Friday, January 3, 2014

Are We Becoming a Police State Along Side NSA Snooping

My Homemade Copy of the Actual Brennan Center for Justice Report 

Background leading up to this post on our national paranoia about our safety vs. our rights, and this short rundown does not even count the on-going NSA snooping mess or in some cases, CIA domestic stuff, which they are not supposed to carry out domestically.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act authorizes the government to obtain “any tangible thing” relevant to a terrorism investigation, even if there is no showing that “the thing pertains to suspected terrorists or terrorist activities. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure, which require the government to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause before undertaking an investigation that infringes upon a person's privacy. Congress must ensure that things collected with this power have a meaningful nexus to suspected terrorist activity or it should be allowed to expire.

Section 206 of the Patriot Act also known as “roving John Doe wiretap” provision, permits the government to obtain intelligence surveillance orders that identify neither the person nor the facility to be tapped. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure, which require government to state with particularity what it seeks to search or seize. Section 206 should be amended to mirror similar and longstanding criminal laws that permit roving wiretaps, but require the naming of a specific target, otherwise, it should expire.

Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 or the so-calledLone Wolf” provision, permits secret intelligence surveillance of non-US persons who are not affiliated with a foreign organization. Such an authorization, granted only in secret courts is subject to abuse and threatens our longtime understandings of the limits of the government's investigatory powers within the borders of the United States. This provision has never been used and should be allowed to expire outright

National Security Letters is in dire need of reform, most notably those relating to the issuance and use of such letters. The NSL’s permit the government to obtain the communication, financial and credit records of anyone deemed relevant to a terrorism investigation even if that person is not suspected of unlawful behavior. 

Now the story from the Brennan Center for Justice. The face of police in America:

Typical Big City Police Force, or Jack Bauer at CTU???
This extract from the study is an eye-opener and hair raising: 
The September 11, 2001 attacks prompted a national effort to improve information sharing among all levels of law enforcement, including on the local level. Federal money poured into local police departments so they could fulfill their new role as the “eyes and ears” of the intelligence community. But how do local police departments go about collecting intelligence? What guidance do they use? What standards or policies, if any, must they adhere to? 

To learn how state and local agencies are operating in this domestic intelligence architecture, the Brennan Center surveyed 16 major police departments, 19 affiliated fusion centers, and 14 JTTFs.  

What we found was organized chaos — a sprawling, federally subsidized, and loosely coordinated system designed to share information that is collected according to varying local standards. As detailed in the following report, this headlong rush into intelligence work has created risks that hurt counterterrorism efforts and undermine police work. The lack of oversight, accountability, and quality control over how police collect and share personal information about law-abiding Americans not only violates their civil liberties of Americans, but creates a mountain of data with little to no counterterrorism value.

Additional reading here (good stuff) - so are we becoming a police state or not? The evidence is compelling for deeper research. 

Thanks for stopping by.

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