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Some questions for the Pentagon and Congress
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, December 15, 2005

I don't like this:
Pentagon officials said yesterday they had ordered a review of a program aimed at countering terrorist attacks that had compiled information about U.S. citizens, after reports that the database included information on peace protesters and others whose activities posed no threat and should not have been kept on file.

The move followed an NBC News report Tuesday disclosing that a sample of about 1,500 "suspicious incidents" listed in the database included four dozen anti-war meetings or protests, some aimed at military recruiting.
OK, question 1: why is the Pentagon collecting such information in the first place? Isn't that what we have the FBI doing?
Although officials defended the Pentagon's interest in gathering information about possible threats to military bases and troops, one senior official acknowledged that a preliminary review of the database indicated that it had not been correctly maintained.

"On the surface, it looks like things in the database that were determined not to be viable threats were never deleted but should have been," the official said. "You can also make the argument that these things should never have been put in the database in the first place until they were confirmed as threats."

The program, known as Talon, compiles unconfirmed reports of suspected threats to defense facilities. It is part of a broader effort by the Pentagon to gather counterterrorism intelligence within the United States, which has prompted concern from civil liberties activists and members of Congress in recent weeks.
Compiling a list of threats to military installations is one thing. Gathering information on war and anti-military protesters who are citizens of the US is another thing entirely.
The Talon database—and several affiliated programs—has been described by officials as a sort of neighborhood watch for the military, an important tool in trying to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the military.

Under the programs, civilians and military personnel at defense installations are encouraged to file reports if they believe they have come across people or information that could be part of a terrorist plot or threat, either at home or abroad. The Talon reports are fed into a database managed by the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, a three-year-old Pentagon agency whose budget and size are classified.

The Talon reports—the number is classified, officials said—can consist of "raw information" that "may or may not be related to an actual threat, and its very nature may be fragmented and incomplete," according to a 2003 memo signed by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz.
Question 2: why aren't those reports fed to the FBI to be checked out? Again, isn't that the job of the FBI? If so, why has the Pentagon set up classified agency into which the reports are funneled and over which there is no apparent public oversight?
Arkin said he obtained the information, which included a list of entries in the CIFA database, from a military source. The database document included references to incidents in several categories that were deemed suspicious.

Dozens of them involved anti-war and anti-recruiting protests by civilians dating to 2004. A Feb. 5, 2005, Talon report described as a "threat" the planned protest against recruiting at New York University by Army Judge Advocate General personnel. Another entry, concerning Feb. 14, 2005, involved a demonstration planned outside the gates of the base at Fort Collins, Colo.

One refers to a July 3, 2004, "surveillance" report of "suspicious activity by U.S. persons . . . affiliated with radical Moslems" in Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Another category of reports involved missing identification cards and uniforms of military personnel, which pose threats because they can be used to gain illegal access to Pentagon facilities. Other reports dealt with "test of security," such as when someone drives up to the gate of a military facility or takes photographs or shoots videotape.
Question 3: when did Congress (or the Executive Branch) authorize the Pentagon to engage in domestic surveillance?

I mean, what else can you call what is being reported?
There have been no congressional hearings on the Defense Department's growing involvement in domestic intelligence collection, but Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, began raising questions about CIFA's programs after recent articles in The Washington Post.

"CIFA needs to be a tightly controlled program," Harman said yesterday, after she and intelligence committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) met privately with Cambone on Capitol Hill. She would not discuss the meeting.
Well there you go. The usual incompetence surfaces. No Congressional oversight at all concerning a 3 year old secret Pentagon agency involved in what appears to be domestic surveillance of US citizens.

Question 4: why to this point has there been no Congressional oversight!?
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
So? What can they legally do with that information?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Don’t care what they can legally do with the info.

Why are they engaged in domestic surveillance of US citizens.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The Cato institute opens with this... "The New Terror Threat: Hippies?". And at the risk of vicious ridicule, I say, "Yep they were then and they are now!" Tom Haydon, Jerry Rubin, Jane Fonda, Abbie Hoffman, and all that ilk were Commies then and wanted the evil folks to win from 1965-75 and you know what they still do... and their successors still do. So I have no problem surveiling peace groups and peaceniks, ’cuz 90% of their leadership ain’t peaceniks, they want the other side to win. Yes sir, I question their patriotism. Just like the FBI observed and infiltrated the Silver Shirts and the Bund of the 1930’s. These folks are cheering for our enemies.

I realize that this is a LIBERTARIAN board and that mine will be a minority position, but do look back at the last "Victims" of the US Government, the Hippies and tell me NOW that they were innocent victims?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So I have no problem surveiling peace groups and peaceniks, ’cuz 90% of their leadership ain’t peaceniks, they want the other side to win.

Nor do I if we have probable cause to do so (and that doesn’t just mean because they oppose the administration’s position on something).

