FDA Police? The American Police State

By SUA Staff – We have witnessed a great expansion of power by the Executive Branch of government in recent years with the creation of Czars, Signing Statements, Executive Orders, the NDAA, Obama Care, the Patriot Act, massive land grabs, and much more…including circumventing the Congress and openly challenging the Judicial Branch. But what most people do not know, is that the Executive Branch employs more offices of law enforcement than you would believe.

One of these agencies, the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, was the subject of a vote in Congress today. Rand Paul of Kentucky offered an amendment that speaks to this issue. He asked why the FDA needs guns. He mentioned there are over 40 federal agencies that have police powers, but he was underestimating.

His amendment to do away with these ‘insane’ police powers failed today, but we thought you may want to know more in the context of the growing police state that is America.

The number of Federal Agencies with police powers has grown dramatically since a study was conducted by Sarah Foster for WND in 1997 that was eye-opening then:

From Comeandtakeit.com – By Sarah Foster, 1997, WorldNetDaily.com

According to a recent report from the General Accounting Office, as of last September, the number of law enforcement personnel stood at just under 50,000 — distributed through 45 agencies — an increase of about 12,000 agents in 10 years with 2,436 added in 1996 alone. These are full-time agents, authorized to execute searches, make arrests, and/or carry firearms “if necessary.”

But that number is not complete. When some 7,145 Customs inspectors and 317 Customs Department pilots are added — all of whom have the above listed law enforcement powers — the total is pushing 60,000. Why doesn’t the GAO count them? Not because they aren’t armed and dangerous, but because they have different retirement benefits.

In a recent look by SUA, there are at least 50 offices where law enforcement powers exist. These do not include the ones we all know; those within the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, our military, and the Department of State. Six other law enforcement offices also not counted are in the Judicial and Legislative Branches. We also excluded the CIA from that number.

Some are easily explained, since Offices of the Inspector General (OIG) exist in most agencies, but it is surprising to learn about a few: (Likely not comprehensive we fear.)

  • Department of Agriculture (USDA) – U.S. Forest Service, OIG
  • Department of Commerce (DOC) – National Institute of Standards & Technology Police, NOAA Fisheries OLE, OIG,
  • Department of Education – OIG
  • Department of Energy (DOE) – Health Safety and Security, OIG
  • Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Criminal Investigations, National Institute of Health Police, OIG
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development – Protective Services Division, OIG
  • Department of the Interior (USDI) – Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Mgt., National Park Service, Rangers, OIG
  • Department of Labor – OIG
  • Department of Transportation – OIG
  • Department of the Treasury – Engraving and Print Police, IRS Criminal Division, OIG for Tax Administration, Mint Police, Special OIG for TARP
  • Department of Veterans Affairs – OIG, VA Police
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Division, OIG
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Security Services, OIG
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission – OIG
  • Office of Personnel Management – OIG
  • Railroad Retirement Board – OIG
  • Small Business Administration – OIG
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – OIG
  • General Services Administration – OIG
  • United States Postal Service (USPS) – OIG, Inspection Services, Postal Police
  • Smithsonian Institution – Protection Services, National Zoological Park Police, OIG
  • Amtrak – Amtrak Ploice, OIG
  • Federal Reserve Bank – Federal Reserve Police
  • Tennessee Valley Authority – TVA Police, OIG
  • United States Agency for International Development – OIG

TARP has police? Perhaps the most perplexing law enforcement unit at the Federal level is the Special OIG for TARP, yes the Troubled Assets Relief Program, and please, tell us what the US Agency for International Development even is, and why does it need an Inspector General? We searched for a comprehensive report on just how many law enforcement personnel there are on the Federal level, but by the time of this posting, we had yet to locate those data.

All of this raises many questions, especially in light of recent reports SUA and many others have shown regarding the massive amounts of ammunition that was recently ordered. It is also important to ask why these types of ammunition are needed.

The folks at Natural News report on these questions, and they make quite a statement about what many believe is coming, wide-spread civil strife, possibly even open hostilities between the Federal government and its citizens. You be the judge.

From our previous reports:

ATK, the company now infamous for supplying upwards of 750 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow point ammunition to the Department of Homeland Security, has just secured a $266 million dollar contract to supply ammunition to the U.S. Army. (ATK press release on first contract awarded.)

From Natural News:

…”hollow point” ammunition is never purchased for practice or training. This ammunition is purchased for the sole purpose of being used in active fighting. At the same time, it is a violation of the Geneva Convention to use hollow point ammunition on the battle field.

