Are 95% of People Investigated Under New FBI Guidelines Innocent, but Entered into Database?

The NYT liberated the specific answer to a question that Russ Feingold asked in March 2009, but which DOJ didn’t respond to until November 2010, when Feingold was a lame duck Senator. At issue were new investigative guidelines Attorney General Michael Mukasey issued in late 2008, on his way out the door, which allowed the FBI to investigate Americans for First Amendment reasons so long as that First Amendment reason was not the only reason they were being investigated.

Here’s how the ACLU described the new guidelines:

Under the new “assessment” authority, FBI agents can investigate anyone they choose, so long as they claim they are acting to prevent crime, protect national security, or collect foreign intelligence, with absolutely no requirement of a factual connection between their authorizing purpose and the conduct of the individuals they are investigating. FBI agents can start “assessments” without any supervisory approval, and without reporting to FBI headquarters or the Department of Justice. The Guidelines do not require the FBI to keep records regarding when “assessments” are opened or closed and “assessments” have no time limitation. The FBI can even start an “assessment” of you simply to determine if you would make a good FBI informant. Innocence no longer protects ordinary Americans from being subjected to a wide range of intrusive investigative techniques. The techniques include:

  • collecting information from online sources, including commercial databases.
  • recruiting and tasking informants to gather information about you.
  • using FBI agents to surreptitiously gather information from you or your friends and neighbors without revealing their true identity or true purpose for asking questions.
  • having FBI agents follow you day and night for as long as they want.

So in response to Feingold’s questions about how many assessments had been initiated and closed, FBI responded:

The FBI has initiated 11,667 Type 1 and Type 2 assessments, 3,062 of which are ongoing. 427 preliminary and full investigations have been opened based upon information developed in these Type 1 and Type 2 assessments. 480 Type 3, 4, 5, and 6 assessments have been initiated, of which 422 remain open.

To do the math, 95% of the Type 1 and 2 assessments that have been closed have resulted in no further investigation, suggesting the FBI was on a wild goose hunt.

But here’s the tricky thing: the FBI records on those people can be entered into FBI’s investigative databases!

Even if information obtained during an assessment does not warrant opening a predicated investigation, the FBI may retain personally identifying information for criminal and national security purposes. In this context, the information may eventually serve a variety of valid analytic purposes as pieces of the overall criminal or intelligence picture are developed to detect and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities. In addition, such information may assist FBI personnel in responding to questions that may subsequently arise as to the nature and extent of the assessment and its results, whether positive or negative. Furthermore, retention of such information about an individual collected in the course of an assessment will alert other Divisions or Field Offices considering conducting an assessment on the same individual that the particular individual is not a criminal or national security threat. As such, retaining personally identifying information collected in the course of an assessment will also serve to conserve resources and prevent the initiation of unnecessary assessments and other investigative activities.

So that says the FBI may be entering those 95% innocent people into a database with personally identifiable information.

Now, to be fair, FBI also mandates that these personally identifying information contain a warning that the person “does not warrant further FBI investigation at this time.”

As a result: (i) when records retained in an assessment specifically identify an individual or group whose possible involvement in criminal or national security threatening activity was checked out through the assessment; and (ii) the assessment turns up no sufficient basis to justify further investigation of the individual or group, then the records must be clearly annotated as follows: “It is noted that the individual or group identified during the assessment does not warrant further FBI investigation at this time. It is recommended that this assessment be closed.”

And, as Charlie Savage notes, the numbers FBI gave Feingold may not be all that accurate.

Some aspects of the statistics are hazy, officials cautioned.

[snip]

F.B.I. officials also said about 30 percent of the 11,667 assessments were just vague tips — like a report of a suspicious car that included no license plate number. Such tips are entered into its computer system even if there is no way to follow up on them.

Finally, they said, it is impossible to know precisely how many assessments turned up suspicious facts. A single assessment may have spun off more than one higher investigation, and some agents may have neglected to record when such an investigation started as an assessment.

