Posts Tagged ‘FBI’

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.”


Political dishonesty: Invoking the legacy of MLK while defending the surveillance state

Monday, January 20, 2014 at 8:21 am by
Photo from

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During President Obama’s recent speech about the pressing need to reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk data collection programs, he acknowledged that the US has exceeded the bounds of lawful surveillance in the past. In particular, he pointed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) secret directive to spy on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., further making the point that he would very likely not hold the office he does today had activists like Dr. King not continued to fight despite the presence of government repression.

Left out of his speech was any hint as to why the FBI might have monitored Dr. King in the first place. His work threatened a racist system of discriminatory social control.

The FBI used to spy on the movies, now they just spy on you

Friday, December 27, 2013 at 10:18 am by

Every year around the holidays my family would gather together around the fireplace, have a glass of eggnog and watch the classic film It’s A Wonderful Life. While at first glance this may seem as normal and wholesome as it is apolitical, at one point in the country’s history the FBI disagreed.  In the 1940’s and 50’s, the spy agency sent paid informants into Hollywood to report on what they considered “possible Communist propaganda.”