll rebook you for the flight tomorrow, but you can’t take the flight this afternoon, and we’re not permitting you to rebook for any flight today.”

I barely noticed the irony of the situation – that the TSA and NYPD were clearing me for takeoff, but JetBlue had decided to ground me. At this point, I could think of nothing else but how to inform my family, who were expecting me to be on the other side of the country, that I wouldn’t be meeting them for dinner after all. In the meantime, an officer entered the room and told me to continue waiting there. “We just have one more person who needs to speak with you before you go.” By then, I had already been “cleared” by the TSA and NYPD, so I couldn’t figure out why I still needed to be questioned. I asked them if I could use my phone and call my family.

“No, this will just take a couple of minutes and you’ll be on your way.” The time was 12.35.

He stepped out of the room – for the first time since I had been brought into the cell, there was no NYPD officer guarding the door. Recognizing my short window of opportunity, I grabbed my phone from the table and quickly texted three of my local friends – two who live in Brooklyn, and one who lives in Nassau County – telling them that I had been detained by the TSA and that I couldn’t board my flight. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, but since nobody had any intention of reading me my Miranda rights, I wanted to make sure people knew where I was.

After fifteen minutes, one of the police officers marched into the room and scolded, “You didn’t tell us you have a checked bag!” I explained that I had already handed my baggage claim ticket to a TSA agent, so I had in fact informed someone that I had a checked bag. Looking frustrated, he turned and walked out of the room, without saying anything more.

After about twenty minutes, another man walked in and introduced himself as representing the FBI. He asked me many of the same questions I had already answered multiple times – my name, my address, what I had done so far that day. etc.

He then asked, “What is your religion?”

“I’m Hindu.”

“How religious are you? Would you describe yourself as ‘somewhat religious’ or ‘very religious’?”

I was speechless from the idea of being forced to talk about my the extent of religious beliefs to a complete stranger. “Somewhat religious”, I responded.

“How many times a day do you pray?” he asked. This time, my surprise must have registered on my face, because he quickly added, “I’m not trying to offend you; I just don’t know anything about Hinduism. For example, I know that people are fasting for Ramadan right now, but I don’t have any idea what Hindus actually do on a daily basis.”

I nearly laughed at the idea of being questioned by a man who was able to admit his own ignorance on the subject matter, but I knew enough to restrain myself. The questioning continued for another few minutes. At one point, he asked me what cleaning supplies I had used that morning.

“Well, some window cleaner, disinfectant -” I started, before he cut me off.

“This is important,” he said, sternly. “Be specific.” I listed the specific brands that I had used.

Suddenly I remembered something: the very last thing I had done before leaving was to take the bed sheets off of my bed, as I was moving out. Since this was a dorm room, to guard against bedbugs, my dad (a physician) had given me an over-the-counter spray to spray on the mattress when I moved in, over two months previously. Was it possible that that was still active and triggering their machines?

“I also have a bedbug spray,” I said. “I don’t know the name of it, but I knew it was over-the-counter, so I figured it probably contained permethrin.” Permethrin is an insecticide, sold over-the-counter to kill bed bugs and lice.

“Perm-what?” He asked me to spell it.

After he wrote it down, I asked him if I could have something to drink. “I’ve been here talking for three hours at this point,” I explained. “My mouth is like sandpaper”. He refused, saying

“We’ll just be a few minutes, and then you’ll be able to go.”

“Do you have any identification?” I showed him my drivers license, which still listed my old address. “You have nothing that shows your new address?” he exclaimed.

“Well, no, I only moved there on Thursday.”

“What about the address before that?”

“I was only there for two months – it was temporary housing for work”. I pulled my NYU ID out of my wallet. He looked at it, then a police officer in the room took it from him and walked out.

“What about any business cards that show your work address?” I mentally replayed my steps from the morning, and remembered that I had left behind my business card holder, thinking I wouldn’t need it on my trip.

“No, I left those at home.”

“You have none?”

“Well, no, I’m going on vacation, so I didn’t refill them last night.” He scoffed. “I always carry my cards on me, even when I’m on vacation.” I had no response to that – what could I say?

“What about a direct line at work? Is there a phone number I can call where it’ll patch me straight through to your voicemail?”

“No,” I tried in vain to explain. “We’re a tech company; everyone just uses their cell phones”. To this day, I don’t think my company has a working landline phone in the entire office – our “main line” is a virtual assistant that just forwards calls to our cell phones. I offered to give him the name and phone number of one of our venture partners instead, which he reluctantly accepted.

Around this point, the officer who had taken my NYU ID stormed into the room.

“They put an expiration sticker on your ID, right?” I nodded. “Well then why did this ID expire in 2010?!” he accused.

I took a look at the ID and calmly pointed out that it said “August 2013” in big letters on the ID, and that the numbers “8/10” meant “August 10th, 2013”, not “August, 2010”. I added, “See, even the expiration sticker says 2013 on it above the date”. He studied the ID again for a moment, then walked out of the room again, looking a little embarrassed.

The FBI agent resumed speaking with me. “Do you have any credit cards with your name on them?” I was hesitant to hand them a credit card, but I didn’t have much of a choice. Reluctantly, I pulled out a credit card and handed it to him. “What’s the limit on it?” he said, and then, noticing that I didn’t laugh, quickly added, “That was a joke.”

He left the room, and then a series of other NYPD and TSA agents came in and started questioning me, one after the other, with the same questions that I’d already answered previously. In between, I was left alone, except for the officer guarding the door.

At one point, when I went to the door and asked the officer when I could finally get something to drink, he told me, “Just a couple more minutes. You’ll be out of here soon.”

“That’s what they said an hour ago,” I complained.

“You also said a lot of things, kid,” he said with a wink. “Now sit back down”.

I sat back down and waited some more. Another time, I looked up and noticed that a different officer was guarding the door. By this time, I hadn’t had any food or water in almost eighteen hours. I could feel the energy draining from me, both physically and mentally, and my head was starting to spin. I went to the door and explained the situation the officer. “At the very least, I really need something to drink.”

“Is this a medical emergency? Are you going to pass out? Do we need to call an ambulance?” he asked, skeptically. His tone was almost mocking, conveying more scorn than actual concern or interest.

“No,” I responded. I’m not sure why I said that. I was lightheaded enough that I certainly felt like I was going to pass out.

“Are you diabetic?”

“No,” I responded.

Again he repeated the familiar refrain. “We’ll get you out of here in a few minutes.” I sat back down. I was starting to feel cold, even though I was sweating – the same way I often feel when a fever is coming on. But when I put my hand to my forehead, I felt fine.

One of the police officers who questioned me about my job was less-than-familiar with the technology field.

“What type of work do you do?”

“I work in venture capital.”

“Venture Capital – is that the thing I see ads for on TV all the time?” For a moment, I was dumbfounded – what venture capital firm advertises on TV? Suddenly, it hit me.

“Oh! You’re probably thinking of Capital One Venture credit cards.” I said this politely and with a straight face, but unfortunately, the other cop standing in the room burst out laughing immediately. Silently, I was shocked – somehow, this was the interrogation procedure for confirming that I actually had the job I claimed to have.

Another pair of NYPD officers walked in, and one asked me to identify some landmarks around my new apartment. One was, “When you’re facing the apartment, is the parking on the left or on the right?” I thought this was an odd question, but I answered it correctly. He whispered something in the ear of the other officer, and they both walked out.

The onslaught of NYPD agents was broken when a South Asian man with a Homeland Security badge walked in and said something that sounded unintelligible. After a second, I realized he was speaking Hindi.

“Sorry, I don’t speak Hindi.”

“Oh!” he said, noticeably surprised at how “Americanized” this suspect was. We chatted for a few moments, during which time I learned that his family was Pakistani, and that he was Muslim, though he was not fasting for Ramadan. He asked me the standard repertoire of questions that I had been answering for other agents all day.

Finally, the FBI agent returned.

“How are you feeling right now?” he asked. I wasn’t sure if he was expressing genuine concern or interrogating me further, but by this point, I had very little energy left.

“A bit nauseous, and very thirsty.”

“You’ll have to understand, when a person of your… background walks into here, travelling alone, and sets off our alarms, people start to get a bit nervous. I’m sure you’ve been following what’s been going on in the news recently. You’ve got people from five different branches of government all in here – we don’t do this just for fun.”

He asked me to repeat some answers to questions that he’d asked me previously, looking down at his notes the whole time, then he left. Finally, two TSA agents entered the room and told me that my checked bag was outside, and that I would be escorted out to the ticketing desks, where I could see if JetBlue would refund my flight.

It was 2:20PM by the time I was finally released from custody. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably, as if I were extremely cold, even though I wasn’t. I couldn’t identify the emotion I was feeling. Surprisingly, as far as I could tell, I was shaking out of neither fear nor anger – I felt neither of those emotions at the time. The shaking motion was entirely involuntary, and I couldn’t force my limbs to be still, no matter how hard I concentrated.

In the end, JetBlue did refund my flight, but they cancelled my entire round-trip ticket. Because I had to rebook on another airline that same day, it ended up costing me about $700 more for the entire trip. Ironically, when I went to the other terminal, I was able to get through security (by walking through the millimeter wave machines) with no problem.

I spent the week in LA, where I was able to tell my family and friends about the entire ordeal. They were appalled by the treatment I had received, but happy to see me safely with them, even if several hours later.

I wish I could say that the story ended there. It almost did. I had no trouble flying back to NYC on a red-eye the next week, in the wee hours of August 12th. But when I returned home the next week, opened the door to my new apartment, and looked around the room, I couldn’t help but notice that one of the suitcases sat several inches away from the wall. I could have sworn I pushed everything to the side of the room when I left, but I told myself that I may have just forgotten, since I was in a hurry when I dropped my bags off.

When I entered my bedroom, a chill went down my spine: the photograph on my wall had vanished. I looked around the room, but in vain. My apartment was almost completely empty; there was no wardrobe it could have slipped under, even on the off-chance it had fallen.

To this day, that photograph has not turned up. I can’t think of any “rational” explanation for it. Maybe there is one. Maybe a burglar broke into my apartment by picking the front door lock and, finding nothing of monetary value, took only my picture. In order to preserve my peace-of-mind, I’ve tried to convince myself that that’s what happened, so I can sleep comfortably at night.

But no matter how I’ve tried to rationalize this in the last week and a half, nothing can block out the memory of the chilling sensation I felt that first morning, lying on my air mattress, trying to forget the image of large, uniformed men invading the sanctuary of my home in my absence, wondering when they had done it, wondering why they had done it.

In all my life, I have only felt that same chilling terror once before – on one cold night in September twelve years ago, when I huddled in bed and tried to forget the terrible events in the news that day, wondering why they they had happened, wondering whether everything would be okay ever again.

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FBI, DOJ Stonewalled Bullet-Lead Record Requests for Years
WEBWIRE – Monday, November 19, 2007

Contact Information
David Colapinto
General Counsel
National Whistleblower Center

  The convictions of hundreds of defendants have come into question because a bullet-lead analysis used for 40 years has been discredited and that the FBI and Justice Department has failed for more than 2 years to properly notify those convicted about these problems.

This revelation results from years of work done by the National Whistleblower Center and its Forensic Justice Project, which is a special project of the Center.

Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, Executive Director of the Forensic Justice Project, has for years cited the need for outside oversight of the FBI Laboratory. "In 1997 the FJP was formed with the motto, ‘Stop It, Fix It, and Find Out Who Was Harmed,’" Dr. Whitehurst said.

Dr. Whitehurst and the FJP have worked extensively with scientists, defense lawyers, the news media and members of Congress to force the FBI to address the serious problems and misconduct in the FBI’s misuse of bullet-lead analysis in criminal cases.

However, for several years, "the FBI and Justice Department have strongly resisted efforts by the FJP to determine the names of those defendants who were treated unfairly as a result of bad forensic science" said Dr. Whitehurst.

In 2004, the FJP was forced to go to court to obtain records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) related to the bullet-lead cases handled by certain FBI Lab examiners. In response to that suit the FBI agreed to produce some records from some bullet-lead cases in order to enable the FJP to conduct searches of public databases on the bullet-lead cases.

In 2006, the FJP and Dr. Whitehurst filed another FOIA suit because the FBI and Justice Department refused to process the FJP’s FOIA request submitted in September 2005 seeking release of all bullet-lead case files from the FBI Lab. The FJP and Dr. Whitehurst requested these files so the FBI’s bullet-lead cases can be independently reviewed by scientists and attorneys. The FBI has identified 250,000 pages of records related to FBI Lab work in 2,500 bullet-lead cases, but the FBI has for years refused the FJP’s requests to publicly release those records. In response to the FJP ‘s September 2005 FOIA request the FBI has demanded that the FJP pay $70,000 before the FBI will process or release these bullet-lead Lab records.

All of the FBI’s bullet-lead information should have been disclosed to the courts as well as criminal defendants and their attorneys years ago" said David Colapinto, General Counsel of the National Whistleblower Center.

Instead, the FBI and Justice Department deliberately chose to operate in the dark, out of public view, and conceal the evidence that is scientifically flawed but which was still used in criminal cases" Colapinto said. "This has severely prejudiced people who have been hurt by the FBI Lab’s misconduct" he added.