Still, if what the FBI had wanted was just a database of information on all the young African American and Muslim men out there, maybe they should have just been straight up about it and simply retained the census workers to put together their database?

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. PJEvans says:

    I expect the 95 percent that they can’t find any reason to investigate to stay in the database until they die, the President says to take them out, or the FBI gets another tip. Or maybe the FBI will decide to investigate them for the hell of it. (I wonder what would happen if people started sending in ‘suspicious activity’ tips on FBI agents?)

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Exactly. “Closed” files do not mean deleted files. The characterization supposedly applies to files no longer actively being investigated. Except that’s a misdescription now, too.

    Like virtually all data the USG collects – or Google or any other commercial collector of data – is stored essentially forever. Given the rapid declines in the cost of storage and retrieval, and the obsession the USG and its outsourced contractors have in spending taxpayer dollars to sift through and “analyze” such data, a great deal of that data is “on-line” and readily retrievable and searchable. That is, it’s no longer stored in paper files or in hard to access analog media.

    Typically, as data on an individual comes up via any source, it will be allocated to or cross-referenced with a Hoover-like virtual file on that individual. In effect, new looseleaf pages are added to the notebook on that individual whenever they are generated. The notebooks can grow to any size required to encompass the ever accumulating data. They can be searched repeatedly as newer, faster, smarter, stronger “analysis” s/w is developed.

    One kind that’s all the rage statistically correlates connections and predicts behavior. It’s a hungry beast whose accuracy improves as the volume of data on a subject expands, which generates a continuing need to expand the data on each subject.

    The government is likely to repeatedly revise its “rules” so that they allow for continuously expanded (or just continuous) searches for personal data by the government and its private contractors. That is, the rules will change after the fact to justify whatever new digital acquisition, search and analysis toys the USG and its vendors develop.

    Apart from the grief and horror US citizens should express over this, if I were the EU, I would think twice about sharing personal data with the digital planet killer the US is unleashing on the world’s data. By design, it is incapable of complying with undertakings that limit the use of personal data.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There are also a myriad of commercial applications for those hungry statistical predictor beasts. The associational connections are time, people and location specific. Commercially, they are used, for example, to target products and services to sell you, when and where you most frequently go and meet like minded friends.

      There are obvious applications in both routine and national security policing, though the distinction between those two is probably being actively discouraged. Ironically, one would think that active criminal elements would be better able to confuse or hide their digital signatures and patterns, making predictions less accurate, than the range of adults considered societally normal and not prone to criminal behavior.

      That would seem to make such programs only marginally effective for the crime prevention purposes that justify large government expenditures. Like rockets, Teflon and Tang, however, such subsidies can make private corporations exceptionally and quietly profitable.

      • Synoia says:

        There is one major use. Targeted Advertising.

        Here’s a kicker:

        the FBI may retain personally identifying information for criminal and national security purposes

        They keep the information for “criminal purposes”, without any probable cause?

        How is that?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          “Targeted advertising” encompasses a lot of things, an expanding lot as more data is collected on you and your “contacts” and as statistical correlations are proven and expanded.

          It’s beyond what genre of literature you might buy rather than look at at Borders, beyond when and where you’ll go to dinner on Wednesday nights with Jeff or Lynnette. What you do, with whom and when in the past reveals what, with whom and where you will do it in future, and what you won’t be doing.

          The data collected has a plethora of legal implications, too. Take your car data, for instance. Continuous GPS data is stored along with engine and drive systems data. Determining who owns or even who has access to that data is a mare’s nest.

          If you have an accident on Tuesday about 4.30 pm, you might believe you were traveling at 25 mph, turning right, with your foot on the break, on a rainy night and the other car was outside its lane. Your car systems data might say it was 4.54.0332 pm, you were accelerating from 35.863 mph in a 30 mph zone, and your steering wheel was underturned for that speed by 18 degrees. The traffic control systems might say that intersection had a red light on a bright sunny afternoon. Whichever is correct, your insurance company and local law enforcement will claim you’re lying.