Furthermore, DHS does not fight wars overseas. It is a domestic agency with domestic responsibilities.

Natural News also asked in its article what 450 million rounds means, but of course we know the actual number is much higher from more recent reports of other ammunition orders. But their insight and questions show in stark relief what that much ammo really means:

…located testimony by Maj. Gen. Buford C. Blount III, given in 2004 before the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives. This testimony reveals that: In active battle operations in Iraq, ammunition is expended at the rate of 5.5 million rounds per month.

That’s 66 million rounds in a year. The General’s testimony states that the “past year” in Iraq “resulted in the expenditure of 72 million rounds,” which isn’t too far off from 66 million. I’ll use 70 million as a rough figure for annual ammo usage in an active war zone.

This is 70 million rounds of all types, including rifle rounds such as 5.56, .308, .50, etc. Pistol rounds most likely include 9mm (the common NATO round) and .45. There isn’t much .40 pistol ammo used by soldiers serving overseas, by the way.

There are so many instances popping up in the news, at least on the internet, where the real news gets reported, about crazy raids. Armed raids on the Amish for selling milk, the Gibson Guitar factory fiasco, the EPA debacle at Priest River, Idaho, and so on. No wonder the fear factor is off the charts, and everyone fears FEMA instead of lauding it as a safety net in times of disaster. It is actually beyond that fear alone now, a growing number of Americans are in abject fear of all that is Federal these days.

Incessant lies, twisted statistics, disingenuous rhetoric, plausible deniability arguments, and craftily worded messages abound. No wonder so many have lost trust in the government. More to come, of that we are sure…

Rand Paul Introduces Amendment to End the FDA’s Insane Police Powers:

“I see no reason to have the FDA carrying weapons.”

By  – Reason.com

“I think we have bigger problems in our country than sending armed FDA agents into peaceful farmers’ land and telling them they can’t sell milk directly from the cow,” Rand Paul said yesterday in a rousing speech calling for an end to the Food and Drug Administration’s police powers. More from the transcript, provided by Paul’s office:

Some of you might be surprised the FDA is armed. Well, you shouldn’t be.

We have nearly 40 federal agencies that are armed. I’m not against having police, I’m not against the army, the military, the FBI, but I think bureaucrats don’t need to be carrying weapons and I think what we ought to do, is if there is a need for an armed policeman to be there, the FBI who are trained to do this should do it. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to be arming bureaucrats to go on the farm to, with arms, to stop people from selling milk from a cow.

I think we have too many armed federal agencies, and that we need to put an end to this. Criminal law seems to be increasing, increasingly is using a tool of our government bureaucracy to punish and control honest businessmen for simply attempting to make a living.

Historically the criminal law was intended to punish only the most horrible offenses that everyone agreed were inherently wrong or evil, offenses like rape, murder, theft, arson – but now we’ve basically federalized thousands of activities and called them crimes.

If bureaucrats need to involve the police, let’s have them use the FBI, but I see no reason to have the FDA carrying weapons.

Paul’s amendment to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act has two parts: Part I would allow the makers of health products to advertise their benefits. “There’s no earthly reason why somebody who markets prune juice can’t advertise it helps with constipation,” Paul said. Part II of the amendment would prohibit FDA employees (as well as all other Health and Human Services employees) from carrying weapons and making arrests without warrants.  (See the video of the speech here at Reason.com.)

The amendment failed by a vote of 78-15

Federalizing our Law Enforcement – TSA in your backyard now!

Editor’s Note – Every state, county, and the vast majority of municipalities in the USA already have police forces, so why do we need federal TSA inspectors/agents patrolling our transportation hubs and routes? At a minimum, this is another example of the extended reach of the Executive Branch of the federal government.

We already have the FBI, so why do we have so many federal agencies now amongst our communities? Yet, our borders are sieves, the TSA gropes 4-year old kids and old ladies at our airports, and we have border check points well with-in our borders in the southern states along the Mexican border to try and find the ones that got by on the border.

It looks far more like the tyranny of government than it does homeland security.

Why Is It Necessary For The Federal Government To Turn The United States Into A Prison Camp?