"The last thing the Justice Department should do is what has been done, to aggressively stop parties from discovery of those citizens harmed" Dr. Whitehurst said.

You can visit the Whistleblower Protection Blog, at http://www.whistleblowersblog.org for further information on the bullet-lead issue. We will have original documents from the FOIA lawsuit, as well as blog posts from former FBI Crime Lab whistleblower (and Executive Director of the Forensic Justice Project) Dr. Frederic Whitehurst and the General Counsel for the National Whistleblower Center, David Colapinto.

FBI's Forensic Test Put Innocents in Jail for Decades

FBI's Forensic Test Put Innocents in Jail for Decades
One of FBI's forensic tests, known as comparative bullet-lead analysis, has apparently put hundreds of innocent people in jail for serious gun-related crimes. A joint investigation by The Washington Post and "60 Minutes" has found that this particular technique, which claimed to link a bullet with ones in suspects' possession, was dumped for its unreliability after four decades without alerting those convicted.

The comparative bullet-lead analysis was based on the supposition that each batch of lead would have a particular, almost unique, chemical makeup. The National Academy of Sciences, however, has invalidated this claim in 2004, pointing out that FBI experts who claimed to jurors the test linked a particular bullet to those found in a suspect's gun or cartridge box were more or less misleading the jury.

Moreover, it was already determined by that point that the Bureau has already made false matches based on a faulty statistical analysis of the elements contained in different lead samples. The problem is that the FBI never cared for those whose lives it destroyed over the years and never alerted them, even as the window for appealing convictions is closing.

"Recently, joint reporting by The Washington Post and CBS News brought to our attention concerns that our messages on the discontinuation of bullet lead analysis were not clear enough and getting to the right people," said John Miller, FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs, in an official statement on the Bureau's website.

"In addition, working with the Innocence Project, the reporters brought to our attention some cases that may require closer examination of the scientific findings and testimony by FBI experts, and we are committed to go forward with that," Miller said.

The FBI has thus taken a series of steps to try to fix this snafu, and is working with the Department of Justice to inform all those involved and review all testimony given against defendants, especially where it lead to a conviction.

"These additional and ongoing efforts further demonstrate the commitment of the FBI to advancing the cause of forensic science and to the utilization of the highest scientific and evidentiary standards – and to protect innocent Americans from erroneous accusations," Miller said.

The question is why was it necessary for the problems to be investigated by the media for FBI to take action.
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September 4, 2013

Marvin Miller transformed baseball. The head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982, Miller was the father of free agency in American professional sports. He revolutionized the economics of baseball, putting labor on equal footing with management and fighting for the right of players to use the powers of the free market. Along the way, he butted heads with Major League managers, owners, and executives — those who benefited most from keeping players underpaid and easily controlled. He also caught the ire of the FBI and the federal government.

The online sports news outlet Deadspin recently procured Miller's FBI file by way of a Freedom of Information Act request. The report reveals a paranoid federal government desperate to uncover hidden communists.  The FBI suspected Miller of disloyalty, and when he came up for a job at the Department of Labor in 1949, the FBI was ready to provide extra background on Miller. As mandated by President Harry Truman’s Executive Order 9835, civil servant applicants were to be vetted by the Loyalty Review Board, a program established to root out and prevent communist influence within in the walls of the federal government. The Loyalty Review Board asked for the FBI’s help in investigating Miller’s political background.

Though Miller was no more radical than most pro-labor liberals of his time, his FBI files reveal several anonymous interviewees who used sloppy logic to link Miller to various allegedly communist organizations such as the International Workers Order and the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order. His file also makes note of the fact that he was "violently vehement" in his opposition to discrimination, racial and otherwise — apparently showing the same rage for justice that would later inspire Miller to fight for players he believed were being mistreated by the baseball’s management. Ultimately, Miller was not hindered by the federal government’s suspicions. Though Miller had previously worked for a federal agency, the National War Labor Board, he chose to forgo the opportunity at the Labor Department and instead took a position with the Machinists’ Union. Before becoming head of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association, Miller went on to work with the United Auto Workers, and later became head economist at the United Steelworkers union.  In 1966, he became head of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association, transforming it from a meager social club into one of the most powerful unions in American, raising salaries, pension funds, and revenue sharing for the players.

While Miller’s FBI file is an afterthought — a small secret of a great life — it offers a unique glimpse into the psyche of a federal government consumed with Cold War hysteria. His FBI file also offers a glimpse into a young Marvin Miller, a proud supporter of the Progressive Party, a one-time social worker, and finally a champion of organized labor. The file provides a glimpse of the Marvin Miller who would later transform baseball. The irony is that perhaps Miller’s greatest legacy is as a champion of capitalism.
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Former Head of FBI’s Boston Office Accused of Exploiting Connections to Bureau The former special agent in charge of Boston’s FBI office has been slapped with a federal ethics violation for consulting professionally with a former colleague within a year of service.
Kenneth Kaiser, 57, who became an assistant director at FBI headquarters when he left the Boston office in 2006, met with agents investigating his new company, LocatePlus Holding Corp., in July 2009, the same month he retired.
- See more at: http://www.ticklethewire.com/2013/09/13/former-head-of-fbis-boston-office-accused-of-exploiting-connections-to-bureau/#sthash.OOxuRBiY.dpuf
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ACLU calls on Obama, Congress to rein in power of the FBI

Monday, September 16, 2013


As James Comey takes over as the new FBI director, the American Civil Liberties Union is calling on the Obama administration and Congress to rein in the increasing power of the agency.


In a critical 63-page report that will be issued Tuesday, the ACLU says the powers of the FBI have expanded too dramatically over the past 12 years, transforming the Bureau into a “secret domestic intelligence agency.”

“The excessive secrecy with which it cloaks these domestic intelligence gathering operations has crippled constitutional oversight mechanisms,” the report says. “Courts have been reticent to challenge government secrecy demands and, despite years of debate in Congress . . . it took unauthorized leaks by a whistleblower to finally reveal the government’s secret interpretation of these laws and the Orwellian scope of its domestic surveillance programs.”

The ACLU report, entitled “Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority,” compiles examples of the changes of law and policy since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, which the group says “unleashed the FBI from its traditional restraints and opened the door to abuse.”

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ACLU Releases Report on FBI’s Development Into Abusive Domestic Intelligence Enterprise

  Monday September 16, 2013 9:55 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has produced a report that fully outlines how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has developed into an expansive domestic intelligence enterprise over the past ten to fifteen years, which has little regard for the rights of Americans and targets or undermines those rights in order to advance operations.

Before highlighting some of what is in the report, it is worth suggesting that this kind of report is in the spirit of the final report of the Church Committee, which was published in April 14, 1976, after assessing widespread abuses by agencies in conducting “intelligence activities.”

The Church Committee stated in the report:

It has become clear that if some lose their liberties unjustly, all may lose their liberties. The protections and obligations of law must apply to all. Only by looking at the broad scope of questionable activity over a long period can we realistically assess the potential dangers of intrusive government. For example, only through an understanding of the totality of government efforts over the past thirty years can one weigh the extent to which such an emphasis may ‘chill legitimate free expression and authority.

Indeed, given recent revelations on the NSA from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, what is known about the CIA’s secret rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program and what is described in detail in the ACLU report, “Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority,” another Church Committee with the authority and will to investigate and confront what is uncovered about the massive abuses being committed by US intelligence domestically and abroad should be formed.

The report describes, “Every 90 days for the past seven years the FBI has obtained secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) orders compelling telecommunications companies to provide the government with the toll billing records of every American’s telephone calls, domestic and international, on an ongoing daily basis. Other programs have collected similar data about Americans’ email and Internet activity and seized the content of their international communications, even though there was no evidence they had done anything wrong. State and local police and the general public are encouraged to report all “suspicious” people and activity to the FBI.”

“This is what a domestic intelligence enterprise looks like in our modern technological age,” the report declares.

It examines how technology has enabled the FBI to hoard data on communities and engage in racial profiling that includes citing lawful activities as suspicious to justify investigations. It notes how the FBI has targeted First Amendment-protected activities and fought to suppress whistleblowers. It details the excessive secrecy in the FBI that has helped shield the agency from accountability. It also calls attention to the dubious practices in which the FBI is using informants in investigations and how they have also used the No-Fly List to coerce individuals into becoming informants.

The report has not been posted to the ACLU’s website yet, but Firedoglake was given an opportunity to read the report before its release.

Racial and Ethnic Profiling 

The FBI is engaged in the mapping of communities in a fashion not unlike the New York Police Department. The ACLU finds, “FBI analysts make judgments based on crude stereotypes about the types of crimes different racial and ethnic groups commit, which they then use to justify collecting demographic data to map where people with that racial or ethnic makeup live.”

The FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG) drafted in 2008 indicates that the FBI believes this authorizes the FBI to “identify locations of concentrated ethnic communities in the Field Office’s domain, if these locations will reasonably aid in the analysis of potential threats and vulnerabilities, and, overall, assist domain awareness for the purpose of performing intelligence analysis. And, “Similarly, the locations of ethnically-oriented businesses and other facilities may be collected.”

Agents are also allowed to consider “focused behavioral characteristics reasonably believed to be associated with a particular criminal or terrorist element of an ethnic community” and “behavioral cultural information about ethnic or racial communities, which may be utilized by criminals or terrorists to “hide” in those communities.

The report cited an example where the Detroit FBI field office setup an operation to “collect and map information on all Muslims” because “Michigan has a large Middle-Eastern and Muslim population” and “it is prime territory for attempted radicalization and recruitment.”

In Atlanta, a 2009 memorandum showed the FBI documented “population increases among ‘black/African American populations in Georgia’ from 2000 to 2007 in an effort to better understand the purported terrorist threat from ‘Black Separatist’ groups.”  The FBI justified collecting and mapping the Chinese community because “within this community there has been organized crime for generations.”

To address concerns about the gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the FBI conducted “overly-broad assessments” in Alabama, New Jersey, Georgia and California of communities from “Spanish-speaking countries” because the gang was started by Salvadoran immigrants.

The report points out that “Newark FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Ward called the NYPD program ‘not effective,” saying there should be ‘an articulable factual basis’ for intelligence collection and that ‘there’s no correlation between the location of houses of worship and minority-owned businesses and counterterrorism.’ Unfortunately the FBI is not following his advice.”

Targeting First Amendment-Protected Activities
The database, eGuardian, was setup in 2009 for reports of “suspicious” behavior, which could be shared amongst state and local law enforcement agencies. The report from the ACLU indicates that eGuardian “has become a repository for improperly collected information about First Amendment-protected activities.
In 2007, the Pentagon shuttered its Threat and Local Observation (TALON) database system, which collected reports of suspicious activity near military bases, after media reports revealed that it included information about innocent and constitutionally-protected activity such as anti-war meetings and protests. The Pentagon office that ran TALON was closed, but the improperly collected data collected was turned over to the FBI, and the military now provides SARs directly to eGuardian.

Over the last ten years, the FBI has used training materials such as a textbook that “links Muslims’ political activities and opinions with their potential for violence. An essay informed agents that it would be possible to determine if a Muslim was a “militant” by asking what their opinion was on the Iraq War or “the political situation in Israel and Egypt.” If one had a “patriotic and pro-Western stance,” they could “potentially evolve into a street informant or concerned citizen.”

A 2006 FBI intelligence report, “Radicalization: From Conversion to Jihad” suggested “indicators” that one was on a “path to becoming a terrorist” included: “wearing traditional Muslim attire,” “growing facial hair,” “frequent attendance at a mosque or prayer group,” “travel to a Muslim country,” “increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or cause,” or “proselytizing.”

“These false indicators can be expected to lead to excessive and unwarranted surveillance and intelligence collection targeting communities agents perceive to be Muslim, which fills FBI data bases with a disproportionate amount of information about Arabs, Middle-Easterners, South Asians, and African-Americans,” according to the ACLU. “Further analysis of this biased data pool using data mining tools based on these false indicators could lead to more people from these communities being selected for more intensive investigation and watch listing. It could even result in the application of an FBI “disruption strategy,” which might include scouring their records for minor violations that would not normally be investigated or charged, deportation, security clearance revocation, or employing informants to act as agents provocateur to instigate criminal activity.”

It is not just Muslims being targeted. “Anarchist Extremists” were targeted in an FBI domestic terrorism training presentation. The training focused on “passive civil disobedience,” a protest activity. Another presentation suggested “Animal Rights/Environmental Extremism” groups use “FOIA requests” to engage in “intelligence gathering” and the activists were “waging a ‘public relations war.’”

Overzealously Applying Authorities to Manipulate Minorities into Becoming Informants

Arab, Middle-Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities have been explicitly abused by FBI agents. They go into mosques to “count the number” of them in communities and request members of these communities do “voluntary” interviews. They run “community outreach programs” to “secretly gather information” on community organizations and places of worship.

