How to Arrest Someone (Almost) Entirely Off Social Media

Brandon and Stephanie Miller are, like Jeremy Groseclose, really minor players who entered the Capitol on January 6 while there was an insurrection going on around them. The one amusing tidbit in the arrest affidavit for the married couple quoted Brandon, stating on Facebook the day after the riot, that he hadn’t yet gotten into trouble, two months before he would get into trouble.

“Went in the capital [sic] building.” This user asked Brandon Miller, “You didn’t get into any trouble,” to which he responded, “No not yet anyway lol I’m home now I’m banded on Facebook for me going live while I was there we just walked down the main hallway we did see the blood trail from the girl that got shot and killed then I just seen a post saying 3 people died not sure on that one tho.”

What’s interesting about the affidavit is it shows how the FBI arrested the two largely off their social media use.

A Facebook geofence

The investigation started when the FBI obtained Brandon’s Facebook ID in response to a request for everyone who had live-streamed or posted video from inside the Capitol — a kind of Facebook geofence I described likely was used in this post. So at the very start, they didn’t know who Brandon was, but they knew he had trespassed and created his own record of doing so.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations sought information from Facebook as part of the federal investigation that began in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 events at the U.S. Capitol Building. Specifically, the FBI requested that Facebook identify any “Facebook Live” videos which may have been streamed and/or uploaded to Facebook from physically within the building of the U.S. Capitol during the time on January 6, 2021 that the mob had stormed and occupied the Capitol Building.

Facebook responded by providing the Object IDs for multiple videos linked to specific Facebook accounts/user IDs. Among the accounts provided by Facebook was Facebook account number 100011360648175.

The FBI presumably obtained the Facebook ID for everyone who posted from inside the Capitol that day. I suspect they immediately got preservation orders for everyone whose account came up, which wasn’t a problem here (the Millers did not attempt to delete any of this), but likely explains why others were unsuccessful in their efforts to delete damning evidence on Facebook.

Warrant on Facebook

Remember, virtually every outsider who was in the Capitol that day was trespassing. That made it easy for the FBI to say that anyone who had, like Brandon, uploaded video from inside the Capitol had probably been committing a crime (to say nothing that such videos might provide evidence of other people committing a crime), because by being there to livestream the content, they were trespassing. The FBI got a warrant return from Facebook by January 14 (meaning turnaround and seeking those warrants was almost immediate after the riot). That gave the FBI Brandon’s credit card information, his address, his phone number, and Stephanie’s name and status as Brandon’s spouse.

On or about January 14, 2021, Facebook provided a response to a search warrant for Brandon Miller’s Facebook. Subscriber information provided by Facebook included credit cards associated with the account. The credit card had a zip code of 45308, which resolves to Bradford, OH. Brandon Miller’s Facebook account listed him as living in Bradford, Ohio. The registered phone number to the account is was (***) ***-6025.


His Facebook profile as indicated that Brandon Miller was married to Facebook user Stephanie Miller.

The FBI used this information to obtain their driver’s license records, one of the few things that didn’t come directly from social media.

Public commentary on January 6 on Facebook

Both Brandon and Stephanie had their Facebook content accessible to the public (but the FBI would have obtained Brandon’s with their warrant anyway). In addition to the comment, above, where Brandon said he was not yet in trouble, they posted a bunch of other things confirming that they had entered the Capitol. Among other things, though, they posted content that showed they did not have the intent to prevent the vote count (thereby saving themselves the felony charge others have gotten off their pre-January 6 postings).

On or about January 5, 2021, Brandon Miller, in direct messages with another Facebook user wrote, “Heading to DC for tomorrow the 6th the really not sure if you have seen anything about it but me and Stephanie are going to witness history.”

On or about January 6, 2021, Brandon Miller’s Facebook timeline showed he was with Stephanie Miller at a hotel in Washington, D.C. with the accompanying message: “Cant’ wait to witness history”

They were in DC to witness history, not to upend it.

One live witness from Facebook — probably IDed on Facebook

FBI then did the one thing that isn’t obviously from Facebook, but probably is: interview one of the Millers’ family members, twice.