But I do have a problem with domestic surveillance of US citizens by the Pentagon. Not their job and should never be their job.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ, sure it’s their job, point out to me in the US Constitution where it says it ain’t, plus as you well remember..."against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC..." This is just knee-jerk Libertarianism, if you ask me. Or reflexive anger/fear... they’ve been under surveillance, beeeeg deeeal, have they lost their jobs, homes, cars, liberty, property because of it?

If we were JAILING them, having them fired-like they have jobs!- or the like because they want the Ba’athists/Jihadis to defeat the Neo-Fascist Mecahano-Technical Running Dog Lackeys of Finance Capitalism and Big Oil that Oppress the Poor, Women, Gays, Lesbians, the Transgendered, and People of Colour- Oh I mean who oppose the War in Iraq and support peaceful alternatives-I’d be lining up with you and along side THEM to denounce this travesty of Justice. After all they have every RIGHT TO BE TRAITORS.

I just have no problem with the Government, to include the DoD or the US Army, watching them. After all the Fifth Column recruits from somewhere and it’s more likely that tomorrow’s Weather Underground is out with "Code Pink" and ANSWER than it is at the local "Young Republicans" meeting.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I think the Department of Defense has a responsibility to protect military installations because they are high profile targets. The FBI and other civilian institutions don’t have the resources to protect our military bases. So I think it’s appropriate for the military to keep tabs on civilians who may pose a threat to our soldiers and our military installations. Some sort of oversight is critical here to insure that the information collected has a nexus with force protection. Mere attendance at anti-war rallies doesn’t meet that nexus. So yes I think its okay for Counter Intelligence to collect info on threats but an outside organization like the DoD IG needs to take a peek at their operation every so often to make sure they’re flying straight.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
So? What can they legally do with that information?

All they can do with the information is try to substantiate a threat. If they think they’ve found a credible threat then they have to notify the FBI. The FBI doesn’t have the resources to sift through all that data and should only be called when a threat is substantiated.

I’m not all that comfortable with the military collecting info on US civilians either but short of greatly increasing the size of the FBI, how is the military supposed to effectively protect their bases?
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
The FBI and other civilian institutions don’t have the resources to protect our military bases.

Then give them the resources for heaven sake.

Domestic surveillance of US citizens is
their job.

It isn’t the job of the US military to collect information on US citizens.

This isn’t just about threats on US military installations. Read the piece. It’s about:

"the database included information on peace protesters and others whose activities posed no threat and should not have been kept on file."

None of the military’s business. And certainly not information they should be gathering. If anyone should, it should be the agency given the authority to do so: the FBI.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ, sure it’s their job, point out to me in the US Constitution where it says it ain’t, plus as you well remember

Oh, please Joe ... the military works under the authority of the civilian government and Congress has oversight responsiblity. You show me where Congress has ever vested the military with the job of the domestic surveillance of US citizens.

It has certainly done so with the FBI.

If we were JAILING them ...

Surveillance, Joe, that’s what this is about, surveillance and collecting data on US citizens.

Since when has anyone vested the military with that job or the authority to do it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Yeah, and the US military has the DIA and other INTELLIGENCE services...
They are conducting intelligence operations. I guess I don’t automatically get upset when I see things like this.
Surveillance, Joe, that’s what this is about, surveillance and collecting data on US citizens
.

Yes, I noticed that, and that was my POINT. They are conducting SURVEILLANCE of our enemies. We aren’t even giving them parking tickets. I have NO problem with surveillance. IF the Government were preparing to jail them or deprive them of LIFE, LIBERTY OR PROPERTY without Due Process, THEN I’d be upset.

When Tim Robbins can not accept a movie contract in the US or Cindy Sheehan finds that she can not get insurance for her car or folks are suddenly told about the "double secret probation" I’ll be out in the street with you and them. Until then, I really don’t care. In a theroetical manner...

Are you saying that if the DoD hands over the people and money for the surveillance of these "peaceniks" to the FBI all will be well in McQ-ville? If so, well then OK, let’s start a petition drive to Congress. IF there is a line-item in the budget to surveil these dirt bags, you’ll support it?


 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
They are conducting SURVEILLANCE of our enemies.

"Our" enemies? Protesters are "our" enemies?

Good grief.

DIA mision:
Provide timely, objective, and cogent military intelligence to warfighters, defense planners, and defense and national security policymakers.
Military intelligence is a very specific genre which has nothing to do with domestic surveillance.

Here’s the Director of the DIA talking about "Military Threats and Security Challenges Through 2015". Read it. Not a word about domestic surveillance of US citizens.

Then there’s this little goodie:
DoD 5240.1-R

PROCEDURE 2. COLLECTION OF INFORMATION ABOUT UNITED STATES PERSONS


Information that identifies a United States person may be collected by a DoD intelligence component only if it is necessary to the conduct of a function assigned the collecting component, and only if it falls within one of the following categories:

1. Information obtained with consent. Information may be collected about a United States person who consents to such collection.