          If Abu Whozeewhatsit was within 10 meters of that corner at the same time, and you stopped at the Walgreen’s next to the mosque to buy three bottles of hydrogen peroxide for your 8th grade boys’ club’s science experiment, you just became a suspected giver of material support.

          Those are not fanciful scenarios. The upshot will be that you will have to prove your innocence. That might be easy for you to do, but it won’t be for everyone. And it has things bass ackwards.

  3. Jinx says:

    It’s probably 11K cases per Fusion Center at this point. Our local county attorney has set up a website for local citizens to file complaints on what, I don’t exactly know. Neighbors? Just whatever they think is criminal activity?

    Have any of you noticed increased use of federally funded task forces in your areas? It seems like all we see are task force drug busts and our AG seems to focus on internet porn. The cops handle traffic stops and violent crime but the rest seems to be the result of targeted federal grants. I’d like to free up the AG to focus on the mortgage mess but his mandate seems to be trolling the internet.

    This a scary stage being set. I think I’m just going to hole up in the root cellar.

  4. PeasantParty says:

    I keep shaking my head in even more disbelief. The FBI is supposed to work for us, the people!

    I’m with you, EW. Time to tip off on bankers and Congresscritters, along with Lobbyists. Sheesh! This is way off the track and nowhere close to being secure in person or belongings.

    • Synoia says:

      You don’t understand:

      This was the purpose: Government of the people, for the people, by the people

      and is now: Government on the People, for the Elect, by the Elect.

  5. CassandraBearingWitness says:

    Candidate Obama, a man with only a physical resemblance to President Obama, promised to eliminate unjust and excessively intrusive measures put into place by Bush. Instead, he has extended them.

  6. harpie says:

    The catch all excuse: “The American People” want us to do it.

    [NYT articl] But Valerie E. Caproni, the bureau’s general counsel, said the numbers showed that agents were running down any hint of a potential problem — including vigilantly checking out potential leads that might have been ignored before the Sept. 11 attacks.

    “Recognize that the F.B.I.’s policy — that I think the American people would support — is that any terrorism lead has to be followed up,” Ms. Caproni said. “That means, on a practical level, that things that 10 years ago might just have been ignored now have to be followed up.”

    I hate that.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That’s an obscene misuse of resources. It is ass covering for a billion dollars, while credible threats linger unattended in the queue.

    • klynn says:

      The catch all excuse: “The American People” want us to do it.

      If we are really land of the free home of the brave, we would not want “it”.

      We would not have fusion centers and we would rather die free then be watched by mistake.

      This means that an innocent could be someone who received a wrong number phone call from a “watched” person and end up “watched” as well. Or simply strikes up conversation while standing in line at a store with a watched person. Then poor Joe/Jane USA goes to the store to load up on band aids and hydrogen peroxide for the family van first aid kit because Joe/Jane happens to be the junior league soccer coach and wants to have first aid supplies for Spring Soccer on hand. While at the store Joe/Jane decides to buy two more bottles for the home first aid kits. (A notch goes on their file.) Then the same Joe/Jane USA goes to the garden store and buys weed and feed for the Spring lawn treatment because this community good person is also a DIY homebody. (Yet another notch goes on the file).

      But because Joe/Jane IS a community good person this MUST mean they are really a BAD person. (So another notch on the file).

      Then Joe/Jane go to the grocery store and because a childhood family friend’s grandparents were from Greece and were great cooks, Joe/Jane love Mediterranean food and decide to buy some hummus, tabouli & the Middle-Eastern dish felafel…(Another notch.)

      I could go on to develop this tragic scenario. Like…

      Then Joe/Jane go and interview for a new job and are turned down and the HR will not tell them why.

      Hey Jane, call a friend in Hollywood… Sadly, a great plot line for a movie is in this comment…

      BTW…I wonder how much of this illustrates exactly what happened to Vance and Ertle?

      If you do not know their story or their case against the government as US citizens, do go read…It was updated recently and is eye opening.

  7. becomingjohngalt says:

    Why is the author so racist as to say that these people being investigated are either young African Americans or Muslims? That seems like racial profiling by the author to me. What is the basis for this assertion? Link please.

