Tags: Mary Ellen Callahan

Former DHS Chief Privacy Officer Was Regularly Called a “Terrorist” by the Intelligence Community

So it appears one of the few decent people at the gestapo that is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was constantly berated and referred to as a “terrorist” for her attempts to defend the privacy of American citizens.

So let me get this straight, the tea party are “terrorists,” privacy officers that look after privacy are “terrorists,” yet we almost launched a war in Syria to fight alongside our al-Qaeda allies. 

Yes folks: This is your government.

From TechDirt:

Mary Ellen Callahan was the Chief Privacy Officer (and the Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer) at the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 until 2012 (though, don’t tell DHS, since they still have a page on their website about her claiming she still has that role — even though she left over a year ago).

She apparently claimed that the number of privacy officers at the NSA was zero — including the Chief Privacy Officer of the NSA. In other words, the position within the NSA is a joke, and that person has no interest, at all, in protecting Americans’ privacy. But, apparently, she was just warming up, because (according to other attendees), she claimed that her office was accused of being “terrorists” once a month both by others at DHS as well as in the wider intelligence community. Furthermore, she was told that they would make her testify after the next terrorist attack, claiming it would be her fault, for daring to protect Americans’ privacy.


Full article here.

In Liberty,

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Ever Heard of the National Counterterrorism Center? Didn’t Think So

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.

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