By Michael Snyder of Economic Collapse 

There has been no society in the history of the world that has ever been 100% safe. No matter how much money the federal government spends on “homeland security”, the truth is that bad things will still happen.  Our world is a very dangerous place and it is becoming increasingly unstable.  The federal government could turn the entire country into one giant prison camp, but that would still not keep us safe.  It is inevitable that bad stuff will happen in life.  But we have a choice.  We can choose to live in fear or we can choose to live as free men and women.  Our forefathers intended to establish a nation where liberty and freedom would be maximized.

"Show me your papers" is a phrase we may all hear too frequently soon - from the TSA?

But today we are told that we have to give up our liberties and our freedoms and our privacy for increased security.  But is such a trade really worth it?  Just think of the various totalitarian societies that we have seen down throughout history.  Have any of them ever really thrived?  Have their people been happy?  Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government has decided that the entire country needs to be put on lock down.  Nearly everything that we do today is watched and tracked, and personal privacy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.  Many of the things that George Orwell wrote about in 1984 are becoming a reality, and that is a very frightening thing.  The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Sadly, we are rapidly becoming the exact opposite of that.

I don’t know about you, but I never signed up to live in North Korea.  When I was growing up I was taught that repressive regimes such as North Korea are “the bad guys” and that America is where “the good guys” live.

So why do we want to be just like North Korea?

When they put in the naked body scanners at U.S. airports and started having TSA agents conduct “enhanced pat-downs” of travelers, I decided that I was not going to fly anymore unless absolutely necessary.

Then I heard about how “random bag checks” were being conducted at Metro train stations in the Washington D.C. area, and I was glad that I was no longer taking the train into D.C. anymore.

But now the TSA is showing up everywhere.  Down in Houston, undercover TSA agents and police officers will now “ride buses, perform random bag checks, and conduct K-9 sweeps, as well as place uniformed and plainclothes officers at Transit Centers and rail platforms to detect, prevent and address latent criminal activity or behavior.”

So now I have another thing to add to my list of things that I can’t do anymore.

No more riding buses for me.

But the truth is that you can’t escape this expanding security grid no matter how hard you try.

In fact, TSA “VIPR teams” conduct approximately 8,000 “unannounced security screenings” every year at bus terminals, train stations, ports and highway rest stops throughout the United States.

Look, every society needs some level of security.  There are always bad guys out there that want to harm innocent people.

But in the United States we must demand that those in charge of our security do their jobs in a way that does not compromise our dignity, our liberties or our freedoms.

Does having TSA thugs touch the private parts of old women and young children before they get on their flights keep us any safer?

Of course not.

But it does move our country in a very dangerous direction.

The reality is that this “Big Brother control grid” that is being constructed all around us is expanding in a thousand different ways.

For example, a new bill before the U.S. Congress would require black box data recorders to be installed in all new vehicles starting in 2015.  These black box data recorders will be able to constantly transmit data about everything that your car is  doing to the government and to the insurance companies.  The following is from a recent article by Eric Peters….

And naturally, they – the government, insurance companies – will be able to track your every move, noting (and recording) where you’ve been and when. This will create a surveillance net beyond anything that ever existed previously. Some will not sweat this: After all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why worry? Except for the fact that, courtesy of almost everything we do being either “illegal” or at least “suspicious” we all have a great deal to hide. The naivety of the Don’t Worry, it’s No Big Deal crowd is breathtaking. Did the average Soviet citizen also “not have anything to hide,” and hence why worry?

But the last possibility is probably the creepiest possibility: EDRs tied into your car’s GPS will give them – the government and its corporate **** ******* (edited for language) – literal physical control over (hack) “your” vehicle. This is not conspiracy theorizing. It is technological fact. Current GM vehicles equipped with the same technology about to be mandated for every vehicle can be disabled remotely. Just turned off. All the OnStar operator has to do is send the appropriate command over the GPS to your car’s computer, which controls the engine. It is one of the features touted by OnStar – of course, as a “safety” feature.

In the future, it will be used to limit your driving – for the sake of “energy conservation” or perhaps, “the environment.” It will be the perfect, er, vehicle, for implementing U.N. Agenda 21 – the plan to herd all of us formerly free-range tax cattle into urban feedlots. So much easier to control us this way. No more bailing out to the country or living off the grid – unless you get there (and to your work) by walking.

Even when you are sitting at home you are still being watched and monitored in countless ways.

For example, every single call you make on your cell phone is intercepted and monitored by the government.

Your Internet activity is tracked and monitored by a whole host of government agencies as well.  If you doubt this, just read this article.

Now CISPA would expand government surveillance of the Internet even further.  The following description of CISPA comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation website….

