The Creep of Counterterrorism: FBI’s Professed ‘Primary Function’ No Longer ‘Law Enforcement’

By: Monday January 6, 2014 3:14 pm

An FBI fact sheet accompanying every Freedom of Information Act response from the agency has changed, according to a Washington-based national security lawyer named Kel McClanahan.

Noticed last month by McClanahan, ForeignPolicy.com reports that the fact sheet used to list the “primary function” of the FBI as being “law enforcement.” The new fact sheet indicates that it is “national security.”

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Vincent E. Green, Corruption in the Twenty-First Century: Combating Unethical Practices in Government, Commerce, and Society

By: Saturday September 21, 2013 1:59 pm

Corruption is a relative crime: a bribe in one country might be a gratuity in another or a lawful act of lobbying in yet another. However, these norms are not set in stone. Public servants and businesspeople adjust to new systems. Citizen expectations change. Democracies evolve. These changes require enforcers like Vincent Green. But they also require whistleblowers and everyday people who refuse to acquiesce to wrongs. Green’s book shows why we should fight for a more transparent and accountable democracy, and many concrete and important steps towards this goal.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Radley Balko, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

By: Sunday August 4, 2013 1:59 pm

“If your image of American policing is Mayberry’s Sheriff Andy Taylor, who used homespun wisdom and a deep knowledge of his community to solve their problems and keep big city crime at bay, you won’t recognize the picture Radley Balko paints of modern law enforcement in his excellent new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.”

The HSBC Money Laundering Case as a Perfect Symbol of Too Big to Fail

By: Thursday December 13, 2012 6:41 am

Maybe I was too blasé about the federal government letting HSBC off the hook; certainly the story has effectively shown how Too Big to Fail continues to be the watchword of the financial regulatory community. My pet theory here is actually that, because practically every mega-bank engaged in this same type of money laundering for drug cartels and countries under sanction – all of the big four in the US, including Wells Fargo (who admitted it in court), Bank of America, Citi and JPMorgan Chase – if they threw the book at HSBC, they would have to do the same to everyone else. So we’ve migrated from Too Big to Fail to Too Caught Up In The Same Criminality to Fail.

Occupy Our Homes Movement Works to Save Retired Police Detective’s Home in Atlanta

By: Tuesday October 9, 2012 8:57 am

Less than a year after Occupy Atlanta members clashed with police in riot gear in a downtown park, they’re now protesting alongside officers to help a retired detective avoid losing her home to foreclosure.

“Show Me Your Papers” Law Set to Go Into Effect In Arizona After Judge’s Ruling

By: Thursday September 6, 2012 1:12 pm

It’s sad that we have to see the injustice of a “show me your papers” law in action before invalidating it, but that’s what it’s going to take.

Federal Court Blocks Some of Alabama Immigration Law, but “Papers Please” Here to Stay (For Now)

By: Tuesday August 21, 2012 8:45 am

Federal courts have consistently trimmed back attempts by states to write their own immigration laws. The Supreme Court overturned much of the Arizona immigration law in June, and federal judges have done the same to parts of laws in several Southern states. We saw another example of this yeterday, when the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the state of Alabama and its draconian immigration law. However, the precedent set by the Supreme Court on Arizona did hold, and the “papers please” parts of immigration laws in Alabama and Georgia were upheld for the time being.

Hispanics In Fourth Day of Protests in Anaheim Against Alleged Police Brutality

By: Wednesday July 25, 2012 4:22 pm

Violence plagued the city of Anaheim, home to Disneyland, last night, as protests against a series of officer-involved deaths turned ugly. Protests continued into the 4th day after police shootings resulting in the deaths of two Hispanic men, the sixth this year to be shot by Anaheim police.

Federal Regulators Cherry-Pick Small Fry for Prosecutions

By: Sunday June 3, 2012 12:57 pm

Charlie Engle today. Engle is a marathoner who participated in a liar loan during the housing bubble. The IRS – really one vindictive agent of the IRS – tracked him down, searched through his garbage, sent an undercover agent with a wire to get him to admit guilt, and coming up empty on any tax violations, prosecuted him for the liar loans. It turned out that the mortgage broker inflated his income on the loan document after the fact. But Charlie Engle, not the broker, was prosecuted, and sent to jail. He gets out this week, still burdened with a felony record and five years of probation.

Nocera makes a very provocative but accurate point about how the Justice Department has conducted itself during the aftermath of the financial crisis. It’s not just about avoiding any prosecutions for the top Wall Street executives whose fraud led to the crisis; it’s about making up for that through prosecutions of the bit players.

Pervasive Cell Phone Tracking Performed Even By Local Law Enforcement

By: Monday April 2, 2012 8:05 am

Eric Lichtblau, one of the reporting team who exposed President Bush’s warrantless surveillance program, takes a look at its aftermath; with telecoms receiving immunity, police departments feel no compunction against tracking people by their cell phone.

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Upcoming FDL Book Salons

Saturday, April 19, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
Poison Candy: The Murderous Madam: Inside Dalia Dippolito’s Plot to Kill
Chat with Mark Ebner about his new book. Hosted by Beth Karas.

Sunday, April 20, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
The Gulf of Tonkin Events – Fifty Years Later: A Footnote to the History of the Vietnam War
Chat with John White about his new book. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah J. Nelson.

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