On or about January 26, 2021, a witness, (hereinafter referred to as “W-1”), was interviewed by the FBI. W-1 informed the FBI that he was a family member of Brandon and Stephanie Miller’s. W-1 had heard from another family member that Brandon and Stephanie Miller were at the Capitol and went inside. W-1 observed a Facebook Live video on Brandon Miller’s Facebook account that showed himself and Stephanie Miller inside the Capitol. W-1 provided both Brandon and Stephanie Miller’s phone number as (***) ***-6025. W-1 also provided an address for the Millers in Bradford, Ohio, which matched the Miller’s address in their respective BMV records.

In a subsequent interview, W-1 was shown the photograph above from Brandon Miller’s Facebook. W-1 identified the man in the foreground of the photo as “Brandon Miller” and the woman behind him as “Stephanie Miller” by writing their names next to their respective images. W-1 also viewed the below photograph taken inside the Capitol. W-1 identified the woman in the foreground of the photo as “Stephanie Miller” by writing her name next to her image.

This person honestly told the FBI that they knew the couple had been to the Capitol, had seen Brandon’s Live video, and corroborated all the other data the FBI had already collected off Facebook. The same witness subsequently confirmed the IDs of the pictures that would have been identifiable from Facebook anyway.

The FBI could have IDed this person via many means (such as public records). But Facebook would probably be the easiest and most likely way they did so. Moreover, by doing so using Facebook, the FBI would have known precisely what answers a particular witness could answer, such as their awareness that the couple had been inside the Capitol. Effectively, when they did those interviews, they knew every single answer they’d get, and they knew the witness knew the answers.

FBI could ID family members from tags, pictures, and Facebook content, and then get those family members to corroborate everything made clear in Facebook anyway.

A Google Geofence tour around the Capitol

Then the FBI took two steps to obtain a Google Geofence showing Stephanie (likely with Brandon at her side) wandering around the Capitol. First, by February 4, they got Brandon and Stephanie’s Google identities, using either their phone number and/or Google IDs that would have been returned by Facebook. This would have been a subpoena. Then they used that information to get a warrant for the Geofence showing where Stephanie went in the Capitol, likely with Brandon walking by her side.

Obtain cell site location within the Capitol

The FBI agent who did this work must be really anal (or maybe he’s just showing the work that every agent is doing), because after having obtained location data from Google and Facebook placing the couple inside the Capitol, he obtained cell site location data placing them … in the Capitol.

According to records obtained through a search warrant which was served on AT&T on January 6, 2021, in and around the time of the incident at the U.S. Capitol Building, the cellphones associated with phone numbers (***) ***-5898 and (***) ***-6025 were identified as having utilized a cell site consistent with providing service to a geographic area that included the interior of the U.S. Capitol Building.

The agent got this information two days after the subscriber information from Google, February 6, one month after the riot.

At this point, the agent had three pieces of evidence — the Facebook “geofence,” the Google geofence, and the AT&T location data — placing them inside the Capitol.

Match all that location data to security footage

Then, on February 11, the agent got security footage corresponding with all that location data. Sure enough, they were walking together through the Capitol, gaping at history, just like they said they were going to.

This is what you can do with the power of social media with two people who were doing nothing to hide their actions. Lucky for them, everything they said corroborated their claim they were just there to see history. The FBI has obligingly given them more souvenir pictures for their trouble … and two misdemeanor charges. Along with a very good lesson about how intrusive social media can be.

Remember: this entire process was predicated off the reasonable suspicion that someone live-streaming from the Capitol on January 6 was trespassing. The very act of live-streaming was, in virtually all cases, either evidence from victims or evidence of a misdemeanor. That’s what makes this reasonable rather than a privacy nightmare.

But it’s also a ready lesson about what kind of privacy nightmare it could be, if the FBI were to come up with some other, less obvious basis for probable cause.

Update: After I wrote this I realized I wasn’t as clear about something as I’d like. This data is not — as might be imagined from reading how it served to capture this couple in misdemeanor trespassing charges — worthless data for the larger project of figuring out what plans to overthrow democracy people had coming in. Not only was this social media approach really useful in collecting on the Oath Keepers, who have been charged in a conspiracy to prevent the vote certification, but many of these techniques were first obvious, though not explicitly explained, in the first William Chrestman cell affidavit. This same granular data helped the FBI identify precisely where Proud Boy Chrestman was at any given time he was in the Capitol, who was with him, and what measures they were taking that put members of Congress a significant risk. With the Millers this might seem like overkill. But with a bunch of militia groups that FBI should have had investigations on but didn’t, this data is proving key to being able to reconstruct what happened.