2. Publicly available information Information may be collected about a United States person if it is publicly available.

3. Foreign intelligence.

Subject to the special limitation contained in
section E, below, information may be collected about a United States person if the information constitutes foreign intelligence, provided the intentional collection of foreign intelligence about United States persons shall be limited
to persons who are:

a. Individuals reasonably believed to be officers or employees, or otherwise acting for or on behalf, of a foreign power;

b. An organization reasonably believed to be owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a foreign power;

c. Persons or organizations reasonably believed to be engaged or about to engage, in international terrorist or international narcotics activities;

d. Persons who are reasonably believed to be prisoners of war; missing in action; or are the targets, the hostages, or victims of international terrorist organizations; or

e. Corporations or other commercial organizations believed to have some relationship with foreign powers, organizations, or persons.

4. Counterintelligence.

Information may be collected about a United States person if the information constitutes counterintelligence, provided the intentional collection of counterintelligence about United States persons must be limited to:

a. Persons who are reasonably believed to be engaged in, or about to engage in, intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power, or international terrorist activities.

b. Persons in contact with persons described in paragraph C.4.a., above, for the purpose of identifying such person and assessing their relationship with persons described in paragraph C.4.a., above.
Or said another way the DoD’s own regulation gives no permission to pull survelliance on US citizens unless there’s damn good probable cause. And that probable cause better be linked to a foreign intelligence agency as outlined in the reg. War protesters and peace activists don’t fit their own description of those they can reasonably (note the term throughout their own regulation) assume to be an "enemy", i.e. foreign intelligence operatives who happen to also be US citizens.

Are you saying that if the DoD hands over the people and money for the surveillance of these "peaceniks" to the FBI all will be well in McQ-ville?

Nope. They are none of the DoD’s business. If any surveillance is to be pulled on them, it should be by the agency which is authorized to do domestic surveillance ... the FBI (and they too should have valid probable cause).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Oh ... and from DoD in reference to this story:
"We have policies and procedures for intelligence and counterintelligence organizations," Whitman said, "that prohibit the reporting, the processing, or storing of information on individuals or organizations not affiliated with the Department of Defense, except in very limited and narrow circumstances that are defined by the law. "
If they have info stored on US citizens not affiliated with DoD then, per this DoD spokesperson, they’re not abiding by their policies and procedures are they?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I just read a comment over on Jeff Goldstein’s blog about how this furor is likely the result of actions taken as a result of NSA communication intercepts. NSA falls under DoD.
 
Written By: A fine scotch
URL: http://
McQ,
You are mostly right. There are other rules regarding when/where military intelligence units can collect, retain, and disseminate on US persons, mostly when inadvertantly collected or in conjunction with domestic law enforcement (like FBI). And the information can be retained for a limited time for evaluation to determine what to do with it.
The part that would be (is?) wrong is keeping the biographical info on US persons, though. Keeping track of the events is not a violation, and is actually a good idea.
From what I can tell, however, this is info being disseminated by units like AFOSI, CID, etc, so that security forces and base commanders can make intelligent decisions about base/force protection.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
If they have info stored on US citizens not affiliated with DoD then, per this DoD spokesperson, they’re not abiding by their policies and procedures are they?

It looks to me like it is allowed in the very limited and narrow circumstances of paragraph 4 of the regulation you posted above.

Paragraph 4a of the same regulation states that it is permissible to collect information on the activities of international terrorists.

Paragraph 4b states the military can collect info on persons associated with the individuals described in 4a.

To me this means that if some anarchists, for example, hook up with international terrorist organizations for training, advice, or assistance with targeting bases then its fair game to collect information on them even if they are US citizens.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
If you’re not doing anything wrong, why be nervous? Good grief, the old ladies in your neighborhood probably collect more data than the FBI. At least the government doesn’t tell everyone else in your neighborhood! As long as they don’t use the information to cause people to lose jobs or anything else disruptive then why care? If they can possibly use the data to keep another building from being blown up or even 1 person from being killed then it was worth it. Look at the people complaining today, "Why didn’t you know about the bombings?" Well, if the government has to ask our permission to collect every piece of data, that kinda makes it impossible doesn’t it? You just never know anymore where the bad guys are!
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
If you’re not doing anything wrong, why be nervous?

"First they came for the communists, but I wasn’t a communist and so I didn’t say anything ..."
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
There doesn’t seem to be enough evidence from the article to conclude that no oversight of this program has occured.

There is also no mention that viable threats aren’t passed on to the FBI. In fact, so much of this program is secret because it needs to be kept secret.

The military is also correct to gather information from its personnel regarding potential threats, and suspicous activity, otherwise they’ll be asked, how come you didn’t connect the dots. Those anti-war/peace protests do have the potential of getting ugly, and serving as cover for those of ill intent to gather intel or plan something.

So, I don’t really see this as the big problem you make it out to be. Certainly we need to be concerned, but let’s not cry the sky is falling just yet. It looks like the Pentagon, and Congress will be looking into this, and making sure the appropriate laws are followed. Checks and balances, neat thing, heh.

I would also say that it would seem natural to use domestic data to verify the efficacy of the system.