    • harpie says:

      From the ACLU document the author linked to:

      2) The new guidelines open the door to racial profiling.

      The new guidelines “do not authorize any conduct prohibited by the Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.” That sounds nice but the Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies included an exemption for national security and border integrity investigations. By erasing the line between criminal investigations and national security investigations the guidelines open the door to racial profiling.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Please don’t take the troll bait. The “author’s” hypothetical was realistic; local law enforcement and the feds do use racial profiling. How much and where are relevant questions, not whether.

        • becomingjohngalt says:

          Just as “realistic” a hypothetical would be that

          1. There was a valid reason to begin such an investigation even absent consideration of the subject’s racial identity
          2. PII will be retained precisely for the reasons that the report mentions, and will be kept confidential.

          HYPOTHETICALLY speaking, perhaps the government is finally coming to the realization that the common thread in the vast majority of terroristic attacks on this country and our assets worldwide – radical Islamic hatred of the US – should be a consideration when investigating new threats.

          • emptywheel says:

            Thank you for coming here to demonstrate your ignorance.

            In sheer terms of numbers, radical right groups are more common in the US (and arguably more dangerous).

            So are you okay for white Christian fundies who don’t like abortion doctors who but don’t espouse violence to be put into a database, too? Militia members?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That wouldn’t be much better than Comey. It’s hard to imagine her giving up her seven figure lobbying/lawyering salary to head the FBI, but then always turning right inside the DC revolving door is the name of the game.

  8. mzchief says:

    Most folks probably don’t know the massive amount of energy in the form of electricity that is needed to run the data-mining Stazi Star run by AT&T, IBM et alia. For just one node of the star configured network, ConEdison has a huge feed from the grid to keep the beast fed at the 60 Hudson St. multi-story telecomm “hotel-ling” facility. Other nodes like Crays ensconced in research facilities require massive electrical energy lines. dawG knows what the secret black building that sprouted up in Chantilly, VA draws. All those new data storage warehouses around DeeCee need to feed from the grid too. Every Central Office (CO) is supposed to have a DC battery unit then a diesel power back up system. We saw how well the power back up systems worked in Fukushima when Mother Nature spoke (aside from the technical incompetence and lack of maintenance issues). I think nuclear is being pushed to fortify the position of the Stazi Star and increase build-out of its other nifty features but of course without regard to all the little people who will die when things go wrong at the electrical generation points. If we were really “green” the Stazi Star probably would be “Nova” (unfortunate name for a car that in Spanish means “no go”) as there are no super low power draw commercial comm systems I know of. Just look at the power draw of your lap top as a low ball number for one person to just be on the ‘Net even typing this comment (didn’t even add the heat pump for the house and all the appliances to keep the human happy).

    • PeasantParty says:

      Oh yeah. I bought stock for my children years ago, approx 20 years ago into our Bell South. Now AT&T owns the place and has not ONCE paid a dividend worthy of even another fraction of a share. Not to mention that the stock price before they took over was almost 44 bucks a share. Now, hovers around 20.

      Ya think they get enough money from the government to listen and report on us?

      • mzchief says:

        AT&T and their tracking stock was such a frickin’ scam (late 1990s). After IBM Global Systems was brought in to break contracts with the employees (partly unionized) then rip off the pensions of those ready to retire after having built the core systems, AT&T moved one of the big iron systems– the one that keeps track of all 800 phone calls– to Bangalore. The Indian contracting agencies were in a feeding frenzy to pipeline the H-1B visa slaves to Dulles that would then go back to Bangalore and run the systems when the power was on (one engineer didn’t make my day when he told me they slept on cots on-site during the outages). You can see I have nothing but what approaches contempt for “business” and “industry” these days.

    • becomingjohngalt says:

      Just sayin. Paranoia is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

      The FBI is entrusted with protecting us against the same types of evil bastards that killed over 3,000 of my (and presumably your) countrymen and women. I would wager that many of the US CITIZENS that frequent sites such as this were outraged at what happened on 9-11 and dumbstruck at how our government missed the warning signs it had in it’s possession. I know I was.

