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Feds want to widen role of local police in domestic spying
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2008 12:38:03 -0400
Begin forwarded message:
From: bobr () bobrosenberg phoenix az us
Date: August 16, 2008 12:20:49 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Feds want to widen role of local police in domestic spying
Comes now Gruppe Führer Michael Mukasey - OOPS - Attorney General
with even more plans to spy on you & me ... and, of course, everybody
With this regime in Washington, I am not surprised. Deeply saddened
and ashamed of
my Government (not ashamed of my Country -- the Government thereof),
Other than that, I hope you enjoy the play.
P.O. Box 33023
Phoenix, AZ 85067-3023
bob () bobrosenberg phoenix az us
"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the
opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of
repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its
creates a country where everyone lives in fear."
-- President Harry S. Truman, message to Congress, August 8, 1950
"Civil government cannot let any group ride roughshod over others
their consciences tell them to do so."
-- Justice Robert H. Jackson
While an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Jackson
Chief United States Prosecutor at the International War Crimes
The Arizona Republic
August 16, 2008 |
Feds want to widen role of local police in domestic spying
by Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson - Aug. 16, 2008 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic-spying
would make it easier for state and local police to collect
Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain
it for at least
The proposed changes would revise the federal government's rules for
intelligence gathering for the first time since 1993 and would apply
to any of the
nation's 18,000 state and local police agencies that receive roughly
each year in federal grants.
Quietly unveiled last month, the proposal is part of a flurry of
domestic-intelligence changes issued and planned by the Bush
administration in its
waning months. They include a recent executive order that guides the
of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of
for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within
Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are
lock in policies for Bush's successor and to enshrine controversial
approaches that some say have fed the greatest expansion of executive
since the Watergate era.
Supporters say the measures simply codify existing counterterrorism
policies that are endorsed by lawmakers and independent experts such
as the 9/11
Commission. They say the measures preserve civil liberties and are
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the administration agrees that
it needs to do
everything possible to prevent unwarranted encroachments on civil
that it succeeds the overwhelming majority of the time.
Bush homeland-security adviser Kenneth Wainstein said, "This is a
started back on 9/11 to reform law enforcement and the intelligence
focus on the terrorism threat."
Under the Justice Department proposal for state and local police,
public comment July 31, law enforcement agencies would be allowed to
as well as individuals, and to launch a criminal intelligence
investigation based on
the suspicion that a target is engaged in terrorism or providing
material support to
terrorists. They also could share results with a constellation of
law-enforcement and intelligence agencies, and others in many cases.
Criminal-intelligence data starts with sources as basic as public
records and the
Internet but also includes law-enforcement databases, confidential and
sources, and active surveillance.
Jim McMahon, deputy executive director of the International
Association of Chiefs of
Police, said the proposed changes "catch up with reality" in that
investigate crimes such as money laundering, drug trafficking and
document fraud are
best positioned to detect terrorists. He said the rule maintains the
that police demonstrate a "reasonable suspicion" that a target is
involved in a
crime before collecting intelligence.
"It moves what the rules were from 1993 to the new world we live in,
maintains civil liberties," McMahon said.
However, Michael German, policy counsel for the American Civil
Liberties Union, said
the proposed rule may be misunderstood as permitting police to collect
even when no underlying crime is suspected, such as when a person
gives money to a
charity that independently gives money to a group later designated a
The rule also would allow criminal-intelligence assessments to be
designated channels whenever doing so may avoid danger to life or
property - not
only when such danger is "imminent," as is now required, German said.
On the day the police proposal was put forward, the White House
announced it had
updated Reagan-era operating guidelines for the U.S. intelligence
revised Executive Order 12333 established guidelines for overseas
spying and called
for better sharing of information with local law enforcement. It
directed the CIA
and other spy agencies to "provide specialized equipment, technical
assistance of expert personnel" to support state and local authorities.
And last week, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that the Justice
will release new guidelines within weeks to streamline and unify FBI
of criminal law enforcement matters and national security threats. The
clarify what tools agents can employ and whose approval they must
The recent moves continue a steady expansion of the intelligence role
of U.S. law
enforcement, breaking down a wall erected after congressional hearings
in 1976 to
rein in such activity.
The push to transform FBI and police intelligence operations has
debate over who will be targeted, what will be done with the
and who will oversee such activities.
Security analysts faulted U.S. authorities after the 2001 terrorist
the FBI was not combating terrorist plots before they were carried out
and needed to
proactively use intelligence. In the years since, civil liberties
groups and some
members of Congress have criticized the administration for
surveillance and moving too fast to share sensitive information
Critics say pre-emptive law enforcement in the absence of a crime can
Constitution and due process. They cite the administration's long-
warrantless-surveillance program, which was set up outside the courts,
and the FBI's
acknowledgement that it abused its intelligence-gathering privileges
in hundreds of
cases by using inadequately documented administrative orders to obtain
e-mail, financial and other personal records of U.S. citizens without
Former Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick said the new FBI
their own do not raise alarms. But, to emphasize that the policies
close oversight, she cited the recent disclosure that undercover
Police agents spied on death-penalty opponents and antiwar groups in
2005 and 2006.
German, an FBI agent for 16 years, said easing limits on intelligence
would lead to abuses against peaceful political dissenters.
In addition to the Maryland case, he pointed to reports in the past
six years that
undercover New York police officers infiltrated protest groups before
Republican National Convention; that California state agents
eavesdropped on peace,
animal-rights and labor activists; and that Denver police spied on
International and others before being discovered.
Civil-liberties groups also have warned that forthcoming Justice
for the FBI may permit the use of terrorist profiles that could single
or ethnic groups such as Muslims or Arabs for investigation.
Mukasey said the changes will give the next president "some of the
to keep us safe" and will not alter Justice rules that prohibit
on a person's race, religion or speech.
He said the new guidelines will make it easier for the FBI to use
conduct physical and photographic surveillance, and share data in
cases, on the grounds that doing so should be no harder than in
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security
said that updating police intelligence rules is a move "in the right
However, the vagueness of the provisions giving broad access to criminal
intelligence to undefined agencies ... is very troubling."
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- Feds want to widen role of local police in domestic spying David Farber (Aug 16)