Oh, that these might interest a few folks.

http://www.dss.mil/polygraph/cifa.htm

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/text/d510567p.txt
In carrying out the mission of these elements, the Director of the DoD CIFA may employ law enforcement personnel, in whole or in part, as appropriate, to carry out the DoD CIFA’s law enforcement functions as stated in subparagraph 6.2.17. of this Directive.

6.2.11.6. Conduct Domestic Threat Analyses and Risk Assessments in support of DoD Force Protection and DoD Critical Infrastructure Protection efforts.

6.2.17. ... Accordingly, the DoD CIFA shall not engage in the
investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals
suspected or convicted of criminal offenses against
the laws of the United States. For SAPs and SAP-related
investigations, the DCIS or the other DCIOs dedicated
to SAPs have investigative jurisdiction.
http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2005/11/domestic_milita.html
According to a classified Standing Joint Force Headquarters-North document on "intelligence sharing" dated July 20, 2005, and obtained exclusively by this washingtonpost.com blogger, collection of intelligence on U.S. persons is allowed by military intelligence units if there is a reason to believe the U.S. person is:

"Connected to international terrorist activities;
Connected to international narcotics;
Connected to foreign intelligence;
A threat to DoD installations, property, or persons; or,
The subject of authorized counterintelligence."
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Some more tidbits to add to the mixture...

From the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction


http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/reports/2005/wmd_report_25mar2005_chap11.htm
While our intelligence foes strategically target our defense infrastructure, the Department of Defense’s counterintelligence response remains hardwired to the 1947 framework in which it was created, with each armed service running its own counterintelligence component. In 2002, the Defense Department began to address this deficiency by creating the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), which has the authority to oversee Department of Defense "implementation support to the NCIX," complete counterintelligence program evaluations, conduct operational analysis, provide threat assessments, conduct counterintelligence training, and "oversee Defense-wide CI investigations." 28

There is, however, one very significant hole in CIFA’s authority: it cannot actually carry out counterintelligence investigations and operations on behalf of the Department of Defense. 29 Rather, Defense-wide investigations and operations are left to the responsibility of the individual services—which are, at the same time, also responsible for investigations and operations within their own services. 30 Perhaps unsurprisingly, the result of this arrangement is that intra-service investigations are given priority by the services, and no entity views non-service-specific and department-wide investigations as its primary responsibility. What this means is that many Defense Department components (e.g., Combatant Commands, the Defense Agencies, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense) lack effective counterintelligence protection.

We believe this serious shortcoming would be best addressed by giving CIFA the authority and responsibility to provide Department-wide counterintelligence functional support by conducting investigations, operations, collection, and analysis for the Combatant Commands, Defense Agencies, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, both inside and outside of the United States. The counterintelligence elements within each military service would be left in place to focus on their department’s counterintelligence requirements. CIFA would acquire new counterespionage and law enforcement authorities to investigate national security matters and crimes including treason, espionage, foreign intelligence service or terrorist-directed sabotage, economic espionage, and violations of the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act. Specific authorization from the Secretary of Defense and a directive from the DNI can implement this change. And, as with the CIA and service elements, all of CIFA’s activities that relate to U.S. persons should be performed in accordance with Attorney General-approved guidelines.

Giving CIFA additional operational authorities will make it a stronger organization better able to execute its current management responsibilities. Today the armed services are not constituted to perform the full range of counterintelligence functions that the Department of Defense requires. CIFA will gain greater visibility across the Department and relieve the service counterintelligence components from a responsibility that dilutes resources and effort away from their primary mission—to protect their services from foreign intelligence activities.
Commission Members

LAURENCE H. SILBERMAN (Co-Chairman)
CHARLES S. ROBB (Co-Chairman)
RICHARD C. LEVIN
JOHN MCCAIN
HENRY S. ROWEN
WALTER B. SLOCOMBE
WILLIAM 0. STUDEMAN
PATRICIA M. WALD
CHARLES M. VEST
LLOYD CUTLER (Of Counsel)
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://



"First they came for the communists, but I wasn’t a communist and so I didn’t say anything ..."



McQ,




I hardly think we should compare the data-gathering of our government to the despicable crimes of Hitler.
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
It’s more about saying "hey, what the heck," and where that can lead worst case. You usually don’t loose your liberties in big freakin’ clumps, Lucy ... instead you loose them by little bits and pieces.

It’s your job to speak out when that happens instead of saying "hey, what the heck" like you did above.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
There are also times when we have to say "Would I rather let the government write down who protested or would I rather keep officials in the dark so they can’t protect me?" Secondly, does anyone complain that the tv and news stations film these people? That’s making a permanent record as well.

I don’t want government in my personal life any more than absolutely necessary but I have to admit, I am afraid of terrorists. It was only by the grace of God that I wasn’t right next door to the twin towers that day and that scares me. It could have been me! It could be you or me next. I do not have the power to protect the cities and citizens of this country and neither do you. Our government officials are the only ones who can even come close. If we tie their hands behind their backs, one little piece of information may be missed that could have saved you and yours or me and mine. I’ll save my "speaking out" for the offenses that really cause harm.
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
There are also times when we have to say "Would I rather let the government write down who protested or would I rather keep officials in the dark so they can’t protect me?" Secondly, does anyone complain that the tv and news stations film these people? That’s making a permanent record as well.

