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Tag: Justice Department

Detroit News: Justice Department Wants to Limit Our Fourth Amendment Rights

By The Detroit News
Editorial Board

If Americans had no civil liberties, it would be a snap to keep the country safe and secure. Police states are highly effective at dissuading criminal activity and rooting out threats.

But as inconvenient as it often is for law enforcement, we do have a Bill of Rights that guarantees protections and procedures aimed at keeping us free, as well as safe.

Unfortunately, in recent years, many Americans have been too willing to forfeit those rights in the name of battling perceived existential threats, most notably drugs and terrorism. And federal agencies are all too keen about snatching bits and pieces of our freedoms to make it easier for them to do their jobs without the bother of adhering to the Constitution.

The latest example comes from the Justice Department, which has slipped a major intrusion on the Fourth Amendment into nearly 400 pages of arcane rule changes being considered by a judicial committee.

Federal prosecutors want to make it easier to find and hack into computers being used for cyber crimes, including child pornography and identity theft.

The Fourth Amendment limits property search warrants to geographical areas in which the signing judge has jurisdiction. The government claims the rules are no longer adequate in an era when cyber criminals can use their computers to not only hide their identity, but their whereabouts as well.

The proposed changes would allow judges in a district “where activities related to a crime” have occurred to issue a warrant. That would allow prosecutors to search computers currently outside their reach.

Civil libertarians are rightly concerned that the language of the proposal would sidestep the constitutional requirement that warrants be specific about who and what is being targeted by a search.

FBI’s May Have Drones But Bureau Rarely Uses Them, According to DOJ Report

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI drone program isn’t very far-reaching.

According to a newly released report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General, the FBI has 17 working drones and just two pilots, The Verge reports.

The report found that the drones operate out of one location, making it difficult to use the flying cameras nationwide. Because of the limitations, the pilots “needed to travel thousands of miles to support FBI investigations across the United States.”

The drones were only used for 13 investigations between September 2006 and August 2014.

The FBI has a $ million budget for its drones.

Other Stories of Interest


Judge Threatens Justice Department with Sanctions over Immigration Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Justice Department attorneys are under scrutiny after a federal judge said they may have misled him about when President Obama’s immigration plans were implemented.

The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who has blocked President Obama‘s immigration executive action, hinted that sanctions could be forthcoming if he was misled about when the administration launched the controversial immigration plans.

Hanen questioned whether the administration reneged on a pledge not to implement a primary part of Obama’s program – offering people reprieve from deportations.

“Like an idiot I believed that,” Hanen said.

Justice Department attorney Kathleen Hartnett apologized for any confusion and said the administration was not intending to deceive the court.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Kinder: DOJ Is More Racist Than St. Louis, Ferguson

Peter Kinder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said the Justice Department is “obsessed with race” and has demonstrated more racism than “than anywhere I see in the St. Louis area,” The Huffington Post reports.

Kinder claims protests over the death of Michael Brown are “based on a lie” and have been exacerbated by a Justice Department report that concluded Ferguson has systematically discriminated against black residents.

The problem, Kinder said, was that the Justice Department is staffed with “hard-left radical leftist lawyers.”

“There is more racism in the Justice Department than anywhere I see in the St. Louis area,” he said. “We’ve come an enormous way in 50 years, that’s not to say that we don’t have still more to do. It is the left, it is the Eric Holder and the Obama left and their minions that are obsessed with race while the rest of us are moving on beyond it.”

MassLive: Justice Department Is Wrong to Work with CIA on Spying on Americans

By MassLive
Editorial

If the CIA and the Justice Department were to get married, what kind of kids might the odd couple have?

One answer: Spies who’d believe that they possess the legal smarts to talk their way out of nearly anything.

When The Wall Street Journal reported late last year that the Justice Department was operating airplanes that flew across the land carrying devices mimicking cell towers scooping up details about the mobile phones of innocent citizens below – normal people who were accused of nothing, suspected of nothing, all in the name of tracking a few criminal suspects – we said in this space that the program was fundamentally anti-democratic. It was, plainly stated, un-American.