      Now, I’m in favor of protecting our civil liberties – and yours. But if another 9-11 occurs and we could have prevented it by being a little less politically correct and taken into consideration a suspect’s ethnicity and/or religious idolatry, it will be even more of a tragedy.

      Go ahead and call me a troll. Pretend you’re not hearing me. But perhaps you’ll be singing a different tune if one of your loved ones suffers as mine have.

    • mzchief says:

      GIGO => GINO. { LOL } The machine level demonstration of “agnotologic capitalism” brought to you via vault projects coordinated by some d00ds inside DoD and paid for by the tax paying peeps in an ever recursive life force extraction scheme.

      Invisible Sun” from the album, “Ghosts in the Machine” by The Police

  9. mzchief says:

    Soon after his death Tesla’s safe was opened by his nephew Sava Kosanović. Shortly thereafter Tesla’s papers and other property were impounded by the United States’ Alien Property Custodian office in Tesla’s compound at the Manhattan Warehouse, even though he was a naturalized citizen.

    Dr. John G. Trump was the main government official who went over Tesla’s secret papers after his death in 1943. At the time, Trump was a well-known electrical engineer serving as a technical aide to the National Defense Research Committee of the Office of Scientific Research & Development, Technical Aids, Div. 14, NTRC (predecessor agency to the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence). Trump was also a professor at M.I.T., and had his feelings hurt by Tesla’s 1938 review and critique of M.I.T.’s huge Van de Graaff generator with its two thirty-foot towers and two 15-foot-diameter (4.6 m) balls, mounted on railroad tracks—which Tesla showed could be out-performed in both voltage and current by one of his tiny coils about two feet tall.[106] Trump was asked to participate in the examination of Tesla’s papers at the Manhattan Warehouse & Storage Co. Trump reported afterwards that no examination had been made of the vast amount of Tesla’s property, that had been in the basement of the New Yorker Hotel, ten years prior to Tesla’s death, or of any of his papers, except those in his immediate possession at the time of his death. Trump concluded in his report, that there was nothing that would constitute a hazard in unfriendly hands.

    (excerpt from “Nikola Tesla: Death“)

    dawG I miss a mind like but the War Department and its pals are nothing but bad news.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That’s funny, and tragic. It’s a good example of how emotions can lead to abuses of power, by both omission and commission.

      The correct response to Cheney’s 1 percent problem is not to vacuum up all the Internet and telecoms data on the planet, regardless of how profitable that is for industry or how costly for the uninformed American taxpayer. It is to use what we have better, not run around establishing immense bureaucracies to avoid being blamed, and trashing the Constitution while doing it.

  10. becomingjohngalt says:

    Who’s ignorant! The author states without any factual basis that the Feds are investigating African Americans and Muslims almost exclusively. I never said I was ok with the radical right escaping notice and investigation. I am as much against abortion bombings as I am the tragedy at the WTC and Pentagon. But when profiling a radical right would appear to be ok to you, I gather profiling a radical Islamic sect would somehow violate the civil rights sensitivities of many people on this board.

    • PJEvans says:

      You are.
      You’re so focused on the nearly-nonexistent ‘radical Muslim terrorists’ that you’re missing the many reactionary white terrorists (usually called militias).

    • Mary says:

      So, what you’re saying is that you’d like to know and be able to review the author’s “factual basis” for his statement, but you don’t want to know and don’t want anyone to be able to review the FBI’s actual surveillance activities.

      What’s the factual basis for your statement that people are offended at profiling a radical Islamic sect when the topic was engaging in searches and seizures and surveillance of people for whom no one would be able to make a probable cause argument to get a judicial warrant.

      Why are you so distrustful and paranoid of judges and so trusting of thousands and thousands of unsupervised, unchecked, FBI agents? We know that gov employees have stolen and circulated information on Obama, McCain and various celebrities during the primaries; we know that gov employees have worked with organized crime killers, we know that gov employees – – are like large groups of people in general. Some are not good people, some break the law, some get into money issues, some have huge racist streaks, some belong to radical evangelical cults, etc.