78 replies
  1. Geoff says:

    Add this to Clearview AI, and some mal-intentioned political actors, and it’s a recipe for a rather grim future. Hence, everybody, enjoy the brief moment of relief from Biden overcoming the cheating of his opponent, but ASAP get back to work on the task of maintaining control of Congress. If you dont know what to do, Stacey can tell you!

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    This looks like the result of a fairly interesting data analytics project. If I was setting this up, I would have started by importing the cell site data into a data store that would allow me to associate a variety of other data sources (Parler video, Facebook timelines, Google data, etc.) across the time and geo dimensions. This would allow a small team to track the hundreds of subjects and generate the supporting documentation for cases like the one mentioned here.

    • emptywheel says:

      Given the timing of the arrests, I suspect that’s what we’re seeing.
      Obtain bulk data from FB, Google, and the cell sites, at a minimum (I think IG and Snapchat would be useful, Twitter less so, though I may underestimate how much they’re now collecting). Strip out the exclusion numbers — Congress, staffers, Capitol staff, cops, first responders. Then map it to Parler and surveillance video.

      The latter seems to have been the real hold-up. If so, this process may accelerate now.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Yes, they would have to carefully time sync each video. Very accurate timekeeping on the internet is really quite difficult. The cell site data will be as close to perfect as is humanly possible because cell technology requires it. Google, because in many ways their business depends on knowing that x happened before y at a very granular level, is very good as well. Not sure about Facebook.

        Also, I strongly suspect that they aren’t stripping out data from LEO employees. AFAIK, (and unfortunately in my opinion) employers generally have the right to track work-issued devices. That’s a lot of very useful detail. Knowing who was within 100 ft. of the officers who suffered from violent attacks would help narrow down the suspect list.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        I think it would be much more interesting to NOT strip the Congress, staffers, Capitol staff, cops, and first responders. I think I would like to see the support by some of the people in those categories.

  3. pdaly says:

    The security camera photo of this couple parading down the Capitol’s hallway with police and guards lining the walls makes it seem like harmless sightseeing. Glad to see the last sentence of the affidavit clearly states parading in this instance is a crime. The same sentence makes me wonder whether their going inside ‘to witness history’ will be treated instead as disrupting Congress’ duties.

    “Your affiant submits there is also probable cause to believe that Brandon Miller and Stephanie Miller violated 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(D) and (G), which makes it a crime to willfully and knowingly (D) utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place in the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress or either House of Congress, or the orderly conduct in that building of a hearing before, or any deliberations of, a committee of Congress or either House of Congress; and (G) parade, demonstrate, or picket in any of the Capitol Buildings.”

    • bmaz says:

      Lol, “What are you here in the slam for?” “Eh, I was found guilty of parading!”

      Anytime you see the phrase “Your affiant submits….” step back and think twice.

      • Badger Robert says:

        And that is exactly how a sociopath would proclaim their innocence. They would leave out that other parade attendees entered the legislative chambers and still more went uninvited into the offices of the legislators, while both houses were engaged in a non discretionary ceremony, which was slightly delayed.
        Your earlier post on conspiracy is relevant. The question is which defense lawyer wants his client to play hardball with the DoJ and become the test defendant in a conspiracy trial?

        • bmaz says:

          Excellent question. Because that adventurous defendant will have a LOT on the line. In conspiracy cases, the first out and cooperating gets the early bird worm. The one that sticks it out either wins big or loses big. Problem is, it is almost always loses big.

      • person1597 says:

        “I remember Sunday morning
        I would meet him at the park
        We’d walk together hand in hand
        Till it was almost dark
        Now I wake up Sunday morning
        Walk along the lane to find
        Nobody waiting for me
        Sunday’s just another day”

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, I have legal concepts I am very much interested in protecting.

          It is not really any of these assholes individually.

  4. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The narrative progression from FB to Google to cell data is a decent indication of what the FBI considers the richest seams of data, though perhaps also which companies are quickest to respond to warrants. The FB posts and livestream were the obvious starting points, but Google provides better location corroboration than cell data.