I don’t want government in my personal life any more than absolutely necessary but I have to admit, I am afraid of terrorists. It was only by the grace of God that I wasn’t right next door to the twin towers that day and that scares me. It could have been me! It could be you or me next. I do not have the power to protect the cities and citizens of this country and neither do you. Our government officials are the only ones who can even come close. If we tie their hands behind their backs, one little piece of information may be missed that could have saved you and yours or me and mine. I’ll save my "speaking out" for the offenses that really cause harm.
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://

Sorry, I didn’t mean to click the button twice.
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
There are also times when we have to say "Would I rather let the government write down who protested or would I rather keep officials in the dark so they can’t protect me?"

Good Lord, Lucy ... that’s the FBI’s job. Why not leave it to them and let DoD do what it’s supposed to do ... and that isn’t spying on US citizens who might disagree with it.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to click the button twice.

Yeah, you have to watch that ... if you refresh it resubmits your comment.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
If I were a soldier or family living on a military base I would be praying that EVERYBODY has their eyes and ears open. While it may be primarily the FBI’s job to collect information, they are also running around the world profiling serial killers and every other nutball terrorist. They can’t be everywhere at all times no matter how many people they hire or how much money you throw at them. The more eyes watching, the less we miss.

These people were protesting the military. The military has a right to protect themselves. You can bet, if a group of people like Jane Fonda were standing outside my house causing my family members to be harmed, I would be taking some serious names. Actually, I would probably do more than just take names!

Now, if the DoD starts standing at the local wal-mart taking names and writing down what everyone is buying, I’ll join the hissy-fit but this is getting too much hype thanks to the headline-grabbing media. They have admitted the database needs to be purged and that the data probably should have been more closely analyzed before even being entered. No harm done. Give it a break.

By the way, do you realize how many lives were affected by the likes of Jane Fonda? To this day, my father and others who served in the military have good reason to loathe her and other people who will put Americans in danger just to put their face on the television. Yes, I consider them a threat. I can’t blame the military for considering them the same.
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
While it may be primarily the FBI’s job to collect information ...

It isn’t primarily their job, it is completely their job.

Unless the US citizen has ties to foreign intelligence, it isn’t at all the job of DoD.

Funny, you’d not want the FBI planning the next war, but you’re fine with the DoD doing the FBI’s job when their own regs say they aren’t authorized to do so (and for very good reasons).

But like you said before ... "what the heck", huh? What are a few citizens rights in the face of imagined nutball terrorists in every military base.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The issues as I see them:
It is illegal for military to collect intelligence on US persons except in some very, very specific occasions. "US Persons" includes green card holders and some organizations and companies.
So McQ is absolutely correct on that part.
My only disagreement with McQ might be that collecting information on events is perfectly fine, and a good idea.
There is oversight, but not from Congress, but rather from an Intelligence Oversight committee.
All these rules came out because the intelligence community actually did quite a bit of spying on US citizens back in the 60s and early 70s. So things would have to get quite a bit worse before it got as bad as what we lived with during the Viet Nam and Cold Wars. Still, McQ is exactly right that this isn’t an area where you want to err on the side of leniency.

It’s all covered in Executive Order 12333. The DoD and the various uniformed services have appropriate regulations in line with what you see in EO 12333.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://www.chieflymusing.com
Conservatives 40 years ago:

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."

-Barry Goldwater, Candidate for President, Republican National Convention,
7/16/64

Conservatives today:

"If you’re not doing anything wrong, why be nervous?"

-Lucy, Commentor on Q and O Blog, Cyberspace, 12/15/05
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
It gets worse. From the NYT:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval was a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.

"This is really a sea change," said a former senior official who specializes in national security law. "It’s almost a mainstay of this country that the N.S.A. only does foreign searches."

Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation’s legality and oversight.

According to those officials and others, reservations about aspects of the program have also been expressed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a judge presiding over a secret court that oversees intelligence matters. Some of the questions about the agency’s new powers led the administration to temporarily suspend the operation last year and impose more restrictions, the officials said.
Every single person - every single one - who has supported Bush or voted for him is directly responsible for this Orwellian move.

You wingers deserve Bush. You really do. It is entertaining to watch you all gush in your support for BushCo, while at the same time BushCo slowly but methodically ignores all the rules and breaks all the laws that exist to protect your natural right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion.




 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
MK Ultra, you think Gore would have done differently?

Now, on to the story. We don’t have all the facts. "peace protestors" can stretch to cover anarchists and ANSWER types who might actually be plotting violent action against military bases.

Now if this is an FBI issue fine...but I don’t remember seeing FBI agents guarding bases or escorting recruiters around, so in some respects you have to wonder if it’s not prudent for the DoD to also keep records, etc.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
p.s. while it is the FBI’s job, maybe DoD has its doubts about FBI’s effectiveness...

and FBI worries about the CIA.

and CIA hates State Dep’t.

