The Electronic Frontier Foundation reveals that FBI abuses of “exigent circumstances” letters not only illegally sought information on individual customers but also were used to obtain information on people they frequently called.
A Freedom of Information Act request from EFF uncovered the new revelations, staff lawyer Kurt Opsahl wrote.
We already knew that the FBI’s use of “exigent circumstances” letters was illegal. DOJ’s Inspector General Fine already condemned them in a well-publicized IG report (pp. 93-98) that outlined how hundreds of requests were made where there was no immediate danger of death or serious physical injury and, in any event, “the letters did not recite the factual predication necessary to invoke [the emergency] authority.”
Now it turns out the FBI was using the “exigent circumstances” exception to gather information on “communities of interest” — the people who frequently call and are called by the person the FBI is interested in.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act puts strict limits on when a telecommunications provider can hand over customer data to the government. [It] prohibits disclosure of the contents of a communication, and … the release of a “record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer” … Absent a specific statutory exception, it is flatly illegal for the telecoms to provide customer information to the government. So the “community of interest” requests made as part of the “exigent letters” were doubly illegal. We need a new word for this – what do you call an illegality piled on top of another illegality? Illegal squared?
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act puts strict limits on when a telecommunications provider can hand over customer data to the government. [It] prohibits disclosure of the contents of a communication, and … the release of a “record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer” … Absent a specific statutory exception, it is flatly illegal for the telecoms to provide customer information to the government.
So the “community of interest” requests made as part of the “exigent letters” were doubly illegal. We need a new word for this – what do you call an illegality piled on top of another illegality? Illegal squared?
The requests would not have been legal under regular National Security Letters, either. These letters authorize the FBI to request “the name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records of a person…” (emphasis added) under specific circumstances. Presumably, that’s why they went the exigent circumstances option.
Interestingly, the FBI indicated that requests would be followed by formal legal process, “envisioning an after-the-fact papering over of the illegality,” Opsahl says. However, this follow-up often never happened. Not even a grand jury subpoena would justify these “community of interest” requests, since the information the government can request from phone companies and ISPs doesn’t include other people’s information.
In short, there is no legal basis for these “community of interest” demands, whether issued as exigent letters, or through an NSL or grand jury subpoena. These revelations also underscore the need for substantive oversight that will prevent requests for information that go beyond that allowed by law.
Federal judge overturns rape, murder conviction
Associated Press - February 9, 2008 11:24 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A federal judge has overturned the conviction of a man on death row for the 1985 rape and murder of a woman outside a bar in Garden Grove because of questions over the jury foreman -- then a prospective FBI agent.
U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall overturned the conviction of Richard Raymond Ramirez yesterday because of statements that allowed Thomas Alston -- who was a candidate to become an FBI agent -- to get on the trial's jury.
The judge found Alston made "false and misleading" statements about his employment situation during jury selection in the trial.
Alston is now an FBI agent in Portland.
Marshall said his behavior "fatally undermines the court's confidence in his impartiality."
Marshall ordered that Ramirez either be released from San Quentin's death row or be granted a new trial.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is urging the attorney general's office to ask the judge to reconsider or to appeal.
Cincinnati Bell Denies Charges
The following paragraphs are excerpts from an article in the Cincinnati Post right before the November, 1987 Cincinnati Council Election. - Jim Condit Jr.
Post staff reporter
Cincinnati Bell security supervisors ordered wire taps installed on county computers before elections in the late 1970s and early 1980s that could have allowed vote totals to be altered, a former Bell employee says in a sworn court documents
Leonard Gates, a 23-year Cincinnati Bell employee until he was fired in 1986, claims in a deposition filed Thursday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to have installed the wire taps.
Cincinnati Bell officials denied Gates' allegations tha are part of a six-year-old civil suit that contends the elections computer is subject to manipulation and fraud.
Gates claims a security supervisor for the telephone company told him in 1979 that the firm had obtained a computer program through the FBI that gave it access to the county computer used to count votes.