      The framers of the Constitution knew that no groups of people are free from evil and that’s why, when you hand out power, that power can only be exercised when there is an independent check, reviewing the reasonability of the actions and probable cause to act.

      It’s childish to believe in a big brother who will act on a massive scale, with no checks, and do only good, with no harm.

      None of the things that were missed before 9-11 needed new, massive unchecked surveillance that adds more hay to the pile the needle fell into, to have not been missed. They require competence in handling the information that was already available – actually stopping people on check lists, for example.

      The cognitive dissonance between your online name “becomingjohngalt” and your online fearful requests gratefully allow and fund government keeping intrusive files on everyone because some day one of those people might do something bad – is pretty glaring.

      Anyway – how do you define radical? It has been radicals that have been overthrowing surveillance state dictators in the Middle East. It is Islamic radicals that seek to empower women in the ME. It is “radical” groups who push for human rights and push back against abuses. Jesus was a hugely leftist radical liberal. Is support for “socialist” funded groups like firefighters and policeman, radical?

      Let’s face it – if there were actually pointers to real problems, real warrants could be obtained. And if the FBI and other groups actually were focused on the real problems with real warrants, instead of running around like chickens with their heads cut off, having thousands of guys who think “Abu Omar” is an “alias” and who don’t know Shia from Shiite or Arab from Persian etc. collect info on guys who mention squashes and weddings on phone calls – we’d be better off.

      For that matter, if some of of you guys who keep promising that you are going to Go Galt would just go ahead and do it for gosh sakes – we’d likely be better off.

      How much of your money are you going to give to FBI for maintenance of files on people a court would never have given a surveillance warrants before you go?

      Just interested.

  11. MadDog says:

    With the FBI’s Forever Database of suspicious innocent citizens up and running, they’ve got time to go back to Illegal Wiretapping School:

    A federal prosecutor admitted Thursday the FBI made mistakes in wiretaps on indicted casino owners Milton McGregor and Ronnie Gilley, but they aren’t serious enough to throw out the recorded phone calls that are at the heart of Alabama’s gambling corruption case.

    Defense attorneys argued a judge should throw them out because FBI agents broke rules by listening to phone calls between the casino owners and their attorneys, by feeding information from some of those calls to the chief investigator, and by dragging their feet on turning over records of the wiretaps until threatened with sanctions by a federal judge…

    …In the hearing Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Feaga said FBI agents did everything they could to avoid listening to privileged phone calls between the casino owners and their attorneys, but the agents were using new, complicated equipment. He also said changes in technology made it difficult for them to find all relevant emails to turn over to the defense…

    …The FBI agent who oversaw the wiretaps, Doug Carr, spent much of the day on the witness stand…

    …Under questioning by defense attorneys, Carr acknowledged FBI agents weren’t trained on new wiretap recording equipment until the morning the wiretaps began on March 1, 2010. He said agents listened to a few attorney calls that they shouldn’t have, but he said it was usually because they didn’t catch the attorney’s name or the intent of the call at the beginning…

    • Mary says:

      Unbelievable. Hopefully some good factual back-up information for the Second Cir surveillance suit if it goes forward on appeal. Here you have the prosecution wiretapping calls between people and their lawyers, even under warrant based surveillance. Except that you know about it under the warrant based surveillance.

      New and complicated equipment kept them from being able to not listen in on calls with lawyers??? Seriously? FBI wiretappers can’t work their equipment with sufficient competence to not listen in on atty calls?

      And since when are we changing over to technology that makes it harder, not easier, to find emails you’ve intercepted? So is the good news that in the massive data bases is lots and lots of relevant information that the FBI won’t be able to accurately find even when it is specifically looking for it in connection with a court order, much less acting under an immiment threat circumstance where it is searching much more blind.

      Oy.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The FBI’s success in implementing even routine computer upgrades, or in getting its regional offices to digitally talk with each other, has not been stellar. It has more than once wasted entire programs and multiple hundreds of millions of dollars through either incompetence or an unwillingness to reform its culture.

