Tag Archives: Police State

Are Oklahoma Cops Using Spy Cams to Become Super Snoopers?

Kaye Beach

June 16, 2012

Two police agencies (to my knowledge) in Oklahoma are now using Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR).  The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department and the Shawnee Police Department.

LINK

These cameras snap photographs of license plates and store the image along with the vehicle’s registration data plus the time date and location of every vehicle captured. ALPR can be mounted on police vehicles or in a fixed location and they can capture thousands of license plates per hour.

Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz is very excited about his new surveillance technology for the same reason Oklahomans should be concerned.

“For investigating, it will be phenomenal,” Frantz said. Link

ALPR is great for spotting stolen vehicles or wanted criminals but they also capture the information of completely innocent drivers.  If the information captured on non-offending drivers was immediately discarded then the concern would not be so great but that is not what is happening.  Without proper rules in place, this potentially valuable tool becomes nothing less than a nationwide tracking system.

As I have written about recently, the information is being used by a private company, Vigilant Video, to build an enormous database, the National Vehicle Location Service (NLVS).   As a private corporation Vigilant Video is not bound to any privacy requirements which (somewhat) restrain governmental entities and yet police departments nationwide are both supplying and utilizing the NLVS database.

You can watch Vigilant Video’s ticker that reveals how many records have been consumed by their national database here.  At the moment of this writing the count was 669, 699,058.

If you follow the link to view the ticker, be sure to look at the other products this company is offering.

Line Up” certainly caught my attention.

LineUp collects face images, detection times and “entire human” (full body) images — then catalogs all human face events into a centralized database. Using the LineUp Event Search, you can enter a suspect image into the system — and instantly search through a time-based history of every possible match.

This isn’t an issue of lack of privacy in public. We cannot stop ourselves from being viewed or photographed once we enter the public sphere. ALPR collecting, storing and sharing of this data is more properly understood to be much more than a simple sighting in public-it’s an investigation. (More on that aspect here)

The Electronic Police State

An electronic police state is characterized by state use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens.

The information gathered under an electronic police state is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial. It is gathered universally (“preventively”) and only later organized for use in prosecutions.

In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every email sent, every Internet site surfed, every post made, every check written, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping…are all criminal evidence, and all are held in searchable databases. The individual can be prosecuted whenever the government wishes.

Link

I consider it to be an assault on my autonomy as a free, independent and law abiding citizen to be entered into a tracking database.   It may surprise you to know that although I am a law abiding person, I still have plenty I would like to hide from the government.  I don’t want them to know where I go to church, who I associate with, what political events I attend or where I get my nails done.  Even though I am not doing anything wrong-they are- and it is none of their damn business! 

Lots of people have plenty to hide that is still no business whatsoever of the police or any of their cronies that they might be persuaded to share this info with.   If you happen to go to AA, have a sweetie on the side or are a politician (hello!)-you should be especially concerned and more than a little creeped out.

The only reason to track and monitor anything is for control so what does that tell you about the collection of this type of information on all of us?

I suggest that residents of Shawnee and Oklahoma County contact their Police Chief or Sheriff and ask a few questions about how this data is being used.

You have a right to receive from your chief law enforcement official;

  • A copy of their data policy and privacy policy governing ALPR’s
  • Any documents showing how the collected plate data is stored, shared and/or deleted
  • Any auditing requirements the department has to ensure appropriate data privacy, and to discover and punish any abuse of the system.

You should be able to get this information by simply requesting it.  I say “should.” It may not be that simple in which case you will want to structure your request to include reminders of Oklahoma’s Open Records Act.  Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this.  Use a template!

Oklahoma Open Records request template

http://journalism.okstate.edu/faculty/jsenat/requestletter.htm

About OK Open Records Act

http://andylester.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=3Yx2gpCgJBM%3D&tabid=81

Autonomy  is “The desire to avoid being manipulated or dominated wholly by others.

… Loss of autonomy means loss of our capacity to control our own  life

It also would be a good idea for anyone who is concerned about their privacy or autonomy to contact their local police or sheriff’s department and ask if they have or are considering using ALPR and let them know that you will cause a ruckus if they use this technology inappropriately.

Data should not be retained or shared on innocent motorists!

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The Palo Alto Police State

An electronic police state is characterized by this:

State use of electronic technologies to record, organize,
search and distribute forensic evidence against its
citizens.
The two crucial facts about the information gathered under an electronic
police state are these:
1. It is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial.
2. It is gathered universally and silently, and only later organized for
use in prosecutions.
In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every
email you send, every Internet site you surf, every post you make, every
check you write, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all
criminal evidence, and they are held in searchable databases, for a long,
long time.

From “The Electronic Police State”

New East Palo Alto license plate readers will run plates through crime databases

By Joshua Adam Hicks | 30 Nov 2010

By the new year, the East Palo Alto Police Department will be using automatic license plate readers to identify law breakers.

The City Council has agreed to pay for the new devices – including two sets of high-speed cameras and sophisticated computers – with a $37,540 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Police can use the technology to compare license plates with various crime databases. East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald Davis said his department will only use it to check for stolen cars and vehicles that are wanted in connection with a crime.

Read More

Our  Big Brother buddies at the IACP have been pumping this.

Like I have said:

If you want to know what your government to going to do to you next, then keep your eye on the IACP

And Oklahoma’s Turnpike Authority is leading the charge for a “License Plate Interoperability Hub”

So what’s the problem?

Here’s one for you;

Family Terrorized Due to Switched License Plate

Paid for with federal grants

May 7th, 2010 AxXiom for Liberty Show Notes -The Cameras are Coming DOWN!

The Rule of Law Radio Network

AxXiom for Liberty

May 7th, 2010 Show #6

The Cameras are Coming DOWN!

Shawn Dow, Chairman of AZ Citizens AGAINST Photo Enforcement

And

Jeff Greenspan 2nd Vice Chair of the Maricopa GOP

with analysis of SB 1070

also

Chad Dornsife, Best Highways Safety Practices

SHOW NOTES

Fusion Center (spying) Report on CA Open Carry Group

http://www.scribd.com/doc/30822878/Fusion-Center-spying-Report-on-CA-Open-Carry-Group


Oklahoma legislative issues;

https://axiomamuse.wordpress.com/oklahoma-events-2/

National Legislation

S 2820 “Preserving Records of Terrorists & Criminal Transactions Act of 2009″

“Its not a work of art” says King

Senate Hearing Promotes Anti-American Watchlist Bills   Friday, May 07, 2010

Since September 11, 2001, it’s been clear that terrorists who hate America will exploit our weaknesses in order to destroy us. This week, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg exploited Americans’ fear of terrorism to push their latest anti-gun proposal, and in doing so showed that they’re willing to destroy other parts of the Constitution, to choke its Second Amendment.

On Tuesday, as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Lieberman held a hearing to give Lautenberg and King the opportunity to promote their bills S.1317 and H.R.2159, to prohibit the possession of firearms by people on the FBI’s “terrorist watchlist,” and Lautenberg’s S. 2820, to maintain records of approved instant background check transactions for a minimum of 180 days. The watchlist bills further propose that a person seeking relief in court  from these new restrictions would be prevented from examining and challenging “evidence” against him, and that the judge deciding whether the person had been watchlisted for good reason be limited to summaries and redacted versions of such “evidence.”

http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=5807

_________

Aaron Titus Testimony: Terrorist Watch List and Second Amendment Rights (Video- 4th panelist)

http://www.libertycoalition.net/aaron-titus-testimony-terrorist-watch-list-and-sec

Great response to S 1317 and S. 2820

Written Statement of the Liberty Coalition on

“Terrorists and Guns: The Nature of the Threat and Proposed Reforms”

Today’s hearing examines two bills, S.1317 “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009” and S.2820, “Preserving Records of Terrorists & Criminal Transactions Act of 2009” (“PROTECT Act of 2009”). In reality, these two bills should be re-named the “Gun Owners Are Probably Terrorists Act,” and the “National Firearm Registry Act,” respectively. Collectively these bills strip citizens of their enumerated Constitutional Right to Bear Arms without any meaningful due process, and create a national firearms registry. The same Constitutional Due Process provided by the 5th and 14th Amendments that prevents Congress from incarcerating a citizen based on mere suspicion also prevents Congress from revoking a citizen’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. For that and other reasons, the Liberty Coalition opposes these bills.

More importantly, today’s discussion misses the point entirely. This committee should not spend time debating whether to take away Terrorists’ guns, bombs, cell phones, cars, or other instruments of terrorism. If a person is a dangerous terrorist, then he should be thrown in jail. As a felon, convicted terrorists should not, and cannot under current law, own guns.

http://www.libertycoalition.net/written-statement-liberty-coalitionon-%E2%80%9Cterrorists-

also

http://gunowners.org/

__________________________________________________________________

Chad Dornsife http://www.BHSPI.com and http://www.Motoristsrights.com

Colter’s Guide to the Police States of America

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f48w4OGWCq8

Join and see the full video-http://www.motoristunion.org

WAR ROOMS
of the Street Surveillance Practices in Transportation Control Centers

________________________________________

Guest-Jeff Greenspan, AZ Maricopa County GOP 2nd Vice chairman

  • Referenced-Jeff’s Campaign for Liberty site with more information on SB 1070
  • Mark Lerner, The Constitutional Alliance


Campaign for Liberty: AZ Senate poised to turn you in to Homeland Security


Published 03/19/2010


The Arizona State Senate is considering two bills that will turn your driver’s license into a national ID card and share your personal information with the US Department of Homeland Security.

SB1070 and HB2632 are ostensibly anti-illegal immigration bills. As such, there are good things in there, such as elimination of sanctuary cities.

However, these bills have a sneak provision in them that turns the Arizona Driver’s License into a national ID. Section 2. 11-1051, subsections F.1-3. specifically require that the state obtain prior clearance from the US Department of Homeland Security before you can obtain or renew your Driver’s License. Additionally, it requires data exchange of your domicile information.

____________________________________________________________-

Shawn Dow Chairman of Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar

https://arizonacitizensagainstphotoradar.com

Camera Fraud

Should Arizona keep using photo radar cameras?

By Shawn Dow
Chairman/Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar

The people of Arizona have been lied to. They were sold a system that was set up to video record their vehicle on state roads and impose an unfair tax on driving. It had nothing to do with safety, although that was a clearly stated goal. It was completely about generating revenue, under the guise of safety.

Initially, the photo traffic enforcement system on Arizona freeways and interstates was installed and deployed after the state signed a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia in 2008. The contract stated that only drivers exceeding the speed limit by 11 mph or more would be “photographed.” There was no mention of continuous capture of every car on the road with video, which is what the fixed cameras are actually doing.

The term “photo radar” is a misnomer when referring to the fixed camera system, because it is actually video that is being taken. Even if it could be argued that the public has no right to privacy on state-owned roads, the system itself is tragically flawed and in fact, violates basic individual rights protected by the US and Arizona Constitutions.

Twenty years ago, if a state agency like the Arizona Department of Public Safety or a state official like the Governor had suggested that motorists should be video-taped twenty four hours a day, three hundred sixty five days a year, they would have been called “Communists.” Not only was deception used to spread the current system of photo traffic enforcement in Arizona, it is being used to excuse its continued presence in our country.


Read More;

http://stp.abc15.com/content/news/hearmeout/story/Hear-Me-Out-Should-Arizona-keep-using-photo-radar/04tUXY_TCEegCWwHVAWEBA.cspx?p=3


Arizona to eliminate speed cameras on highways

By PAUL DAVENPORT Associated Press Writer

May 6, 2010

Arizona is ending a groundbreaking and contentious program that put speed cameras along Phoenix-area freeways and in vans deployed across the state.

Opponents have argued the cameras open the door for wider “Big Brother” surveillance and are more about making money than safety. The program has been the target of an initiative measure proposed for the November ballot.

Even Gov. Jan Brewer has said she doesn’t like the cameras, and her intention to end the program was first disclosed in her January budget proposal. That was followed by a non-renewal letter sent by the Arizona Department of Public Safety this week to the private company that runs the program.

Scottsdale-based Redflex said Thursday that the 36 fixed cameras will be turned off and the 40 vans taken off highways on July 16, the day after its state contract expires.

