Archive for Intelligence

NSA and DEA collaboration on spying on Americans

Posted in DEA, Homeland Security, NSA, Special Operations Division with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by saynsumthn

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

“It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

Read more at Reuters

Homeland Security Improperly Collected Intelligence on Pro-Lifers and other U.S. Citizens

Posted in Abortion, Anti-abortion, Homeland Security, pro-choice, Pro-Life, terrorism with tags , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2009 by saynsumthn

12-17-2009- New York Times Reporting:

WASHINGTON — In February, a Department of Homeland Security intelligence official wrote a “threat assessment” for the police in Wisconsin about a demonstration involving local pro- and anti-abortion rights groups.

That report soon drew internal criticism because the groups “posed no threat to homeland security,” according to a department memorandum released on Wednesday in connection with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The agency destroyed all its copies of the report and gave the author remedial training.

The documents were released by the Justice Department in connection with a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation. It had sought reports to the Intelligence Oversight Board, a watchdog panel appointed by the president, by various agencies documenting violations of law, executive orders or presidential directives.

Marcia Hofmann, a staff lawyer with the foundation, praised agency officials for destroying the reports but said the public needed to know about such incidents.

“I think it’s a positive sign that these agencies responded to this and took steps to correct the situation,” Ms. Hofmann said, adding, “We would never have known that this happened had we not seen these internal reports.”

Matt Chandler, a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, said, “We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people while” protecting the country.

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Rest of New York Times Article – Here

Additional Reading: Intelligence Agencies Release Docs Describing Misconduct in Response to EFF Lawsuit

According to a report by World Net Daily: In April an unclassified Department of Homeland Security report warned against the possibility of violence by unnamed “right-wing extremists” concerned about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty and singles out returning war veterans as particular threats.

The report, titled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” dated April 7, states that “threats from white supremacist and violent anti-government groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.”

However, the document, first reported by talk-radio host and WND columnist Roger Hedgecock, goes on to suggest worsening economic woes, potential new legislative restrictions on firearms and “the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

The report from DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines right-wing extremism in the U.S. as “divided into those groups, movements and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups) and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

“[T]he consequences of a prolonged economic downturn – including real estate foreclosures, unemployment and an inability to obtain credit – could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past,” the report says.

It adds that “growth in these groups subsided in reaction to increased government scrutiny as a result of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and disrupted plots, improvements in the economy and the continued U.S. standing as the pre-eminent world power.”

“Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of right-wing extremist groups as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government,” the report continues. “The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by right-wing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.”

Most notable is the report’s focus on the impact of returning war veterans.

“Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists,” it says. “DHS/I&A is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize veterans in order to boost their violent capacities.”

The report cites the April 4 shooting deaths of three police officers in Pittsburgh as an example of what may be coming, claiming the alleged gunman holds a racist ideology and believes in anti-government conspiracy theories about gun confiscations, citizen detention camps and “a Jewish-controlled ‘one-world government.'”

It also suggests the election of an African-American president and the prospect of his policy changes “are proving to be a driving force for right-wing extremist recruitment and radicalization.”

The report also mentions “‘end times’ prophecies could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition and weapons. These teachings also have been linked with the radicalization of domestic extremist individuals and groups in the past, such as the violent Christian Identity organizations and extremist members of the militia movement.”

“DHS/I&A assesses that right-wing extremist groups’ frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence,” the report continues.

The report states the DHS will be working with state and local partners over the next several months to determine the levels of right-wing extremist activity in the U.S.

Last month, the chief of the Missouri highway patrol blasted a report issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center that linked conservative groups to domestic terrorism, assuring that such reports no longer will be issued. The report had been compiled with the assistance of DHS.

The report warned law enforcement agencies to watch for suspicious individuals who may have bumper stickers for third-party political candidates such as Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin.

It further warned law enforcement to watch out for individuals with “radical” ideologies based on Christian views, such as opposing illegal immigration, abortion and federal taxes.

Chief James Keathley of the Missouri State Patrol issued a statement that the release of the report, which outraged conservatives nationwide, prompted him to “take a hard look” at the procedures through which the report was released by the MIAC.

“My review of the procedures used by the MIAC in the three years since its inception indicates that the mechanism in place for oversight of reports needs improvement,” he wrote. “Until two weeks ago, the process for release of reports from the MIAC to law enforcement officers around the state required no review by leaders of the Missouri State Highway Patrol or the Department of Public Safety.”

“For that reason, I have ordered the MIAC to permanently cease distribution of the militia report,” he said. “Further, I am creating a new process for oversight of reports drafted by the MIAC that will require leaders of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety to review the content of these reports before they are shared with law enforcement. My office will also undertake a review of the origin of the report by MIAC.”

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UPDATED 2/8/2010

Homeland Security Collected Information on Wisconsin Abortion, Pro-Life Activists
Monday, February 08, 2010
By Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press

Madison, Wis. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducted a threat assessment of local pro- and anti-abortion rights activists before an expected rally last year, even though they did not pose a threat to national security.

The DHS destroyed or deleted its copies of the assessment after an internal review found it violated intelligence-gathering guidelines by collecting and sharing information about “protest groups which posed no threat to homeland security,” according to a department memo written last year.

The report was only shared with police in Middleton and with the director of the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center, an intelligence-gathering hub, according to the memo, which was signed by general counsel Ivan Fong and inspector general Richard Skinner.

It concluded the report was unlikely to “have any impact on civil liberties or civil rights” given its limited dissemination. But anti-abortion groups and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin on Monday both criticized the federal government’s collection of information on law-abiding protesters.

The report was compiled prior to a February 2009 meeting in Middleton by the University of Wisconsin Hospital board to decide whether to open a clinic that would offer late-term abortions.

The analyst who compiled the report – the agency’s representative to Wisconsin’s intelligence center – received improper guidance that he could perform the assessment “to support local police and public safety efforts,” according to the memo. The analyst was given remedial training and department lawyers counseled supervisors who were involved, it said.

The memo was made public as part of a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was seeking reports from an intelligence oversight panel. After The New York Times reported on its contents in December, a lawyer representing anti-abortion activists who attended the rally asked Middleton police to release a copy of the assessment under Wisconsin’s open records law.

In the department’s Feb. 4 response, Capt. Noel Kakuske confirmed the department kept a copy of the report but declined to release it. He said the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which runs the intelligence center, and the Department of Homeland Security agreed the report should be withheld because it contains sensitive law enforcement information.

“Disclosure would result in the identification and public disclosure of individuals affiliated with groups on both sides of the issue, which would place them in danger from opposing radical extremists,” he wrote.

On Monday, Kakuske told The Associated Press that the assessment was prepared after his department asked state officials for help identifying potential risks associated with the hospital board meeting. He said it’s unusual for the department to handle a large protest, and “we wanted to make sure we had the best information we could get.”

He said the department had received no specific threat in connection with the meeting, but was worried about the potential for violence.

The UW Hospital and Clinic Authority Board voted 11-3 to approve the plan to start the clinic at the Madison Surgery Center. Those attending the meeting at a suburban office building went through police checkpoints. No problems were reported, and protesters on both sides acted peacefully.

Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, said her group was considering other options to try to get the report, including appealing to the district attorney or suing.

“It’s very disturbing that a local police department has tapped into the security apparatus of the federal government to potentially obstruct free speech,” she said. “It’s additionally disconcerting they will not release the documents in order for we the public to examine them.”