Along with these activities, the FBI pursues immigrants, “who must rely on the government to process their immigration and citizenship applications in a fair and timely manner.” An FBI training presentation on “recruiting informants in the Muslim community suggests agents exploit ‘immigration vulnerabilities’ because Muslims in the U.S. are ‘an immigrant community.’” The FBI is able to influence whether an application is denied, approved, or delayed and compel Muslim immigrants to become informants.

The FBI also has aggressively employed agents provocateurs. The report recounts this case:

In a profoundly disturbing case involving covert surveillance, the FBI in 2006 tasked informant Craig Monteilh, a convicted felon, with infiltrating several southern California mosques by pretending to convert to Islam. In a sworn affidavit, Monteilh says his FBI handlers provided him audio and video recording equipment and instructed him “to gather as much information on as many people in the Muslim community as possible.” Monteilh’s handlers did not give him specific targets, but told him to look for people with certain traits, such as anyone who studied Islamic law, criticized U.S. foreign policy, or “played a leadership role at a mosque or in the Muslim community.” Monteilh said he recorded youth group meetings, lectures by Muslim scholars, and talked to people about their problems so FBI agents could later “pressure them to provide information or become informants.” Monteilh’s handlers told him to attend morning and evening prayers because the Muslims who attended were likely “very devout and therefore more suspicious.” Monteilh said he often left the recorder unattended to capture private conversations he was not a party to, and that his handlers knew this and did not tell him to stop. He said the agent told him more than once that “if they did not have a warrant they could not use the information in court, but that it was still useful to have the information.”

Government agents are also manufacturing terrorist plots by providing the instruments to carry out the crime, choosing the targets, designing the plot and locating “gullible subjects,” who can be given “financial support or other incentives” to execute the plot. These sting operations can be elaborate with “dubious informants, many with criminal records,” who “prod the subjects to act out” and often supply them with “spiritual or political motivation, financial assistance and sophisticated military hardware at little or no cost.”
In the case of the Newburgh Four, “Stinger surface-to-air missile and plastic explosives” were provided. In a case in Chicago, the undercover agent was unable to get the defendant to raise $100 to buy “four military hand grenades” from him. The agent decided to trade him the grenades “for two used stereo speakers.”
Using the No Fly List to Force Individuals to Become Informants
There are apparently multiple cases where FBI agents have offered to take individuals off the No Fly List if they would agree to become an informant.
The ACLU describes one involving Nagib Ali Ghaleb, “a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in San Francisco, traveled to Yemen in 2010 to visit his wife and children and meet with U.S. consular officials concerning delays in his family’s previously-approved visa applications.” He was on the last part of his trip back to the United States when airline officials delayed his boarding and waited for an FBI agent to arrive.
[An FBI agent] told Mr. Ghaleb that he would not be allowed to fly back to the U.S. Ghaleb returned to Yemen and sought assistance at U.S. Embassy. He was directed to submit to an interview with FBI agents, who questioned him about his mosque and the San Francisco Yemeni community. The FBI agents asked him to become an informant for the FBI in California, but Mr. Ghaleb said he did not know any dangerous people and would not spy on innocent people in mosques. The FBI agents threatened to have Mr. Ghaleb arrested by the Yemeni government if he did not cooperate.
Another citizen, Yoans Fikre, has filed a lawsuit alleging that “agents from his hometown of Portland, Oregon, lured him to the US Embassy in Khartoum under false pretenses while he was traveling in Sudan on business and coerced him into submitting to an interview.” He was denied counsel. Agents informed him he was on the No Fly List and then said if he would become an informant, they would take him off and provide him financial compensation.
He would not become an informant and traveled to the UAE, where he was tortured. Fikre believes this torture occurred at the request of the FBI.
The No-Fly List is a prime example of a program which the FBI is involved that deprives due process rights.
It is nearly impossible for those who are placed on the No Fly List to challenge their placement and even find out why they were placed on the list. Often Americans do not find out they are on the List until they attempt to travel and are denied access to board their flight.
According to a 2009 DOJ Inspector General audit cited in the ACLU report:

…the FBI failed to nominate many subjects in the terrorism investigations that we sampled, did not nominate many others in a timely fashion, and did not update or remove watchlist records as required… We also found that 78 percent of the initial watchlist nominations we reviewed were not processed in established FBI timeframes.”

The number of US persons on the list has doubled in size since December 2009 and many of the names have been improperly placed on the list.
Recently, a federal judge in an ACLU lawsuit have a “constitutionally protected interest” in flying by air and the idea that being on the list doesn’t deprive individuals of liberty, as the government has argued, ignores “realities of our modern world.” Individuals must have a process for clearing their names.
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Congressman demands FBI punish agents for CAIR contact Reporter: Jack Minor September 21, 2013 in Politics 0 Share0 Tweet1 Share0 0 Congressman demands FBI punish agents for CAIR contactU.S. Rep. Frank Wolf R-Va. fired off a scathing letter to the new director of the FBI after an Inspector General’s report provided to Congress revealed that FBI agents deliberately violated a policy to avoid interactions with a Muslim group with known ties to terrorist organizations. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case. The case was the largest terrorism funding case ever brought before American courts. Later a judge upheld CAIR’s unindicted co-conspirator designation. Sponsored Links In the aftermath of the court case, the FBI issued a ban on non-investigative cooperation with the Islamist group. Prior to this, CAIR was frequently used by the FBI as an expert on Islam. In a classified report, Inspector General Michael Horwitz uncovered a series of incidents where FBI field offices knowingly engaged in outreach activity with CAIR despite the ban. In the report’s summary which has been made available to the public, it reveals that several of the FBI field office agents-in-charge balked at the policy and chose to deliberately disobey it “[W]e will decide how our relationship is operated and maintained with CAIR barring some additional instruction from FBI Headquarters,” the Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge wrote. “Please instruct your folks at this time that are not to abide by the … [policy] but that their dire
Read more at http://usfinancepost.com/congressman-demands-fbi-punish-agents-for-cair-contact-7444.html#rvXu3wrKrGefsEpw.99
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1st story
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New FBI Director James B. Comey stunned by impact of sequestration on agents in the field

 Friday, September 27, 10:03 PM E-mail the writer

In the first week of his new job as FBI director, James B. Comey had already heard about how training had stopped for recruits at Quantico and that the bureau wasn’t planning on bringing in any new agents next year, all because of budget cuts.

But Comey was stunned when he began visiting FBI field offices this month and heard directly from his special agents. New intelligence investigations were not being opened. Criminal cases were being closed. Informants couldn’t be paid. And there was not enough funding for agents to put gas in their cars.

“My reaction to that . . . ” Comey said about the gas. “I don’t even want to tell you what my reaction to that was.”

For the first time, FBI agents have put together a report about consequences in the field of the across-the-board government budget cuts known as sequestration.

In the 29-page report, “Voices From the Field,” agents from across the country warn that budget cuts and possible furloughs are hurting public safety and threaten their ability to protect Americans.

“We feel in­cred­ibly frustrated and find it very disturbing that we are going to be restrained from protecting Americans from criminal and terrorist attacks,” said Rey Tariche, a special agent on a Long Island gang task force and president of the FBI Agents Association, which wrote the report and represents nearly 12,000 active and former FBI agents.

The agents gave Comey their report Friday, but the director is already well aware of their complaints. Since he took over as director, Comey has been outspoken about budget cuts facing the FBI.

In an interview with reporters last week, Comey said that he visited agents in New York, Richmond and Washington, and what he heard most about was the impact on their criminal and counterterrorism investigations.

“I’m not crying wolf,” Comey said. “I’m not playing a game. This is the FBI. We will salute and execute. But I was very surprised to learn how severe the required cut is — and the potential impact on the FBI.”

2nd story

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CNN exclusive: FBI misconduct reveals sex, lies and videotape

By Scott Zamost and Kyra Phillips, CNN Special Investigations Unit
January 27, 2011

Washington (CNN) -- An FBI employee shared confidential information with his girlfriend, who was a news reporter, then later threatened to release a sex tape the two had made.

A supervisor watched pornographic videos in his office during work hours while "satisfying himself."

And an employee in a "leadership position" misused a government database to check on two friends who were exotic dancers and allowed them into an FBI office after hours.

These are among confidential summaries of FBI disciplinary reports obtained by CNN, which describe misconduct by agency supervisors, agents and other employees over the last three years


Read the FBI documents obtained by CNN

-- An employee had "a sexual relationship with a source" over seven months. The punishment was a 40-day suspension.
-- The supervisor who viewed "pornographic movies in the office while sexually satisfying himself" during work hours received a 35-day suspension.
-- The employee in a "leadership position" who misused a "government database to conduct name checks on two friends who were foreign nationals employed as exotic dancers" and "brought the two friends into FBI space after-hours without proper authorization" received a 23-day suspension. The same employee had been previously suspended for misusing a government database.
-- An employee who was drunk "exploited his FBI employment at a strip club," falsely claiming he was "conducting an official investigation." His punishment was a 30-day suspension.
-- And an employee conducted "unauthorized searches on FBI databases" for "information on public celebrities the employee thought were 'hot'" received a 30-day suspension.

see link for full story

February 22, 2013
FBI agents caught sexting and dating drug dealers
Dating drug dealers, harassing ex-boyfriends with naked pictures, and pointing guns at pet dogs: these were just a few of the offences committed recently by serving FBI agents, according to internal documents.
The US provided officers from the Egyptian secret police with training at the FBI, despite allegations that they routinely tortured detainees and suppressed political opposition.

Disciplinary files from the Bureau's Office of Professional Responsibility record an extraordinary range of transgressions that reveal the chaotic personal lives of some of America's top law enforcers.

One male agent was sacked after police were called to his mistress's house following reports of domestic incident. When officers arrived they found the agent "drunk and uncooperative" and eventually had to physically subdue him and wrestle away his loaded gun.

A woman e-mailed a "nude photograph of herself to her ex-boyfriend's wife" and then continued to harass the couple despite two warnings from senior officials. The Bureau concluded she was suffering from depression related to the break-up and allowed her to return to work after 10 days.

3rd story

FBI Agent Accused Of Masturbating In Public
May 25, 2007
FBI Agent Accused Of Masturbating In Public

Posted by, Marissa Pasquet KOLD News 13 News Editor

FBI Special Agent Ryan Seese, 34, is facing sex offense charges after a cleaning woman said she found him masturbating in a women's lavatory on campus, according to a University of Arizona police spokesman.
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            Sunday, Oct 06, 2013
            see link for full story

            Crime & Courts
            FBI tactics questioned in terror arrests
            October 6, 2013

            TAMPA — The case against Sami Osmakac is one of scores built by FBI undercover sting operations orchestrated across the country after the Sept. 11 attacks changed the agency's focus to terrorism prevention.

            Osmakac is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 21, although the defense has asked for a postponement, on charges he planned to blow up a Tampa nightspot, then take hostages and demand the release of Muslim prisoners.

            Osmakac's lawyer told a judge last week he probably will use an entrapment defense, arguing the FBI targeted him because he is a financially destitute, radical Muslim.

            If so, Osmakac will join a host of other post-Sept. 11 terrorism suspects who have accused the FBI of entrapment.

            Eleven others have used that defense — and all failed, according to Trevor Aaronson, a former St. Petersburg resident who authored “The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism,” a book critical of the agency's tactics.

            “The odds are pretty high against him,” said Aaronson, who noted most defendants in these cases wind up pleading guilty, recognizing that's their only chance of reducing their potential prison sentences.

            The FBI is well prepared to confront accusations of entrapment. The agency even features an article on its website, “Avoiding the Entrapment Defense in a Post-9/11 World.”

            “Law enforcement officers play a critical role in preventing a successful entrapment defense,” the piece says. “Recognizing that this role starts at the inception of the operation, not in the courtroom, is essential.”

            Federal authorities say Osmakac tried to buy grenades, Uzi submachine guns and an AK-47 assault rifle. He also is accused of trying to create — and detonate — a bomb made of diesel fuel and fertilizer. All the weapons and the homemade bomb were provided and purchased from an undercover FBI agent.

            The FBI has had a near-perfect record of convictions in more than 175 such cases, Aaronson said. He contends the FBI has targeted “low-hanging fruit” ­— individuals with no means to actually launch a terrorist attack — while missing those who pose a real threat, such as the Boston Marathon bombers and the would-be Times Square attacker.

            The Osmakac case, Aaronson said, is “typical in the sense that most of these FBI sting operations involve Muslims who have neither the opportunity nor the capacity to commit any sort of terrorism, and the FBI provides what they need.”
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Document:The Mysterious Deaths of Ernest Hemingway and Iris Chang

An article by 'Prof. Darrell Y. Hamamoto' dated 1 August 2011
Source: Global Research


The Mysterious Deaths of Ernest Hemingway and Iris Chang
Ernest Hemmingway

Five decades after his suicide by shotgun, it appears that what had been assumed to be simple paranoia on the part of literary giant Ernest Hemingway was in fact grounded in the reality of his systematic persecution by certain elements within the US government.