[. . .]Shawn Dow, a leader of the initiative campaign, welcomed the decision to end the program but said the drive’s organizers still plan to file petition signatures on the July 1 deadline to qualify it for the November ballot.

The end of the state program does not affect local governments’ use of cameras for speed enforcement, but the proposed ballot measure would prohibit state and local governments from using cameras for both speed violations and red-light running.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/06/1929778/arizona-to-eliminate-speed-cameras.html#ixzz0nDfbizHF

Initiative : Wording

The Summary:

This initiative measure serves to preserve the balance between the rights of individuals and the need for effective law enforcement. This initiative measure prohibits the issuance or filing of traffic related citations for alleged violations that were detected through the use of photo radar and other photo enforcement equipment. This initiative measure keeps the enforcement of our laws in the hands of trained law enforcement officers who are authorized by the people of Arizona, protects the citizens of Arizona from the abuses that accompany the outsourcing of law enforcement to private, for-profit corporations and ensures that the purpose of law enforcement remains to serve and protect and not to generate revenue for governments.

Initative Measure – Full Wording:

http://arizonacitizensagainstphotoradar.com/about.asp

_____

Arizona: The Surveillance State

March 4, 2010 – 6:00 AM | by: Douglas Kennedy

For years Arizona has been known as the “sunset state,” but lately some residents simply call it the “surveillance state.”

“They track us everywhere we go,” says Phoenix resident Shawn Dow. “It’s unbelievable. I can’t go anywhere and not have a camera tracking me.”

Dow is now trying to change all that with a ballot initiative this November that would ban all ticket cameras in Arizona.

“I’m tired of being constantly watched,” he said. We’re all being tracked like cattle.”

In 2007, Arizona became the first state in the country to install ticket cameras state-wide, meaning there are cameras on most state highways; there are cameras at many intersections; and there are camera-vans videotaping on side streets.

The owner of any car caught going over the speed limit or running a red light receives a ticket by mail.

“This is all about safety,” says Jay Heiler, an executive at RedFlex, the company that manufacturers most of the state’s ticket cameras. “If you enforce traffic laws you are going to get more compliance with them, and when you get more compliance with traffic laws you get more safety.”

Read More; http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/04/arizona-the-surveillance-state/

Arizona Citizens AGAINST Photo Radar

  1. Safety. That fancy electronic box with a camera and flash bulb might catch a speeder or red-light runner, but it won’t pull over the speeder or red-light runner that’s drunk/high that heading towards your car at the next intersection. That’s why we have police officers.
  2. Privacy. We don’t believe the role of government is to spy on its citizens, no matter how well intentioned such a program might be. “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither,” said Ben Franklin, and we’re inclined to agree.
  3. Sovereignty. Imagine waking up one morning to see this Australian police car in your rear-view mirror on the Loop 101. Imagine the foreign-born officer walking up to your window and demanding your information from you. Then, imagine your outrage when he has the nerve to write YOU a citation, only to find out that your government has outsourced law enforcement to another nation. Such a scenario isn’t a dystopian future, but rather business-as-usual for the cities and state agencies that rely on Rexflex Group, the “Umbrella Corporation” of traffic control systems. And yes, they’re an Australian company.
  4. Due Process. When a police officer stops you and writes a ticket, he has to verify the person’s identity and make sure he gets his paperwork right in order for the ticket to stand up in court. In addition, you’re personally “served” the complaint by the police officer.With automated enforcement, cities and the state send you a copy of the ticket via mail, and according to their own laws such a mailing is not proper service. They instead hope you’ll incriminate yourself by responding to the complaint. Lets be clear: unless you voluntarily waive your rights and respond to some random solicitation in the mail, the only form of proper service for a photo radar ticket is to be served by a licensed and bonded process server. In fact, the notices sent in the mail usually threaten you into compliance, saying that if you don’t respond, you’ll have to pay for your own service if they choose to hire a process server!
  5. Cronyism. We’re all for free-market capitalism, but by commercializing law enforcement activities and awarding no-bid contracts to such companies, we’re rewarding mediocrity. Today it’s “just” traffic citations, tomorrow it could be Blackwater taking over the functions of the Mesa Police Department. When corporations and governments conspire against the will of the people, rights are lost and freedoms are destroyed.

http://arizonacitizensagainstphotoradar.com/default.asp


Breaking: The Redflex Freeway Cameras Are Coming Down

Just when the Arizona Summer Heat is hitting its peak, the motorists of this state will have a reason to celebrate. On July 1st, 2010 the contract between the Arizona DPS and Redflex Traffic Systems will expire and not be renewed. Redflex broke the news in a Press Release to the Australian Securities Exchange, dated May 6th, 2010.

[. . .]Regardless of the spin put on this story by Redflex or DPS, know that public opinion and the efforts of CameraFRAUD and Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar
played a major role in this decision. The work of our volunteers and the voices of our supporters are vital in the effort to ban the scam. In other words, your voice has been heard loud and clear.

We found a way to make 10% of the cameras come down and we won’t stop until the other 90% do as well.

Read more;

http://camerafraud.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/breaking-the-redflex-freeway-cameras-are-coming-down/#comment-20250

Press Release

CameraFRAUD and Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar To Hold Press Conference at 5 pm

[Phoenix, AZ] May 6th, 2010 – In reaction to the news that the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) will not renew their contract with Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia, to operate the state-wide freeway photo traffic enforcement system, a press conference will be held outside the Phoenician Resort in Phoenix at 5 p.m today.

The original contract was signed as part of a mandate in the 2008 state budget submitted by then Governor Janet Napolitano, who has since left to become Secretary of Homeland Security. The original intent was to install more than 200 fixed camera locations throughout Arizona freeways as well as deploy mobile units to snap photos of motorists in alleged violation of the speed limit. Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar formed shortly thereafter to protest the proliferation of these cameras citing that the program violated several protections in the Arizona and US Constitutions and had an abhorrent safety record.

The freeway contract ends officially on July 1st. Redflex will be removing the fixed cameras along with their metal housings and the mobile units will no longer be deployed. DPS has said that this move signals a change in direction for the focus of the department.

Posted April 16th


Scam Cams: Time To Declare Our Independence

Recent changes have been proposed to your state reps by Redflex that opens the path towards the automation and privatization of the judicial branch of government.

It’s amazing how much time has passed since a loose-knit group of rookies to politics gathered in early August of 2008 to discuss changes that were coming to our state.

The changes that came were more like a freight train in the night: the barking, stray-dog annoyance of a mere traffic-related topic, “photo radar,” was to turn into nothing less than a rabid pack of electronic vultures: the statewide construction of a surveillance network.

[. . ]And don’t be fooled: your State Representatives and Senators have made a clear, distinct decision to ignore the will of the people by not only permitting Redflex and American Traffic Solutions to continue their theft, but by subsidizing it.

[. . .]It’s become increasingly clear to this writer that the surveillance network of cameras that record video constantly and use automatic license plate recognition to track drivers is only the beginning.

Recent changes have been proposed to your state reps by Redflex that opens the path towards the automation and privatization of the judicial branch of government.

Arizona’s SB1443 and SB1018 allows Redflex to use uniformed police officers to act as private employees for the company’s “notices of violation” to be served. The real punchline to this sick joke that’s being played on our liberty is that the “papers” being served have, at this point, never been filed with an actual court of law.

The first thought that comes to mind is the contradictory nature of photo radar supposedly “freeing up officers” only to have those same officers getting paid overtime to hand deliver papers while wearing the full “color of law.”

…He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance…

The second, and more disturbing outcome of this arrangement is Redflex becoming, in essence, a private, foreign court: able to summon and “detain” a citizen with a hinderance of a neatly printed—and false– violation

[. . .] Simple. Redflex, American Traffic Solutions, IBM, and Xerox all have a vested interest in automating many “tedious” areas of the criminal justice system, and making a killing in the process. Municipal contracts are always seen as lucrative, and courts are no exception. Due process and “proper courtroom procedures” serve no purpose when the party being hindered becomes the state itself.

…He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws…

Read More;

http://camerafraud.wordpress.com/tag/american-traffic-solutions/

__

Photo Tickets Pad Campaign Coffers of Arizona Politicians


Arizona politicians have collected $36,265,795 in campaign cash from a tax on speeding tickets since 1999.

A tax levied on speeding tickets funds the re-election efforts of two-thirds of Arizona’s politicians and provides lawmakers with a personal financial incentive to protect controversial photo enforcement programs. In 1999, a ten percent surcharge was imposed on all traffic tickets to create the “Citizens Clean Election Fund.” The fund allows politicians to avoid tedious fundraising efforts.

After raising just $5 each from 220 people in a district, candidates for public office qualify for public financing money to match private expenditures. In effect, these lawmakers collect $16.50 for their campaigns each time a photo radar ticket is issued on an Arizona freeway.

This adds up to big money. In 2008, traffic tickets generated $10,095,771 in revenue for the clean elections fund. Out of this amount, $7,710,739 million was disbursed to lawmakers and candidates during the primary and general elections — an average of $72,063 each. In just the past four months, the new freeway speed camera program has already added another $3.3 million to the total amount collected for lawmakers. Over the past four election cycles, Arizona politicians collected a total of $36,265,795 in campaign cash from the tax on speeding tickets. Opponents of the state photo ticketing program are crying foul.

“Photo radar pays for politicians to get elected,” Shawn Dow, a volunteer for the activist group CameraFraud.com, told TheNewspaper. “Voters want the cameras gone but the politicians want them to stay since it pays for their election. This is the reason that the people believe our government is corrupt.”

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/27/2712.asp

____________________________________________

Arizona not monkeying with masked speeder

State cameras catch lead-footed driver 37 times, but he refuses to pay fines



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32806142/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/


Red Light Camera Studies Roundup
A collection of red light camera studies over the last decade shows red light cameras have serious side-effects. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp Updated 1/10

Over the past decade, a number of studies have examined the use of red light cameras. The most relevant studies examined the devices in light of changes in traffic and engineering conditions made at intersections during the study period and pulled actual police reports to examine the particular causes of each collision. The following studies are the most comprehensive available:

  • A 2008 University of South Florida report found:
    “Comprehensive studies conclude cameras actually increase crashes and injuries, providing a safety argument not to install them…. public policy should avoid conflicts of interest that enhance revenues for government and private interests at the risk of public safety.”
    Read a summary
    Full copy, 80k pdf
    Study author responds to criticisms
  • A 2007 Virginia Department of Transportation study found:
    “The cameras were associated with an increase in total crashes… The aggregate EB results suggested that this increase was 29%… The cameras were associated with an increase in the frequency of injury crashes… The aggregate EB results suggested an 18% increase, although the point estimates for individual jurisdictions were substantially higher (59%, 79%, or 89% increases) or lower (6% increase or a 5% decrease).”
    Read a summary
    Full copy, 1mb pdf
    Study author responds to criticisms
  • A 2006 Winnipeg, Canada city audit found:
    “The graph shows an increase of 58% in the number of traffic collisions from 2003 to 2004…. Contrary to long-term expectations, the chart shows an increase in claims at each level of damage with the largest percentage increase appearing at the highest dollar value.”
    Read a summary
    Full copy, 541k pdf
  • A 2005 Virginia DOT study found:
    “The cameras are correlated with an increase in total crashes of 8% to 17%.”
    Read a summary
    Full copy, 1.7mb pdf
  • In 2005, The Washington Post found:
    “The analysis shows that the number of crashes at locations with cameras more than doubled, from 365 collisions in 1998 to 755 last year. Injury and fatal crashes climbed 81 percent, from 144 such wrecks to 262. Broadside crashes, also known as right-angle or T-bone collisions, rose 30 percent, from 81 to 106 during that time frame.”
    Read a summary
    Full article on the Post website
  • A 2004 North Carolina A&T University study found:
    “Our findings are more pessimistic, finding no change in angle accidents and large increases in rear-end crashes and many other types of crashes relative to other intersections.”
    Read a summary
    Full copy, 1.7mb pdf
  • A 2003 Ontario Ministry of Transportation study found:
    “Compared to the average number of reported collisions occurring in the before period, the average yearly number of reported collisions increased 15.1 per cent in the after period.”
    Read a summary
    Full copy, 1.5mb pdf
  • A 1995 Australian Road Research Board study found:
    “The results of this study suggest that the installation of the RLC at these sites did not provide any reduction in accidents, rather there has been increases in rear end and adjacent approaches accidents on a before and after basis and also by comparison with the changes in accidents at intersection signals.”
    Read a summary
    Full copy, 2.4mb pdf
  • A 1995 Monash University (Australia) study found:
    “a simple correlation analysis was undertaken for red light running data in the current study and revealed no significant relationship between the frequency of crashes at RLC and non-RLC sites and differences in red light running behaviour.”
    Read a summary

