If, like me, you’ve wondered how the hell Al Sharpton has stayed out of jail, now we know. He was an informant for the FBI.
Category Archives: FBI
That Lone No Vote
If you’re wondering who cast that lone “no” Senate vote against James Comey for FBI Director, it was Rand Paul.
The CIA is prohibited from doing domestic surveillance.
Yet, the NYT has a front-page story* about four CIA officers who were embedded with the New York City police. In response to a FOIA request, the Times got a declassified executive summary of a CIA Inspector General report from December 2011 about this relationship, which apparently occurred between 2002 and 2012. They say it isn’t going on now, but how the hell do we know who and what to believe anymore?
* “C.I.A. Sees Concerns on Ties to New York Police,” Charlie Savage
The Scary FISA Court
From “For secretive surveillance court, rare scrutiny in wake of NSA leaks,” Peter Wallsten, Carol D. Leonnig and Alice Crites, WaPo:
“The public is getting a peek into the little-known workings of a powerful and mostly invisible government entity. And it is seeing a court whose secret rulings have in effect created a body of law separate from the one on the books — one that gives U. S. spy agencies the authority to collect bulk information about Americans’ medical care, firearms purchases, credit card usage and other interactions with business and commerce, according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore).”
Hong Kong to Obama — Go F*** Yourself
From Hong Kong’s statement on Edward Snowden’s departure:
“Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the Hong Kong Government requested additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government’s request met relevant legal conditions.
“As the Hong Kong Government did not yet have sufficient information to process the request, there was no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.
“At the same time, it has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. It will follow up on the matter, to protect the legal rights of people of Hong Kong.”
Snowden Flees Hong Kong, in Moscow
NSA leaker Edward Snowden, having been charged with espionage by the U. S., has left Hong Kong for Moscow with the help of WikiLeaks. Moscow apparently is a stopover on the way to his next destination. Some reports say he is going to Ecuador, others say Venezuela via Cuba, while Iceland is also still in the mix.
He faces 30 years in prison (and perhaps more, if counts are added to the existing indictment) if he is extradicted back to the U. S. He does not face the death penalty.
Perhaps we could offer Putin championship rings from the NBA, NHL, and MLB in exchange for Snowden.
Ecuador has confirmed a request for asylum.
Know Your Surveillance Programs
The NSA has four data collection programs. Two collect “metadata,” and they are MAINWAY for phones and MARINA for the Internet. The other two collect content, and they are NUCLEON for phone calls and PRISM for the Internet.
For more, see “U.S. surveillance architecture includes collection of revealing Internet, phone metadata,” Barton Gellman, WaPo
In defending the NSA’s broad surveillance of all of us, out-going FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress that one of those programs identified Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s friend in Florida after the Boston Marathon bombings.
Yeah, they found him after the bombings. And they killed him even though he was unarmed. Great example.
Shoot the Messenger
So the broad reaction in Congress, both Dem and GOP, to Edward Snowden’s leaks is not that we need less spying on us, it’s that we need less contractor access to classified info.
For more, see “A Promise of Changes For Access to Secrets,” David E. Sanger and Jeremy W. Peters, NYT
Quote of the Day 2
“In a democracy, people are entitled to know what techniques are being used by the government to spy on them, how the records are being held, and for how long, who will have access to them, and the safeguards in place to prevent abuse. Only then can they evaluate official claims that the correct balance between fighting terrorism and preserving individual liberty has been struck, and decide if they are willing to accept diminished privacy and liberty. If Americans have been slow to recognize the dangerous overreach of the N.S.A.’s phone surveillance, it is largely because they have scant information to judge the government’s conduct.”
“The Alarming Age of Surveillance,” NYT Editorial Board
I would add that we also have to know how successful the surveillance is, if it’s really stopping terrorist acts. If it’s not accomplishing anything, obviously we haven’t struck the right balance because we’re giving up something without getting anything in return.