CISPA creates an exception to all privacy laws to permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity…. CISPA’s ‘information sharing’ regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet use history or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command. Once in government hands, this information can be used for any non-regulatory purpose so long as one significant purpose is for cybersecurity or to protect national security.

Frightening stuff, eh?

I want you to imagine a scenario for a moment.  Imagine that the government assigned two “watchers” to you that followed you everywhere you went and stared directly into your face the entire time.

Would you feel comfortable?

Why not?

You don’t have anything to hide, do you?

Well, of course the truth is that none of us would like having our privacy constantly invaded.  It is not pleasant to constantly feel like you are being watched.

That is why all of these new “security measures” are so alarming.  A system is being set up where all of us are being constantly watched and monitored 24 hours a day.

And most Americans have no idea how fast the transition to full martial law could potentially be.

Barack Obama recently updated an old executive order that has been around for decades that would enable him to take charge of all food, all energy, all health resources and all transportation resources in the United States with the stroke of a pen. This new update would allow him to do it even in “non-emergency” situations.

The following is what U.S. Representative Kay Granger recently had to say about this executive order….

This means all of our water resources, construction services and materials (steel, concrete, etc.), our civil transportation system, food and health resources, our energy supplies including oil and natural gas – even farm equipment – can be taken over by the President and his cabinet secretaries.  The Government can also draft U.S. citizens into the military and force U.S. citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of “national defense.”  There is not even any Congressional oversight, only briefings are required.

Later on in her letter, Representative Granger even used the phrases “martial law” and “government takeover” to describe the power that Barack Obama potentially has under this executive order…

It is still unclear why this order was signed now, and what the consequences are for our nation – especially during times of peace.  This type of Martial Law imposes a government takeover on U.S. citizens that is typically reserved for national emergencies, not in a time of relative peace.

Do you trust Barack Obama with that kind of power?

Unfortunately, considering the really bad decisions that all of our government officials regularly make, it is really hard to trust any of them to do the right thing at this point.

The American people need to let their voices be heard on these issues.  If not, the federal government will continue to strip away our privacy, our liberties and our freedoms until everything is gone.

Do you want your children to grow up in a country that has been turned into a giant prison camp and that more closely resembles North Korea than it does the nation that our forefathers originally founded?

If not, please do what you can to speak out against these abuses.

The truth is that the federal government does not really even care about our national security anyway.

If they did, they would secure our borders. Just today I read that the National Guard is withdrawing 900 troops from the U.S.-Mexico border.  Our border security is already a total joke and now it is going to be even worse.

Over the past several decades, tens of millions of people have crossed that border illegally.  Every single day, terrorists, drug dealers, gang members, sexual predators and a whole host of other “bad guys” could be crossing that border and we would never even know about it because we aren’t doing anything to stop it.

For nearly 60 years, the U.S. government has successfully protected the border between South Korea and North Korea, but the U.S. government flatly refuses to protect our own borders.

Until the federal government decides to do what the U.S. Constitution requires them to do and start protecting our borders, then the federal government should not be asking any of us to make a single sacrifice in the name of “security”.

The truth is that we can have a reasonable level of security in this nation without giving up the liberties and the freedoms that millions of Americans have shed their blood to protect.

We do not need to turn the United States into a giant prison camp.  America is supposed to be the land of the free, and we need to work hard to get that dream back.

High Alert – U.S. on guard against possible Iran plots

Editor’s NoteKamikaze attacks are being planned by Iran against USA forces across the globe and locally in the Gulf should Israel attack according to late reports and breaking news, coupled with the following article, all seems very testy right now. Stay tuned for updates. It seems the ever increasing chatter across the board is making a lot of people nervous. It is at unprecedented levels now, and we at SUA want our readers to be prepared and vigilant.

Report anything out of the ordinary to the proper authorities! Anything!

U.S. on guard against possible Iran plots

By John Miller

CBS News 

The FBI is pulling out all the stops on Iran. A classified nationwide conference will be held Thursday to share the assessment of the intelligence community that an attack by Iranian agents, or even a surrogate group such as Hezbollah, may be more likely in the event of an Israeli air strike on suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.

The secure video teleconference, led by FBI Assistant Director Ralph Boelter, the Bureau’s top counterterrorism official, will be a 90-minute meeting with each of the 56 field offices.

