It’s amazing when the fox guards the chicken house, and it’s no more apparent than with the recent testimony before Congress by FBI Director Christopher Wray. As sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) are set to expire on December 31, 2017, Wray testified to Congress that there has been absolutely no abuse of Section 702 of FISA. In a repeat of a statement he made on October 13 of this year to the Heritage Foundation, Wray said, ‘There’s been no evidence of any kind of abuse of power under Section 702 despite the oversight … with the three branches of government and quite a few years of experience now.’ Now, FISA is presumed to be a way that our intelligence communities gather information electronically on those they claim are potential terrorists, but sometimes gather it on perfectly innocent people. In my opinion, FISA flies in the face of the Fourth Amendment’s protections. However, demonstrating that Wray’s claim is completely invalid, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson pointed out the following known abuse. In 2011, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) found some collection of internet data by the National Security Agency (NSA) to be illegal and unconstitutional, capturing tens of thousands of U. S. communications without a warrant. That would seem to be an abuse.
For the better part of a year now Americans have speculated over precisely what pressing national security issue may have prompted the Obama administration to take the extreme measure of unmasking the names of Trump officials captured in foreign intelligence reports…you know, because bypassing the typical warrant process and violating an American citizen’s fourth amendment protections is kind of a big deal. So what was it…intelligence concerning an imminent terrorist attack…concrete evidence that Putin stole Hillary’s emails? No, according to CNN, National Security Advisor Susan Rice ultimately made the call to unmask Trump officials because Obama was offended that the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates traveled to New York last December, after the election mind you, without giving him a heads up first.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 13, 2017.
Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, ‘The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official.’ – Herman Schwartz, The Nation Our freedoms – especially the Fourth Amendment – are being choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, shoot, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation. Such is life in America today that Americans are being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are – our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.) – in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States: we are now guilty until proven innocent.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 7, 2017.
In what is shaping up to be a contentious battle over privacy rights and free speech, the Department of Justice has formally requested that web hosting firm ‘DreamHost’ turn over 1.3 million IP addresses and other information to ‘unmask’ visitors to the anti-Trump Antifa website ‘disruptj20.org,’ as part of the investigation into crimes committed on and around January 20 by protesters. DreamHost has challenged the request, claiming the scope of data requested violates the first and fourth amendments because it is too broad. *** DisruptJ20.org was registered in October of 2016 by the ‘DC Anti-fascist Coalition,’ and promoted along with the hashtag #DisruptJ20, as a central resource for anti-Trump protesters to coordinate various plots over social media intended disrupt the presidential inauguration on and around January 20. The website connected users through mailing lists and planned meet-ups, and provided a calendar of anarchistic events as well as resources to help people prepare for the mayhem. The site also provides a ‘legal guide’ for those arrested.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
Pierre, SD – The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota has just filed a major lawsuit against the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Avera St. Mary’s Hospital, members of the Pierre Police Department, the Sisseton Police Department, and the South Dakota Highway Patrol. The lawsuit is important as it seeks to put a stop to the state’s forced catheterization program that indiscriminately victimizes adults and children alike – all to see if they have an arbitrary substance in their urine. While it seems that a lawsuit to prevent the state from forcing extremely painful medical procedures on children may be a bit over the top, the fact is, it is entirely necessary. The state of South Dakota, as the Free Thought Project has reported before, has a sordid history of forcing catheterization. As the ACLU notes, two lawsuits have been filed; one on behalf of a three-year-old child who was forcibly catheterized as a means to collect evidence of child abuse or neglect, and the other on behalf of five adults who were subject to forcible catheterization as part of criminal investigations. All plaintiffs were subjected by law enforcement and state officials to forcible catheterization in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
[This article was updated to include more background information on Dennis Montgomery.] A former intelligence contractor has filed a lawsuit against former FBI Director James Comey and other U. S. officials for allegedly covering up evidence showing widespread illegal surveillance on Americans, Circa reports. The contractor, Dennis Montgomery, said he left his job with over 600 million classified documents stored on some 47 hard drives from the NSA and the CIA which he says prove the illicit surveillance took place, possibly a larger quantity of documents than Edward Snowden obtained in his now-infamous 2013 breach. The suit was filed on Monday and was assigned to a federal judge who has already ruled against some of the NSA’s surveillance practices, concluding in a separate case that the agency’s collection of Americans’ data has violated the Fourth Amendment.