The deposition does not say if vote totals ever were changed. Gates claimed to have installed wire taps on county computers befoore the elections in 1977 through 1981 and believes, but wasn't certain, in 1982 and 1983.
Gates' allegations also have taken on political overtones. He appeared in a television commercial that aired twice Thursday on WKRC-Channel 12 for Jim Condit Jr., a Cincinnatus Party candidate for Cincinnati City Council.
The commercial also features former Bell employee Robert Draise, who was convicted of tapping a Hamilton, Ohio woman's home and fired for it and who claims he wire-tapped the homes of multi-millionaire and anti-pornography crusader Charles Keating and former Hamilton County Commissioner Allen Paul.
Gates' deposition claims he told the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's ofice in Cincinnati and U.S. Rep. William Gradison, R-Cincinnati, about the alleged wire taps.
Gradison confirmed he met with Gates about two years ago and helped him contact the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Post also learned the FBI's internal investigation arm - the Office of Professional Responsibility - is considering granting Gates immunity from prosectuion in exchange for his testimony. Local FBI officials declined comment.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Crites declined comment Thursday on whether Gates' allegations are under investigation, but said if the claims are true, federal wire-tapping laws may have been violated.
Cincinnati Bell spokesman Chuck Shawver said: "We categorically deny any wrongdoing by Cincinnati Bell. This is a disgruntled ex-employee making allegations which have been checked and found to have no foundation." He declined further comment. Bell also denies Draise's allegations, he said.
Neither Paul nor Keating, whose homes were allegedly tapped, could be reached for comment.
Gates, 44, of Anderson Township, was fired by Cincinnati Bell on May 15, 1986. He sued in U.S. District Court to get his job back and recover $350,000. That result is pending.
Gates' deposition is part of a lawsuit filed in 1981 by attorney James Condit Sr. on behalf of a Cincinnatus candidate for council who claimed election results could be manipulated. Condit's son, James Jr., is running the TV commercials featuring Gates and Draise.
Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor James Harper, representing the county, and Condit Sr. were at the deposition. Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Niehaus ordered the deposition for use as evidence if an appeals court overturns his dismissal 1981 lawsuit.
Harper, who represents the elections board, did not question Gates during the deposition and said he wanted to discuss the allegations with Prosecutor Arthur M. Ney Jr.
Condit Sr. said the political use of Gates' allegations was peripheral. "Gates' deposition had to be filed prior to Nov. 13, when the Ohio First District Court of Appeals may rule on the appeal of the lawsuit", he said.
Cincinnatus candidate Condit Jr., whose party believes elections are subject to fraud due to the use of computers, said he used the commercial to allow Gates and Draise to express their grievances because they have been trying to make their stories known for two years. The commercials will only air three times.
In the deposition, Gates claims he first installed a wire tap on a telephone line to the county computers before the 1977 election at the instruction of James West, a Bell security supervisor.
Gates contends both West and Peter Gabor, security director, told him to install wire taps in subsequent elections. Both men declined comment Thursday.
In 1979 - the election which is the focus of the deposition - Gates said he received instructions in the mail from West about installing wire taps on county computers in the County Administration Building at Court and Main streets.
The wire taps were installed on the eve of the election at Cincinnati Bell's switching control center at Seventh and Elm Streets and terminated in a conference room in the building, Gates alleges.
In the deposition, Gates described in great technical detail installation of the wire taps.
About 8:30 p.m. on election day - Nov. 6, 1979 - Gates said he was called by West and told something had gone wrong causing the elections computer to malfunction. At West's instructions, Gates said he removed the taps.
The elections computer shut down for two hours on election evening due to what was believed to be a power failure, Condit Sr. has said.
Gates said West told him they "had the ability to actually alter what was being done with the votes."
Gates said West told him the Board of Elections did not know about the taps and that the computer program for the eletions computer "was obtained out of California, and that the programming had been obtained through the FBI ... "
Shortly after the 1979 election, Gates said he met with the late Richad Dugan, former Cincinnati Bell president, to express his concerns that the wire taps were done without a court order.
