It’s very interesting that in recent weeks the mainstream press seems to be unveiling the surveillance state to the American sheeple. I was shocked when I read the Wired article about how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was funding the placement of microphones and cameras on public buses to monitor innocent citizens’ behavior. Now we have this information published yesterday in the Wall Street Journal:
Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.
Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.
A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.
Thanks for the justice Holder.
The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.
Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited.
The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.
The National Counterterrorism Center’s ideas faced no similar public resistance. For one thing, the debate happened behind closed doors.
“What we learned from Christmas Day”—from the failed underwear bomb—was that some information “might seem more relevant later,” says Mr. Joel, the national intelligence agency’s civil liberties officer. “We realized we needed it to be retained longer.”
By this point, Ms. Libin’s concern that innocent people could be inadvertently targeted had been largely overruled at the Department of Justice, these people said. Colleagues there were more concerned about missing the next terrorist threat.
The most amazing part about this story is how they continue to use the “Underwear Bomber” as an excuse for increased surveillance. Meanwhile, it has been revealed that a recent high profile “underwear bombing” attack was actually hatched by and executed by the CIA. Nope, not conspiracy theory. This was reported on by the UK’s Guardian extensively. Here are some quotes:
Citing US and Yemeni officials, Associated Press reported that the unnamed informant was working under cover for the Saudis and the CIA when he was given the bomb, which was of a new non-metallic type aimed at getting past airport security.
The informant then turned the device over to his handlers and has left Yemen, the officials told the news agency. The LA Times, which first broke the news that the plot had been a “sting operation”, said that the bomb plan had also provided the intelligence leads that allowed the strike on Quso.
US officials have said the plot was detected in its early stages and that no American airliner was ever at risk.
A UK paper not good enough for you? Here is coverage by CBS:
(CBS News) The would-be bomber in the recently-uncovered plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner leaving Yemen was an undercover intelligence agent.
Intelligence agencies and senior officials tell CBS News they’re not going anywhere near commenting on the issue for obvious reasons.
It may well be that he was actually working with the CIA all along.
Full WSJ article here.