The most egregious example of word-twisting and sleazy legal manipulations to morph illegal government spying under the Fourth Amendment into topsy-turvy quasi-legal spying is the use of Executive Order 12333, E.O. 12333, what the spooks call “twelve triple three.” The Order dates from 1981, signed by Ronald Reagan to buff up what his predecessors limited in response to overzealous law enforcement activities. The Gipper would be mighty proud that his perhaps most lasting accomplishment was legalizing surveillance of every American citizen.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Wednesday September 17, 2014 10:11 am|
The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the manufacturer of StingRay surveillance products of providing inaccurate information and possibly even lying to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is the agency that is supposed to regulate communications over cable, radio, satellite, television and wire.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Saturday September 6, 2014 2:10 pm|
The Justice Department released two memos on the authorization of warrantless wiretapping, as part of the top secret program, Stellar Wind. The memos were created during President George W. Bush’s administration and contain the “legal justification” for electronic surveillance without a warrant. However, one of the me was previously provided with significant redactions to the ACLU in March 2011. It remains heavily censored.
The memo was written by former Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) head and lawyer, Jack Goldsmith, and is dated May 6, 2004.
As ACLU staff attorney Patrick Toomey told The Washington Post, “What these memos show is that nearly three years after President Bush authorized the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ emails and phone calls, government lawyers were still struggling to put the program on sound legal footing.”
|By: Peter Van Buren Monday August 4, 2014 7:56 am|
Nearly unique among nations, the U.S. broadly imposes extraterritoriality– in the case, the enforcement of U.S. laws in other, sovereign nations.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Tuesday July 22, 2014 3:30 pm|
A former State Department executive came forward on July 18 to warn against how the United States government is using an executive order issued by President Ronald Reagan to collect data from Americans, especially when they are located outside US borders. And, even though President Barack Obama’s administration has waged an unprecedented war on whistleblowers, he does not believe he will be one of the victims. But is he already?
John Napier Tye, who served as a section for internet freedom in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from January 2011 to April 2014, described how he had been “cleared to receive top-secret and ‘sensitive compartmented’ information.”
|By: Peter Van Buren Monday July 7, 2014 7:57 am|
There are no footnotes in the Fifth Amendment, no secret memos, no exceptions. Those things were unnecessary, because in what Lincoln offered to his audience as “a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” the government was made up of us, the purpose of government was to serve us, and the government was beholden to us. Such a government should be incapable of killing its own citizens without an open, public trial allowing the accused to defend him/herself.
|By: Peter Van Buren Monday June 30, 2014 2:32 pm|
Does this matter when talking about the NSA’s and the FBI’s technological dragnet? Maybe. Some suggest that law enforcement will work around the new restrictions by seeking perfunctory, expedited warrants automatically for each arrest, or through the use of technologies such as Stingray, which can electronically gather cell conversations without warrant. Stingray can also be used to track a person’s movements without a warrant, negating the old-school GPS devices the Supreme Court declared require a warrant.
|By: Peter Van Buren Tuesday June 24, 2014 7:49 am|
Based on the NSA training he was given, Snowden was questioning which carries more weight within the NSA– an actual law passed by Congress, or an order from the president (an E.O., Executive Order.) The answer was a bit curvy, saying that absent a specific law to the contrary, an order from the president has the force of a law.
|By: Peter Van Buren Saturday June 21, 2014 7:50 am|
We’ve heard variations on the phrase “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” from the government for quite some time. It appears this may be true, at least if you are the government.
In the case of Stingray, a cell phone spying device used against Americans, the government does have something to hide and they fear the release of more information. Meanwhile, the Fourth Amendment weeps quietly in the corner.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Friday June 20, 2014 8:52 am|
Local police in Florida are essentially conspiring with the US Marshal’s Service to keep details related to their use of cell phone tracking devices in criminal investigations secret, according to internal emails from the Sarasota Police Department released to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).