Who watches the watchers?

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Funny, you’d not want the FBI planning the next war, but you’re fine with the DoD doing the FBI’s job when their own regs say they aren’t authorized to do so (and for very good reasons).

Except that the DoD can’t prosecute anybody; that’s got to go into normal legal channels. And as it so happens, if DoD uses illegal methods to gain the information used by the Justice Department’s case, then that’s tainted evidence isn’t it?

That’s why I asked way up top what could DoD legally do with the collected information.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Every single person - every single one - who has supported Bush or voted for him is directly responsible for this Orwellian move.

Nah, it’s called streamlining the government, MK. Instead of having the country at the other end of the international call/e-mail to intercept the information and give it to us, we’re doing it ourselves. Big whoop.

Call me when they start monitoring purely domestic calls/e-mails without warrants; then I’ll agree with your "Orwellian" tag. I’ll also start using pgp on my e-mails.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
“It is entertaining to watch you all gush in your support for BushCo, while at the same time BushCo slowly but methodically ignores all the rules and breaks all the laws that exist to protect your natural right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion.”
You don’t know the half of it, MK. What is really entertaining is watching thought control folks such as yourself cry crocodile tears over government intrusion into our lives. If we told Goldwater that Democrats today were attacking Christmas and doing their best to lose a war that is being won he would not have believed us. The concept of taking our wisdom on unreasonable government intrusion on our natural rights from the likes of MK? Now that’s entertainment!
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
p.s. while it is the FBI’s job, maybe DoD has its doubts about FBI’s effectiveness...

Ah, that’s a wonderful reason to do what they’re not allowed to do, yup, just wonderful.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
My only disagreement with McQ might be that collecting information on events is perfectly fine, and a good idea.

Depends on where the event occurs, Nathan. If they occur at the gate of a military base or at a recruiting site, you’re right ... it only makes sense and anything collected should be forwarded to the proper authority to investigate..

If they occur on a town square or some other civilian venue, it’s none of the DoD’s business.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Except that the DoD can’t prosecute anybody; that’s got to go into normal legal channels.

Yeah, you keep saying that Mark, but I continue to find the argument to be a red herring.

The argument isn’t about what they can or can’t do with the information, it’s about whether or whether not they’re authorized to collect it in the first place.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
In addition to the obvious liberties violations,
Doesn’t anyone else see this as a colossal waste of military resources?

That was my first thought, anyway.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
If they occur on a town square or some other civilian venue, it’s none of the DoD’s business.

Not at all. There are lots of things that happen away from bases that affect them. Do you think a terrorist group would be so kind to practice a base attack right at the front gate for us?

Our OSI at Fairchild was quite concerned with the activities of some white supremacist anti-govt domestic terrorist groups a few hours east in Idaho, and the activities of some Islamic alleged-terrorist groups near Seattle. Those activities might not have happened right outside the gate, but absolutely are the concern of AFOSI and the Base Commander’s need to protect the base, ensure uninterrupted operations, and protect the safety of airmen who lived off base.

Again, if you aren’t keeping biographic information on specific American persons, it’s okay according to EO 12333. And sometimes it is in the duties of certain organizations (like AFOSI) to gather and maintain info on American person, also covered and allowed for under EO 12333...say, if a servicemember has gotten involved in a stolen goods distribution ring.

I’m trying to remember if it was you or Dale who was USAF SP, and I think it was Dale. That makes a little more sense that you aren’t thinking this way: I think a Security Police would be quite upset that sabotage (or an attack) occurred on his base after he wasn’t given any warning of stolen vehicle stickers, uniforms, and internet/phone discussions of attempts to infiltrate bases by a group of US green card holders in a nearby city.

I don’t think this case is as black and white as has been implied.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Not at all. There are lots of things that happen away from bases that affect them.

OK, you’re moving the goal posts again, Nathan.

By their own regs the only thing which happens away from the bases that affect them and which they have the ok to monitor US citizens is if they have a reasonable belief that these citizens are connected with a foreign intelligence service.

If not, then no, they have no business doing surveillence.

And that is the point of the post. Not that they may feel that something might effect them. Not that they’re concerned over events in other places, but by law they have no authority to do surveillance on US citizens unless some very specific things are known or reasonably suspected concerning that citizen.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Heheh....sounds to me like you guys’ audience jumped the shark.



As for the rest of you that commented in support of this blatant violation: MK may be wrong on a lot of things but he is spot-on with this case. The leniency with Bush long ago went beyond practical and into suicidal, if you will accept this then you will accept anything.

 
Written By: b-psycho
URL: http://psychopolitik.blogspot.com
I don’t think I’ve moved goalposts as much as made clear the actual location of the goalposts in the first place.

Let me put it another way: the more I read, the more clearly this is a mainstream media anti-Bush Phishing campaign. You know: disclosing a secret is only illegal if it can be tied into a Bush staffer...but if it’s a CIA leak that undermines Bush, that’s just peachy and vital to the well-being of our nation and the "free" press.

