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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 F├╝hrer Michael Mukasey - OOPS - Attorney General Michael Mukasey with even more plans to spy on you & me ... and, of course, everybody else.

With this regime in Washington, I am not surprised. Deeply saddened and ashamed of my Government (not ashamed of my Country -- the Government thereof), but not

Other than that, I hope you enjoy the play.

Bob Rosenberg
P.O. Box 33023
Phoenix, AZ  85067-3023
Mobile:  602-206-2856
LandLine:  602-274-3012
bob () bobrosenberg phoenix az us


"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and
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 simply because
their consciences tell them to do so."
-- Justice Robert H. Jackson
While an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Jackson was appointed Chief United States Prosecutor at the International War Crimes Tribunal in
Nuremberg, Germany.


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 Post

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic-spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least
10 years.

The proposed changes would revise the federal government's rules for police 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 $1.6 billion
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 reorganization of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of FBI procedures for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within U.S. borders.

Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are intended to lock in policies for Bush's successor and to enshrine controversial post-9/11 approaches that some say have fed the greatest expansion of executive authority
since the Watergate era.

Supporters say the measures simply codify existing counterterrorism practices and policies that are endorsed by lawmakers and independent experts such as the 9/11 Commission. They say the measures preserve civil liberties and are subject to
internal oversight.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the administration agrees that it needs to do everything possible to prevent unwarranted encroachments on civil liberties, adding
that it succeeds the overwhelming majority of the time.

Bush homeland-security adviser Kenneth Wainstein said, "This is a continuum that started back on 9/11 to reform law enforcement and the intelligence community to
focus on the terrorism threat."

Under the Justice Department proposal for state and local police, published for public comment July 31, law enforcement agencies would be allowed to target groups 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 federal
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 undercover
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 those who investigate crimes such as money laundering, drug trafficking and document fraud are best positioned to detect terrorists. He said the rule maintains the key requirement 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, but it
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 intelligence 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 terrorist

The rule also would allow criminal-intelligence assessments to be shared outside 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 community. The 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 knowledge or
assistance of expert personnel" to support state and local authorities.

And last week, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that the Justice Department will release new guidelines within weeks to streamline and unify FBI investigations of criminal law enforcement matters and national security threats. The changes will clarify what tools agents can employ and whose approval they must obtain.

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 triggered wider debate over who will be targeted, what will be done with the information collected
and who will oversee such activities.

Security analysts faulted U.S. authorities after the 2001 terrorist attacks, saying 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 unilaterally expanding surveillance and moving too fast to share sensitive information without safeguards.

Critics say pre-emptive law enforcement in the absence of a crime can violate the Constitution and due process. They cite the administration's long- running 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 telephone, e-mail, financial and other personal records of U.S. citizens without warrants.

Former Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick said the new FBI guidelines on their own do not raise alarms. But, to emphasize that the policies would require close oversight, she cited the recent disclosure that undercover Maryland State 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 gathering
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 the 2004 Republican National Convention; that California state agents eavesdropped on peace, animal-rights and labor activists; and that Denver police spied on Amnesty
International and others before being discovered.

Civil-liberties groups also have warned that forthcoming Justice Department rules for the FBI may permit the use of terrorist profiles that could single out religious
or ethnic groups such as Muslims or Arabs for investigation.

Mukasey said the changes will give the next president "some of the tools necessary to keep us safe" and will not alter Justice rules that prohibit investigations based
on a person's race, religion or speech.

He said the new guidelines will make it easier for the FBI to use informants, conduct physical and photographic surveillance, and share data in intelligence cases, on the grounds that doing so should be no harder than in investigations of
ordinary crimes.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that updating police intelligence rules is a move "in the right direction.
However, the vagueness of the provisions giving broad access to criminal
intelligence to undefined agencies ... is very troubling."

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