"Mr. Dugan said it was a very gray area . . . This was just small compared to what was going on. He told me just, if I had a problem, to talk to him and everything would be okay, but everything was under control," Gates said.
Welcome to The News Leader - Staunton, Va.
A third candidate is entering the race to represent Virginia's Sixth Congressional District.
Drew Richardson, 56, is a retired FBI agent and forensic consultant living in Augusta County. Richardson announced Sunday that he will seek the Democratic Party's nomination to run against Republican incumbent Bob Goodlatte in the November election. Sam Rasoul of Roanoke also is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination.
As an FBI agent for 25 years, Richardson worked on many national security and counterterrorism cases, in addition to general criminal investigations. He retired shortly before the 9-11 attacks.
"Those (attacks) had a great impact on my thinking about not only the investigation of those events, but how we go about trying to prevent future events," Richardson said.
In retirement, Richardson works as an adjunct professor of forensic science at James Madison University. He also speaks regularly on the potential threat of chemical and bioterrrorism in the United States.
Though he's never before held elective office — which is forbidden during FBI service — Richardson said he believes his experience working with government would aid him in the role of congressman.
"I know some of the players, and I know how to negate the bureaucracy of government, to some extent," he said.
Richardson obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and his master's and Ph.D. from George Washington University. He also has been an opinion columnist for The News Leader.
Originally published February 11, 2008
By JANA WALLIS / The Dallas Morning News
Seeking to create better support for women who have been victims of violent crimes, law enforcement agencies and women’s advocacy groups kicked off the third annual Crimes Against Women Conference on Monday.
The Dallas conference encompasses all areas of crimes against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault, acquaintance rape and human trafficking.
The three-day event provides training for law enforcement officials, prosecutors and those who work with crime victims. Workshops range from witness tampering and trauma impact to specific case studies.
“We want to put an emphasis on the violence, not just the women. This is a unique conference that deals with all the issues,” said Jan Langbein, executive director for Genesis Women’s Shelter, which is based in Dallas and a co-sponsor of the event.
Some of the scheduled speakers include John W. Gillis, director of the Office for Victims of Crime in the U.S. Department of Justice. Boulder detective Chuck Heidel was to present a case on actor Bradford Thomas Wagner who was accused of raping women in Texas and Colorado in the ‘90s.
During a news conference Monday, Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle spoke about the importance of strong partnerships between police and organizations created specifically for dealing with victims and their families.
“This is not a law enforcement problem alone,” he said.
Assistant Special Agent Blaise Mikulewicz of the FBI emphasized the federal resources available to local police departments.
“We want to provide the most assistance we can,” Mr. Mikulewicz said. The FBI can help local police agencies identify suspects who may have also committed similar crimes in other states.
Over 550 attendees from 41 states and four countries (Mexico, Canada, Ireland and Liberia) were registered for the event, which is also co-sponsored by the Dallas Police Department.
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new Justice Department report praises FBI agents for refusing to join in the U.S. military's abusive questioning of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan, but faults the bureau's for responding slowly to complaints from its own agents about the tactics, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
Citing people with knowledge of the still-secret report, expected to be released as early as Tuesday, the Times reported that the department's inspector general's office is said to have concluded that no FBI agents participated in the rough interrogations by the military.
But the report is also expected to take the bureau to task for its slow response to agents' complaints about the tactics, and for its unclear guidelines and training on handling the complaints, the Times said.
"The FBI should be credited for its conduct and professionalism in detainee interrogations in the military zones," the newspaper quoted the inspector general as saying in the report.
One FBI memo referred to "torture techniques" that were used by military interrogators, with agents describing inmates who were handcuffed in a foetal position for up to 24 hours at a time, the newspaper reported. They were intimidated by dogs, made to wear women's undergarments and subjected to strobe lights and extreme temperatures, it said.
"Could we have done more, more quickly? Or could we have provided better guidance?" asked an FBI official with knowledge of the report who said the answer was likely yes. But, he added, "It was difficult to tell agents what the rules were because we didn't know ourselves," the Times reported.