If you do some deeper investigation, you may find exactly how far off the track the article you linked is.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://www.chieflymusing.com
mkultra is the only sane person posting here.

Talk about damning someone with praise.

For the rest of you just read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA

That’s been done to death here for months. You need to keep up.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
This article seems to include much more information.
NYTimes

McQ,

imagined nutball terrorists

I don’t know what kind of imaginary friends you had when you were a kid but mine couldn’t blow up real buildings, trains, planes, boats, etc. What were you smoking at 4???
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
I don’t know what kind of imaginary friends you had when you were a kid but mine couldn’t blow up real buildings, trains, planes, boats, etc.

"Nutball terrorists" was your phrase, and until you can turn up a couple on military bases here in the US, they’re imaginary.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I never said they were on military bases.

I did say this:
"If I were a soldier or family living on a military base I would be praying that EVERYBODY has their eyes and ears open. While it may be primarily the FBI’s job to collect information, they are also running around the world profiling serial killers and every other nutball terrorist."
Nor did I say this:
"hey, what the heck"
Nor did I say this:
"Funny, you’d not want the FBI planning the next war, but you’re fine with the DoD doing the FBI’s job when their own regs say they aren’t authorized to do so (and for very good reasons)."


I think if you open your eyes and ears for a small, tiny, little second you might realize that this is an unclear issue for many people. I am not a complete nincompoop that thinks it’s ok for the Government or anyone else to break the law. This law (and many others) is evidently not as black and white as you claim. You, of course, have an opinion too. You just don’t have to treat people that don’t agree with you like they’re morons and not worthy of an opinion.

***I don’t agree that it’s only the FBI’s job to collect information. If the President, who knows much more information than you or me, determines there is a potential threat, he has not only the right but the responsibility to investigate!

Mr. Bush’s executive order allowing some warrantless eavesdropping on those inside the United States - including American citizens, permanent legal residents, tourists and other foreigners - is based on classified legal opinions that assert that the president has broad powers to order such searches, derived in part from the September 2001 Congressional resolution authorizing him to wage war on Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups...


***I’m glad they collected the data. Did you notice that it saved the Brooklyn Bridge and Lord knows how many innocent people that might have been on it? This is another one of my imaginary friends right?

Several officials said the eavesdropping program had helped uncover a plot by Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker and naturalized citizen who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting Al Qaeda by planning to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with blowtorches. What appeared to be another Qaeda plot, involving fertilizer bomb attacks on British pubs and train stations, was exposed last year in part through the program...


***What about Timothy McVeigh? Just a good ole’ citizen deserving privacy? One of my imaginary friends? I wish they had been watching him too! He sure as heck wasn’t worried about the rights of the people he murdered!

***I don’t care if the Jane Fondas of the world are on military bases or in Podunk, USA living with a clan of militant circus elephants. If you were the guy in the POW camp getting the living crap beaten out you because of their stupid, unmonitored, "peaceful" dung, how free would you feel then? She isn’t worried about the rights of my father or any other soldier fighting for the freedom of United States of America citizens! You want to worry about protecting her from simply being monitored when she shoved her face in front of the world and disgraced everything our country is based on?
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
Nor did I say this:

"hey, what the heck"


No Lucy, that’s what you implied as I indicated.

I don’t agree that it’s only the FBI’s job to collect information.

Nor do I, however for the DoD they are only allowed to collect information on DoD employees, terrorists or US citizens who they reasonably believe are under the influence of a foreign intelligence service. That’s their regulation, not mine.

The post is about their unauthorized collection of information on US citizens who don’t fit those categories.

I’m glad they collected the data. Did you notice that it saved the Brooklyn Bridge and Lord knows how many innocent people that might have been on it? This is another one of my imaginary friends right?

In that case they were correct in collecting it since the fellow was obviously a terrorist (and, as I posted, their regs authorize that). Did you read the reg, Lucy, and if so, how’d you miss that?

So this example is a red herring.

What they’re not authorized to do, and is the subject of this post, is collect information or conduct surveillance on US citizens who aren’t terrorists or connected with foreign intelligence services. They’re apparently doing that anyway.

Clear yet?

What about Timothy McVeigh? Just a good ole’ citizen deserving privacy? One of my imaginary friends? I wish they had been watching him too! He sure as heck wasn’t worried about the rights of the people he murdered!

He’s actually one of the guys they were AUTHORIZED to watch since his activity can be termed nothing less that terroristic, no?

I don’t care if the Jane Fondas of the world are on military bases or in Podunk, USA living with a clan of militant circus elephants. If you were the guy in the POW camp getting the living crap beaten out you because of their stupid, unmonitored, "peaceful" dung, how free would you feel then?

I’d probably feel exactly like one of the returning POWs felt when asked that very question. He said he didn’t like her or what she said but he’d defend to the death her right to say it.

Why don’t you tell him he’s all wet, Lucy. He apparently believes she has rights that he fought for... go figure.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
You don’t get to decide what I imply, McQ. You only get to decide how YOU interpret what I actually said. Just like those unclear laws, everything is NOT black and white and can be interpreted differently by different people!