Veteran writer A. E. Hotchner, a close friend and author of the classic biography Papa Hemingway (1966), recounted the days spent with a demoralized, confused, and frustrated individual who was struggling to complete basic creative tasks central to his work. Hemingway had contacted Hotchner in May 1960 to ask for his help in editing an overly-long article that had been commissioned by Life magazine. In an article published July 01, 2011 (New York Times), Hotchner now realizes that government harassment and surveillance by wiretaps, tax audits, and pharmacologically induced mind control claimed by his increasingly harried and depressed friend were indeed valid.[1]

The revelation that Hemingway had been targeted for surveillance by the government intelligence unit headed by J. Edgar Hoover, is consistent with a well-documented history of American citizens held under suspicion by the FBI or the scores of other less well-known spy agencies within the government, military, and civilian sectors.[2]

There is a bounty of literature that raises disturbing questions about the murder of individuals ranging from community organizers such as Fred Hampton to prominent artists such as John Lennon.[3] The examples of assassination as politics by other means abound: JFK, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy. According to opinion polls the overwhelming majority of Americans today do not believe the official findings of the Warren Commission that had been formed to investigate the public killing of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963.[4]

It is in this historical context that the seemingly paranoid claims made by Iris Chang in the months prior to her death in 2004 must be taken seriously. Chang had become a literary sensation at age twenty-nine with the publication of the incendiary study The Rape of Nanking (1997). [5] Like Hemingway, Chang also died by her own hand. On November 09, 2004 she was found dead in her car was parked on an isolated road near Los Gatos, California. It was determined that Chang had taken her own life with a pistol she had purchased the day before the incident. She was thirty-six years old.

Former journalism school classmate and personal friend Paula Kamen advanced the notion that the Chang suicide was the result of “mental illness.” She first had believed the “dark topics” that Chang was writing about had drove her over the edge, but then concluded that the ambitious author suffered from “bipolar disorder.”[6] In Finding Iris Chang (2008), Kamen interprets her friend’s demise through the lens of the medico-pharmacological orthodoxy that has come to predominate throughout a society that is viewed as being composed of sick and debilitated individuals that suffer from an ever-lengthening list of ailments grouped under the heading of “mental illness.”[7]

The “mental illness” characterization was rejected out of hand by Ying-Ying Chang in The Woman Who Could Not Forget (2011). As her mother, it was she who had been the principal person caring for Iris Chang during her final months of dark despair. Instead, she points to the side effects caused by experimental “anti-psychotic” drugs prescribed by a succession of psychiatrists as responsible for the downward spiral of a spirited woman who, although sensitive, never before betrayed signs of so-called mental illness. [8]

Kamen herself suffered from chronic pain and the overriding theme of her book on Chang is that the revolution in anti-depressant pharmacology has been a boon to the sad and afflicted masses. Against Kamen, however, there is a sizeable and growing body of literature that traces the less-than-altruistic origins of psychopharmacology in the mind control human experiments conducted by the CIA beginning in the 1950s. Based upon documents that saw limited release due to pressure from the US Congress and its Church Committee investigation, The Search For The “Manchurian Candidate” (1979) by John Marks is a good place to start for those ignorant of government initiatives in mind management and political pacification.[9] More recent publications issued from perfectly respectable quarters (as opposed to those tagged as “conspiracy” buffs) contend that the system of mind control research, development, and application remains in place albeit in a far more sophisticated guise.[10]

The pervasiveness of pharmacological mind control is evident to anyone (i.e. anyone not on psychotropic medication) who works in a classroom environment with the current generation of students who have been labeled as “depressed” or plagued by “attention deficit disorder” and are then promiscuously prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).[11] Young people who would otherwise be in prime physical and intellectual condition have been transformed into zombie-like creatures whose flat affect and deadened eyes betray their forced chemical romance with the military-pharmacological complex.[12]

According to Hotchner, Hemingway complained that the feds had his telephones tapped; automobile and rooms bugged. His mail was being intercepted and sifted through. He was being tailed as well. Then Hemingway was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota in November 1960 for psychiatric treatment. He underwent electro-shock therapy and endured eleven separate sessions. Hemingway became even more depressed and attempted suicide on more than one occasion. In response to Hotchner asking him why he wanted to kill himself, Hemingway said that everything he valued in life—friends, sex, health, and creative work—had been taken from him. He ended his life on July 02, 1961. Documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that Hemingway had been under FBI surveillance since the 1940s.

Prior to her suicide, Chang had told those close to her that “powerful” forces linked to the government were closing in on her. She left written statements that unambiguously outlined the contours of the plot laid against her while attempting to complete an historical account of the “Bataan Death March” as it is known popularly. Most attributed her mounting “paranoia” to stress, overwork, and exposure to stories told to her by survivors. Chang was also a new mother, so some felt that this only compounded matters. Although Chang hid the fact, Kamen discovered that her son had been adopted. This ruled out the “post-partum depression” theory.

In one of the notes addressed to her parents, Chang wrote:

“There are aspects of my experience in Louisville [in a mental hospital in August 2004] that I will never understand. Deep down I suspect that you may have more answers about this than I do. I can never shake my belief that I was being recruited, and later persecuted, by forces more powerful than I could have imagined. Whether it was the CIA or some other organization, I will never know. As long as I’m alive, these forces will never stop hounding me….

“Days before I left for Louisville, I had a deep foreboding about my safety. I sensed suddenly threats to my own life: an eerie feeling that I was being followed in the streets, the white van parked outside my house, damaged mail arriving at my P.O. Box. I believe my detention at Norton Hospital was the government’s attempt to discredit me. "I had considered running away, but I will never be able to escape from myself and my thoughts. I am doing this because I am too weak to withstand the years of pain and agony ahead."[13]

Read in proper context, these words make perfect sense. They are far from being the ravings of a “paranoiac.” Ying-Ying Chang, who suspects that Japanese rightists might have been responsible for the harassment of her daughter, accepts the claims of Iris Chang that she had been approached personally and threatened. Nor does she dismiss the possibility that images of “horrible atrocities and ugly images of children torn apart by wars” had been streamed purposely to the television set of the Louisville hotel where Chang had been staying while on a research trip.

In acting as unofficial spokesperson for the post-1965 Taiwanese American cohort composed of scientists and engineers who were pushing for a stronger political voice commensurate with their significantly large representation within the academic/military/corporate complex, Chang had the temerity to accuse the US government and President George W. Bush of attempting to stonewall the movement by Taiwanese Americans pressing its demands for reparations to those who suffered at the hands of the Imperial government during World War II. Since Japan is an important US ally in East Asia it was thought that Washington was loath to support an initiative that would harm the postwar relationship and consensus formed between the top two economic powerhouses in the world.

Predictably, assertions that ultranationalist Japanese elements in some way were implicated in the death of Chang appeared online and in print almost immediately after the news of her suicide appeared. She became a martyr for the truth in the Peoples Republic of China but especially among overseas Chinese in the US. In the former case, reminders of the “Asian Holocaust” perpetrated by Imperial Japan has been a useful tool in the hands of the communist oligarchs to deflect attention from the tens of millions of fellow Chinese that were sacrificed to consolidate power during the reign of Mao. [14] Today, orchestrated anti-Japan agitation via the internet helps maintain one-party dictatorial control in a nation roiling with internal conflict and rebellion in its far flung regions.

For Taiwanese Americans—a large number (including both parents of Chang who earned Ph.D.s at Harvard) of whom have been recruited since the 1950s specifically to staff highly specialized positions within (ironically) the death-dealing US military-industrial complex—the “Asian Holocaust” has been an effective rallying point in attaining the level of political clout that matches their professional status and economic standing.[15] Moreover, a shared historical memory of the widespread destruction and atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese military during World War II eases political tensions between the PRC and Taiwan via a shared sense of victimhood directed against Japan. At the same time, the US arms industry continues to reap enormous profits through the sale of aircraft, communications systems, and all manner of advanced weaponry to Taiwan despite protests by PRC officials. Complicating the campaign to promote memory of the “Asian Holocaust,” a number of highly placed Chinese Americans have been implicated in brokering the transfer of strategically sensitive American satellite and missile technology to the People’s Liberation Army.[16]

In the battle over historical memory and the role that Iris Chang played in massaging it, however, there is one possible scenario that has been overlooked: That she might have been silenced for having ventured too close to truths that if exposed would have put the US—not Japan—in a most unflattering light. More significantly, the investigative trail she was following with her most recent book project involving The Philippines could have led to wider exposure of the not widely known historical circumstances that undergird the very basis of the postwar economic and political order led by the US.

An incredible book that went largely un-reviewed by the corporate press was published by the independent Verso imprint in 2003 titled Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold written by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave. [17] Well-researched and thoroughly documented (including a CD containing facsimiles of original papers), the book reveals the process whereby hundreds of tons precious metals, gems, and countless art treasures that had been looted by the Japanese Imperial Army throughout Asia fell into the hands of Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies in the waning days of World War II en route to Japan where they would be kept as spoils of war. The vast quantity of gold bullion produced from the booty that came into the possession of the United States was instrumental in the postwar economic recovery of Japan. America’s special friend Marcos had succeeded in locating much of “Yamashita’s gold” thanks to the torture of key informants who pointed to vast stores of purloined wealth had been cleverly hidden.

Iris Chang began her career as a hard charging and ambitious crusader for truth. Beginning with her first book Thread of the Silkworm (1996), she only touched upon the duplicity of government and the utter cynicism in which its interests are pursued.[18] The subject of the work, research scientist Tsien Hsue-Shen who helped found the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, was sacrificed to anti-Red hysteria that took hold when the Communist Party came to power with the Chinese Revolution. With the Rape of Nanking, Chang discovered that historical truth is never self-evident nor is it necessarily welcomed. This is the point at which she might possibly have come to the realization that real politik was grounded in cynicism, opportunism, and exploitation. The political-economic oligarchs that use government for their own purposes will tolerate and even encourage truth seeking up to a point. After all, these elite families dole out millions of dollars each year in sophisticated tax-avoidance and wealth-maintenance schemes to all manner of idealists, reformers, and truth tellers through private foundations bearing their names. Should anyone come too close to exposing the source of their totalistic power, however, like the Venetian families of old they will not hesitate to have such persons eliminated. Poisons have been their proven specialty.

So long as the work of Iris Chang satisfied the agendas of the different interest groups, governmental entities, and political factions that benefitted from the good will and public sympathy garnered by The Rape of Nanking, she functioned as a useful asset. But with her final book project, thorough and meticulous researcher that she was, Chang independently of the Seagraves might have uncovered truths that would undermine the very foundation of the US monetary system, which had been taken off the gold standard by President Richard Nixon in 1971. Not coincidentally, early in his political career Nixon reportedly received large cash payments from Ferdinand Marcos, who as dictator of The Philippines enjoyed political and generous financial support from the US. [19] Ed Rollins, former campaign director for Ronald Reagan, wrote of ten million US dollars allegedly handed over by high-level political operators from the Philippines.[20] Indeed, structural corruption has defined the relationship between the US and The Philippines from the start. Quite possibly Chang had found during the course of her research and political involvement on behalf of those who experienced profound losses during wartime that her own American government was complicit if not at the center of the multiple holocausts of the twentieth century.

In August 2004, while conducting interviews with survivors of Bataan in Louisville, Kentucky, Chang exhibited signs of mental instability. With the assistance of a certain “Colonel Kelly” whose presence she stated had frightened her severely, Chang was committed to the Norton Psychiatric Hospital. There she was diagnosed as having experienced a “brief reactive psychosis.” For at least three days Chang was subjected to “antipsychotic” drugs until her parents arrived to take their daughter back to California. Once returned home, she was placed on a regimen of “anti-depressants” that did little to improve her condition. Brett Douglas, the IT professional to whom she was married appeared to offer scant emotional support to his wife other than insisting that she hew to the treatment prescribed her by medical professionals. His seeming callousness toward her was remarked upon by Kamen in Finding Iris Chang when upon visiting with Douglas at his home for an interview, she was introduced to a Chinese woman also named “Iris.” He had met her online only months after the suicide death of his wife.

In an age when Big Pharma has succeeded in enslaving an alarmingly large percentage of American women to SSRIs—commonly known as “anti-depressants”—the death of Iris Chang should serve as a cautionary warning. The historical origins of the psychiatric dictatorship lie in the Cold War mind control experiments known collectively as MK-ULTRA.[21] Instead, the totalitarian triumph of the medico-pharmacological model combined with the so-called “mental health” establishment is embraced and welcomed by well intentioned but dangerously compromised medical professionals and psychotherapists held in the thrall of the insurance industry and drug makers.

Although the “suicides” of Ernest Hemingway and Iris Chang are separated in time by close to five decades, they are connected in a closed loop formed by the dark history of authoritarian regimes that actively suppress the truths that would subvert their rule. The oligarchs will go so far to order that the life force be snuffed out of those who dare bring light to the world. Instead of murdering directly two well admired literary figures of worldwide stature and thereby run the risk of official inquiries, Hemingway and Chang were harassed, gang stalked, and psychiatrically maimed to the point where they found it too painful to live.

The twin orthodoxy of psychiatry and pharmacy provided the respectable cover to preclude a closer look into the deaths of Hemingway and Chang. As it was in the case of Hemingway, however, the death of Iris Chang is not a closed book. Further investigation into the circumstances of her mental breakdown, coerced psychiatric treatment, and the identification of persons such as the mysterious “Colonel Kelly” who had her committed in Louisville, will shatter the easy and conveniently premature conclusion that the death of Chang was due to so-called “mental illness” alone.