Related Reports and Studies

The importance of the yellow warning signal time in reducing the instances of red light running is found in the following reports:

  • A 2004 Texas Transportation Institute study found:
    “An increase in yellow duration of 1.0 seconds is associated with a [crash frequency] of about 0.6, which corresponds to a 40 percent reduction in crashes.”
    Read a summary
    Full copy, 1.5mb pdf
  • A 2001 report by the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives found:
    “The changes in the yellow signal timing regulations have resulted in the inadequate yellow times. And these inadequate yellow times are the likely cause of almost 80 percent of red light entries.”
    Full version with summary

Twittering-Coordinated Mayhem (at the RNC)

 

I was in the bookstore and spotted this;

newface2

 

 

 

Naturally I was intrigued and bought the magazine.   Here is what I found inside;

Twitter.com and Coordinated Mayhem:

An Examination of the Incorporation of Twitter by the RNC Welcoming Committee

By Lance Lamoreaux


Introduction

There are myriads of threats that jeopardize peace and stability. Among these threats, the proliferation of extremism is a peril to civilized society. These extremist include, but are not limited to the following: religious, anarchists, anti-government, and anti-globalization. They operate both in the United States and abroad. Advances in technology and media have enabled extremists to broadcast their propaganda to an untold audience. These provocative messages have enticed a vulnerable following into discontent and action. Consider the riots that occurred during World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle, the Rwandan Genocide, and the recent rioting in Greece. Instability is increasing with the compounding of the economic crisis. The reality is that there are countless people being incited to violence and extremism through media manipulation. The fact that that these extremists are coordinating themselves through technology is especially frightening. There is one media source that combines both dissemination and coordination – Twitter.com.

http://www.iacsp.com/latest_article.php

The RNCWC effectively disrupted the RNC through careful organization. The RNC Welcoming Committee website has a link to a PowerPoint Presentation that meticulously outlines the group’s objectives, shares intelligence including maps, police statistics, government policies, Delegate hotels, and expresses communication procedures. On the slide labeled “Communications” is the following text:

* Will utilize .txtmob, so bring your cell phones
* Will offer scout trainings in the weeks leading up to the RNC
* Tin Can Comms Collective is developing a comms system
It appears that rather than using .txtmob(13), the RNCWC used Twitter as their communication system. One of the PowerPoint slides has a map that labels seven different sectors(14). On Twitter.com, there are seven corresponding sectors(15).

Furthermore, participants on the street sent text messages that were received by other members of that sector. With the information coming in from the other sectors, the dispatchers and street level participants were able to coordinate attacks, avoid arrests, and exploit security weaknesses.

There was one principal dispatcher that coordinated the action of the other sectors.

The Twitter profile was RNC08. The Twitter profile RNC08 had 537  people following its updates. The profile even had a link to the RNCWC’s website.  The link is irrefutable proof that the RNCWC used Twitter to coordinate their actions in St. Paul. 

Neat.  I was one of the 537 followers of RNC08.

 Does the ability to use a social networking tool earn me a designation of “extremist” or as an anarchist?

TheRNCWC’s website never makes any direct references to Twitter. Most likely the RNCWC’s organizers did not want law enforcement to be aware of their method of communication.

I’ll bet you are right about that.

 Their website did state that anarchist organizations wishing to participate should contact them through email. This is most likely when anarchists were informed of using Twitter to communicate.

Yep-I guess I am “one of them” by that logic.  Psst.  Hey Lance Lamoreaux (if that is your real name) there is this thing they have on Twitter called a search engine.  http://search.twitter.com/

If someone is attending an event and they use Twitter it wouldn’t be unusual to check and see if someone is referencing that event. i.e. a search for RNC will produce RNC08. BTW, I am a Republican, not an anarchist.

Twitter users (most of whom are not terrorist ahem -Carl Rove-) even have a crafty method of calling attention to particular subject matter by using “hashtags”.   By placing a hashtag before a term, users can add metadata to their Tweets.   Like this;

#SpyvSpy

You could use that tag whenever you wanted to highlight tweets that make reference to the methods and theories of subversion and if it catches on others would use it too making it easy to locate this kind of information among all the chatter on Twitter. 

Lance wraps up this way;

Conclusion

By applying Twitter, the RNCWC was able to coordinate mayhem and stay a step ahead of law enforcement. Twitter is an ideal means of communication for coordinating large amounts of people as it is free and able to broadcast messages to untold masses.

OMG!

Law enforcement in St. Paul did an exceptional job of gathering intelligence before the event. Their preparation and appropriate response effectively prevented the RNCWC from “crashing the party.” Law enforcement and security managers must continue to adapt and prepare for advances technology. Typically, information on MySpace and Twitter sites is relatively easy to infiltrate as computer “undercover” work is simplified. If security personal suspect an impending attack involving masses of people, it is essential that they monitor blogs and other social networking sites for information and insight.

Stability, peace, and order hang by a thread as anti-establishment rhetoric fills the information superhighway.

EEEK!

 Economic decline only exacerbates security threats posed

Twitter Terrorists?

Read the entire article here; Coordinated Mayhem

AFC examines the issue from a decidedly different perspective;

Social Networking” as Political Paranoia

As a subset of applied mathematics, social network theory purports to uncover hidden links and relationships amongst social groups and networks and has over time, become an invasive tool deployed by private- and state intelligence agencies against political activists

Having identified the RNC-WC as an enemy to be contained at all costs, HW cites the group’s open, legal political organizing, including obtaining “financial support” and “increased membership via the internet” as well as “public appearances at various locations across the US,” as a significant factor that rendered the group a legitimate target for surveillance and disruption

One can argue, as did the late civil liberties scholar Frank Donner, that the RNC-WC’s legal organizing made them doubly suspect in the eyes of securocrats. In so far as the group’s stated goal was to expose the “enormous amount of … horror and devastation currently experienced by the world and its peoples” by the Republican Party, their dissident stance transformed them into dangerous “others,” ripe pickings for “aggressive intelligence.” Donner wrote;

The FBI’s assertedly modest intelligence function as an early warning alert to prosecutors and a decision-making resource masks its true role as a weapon against threats to the existing order. Planned injury, implemented by an illegal autonomous system of power, explains domestic intelligence far more convincingly than either the “pure” or “preventative” intelligence thesis. Investigation and accumulation of information are at root merely the means to the ends of punishment, intimidation, frustration, and defeat of movements for change of any kind. (The Age of Surveillance, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980, p. 177)

 According to the theory, by monitoring the communication patterns between various targeted nodes, a networked structure is discernible, one amenable to infiltration and disruption by a security agency. Indeed, in the context of HW’s discourse social network- and link analysis was applied for mass surveillance of dissident groups such as the RNC-WC prior to the Republican Party National Convention.

And in order to buttress its charge that RNC-WC and related anarchist groups are intent on violent confrontations rather than hard-edged civil disobedience, HW ominously declares:

The community at large appears to be a decentralized network since it does not possess one central hub; however, it does possess several important hubs. Consequently, these networks are more difficult to disrupt due to their loose connections and easy ability to replace damaged or compromised nodes. As such, the national convention anarchists are following the pattern of most terror networks in this aspect. (HW, p. 5, emphasis added

Read the entire post at Antifascist Calling

 

Jason Ethier of Northeastern University, in his study of modern social network analysis, said the following of the the Scalable Social Network Analysis Program developed by the Information Awareness Office:

The purpose of the SSNA algorithms program is to extend techniques of social network analysis to assist with distinguishing potential terrorist cells from legitimate groups of people … In order to be successful SSNA will require information on the social interactions of the majority of people around the globe. Since the Defense Department cannot easily distinguish between peaceful citizens and terrorists, it will be necessary for them to gather data on innocent civilians as well as on potential terrorists.

This powerpoint explains the network analysis visually;

advise gss2005_5484

The internet is a remarkable tool for communications of any kind, there is nothing mysterious or insidious about taking advantage of the opportunities it presents to do what mankind has been doing ever since the creation of language-communicating.

If doing that is suspect, well, then we are all in a heap of trouble then aren’t we?

 

More about Twitter;

14301084-DigiActive-Guide-to-Twitter-for-Activism

twitter_cheat_sheets

 

Wikileaks-US Army Concept of Operations for Police Intel Ops

Spying on anti-war protestors: US Army Concept of Operations for Police Intelligence Operations,

Download leaked DOC. http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Spying_on_anti-war_protestors:_US_Army_Concept_of_Operations_for_Police_Intelligence_Operations%2C_4_Mar_2009

4 Mar 2009 May5, 2009
Summary

The document presents a 60 page For Official Use Only intelligence manual from the US Army’s Military Police School. Among other matters, the document reveals that the US Army is using structuring tricks to work around intelligence oversight rules that would normally prevent domestic spying and hoarding of data on anti-war protesters (bolding by WikiLeaks):

A CONUS [CONtinental UNited States] based PIO [military Police Intelligence Operations] network that is integrated with local, county, regional, state and federal, law enforcement entities will ensure a federated approach to enable a unified effort for defense support to civil authorities…[including] data exchange…[and the] production of [travel] blacklists…
An [intelligence] fusion cell located within the garrison staff provides a unique service that can address the complexities of the threat to a military community and installation and be an asset to the garrison and local civilian community. It has the ability to work closely with multiple local, federal, and DoD agencies. It does not have constraints that are emplaced on MI [Military Intelligence] activities within the US, because it operates under the auspice and oversight of the police discipline and standards. At the garrison level, the fusion cell is static (non‐deploying) which provides a level of continuity that allows for in‐depth institutional knowledge of threat, physical and social environs, as well as long‐term relationships with local and federal law enforcement agencies. A garrison fusion cell can also be a flexible analytical cell that can grow to form focused, ad hoc, threat‐specific cells to address, prevent or react to a specific hazard.
Vignette: A Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) was preparing to move equipment to a port of embarkation (POE) for deployment. The shipment required the movement of 300 vehicles across eight law enforcement jurisdictions. Based on previous threat fusion expertise, the garrison’s force protection (FP) fusion cell was uniquely qualified to be the lead intelligence producer to support the movement. The fusion cell coordinated police information, intelligence and civilian security with over 22 local, federal, and DoD agencies. The fusion cell produced in‐depth analysis of the threat to the SBCT equipment and advised the SBCT and garrison commanders on protection. The coordinated effort gave law enforcement agencies the knowledge to identify and prevent disruptive actions by violent protesters. The operation was considered by Corps leadership to be a watershed event for in‐depth involvement of a garrison‐based FP fusion cell in support of unit deployments. Moreover, the Corps headquarters integrated the fusion cell into other operations where the G2 is constrained by intelligence oversight rules, or there is a need for police information / intelligence assessments and analysis. A fusion cell is valuable when separate data streams, information sources, or other disparate information from multiple organizations must be combined and analyzed in a coherent process to present a common operational picture for a decision maker.

‘Fusion Centers’ Expand Criteria to Identify Militia Members

‘Fusion Centers’ Expand Criteria to Identify Militia Members

Do you like Ron Paul or oppose abortion? You may be a member of a militia, according to a new report by a government information collection agency.

That’s according to “The Modern Militia Movement,” a report by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), a government collective that identifies the warning signs of potential domestic terrorists for law enforcement communities.

“Due to the current economical and political situation, a lush environment for militia activity has been created,” the Feb. 20 report reads. “Unemployment rates are high, as well as costs of living expenses. Additionally, President Elect Barrack [sic] Obama is seen as tight on gun control and many extremists fear that he will enact firearms confiscations.”

MIAC is one of 58 so-called “fusion centers” nationwide that were created by the Department of Homeland Security, in part, to collect local intelligence that authorities can use to combat terrorism and related criminal activities. More than $254 million from fiscal years 2004-2007 went to state and local governments to support the fusion centers, according to the DHS Web site.