    Facebook doesn’t just have location and proximity data, but also visual recognition for locations. The latter is probably what made it easy to isolate videos taken “physically within the building” versus those taken just outside: there might be a margin of error on coordinates but less so on “indoor” vs “outdoor.”

    (FB pulled back on its facial recognition features in 2019 and settled a big class action related to it in 2020, but it has far greater liberty to treat a building as a big face.)

    • emptywheel says:

      I would be shocked if FB’s location data isn’t every bit as good as Google’s. They don’t have a map feature, so the data isn’t going to come in like the maps Google returned. But that is very different from saying that Facebook’s own analysis doesn’t benefit from the same kind of granular data as Google has. They just can’t (or more likely won’t — I assume 702 data DOES come back with it) provide it back to FBI in the same way.

      Plus, this is also a testament to what legal process is the most worthwhile. A Facebook warrant is going to be more useful than Google, for the pictures and explicit tagging, so worth the two-step process to get those who uploaded first and then get a warrant.

  5. Wm. Boyce says:

    Amazing to me, although it shouldn’t be, how ignorant these folks were in just following the mob into the Capitol. Or maybe they had intent, and were lucky enough not to have voiced it. We’ll never know, but it again to me shows the stupidity of people who have no idea what’s going on.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m not sure about you, but I have definitely gone into the State Capitol during protests. That wasn’t trespassing bc it was during open hours. But the impetus is the same.

      • dwfreeman says:

        The relevant question is, and it keeps repeating, what history were they hoping to witness? Because other than the electoral college vote certification which was on the calendar for years, the lead up to this event, and the actual intention of those who marched to the Capitol grounds and then entered the building illegally, since neither the march there nor their entry was permitted, was their actual purpose in being there. Were they innocent as insurrection witnesses or part of the gaggle of followers and combatants in the buildup of its creation?

        The seeming innocence of their intention to go to DC to witness history means they were piped into an understanding and attuned to messaging that most Americans were not, that something was going down on Jan. 6 in the nation’s capital, and they knew about its planning in advance. Consider the tone and tenor of those who witnessed history from afar as opposed to those who did it up close and personal.

      • BobCon says:

        Although Congress has the authority to close down the building on a moment’s notice — I know someone who was taking a Capitol tour on 9/11 when the police suddenly came storming through telling everyone to leave.

        I haven’t read if there was any attempt to declare the building off limits, though, until the late afternoon clearance began.

        There is at least one loudspeaker system on Capitol Hill, which was activated when an unrelated fire broke out nearby a few days before Inauguration, but I haven’t seen a report if it (or any other) was actually used on 1/6, or if the police gave wrnings to the crowd before or during the first hours that the building was closed and entry was illegal.

        • greengiant says:

          The grounds were off limits and protected by police lines that were violently over run.
          Anyone past the first police line gets a misdemeanor? Too bad the ear bursting sound machine was not around to broadly declare an unlawful assembly.
          I think every person in this crowd that passed the original police line would have been happy to see the electoral count halted. There seem to be millions more scammed by Trump who felt the same way but were outside of DC.

  6. Fran of the North says:

    Taking this investigation to the next level, I presume that the Google location data is time stamped. Now take the location data for two or more individuals suspected of conspiracy.

    Map the whereabouts of the individuals to see whether they are in the same location at the same time. If so, then you may be able to infer behavior patterns, if for example a group were located together and then spread out in what could be considered a search pattern.

    Yes there are radii of uncertainty in commercial use of GPS, and accuracy degrades indoors, but when cross referenced with wifi and video data, there may be much more to learn.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Speaking of time-stamps, what time did the Millers’ parade through the Capitol occur? I’m inferring from the still-organized ranks of LEOs that it must have been early in the afternoon, before things went to hell–and before all those uniforms were needed elsewhere.