In time, it will be seen that in her death the final gift to humankind bequeathed by Iris Chang will be the exposure of the system announced in 1969 by José M. R. Delgado of Yale University in Physical Control of the Mind. [22] Chang was far from being “mad” or “paranoid.” Rather, Chang to the very end was engaged in a quite sane but desperate struggle for the recovery of the humanity that had been stripped from her. Instead of allowing herself to be forced into a permanent state of narcotized semi-awareness and zombie-like passivity, Chang mustered the courage to end her life by a method so disturbing and sensational that questions concerning the circumstances leading to this final act of resistance will be asked far into the future. This is made clear in the intimate account given by Ying-Ying Chang, who was closely involved with her daughter in seeking therapeutic approaches that in the end failed to restore the élan vital that had been sapped by fear and loathing.

In this, Chang left the door open for future researchers and writers to enter the dark house of pain to poke about just as she had done. Once inside, she had gained deeper knowledge of the slithering political realities that go largely unremarked by corporate journalism and unexamined in foundation-funded academic research.[23]

Chang had stumbled across a venomous nest of vipers and was bitten hard, repeatedly. Though slowly poisoned, her core strength caused her to remain lucid amidst the institutionalized madness. Such fortitude allowed her to leave behind a wealth of written clues, personal leads, and questions that cry out for follow-up. Instead, the political importance of her legacy fades as Chang continues to be memorialized in books, statuary, and film by those no doubt motivated by the utmost sincerity. Let the example of Hemingway and his documented state-facilitated suicide serve as a reminder that repressive governments over the course of human history are the leading cause of death. If Iris Chang claimed that government forces were “hounding” her, then it would be wise to heed this last testament and treat it with the grave seriousness it warrants.

Darrell Y. Hamamoto teaches at the Dept. of Asian American Studies, University of California, Davis

    ^  A. E. Hotchner, “Hemingway, Hounded by the Feds.” New York Times 01 Jul. 2011. Http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/opinion/02hotchner.html?pagewanted=all.
    ^  Anthony Summers, Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (New York: Pocket Star Books, 1994).
    ^  M. Wesley Swearingen, FBI Secrets: An Agent’s Exposé (Boston, Massachusetts: South End Press, 1995).
    ^  Lydia Saad, “Americans: Kennedy Assassination a Conspiracy.” Gallup 21 Nov. 2003. Http://www.gallup.com/poll/9751/americans-kennedy-assassination-conspiracy.aspx.
    ^  Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (New York: Basic Books, 1997).
    ^  Stephanie Losee, “The Demons You Know.” Salon.com 13 Dec. 2007. Http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/12/13/paula_kamen.
    ^  Paula Kamen, Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind (New York: Da Capo Press, 2007).
    ^  Ying-Ying Chang, The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond the Rape of Nanking—A Memoir (New York: Pegasus Books, 2011).
    ^  John Marks, The Search For the “Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control (New York: Times Books , 1979).
    ^  Dominic Streatfeild, Brainwash: The Secret History of Mind Control (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007).
    ^  Peter R. Breggin, M.D., Medication Madness: A Psychiatrist Exposes the Dangers of Mood-Altering Medications (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008).
    ^  David Healy, Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression (New York and London: New York University Press, 2004).
    ^  Kamen, 58.
    ^  Frank Dikötter, Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962 (New York: Walker & Company, 2010).
    ^  Bernard P. Wong, The Chinese in Silicon Valley: Globalization, Social Networks, and Ethnic Identity (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006).
    ^  Rodham Watch, “Is the Other Hsu About To Drop? Hillary’s Donor Linked to China Missile Trader.” WorldNetDaily 02 Sep. 2007. Http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=43335.
    ^  Sterling Seagrave & Peggy Seagrave, Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold (London & New York: Verso, 2003).
    ^  Iris Chang, Thread of the Silkworm (New York: Basic Books, 1995).
    ^  Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (2001), 164.
    ^  Ed Rollins with Tom Defrank, Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms: My Life in American Politics (New York: Broadway Books, 1996), 214.
    ^  Colin A. Ross, M.D., The C.I.A. Doctors: Human Rights Violations By American Psychiatrists (Richardson, Texas: Manitou Communications, Inc., 2006).
    ^  José Manuel Rodríguez Delgado, Physical Control of the Mind: Toward a Psychocivilized Society (New York: Harper & Row, 1969).
    ^  Horace Freeland Judson, The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, Inc., 2004).
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How the FBI blacklisted US’ largest Muslim civil rights group

22 October 2013


Woman stands in front of Council on American-Islamic Relations sign

CAIR says that the blacklisting has undermined its work advocating for the rights of US Muslims.

(Rod Veal / ZUMA Press)

Based on flimsy evidence, the FBI has sabotaged efforts to be on good terms with Muslim communities in the US by accusing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of being linked to a “terrorist organization.”

Founded in 1994, CAIR monitors policies that affect Muslim Americans and provides legal representation in cases of civil rights violations. The largest nationwide organization advocating for Muslims’ rights in the US, CAIR says the blacklisting has undermined its work at a time when it is needed the most.

The group first became aware of its change of status on 8 October 2008, when James Finch, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oklahoma City field office, sent a letter to participants of the state’s Muslim Community Outreach Program. In the letter, he informed them that the upcoming quarterly meeting between members of the Muslim community and local law enforcement would be canceled due to CAIR’s participation.

“It was surprising because up until that point, CAIR in Oklahoma had enjoyed a very good relationship with the FBI,” Adam Soltani told The Electronic Intifada. Soltani is the third and current executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR.

“They had attended our events, annual banquet, our training functions on ‘know your rights,’” recalled Soltani, who served on the chapter’s board of directors from 2006 until 2008.

That was the first communication that CAIR had received suggesting that the organization’s relationship with the FBI was to about to change. Two weeks later — on 22 October 2008 — the FBI met with the national director of CAIR and informed the organization of the new “parameters for any future interaction” with the FBI: as of that point the FBI would no longer attend CAIR-sponsored events and CAIR would not be invited to attend any FBI-sponsored event.

“Unindicted co-conspirator”

The events that precipitated the blacklisting of CAIR can be traced back to May 2007, when CAIR was listed — along with 246 individuals and organizations — as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the federal government’s case against the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Islamic charity in the US until it was shut down by a Bush administration executive order in December 2001.

The sprawling list of “unindicted co-conspirators” was divided into 11 categories, identifying those included on the list by their alleged membership in or participation with Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups. CAIR, for instance, was listed under “members of the US Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Palestine Committee’ and/or its organizations.”

There is very little precise information available about the Palestine Committee. The Investigative Project on Terrorism, an anti-Muslim website founded by Steven Emerson, describes it as a group formed by leaders of “the Muslim Brotherhood of the Levant.” Corey Saylor, the current communications director of CAIR, knows only that it was “a group that existed in the early 1990s that seemed to have strengthening pro-Palestinian work at its core.”

The Palestine Committee is alleged to have initially spawned four US-based organizations, the Holy Land Foundation being one of them.

The government’s first case against the Holy Land Foundation ended in mistrial. But the foundation was re-prosecuted in 2008, and found guilty by the jury. From 2008 to 2012, the case weaved its way through the courts, stopping short of the Supreme Court. For the first time in the history of the US court system, prosecutors were allowed to admit anonymous expert testimony — by an Israeli intelligence agent — significantly limiting the defense’s ability to cross-examine.


The evidence the FBI used to implicate CAIR as a “co-conspirator” with the Holy Land Foundation is tenuous.

It includes the claims that CAIR received money from the foundation in 1994 — before it was designated a “terrorist organization” — and that Omar Ahmad, the former chairperson of CAIR, and Nihad Awad, the founder of CAIR, were present at an October 1993 meeting of the Palestine Committee in Philadelphia.

Participants in this two-day meeting allegedly expressed support for “the Movement,” which the FBI interpreted as Hamas, and opposition to the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that had been formally signed only the month before.

Court transcripts and documents in the FBI’s case available on Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism site show that the meeting was bugged by the FBI (“Testimony of FBI Agent Lara Burns [and others], 9/29/2008,” p. 123-4 [PDF]).

In 1994 Hamas had not yet been criminalized in the US. Hamas was placed on the list of terrorist organizations in 1995, when President Bill Clinton signed an executive order designating Palestinian groups that rejected the Oslo accords as “terrorist organizations which threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process.”

Prior to this policy, the US government had maintained tepid diplomatic relations with Hamas. But in the early 1990s, Israel began making the case that Hamas was as much a threat to US national security as it was to Israel’s.

In a 2008 article published by the Journal of Palestine Studies, lawyers Michael E. Deutsch and Erica Thompson document how the Israeli government, in the early 1990s, built its campaign to accuse Palestinian American Muhammad Salah as a terrorist and Hamas leader by arguing that Hamas had established its leadership in the US.

As Deutsch and Thomas write: “The [Government of Israel] press office released a diagram of Hamas’ operational structure, reproduced in a number of publications, which put ‘US leadership’ at the top and drew lines that extended to several Middle Eastern states, including Iran” (“Secrets and Lies: The Persecution of Muhammad Salah”).

This doctrine — that the US must abort the germinating “nerve center” of Hamas operatives in the US — was eventually codified in Clinton’s 1995 executive order and exemplified in the government’s case against the Holy Land Foundation, which would not reach the courts until May 2007. Salah was put on a list of “designated terrorists” following a decision by the Clinton administration, and though a federal court acquitted Salah of all terrorism charges in 2007, he was not removed from the list until 2012 after a legal challenge.

At that point, the government filed its first brief charging the Holy Land Foundation with conspiracy to provide support to Hamas, now a designated terrorist organization. After nearly 13 years of investigating the Holy Land Foundation, the government found no evidence it supported or incited any violence. Instead, the government’s case relied entirely on the fact that Hamas controlled the Palestinian charities — known as zakat committees — the foundation assisted.

Witch hunt

While the government’s brief specified just seven individuals as defendants, it announced a political witch hunt for Hamas: “The focal point of this case is the designated terrorist group Hamas … As noted in the case summary, the defendants were operating in concert with a host of individuals and organizations dedicated to sustaining and furthering the Hamas movement.”

The list of “unindicted co-conspirators” that was appended to the 2007 brief sounded an alarm bell for Muslim and Palestinian organizations around the country.

“It’s a scary-sounding thing and we now have to labor under this designation,” CAIR’s communications director Corey Saylor said.

“Institutions that don’t like us use it as a hammer on us all the time. It interferes with our relations with other institutions, interferes with our donors. We used to be able to approach the FBI with a problem. Now we can’t do that. Now it’s more combative in the media and the lawsuits and that doesn’t help anyone.”

Michael German, senior policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said that the practice of naming “unindicted co-conspirators” allows prosecutors to get around prohibitions against the admission of hearsay evidence in a trial. Rather than needing to prove the allegations that CAIR and the other 246 individuals and organizations on the list committed a crime — or conspired to — with the Holy Land Foundation case, the government is able to level an unsubstantiated smear.

In a 2004 article, Professor Ira Robbins of American University Washington College of Law argues that the process of naming “unindicted co-conspirators” unavoidably violates individuals’ Fifth Amendment rights because by not criminally indicting them, those listed “have neither the right to present evidence nor the opportunity to clear their names.”

Robbins presciently forewarns that while the government had not employed “unindicted co-conspirators” for some time, the domestic terrorism trials occurring in the wake of the 11 September attacks presented “fertile ground” for the reintroduction the legal tactic.

In fact, the manual for US attorneys instructs prosecutors not to make public “unindicted co-conspirators.” On why the US attorneys failed to comply with that rule, the ACLU’s German said: “That’s a good question.”

Before joining the ACLU, German worked in the FBI for 16 years, 12 of which he spent working on domestic terrorism cases. He left the FBI in 2004 after becoming increasingly disturbed by the agency’s methods after the 11 September 2001 atrocities.

“After spending 12 years trying to change it from the inside, I decided I would be a better advocate for civil rights on the outside,” he said.

Damage already done

In 2010, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals did indeed find that the publication of the list of “unindicted co-conspirators” violated the individuals’ and groups’ Fifth Amendment rights.

But the damage was already done. “You can’t put toothpaste back in the tube,” as German noted.

Further corroborating claims that the allegations against CAIR were baseless, Attorney General Eric Holder stated in 2011 that after reviewing the facts of the case his Justice Department had reached the same conclusion as that of the Bush administration not to prosecute CAIR (“Holder: DOJ nixed CAIR leader’s prosecution,” Salon, 26 April 2011).

Moreover, after Representative Peter King criticized Holder’s decision, Jim Jacks, lead prosecutor of the Holy Land Foundation, announced his approval of the decision not to prosecute CAIR (“US attorney in Dallas says Obama’s White House didn’t meddle in case,” The Dallas Morning News, 29 April 2011).

“Considering that the government has broad powers to prosecute organizations that have provided material support to terrorism, the fact that they haven’t brought more cases is evidence that they don’t have any evidence against them,” German said.

