The National Counterterrorism Center Just Declared All of Us Domestic Terrorists

I’m going to have a series of posts on the new National Counterterrorism Center data sharing guidelines. As a reminder, the whole point of these guidelines is to allow the NCTC to obtain information on US persons, dump it into their datamining, and then ultimately pass it on. In this, I’ll show how, by magic of cynical bureaucracy, the government is about to turn non-terrorist data into terrorist data.

Here’s how that trick is accomplished rhetorically. In the Background section (and in one or two other places), the document includes this language to legally justify throwing US person data into big databases to be data mined. It starts by laying out NCTC’s data mandate:

[NCTC] shall “serve as the primary organization in the United States for analyzing and integrating all intelligence possessed or acquired by the United States Government pertaining to terrorism and counterterrorism, excepting intelligence pertaining exclusively to domestic terrorists and domestic counterterrorism.

It blathers on about how NCTC also has the responsibility to request information and pass it on. This is the legal language they’re going to translate to mean the opposite of what it says.

Jumping ahead a bit, the guidelines acknowledges that NCTC is only supposed to have access, if needed, to domestic terrorism information.

In the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, Congress recognized that NCTC must have access to a broader range of information than it has primary authority to analyze and integrate if it is to achieve its missions. The Act thus provides that NCTC “may, … receive intelligence pertaining exclusively to domestic terrorism from any Federal, State, or local government or other source necessary to fulfill its responsibility and retain and disseminate intelligence.” [my emphasis]

See that? It can have all the foreign terrorism information, and then if it needs to, it can have the domestic terrorism information.

Now, going back a few lines, it takes this authority–”pertaining exclusively to domestic terrorism”–and uses it to get … everything.

NCTC’s analytic and integration efforts … at times require it to access and review datasets that are identified as including non-terrorism information in order to identify and obtain “terrorism information,” as defined in section 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of 2004, as amended. “Non-terrorism information” for purposes of these Guidelines includes information pertaining exclusively to domestic terrorism, as well as information maintained by other executive departments and agencies that has not been identified as “terrorism information” as defined by IRTPA. [my emphasis]

Note that bolded section is not a citation from existing law. It is, instead, NCTC turning NCTC’s authority to sometimes get domestic terrorism information into authority to get any dataset maintained by any executive agency that NCTC believes might include some information that might be terrorism information.

Those of us in the US Government’s tax, social security, HHS, immigration, military, and other federal databases? We’ve all, by bureaucratic magic, been turned into domestic terrorists.

Now, NCTC seems to understand what a grasp this is, so it deploys one more rhetorical effort, this time noting that the Director of National Intelligence–to whom NCTC reports–also gets access to all national security intelligence.

[The National Security Act] provides that “[u]nless otherwise directed by the President, the Director of National Intelligence shall have access to all national intelligence and intelligence related to hte national security which is collected by any federal department, agency, or other entity…”

So in addition to all of us in government databases–that is, all of us–being deemed domestic terrorists, the data the government keeps to track our travel, our taxes, our benefits, our identity? It just got transformed from bureaucratic data into national security intelligence.

We are all, now, first and foremost potential terrorists now. Only after NCTC destroys our data in five years (if they don’t find some excuse to keep it before then) will we become citizens again.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

10 Responses to The National Counterterrorism Center Just Declared All of Us Domestic Terrorists

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @michaelbkiefer And it is.....the glomming on stupidity of the Arias trial clownshow?
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Seriously, how does @CNN continually put up Sunny Hostin as a "legal expert"? #Baffling That said, she may be better than Tom Fuentes.
14mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @TheRealNews: @emptywheel @JohnKiriakou Petraeus Plea Deal Shows Double-Standard in U.S. Government's Prosecution of Whistleblowers http…
29mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @jadler1969 @sbagen @ThePlumLineGS @djsziff @espinsegall @jonathanadler Crikey I wouldn't shop there either. I ust want to have a margarita.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @jadler1969 @sbagen @ThePlumLineGS @djsziff @espinsegall @acslaw Attn Adler: Favoriting that tweet is not a promise to come for Margs+tacos.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @charlie_simpson I'm fine with that. Also, Google backups might prevent email destruction. @brooks_rosa
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @brooks_rosa Except for the Chinese compromise of GMail, of course. And do you clear GMail's Sysadmins? @charlie_simpson
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @chrisgeidner Not to mention the stuff Petraeus shared with his mistress was orders of magnitude more classified.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @brooks_rosa Given comments abt Petraeus leaking to cleared person, should correct Kirakou crime, confirming ID used by cleared lawyers
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @submergingmkt Brookings pundits are picked not for their wisdom but for their justification for more defense funding.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @WinstonTapper You are really cute, but shy won't you come to my birthday party?? Love, Kiki http://t.co/ogQIDhc06l
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @firetomfriedman So many pundits, such a shortage of appropriate hate!
2hreplyretweetfavorite