During a press conference last week in Kansas City, Mo., DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano called fusion centers the “centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing” in the future.

“Let us not forget the reason we are here, the reason we have the Department of Homeland Security and the reason we now have fusion centers, which is a relatively new concept, is because we did not have the capacity as a country to connect the dots on isolated bits of intelligence prior to 9/11,” Napolitano said, according to a DHS transcript.

“That’s why we started this…. Now we know that it’s not just the 9/11-type incidents but many, many other types of incidents that we can benefit from having fusion centers that share information and product and analysis upwards and horizontally.”

But some say the fusion centers are going too far in whom they identify as potential threats to American security.

People who supported former third-party presidential candidates like Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr are cited in the report, in addition to anti-abortion activists and conspiracy theorists who believe the United States, Mexico and Canada will someday form a North American Union.

“Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups,” the report reads. “It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material.”

Other potential signals of militia involvement, according to the report, are possession of the Gagsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag or the widely available anti-income tax film “America: Freedom to Fascism.”

Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, told FOXNews.com that he’s taking steps to get his name removed from the report, which he said could actually “dilute the effectiveness” of law enforcement agencies.

“It can subject people to unwarranted and inappropriate monitoring by the government,” he said. “If I were the governor of Missouri, I’d be concerned that law enforcement agencies are wasting their time and effort on such nonsense.”

Barr said his office has received “several dozen” complaints related to the report.

Mary Starrett, communications director for the Constitution Party, said Baldwin, the party’s 2008 presidential candidate, was “outraged” that his name was included in the report.

“We were so astounded by it we couldn’t believe it was real,” Starrett told FOXNews.com. “It’s painting such a large number of people with a broad brush in a dangerous light.”

Michael German, national security policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the report “crosses the line” and shows a disregard for civil liberties.

“It seems to implicate people who are engaging in First Amendment protected activities and suggest that something as innocuous as supporting a political candidate for office would mean that you’re harboring some ill-intent,” German told FOXNews.com. “It’s completely inappropriate.”

German � who claims the number of fusion centers nationwide is closer to 70 � said the centers present several troubling concerns, including their excessive secrecy, ambiguous lines of authority, the use of data mining and military participation.

“No two are alike,” German said. “And these things are expanding rapidly.”

But MIAC officials defended their report, saying it’s not a basis for officers to take enforcement action.

“These reports sometimes mention groups or individuals who are not the subject of the document, but may be relevant to describing tendencies or trends concerning the subject of the document,” MIAC said in a statement.

“For example, a criminal group may use a particular wire service to transfer funds, but the mention of that wire service does not imply that it is part of that group, or a criminal enterprise. Nor does it imply that all individuals who use that service are engaged in criminal activity.”

The statement continues, “We are concerned about the mischaracterizations of a document following its recent unauthorized release and we regret that any citizens were unintentionally offended by the content of the document.”

Donny Ferguson, a spokesman for the Libertarian Party, said he was concerned by the report’s “poor choice of words,” among other things.

“Unfortunately it is so broadly worded it could be interpreted as saying millions of peaceful, law-abiding Americans are involved in dangerous activities. These mistakes happen and we hope Missouri officials will correct the report,” Ferguson wrote in an e-mail. “The Libertarian Party promotes the common-sense policies of fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. We are the only party in America who makes opposition to initiating violence a condition of membership.”

Bob McCarty, a St. Louis resident who blogged about the MIAC report, said he’s afraid he may be targeted, since he’s previously sold Ron Paul-related merchandise.

“[The report] described me, so maybe I need to get a gun and build a shack out in the woods,” McCarty said facetiously. “It’s certainly an attempt to stifle political thought, especially in Missouri. It definitely makes me pause, if nothing else … Maybe Missouri is just a test bed for squelching political thought.”

ACLU officials blasted a Texas fusion center last month for distributing a “Prevention Awareness Bulletin” that called on law enforcement officers to report activities of local lobbying groups, Muslim civil rights organizations and anti-war protest groups

Fusion Centers EPIC Tells More than You Ever Wanted to Know

EPIC  Background

”Fusion centers” are a means of bringing together information from distributed sources for the purpose of collection, retention, analysis, and dissemination. The term “fusion center,” seems to have originated from the Department of Defense (DOD,) and refers to the fusing of information for analysis purposes. On November 9, 2002, the New York Times disclosed a massive DOD fusion center project managed by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) known as Total Information Awareness (TIA). DARPA was developing a tracking system intended to attempt to detect terrorists through analyzing troves of information.

The project called for the development of ”revolutionary technology for ultra-large all-source information repositories,” which would contain information from multiple sources to create a ”virtual, centralized, grand database.” This database would be populated by transaction data contained in current databases such as financial records, medical records, communication records, and travel records as well as new sources of information. Also fed into the database would be intelligence data.

A key component of the TIA project was headed by Admiral John Poindexter, former National Security Advisor to President Reagan. TIA was to develop data-mining or knowledge discovery tools that would sort through the massive amounts of information to find patterns and associations. TIA would also develop search tools such as Project Genoa, which Admiral Poindexter’s employer, prior to his return to the federal government, Syntek Technologies assisted in developing. TIA aimed to fund the development of more such tools and data-mining technology to help analysts understand and even ”preempt” future action.

A further crucial component was the development of biometric technology to enable the identification and tracking of individuals. DARPA had already funded its ”Human ID at a Distance” program, which aimed to positively identify people from a distance through technologies such as face recognition or gait recognition.

In August 2002, the International Association of Chiefs of Police released the recommendations of its Criminal Intelligence Summit held March 7-8, 2002, with the final document coming from the DOJ’s office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The report acknowledged that the problems identified following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were found to be with “intelligence exchange between national agencies…” Then the report quickly endorsed the creation of a Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council to implement the National Intelligence Plan that would engage local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in a database sharing environment. The plan addressed the legal impediments to the effective transfer of criminal intelligence between authorized local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. This plan became the superstructure for the next domestic Fusion Center effort by advocating for the creation of the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council and charged it with accomplishing a number of goals:

”Ensure compatible policy standards, guidelines and operating procedures in the further development and integration of existing intelligence sharing systems (including standards for the collection, analysis, dissemination, storage and purging of information); create standards for participation in the Council and coordinated intelligence network; promulgate standards and guidelines; publicize and enforce sanctions for the misuse of information from the coordinated network… Create a funding plan …eliminate barriers in…laws and polices that limit intelligence sharing…”

The Criminal Intelligence Summit participants stressed the need to not limit the data sharing to terrorism or terrorist related activity, but to extend it to all criminal intelligence under the general heading of “Intelligence-Led Policing.” Criminal intelligence was defined as ”the combination of credible information with quality analysis–information that has been evaluated and from which conclusions have been drawn.” The report supported the expanding of the information’s sharing database effort to be extended to court records, emergency management personnel, and “specialized security forces of particular situation-relevant intelligence.”

The plan to overcome barriers to intelligence sharing included the following:

“The “hierarchy” within the law enforcement and intelligence communities. In some cases real and in others only perceived, the hierarchical organization of law enforcement and intelligence agencies (with federal agencies being at the “top” of the pyramid and local, state, county, and Tribal agencies further down) leads to organizational incentives against intelligence sharing and even anti-sharing cultures. At best, the disaggregation of activity means that managers in one agency might not imagine that others would find their intelligence data useful. At worst, the structure creates an “us” versus “them” mentality that stands in the way of productive collaboration.”

A key goal of the proposal establishes the need to “[c]reate a marketing strategy to increase stakeholder participation in the intelligence sharing process and conduct public education to promote acceptance of the system overall.”

In September 2003, Congress eliminated funding for the controversial TIA project and closed the Pentagon’s Information Awareness Office, which had developed TIA. It was not believed to signal the end of other government data-mining initiatives that are similar to TIA. Projects such as the Novel Intelligence from Massive Data within the Intelligence Community Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA) moved forward. The FBI and the Transportation Security Administration were also working on data-mining projects that fused commercial databases, public databases, and intelligence data and had meetings with TIA developers.

In October 2003, the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan was published by the Justice Department‘s project the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (“Global”). The report states that 75% of the law enforcement agencies within the United States have less than 24 sworn officers. The report’s goal is to provide these small law enforcement agencies with the same ability as big city, state, and federal law enforcement offices to develop, gather, access, receive, and share intelligence information.

”The need to increase availability of information, from classified systems to local and state law enforcement agencies, for the prevention and investigation of crime in their jurisdictions…The need to identify an intelligence information sharing capability that can be widely accessed by local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies.”

The proposal recommended the establishment of a Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC or Council) composed of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement executives.The Council was recommended to operate under the direction of the Global Advisory Committee and would be charged with monitoring the implementation of the National Intelligence Sharing Plan. A few members of the Global Advisory Committee include: Administrative Office of the US Courts, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, American Corrections Association, American Probation and Parole Association, Conference of State Court Administrators, Executive Offices for US Attorneys, FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division, International Association of Chiefs of Police, INTERPOL – USNCB, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National District Attorneys Association, National Governors Association, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice — Justice Management Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

The report also moved the goal to not just involve law enforcement, the courts, and emergency management databases, but to extend its reach to private entities.

During this same period of time, another fusion center initiative came under public scrutiny in the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan as a data warehouse–the Multi-state Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) project which acted as a prototype database system run by the State of Florida and Seisint, a private company. Built by a consortium of state law enforcement agencies, MATRIX proposed to combine public records and private record data from multiple databases with data analysis tools. MATRIX was established with the assistance of the Institute for Intergovernmental Research’s Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative. The program collapsed when it was disclosed to the public, and states were pressured by residents to withdraw from the program.

In March 2004, the MATRIX project was on its last gasp, when the states of New York and Wisconsin withdrew their participation in the project. By May 14, 2004, the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council proposed by the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan became an official project of the Department of Justice.

Latest Government Information Fusion Center Initiative

May 2004, the Department of Justice announced its progress in implementing the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan. The announcement made public the decision to create a Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC) that would be managed by Global. By December 2004, the push for a national Fusion Center initiative received a boost when the Department of Justice sponsored Global Infrastructure/Standards Working Group published A Framework for Justice Information Sharing: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). States using local, state, and federal funds created information Fusion Centers. In August 2005, Global published the Fusion Center Guidelines

“The principal role of the fusion center is to compile, analyze, and disseminate criminal/terrorist information and intelligence and other information (including, but not limited to, threat, public safety, law enforcement, public health, social services, and public works) to support efforts to anticipate, identify, prevent, and/or monitor criminal/terrorist activity. This criminal information and intelligence should be both strategic (i.e., designed to provide general guidance of patterns and trends) and tactical (i.e., focused on a specific criminal event).”

A Congressional Research Service Report on Fusion Centers outlined several fundamental problems with the Guidance on Fusion Center development: first, adherence is voluntary, second, the philosophy outlined is generic and does not translate theory into practice, and third, they are oriented toward the mechanics of Fusion Center establishment. The majority of regional Fusion Centers are concentrated in large urban areas. The jurisdiction of these centers are also covered by state Fusion Centers, but there is a question regarding how overlapping jurisdictions are managed.

The CRS Report on Fusion Centers also point out that there is no single legal authority that govern the operation of Fusion Centers.

The Department of Homeland Security set out an objective to create by 2008 a network of fusions centers as a unique law enforcement and threat information resource that could facilitate “across jurisdictions and functions” supported by “multidisciplinary teams” dispersed throughout a national network of information hives.

Turning Fusion Centers into Hardware and Software

The Global Infrastructure/Standards Working Group’s report A Framework for Justice Information Sharing: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), stated:

”The purpose of this report is to describe the recommendation of the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) Advisory Committee (GAC) for the operational requirements of justice agencies and the requirements for a national community.”

In August 2005 Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative and Department of Homeland Security, Fusion Center Guidelines were published. The guidelines stated the software of the choice as being Extensible Markup Language (XML) , which facilitates efficient and near real time sharing of information resident on geographically dispersed databases. The initiative promotes the data sharing among law enforcement though the use of a common platform that can be used on existing hardware. The goal is to achieve a low cost method of removing barriers to data sharing among beat officers, court records, state records, jails and prisons, that is efficient and effective.