Earlier this week we highlighted sections of a recently unclassified FISA Court order which found that the Obama administration routinely conducted “widespread” illegal searches of American citizens, an issue which the court described as a “serious fourth amendment issue” (see “FISA Court Finds “Serious Fourth Amendment Issue” In Obama’s “Widespread” Illegal Searches Of American Citizens“). Today, as highlighted by Circa, we find the that FBI, led by James Comey, was one of the biggest offenders when it came to improper usage of foreign-sourced intelligence on American citizens. Per the FISA court order (which can be found here), the DOJ conducted a review of the FBI’s handling of so-called “Section 702-acquired information” beginning on March 9, 2016 and what that review found was fairly disturbing. Among other things, the DOJ found that the FBI routinely shared “raw FISA information” on American citizens with “private contractors”…to paraphrase, the FBI took illegally sourced intelligence on American citizens (no warrants required) and shared it with random private citizens working at non-government firms. “On March 9, 2016, DOJ oversight personnel conducting a minimization review at the FBI’s [redacted] learned that the FBI had disclosed raw FISA information, includined but not limited to Section 702-acquired information, to [redacted]…largely staffed by private contractors.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 26, 2017.
A newly released court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) found that the National Security Agency, under former President Obama, routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall. In describing the violations, the FISA court said the illegal searches conducted by the NSA under Obama were “widespread” and created a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue.” These new discoveries come from a recently unsealed FISA court document dated April 26, 2017 and center around a hearing dated October 26, 2017, just days before the 2016 election, in which the FISA court apparently learned for the first time of “widespread” and illegal spying on American citizens by the NSA under the Obama administration. “The October 26, 2016 Notice disclosed that an NSA Inspector General (IG) review…indicated that, with greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U. S.-person identifiers to query the result of Internet “upstream” collection, even though NSA’s section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries…this disclosure gave the Court substantial concern.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 24, 2017.
Worth County, GA – Children feel violated, parents are furious, and a lawsuit is getting filed after the Worth County Sheriff’s office conducted an illegal search of 900 students – in the name of the war on drugs. The rights-violating intrusive and aggressive patdowns and drug dog searches yielded absolutely nothing. On April 14, when the students of Worth County High School returned from spring break, they arrived at school to find a police state had taken over. The sheriff and his deputies – with no probable cause – detained and illegally searched every single child in the school, all 900 of them. When kids went home that day to tell their parents what happened, naturally, they were furious as it is a gross violation of the children’s 4th Amendment rights. ‘It’s essentially a fourth amendment violation,’ said attorney Mark Begnaud. ‘It’s 900 illegal searches, suspicion-less pat downs, suspicion-less searches.’ Naturally, Sheriff Jeff Hobby is standing by this rights violation on a massive scale, noting that as long as a school administrator was present, the search of the children was legal.
Is it fake news when on MLK weekend Loretta Lynch issues a scorching 164 page report blasting Chicago police for using force on Blacks 10 times more often then Whites… but nowhere mentioning that Blacks are murdered 15 times more often than Whites, or that Blacks are the murders 20 times more often than Whites, or that Police are 30 times more often to be killed by a Black than by a White? Seems like a shot in the face at Jeff Sessions and a gift to BLM and civil rights leaders, in the final hour… Statistical Ideas’ blog’s Salil Mehta exposes the one-sided statistics outgoing AG Loretta Lynch used to villify Chicago Cops… Outgoing Attorney General for the Department of Justice, Loretta Lynch, has distributed an environmentally-friendly, 164-page report that finds (after a year-long investigation) that my hometown Chicago Police Department “engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.” The longwinded defense glosses over critical statistics to allow any reader to truly understand what is at the nucleus of their most scorching claim against the Chicago Police. That in addition to economic hardships for minorities (and is that 100% essential?), police use excessive force 10 times more often against Blacks as they do against Whites. And that’s a deceptive headline shocker, which combined with selective data-mining, simply states what they feel is obvious with their constituents across the country. The leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement joined other civil rights groups in responding lockstep with the findings, demanding “we are not going to take it any more”. What does that mean? Are the big concerns in life that (Chicago) police are simply villains? Life would be coziest if they used kids’ gloves? And why were these groups righteously hushed in recent months, as Blacks were multiple times caught on video group-assaulting Whites who “may have voted for Trump”? Look at the top of the chart -below- which shows this 10x rate for Blacks versus Whites, when it comes to use of excessive police force. Now we’ll discuss some other self-computed statistics that should be considered, and which were not provided as meaningful background.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 14, 2017.