The inspector general's office refused to comment on the investigation, which began more than three years ago, and many details remain unknown, the Times said, including whether it will address CIA interrogations that may have been witnessed by FBI agents.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Friday that the agency was helping to get information from detainees and prepare terrorism cases against suspects at Guantanamo Bay despite differences with the CIA over interrogation techniques.
"The policy of the bureau ... is not to use coercion," he said in an appearance at the National Press Club, adding "I will speak for the FBI."
4 quickies about FBI using torture....funded by your tax dollars 1st read http://www.apfn.net/messageboard/05-26-05/discussion.cgi.24.html Report Due on FBI Treatment of Military Detainees February 08, 2008 02:45 PM ET | Permanent Link The Justice Department's inspector general is expected to release a report soon detailing whether FBI employees participated in any abuse of detainees at military prisons in Guantánamo Bay, Iraq, and Afghanistan, according to a report released by the division today. The Justice Department's inspector general is expected to release a report soon detailing whether FBI employees participated in any abuse of detainees at military prisons in Guantánamo Bay, Iraq, and Afghanistan, according to a report released by the division today. The report did not indicate what conclusions the agency would come to but it said it had completed a draft in late October, which was still undergoing interagency review. Because of the amount of classified material, the review "has been slow and is still ongoing," Inspector General Glenn Fine wrote in today's report. The inspector general will send a copy to Congress soon and plans to release an unclassified summary publicly. The investigation examined not only whether FBI officials participated in any detainee abuse but whether they were witness to or reported any abuse and how those reports were handled by the FBI. The inspector general sent a questionnaire to more than 1,000 FBI employees who served in the prisons and interviewed detainees, FBI officials, and military personnel. Paul Craig Roberts The FBI, the Torture and Murder of Kenneth Trentadue Thu May 26, 2005 19:41 18.104.22.168 May 26, 2005 The FBI, the Torture and Murder of Kenneth Trentadue and Advanced Knowledge of the Oklahoma City Bombing Uncovering a DOJ Coverup By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS http://www.counterpunch.org/ In 1995 Kenneth Trentadue was murdered by federal agents in a federal prison in Oklahoma City. A coverup immediately went into effect. Federal authorities claimed Trentadue, who was being held in a suicide-proof cell, had committed suicide by hanging himself, but the state coroner would not buy the story. Prison authorities tried to get family consent to cremate the body. But Trentadue had been picked up on a minor parole violation, and the story of suicide by a happily married man delighted with his two-month old son raised red flags to the family. When the Trentadue family received Kenneth's body and heavy makeup was scraped away, the evidence (available in photos on the Internet) clearly shows a person who had been tortured and beaten. His throat was slashed and he may have been garroted. There are bruises, burns and cuts from the soles of Trentadue's feet to his head, wounds that obviously were not self-inflicted. As the state coroner noted at the time, every investigative rule was broken by the federal prison. The coroner was not allowed into the cell, and the cell was scrubbed down prior to investigation. The federal coverup was completely transparent. A US senator made inquiries, but the US Department of Justice (sic), knowing that it would not be held accountable, stuck to its fabricated story. That was a mistake. Trentadue's brother, Jesse, is an attorney. He believes that federal officials, like everyone else, must be held accountable for their crimes. He has been battling the Justice Department and the FBI for a decade. Jesse Trentadue has amassed evidence that his brother was mistaken for Tim McVeigh's alleged accomplice in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Federal agents, believing that they had Richard Lee Guthrie in their hands, went too far in attempting to force him to talk. Jesse Trentadue learned that the FBI had informants planted with two groups on which McVeigh may have relied: a white supremacist paramilitary training compound at Elohim City and the Mid-West Bank Robbery Gang. The implication is that the FBI had advance notice of McVeigh's plans and may have been conducting a sting operation that went awry. The FBI has documents that name the informants. Teletypes from then FBI director Louis Freeh dated January 4, 1996, and August 23, 1996, confirm that the FBI had informants imbedded with the Mid-West Bank Robbery Gang and in Elohim City. In these documents, Freeh reports to various FBI field offices that the Elohim City informant (possibly explosives expert and German national Andreas Carl Strassmeir) "allegedly