But while the government never charged CAIR with criminal activity, its lingering status as an “unindicted co-conspirator” remains the bedrock for the FBI’s blacklisting of the organization until this day.

In 2008, a year after the government sued the Holy Land Foundation, a still-unknown entity within the FBI instructed all field offices to sever official relations with CAIR. Up until that point, FBI field offices throughout the country had cultivated relationships with local CAIR chapters in order to engage cooperatively with Muslim communities.

“We don’t always see eye to eye, but there used to be a healthy relationship,” Saylor explained.

“For example, there was a meeting between the FBI and CAIR in 2004 regarding a ‘know your rights’ pocket book CAIR distributed,” Saylor added. “The FBI was concerned about some of the language in that and asked us to change it. So we agreed to add, ‘If you know of any criminal activity taking place in your community, it is both your religious and civic duty to immediately report such activity to local and federal law enforcement agencies.’”


Adam Soltani from CAIR’s Oklahoma office said that for many states, including his, CAIR is the only organization representing Muslims’ civil rights. Eliminating CAIR’s role as a mediator between Muslim communities and the FBI has been devastating.

The new policy received praise from certain members of Congress. In February 2009, Senators Jon Kyl, Charles Schumer and Tom Coburn wrote to FBI Director Robert Mueller applauding the agency’s decision to cut ties with CAIR, and suggested the entire government adopt a similar policy.

But some FBI field offices had trouble implementing the policy. Mongi Dhaouadi, the executive director of CAIR’s Connecticut chapter, told The Electronic Intifada, “The policy has very clearly frustrated agents because it has hindered their efforts to reach out to the Islamic community in Connecticut.”

That the policy has disrupted the practices of local FBI offices is clear in a Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General report published last month (“Review of FBI interactions with the Council on American-Islamic Relations,” 19 September 2013 [PDF]).

In response to a request by Representative Frank Wolf from Virginia, the Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into the handful of instances in which field offices were non-compliant with the guidelines established in late 2008. Despite the absence of criminal charges or incriminating evidence against CAIR, the Office of Inspector General has still failed to conduct a review of the policy itself.

“One of the troubling things for me as a former FBI agent is that the FBI should be responsible for enforcing civil rights laws. That the FBI would be a part of violating civil rights and the Inspector General would fail to investigate it at all, and instead investigate a violation of internal policy is problematic,” the ACLU’s German said.

In a scathing letter sent to Inspector General Michael Horowitz on 7 October, the ACLU writes: “Rather than criticize the FBI officials who resisted this policy, the OIG [Office of Inspector General] should have applauded them for honoring their oaths to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans, and reprimanded instead the FBI officials who formulated and implemented the policy.”


In the Office of Inspector General’s review of the program, much pertinent information is redacted, including what entity instructed the FBI to alter its relationship with CAIR; the full explanation for why this policy was implemented; and the precise language of the policy.

“That’s very troubling because the only thing that should be redacted is information that should not be disclosed for national security purposes. I’m not aware of any division within the FBI that is itself classified, so that strikes me as an inappropriate redaction, and perhaps designed more to evade public accountability, than protect security in any way.” German said.

The information that is not redacted states that the policy was developed in part because of CAIR’s listing as an “unindicted co-conspirator.”

“The OIG [Office of Inspector General] compounds the original constitutional error by continuing to reference this list as evidence of guilt when there has been no opportunity for CAIR to defend itself and in fact no charge,” German said. “The government continues to use it in a way that is inappropriate and misleading.”

Likewise, the report provides only a partial explanation for why the policy was deemed necessary: “in order to stop CAIR senior leadership from exploiting any contact with the FBI, it is critical to control and limit any contact with CAIR.” A second reason is redacted.

While the Office of Inspector General’s report is intended to reinforce the FBI’s ban on relating to CAIR, it only, albeit unintentionally, reveals the senselessness of the policy.

In his conclusion, the Inspector General Michael Horowitz writes: “It appears that the common mission of OPA [the Office of Public Affairs] and the field divisions to foster interactions with the Muslim community ran counter to and some cases, effectively undermined the intent of the FBI’s [redacted — likely a policy title] to sever such non-investigative community relations with CAIR.”

This admission seems only to have emboldened CAIR’s political enemies. Following the publication of the Inspector General’s report, Rep. Frank Wolf demanded the OIG “immediately remove” all non-compliant FBI agents.

When phoned for comment, a spokesperson for the FBI directed all questions The Electronic Intifada put to him to a letter the FBI sent to Horowitz in response to his report (see Appendix I). In the letter, the FBI assures Inspector General Horowitz that they will incorporate his recommendations and implement safeguards against breaches of the policy from occurring again.

On whether the Office of Inspector General should review the 2008 policy, spokesperson Chris Allen said, “I would not presume to know what the IG [Inspector General] should do.”

Despite all that it has encountered, CAIR has kept on working to advocate for the rights of Muslims in the US. As Saylor said, “We’ve continued being effective without going to the FBI’s roundtables. The attacks still continue but you don’t attack non-effective groups.”

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Andrew McCabe Appointed FBI Natl Security Branch Lead
Ross Wilkers · Oct 24th, 2013 · 0 Comment   

fbi headquartersAndrew McCabe, a 17-year FBI veteran and formerly assistant director of the counterterrorism division, has been promoted to executive assistant director of the bureau’s national security branch.

McCabe was certified by the national intelligence director as a senior intelligence officer in 2010 and received the FBI Director’s Award in 2009 for his work on the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009, the FBI said Wednesday.

Prior to his most recent role, he served as deputy assistant director of the counterterrorism division starting in May 2011 and led the bureau’s international terrorism investigation program.

For the prior two years, he led the FBI’s High-Value Interrogation Group as its first director.

His other positons have included:

    assistant special agent in charge of the Washington field office’s counterterrorism division
    a unit chief role overseeing extraterritorial investigations

- See more at: http://www.executivegov.com/2013/10/andrew-mccabe-appointed-fbi-natl-security-branch-lead/#sthash.2ZB7DKvH.dpuf
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The 'Heroic' Louis Freeh and His Legacies

by William L. Anderson

Recently by William L. Anderson: NY Times: Let’s Enslave Your Children



Standing before the podium with his reading glasses perched on his nose in a Really Serious Position, former FBI Director Louis Freeh read the summary of his damning report on what happened at Penn State University. The university, he intoned, was directly responsible for permitting Jerry Sandusky, the former football team defensive coordinator and now a convicted child molester, for preying on young "troubled" boys.

So far, the media response has been lockstep not only in its condemnation for Penn State and the late Joe Paterno, the legendary coach who won more games than any other NCAA Division I football coach in history, but also in its praise for Freeh. (I include links from the New York Times, ESPN, and CBS Sports.)

Not being familiar with the details of the report or the Sandusky case and the role of Penn State officials in trying to hide what they feared was happening, I will ask readers to judge the accuracy and tone of Freeh’s report and make their own assessments. However, before the media and legal world goes on to paint Louis Freeh in the most heroic terms, I would remind readers that probably any one of us could have written that report and made the same damning comments made by Freeh and his underlings. It hardly is heroic to come upon a situation after the fact and to write those things which apparently were obvious in hindsight.

No, I am writing in order to let readers know that this "heroic" Louis Freeh has some serious baggage of his own, baggage that includes covering up murders, whitewashing the most hideous domestic massacre since Wounded Knee, publicly making wrongful accusations, and further turning the Federal Bureau of Investigation into an entity that James Bovard accurately has called, "A Stasi for America." Louis Freeh does not deserve our praise; indeed, he does not even deserve our scorn. Instead, he deserves to be sitting in a cell at the federal Supermax Prison in Colorado, as the crimes he committed during his years at the FBI pale in comparison to anything done by Paterno, whose legacy Freeh has destroyed, or even Sandusky ever did.

If the charges for which Sandusky was convicted are true, then the man truly was a monster and needed to be caught. His victims will be scarred for life – but they will be alive and can seek healing. However, one of the victims of Louis Freeh, Katherine Andrade, cannot seek healing because she was incinerated at Waco in 1993 as a result of the direction actions by the man who now stands in judgment of Joe Paterno.

Katherine Andrade While She Lived

Katherine Andrade after Receiving "Assistance" from Louis Freeh

Bovard explains what Freeh, who apparently did not have the same concern for the children trapped at the Branch Davidian residence as he did for the children whom Sandusky abused, had his underlings do on the final day of the 1993 Waco siege:

…CS gas was delivered via 54-ton tanks driven by FBI agents. The tanks smashed through much of the Davidians’ home and intentionally collapsed 25 percent of the building on top of the huddled residents. The FBI knew the Davidians were lighting and heating their residence with candles and kerosene lamps and had bales of hay stacked around the windows. The FBI also knew that "accumulating [CS] dust may explode when exposed to spark or open flame," as a U.S. Army field manual warned. Six years after the assault, news leaked that the FBI had fired incendiary tear gas cartridges into the Davidians’ home prior to a fire erupting. Attorney General Janet Reno, furious over the FBI’s deceit on this key issue, sent U.S. marshals to raid FBI headquarters to search for more Waco evidence. From start to finish, the FBI brazenly lied about what it did at Waco – with one exception. On the day after the Waco fire, FBI on-scene commander Larry Potts explained the rationale for the FBI’s final assault: "Those people thumbed their nose at law enforcement."

Freeh’s assault killed 80 people in broad daylight, but Freeh and his agents had something that neither Sandusky nor even Paterno never had: control of the legal process that ensured no one from the FBI that committed crimes that day would have to face even a hint of justice. That is because Freeh was able to use his powers as FBI director to block inquiries, cover up any wrongdoing, and control the direction of congressional investigations that followed.


Following allegations made during the Oscar-nominated documentary, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, that the FBI had fired live ammunition into the Davidian residence along with launching incendiary devices, Freeh’s FBI staged a re-enactment. As James Bovard explains, this was not an ordinary re-enactment:

On April 19, 1993, FBI agents relied on commercial, off-the-shelf ammo – the type that would be used by any hunter or shooter.

For the March 19, 2000, (Sen. John) Danforth-FBI reenactment, the FBI used military-issue ammunition that had a special chemical coating on the gunpowder to reduce muzzle flash (helpful in preventing soldiers from being detected in combat). The military ammo thus had a built-in flash suppressant. Since a key issue was the length of the muzzle flashes, using flash-suppressing ammunition ensured that the reenactment would be a farce.

The Danforth-FBI reenactment further biased the test results by having the FBI agents use weapons with 20-inch barrels – instead of weapons with 14-inch barrels which agents carried on April 19, 1993. The longer a weapon’s barrel, the less muzzle flash will be shown from each shot.

This is a tricky way to do an accurate reenactment. But the reenactment produced the politically correct result, and Danforth proceeded to denounce the American people for thinking bad things about their federal masters.

No doubt Danforth, the FBI, and others will continue to insist that there was no gunfire by FBI agents on April 19, 1993. But if the feds are innocent, why have they gone to such absurd lengths to conduct the tests in such a manner?

This is what the ancients once might have called a "cover-up." Notice that Freeh never had to worry about being cited for doing what essentially is criminal activity (called "obstruction of justice") even as he has accused Penn State officials of obstructing investigations into what Sandusky was doing. The difference is that the now-dead Paterno has a tarnished legacy, Sandusky is in prison, and two Penn State officials face criminal charges for allegedly hiding information about crimes that were committed.

Freeh’s legacy of hiding murder and mayhem does not begin and end with Waco, however. The 1995 murder of Kenneth Trentadue in the Oklahoma City federal lockup also has been legally covered up, thanks not only to Freeh, but also to the Clinton administration’s legal "fixer," Eric Holder, the present U.S. Attorney General who now stands accused of covering up crimes related to the "Fast and Furious" program that has exploded in his face.

In the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI actively was searching for the "John Doe Number Two" who supposedly accompanied Timothy McVeigh, and when Trentadue was arrested by federal officials in California ostensibly for violating probation, the FBI sent him to Oklahoma to be further questioned. Shortly after arriving at the federal lockup, officials supposedly found Trentadue dead in his cell after allegedly hanging himself with a bed sheet.

Not surprisingly, even though Freeh’s FBI engaged in a vigorous cover-up and denials that the death was due to anything but suicide, Trentadue’s brother, Jesse, an attorney in Utah, realized immediately that the FBI story was not true. Paul Craig Roberts writes:

The victim was Kenneth Michael Trentadue.  At 7 AM on August 21, 1995, officials from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's office arrived at the new Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center for the body of a man recently picked up for parole violation who allegedly was a suicide by hanging. The astonished state officials saw a body with scalp split to the skull in three places, throat slashed, and a body completely covered in blood, bruises and burns.

As law requires, the officials asked to see the cell in which the alleged suicide occurred. Federal officials pulled rank and refused on the grounds that a federal investigation was underway.

A federal investigation was not underway.

The state officials told the prison officials that the body's condition required FBI notice and protection of the cell as an undisturbed crime scene. Associate Warden Max Flowers, however, ordered the cell to be cleaned before any investigation could be done. Flowers claimed that medical staff informed him that Trentadue was HIV-positive and that it was urgent to remove the infectious blood.