With one week left in office, Obama’s Department of Justice has released a report effectively labeling the Chicago police department as nothing more than a bunch of racist, hate-mongering bullies who routinely resort to the use of “deadly force” in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 13, 2017.
This article was written by Kelli Sladick and originally published at the Tenth Amendment Center. Editor’s Comment: The truth of the matter is that presidents come and go, and while some are better than others, it is better that way. What remains, and shall not be infringed, is our rights as a people. Unfortunately, 9/11 and the War on Terror were used to justify a massive domestic surveillance program that has utterly trampled upon the rights and due process of American citizens. George W. Bush delivered the first major blow, but Barack Obama continued and expanded those powers – albeit quietly, by signing documents including the NDAA – that have re-classified free people as potential enemy combatants and domestic terrorists. With all of Donald Trump’s talk and vague promised about making the country return to greatness (definitely, a hell of a campaign slogan), what would be the most lasting and meaningful would be rolling back the tyranny of the executive branch. The Oval Office has taken away from the American people something that was never theirs to take – and American cannot and will not ‘be great again’ if that oppressive era is not repealed, and stopped in its tracks. However, early signs point to Trump’s support for an expanded war on terror against ISIS, surveillance against Muslims and other ‘at risk’ groups and a general empowerment for the NSA and co. It remains to be seen what Trump will do, and what his legacy will be – but if he wants history to see his greatness shine through, this would be the path to take. Here’s rooting for the Constitutional era of America, and not the corporate fascist one… Following The Fourth Amendment Would Help Make America Great Again by Kelli Sladick During the last eight years, the Obama administration failed to live up to its promise reverse the Bush era’s mass surveillance of American citizens. In fact, it was expanded and justified. If you were silent, the sweeping power controlled by the president may not be on your radar for the right reasons. While there is a deep fear resonating, at least half looked the other way when ‘their guy’ held the powers of the presidency. So let’s put aside the distractions roaring through the media, and let’s walk down memory lane. The Fourth Amendment was assaulted relentlessly under Bush and it continued through both of Obama’s presidential terms. The hits came from two sides, one by mass surveillance and the other by undermining data security. Now, as my focus may just be on progressives for the moment, the truth remains that neither party, Republican nor Democratic has limited its power, especially in regards to surveillance. Know full well, I have no illusion that Trump will set a new trend of limitations.
This post was published at shtfplan on November 30th, 2016.
A business owner in Manhattan is suing the city after being forced to waive his Fourth Amendment rights and potentially forfeit his business because an NYPD officer sold illegal goods at his store. You read that right. According to a lawsuit filed this month by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian legal advocacy group, an undercover NYPD detective attempted to sell stolen electronics to customers at Sung Cho’s laundromat in Inwood, which located near the northern tip of Manhattan, in 2013. After the officer successfully sold stolen goods to two people – one inside the store and one outside – the city threatened Cho with eviction ‘merely because a ‘stolen property’ offense had happened at his business,’ the legal organization’s website explained. Institute for Justice (IJ), which takes on cases involving the suppression of free speech, eminent domain, and civil asset forfeiture, among other government encroachments, detailed Cho’s case:
During the first presidential debate, the issue of domestic terrorism. Lester Holt asked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump what they would do specifically to keep people safe at home. Clinton’s answer was chilling if you value privacy, care about the Fourth Amendment, and oppose unconstitutional surveillance. Because apparently, the NSA and other federal agencies vacuuming up virtually all of our electronic data isn’t enough – Clinton said she would direct an ‘intelligence surge.’ This wasn’t the first time the Democratic presidential nominee has floated this idea. Last week, The Guardian published an in-depth article outlining Clinton’s plans to beef up the surveillance state. The ‘surge’ concept actually dates back to last year, and was aimed at killing or capturing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But according to The Guardian, the plan has ‘evolved from an idea of expanding intelligence assets directed against the Islamic State and its adjuncts to a broader initiative with a significant domestic component, aimed at uncovering and preventing attacks directed or inspired by terrorist groups.’ The domestic component of this so-called ‘surge’ as described by The Guardian raises all kinds of red flags.