The Fusion Center Guidelines endorses the use of the new database sharing capability created by the open source XML standards. This open standards programming language provides users with a data sharing capability that would not require the replacement or redesign of existing system. This programming language allows the identification of fields of information through the use of a translation feature that accomplishes its task between the system being asked for information, and the end requester. In this process the source of the data and the recipient do not need to change their system to participate in the information exchange network.

The interesting aspects of the proposal are the promotion of a national collection and analysis of information. The “National Information Exchange Model” proposed for the fusion centers is designed to create the building blocks for “national-level interoperable information sharing and data exchange that will integrate the public safety and private sector entities to the already established law enforcement exchange.”

Exchanging information is only the beginning of the process, the goal is “institutionalizing the relationships between the fusion center and the public safety and private sector partners.” The Global recommendations make the case for distributed and centralized data management systems. Saying that distributed systems will allow the data controller to be in charge of access, while the centralized process would allow the fusion center to manage the data. A white paper examining strategies for enhancing the sharing of information pointed out that successful distributed and centralized information-sharing systems are in operation today. The goal is to get local, state, federal law enforcement, and government agencies, and private sector data warehouses into the same project.

In September 14, 2006 the Department of Homeland Security reported that 38 state and local Information Fusion Centers supported by $380 million in federal dollars were operational. The investment in time, energy, and resources are focused on one objective maximizing access to the greatest amount of information as possible.

Where Will the Data Come From?

Appendix C of the Guidelines outlines a detailed list of entities that should be included in the local and state fusion center matrix.

Agriculture
Food
Water
Environment
Banking and Finance
Chemical Industry
Hazardous Materials
Criminal Justice
Retail
Real Estate
Education
Emergency Services
Energy
Government
Health
Public Health Services
Social Services
Transportation
Hospitality and Lodging
Information & Telecom
Military Facilities
DOD Industrial Base
Postal and Shipping
Private Security
Public Works

(Source Fusion Center Guidelines: Appendix C)

The proposal directs that information categories could fall into one of two types: strategic and tactical information. Strategic information may provide data on individuals not under criminal investigation or operations that an entity manages, and tactical information may provide data be in support of ongoing criminal investigations. It would be very difficult to imagine someone living within the United States who would not have one or multiple points of information confluence in the proposed system. The Fusion Center guidance said the following about the “Fusion Center Functions”

” The principal role of the fusion center is to compile, analyze, and disseminate criminal/terrorist information and intelligence and other information (including, but not limited to, threat, public safety, law enforcement, public health, social services, and public works) to support efforts to anticipate, identify, prevent, and/or monitor criminal/terrorist activity. This criminal information and intelligence should be both strategic (i.e., designed to provide general guidance of patterns and trends) and tactical (i.e., focused on a specific criminal event).”

The Fusion Center Guidelines repeatedly stress the importance of collaboration and cooperation, to the success of the center. The focus of the work of fusion centers will not be limited to terrorism or terrorist activity, but will according to the appendices of the Fusion Center Guidelines extend to among other things the investigation of persons on public assistance, illicit drugs, traffic accidents, and aviation accident analysis.

The range of information to be collected by service providers who participate in the fusion center effort could include: all sources of financial records kept by banking institutions; all contacts with the criminal justice system by criminals and non-criminals, all forms of education (day cares, preschools, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and technical schools); government issued licenses and permits, access to medical records held by hospitals, public health, and primary care physicians, hospitality and lodging, information and telecommunication service providers, military facilities and defense industrial base; postal and shipping services, private security (alarm companies, armored car companies, investigative firms, corporate security offices); public works; social services; and transportation. The appendices of the Fusion Center Guidelines list the following as data collection targets:

Banking & Finance
IT/Telecom

Health & Education

Jails/Prisons/Court Records

Federal, State, Local Gov. (Permits Licenses)

Hospitality & Lodging

Banks
Credit Cards Co.
Credit Reports
Securities firms
Financial services
ISPs
Telecommunication
E-mail Providers
Cyber Security Co.
Day Care Centers
Preschools
Colleges/Universities
Technical Schools
Mental Health
Physician Patient Info
Local Hospitals
Private EMS
Veterinary
Gang Information.
Names of Associates
Relatives
Jail/Prison Visitors
Biographical Info.
Traffic Accident
Tribal Law Enforcement
County Clerk
US Courts
Game and Fish
DMV Records
Vehicle Registrations
Civil Records
Property Appraiser
Mortgages
Deeds
Civil Suits
Gaming Industry
Sports Authority
Sporting facilities
Amusement parks
Cruise lines
Hotels, motels, Resorts
Convention Centers

Along with a host of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, private companies also participated in the Public Safety Fusion Group, which included Walt Disney World Company, Fidelity Investments, Microsoft, and Archer Daniels Midland. The goal is to, within the fusion center environment, integrate “nontraditional customers of information and intelligence” with traditional customers of information analysis. Fusing of information based on an identified threat, criminal predicate, or public safety by the seamless collection, collating, blending, analyzing, disseminating, and use of information intelligence is the goal. The intelligence and analysis of information is proposed to be base on the needs of users, with the list of users including all levels and types of law enforcement, intelligence community, DOD, private sector entities it appears the official uses could be limitless.

The definition of “national intelligence” was changed by the enactment of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, bill to reform the intelligence community and the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government.

” The terms ‘national intelligence’ and ‘intelligence related to national security’ refer to all intelligence, regardless of the source from which derived and including information gathered within or outside the United States…”

The new law also defines the “information sharing environment,” (ISE) as

” The President shall …ensure that the ISE provides and facilitates the means for sharing terrorism information among all appropriate Federal, State, local, and tribal entities, and the private sector through the use of policy guidelines and technologies. The President shall, to the greatest extent practicable, ensure that the ISE provides the functional equivalent of, or otherwise supports, a decentralized, distributed, and coordinated environment that…connects existing systems, where appropriate, provides no single points of failure, and allows users to share information among agencies, between levels of government, and, as appropriate, with the private sector…ensures direct and continuous online electronic access to information…facilitates the availability of information in a form and manner that facilitates its use in analysis, investigations and operations…builds upon existing systems capabilities currently in use across the Government;”

The focus of fusion centers is on information collection as a means of determining crime trends with an eye toward predicting crime before it occurs. The “four major desired outcomes” for fusion centers are: the reduction of the incident of crime; suppression of criminal activity; the regulation of noncriminal conduct; the provision of services.

In September 14, 2006 the Department of Homeland Security reported that 38 state and local Information Fusion Centers supported by $380 million in federal dollars were operational. The investment in time, energy, and resources are focused on one objective maximizing access to the greatest amount of information as possible. States with operational fusion Centers as of June 2007, (source State and Regional Intelligence Fusion Center Contact Information) include:

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana
New Jersey
New York
North Dakota
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia

States in the process of developing information fusion centers include: Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

On March 8, 2006 the following states did not have and were not in the process of developing fusion centers: Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Where is the funding Coming from to Support Fusion Centers

The Fusion Center Guidelines Chapter 14, is titled “Offer a variety of intelligence services and products to customers.” The output of the fusion center process is called “product,” and it is recommended that the work of the centers not be limited to “intelligence product dissemination.” The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan states that, ”Criminal intelligence results from a process that begins with planning and direction, followed sequentially by: information collection, processing/collation, analysis, dissemination, and reevaluation (feedback) of information on suspected criminals and/or organizations”.

The Guidelines recommend that Fusion Centers “produce both strategic and tactical” information and suggest a list of services and products to produce:

Investigative and tactical response
Proactive strategic analysis
Intelligence support for investigations
Visual investigative analysis
Alerts and notifications
Deconfliction
Target identification
Critical Infrastructure analysis
Training Opportunities
Geospatial Imaging
Criminal backgrounds and profiles
Case correlation
Crime-pattern Analysis
Association, link, and network analysis
Telephone-toll analysis
Flowcharting
Financial analysis
Intelligence reports and briefings
Threat assessments
Terrorism calendar

The initial support for the program came from federal funding, but the Fusion Center Guidelines include advice on keeping the doors open once up and running. The Fusion Center Guidelines Chapter 17 recommends that centers leverage existing resources and funding from participants. One means suggested for accomplishing this is found in Chapter 5 of the Guidelines, which supports the use of ”Utilize Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), or other types of agency agreements…”

MOUs are seen as a means of ensuring resource commitments from participants. The guidance also states the importance of identifying the return on investments made by Fusion Center partners.

Memorandum of Understanding are informal agreements that are not contracts. The MOU is a policy document, used to establish ground rules for a particular purpose, project, or effort. In the case of Fusion Centers an MOU is reached among participating entities. A representative of each participating organization must sign the agreement on the entities behalf. A series of internal directives may also be used to further refine the goals, purposes, and objectives of the Fusion Center.

Unlike MOUs NDAs do have a legal consequence if violated–these agreements are often associated with sensitive or proprietary information. The NDA offers a another level of protection for those who engage in the sharing of secret or protected information. In this context the guidelines specifically mentions the vulnerability of private sector participants who engage in the sharing of sensitive information. According to the Guidelines, “[T]he NDA provides private sector entities an additional layer of security, ensuring the security of private sector proprietary information and trade secrets.” One of the types of information sought that is not related to physical protection of facilities are customer and client lists.

In March 2007, in a speech given by John S. Pistole Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the National Fusion Center Conference held in Destin, Florida revealed that 200 FBI agents had been assigned to 33 Fusion Centers.

Justifying Fusion Center Development

The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan released in October 2003 suggest that the events of September 11, 2001 were related to barriers that prevented information and intelligence sharing by local and state law enforcement agencies. This conclusion runs counter to the findings of the report by the National Commission on Terrorists Attacks released in July 2004. The Commission’s report recounted that by July 2001 the heightened number of threat advisories had reached a level not seen since the Millennium bomb plot of 1999, which was averted. The report’s Chapter 8: “The System was Blinking Red” stated that on July 2, the FBI issued a general threat advisory to local and state law enforcement agencies regarding the possibility of a terrorist attack, they were directed to “exercise extreme vigilance and report suspicious activities to the agency.” On July 5, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the FAA, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, Customs, the CIA, and FBI met with the White House on the threat situation and were told not to share with others the threat information they received.

In April 2004, it was reported to the 9-11 Commission that the CIA and the FBI still could not search each other’s terrorist databases. The barriers were a lack of interoperability among databases used by the two agencies.

Some point to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath as a motivation for Fusion Center development.

Where does Privacy and Civil Liberties Protection Fit?

A July 2007 CRS report on Fusion Centers stated that ”[c]urrently, the states legal authorities recognizing or establishing a fusion center range from nonexistent, to memorandum of agreements by the partnering agencies, and in one case a state statue, which defines the center and its responsibilities.” The Fusion Center development process has originate from existing local and state law enforcement agencies.

There are questions about the focus on privacy and civil liberties considerations within the development of the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative and Department of Homeland Security, Fusion Center Guidelines. The guidelines were published in the summer of 2005, but the Global Privacy and Information Quality Working Group issued its final report a Privacy Policy Development Guide and Implementation Templates in October 2006. While the report lauded the importance of privacy protections from conception through implementation of a information sharing initiative it said this about building of a project team, “The project team should have access to subject-matter experts in areas of privacy law and technical systems design and operations, as well as skilled writers, but these individuals do not necessarily have to be team members.”

The 28 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 23 also known as (28 CFR Part 23) is cited in the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan as the rule that allegedly provide “privacy protection for data subjects. The regulation addresses the management of inter-, and multi jurisdictional criminal intelligence sharing systems operated by local and state law enforcement or on their behalf. For example on the issue of data accuracy source information can be “Reliable”, ” Usually Reliable”, or ” Unreliable”; while the content accuracy can be deemed to be ” Confirmed”, “Probable” or ” Doubtful.” Further, when local and state criminal data sharing entities are faced with the following question, “Can the names of individuals or organizations not reasonably suspected of involvement in criminal activity be included in a criminal intelligence database?” the answer is yes. Regarding when the system can be accessed the code is said to support unlimited reasons for use of the database adding that there is no need to have reasonable suspicion.