        • harpie says:

          That would be between the following two entries in yesterday’s TL:

          2:49 PM PONDER starts swinging more aggressively at individual cops, striking one
          3:15 PM Officers learn there’s no transport available to complete the arrest of PONDER at that time. Since they are needed elsewhere, they decide to allow PONDER to depart

        • subtropolis says:

          And, those guys in cammo are likely the FBI SWAT team, which didn’t show up until later in the afternoon.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          I’m still curious how it is that at 3:09 p.m. with a riot in full swing they had ranks lined up like that to protect against one sight-seeing couple. Also, didn’t those two realize the futility, even for tourists, of wandering down a hallway lined with such an intimidating LE presence? They remind me of Adam and Eve at the end of Paradise Lost–if they had tried to get back into Eden confronted by an armed God.

  7. Badger Robert says:

    Thanks for letting us read all of this.Perhaps Mr. Miller and Ms. Miller should consider pleading to a trespass charge and co-operating with the FBI.

  8. Chetnolian says:

    Before we get too carried away with the idea of “witnessing of history”, if you go simply sightseeing you don’t usually carry a big banner on what looks like a pole

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      Or bring a baseball bat, hockey stick, crowbar, mace, bear spray, zip tie handcuffs, and/or taser…

      Or break windows, vandalize offices, crap in the hallways, attack LEO, and set up a scaffold w/ noose out on the lawn…

    • subtropolis says:

      Yup, it’s bullshit, imho. I’d hate to see a judge accept that excuse for leniency. They may not have assaulted any cops, or done any damage, but they chose to join the insurrection, all the same. At a minimum, they ought to face the same baseline charges as anyone else who entered the Capitol: trespassing, and attempting to disrupt the functioning of government.

  9. harpie says:

    Along with “StopTheSteal”, an over-arching message from TRUMP et al. in the lead up to January 6 was that HISTORY would “be made!” on that date, and that his fans would NOT want to miss it! The invitations were sent via social media. The Millers were among the many who responded.

    1] See these screenshots [that Marcy posted], from a certain Russian speaking Young Republican from Oregon who got a photo with Roger STONE at TRUMP HOTEL on 12/24/20
    3:29 PM · Jan 7, 2021 [SCREENSHOTS]

    1] Congratulations to Mr. Roger Stone on the full pardon from the GREATEST President!
    2] [DATE?] On January 6th, be on the right side of history!
    Don’t miss speech of @realDonaldTrump
    this will be HISTORIC!

    • harpie says:

      2] 12/26/20 TRUMP tweets:

      The ‘Justice’ Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud, the biggest SCAM in our nation’s history, despite overwhelming evidence. They should be ashamed. History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th.

      3] [On or before] 1/1/21 Roger STONE asks for money:

      [STONE]: This is Roger Stone. On January 6 I’ll be speaking to the StoptheSteal peaceful protest in Washington DC. We’re going to be protesting the heist of the 2020 election. […] We can only count on people like you. So, to help us have a safe, peaceful event, to help us have the impact we want, to change history, and to stand up for the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln, please go to stopthesteal dot org […]

    • harpie says:

      4] 12:20 PM [approx.] [from Trump’s speech]

      TRUMP: Today we see a very important event though. Because right over there, right there, we see the event going to take place. And I’m going to be watching. Because history is going to be made. We’re going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders, or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity they’ll be ashamed.
      And you know what? If they do the wrong thing, we should never, ever forget that they did. Never forget. We should never ever forget.

      5] 1:54 PM Alex JONES [at the CAPITOL]

      History is happening! I salute you! Tell everyone you know to go to the other side of the Capitol! That’s where Trump’s going to be!

      6] 6:01 PM TRUMP tweets

      These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

      • ceebee says:

        Racism is being supplanted by RO – Resentment Opportunism. I’m not looking forward to being ‘lightly threatened’ whenever RO kicks in.

  10. Rugger9 says:

    OT, but did anyone else see the news that Rusal (Deripaska’s outfit) has suspended its investment in KY? It would appear that the already smelly transactional nature would point back to Putin being unhappy with President Biden’s new policy and is trying to punish McConnell for not stopping him. We’ll see if McConnell blames Biden for “making” Putin do this, but this action also underscores how complete Putin’s control is over his oligarchs.

    KY MAGAs should be so proud of themselves for re-electing a Russian tool who didn’t even get the deal done. You’re stuck with him for six years. I’m pretty sure McConnell got his cut, though.