Trentadue was not HIV-positive.

Because this is a case with many twists and sidetracks, one should listen to Lew Rockwell’s interview with Jesse Trentadue available here. Once again, we see how Louis Freeh and his underlings were able to get away with a number of serious crimes ranging from murder to obstruction of justice.

Compared with murder and covering up the crime, a false accusation from Freeh’s FBI would seem to be minor, but the way that Freeh and the FBI handled matters in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing demonstrated the outright criminal mindset that seems to govern that organization and is part of Freeh’s enduring legacy of lies and incompetence. Following the bombing in Atlanta during the Olympic Games, the FBI quickly fixated itself upon security guard Richard Jewell, who was the first to suspect that the backpack left alone under a bench might contain a bomb.

The bomb exploded with one person killed, but in the aftermath, Jewell was a hero for having acted quickly. However, the FBI decided via one of its vaunted "profilers" that the pudgy guard was the person who made and planted the bomb. Not surprisingly, the FBI began to leak to the media that Jewell was their man, and he was subjected to the horrors of the media rush to judgment, something that seems to be a permanent fixture in U.S. culture.

[anderson175]Jewell, who died in 2007, ultimately was exonerated but not before the FBI and its Progressive media allies had ruined his reputation. While Freeh denied having anything to do with the leaking of false information, nonetheless he was in large part responsible for the lawless culture of the FBI which encouraged agents to act recklessly and dishonestly.

As Louis Freeh presently basks in the media adulation that he does not deserve, one should remember the man’s own legacy, one that never will be tarnished because the Progressives that control the media and this country’s politics will never permit such a thing to happen. Freeh no more deserves to be on a podium criticizing the "culture" of Penn State University than would John Edwards deserve to give a sermon condemning adultery.

What happened at Penn State was wrong and it should not have been allowed to continue. However, what Freeh did while heading the FBI makes the worst abuses at Penn State look to be a pleasant walk in the park. If anything, the fact that Louis Freeh is permitted to stand in judgment of others is proof that our present political culture is so broken that it is beyond repair.

July 16, 2012

William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit his blog.

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FBI 'Mistake' Leads To Six Years Of Monitoring Anti-War Website

from the too-bad-this-'screw-up'-only-affects-the-people-who-didn't-screw-up dept

If you've received a fairly serious threat against you or your business, you might think turning that info over to the FBI would be a good idea. Think again. The owners of antiwar.com found themselves on the receiving end of more than six years of monitoring and surveillance for doing just that, as Spencer Ackerman details at The Guardian.

The FBI monitored a prominent anti-war website for years, in part because agents mistakenly believed it had threatened to hack the bureau’s own site.

Internal documents show that the FBI’s monitoring of antiwar.com, a news and commentary website critical of US foreign policy, was sparked in significant measure by a judgment that it had threatened to “hack the FBI website” and involved a formal assessment of the “threat” the site posed to US national security.

But antiwar.com never threatened to hack the FBI website. Heavily redacted FBI documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and shared with the Guardian, show that Eric Garris, the site’s managing editor, passed along to the bureau a threat he received against his own website.
These documents are part of antiwar.com's ongoing lawsuit against the FBI (brought with the assistance of the ACLU). What's been released so far is heavily redacted and severely limited. The FBI's FOIA reply letter indicates it has only released 47 out of 170 "reviewed" pages. More details of this incursion on antiwar.com owners' First Amendment rights is sure to surface if the lawsuit is successful.
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I, Robprof: FBI feared much-loved science fiction author Isaac Asimov was Soviet agent

Friday 08 November 2013
Isaac Asimov was one of America’s most prolific and best-loved science fiction authors, publishing more than 500 volumes in a career that spanned five decades.

But newly released papers show that, in the 1960s, he was unknowingly embroiled in intrigue more suited to a John Le Carre novel, as the FBI investigated him on suspicion of being a Soviet spy.

Never-before-seen documents reveal that the agency acted to investigate Asimov in 1965 receiving a leaked US Communist Party list which included the I, Robot author’s name. The list was of individuals who had either been contacted by the party or were considered “possibly amenable to such as supporters”.

There were no notations behind the writer’s name and the informant – the New England District chairman of the US Communist Party – said he “could not determine why his name was listed or whether he had been contacted”.

The FBI files on Asimov show that the agency scrutinised his records to see if he was a notorious Soviet informant codenamed Robprof. Asimov had been working as a biochemist at Boston University for more than a decade, and the FBI memo reviewed his work in academia to see if he could be Robprof who, they said, was a “noted person in the field of microbiology”.

“[The FBI office in] Boston is not suggesting that Asimov is Robprof,” the memo commented, “But it should be considered as a possibility in light of his background, which contains information inimical to the best interests of the United States.”

The FBI continued to monitor Asimov for at least the next two years. In 1967 a memo in the files noted a change of address, as well as checks on his credit history and criminal record. Those, and his immigration files, failed to unearth any issues. That marked the last note in Asimov’s FBI file.

News of the FBI’s suspicions about the sci-fi writer’s political leaning emerged after the US open government campaign group MuckRock put in a freedom of information request to see his FBI file.

The request also turned up the suspicions of an unnamed informer who accused Asimov of being a communist.

The source wrote to J Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, in 1960: “Asimov may be quite all right. On the other hand … ” He enclosed his correspondence with Asimov and said his reason for airing his suspicions was “because I question the position he takes with respect to the first nuclear power plants being built by Soviet Russia”. In fact, Asimov was correct: the USSR had built the first nuclear reactor.

Despite the later scrutiny of Asimov, at this stage Hoover dismissed the anonymous writer’s concerns and returned the correspondence with pamphlets on communism. He noted to himself: “We have no particular interest in these observations”.

Asimov is seen as one of the most important science fiction writers in history, possibly best known for his Foundation series. He drew up the Three Laws of Robotics, which govern how artificial intelligence should behave.
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The U.S. Secret State and the Internet: “Dirty Secrets” and “Crypto Wars” from “Clipper Chip” and ECHELON to PRISM


Back in the 1990s, security researchers and privacy watchdogs were alarmed by government demands that hardware and software firms build “backdoors” into their products, the millions of personal computers and cell phones propelling communication flows along the now-quaint “information superhighway.”

Never mind that the same factory-installed kit that allowed secret state agencies to troll through private communications also served as a discrete portal for criminal gangs to loot your bank account or steal your identity.

[clipperchips]To make matters worse, instead of the accountability promised the American people by Congress in the wake of the Watergate scandal, successive US administrations have worked assiduously to erect an impenetrable secrecy regime backstopped by secret laws overseen by secret courts which operate on the basis of secret administrative subpoenas, latter day lettres de cachet.

But now that all their dirty secrets are popping out of Edward Snowden’s “bottomless briefcase,” we also know the “Crypto Wars” of the 1990s never ended.

Documents published by The Guardian and The New York Times revealed that the National Security Agency “actively engages the US and IT industries” and has “broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments.”

“Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards,” The Guardian disclosed, along with “the use of supercomputers to break encryption with ‘brute force’, and–the most closely guarded secret of all–collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves.”

According to The New York Times, NSA “had found ways inside some of the encryption chips that scramble information for businesses and governments, either by working with chipmakers to insert back doors or by surreptitiously exploiting existing security flaws, according to the documents.”

In fact, “vulnerabilities” inserted “into commercial encryption systems” would be known to NSA alone. Everyone else, including commercial customers, are referred to in the documents as “adversaries.”

The cover name for this program is Project BULLRUN. An agency classification guide asserts that “Project BULLRUN deals with NSA’s abilities to defeat the encryption used in specific network communication technologies. BULLRUN involves multiple sources, all of which are extremely sensitive. They include CNE [computer network exploitation], interdiction, industry relationships, collaboration with other IC entities, and advanced mathematical techniques.”

In furtherance of those goals, the agency created a “Commercial Solutions Center (NCSC) to leverage sensitive, cooperative relationships with industry partners” that will “further NSA/CSS capabilities against encryption used in network communications technologies,” and already “has some capabilities against the encryption used in TLS/SSL. HTTPS, SSH, VPNs, VoIP, WEBMAIL, and other network communications technologies.”

Time and again, beginning in the 1970s with the publication of perhaps the earliest NSA exposé by Ramparts Magazine, we learned that when agency schemes came to light, if they couldn’t convince they resorted to threats, bribery or the outright subversion of the standard setting process itself, which destroyed trust and rendered all our electronic interactions far less safe.

Tunneling underground, NSA, telcos and corporate tech giants worked hand-in-glove to sabotage what could have been a free and open system of global communications, creating instead the Frankenstein monster which AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein denounced as a “Big Brother machine.”

The Secret State and the Internet

Five years after British engineer Tim Berners-Lee, Belgian computer scientist Robert Cailliau and their team at CERN developed a system for assembling, and sharing, hypertext documents via the internet, which they dubbed the World Wide Web, in 1994 the Clinton administration announced it would compel software and hardware developers to install what came to known as the “Clipper Chip” into their products.

The veritable explosion of networked communication systems spawned by the mass marketing of easy-to-use personal computers equipped with newly-invented internet browsers, set off a panic amongst political elites.

How to control these seemingly anarchic information flows operating outside “normal” channels?

In theory at least, those doing the communicating–academics, dissidents, journalists, economic rivals, even other spies, hackers or “terrorists” (a fungible term generally meaning outsider groups not on board with America’s imperial goals)–were the least amenable users of the new technology and would not look kindly on state efforts to corral them.

As new communication systems spread like wildfire, especially among the great unwashed mass of “little people,” so too came a stream of dire pronouncements that the internet was now a “critical national asset” which required close attention and guidance.

President Clinton’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection released a report that called for a vast increase in funding to protect US infrastructure along with one of the first of many “cyberwar” tropes that would come to dominate the media landscape.

“In the cyber dimension,” the report breathlessly averred, “there are no boundaries. Our infrastructures are exposed to new vulnerabilities–cyber vulnerabilities–and new threats–cyber threats. And perhaps most difficult of all, the defenses that served us so well in the past offer little protection from the cyber threat. Our infrastructures can now be struck directly by a variety of malicious tools.”

And when a commercial market for cheap, accessible encryption software was added to the mix, security mandarins at Ft. Meade and Cheltenham realized the genie would soon be out of the bottle.

After all they reasoned, NSA and GCHQ were the undisputed masters of military-grade cryptography who had cracked secret Soviet codes which helped “win” the Cold War. Were they to be out maneuvered by some geeks in a garage who did not share or were perhaps even hostile to the “post-communist” triumphalism which had decreed America was now the world’s “indispensable nation”?

Technological advances were leveling the playing field, creating new democratic space in the realm of knowledge creation accessible to everyone; a new mode for communicating which threatened to bypass entrenched power centers, especially in government and media circles accustomed to a monopoly over the Official Story.

US spies faced a dilemma. The same technology which created a new business model worth hundreds of billions of dollars for US tech corporations also offered the public and pesky political outliers across the political spectrum, the means to do the same.

How to stay ahead of the curve? Why not control the tempo of product development by crafting regulations, along with steep penalties for noncompliance, that all communications be accessible to our guardians, strictly for “law enforcement” purposes mind you, by including backdoors into commercially available encryption products.

Total Information Awareness 1.0

Who to turn to? Certainly such hush-hush work needed to be in safe hands.

The Clinton administration, in keeping with their goal to “reinvent government” by privatizing everything, turned to Mykotronx, Inc., a California-based company founded in 1983 by former NSA engineers, Robert E. Gottfried and Kikuo Ogawa, mining gold in the emerging information security market.

Indeed, one of the firm’s top players was Ralph O’Connell, was described in a 1993 document published by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) as “the father of COMSEC” and the “Principle NSA Technical Contact” on Clipper and related cryptography projects.

A 1993 Business Wire release quoted the firm’s president, Leonard J. Baker, as saying that Clipper was “a good example of the transfer of military technology to the commercial and general government fields with handsome cost benefits. This technology should now pay big dividends to US taxpayers.”

It would certainly pay “big dividends” to Mykotronx’s owners.

Acquired by Rainbow Technologies in 1995, and eventually by Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex powerhouse Raytheon in 2012, at the time the Los Angeles Times reported that “Mykotronx had been privately held, and its owners will receive 1.82 million shares of Rainbow stock–making the deal worth $37.9 million.”

The Clipper chip was touted by the administration as a simple device that would protect the private communications of users while also allowing government agents to obtain the keys that unlocked those communications, an early manifestation of what has since become know as law enforcement’s alleged “going dark” problem.

Under color of a vague “legal authorization” that flew in the face of the 1987 Computer Security Act (CSA), which sought to limit the role of the National Security Agency in developing standards for civilian communications systems, the administration tried an end-run around the law through an export ban on Clipper-free encryption devices overseen by the Commerce Department.

This wasn’t the first time that NSA was mired in controversy over the watering down of encryption standards. During the development of the Data Encryption Standard (DES) by IBM in the 1970s, the agency was accused of forcing developers to implement changes in the design of its basic cipher. There were strong suspicions these changes had weakened the algorithm to such a degree that one critical component, the S-box, had been altered and that a backdoor was inserted by NSA.