Federal rules regarding the accuracy of criminal databases does not fair better than the state guidance. In 2003, the FBI established a new rule exempting the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system from the accuracy requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974.The NCIC database provides over 80,000 law enforcement agencies with access to a computerized network of more than 39 million records regarding criminal activity. For the past thirty years, the FBI has operated the NCIC database with the Privacy Act accuracy requirement in place. The relevant provision requires that any agency that maintains a system of records, “maintain all records which are used by the agency in making any determination about any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as is reasonably necessary to assure fairness to the individuals in the determination.” Circumventing that statutory obligation poses significant risks not only for individuals whose record files may be part of this data system, but also for communities that rely on law enforcement to employ effective, reliable tools for ensuring public safety.

In March 2002, the FBI set a new record for inquiries processed in one day, responding to 3,295,587 requests. On average, there are 2.8 million transaction processed each day, with an average response time of 0.16 seconds. As a result, any error in the NCIC database can spread across the country in less than a second.

Several well publicized incidents demonstrate the consequences of inaccurate and incomplete information in the NCIC. In one case, a Los Angeles man was arrested five times, three at gun point, due to an error in the NCIC [see Rogan v. Los Angeles, 668 F. Supp. 1384 (C.D. Cal. 1987)]. In this case an escaped prisoner assumed the identity of an innocent person and then committed a robbery and murder. In another instance of criminal database error, a Phoenix resident, who was pulled over for driving the wrong way down a one-way street, was arrested after an NCIC inquiry erroneously revealed an outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrant that had been quashed weeks earlier.

These incidents, and others like them, reveal the potential harms that individuals may face if the records in the NCIC database are not accurate. These incidents demonstrate that the FBI should work to improve the accuracy of this system of records, rather than administratively exempt itself of this important duty. Unfortunately, the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan does not endorse data accuracy.

The Privacy Act of 1974

The Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law 93-579 was established with the express purpose of guarding against these types of government database abuses by setting standards for the quality of data the government collects about individuals. It safeguards privacy through creating four procedural and substantive rights in personal data. First, it requires government agencies to show an individual any records kept on him or her. Second, it requires agencies to follow certain principles, called ”fair information practices,” when gathering and handling personal data. Third, it places restrictions on how agencies can share an individual’s data with other people and agencies. Fourth and finally, it lets individuals sue the government for violating its provisions.

In passing the Act, Congress found that “the opportunities for an individual to secure employment, insurance, and credit, and his rights to due process, and other legal protections are endangered by the misuse of certain information systems,” and therefore “it is necessary and proper for the Congress to regulate the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of information by such agencies.” To that end, Congress passed the Act to ensure, among other things, that any information held by the government would be “current and accurate for its intended use.

The Privacy Act is a powerful tool for providing protection to people against government abuses when it is applied. Unfortunately, the Act allowed certain government agencies that are engaged in law enforcement the power to excuse themselves from the Act’s rules. Agencies have also circumvented information sharing rules by exploiting a ”routine use” exemption. It is unclear how the merging of law enforcement purposes with non-law enforcement purposes would play out, but what is clear is that legal challenges would create new areas for local, state, and federal courts to review the fusion center process.

The foundations of the Privacy Act are the elements of the Code of Fair Information Practices that are codified by that law. The Code of Fair Information Practices is cited three times in the Privacy Policy Development Guide and Implementation Templates drafted by the Global Privacy and Information Quality Working Group of the DOJ’s Global Justice Sharing Initiative. None of the citations enumerated the Code of Fair Information Practices or its history.

The Code for Fair Information Practices is the central contribution of the HEW (Health, Education, Welfare) Advisory Committee on Automated Data Systems. The Advisory Committee was established in 1972, and the report released in July. The citation for the report is as follows:

U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Automated Personal Data Systems, Records, computers, and the Rights of Citizens viii (1973).The Code of Fair Information Practices is based on five principles:
1. There must be no personal data record-keeping systems whose very existence is secret.
2. There must be a way for a person to find out what information about the person is in a record and how it is used.
3. There must be a way for a person to prevent information about the person that was obtained for one purpose from being used or made available for other purposes without the person’s consent.
4. There must be a way for a person to correct or amend a record of identifiable information about the person.
5. Any organization creating, maintaining, using, or disseminating records of identifiable personal data must assure the reliability of the data for their intended use and must take precautions to prevent misuses of the data.

In the context of fusion centers no one knows the rules that will bring someone under scrutiny and what the consequences of that scrutiny might be.

  • December 2006, an article on the Salt Lake City Police Department’s fusion center efforts described it as “a way of tracking information that comes in from community groups like community councils and neighborhood watch, as well as the mayor’s office. (Source: Deseret Morning News, Police idle Community Action Team, December 19, 2006)
  • January 2007, an article cites the Sacramento-based intelligence fusion center for indictments filed against California Healthcare Collective for illegal marijuana farming. (Source: Fresno Bee, Valley drug-fighters honored, January 18, 2007)

• March of 2007, the Governor of California supported the creation of a “Baca countywide Gang Assessment Center,” he referred to as a fusion center. (Source: Whittier Daily News, Governor pledges help in battle against gangs, March 5, 2007)

The Washington Post reported on June 14, 2007 that the agency conducted a self-audit of 10 percent of its records on National Security Letter use and found over 1,000 violations. The majority of the violations were associated with the obtaining of telephone records from telecommunication service providers. The FBI acted in the wake of criticism that resulted from an earlier Department of Justice Inspector General report, which determined that the FBI abused the National Security Letter authority established by the Patriot Act.

Fusion Centers are in use without appropriate oversight or justification for their application for routine law enforcement matters or the vast collection, processing, and analysis of privacy and public information databases.

News

NATO: Speech by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, ISRIA, June 5, 2008
Homeland Security Summit Shines Spotlight on Gaps, TheState Journal, June 5, 2008
Va. Domestic Intelligence Center Sued for Info
, Ryan Singel, Wired, March 24, 2008
Fusion Center meltdown: Feds stifling open government in VA?, Jon Stokes, Ars Technica, March 24, 2008
Are feds involved in bid to undo state open govt law?, Richard Koman, ZDNet, March 24, 2008
ODNI releases standards for suspicious-activity reporting, Ben Bains, Federal Computer Week, January 30, 2008
Intelligence Strategy to Help States, EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associate Press, October 31, 2007
Tech-heavy fusion centers to gain firefighting expertise, Wilson P. Dizard III, Government Computer News, October 30, 2007
House Armed Services Committee chairman tours command , United States Joint Forces Command, Public Affairs, October 29, 2007
Remarks by Secretary Michael Chertoff at the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Secretary Chertoff, Statement, October 26, 2007
Department of Homeland Security Selects NC4 to Deliver Secure 360 Degree Intelligence Exchange, Press Release NC4, October 22, 2007
Concerns about Nebraska Fusion Center on NET Radio Friday, Oct. 26, Southwest Nebraska News – NE,USA, October 22, 2007
New technology was key to arrest of fugitive for 35 years, Phil Scott/Eyewitness News, Channel 13, Indianapolis, MN, October 18, 2007
IT Problems Hinder Data Sites That Combat Terrorism, John McCormick, CIO Insight, October 15, 2007
The City’s Critical Link To All First Responders, Allison Klein, Washington Post, October 11, 2007
Baca plans clearinghouse on gangs, Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2007
Lawmakers want to clarify the centers’ responsibilities and future funding, Ben Bain, Federal Computer Week, October 8, 2007
Fusion Center enables CIA to spy for, not on, Ohioans, Robert Morton, Bucyrus Telegraph Forum, October 3, 2007
The blue front line, Editorial Dallas Morning News, October 1, 2007
Interdiction Plus Initiative Announced For Tennessee, The Chattanoogan.com, October 1, 2007
National Security News, BlueRidgeNow.com, September 27, 2 007
Governor Proclaims Hoosier Helper Week, Indiana Inside Business, September 20, 2007
Officials Defend Privacy Record of Intelligence Sharing Centers, Congressional Quarterly, September 20, 2007
Kentucky Governor Announces 2007 Homeland Security Grant Awards, All American Patriots, September 19, 2007
Profile of a newsmaker: Coast Guard Academy grad, Norwich Bulletin, August 29, 2007
Secret site houses high-tech law unit, Orlando Sentinel, August 28, 2007
‘Fusion’ center watches for terrorism, Star-Tribune, August 26, 2007
Colorado ‘fusion’ center alert for possible terrorist attacks, Aspen Times, August 24, 2007
State fusion centers struggle to produce useful info, study finds, John Montroe, Federal Computer Week, July 27, 2007
State-run sites not effective vs. terror, Mimi Hall, USA Today, July 2007
CRS slams fusion center IT in audit of state command centers, Wilson P. Dizard III, Government Computer News, July 25, 2007
He Shall Overcome, Daniel Polit, Slate, July 24, 2007
Houston area to get more federal anti-terror dollars, Anne M. Kilday and Matt Stiles, Houston Chronicle, July 17, 2007
Fusion Center for police officers, Channel 16, WNDU.com, July 24, 2007
Intelligence takes a back seat, Star-Telegraph, July 20, 2007
Indiana Homeland Security Receives [41.7] Millions in Grants, Inside Indiana Business, July 20, 2007
Proposed FBI Data Center Sparks Privacy Fears, Dina Temple-Raston, National Public Radio, July 19, 2007
Four potential risks to intelligence fusion centers, Michael Hampton, Homeland Stupidity, July 16, 2007
Miss. leads cybercrime fight, Clarion Ledger, July 16, 2007
The Rise of Intelligence Fusion Centers, Secrecy News, July 2007
Crime info trumps terror data at fusion centers, Alice Lipowicz Washington Technology, July 9, 2007
CRS: Mission creep at fusion centers, Government Computer News, July 9, 2007
‘Fusion Centers’ Now Consolidate Data – With No Accountability
, Privacy Journal, July 2007
Nevada homeland security adviser leaving, Las Vegas Sun, July 3, 2007
Expansion of local intelligence-sharing centers sparks controversy, Government Executive, February 13, 2007

Online Resources

Legislation

Advice from the Secret Service about Making Political Statements Safely

Adrian Andrews, special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Oklahoma City office, said his department checks all potential threats. Agents determined Harrison was not a threat, but Andrews said he does not encourage such signs.

“There are better ways to make a political statement than to say ‘Abort Obama,'” Andrews said. “That’s going to get our attention every time.”

 

 

Attention following sign
Man’s anti-abortion sign raises suspicions of OKC police and the Secret Service

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20090220_12_A1_OKLAHO347104

 

Harrison had no idea why police pulled him over.

“I wasn’t speeding,” he said Thursday. “I didn’t make any traffic violations. Then they said it was because of the sign in the back of my truck.”

Sgt. Philip Paz and officer Bryan Jones told him the Secret Service could construe the sign as a threat to the president.

Police released an incident report but, citing department policy, did not release photos of the officers involved.

“I was really shocked because all the anti-Bush bumper stickers I’ve seen seem to have been a lot more threatening to the president than that sign,” Harrison said.

Entire article here;

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20090220_12_A1_OKLAHO347104

 

The Last Roundup from Radar Magazine

In the spring of 2007, a retired senior official in the U.S. Justice Department sat before Congress and told a story so odd and ominous, it could have sprung from the pages of a pulp political thriller. It was about a principled bureaucrat struggling to protect his country from a highly classified program with sinister implications. Rife with high drama, it included a car chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., and a tense meeting at the White House, where the president’s henchmen made the bureaucrat so nervous that he demanded a neutral witness be present.

The bureaucrat was James Comey, John Ashcroft‘s second-in-command at the Department of Justice during Bush’s first term. Comey had been a loyal political foot soldier of the Republican Party for many years. Yet in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he described how he had grown increasingly uneasy reviewing the Bush administration’s various domestic surveillance and spying programs. Much of his testimony centered on an operation so clandestine he wasn’t allowed to name it or even describe what it did. He did say, however, that he and Ashcroft had discussed the program in March 2004, trying to decide whether it was legal under federal statutes. Shortly before the certification deadline, Ashcroft fell ill with pancreatitis, making Comey acting attorney general, and Comey opted not to certify the program. When he communicated his decision to the White House, Bush’s men told him, in so many words, to take his concerns and stuff them in an undisclosed location.