FBI Director James Comey got Hillary off the hook but wants to put you on it. He is pushing hard for warrantless access to all of your Internet activity. Comey, who would have fit in perfectly with Hitler’s Gestapo, tells Congress that the United States is not safe unless the FBI knows when every American goes online, to whom they are sending emails and from whom they are receiving emails, and knows every website visited by every American. In other words, Comey wants to render null and void the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and completely destroy your privacy rights. The reason Washington wants to know everything about everyone is so that Washington can embarrass, blackmail, and frame on felony charges patriots who stand up in defense of the US Constitution and the rule of law, and dissidents who criticize Washington’s illegal wars, reckless foreign policies, and oppression of American citizens. Washington’s demand for power has nothing to do with our security. It has to do with destroying the security that the US Constitution gives us. The security that Comey wants to protect is not our security or the national security of the United States. Comey’s intent is to make Washington secure despite its violations of statutory law and the US Constitution. The way Comey intends to do this is by intimidating, harassing, and arresting Washington’s critics. Comey wants the unconstitutional power to demand from the providers of telephone and Internet services all records and information about you. These demands are not to be subject to oversight by courts, and the communication companies that serve you are prohibited from telling you that all of your information has been given to the FBI.
Last month, the Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding the case of Edward Strieff. In this opinion, the majority of the Court argued that it is constitutional for a police officer to detain someone without suspicion and demand their identification in order to see if they have any outstanding arrest warrants. (Or, more accurately, they consider such a search illegal, but will still accept in court the evidence obtained via the illegal search.) The facts of the case are as follows: An anonymous tip to police claimed that ‘drug activity’ was taking place at a South Salt Lake City residence. Narcotics Detective Douglas Fackrell monitored the property over the course of a week. He considered the number of people making brief visits to the residence to be indicative of drug dealing. He observed Edward Strieff leave the residence, followed him to a nearby parking lot, and detained him. He forced Mr. Strieff to provide his identification and contacted the police dispatch, who informed him that Mr. Strieff had an outstanding arrest warrant for a traffic violation. Detective Fackrell then arrested Mr. Strieff and, upon conducting a search incident to his arrest, found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, and he was charged with drug possession. Mr. Strieff argued that this evidence should be suppressed, as it could not have been obtained without Detective Fackrell’s illegal stop. The Utah Supreme Court agreed with Strieff. But instead of allowing the state of Utah to hold their police to a higher standard, the US Supreme Court reversed their decision. For anyone familiar with the Supreme Court, this should come as no surprise. Far from defending the US Constitution and its limits on government power, one could more accurately describe the role of the Court asproviding the federal government with the veneer of having checks-and-balances, and to construct arguments, no matter how implausible, to justify its patently unconstitutional activities. There are, happily, exceptions to this, but they are precisely that: exceptions. Indeed, the Strieff decision is merely the latest in a long train of abuses from which the following lessons should be clear.