The special agents in-charge of those offices will be polled on what operations they are running covering suspected Iranian agents, Hezbollah investigations and confidential sources that may yield valuable intelligence. They are also being asked to make sure their local police departments are attuned to the threat and focused on suspicious activity around government buildings, Israeli consulates in major cities and prominent Jewish organizations.

James Clapper, the US intelligence chief, who has warned that an Iranian attack on America and its allies is increasingly likely. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The increased concern that is driving this “leave no stone unturned” strategy has emerged from two developments: first, the assessment that Iran has increased surveillance of potential U.S. targets overseas; second, that Iran is suspected of being behind what appears to be a series of coordinated attacks against Israeli targets last week.

In India, the wife of an Israeli military attache was wounded in a car bomb. In Georgia, and Thailand, suspected Iranian agents were taken into custody. One Iranian suspect in Bangkok was severely wounded when the bomb he was carrying detonated prematurely.

In Azerbaijan, police broke up a plot in January that involved a group of Iranian suspects working with a local crime boss to target Israeli locations and victims. Police say the recovered diagrams, drawings, photos and dossiers of the targets along with a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight.

Intelligence analysts agree that the foreign attacks targeting Israelis are almost certainly in retaliation for a series of assassinations of Iranian scientist working for that country’s suspected nuclear weapons program. Iran has accused Israel and the United Sates of being behind the attacks.

The last scientist to be killed was blown up by a car bomb that was stuck to his car by a passing motorcycle. It was the exact same technique that was used in the attack against the Israeli attache’s wife in India last week.

“They are trying to be very clear with the Israelis that two can play this game,” said one U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Iran has denied involvement in any of the attacks against Israeli diplomats, and has suggested that Israel itself is to blame.

Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in a letter to Security Council President Kodjo Menan that Israel “has resorted in masterminding camouflaged assassination attempts and acts of terrorism or more specifically the so-called ‘false flag operations,’ and attributing them to others.”

While this has unfolded largely as a proxy war between Israel and Iran, the concern over a potential strike against the U.S. is one that was recently revised. On February 16, Director of National Intelligence General James Clapper said in testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee that a recent plot broken up the FBI targeting the Saudi ambassador for assassination in downtown Washington D.C. restaurant was a game-changer.

Clapper said the plot “shows that some Iranian officials – probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime. We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.”

Clapper also said that the economic sanctions and condemnations from the U.N. may be a factor in whether Iran would want to absorb the cost of going forward with an attack on U.S. soil.

While Israel has two intelligence agencies and one national police force, one of the challenges for the United States is coordinating the efforts against a single target across 16 intelligence agencies and 18,000 police departments. Coordination on terrorism issues is run through the National Counter Terrorism Center, (NCTC) a modern X-shaped complex in Northern Virginia where representatives from all agencies are assigned and have access to their databases.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence also has an Iran mission manager whose job it is to coordinate the intelligence community’s efforts on Iran across an array of issues.

“When you have Iranian-backed terrorist groups, but also Iranian intelligence operatives from the elite Quds force, and they are also working with Mexican drug cartels and Thai crime bosses, you have a number of intelligence streams to tap,” said a former intelligence official who asked to remain anonymous because he still consults with government agencies.

Tom Betro, the former Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) said that as tensions rise, it is likely that Iranian operations in the proxy war being carried out in diverse countries across the globe will increase.

“That’s the fear. The fear is that would be the the type of attack we’d see increasing in frequency and in seriousness as leading up to a conflict,” he said.

And Betro believes that in the event of an Israeli airstrike on Iran, the odds of an attack against the U.S. for its long support of Israel increases.

“Yes, I could see them striking on U.S. soil. They do have a network of surrogate groups. They have provided material support, assuming that support is already in place. I think they know, psychologically, the impact that an attack on U.S. soil would have on our country and on our leadership.”

Betro, who led NCIS operations in the investigation of al Qaida’s attack on the USS Cole in Yemen and investigations into terrorist plots against naval bases overseas, was part of an intelligence community task force that targeted Iraq’s intelligence services. Betro says Iran, because its intelligence operations are larger and use more outside groups to carry out operations, will be a hard target to collect against.

“Quite frankly we – we don’t have as much intelligence about their networks as we would’ve had against the Iraqis,” Betro said. “I would say that the urgency, because of that type of warfare, that unconventional warfare, which I think everyone would agree is clearly part of Iran’s kind of battle plan … it’s much more important to aggressively disrupt those activities.”

Proof: DHS is monitoring social media, bloggers, and…why?