  11. PeterS says:

    Perhaps we’ll never know how sincere the “witnessing history” explanation was. Though I do have a touch of sympathy for those that were entirely peaceful and ended up inside the Capitol. Believing your president and what you heard on mainstream media (Fox) may have  been dumb but it wasn’t irrational.

    How much would I sympathise with a peaceful left wing protester who on a different day unlawfully entered the Capitol? What would I be saying about FBI “surveillance” of my associates? As Garland said, there must not be “one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans; one rule for friends and another for foes”.

    • subtropolis says:

      I’d say, “fuck them!” And fuck any Democrat president who attempted to overthrow the government.

        • subtropolis says:

          I’d assumed you meant a reversed scenario. If a Dem president used the same kind of lying rhetoric to incite a mob into doing the same thing, I’d not be sympathetic.

    • MB says:

      Hey, careful with use the use of the word “mainstream” here! Although Fox News is a corporation and would like to usurp the “mainstream” label all unto themselves, that term is usually reserved for their “enemies”: CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, NY Times and Wash Post. My preferred label for Fox News these days is: “propaganda organ for insurrectionists”.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      PeterS, How could being “entirely peaceful” result in being inside the Capitol? I know you choose your words carefully. I am not equating “lawful” with “peaceful,” but rather asking how people potentially equipped with weapons can be construed as “entirely” anything like “peaceful.” This is not the stuff of nonviolent protest, no matter how oblivious they appear to be.

    • PeterS says:

      I’m trying to make the joke work but I get stuck on “the revolution”.

      Though I do appreciate anything that approaches a rap reference, a rare occurrence here (yes I know I can watch The Beat with …).

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Don’t call this a comeback. Because try as I might, I can’t think of the joke either.

  12. Brianm0122 says:

    If there is (and there probably is) an in-building system or a DAS they may not even need a supenoa to get this info.

    An in- building system or a DAS (Distributed antenna system) is basically a cell site that serves indoors. They can be owned by the property owner and if it is owned by the Gov, it is their data.

    • Anne says:

      Ooh, something new I hadn’t hear of! Thanks!
      But a DAS has to be connected to a network. If it’s WiFi (like Xfinity) then you have to be an Xfinity subscriber or you can’t use it. If it’s a GSM cell site then it has to be connected to AT&T or Verizon or whatever. If it’s a private LAN like you would put in a big office building, then only authorized users can get on it. I can’t imagine a free no-password-required WiFi network in the Capitol.
      AT&T/Verizon can provide charging information for whatever these folks posted from their cell phones no matter what network is inside the building. The only thing cell phone providers can’t give the FBI is location (cell site) data if they didn’t actually use their phones to post anything or call anybody.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Whoever is behind Joe Biden’s current marijuana policy – sidelining or firing WH staffers who used it, even in states where its use is legal, and making a big deal about it – needs to be yanked away from polishing their Gran Torino, put in a time machine, and dragged backed from 1980s Reagan America into 2021.

    Nixon’s war on drugs – specifically and intentionally on marijuana – was part of white supremacist attempts to oppose the civil rights movement, disenfranchise Black voters, and strengthen Jim Crow. Its “roots” go back to the dawn of federal law enforcement in the post-WWI era of Black liberation – which prompted an era of mass lynchings and the destruction of successful Black communities for being too “uppity.”

    Adhering to Biden’s current posture on majrijuana is not doing the right thing, not even passively. He should correct his course, legalize marijuana use and sale, and reasonably regulate its production. That would bring him back to the future of contemporary thinking on public health and reject the racist war on drugs. Coincidentally, it would also be smart politics.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that is just crazy. My, ahem, observation is that alcohol is far more destructive to one than a little pot. But, hey Tip and Ronnie tilted one and heavy drinking is a DC institution. But these kids are getting summarily canned in this supposedly enlightened day and age.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Yes, nice introduction that has a lot of legs. I think there are close parallels with regulators of Prohibition. One of the top federal regulators happily advocated adding lethal poison to alcohol, so as to encourage addicts not to drink it. His response to criticism that it blinded and killed drinkers was a Reaganesque, “Good. Then maybe it will stop people from drinking it.”

          Never mind that during Prohibition, law enforcement happily provided alcohol deliveries to the wealthy; and retired Marine General Smedley Butler, then working as safety director for Philadelphia, was sharply reprimanded by the powers that be for attempting to enforce Prohibition against the country club set.

