Posts Tagged ‘FBI’

If J. Edgar had biometrics: state repression isn’t new, but technology raises the stakes

Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 10:44 am by

Original commentary published on November 13, 2013 on PrivacySOS blog.


Some of us are very worried. If you regularly read this blog, you are likely one of the worriers.

We worry because we are surveillance state watchers, because we are people concerned about the degree to which US culture has been warped by fear-driven narratives that cast Muslims as the enemy in a never-ending, borderless ‘war on terror’. We worry because we see state institutions, seemingly hell-bent on shredding the Bill of Rights, deploy that fear in the service of any number of anti-democratic horrors: extrajudicial assassination, indefinite detention, secret law, mass suspicionless surveillance, the militarization of the police.

An authoritarian impulse to control, monitor, and oppress appears to guide the hands of our most powerful agencies – those secretive, three letter organizations that suck up increasingly substantial quantities of our hard earned money, with little besides repression and misery to show for it.


Secrecy and manipulation: On the FBI’s propaganda war and the shaping of public opinion

Friday, April 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm by

Original commentary from Privacy SOS blog published on Wednesday, April 16.

A4490-20Longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was obsessed with the public’s perception of him and his enemies. As a result of this obsession, an agent could do no wrong greater than publicly embarrass the director or the bureau. Hoover knew that image and representation were more important than reality, so he worked hard to hide the truth from the public and his congressional purse-string-holders, and spin fabulous tales starring himself and his sharp-dressing agents as great American heroes.


FBI plans to have 52 Million photos in its NGI face recognition database by next year

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:45 am by

Original commentary by Jennifer Lynch published April 14, 2014 on EFF Deeplinks Blog

FBI NGI Face Recognition IllustrationNew documents released by the FBI show that the Bureau is well on its way toward its goal of a fully operational face recognition database by this summer.

EFF received these records in response to our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information on Next Generation Identification (NGI)—the FBI’s massive biometric database that may hold records on as much as one third of the U.S. population. The facial recognition component of this database poses real threats to privacy for all Americans.

NSI program makes mass suspicion, surveillance, and profiling national standards

Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 9:25 am by

blog_governmentsurveillanceAfter receiving a great deal of public criticism about the NSA, the Obama administration and federal agencies have been forced to reform their mass surveillance programs. But it seems the federal government is proving to be adaptable, finding other ways and means of collecting massive amounts of data on innocent, law-abiding Americans. The National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI) is the new form of mass surveillance, and federal agencies as well as local law enforcement are partaking in it.

Just salute and follow orders’: When secrecy and surveillance trump the rule of law

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 8:58 am by

Original commentary by John Whitehead, published March 31, 2014 on the Rutherford Institute blog.


“The Secret Government is an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and superpatriots, who, for a variety of motives, operate outside the legitimate institutions of government. Presidents have turned to them when they can’t win the support of the Congress or the people, creating that unsupervised power so feared by the framers of our Constitution…”—Journalist Bill Moyers and White House press secretary under President Johnson (1988)


How state secrecy protects government agencies from embarrassment, then and now

Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 9:37 am by

Original commentary published on Privacy SOS blog on March 24.

J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with secrecy is a legacy that scars present-day government agencies.

J. Edgar Hoover’s obsession with secrecy is a legacy that scars present-day government agencies.

Often when the government wants to keep something secret, it claims that transparency would endanger national security. We’ve been hearing a lot of this lately in light of the new information about the FBI and NSA’s surveillance activities disclosed to the press by former contractor Edward Snowden. The leaks have caused “grave harm” to national security and even US foreign policy, Snowden’s critics repeat over and over again.

BORDC News Digest for 03/24/14

Monday, March 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm by

3/24, Dave Lindorff, CounterPunch, Dark Questions About a Deadly FBI Interrogation in Orlando

3/24, Chris Edwards, Townhall Finance, The Federal Spying Budget

3/23, Burgess Everett, POLITICO, Democrats have votes to release CIA report

3/21, Candice Bernd, AlterNet, From Tacoma to Texas, Hunger Strikers Challenge Private Immigration Detention Centers

3/21,AFP-JIJI, Japan Times, Intelligence officials deny U.S. is waging industrial espionage

3/21, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, AlterNet, Could the NSA Gain Ability to Record and Replay Every Call, Everywhere?

BORDC addresses CIA torture, FBI abuses, and congressional failure in the Guardian, Boston Globe, Huffington Post and Salon

Monday, March 24, 2014 at 9:11 am by

Boston-Glob-LogoOver the past several weeks, numerous major news media outlets have relied on BORDC for expertise and commentary on issues including NSA spying, CIA torture, and institutional corruption across the national security establishment.

In an article published on March 19 in the Huffington Post, BORDC executive director Shahid Buttar responded to recent revelations that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee in an effort suppress public knowledge of CIA human-rights violations documented in the Committee’s classified 6,000 page report detailing CIA torture crimes.


New documents confirm government is spying on political activists, could use Domain Awareness Centers to expand spying

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm by

Port Militarization Resistance activists spied on by Towery in 2007

New documents have been released regarding the covert, US Army-led infiltration and surveillance of Washington State anti-war activists. A newly disclosed email from infiltrator and spy John Towery and the Joint Terrorism Task Force files on two of the anti-war activists, Brendan Dunn and Jeff Berryhill, clearly show that the Army was in fact conducting the spying operation that involved multiple state and federal police agencies. From their press release:

Public records obtained last month by Olympia activist Paul French reveal new evidence in the widely-watched Army spying case Panagacos v. Towery. An email from November 2007, in particular, shows that intelligence analyst John J. Towery was paid by the Army to infiltrate political groups and share unlawfully obtained intelligence with a growing network of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, and police departments in Los Angeles, Portland, Eugene, Everett, and Spokane. The Towery email not only represents a broader spying program than previously thought, it also confirms the program was led by the Army, a fact contradicted by Towery’s 2009 sworn statements.

The email details Towery’s focus on collecting political literature confirming that the government’s focus has been on activists political beliefs, something long suspected by demonstrators.

Comey has failed, and will continue to fail, to reform FBI

Monday, January 27, 2014 at 9:13 am by
FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

Comments made by Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James Comey, on proposed NSA reforms back in early January clearly demonstrate how little has changed in the agency under his leadership. On Wednesday, January 8, Comey expressed disagreement with key aspects of President Obama’s review panel recommendations, without being able to provide clear and tangible support for his dissension.

The panel made several recommendations to increase transparency with the National Security Agency (NSA) and its surveillance practices, including a proposal to require judicial approval for issuance of national security letters (NSLs). These letters demand business records from Internet providers and others. Comey argued against this proposal, citing NSLs as “a very important building block tool of our national security investigations.” According to Comey, this process “would take days or perhaps weeks, even if more judges were added to the [FISA] court.”