By Scott W. Winchell

Its official; the Department of Homeland Security did award the HS HODC-10-00080 contract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Division as the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) for DHS. What does that mean?

It means that the DHS project – Media Monitoring Capability Mission – is actually underway as we all suspected. What the project should be called is the “Cover our asses, identify our enemies, and spin baby, spin, capability mission.”

Its similar to the system for data collection that the Obama 2012 Campaign is doing on Facebook now:

Barack Obama‘s re-election team are building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before…

For the past nine months a crack team of some of America’s top data wonks has occupied an entire floor of the Prudential building in Chicago devising a digital campaign from the bottom up. The team draws much of its style and inspiration from the corporate sector, with its driving ambition to create a vote-garnering machine that is smooth, unobtrusive and ruthlessly efficient. (Read the rest here.)

MMCM Contract Documents – On December 15, 2010, the contract was awarded. Two links below show documents related to the project:

  1. Raw Story posted the FOIA request fulfillment document here on the actual contract. (Names redacted, 285 pages)
  2. DHS Analysts’s desktop binder that details the project. (40 pages)

What the MMC Mission purports to do:

First – to continually update existing National Situation Summaries (NSS) and International Situation Summaries (ISS) with the most recent, relevant, and actionable open source media information.

Second – to constantly monitor all available open source information with the goal of expeditiously alerting the NOC Watch Team and other key Department personnel of emergent situations.

Third – to receive, process, and distribute media captured by DHS Situational Awareness Teams (DSAT) or other streaming media available to the NOC such as Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) Full Motion Video (FMV) and via open sources.

What does it mean to the public?

Ostensibly, reading the actual words printed, it sounds like a great way for DHS to stay abreast of the mountains of information available from open sources that should be known by its staff and management. As public servants, its wise to be more conversant in all aspects of all events to make sure that the proper resources are being allocated, dangers are mitigated, and life-saving efforts can be maximized. Sounds great – our tax dollars going to a good thing; our government being wise and efficient.

Well, enough of that bilge. What it more likely means are one or all of the following scenarios:

  1. Making sure that any DHS spokesperson, whether from FEMA, or any other agency, does not have a James Clapper moment. The Director of National Intelligence was blind-sided by the media about a major story he did not get briefed on, but definitely should have known;
  2. Covering their collective posteriors because the intelligence gathering and analysis performed in recent years has been eclipsed by open-source investigators who are much less constrained in acquiring important information;
  3. Allowing appointees and other politicians a way to spin information to misdirect, change the focus of, or just plain old twist the facts for a given incident;
  4. Protect the reputation and image of the department and its requisite divisions and leaders;
  5. Monitor those of us who monitor them, and identify political adversaries, assign strong negative names and labels to political movements, collect the names of all “subversive” individuals as defined by political forces, and control baby, control…the imagination just carries you away, does it not?

Those summaries above need to be looked at in more detail, the following shows what information is actually being studied and monitored and why:

Leverage Operationally Relevant Data

Leveraging news stories, media reports and postings on social media sites concerning HomelandSecurity, Emergency Management, and National Health for operationally relevant data, information, analysis, and imagery is the first mission component. The traditional and social media teams review a story or posting from every direction and interest, utilizing thousands of reporters, sources, still/video cameramen, analysts, bloggers and ordinary individuals on scene. Traditional Media outlets provide unmatched insight into the depth and breadth of the situation, worsening issues, federal preparations, response activities, and critical timelines. At the sametime, Social Media outlets provide instant feedback and alert capabilities to rapidly changing or newly occurring situations. The MMC works to summarize the extensive information from these resources to provide a well rounded operational picture for the Department of Homeland Security.

Support NOC in Identifying Relevant Operational Media

Supporting the NOC by ensuring they have a timely appreciation for evolving Homeland Security news stories and media reports of interest to the public and DHS/other federal agencies involved in preparations and response activities is the second key component. DHS and other federal agencies conducting joint operations may be affected by other evolving situations in that area. These situations may be related; have a cause and effect relationship; or be unrelated but have a detrimental effect. Through coordination with the NOC Duty Director (NDD), Senior Watch Officer (SWO) the MMC works to ensure the NOC Watch Team is aware of such stories and news events and has time to analyze any effect on operations.

Timely reporting of current information is an integral element in maintaining complete operational awareness by Homeland Security Personnel. The MMC understand it is vital that critical information is relayed to key Department decision makers in as expeditious a manner aspossible.