          Drug enforcement has always had social, political, and economic biases, some of them enormously destructive. (See, recent articles on traditional beer brewing by women, whose distinctive attire – pointed hats, brooms – their economic opponents associated with witchcraft.) Team Biden would do well to learn that lesson sooner rather than later.

      • P J Evans says:

        Most likely they were found to have lied on their clearance forms about using it. That will do it, because you swear that everything on it is truth.

        • bmaz says:

          Not so sure of that. Think far more likely, this early, this is happening because they were honest on their SF-86’s and/or intake interviews.

        • subtropolis says:

          That was my impression, given that this happened to several at once. I think that their files had been put to one side and presented as, “everything is fine with these folks except for this one thing.” Questions were put as to how deal with it and the final decision was to be strictly by the book. It’s a stupid decision, imho.

        • Fran of the North says:

          Lied on their clearance forms? That can’t be it, how many corrections did Jared get to make on his, and he still got through??? /s

          Thankfully a new sheriff is in town. But methinks that the focus on some puffery ;o) is misplaced.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        You sound like every screenwriters who has distilled that experience into, “Yea, I went to college….,” but I agree. My understanding is that weed is more benign than alcohol, has none of the anger-inducing issues, has less impairment and short- and long-term damage, and has medical uses that alcohol does not. Reducing the mountainous social costs allocable to alcohol addiction would be another benefit.

        Potential opposition includes big drinks companies and local leos, which depend on the drug war to fill their treasuries. Courts, on the other hand, should love cutting their caseload, and states should love the new source of tax revenue. The right, of course, will double down on their racist drug war themes and salivate about owning the immoral libs. But they will do that about anything Biden tries to do,

        • PeterS says:

          I completely agree, though on the anger-inducing thing I read somewhere that this is as much cultural as chemical/biological. Apparently in some societies alcohol is expected to have other effects, and therefore it does.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I think the difference is that, unlike marijuana, which tends to elicit mellowness, alcohol use leads to loss of inhibition and impulse control. It allows anger, connected at the hip to fear, to be released as violence.

        • vvv says:

          I’ve seen a few bar fights, never saw a fight at a stoner party.

          At least, not until after the drunks arrived.

  14. Marinela says:

    One aspect of the violence on January 6, as I understand it, is the fact that you cannot bring guns to D.C.
    This is probably why the violence was somewhat limited.
    Otherwise we would’ve seen more carnage.
    I was wondering how they were able to check the insurrectionists didn’t have guns with them when they entered the Capitol building.

    • subtropolis says:

      Nobody was screened before they entered the complex. At least one cop has said that they knew that some of the mob had guns, based on the number of them that had been confiscated, though he did not elaborate on that. Regardless, the cops were not patting down the mob as they broke in.

      In any case, this same cop said that they were concerned about using deadly force lest a wild firefight ensue.

      But, yes — had many of them been able to march on the Capitol brandishing assault rifles and the like, as they can do in some states, the day would have been, almost certainly, much bloodier.

  15. Savage Librarian says:

    Long Slog Lowdown

    The buzz, the scoop, the poop, or score,
    At times it seems an unnerving chore,
    An incessant search and always more
    to get down to the unvarnished core.

    The crux, the gist, the drift, the thrust,
    One day we’ll get beyond nonplussed,
    But first there’s fathoms to be sussed
    out from reams, once gathering dust.

    The clincher, goods, skinny, or dope,
    Tries to slip beyond the envelope,
    Until it’s wrangled back into scope,
    And evolves into another trope.

    The upshot, kicker or bottom line,
    It’s prickly like a porcupine,
    With an ample heap of fresh sunshine,
    Democracy might regain some spine.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Hey SL, I love how you tied in the marijuana discussion above with “dope”–always topical, always entertaining!

  16. Vinnie Gambone says:

    “If I thought marijuana was addictive I wouldn’t have smoked it every day for the last 61 years. Had my first half pint of whiskey at 9, first joint at 10, first hit of acid at 13. By the time I was 15 I was hooked on everything but phonics. “

    • P J Evans says:

      I’m beginning to think I’m one of the few people left in this country who has never used. (I suspect there are a lot more of us than it would appear from media stories.)

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