Two controversial rulings from the U. S. Supreme Court and a federal judge in Virginia have civil liberties activists concerned about future abuse of power by law enforcement. On June 20, the Supreme Court ruled that evidence of a crime can be used against a defendant even if the evidence was gathered illegally. In a 5 to 3 decision, the court’s liberal judge warned that the ruling might encourage future rights violations. The Associated Press reports: The ruling comes in a case in which a police detective illegally stopped defendant Joseph Edward Strieff on the streets of South Salt Lake City, Utah. A name check revealed an outstanding warrant for him. Police Detective Doug Fackrell arrested Strieff and routinely searched him, finding that he was carrying methamphetamine. The case raised the question of whether the valid warrant outweighs the stop, which was illegal because Fackrell lacked any reasonable suspicion that Strieff had been violating the law. It was the court’s latest case that questions whether evidence should be thrown out of court because the police did something wrong or illegal that led to the discovery of the evidence. Since the 1914 case Weeks v. United States, the Supreme Court has interpreted the 4th Amendment to mean that evidence obtained through a violation of the Fourth Amendment is inadmissible in court. According to the Supreme Court’s more liberal judges, this ruling could set a dangerous new precedent.
If you’re in one of the twenty-four states we’ll reveal in a moment, hold onto your hat. Big Government’s cajones may’ve gotten a little heavier this week in your neck of the woods. Here’s why… ‘On Monday,’ the Wall Street Journal reports, ‘the Supreme Court further weakened the Fourth Amendment by making it even easier for law enforcement to evade its requirement that stops be based on reasonable suspicion. The justices ruled 5 to 3 that a police officer’s illegal stop of a man on the street did not prevent evidence obtained from a search connected to that stop to be used against him.’ If you haven’t heard of this heinous ruling, here’s the quick rundown… It began with the case of Utah v. Strieff, where, the story goes, Salt Lake City police officers received an anonymous drug tip about a house with a lot of foot traffic. Days later, citizen Edward Strieff left the suspected drug house on his way to a convenience store down the street. Along the way, he was stopped by narco-detective Douglass Fackrell and was asked for his identification. The ‘routine check’ found that Strieff had a warrant for, said the report, a ‘small traffic ticket.’ Strieff was arrested for the warrant, and the cops, to Fackrell’s disappointment we’re sure, didn’t find a flake of drugs on him. Although Strieff did have a warrant, was the stop illegal? Yes. Even the State of Utah said as much. It wasn’t based on any reasonable, individual suspicion that Strieff had committed any crimes. In short, the cop broke the law.
Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity, Last week America was rocked by the cold-blooded murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Unlike the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Orlando shooter appears to be a lone gunman who, while claiming allegiance to ISIS, was not actually working with a terrorist group. About the only thing Orlando has in common with 9/11 is the way power-hungry politicians and federal officials wasted no time using it to justify expanding government and restricting liberty. Immediately following the shooting, we began to hear renewed calls for increased government surveillance of Muslims, including spying on Muslim religious services. Although the Orlando shooter was born in the US, some are using the shooting to renew the debate over Muslim immigration. While the government certainly should prevent terrorists from entering the country, singling out individuals for government surveillance and other violations of their rights because of religious faith violates the First Amendment and establishes a dangerous precedent that will be used against other groups. In addition, scapegoating all Muslims because of the act of one deranged individual strengthens groups like ISIS by making it appear that the US government is at war with Islam. The Orlando shooting is being used to justify mass surveillance and warrantless wiretapping. For the past three years, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Defense Department appropriations bill limiting mass surveillance. But, last week, the same amendment was voted down. The only difference between this year’s debate and previous debates was that this year defenders of the surveillance state were able to claim that the Orlando shooting justifies shredding the Fourth Amendment.
This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden – Jun 20, 2016.
Last month, we noted that the FBI had hidden microphones in public places throughout the Bay Area – now it’s Seattle’s turn. A federal judge recently blocked the city of Seattle from releasing information about surveillance cameras that the FBI has placed around the city, saying the disclosure could jeopardize ongoing investigations ABC News reports. The FBI had provided the city information about its use of surveillance cameras on public utility poles, but only to prevent the cameras from being removed or destroyed by utility workers. The city had originally planned to release the information as a result of public records requests by news reporters and privacy activists, however the Justice Department nixed that idea as fast as you can say Fourth Amendment.
This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden – Jun 19, 2016.