has had a lengthy relationship with Timothy McVeigh" and "that McVeigh had placed a telephone call to Elohim City on 4/5/95, a day that he was believed to have been attempting to recruit a second conspirator to assist in the OKBOMB attack." The FBI denied to federal judge Dale Kimball that any such documents existed. But someone had leaked the teletypes to Trentadue, and he put them before the judge along with an affidavit of their genuineness. Caught red-handed lying to a federal judge, the FBI was ordered to produce all documents Trentadue demanded. Judge Kimball gave the FBI until June 15, 2005, to deliver the incriminating records. Needless to say, the FBI doesn't want to deliver and is attempting every possible dodge to escape obeying the judge's order. In his effort to uncover the DOJ's coverup of his brother's murder, Jesse Trentadue may have uncovered evidence of the FBI's failure to prevent the bombing of the Murrah Building. It is bad enough that the murder of Kenneth Trentadue is covered over with many layers of DOJ perjury and the withholding and destruction of evidence. Evidence that the FBI was aware of McVeigh's plan to bomb the Murrah Building and failed to prevent the deed would be an additional heavy blow to the prestige of federal law enforcement. Paul Craig Roberts has held a number of academic appointments and has contributed to numerous scholarly publications. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. His graduate economics education was at the University of Virginia, the University of California at Berkeley, and Oxford University. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org ============== Kenneth Trentadue....story w/pic's ...WARNING NOT A PRETTY PICTURE! http://www.apfn.org/apfn/OKC_Trentadue.htm ticle published Sunday, February 10, 2008 Tortured ideals WHEN he testified before a Senate committee the other day, CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden didn't divulge anything lawmakers didn't already know or suspect about the use of harsh interrogation techniques on terrorists. General Hayden admitted publicly for the first time that the CIA had used waterboarding on three suspects linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rashim al-Nashiri. Although he insists that the agency hasn't used the interrogation technique that simulates drowning in five years, General Hayden credits waterboarding with securing a quarter of the intelligence gathered on al-Qaeda after Sept. 11. The CIA chief also warned the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that forbidding "enhanced" interrogation methods - the administration's euphemism for torture - would undermine the nation's security. "If you create a box, we will play inside the box without exception," he said. "My view is that would substantially increase the danger to America." Unfortunately, the general has it backwards. When a nation adheres to its ideals, including reasonable international strictures against torture like the Geneva Conventions, it does not have to worry about a tactical disadvantage with terrorists. Waterboarding - near drowning - has been in use, typically by repressive regimes, as a mode of torture and intimidation for some 500 years. The United States military severely disciplined soldiers for employing it during the Spanish-American War, World War II, and the Vietnam War. The fact that torture is morally obnoxious goes without saying, but countenancing even the occasional use of waterboarding in interrogation perpetuates the myth that officially sanctioned cruelty sometimes works. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III understands how dangerous this notion is. Mr. Mueller told the committee that the FBI is able to extract crucial information from high-value detainees without resorting to coercion. All of which begs the question of why the CIA can't do the same. General Hayden mocked the idea that the CIA should be bound by the same rules of interrogation that apply to the military and the nation's other intelligence agencies. That attitude is as corrosive a threat to our democracy as torture itself because it dehumanizes American society and takes away our moral authority to condemn other countries that use coercion as a political tool. We don't believe that Americans would want our captured military personnel to be subjected to such measures, as they will be if waterboarding is permitted. We agree with Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois that Attorney General Michael Mukasey should investigate whether laws were broken by the CIA. It goes without saying there already have been violations of the American spirit.
FBI agents with warrants arrived at 7 a.m. Thursday and mistakenly broke open doors to two Yuba City businesses because the law enforcement officials had the wrong address, the business owners say.
J.T. Louis, owner of an auto sales business that has been closed for two years, said his business is at 427 Garden Highway, but that agents were seeking a residence at the rear with an address of 4271⁄2 Garden Highway.
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