To have the authorities flying over the land and sweeping up information about the citizenry – even if it was in the name of locating a few bad actors – treated ordinary people like outlaws. We asked at the time – and we’ll ask again now – what becomes of the data that the Justice Department gathers? Who has access to it? How long is it retained?

Now comes a new report in the Journal detailing the CIA’s work with Justice. The U.S. Department of Justice is supposed to be working to enforce the law, not seeking to find novel ways to spy on the people. And our nation’s Central Intelligence Agency, established in 1947, was created to watch over the doings in foreign lands, not to aid Justice in spying on the American citizens.

To read more click here.

Ferguson City Manager Resigns Following Scathing Justice Department Report

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Ferguson City Manager John Shaw announced Tuesday that he was resigning after a scathing Justice Department report that criticized him and other Ferguson officials for a culture of discrimination, The Washington Post reports.

The city called the resignation a “mutual separation agreement”

Shaw is the second person to resign following the report.

“We appreciate John’s service and commitment to the city of Ferguson for the past eight years,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III, who is on the council, said in a statement. “The City Council and John Shaw feel as though it is the appropriate time for the city to move forward as it begins its search for a new city manager.”

Washington Post: Justice Department Report Proves Racial Bias in Ferguson

Michael Brown

By Washington Post
Editorial Board

The Justice Department said two things about Ferguson, Mo., last week, both of which should make Americans uncomfortable. First, federal officials announced that they did not have evidence showing that police officer Darren Wilson used unreasonable force when he shot African American teenager Michael Brown. Second, the department found that there is a lot of rotten policing with racist overtones in Ferguson. Mr. Wilson may have been exonerated, but that does not excuse the primed powder keg of community anger that Ferguson authorities had set in place before the incident occurred.

On the Michael Brown shooting, federal investigators pored through the local authorities’ evidence and gathered their own. After an exhaustive inquiry, they determined that they didn’t have a case against Mr. Wilson. They even punctured the widely circulated claim that Mr. Brown had his hands raised in surrender when Mr. Wilson shot him.This is the independent review of the event that Ferguson and the country needed, and it should serve as a warning to those who would rush to judgment in such sensitive policing cases before the facts are in order.

That is not to say that the protesters who filled Ferguson’s streets after the Brown shooting didn’t have a reason to be angry. The Justice Department found that they live under an official system consciously designed to suck money out of vulnerable people. The system combines high fines for all sorts of violations — such as $77 to $102 for having weeds or tall grass — and enforcement that too often is well beyond reason. Investigators found one instance in which a man sitting in a parked car was searched on bogus grounds, arrested for complaining about it, then ticketed for eight municipal code violations. The man claims the charges cost him his job.

Ferguson’s municipal court attaches more fees for missing a payment or a court date, and it regularly hands out jail time for failing to pay. One woman ended up owing more than $1,000 and spending six days in jail over parking tickets, and the court refused to accept the partial payments she attempted to make.

When Ferguson police go in search of revenue, the evidence the Justice Department found suggests that they target minority communities. Police and courts punish African Americans far out of proportion to their share of the town population. Add these numbers to the documented racial bias of certain city officials, the department concludes, “and there is evidence that this is due in part to intentional discrimination on the basis of race.”

To read more click here. 

Justice Department Blasts Ferguson Police for Discrimination, Abuse of Power

Michael Brown

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A long-awaited report on Ferguson found numerous constitutional violations that called for new oversight, retraining of employees and abandoning the current approach to policing.

The New York Times reports that the Justice Department criticized Ferguson police for routinely making unlawful searches, hurling racial insults and treating anyone as a criminal for questioning the tactics.

While a separate report found no civil rights abuses against the white officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, the Justice Department described a discriminatory environment that led to months of protests.

“Seen in this context — amid a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices — it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” Mr. Holder said.

The report means Ferguson must make changes or face a federal civil rights lawsuit.