Showing posts with label FBI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FBI. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Much to remember

Pardon me if I'm a little bit offended by the traitor-in-chief invoking the memory of D-Day to seem vaguely "presidential."

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Operator? Information. Get me Obama on the line.

A journalism professor of mine at Louisiana State used to tell us that every time he made an international call, he'd always close with "And greetings to the good people at the NSA!"

Because, of course, everybody knew the National Security Agency was eavesdropping on most, if not all, overseas telephone calls in search of Russkie spies, pinko security threats or whatnot. It was the Cold War, after all.

Today, things are different. After more than a decade of the endless -- and endlessly amorphous -- War on Terror, we need to be closing every phone call with "And greetings to the good people at the NSA, the FBI and whomever else in the U.S. government might be listening in!"

As a convenience to its land-line and cellular customers, maybe Verizon could just insert that friendly "Greetings to our federal overlords!" into the metadata for every call it handles. That's because the NSA, on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is collecting data on every call the phone company handles -- which would be yours, if you're a customer.

And, as a courtesy to my friendly, neighborhood G-man, that Verizon cell-phone call made to the Mighty Favog by Abu Missus last night at 8:51 p.m., was to see whether I needed anything else from CVS. No radioactive iodine or ammonium nitrate was involved, I swear.

But if you show up at the door, I'm gonna lawyer up like a son of a bitch before you can ship me off to Guantanamo.

ANYWAY, confirmation of our present political-freedom-cannot-withstand-a-never-ending-state-of-war moment has been brought to you by The Guardian, the left-wing British daily. Not, I note, by any American newspaper -- liberal, conservative or conflicted:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government's domestic spying powers.

Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.

The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.

The Guardian approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday. All declined. The agencies were also offered the opportunity to raise specific security concerns regarding the publication of the court order.

The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI's request for its customers' records, or the court order itself.

"We decline comment," said Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman.

The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compels Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of "all call detail records or 'telephony metadata' created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad" or "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls".
I THINK we now understand exactly what all that "change" President Obama promised us in 2008 was all about.

It means that the New Boss is pretty much the same as the Old Boss, except that he's black, is from Chicago, plays basketball instead of riding a bicycle and is more better well-spoken. Frankly, it would take an extraordinary man to roll back the fascistic powers the modern American president has amassed since Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex back in 1960.

Barack Obama ain't that extraordinary. Like most of low-down, rotten humanity, the man craves power like a hog loves slop.

You might want to think about that before clamoring for yet another battle to fight on the global stage (Syria, anyone? Iran, perhaps?) -- yet another pretext to send more young Americans home in plastic bags, yet another pretext to turn you into a little bit more of a subject instead of a citizen.

And people were worried about "Obamacare."

Friday, March 26, 2010

As feds move in, snitches get . . . sued?

If not for the tireless efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice, Louisiana would. . . .

Sorry, finishing that lede would take my imagination to places no man's imagination should have to go. The U.S. State Department would have to issue urgent "travel advisories."

So, without scaring ourselves by speculating on a Gret Stet without ongoing, massive intervention by the feds, let's just say the dance card of Justice lawyers and FBI agents just picked up one more two-step. And it all has to do with the "proactive policing" Baton Rouge cops engaged in after Hurricane Katrina.

NATURALLY, the locals have taken offense at the offense taken by New Mexico and Michigan troopers over Baton Rouge cops' "law enforcement" practices after the storm, accounts of which -- more than four years later -- have led to the federal civil-rights investigation. Today's story in The Advocate has this choice passage:
Asked why law enforcement officers from other states would lie about what they saw Baton Rouge police doing, LeDuff has said he suspects the troopers wanted to be where the action was.

“Everybody who came here wanted to be in New Orleans, where all of this was going on, to rescue, to stop the looting, to stop the people from shooting at helicopters,” he has said. “I don’t think people wanted to come to Baton Rouge. We weren’t the story.

Cpl. Cleveland Thomas, one of the officers disciplined because of the troopers’ complaints, told Police Department investigators the allegations lodged against him were false and the New Mexico officer made them because he was “scared and wanted to go home.”

Olson, the New Mexico spokesman, said Thursday he found the comments in the newspaper’s story “very disturbing” and “that clearly is not the case.”

He said his officers volunteered to leave their families and jobs to come help the people of Louisiana and that “it’s difficult when baseless accusations like that are made.”

Olson said he hopes the U.S. Justice Department has a “thorough and successful” investigation.

He added he’s heard from various Baton Rouge media outlets that the Baton Rouge Union of Police Local 237 is considering filing a lawsuit against his agency because of the complaints it filed against the Police Department.

Chris Stewart, president of the police union, said during the March 24 “Jim Engster Show” on WRKF radio that the union is “researching every possible avenue that we can pursue in order to clear the names of our officers.”

“If it involves a lawsuit, then we are going to do that,” Stewart said on the radio show. “We are waiting now for our attorneys to come back with some decisions or opinions.”

Stewart told WAFB-TV on March 23 that “to be called racist and just rogue cops and all the allegations that were made, it’s offensive to us to be called this. We needed to clear the air with the public as best we can.”
BASICALLY, what we have here is the bizarre confluence of a total breakdown in "Southern hospitality" and Baton Rouge cops internalizing the ghetto code of "snitches get stitches." Being that a) the Yankee cops went home long ago and b) the feds are watching, the locals are considering trying to, alternatively, just shake down the "snitches" in a court of law.

Or what passes for one in the Gret Stet.

After reading the Advocate piece, my wife and I were discussing our shared incredulity at Baton Rouge's official incredulity that outsiders might say awful things about how its Bubbas in blue roll down there on the bayou.

That's when it occurred to me that my wife's incredulity stems from being a native Midwesterner, and that mine stems from, after 20-plus years up here, having turned into one myself. "My God," I told her, "they think they're normal!"

OF COURSE they do. They think it's not only normal to harass and "beat down" whom they please when they please -- and, to be fair, this isn't a Louisiana-only cop pathology -- but that it's absolutely incredible that anyone would take exception, which pretty much is a Bayou State pathology.

And, hell, that might be absolutely normal--
in a Caribbean, banana republic-y kind of way -- except for that little Louisiana Purchase thing a couple of centuries back. But this ain't Haiti, and it ain't In the Heat of the Night, either.

It's the United States.
It's 2010. And, God willing, the Justice Department will be pointing out to the special-ed students of constitutional democracy -- yet again -- that's just not how we Americans roll nowadays.