        It’s a necessary organization, but it needs improvement. What it does not need is a mindlessly bigger budget, no oversight and exabytes more raw data that it will be afraid or incompetent ever to delete.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Consider the fecund possiblities to” accidentally “eavesdrop on corporate litigation and/or financial entities under the guise of TIA.

  12. sfmikey says:

    Didn’t Benjamin Franklin say something to the effect that those who would give up liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security? The risks of freedom are woth it, IMO. I’m not enjoying the sense of trading rights to ask for permission from an authority, and I do not care for the creeping Big Brotherism of our national security state.

    The ‘war on terror’ means we’ll be forever at war, since terror is a tactic, not an enemy. And this state of war keeps justifying further encroachments on inalienable rights in the name of safety. Not feeling it.

  13. ondelette says:

    During the registration by the BCIS of all Muslim men born in 22 countries during 2002 and 2003, the immigration files opened on these men (I can’t remember the INS designation, it was something like A10 or A11) was identical to the immigration files opened for suspected criminal behavior. To my knowledge, those files were never destroyed. I wonder if they are also in the database, just in case.

  14. pdaly says:

    Will the Republican threat of a government shutdown in the near future, by necessity, put a stop to this work? ;-)

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Those who give up their liberty in the name of security will have – and deserve – neither.

  16. PJEvans says:

    I heard of one FBI agent who took it upon himself (possibly with the blessing of his manager) to investigate a guy who ran in a marathon with the purpose of getting water to Africans, because the runner was employed and couldn’t possibly have time to train for one (and apparently had some financial problems as well).
    To me that reads like a personal grudge combined with semi-terminal stupidity (because thousands of people train for marathons while being employed full time, and may also be doing it so they have something to think about besides how much money they owe).

  17. Gitcheegumee says:

    The mention of Michael Mukasey in the original thread brought this
    to mind:

    Michael Mukasey, Bush’s AG, now lobbying to make it easier for US …Mar 19, 2011 … Michael Mukasey, Bush’s AG, now lobbying to make it easier for US companies to bribe foreign governments. Mukasey did not enforce the …
    groups.google.com/group/alt.politics/browse…/3aadc41c397216a5 – Cached-

    ►Former Attorney General Mukasey Joins U.S. Chamber’s FCPA Lobbying …Mar 15, 2011 … Mukasey joins an all-star team of former Justice Department officials … The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has retained former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to lobby on the … has become a huge risk for international U.S. business as the … Mukasey has not previously registered as a lobbyist, …
    http://www.mainjustice.com/…/former-attorney-general-mukasey-joins-u-s- chambers-fcpa-lobbying-team/ – Cached

    NOTE: Considering the increasing coordination between corporate, federal, and local entities,Mukasey’s clientscould just possibly be on the receiving end of the TIA petard.

  18. Willi says:

    There is a case in the Supreme Court right now in which police want to be able to interrogate underage suspects without Miranda Warnings. Unilaterally, without congressional approval, the Obama Administration has declared by Fiat that Terrorism suspects do not need to be Mirandised. In the 15th Century, England instituted the Camera Stellata, or Star Chamber Court, in which persons of Noble birth were subject to Conviction without Indictment, Right to an Attorney, Right to Trial by Jury, Right to Argue Innocence nor had the Right to Appeal, all in complete secrecy. Because of the spirit of Liberal Inclusionism, the Obama Administration wants to extend these courtesies to the common Man, not only members of the Nobility. Now, there is an attempt to secretly gather information on innocent Americans. Remember the words ‘Star Chamber Court’; it used to be a Rallying Cry against State sponsored Tyranny (like in the Times of the Declaration of Independence or The Constitution, those Communist inspired radical documents). We need to loudly scream ‘NO STAR CHAMBER COURT’ to the present Administration.

  19. BoxTurtle says:

    Happy Birthday, EW! May your hands be filled with gifts and your home filled with happiness.

    Boxturtle (And just ’cause you’re a year older doesn’t mean you must ACT a year older!)