The Continuity of Governance program encompasses national emergency plans that would trigger the takeover of the country by extra-constitutional forces. In short, it’s a road map for martial law

Comey refused to knuckle under, and the dispute came to a head on the cold night of March 10, 2004, hours before the program’s authorization was to expire. At the time, Ashcroft was in intensive care at George Washington Hospital following emergency surgery. Apparently, at the behest of President Bush himself, the White House tried, in Comey’s words, “to take advantage of a very sick man,” sending Chief of Staff Andrew Card and then–White House counsel Alberto Gonzales on a mission to Ashcroft’s sickroom to persuade the heavily doped attorney general to override his deputy. Apprised of their mission, Comey, accompanied by a full security detail, jumped in his car, raced through the streets of the capital, lights blazing, and “literally ran” up the hospital stairs to beat them there.

Minutes later, Gonzales and Card arrived with an envelope filled with the requisite forms. Ashcroft, even in his stupor, did not fall for their heavy-handed ploy. “I’m not the attorney general,” Ashcroft told Bush’s men. “There”—he pointed weakly to Comey—”is the attorney general.” Gonzales and Card were furious, departing without even acknowledging Comey’s presence in the room. The following day, the classified domestic spying program that Comey found so disturbing went forward at the demand of the White House—”without a signature from the Department of Justice attesting as to its legality,” he testified.

What was the mysterious program that had so alarmed Comey? Political blogs buzzed for weeks with speculation. Though Comey testified that the program was subsequently readjusted to satisfy his concerns, one can’t help wondering whether the unspecified alteration would satisfy constitutional experts, or even average citizens. Faced with push-back from his bosses at the White House, did he simply relent and accept a token concession? Two months after Comey’s testimony to Congress, the New York Times reported a tantalizing detail: The program that prompted him “to threaten resignation involved computer searches through massive electronic databases.” The larger mystery remained intact, however. “It is not known precisely why searching the databases, or data mining, raised such a furious legal debate,” the article conceded.

Another clue came from a rather unexpected source: President Bush himself. Addressing the nation from the Oval Office in 2005 after the first disclosures of the NSA’s warrantless electronic surveillance became public, Bush insisted that the spying program in question was reviewed “every 45 days” as part of planning to assess threats to “the continuity of our government.”

Few Americans—professional journalists included—know anything about so-called Continuity of Government (COG) programs, so it’s no surprise that the president’s passing reference received almost no attention. COG resides in a nebulous legal realm, encompassing national emergency plans that would trigger the takeover of the country by extra-constitutional forces—and effectively suspend the republic. In short, it’s a road map for martial law.

While Comey, who left the Department of Justice in 2005, has steadfastly refused to comment further on the matter, a number of former government employees and intelligence sources with independent knowledge of domestic surveillance operations claim the program that caused the flap between Comey and the White House was related to a database of Americans who might be considered potential threats in the event of a national emergency. Sources familiar with the program say that the government’s data gathering has been overzealous and probably conducted in violation of federal law and the protection from unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

 

Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a “national emergency.” Executive orders issued over the past three decades define it as a “natural disaster, military attack, [or] technological or other emergency,” while Department of Defense documents include eventualities like “riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, [and] disorder prejudicial to public law and order.” According to one news report, even “national opposition to U.S. military invasion abroad” could be a trigger.

Let’s imagine a harrowing scenario: coordinated bombings in several American cities culminating in a major blast—say, a suitcase nuke—in New York City. Thousands of civilians are dead. Commerce is paralyzed. A state of emergency is declared by the president. Continuity of Governance plans that were developed during the Cold War and aggressively revised since 9/11 go into effect. Surviving government officials are shuttled to protected underground complexes carved into the hills of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Power shifts to a “parallel government” that consists of scores of secretly preselected officials. (As far back as the 1980s, Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and Dick Cheney, then a congressman from Wyoming, were slated to step into key positions during a declared emergency.) The executive branch is the sole and absolute seat of authority, with Congress and the judiciary relegated to advisory roles at best. The country becomes, within a matter of hours, a police state.

In case of a wide-scale attack, the executive branch becomes the sole and absolute seat of authority. The country becomes, within a matter of hours, a police stateInterestingly, plans drawn up during the Reagan administration suggest this parallel government would be ruling under authority given by law to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, home of the same hapless bunch that recently proved themselves unable to distribute water to desperate hurricane victims. The agency’s incompetence in tackling natural disasters is less surprising when one considers that, since its inception in the 1970s, much of its focus has been on planning for the survival of the federal government in the wake of a decapitating nuclear strike.

Under law, during a national emergency, FEMA and its parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security, would be empowered to seize private and public property, all forms of transport, and all food supplies. The agency could dispatch military commanders to run state and local governments, and it could order the arrest of citizens without a warrant, holding them without trial for as long as the acting government deems necessary. From the comfortable perspective of peaceful times, such behavior by the government may seem far-fetched. But it was not so very long ago that FDR ordered 120,000 Japanese Americans—everyone from infants to the elderly—be held in detention camps for the duration of World War II. This is widely regarded as a shameful moment in U.S. history, a lesson learned. But a long trail of federal documents indicates that the possibility of large-scale detention has never quite been abandoned by federal authorities. Around the time of the 1968 race riots, for instance, a paper drawn up at the U.S. Army War College detailed plans for rounding up millions of “militants” and “American negroes,” who were to be held at “assembly centers or relocation camps.” In the late 1980s, the Austin American-Statesman and other publications reported the existence of 10 detention camp sites on military facilities nationwide, where hundreds of thousands of people could be held in the event of domestic political upheaval. More such facilities were commissioned in 2006, when Kellogg Brown & Root—then a subsidiary of Halliburton—was handed a $385 million contract to establish “temporary detention and processing capabilities” for the Department of Homeland Security. The contract is short on details, stating only that the facilities would be used for “an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs.” Just what those “new programs” might be is not specified.

In the days after our hypothetical terror attack, events might play out like this: With the population gripped by fear and anger, authorities undertake unprecedented actions in the name of public safety. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security begin actively scrutinizing people who—for a tremendously broad set of reasons—have been flagged in Main Core as potential domestic threats. Some of these individuals might receive a letter or a phone call, others a request to register with local authorities. Still others might hear a knock on the door and find police or armed soldiers outside. In some instances, the authorities might just ask a few questions. Other suspects might be arrested and escorted to federal holding facilities, where they could be detained without counsel until the state of emergency is no longer in effect.

It is, of course, appropriate for any government to plan for the worst. But when COG plans are shrouded in extreme secrecy, effectively unregulated by Congress or the courts, and married to an overreaching surveillance state—as seems to be the case with Main Core—even sober observers must weigh whether the protections put in place by the federal government are becoming more dangerous to America than any outside threat.

Another well-informed source—a former military operative regularly briefed by members of the intelligence community—says this particular program has roots going back at least to the 1980s and was set up with help from the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has been told that the program utilizes software that makes predictive judgments of targets’ behavior and tracks their circle of associations with “social network analysis” and artificial intelligence modeling tools.

“The more data you have on a particular target, the better [the software] can predict what the target will do, where the target will go, who it will turn to for help,” he says. “Main Core is the table of contents for all the illegal information that the U.S. government has [compiled] on specific targets.” An intelligence expert who has been briefed by high-level contacts in the Department of Homeland Security confirms that a database of this sort exists, but adds that “it is less a mega-database than a way to search numerous other agency databases at the same time

A host of publicly disclosed programs, sources say, now supply data to Main Core. Most notable are the NSA domestic surveillance programs, initiated in the wake of 9/11, typically referred to in press reports as “warrantless wiretapping.”

In March, a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal shed further light onto the extraordinarily invasive scope of the NSA efforts: According to the Journal, the government can now electronically monitor “huge volumes of records of domestic e-mails and Internet searches, as well as bank transfers, credit card transactions, travel, and telephone records.” Authorities employ “sophisticated software programs” to sift through the data, searching for “suspicious patterns.” In effect, the program is a mass catalog of the private lives of Americans. And it’s notable that the article hints at the possibility of programs like Main Core. “The [NSA] effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called black programs whose existence is undisclosed,” the Journal reported, quoting unnamed officials. “Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach.”

“We’re at the edge of a cliff,” says Bruce Fein, a top justice official in the Reagan administration. “To a national emergency planner, everybody looks like a danger to stability”The following information seems to be fair game for collection without a warrant: the e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, and the subject lines of those messages; the phone numbers you dial, the numbers that dial in to your line, and the durations of the calls; the Internet sites you visit and the keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards. All of this information is archived on government supercomputers and, according to sources, also fed into the Main Core database.

Main Core also allegedly draws on four smaller databases that, in turn, cull from federal, state, and local “intelligence” reports; print and broadcast media; financial records; “commercial databases”; and unidentified “private sector entities.” Additional information comes from a database known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, which generates watch lists from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for use by airlines, law enforcement, and border posts. According to the Washington Post, the Terrorist Identities list has quadrupled in size between 2003 and 2007 to include about 435,000 names. The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center border crossing list, which listed 755,000 persons as of fall 2007, grows by 200,000 names a year. A former NSA officer tells Radar that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, using an electronic-funds transfer surveillance program, also contributes data to Main Core, as does a Pentagon program that was created in 2002 to monitor antiwar protesters and environmental activists such as Greenpeace.

If previous FEMA and FBI lists are any indication, the Main Core database includes dissidents and activists of various stripes, political and tax protesters, lawyers and professors, publishers and journalists, gun owners, illegal aliens, foreign nationals, and a great many other harmless, average people.

A veteran CIA intelligence analyst who maintains active high-level clearances and serves as an advisor to the Department of Defense in the field of emerging technology tells Radar that during the 2004 hospital room drama, James Comey expressed concern over how this secret database was being used “to accumulate otherwise private data on non-targeted U.S. citizens for use at a future time.” Though not specifically familiar with the name Main Core, he adds, “What was being requested of Comey for legal approval was exactly what a Main Core story would be.” A source regularly briefed by people inside the intelligence community adds: “Comey had discovered that President Bush had authorized NSA to use a highly classified and compartmentalized Continuity of Government database on Americans in computerized searches of its domestic intercepts. [Comey] had concluded that the use of that ‘Main Core’ database compromised the legality of the overall NSA domestic surveillance project.”

If Main Core does exist, says Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism officer and an outspoken critic of the agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is its likely home. “If a master list is being compiled, it would have to be in a place where there are no legal issues”—the CIA and FBI would be restricted by oversight and accountability laws—”so I suspect it is at DHS, which as far as I know operates with no such restraints.” Giraldi notes that DHS already maintains a central list of suspected terrorists and has been freely adding people who pose no reasonable threat to domestic security. “It’s clear that DHS has the mandate for controlling and owning master lists. The process is not transparent, and the criteria for getting on the list are not clear.” Giraldi continues, “I am certain that the content of such a master list [as Main Core] would not be carefully vetted, and there would be many names on it for many reasons—quite likely including the two of us.”

Would Main Core in fact be legal? According to constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, who served as associate deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan, the question of legality is murky: “In the event of a national emergency, the executive branch simply assumes these powers”—the powers to collect domestic intelligence and draw up detention lists, for example—”if Congress doesn’t explicitly prohibit it. It’s really up to Congress to put these things to rest, and Congress has not done so.” Fein adds that it is virtually impossible to contest the legality of these kinds of data collection and spy programs in court “when there are no criminal prosecutions and [there is] no notice to persons on the president’s ‘enemies list.’ That means if Congress remains invertebrate, the law will be whatever the president says it is—even in secret. He will be the judge on his own powers and invariably rule in his own favor.”

Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon’s enemies list or Senator Joe McCarthy’s blacklist look downright crudeThe veteran CIA intelligence analyst notes that Comey’s suggestion that the offending elements of the program were dropped could be misleading: “Bush [may have gone ahead and] signed it as a National Intelligence Finding anyway.”

But even if we never face a national emergency, the mere existence of the database is a matter of concern. “The capacity for future use of this information against the American people is so great as to be virtually unfathomable,” the senior government official says.
In any case, mass watch lists of domestic citizens may do nothing to make us safer from terrorism. Jeff Jonas, chief scientist at IBM, a world-renowned expert in data mining, contends that such efforts won’t prevent terrorist conspiracies. “Because there is so little historical terrorist event data,” Jonas tells
Radar, “there is not enough volume to create precise predictions.”

