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Archive for July, 2013

Obama’s FBI Nominee, James B. Comey, Faces Tough Questions about Domestic Surveillance

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to grill James B. Comey about his views on enemy interrogations and government surveillance during a hearing today, The New York Times reports.

President Obama’s choice to be FBI director has faced a tough confirmation process in the midst of revelations that the U.S. is conducting widespread surveillance against its citizens and others across the world.

Among the concerns was Comey’s time as deputy attorney general in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, who supported government surveillance programs.

“While Comey deserves credit for stopping an illegal spying program in dramatic fashion, he also approved or defended some of the worst abuses of the Bush administration during his time as deputy attorney general. Those included torture, warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention,” said Laura W. Murphy, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative office in Washington.

Obama Administration Removed More than 100,000 Immigrants with No Criminal Record This Year

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Obama administration is deporting fewer people, but his administration continues to oust tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who don’t have criminal records, The Washington Times reports.

The deportation of rank-and-file immigrants – more than 110,000 this year – is incensing advocacy groups.

“DHS consistently misleads the public about who it is deporting,” said Jessica Karp, staff attorney at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “The Obama administration has created a ‘criminal immigrant’ boogeyman to justify unprecedented deportation levels. But when we look at the facts, again and again we see that the majority of those deported have no or only very minor misdemeanor convictions, including traffic offenses.”

The numbers were compiled and released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

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Leaked Pakistani Report Rips Its Government for “Gross Incompetence” in Hunt for Osama bin Laden

Doug Stanglin
USA TODAY

Osama bin Laden lived undetected in Pakistan for nine years before he was killed by U.S. forces, according to a leaked Pakistani government report that blasts the country’s civilian and military leadership for “gross incompetence” over the bin Laden affair.

It finds that Pakistan’s intelligence establishment had “closed the book” on bin Laden by 2005, and was no longer actively pursuing intelligence that could lead to his capture.

The 336-page Abbottabad Commission report, obtained by Al Jazeera, blasts the government and military for a “national disaster” over its handling of bin Laden and calls on the leadership to apologize to the people of Pakistan for their “dereliction of duty.”

To read full story click here.

Read report 

 

Russia: NSA Leaker Snowden May Be Down to ‘Last Chance’ As Venezuela Gets Involved

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Venezuela appears to be NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s last hope of gaining asylum, an influential member of Parliament said, USA Today reports.

Alexei Pushkov, head of the Parliament’s international affairs committee, wrote on Twitter: “Venezuela is waiting for an answer from Snowden. This, perhaps, is his last chance to receive political asylum.”

Still, Venezuelan officials haven’t been in touch with Snowden, who is believed to be stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Those officials plan to speak with Russian officials today about the situation, according to the USA Today.

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NSA’s Surveillance of Domestic Calls Was Permitted by Secret Court in Mid-2000s

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A secret court played a major role in the NSA’s ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decided in the mid-2000s to broaden the definition of “relevant,” which allowed the collection of millions of people’s phone records.

The information includes the phone numbers and locations of all domestic calls, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some attorneys are unsettled by the decision.

“I think it’s a stretch” of previous federal legal interpretations, says Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who, until December, was the Justice Department’s primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law. If a federal attorney “served a grand-jury subpoena for such a broad class of records in a criminal investigation, he or she would be laughed out of court.”

NYPD Cop Accused of Abusing Federal Database to Snoop on Co-Workers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Another New York City cop is accused of abusing a federal database operated by the FBI.

The Associated Press reports that Edwin Vargas looked up names of two fellow officers without their knowledge.

Vargas is just the latest NYPC officer accused of abusing the National Crime Information Center database. Others have used the database to tip off drug dealers and stage robberies.

The NCIC database has a lot of information and helps track down cars, stolen guns, fugitives, sex offenders and others, the AP wrote.

ACLU lists 10 Most ‘Disturbing’ Things About FBI Since 9/11

By Matthew Harwood
ACLU Media Relations Associate

Next Tuesday, James Comey will have his first job interview for succeeding Robert Mueller as director of the FBI.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will not only have the chance to determine whether Comey is qualified for the job—and we have our concerns—but an opportunity to examine what the FBI has become since 9/11 and whether it needs to change course over the next decade.

Over the past 12 years, the FBI has become a domestic intelligence agency with unprecedented power to peer into the lives of ordinary Americans and secretly amass data about people not suspected of any wrongdoing. The recent revelation about the FBI using the Patriot Act’s “business records provision” to track all U.S. telephone calls is only the latest in a long line of abuse stemming from the expanded powers granted to the bureau since September 2001.

To read more click here.