Early on, the agency grasped CSA’s significance and sought to limit damage to global surveillance and economic espionage programs such as ECHELON, exposed by British and New Zealand investigative journalists Duncan Campbell and Nicky Hager.

Before the 1987 law was passed however, Clinton Brooks, a Special Assistant to NSA Director Lieutenant General William Odom, wrote a Top Secret Memorandum which stated: “In 1984 NSA engineered a National Security Decision Directive, NSDD-145, through the Reagan Administration that gave responsibility for the security of all US information systems to the Director of NSA, removing NBS [National Bureau of Standards] from this.”

Conceived as a follow-on to the Reagan administration’s infamous 1981 Executive Order 12333, which trashed anemic congressional efforts to rein-in America’s out-of-control spy agencies, NSDD-145 handed power back to the National Security Agency and did so to the detriment of civilian communication networks.

Scarcely a decade after Senator Frank Church warned during post-Watergate hearings into government surveillance abuses, that NSA’s “capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter . . . there would be no place to hide,” the agency was at it with a vengeance.

“This [NSDD-145] also stated,” Brooks wrote, “that we would assist the private sector. This was viewed as Big Brother stepping in and generated an adverse reaction” in Congress that helped facilitate passage of the Act.

Engineered by future Iran-Contra felon, Admiral John Poindexter, President Reagan’s National Security Adviser who would later serve as President George W. Bush’s Director of DARPA’s Information Awareness Office, the Pentagon satrapy that brought us the Total Information Awareness program, NSDD-145 stated that the “Director, National Security Agency is designated the National Manager for Telecommunications and Automated Information Systems Security.”

NSA’s new mandate meant that the agency would “act as the government focal point for cryptography, telecommunications systems security, and automated information systems security.”

Additionally, NSA would “conduct, approve, or endorse research and development of techniques and equipment for telecommunications and automated information systems security for national security information.”

But it also authorized the agency to do more than that, granting it exclusive authority to “review and approve all standards, techniques, systems and equipments for telecommunications and automated information systems security.” As well, NSA was directed to “enter into agreements for the procurement of technical security material and other equipment, and their provision to government agencies, where appropriate, to private organizations, including government contractors, and foreign governments.”

In other words, NSA was the final arbiter when it came to setting standards for all government and private information systems; quite a coup for the agency responsible for standing-up Project MINARET, the Cold War-era program that spied on thousands of antiwar protesters, civil rights leaders, journalists and members of Congress, as recently declassified documents published by the National Security Archive disclosed.

NSA Games the System

Although the Computer Security Act passed unanimously by voice vote in both Houses of Congress, NSA immediately set-out to undercut the law and did so by suborning the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The battle over the Clipper Chip would be the template for future incursions by the agency for the control, through covert infiltration, of regulatory bodies overseeing civilian communications.

According to the Clinton White House, Clipper “would provide Americans with secure telecommunications without compromising the ability of law enforcement agencies to carry out legally authorized wiretaps.”

Neither safe nor secure, Clipper instead would have handed government security agencies the means to monitor all communications while giving criminal networks a leg up to do the same.

In fact, as the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) discovered in documents unearthed through the Freedom of Information Act, the underlying algorithm deployed in Clipper, Skipjack, had been developed by NSA.

Cryptography expert Matt Blaze wrote a now famous 1994 paper on the subject before the algorithm was declassified, Protocol Failure in the Escrowed Encryption Standard: “The EES cipher algorithm, called ‘Skipjack’, is itself classified, and implementations of the cipher are available to the private sector only within tamper-resistant modules supplied by government-approved vendors. Software implementations of the cipher will not be possible. Although Skipjack, which was designed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), was reviewed by a small panel of civilian experts who were granted access to the algorithm, the cipher cannot be subjected to the degree of civilian scrutiny ordinarily given to new encryption systems.”

This was precisely as NSA and the Clinton administration intended.

A partially declassified 1993 NSA memo noted that “there will be vocal public doubts expressed about having a classified algorithm in the device we propose for the US law enforcement problem, the CLIPPER chip, we recommend the following to address this.” We don’t know what those agency recommendations were, however; more than 20 years after the memo was written they remain secret.

The memo continued: “If such people agree to this clearance and non disclosure process, we could go over the algorithm with them to let them develop confidence in its security, and we could also let them examine the detail design of the CLIPPER chip made for the US law enforcement problem to assure themselves that there were no trapdoors or other techniques built in. This would likely require crypto-mathematicians for the algorithm examination and microelectronics chip design engineers for the chip examination.”

But the extreme secrecy surrounding Skipjack’s proposed deployment in commercial products was the problem. Even if researchers learned that Clipper was indeed the government-mandated backdoor they feared, non-disclosure of these facts, backed-up by the threat of steep fines or imprisonment would hardly assure anyone of the integrity of this so-called review process.

“By far, the most controversial aspect of the EES system,” Blaze wrote, “is key escrow.”

“As part of the crypto-synchronization process,” Blaze noted, “EES devices generate and exchange a ‘Law Enforcement Access Field’ (LEAF). This field contains a copy of the current session key and is intended to enable a government eavesdropper to recover the cleartext.”

“The LEAF copy of the session key is encrypted with a device-unique key called the ‘unit key,’ assigned at the time the EES device is manufactured. Copies of the unit keys for all EES devices are to be held in ‘escrow’ jointly by two federal agencies that will be charged with releasing the keys to law enforcement under certain conditions.”

What those conditions were however, was far from clear. In fact, as we’ve since learned from Snowden’s cache of secret documents, even when the government seeks surveillance authorization from the FISA court, the court must rely on government assurances that dragnet spying is critical to the nation’s security. Such assurances, FISA court judge Reggie B. Walton noted, were systematically “misrepresented” by secret state agencies.

That’s rather rich considering that Walton presided over the farcical “trial” that upheld Bush administration demands to silence FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds under the state secrets privilege. Edmonds, a former contract linguist with the Bureau charged that top FBI officials had systematically covered-up wrongdoing at its language division and had obstructed agents’ attempts to roll-up terrorist networks before and after the 9/11 provocation, facts attested to by FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley in her 2002 Memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

In 2009, Walton wrote that “The minimization procedures proposed by the government in each successive application and approved and adopted as binding by the orders of the FISC have been so frequently and systemically violated that it can fairly be said that this critical element of the overall BR regime has never functioned effectively.”

“The Court,” Walton averred, “must have every confidence that the government is doing its utmost to ensure that those responsible for implementation fully comply with the Court’s orders. The Court no longer has such confidence.”

Predating those critical remarks, a heavily-redacted 1993 Memo to then-Special Assistant to the President and future CIA chief, George Tenet, from FBI Director William Sessions noted that NSA “has developed a new encryption methodology and computer chip which affords encryption strength vastly superior to DES [Digital Encryption Standard], yet which allows for real time decryption by law enforcement, acting pursuant to legal process. It is referred to as ‘Clipper’.”

[Two redacted paragraphs] “if the devices are modified to include the ‘Clipper’ chip, they would be of great value to the Federal, state and local law enforcement community, especially in the area of counter narcotics, investigations, where there is a requirement to routinely communicate in a secure fashion.”

But even at the time Sessions’ memo was written, we now know that AT&T provided the Drug Enforcement Administration “routine access” to “an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls,” The New York Times reported, and had done so since 1987 under the auspices of DEA’s Hemisphere Project.

Furthermore, in the wake of Snowden revelations we also learned that listening in on the conversations of drug capos is low on NSA’s list of priorities. However, programs like X-KEYSCORE and TEMPORA, which copies all data flowing along fiber optic cables, encrypted and unencrypted alike, at petabyte scales, is supremely useful when it comes to building profiles of internet users by intelligence agencies.

This was an implicit goal of Clinton administration maneuvers to compel developers to insert Clipper into their product designs.

According to Sessions, “the ‘Clipper’ methodology envisions the participation of three distinct types of parties.” [Redacted] It is proposed that the second party, the two custodians of the ‘split’ key infostructure [sic], be comprised of two disinterested and trustworthy non law enforcement Government agencies or entities. Although, such decision and selection are left for the Administration, a list of reccommended [sic] agencies and entities has been prepared (and included in the text), [redacted]. This party would administer and oversee all facets of the ‘Clipper’ program and methodology.”

Based on NSDD-145′s mandate, one can assume “this party” would be NSA, the agency that designed the underlying algorithm that powered Clipper.

The Sessions memo averred: “The Clipper chip provides law enforcement access by using a special chip key, unique to each device. In the AT&T TSD 3600, a unique session key is generated, external to the Clipper chip for each call.”

“This session key,” the memo explained, “is given to the chip to control the encryption algorithm. A device unique ‘chip key’ is programmed into each Clipper at the time of manufacture. When two TSD 3600s go to secure operation, the device gives out its identification (ID) number and the session key encrypted in its chip key.”

Underlining a key problem with Clipper technology Sessions noted, “Anyone with access to the chip key for that identified device will be able to recover the session key and listen to the transmission simultaneously with the intended receiver. This design means that the list of chip keys associated with the chip ID number provides access to all Clipper secured devices, and thus the list must be carefully generated and protected. Loss of the list would preclude legitmate [sic] access to the encrypted information and compromise of the list could allow unauthorized access.”

In fact, that “anyone” could include fabulously wealthy drug gangs or bent corporations with the wherewithal to buy chip keys from suborned government key escrow agents!

Its ubiquity would be a key selling-point for universal deployment. The memo explained, “the NSA developed chip based ‘Clipper’ solution works with hardware encryption applications, such as those which might be used with regard to certain telecommunications and computers devices,” which of course would allow unlimited spying by “law enforcement.”

Such vulnerabilities built into EES chip keys by design not only enabled widespread government monitoring of internet and voice traffic, but with a few tweaks by encryption-savvy “rogues” could be exploited by criminal organizations.

In his 1994 paper Blaze wrote that “a rogue system can be constructed with little more than a software modification to a legal system. Furthermore, while some expertise may be required to install and operate a rogue version of an existing system, it is likely that little or no special skill would be required to install and operate the modified software.”

“In particular,” Blaze noted, “one can imagine ‘patches’ to defeat key escrow in EES-based systems being distributed over networks such as the Internet in much the same way that other software is distributed today.”

In the intervening years since Blaze observed how easy it would be to compromise key escrow systems by various bad actors, governments or criminals take your pick, the proliferation of malware powered botnets that infect hundreds of thousands of computers and smart phones every day–for blanket surveillance, fraud, or both–is a fact of life.

It didn’t help matters when it emerged that “escrow agents” empowered to unlock encrypted communications would be drawn from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Automated Services Division of the Treasury Department, government outposts riddled with “No Such Agency” moles.

As EPIC pointed out, “Since the enactment of the Computer Security Act, the NSA has sought to undercut NIST’s authority. In 1989, NSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which purported to transfer back to NSA the authority given to NIST.”

The MOU required that NIST request NSA’s “assistance” on all matters related to civilian cryptography. In fact, were NIST and NSA representatives on the Technical Working Group to disagree on standards, the ultimate authority for resolving disputes would rest solely with the Executive Branch acting through the President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council, thus undercutting the clear intent of Congress when they passed the 1987 Computer Security Act.

EPIC noted:

“The memorandum effectively returned to NSA many of the powers rejected by the Computer Security Act. The MOU contained several key goals that were to NSA’s benefit, including: NSA providing NIST with ‘technical security guidelines in trusted technology, telecommunications security, and personal identification that may be used in cost-effective systems for protecting sensitive computer data;’ NSA ‘initiating research and development programs in trusted technology, telecommunications security, cryptographic techniques and personal identification methods’; and NSA being responsive to NIST ‘in all matters related to cryptographic algorithms and cryptographic techniques including but not limited to research, development, evaluation, or endorsement’.”

A critique of the Memorandum in 1989 congressional testimony by the General Accounting Office (GAO) emphasized: “At issue is the degree to which responsibilities vested in NIST under the act are being subverted by the role assigned to NSA under the memorandum. The Congress, as a fundamental purpose in passing the act, sought to clearly place responsibility for the computer security of sensitive, unclassified information in a civil agency rather than in the Department of Defense. As we read the MOU, it would appear that NIST has granted NSA more than the consultative role envisioned in the act.”

Five years after the GAO’s critical appraisal, NSA’s coup was complete.

“In 1994,” EPIC noted,

“President Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive (PDD-29). This directive created the Security Policy Board, which has recommended that all computer security functions for the government be merged under NSA control.”

Since PDD-29 was issued matters have only gotten worse. In fact, NIST is the same outfit exposed in Snowden documents published by The Guardian and The New York Times that allowed NSA to water down encryption and build backdoors into the Dual EC DRBG standard adopted by the Institute in 2006.

“Eventually, NSA became the sole editor.”

Besieged by widespread opposition, the Clinton administration was out maneuvered in the court of public opinion and by 1996 had abandoned Clipper. However, this proved to be a pyrrhic victory for security-minded researchers and civil libertarians as we have since learned from Edward Snowden’s revelations.

Befitting a military-intelligence agency, the dark core of America’s deep state, NSA was fighting a long war–and they were playing for keeps.

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