The overzealous compilation of a domestic watch list is not unique in postwar American history. In 1950, the FBI, under the notoriously paranoid J. Edgar Hoover, began to “accumulate the names, identities, and activities” of suspect American citizens in a rapidly expanding “security index,” according to declassified documents. In a letter to the Truman White House, Hoover stated that in the event of certain emergency situations, suspect individuals would be held in detention camps overseen by “the National Military Establishment.” By 1960, a congressional investigation later revealed, the FBI list of suspicious persons included “professors, teachers, and educators; labor-union organizers and leaders; writers, lecturers, newsmen, and others in the mass-media field; lawyers, doctors, and scientists; other potentially influential persons on a local or national level; [and] individuals who could potentially furnish financial or material aid” to unnamed “subversive elements.” This same FBI “security index” was allegedly maintained and updated into the 1980s, when it was reportedly transferred to the control of none other than FEMA (though the FBI denied this at the time).

FEMA, however—then known as the Federal Preparedness Agency—already had its own domestic surveillance system in place, according to a 1975 investigation by Senator John V. Tunney of California. Tunney, the son of heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney and the inspiration for Robert Redford’s character in the film The Candidate, found that the agency maintained electronic dossiers on at least 100,000 Americans that contained information gleaned from wide-ranging computerized surveillance. The database was located in the agency’s secret underground city at Mount Weather, near the town of Bluemont, Virginia. The senator’s findings were confirmed in a 1976 investigation by the Progressive magazine, which found that the Mount Weather computers “can obtain millions of pieces [of] information on the personal lives of American citizens by tapping the data stored at any of the 96 Federal Relocation Centers”—a reference to other classified facilities. According to the Progressive, Mount Weather’s databases were run “without any set of stated rules or regulations. Its surveillance program remains secret even from the leaders of the House and the Senate.”

Ten years later, a new round of government martial law plans came to light. A report in the Miami Herald contended that Reagan loyalist and Iran-Contra conspirator Colonel Oliver North had spearheaded the development of a “secret contingency plan,”—code-named REX 84—which called “for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the United States over to FEMA, [and the] appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments.” The North plan also reportedly called for the detention of upwards of 400,000 illegal aliens and an undisclosed number of American citizens in at least 10 military facilities maintained as potential holding camps.

North’s program was so sensitive in nature that when Texas congressman Jack Brooks attempted to question North about it during the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings, he was rebuffed even by his fellow legislators. “I read in Miami papers and several others that there had been a plan by that same agency [FEMA] that would suspend the American Constitution,” Brooks said. “I was deeply concerned about that and wondered if that was the area in which he [North] had worked.” Senator Daniel Inouye, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Iran, immediately cut off his colleague, saying, “That question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area, so may I request that you not touch upon that, sir.” Though Brooks pushed for an answer, the line of questioning was not allowed to proceed.

Wired magazine turned up additional damaging information, revealing in 1993 that North, operating from a secure White House site, allegedly employed a software database program called PROMIS (ostensibly as part of the REX 84 plan). PROMIS, which has a strange and controversial history, was designed to track individuals—prisoners, for example—by pulling together information from disparate databases into a single record. According to Wired, “Using the computers in his command center, North tracked dissidents and potential troublemakers within the United States. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon‘s enemies list or Senator Joe McCarthy‘s blacklist look downright crude.” Sources have suggested to Radar that government databases tracking Americans today, including Main Core, could still have PROMIS-based legacy code from the days when North was running his programs.

In the wake of 9/11, domestic surveillance programs of all sorts expanded dramatically. As one well-placed source in the intelligence community puts it, “The gloves seemed to come off.” What is not yet clear is what sort of still-undisclosed programs may have been authorized by the Bush White House. Marty Lederman, a high-level official at the Department of Justice under Clinton, writing on a law blog last year, wondered, “How extreme were the programs they implemented [after 9/11]? How egregious was the lawbreaking?” Congress has tried, and mostly failed, to find out.

In July 2007 and again last August, Representative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon and a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, sought access to the “classified annexes” of the Bush administration’s Continuity of Government program. DeFazio’s interest was prompted by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20 (also known as NSPD-51), issued in May 2007, which reserves for the executive branch the sole authority to decide what constitutes a national emergency and to determine when the emergency is over. DeFazio found this unnerving.

But he and other leaders of the Homeland Security Committee, including Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, were denied a review of the Continuity of Government classified annexes. To this day, their calls for disclosure have been ignored by the White House. In a press release issued last August, DeFazio went public with his concerns that the NSPD-51 Continuity of Government plans are “extra-constitutional or unconstitutional.” Around the same time, he told the Oregonian: “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right.”

None of the leading presidential candidates have been asked the question, “As president, will you continue aggressive domestic surveillance programs in the vein of the Bush administration?”Congress itself has recently widened the path for both extra-constitutional detentions by the White House and the domestic use of military force during a national emergency. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 effectively suspended habeas corpus and freed up the executive branch to designate any American citizen an “enemy combatant” forfeiting all privileges accorded under the Bill of Rights. The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act, also passed in 2006, included a last-minute rider titled “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies,” which allowed the deployment of U.S. military units not just to put down domestic insurrections—as permitted under posse comitatus and the Insurrection Act of 1807—but also to deal with a wide range of calamities, including “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack, or incident.”

More troubling, in 2002, Congress authorized funding for the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, which, according to Washington Post military intelligence expert William Arkin, “allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control.”

“We are at the edge of a cliff and we’re about to fall off,” says constitutional lawyer and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein. “To a national emergency planner, everybody looks like a danger to stability. There’s no doubt that Congress would have the authority to denounce all this—for example, to refuse to appropriate money for the preparation of a list of U.S. citizens to be detained in the event of martial law. But Congress is the invertebrate branch. They say, ‘We have to be cautious.’ The same old crap you associate with cowards. None of this will change under a Democratic administration, unless you have exceptional statesmanship and the courage to stand up and say, ‘You know, democracies accept certain risks that tyrannies do not.'”

As of this writing, DeFazio, Thompson, and the other 433 members of the House are debating the so-called Protect America Act, after a similar bill passed in the Senate. Despite its name, the act offers no protection for U.S. citizens; instead, it would immunize from litigation U.S. telecom giants for colluding with the government in the surveillance of Americans to feed the hungry maw of databases like Main Core. The Protect America Act would legalize programs that appear to be unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, the mystery of James Comey’s testimony has disappeared in the morass of election year coverage. None of the leading presidential candidates have been asked the questions that are so profoundly pertinent to the future of the country: As president, will you continue aggressive domestic surveillance programs in the vein of the Bush administration? Will you release the COG blueprints that Representatives DeFazio and Thompson were not allowed to read? What does it suggest about the state of the nation that the U.S. is now ranked by worldwide civil liberties groups as an “endemic surveillance society,” alongside repressive regimes such as China and Russia? How can a democracy thrive with a massive apparatus of spying technology deployed against every act of political expression, private or public? (Radar put these questions to spokespeople for the McCain, Obama, and Clinton campaigns, but at press time had yet to receive any responses.)

These days, it’s rare to hear a voice like that of Senator Frank Church, who in the 1970s led the explosive investigations into U.S. domestic intelligence crimes that prompted the very reforms now being eroded. “The technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny,” Church pointed out in 1975. “And there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know.”


UPDATE: Since this article went to press, several documents have emerged to suggest the story has longer legs than we thought. Most troubling among these is an October 2001 Justice Department memo that detailed the extra-constitutional powers the U.S. military might invoke during domestic operations following a terrorist attack. In the memo, John Yoo, then deputy assistant attorney general, “concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.” (Yoo, as most readers know, is author of the infamous Torture Memo that, in bizarro fashion, rejiggers the definition of “legal” torture to allow pretty much anything short of murder.) In the October 2001 memo, Yoo refers to a classified DOJ document titled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.” According to the Associated Press, “Exactly what domestic military action was covered by the October memo is unclear. But federal documents indicate that the memo relates to the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program.” Attorney General John Mukasey last month refused to clarify before Congress whether the Yoo memo was still in force.

Meanwhile, congressional sources tell Radar that Congressman Peter DeFazio has apparently abandoned his effort to get to the bottom of the White House COG classified annexes. Penny Dodge, DeFazio’s chief of staff, says otherwise. “We will be sending a letter requesting a classified briefing soon,” she told Radar this week.

This article is from the May/June issue of Radar Magazine. For a risk-free issue, click here

IACP Six Billion in Fed Funds for State Policing

Legislative Alert

http://policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display&issue_id=12009&category_ID=5

IACP Requests New Administration Restore Critical Assistance Funding

 

By Merideth Mays, Legislative Representative, IACP

IACP president Russell Laine recently sent a letter to U.S. president-elect Barack Obama requesting that, under his administration, critical state, local, and tribal law enforcement assistance grants be restored. President Laine stressed that programs like the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG), the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program (COPS), the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSG), the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP) have suffered significant budget reductions in recent years despite their proven records in helping law enforcement agencies to fight crime effectively.

The IACP requested that each program be fully funded at the following levels:

 

  • Byrne-JAG: $1.1 billion
  • COPS: $1.05 billion
  • SHSG: $1.7 billion
  • UASI: $1.4 billion
  • LETPP: $500 million

President Laine also called for the establishment of a Law Enforcement and Terrorism Prevention Trust Fund similar to what was created as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

With the 1994 crime bill, Congress established the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund, which set aside more than $30 billion to fund the law enforcement assistance programs and other anticrime initiatives created in the 1994 bill. This trust fund provided the law enforcement community with a consistent funding stream during the late 1990s. President Laine requested that this trust fund be set, at a minimum, to the 1994 level of $30 billion.

In the letter to President-elect Obama, President Laine stated,

 

The IACP is very concerned that the debate over funding for the various law enforcement assistance programs listed above has become increasingly partisan over the past several years. The IACP believes that this issue is too important to the safety of our communities and our nation to allow political differences to delay or reduce funding. It is the IACP’s belief that, if funding cuts of this magnitude are sustained, it will severely reduce, if not cripple, the ability of law enforcement agencies to protect their communities from crime and violence. The IACP respectfully urges you to reverse this trend and restore necessary resources available that will allow state, local and tribal law enforcement to receive the resources they need to ensure that they have the equipment, assets, training, and staffing necessary to fulfill their mission.

For more information on cuts to critical state, local, and tribal law enforcement assistance programs, please review the IACP analysis of the president’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2009, which may be found on the IACP’s Web site.1
Obama Names Justice, DHS Nominees
President-elect Obama recently named his nominees for the next attorney general of the United States and secretary of the Department of Homeland Security: former deputy attorney general Eric Holder Jr. and Arizona governor Janet Napolitano, respectively.

End Notes;

Holder served as deputy attorney general under the Clinton administration and served briefly under President Bush as acting attorney general pending the confirmation of John Ashcroft. Before that time, Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and served in that post for five years. Holder also served for nearly four years as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Upon announcing the nomination of Holder, President-elect Obama said the former deputy attorney general is “deeply familiar with the law enforcement challenges we face-from terrorism to counterintelligence; from white collar crime to public corruption.”2

Napolitano is currently serving her second term as governor of Arizona after being reelected in 2006. Before serving as governor, she served as Arizona attorney general and U.S. Attorney for the state of Arizona. As governor of Arizona, Napolitano implemented the first state homeland security strategy in the United States and opened the first state counterterrorism center; she is described as “a leader in coordinating federal, state, local and bi-national homeland security efforts.”3

Upon announcing the nomination of Napolitano, President-elect Obama stated that the Arizona governor “knows firsthand the need to have a partner in Washington that works well with state and local governments.”4

The IACP will work closely with the heads of these respective agencies in the next administration. ■

Notes:                                               

1International Association of Chiefs of Police, The Impact of the Proposed FY 2009 Budget on State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement, http://www.theiacp.org/documents/pdfs/Publications/TGD58843.pdf (accessed December 10, 2008).
2“Obama’s National Security Team Announcement,”
New York Times, December 1, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/01/us/politics/01text-obama.html?pagewanted=2&ref=politics (accessed December 10, 2008).
3Foon Rhee, “Obama Names National Security Team,” Boston.com, December 1, 2008, http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/12/obama_names_nat.html (accessed December 10, 2008).
4“Obama’s National Security Team Announcement.”