They didn’t know Iyman Faris was obviously a terrorist until they collected data on him!!!!! THAT’S MY POINT!! When they were collecting the data, McQ, he was just an ordinary truck driver citizen not even near a military base!

How’d you miss that???

They didn’t know Timothy McVeigh was an obvious terrorist, McQ, until AFTER he blew up the building!!!

CLEAR YET???

And neither of them were DoD employees, terrorists or US citizens who they reasonably believed were under the influence of a foreign intelligence service at the time they collected the data.

And about the subject of this post:
HOW ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO KNOW IF THEY ARE TERRORISTS OR CONNECTED WITH FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE IF THEY CAN’T WATCH THEM?????

And no, McQ, I wouldn’t tell the POW he’s all wet. Digusting you would even say something like that. I actually respect the people who risk their lives to allow me to be free and in turn I will protect them as well. Jane Fonda supported the North Vietnamese, made broadcasts for them, and supported them in any way she could. Do you think if someone was broadcasting videos for Osama Bin Laden our Government wouldn’t be watching them like a hawk?????

How’s that workin for ya?
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
You don’t get to decide what I imply, McQ. You only get to decide how YOU interpret what I actually said.

That’s correct, Lucy and I interpret what you said as an implication. Get over it.

They didn’t know Iyman Faris was obviously a terrorist until they collected data on him!!!!! THAT’S MY POINT!! When they were collecting the data, McQ, he was just an ordinary truck driver citizen not even near a military base!

And Faris came to light because of his CONNECTIONS with terrorists. Hello:
Faris’ first links to al Qaeda came in late 2000 when he traveled with a longtime friend, who was an operative for the terror group, from Pakistan to Afghanistan, according to the court documents.

During a series of visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Faris was introduced to bin Laden and at least one senior operational leader, who gave Faris his orders for when he returned to the United States.
How’d you miss that???

Apparently it’s not me missing things, Lucy.

They didn’t know Timothy McVeigh was an obvious terrorist, McQ, until AFTER he blew up the building!!!

That’s really not the point, is it Lucy. The point is had they found out about his activities they were AUTHORIZED by their own regs to conduct surveillance on him because of his terroristic activities.

You really don’t get what this is about do you?

HOW ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO KNOW IF THEY ARE TERRORISTS OR CONNECTED WITH FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE IF THEY CAN’T WATCH THEM?????

The same way they came to learn about your buddy Faris. You CONNECT them through links with KNOWN TERROISTS or known FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE services.

Then you have the "REASONABLE BELIEF" that they’re engaged in certain activities which your regulations give you authority to investigate.

See, not that hard is it?

Jane Fonda supported the North Vietnamese, made broadcasts for them, and supported them in any way she could. Do you think if someone was broadcasting videos for Osama Bin Laden our Government wouldn’t be watching them like a hawk?????

Still haven’t read the reg, have you Lucy? Who is OBL? What is he considered? What does the reg authorize?

How’s that workin for ya?

I’m doing fine with it since it seems I, unlike you, understand the point of the post and also understand when DoD is authorized to take certain actions and when they’re not. I also seem to be the only one in this conversation who’s unwilling to let them spy on US citizens without the probable cause their own regs require they invoke.

Which brings me back to your implication of "hey, what the heck". Seems a pretty valid interpretation at this time.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Ahhh, if only the law was as clear as you think it is. We wouldn’t need lawyers at all!

Still your way or the highway... Well, highway for me. I’ll move back to the real blogs where opinions are at least considered.

Next time, instead of opening a blog, why don’t you just go write for the WaPo with the rest of the holier-than-thou, government-paranoid, ego-nuts and skip over asking for opinions that you didn’t really want to hear?
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
Well, highway for me. I’ll move back to the real blogs where opinions are at least considered.

Heh ... I spent two day and how many comments on you and you claim your opinion wasn’t at least considered?

Yeah, you move back to the echo chamber where everyone will agree with you and never a contrary opinion is given. You can call those real blogs if you wish.

Next time, instead of opening a blog, why don’t you just go write for the WaPo with the rest of the holier-than-thou, government-paranoid, ego-nuts and skip over asking for opinions that you didn’t really want to hear?

Next time why don’t you read more than one post on a blog and think you have it all figured out, eh?

Oh, and I don’t comment on things I choose to ’skip’ or ’don’t want to hear’. But a rational person would know that.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
If this Lucy went away thinking that McQ is "government-paranoid" than maybe McQ isn’t as neo-con as he usually appears.

Still don’t know what you’re talking about, eh Book.

Now there’s a surprise.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
At least two ... which makes it a relatively slow week.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ;

WaPo is governmentally paranoid?
WHat version is HE reading?

I mean, if Bush is running the place, yeah, but past that.....


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
"And the total number of readers McQ ran off insulted this week is ____ ?"
Hey, Bookie!, I thought you had a problem with ad hominem? Now you are after McQ. I guess it is just those other bastards, eh?
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://

 
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