Increase Situational Awareness of the DHS Secretary

Mitigating the likelihood that the Secretary and DHS Executive staffs are unaware of a breaking Homeland Security news story or media report is the third component. The Secretary and executive staff members are subject to press questions regarding domestic and international events and may or may not be informed of the most current media coverage. The MMC understands critical information requirements and monitors news coverage with the perspective of how the breaking story may be related to current and other important ongoing situations and DHS activities. The on-duty MMC analyst alerts DHS personnel and related federal agencies of updated news stories through distributed Items of Interest (see section 3.9.6). Recognizing that local media coverage is potentially sensationalizing an incident, the MMC strives to comprehend the media’s message and identify sensitive situations that must be brought to the attention of the Secretary.

Facebook

It is clear to many Facebook aficionados that the DHS work has been more than just gleaning information.

There are reliable reports where:

  • If you type certain words on your wall, it will automatically “friend” you on the DHS page, without permission, and you cannot “un-friend” yourself;
  • If you type anything that has the word DHS or a few other key words, your post will show up on the DHS FB page;
  • Politicians are using it as well, ask the Romney people. If you post “I love Mitt Romney” on your wall, that post will appear on Romney’s FB page;
  • Then there are other weird anomalies, and many FB folks are “pruning” their friends lists for these very reasons, no privacy!

Wake up America, DHS and others may be watching you and gleaning information from you, and as we have seen repeatedly with the current administration, it will or could be used against you. Remember, the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 has reset a lot of the rules on detention for American citizens. The pieces and parts for total control are coming into place.

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Denise Simon contributed to this article. She is the Director of Research at SUA.

DHS – Privacy Impact Assessment – Lists sites they watch

By Scott W. Winchell

What do the following web sites have in common?

Jihad Watch, Live Leak, Border Fire, Twitter, Vimeo, Youtube, Flickr, Counter-Terrorism Blog, Danger Room, Drudge Report, Foreign Policy, Global Security Newswire, Google Blog Search, Homeland Security Today, Huffington Post, LongWarJournal, MEMRI, Newsweek Blogs, NYTimes Lede Blog, Plowshares Fund, Popular Science Blogs, Science Daily, STRATFOR, Technorati, Terror Finance Blog, Cyber Crime Topic Center, and ABC News Blotter, plus many others.

Pretty good company we think, makes us wonder why they did not include Stand Up America…er, yet!

Privacy Impact Assessment - Trust me?!

They are on the Department of Homeland Security’s new Privacy Impact Assessment for the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative Update as sites they are watching at least initially. It was produced last January.

The original Homeland Security Act of 2002 had certain mandates and has been updated and amended several times.

The reason for the update from the PDF listed at DHS:

Federal law requires the NOC to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture for the entire federal government, and for state, local, and tribal governments as appropriate, and to ensure that critical disaster-related information reaches government decision makers. See Section 515 of the Homeland Security Act (6 U.S.C. § 321d(b)(1)). The law defines the term “situational awareness” as “information gathered from a variety of sources that, when communicated to emergency managers and decision makers, can form the basis for incident management decision-making.” OPS has launched this Initiative to fulfill its legal mandate to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture. In doing so, OPS is working with select components within the Department to achieve this statutory mandate.

… previous reports to help avoid duplicative reporting and ensure further development of reporting on ongoing issues. It allows analysts to electronically document details using a customized user interface, and disseminate relevant information in a standardized format. Using the MMC application, NOC analysts can efficiently and effectively catalog the information by adding meta-tags such as location, category, critical information requirement, image files, and source information. The application empowers NOC analysts to have a better grasp of the common operating picture by providing the means to quickly search for an item of interest using any of the above mentioned meta-tags as well as enabling them to respond to requests for information from other collaborating entities in a timely fashion. Download the entire PDF here.

The question we all ask after reading this is: “What is of interest to DHS?” Does it apply to the directives handed down that outline what and who are the right-wing extremists they determined need to be watched?

Remember, the DHS Mission is:

Title I – Department of Homeland Security

Sec. 101. Executive Department; Mission

(a) Establishment. – “There is established a Department of Homeland Security, as an executive department of the United States within the meaning of title 5, United States Code.

(b) Mission

(1) In General. – The primary mission of the Department is to

(A) prevent terrorist attacks within the United States;

(B) reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; and

(C) minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery, from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States.”

So let’s ask ourselves, of the abbreviated list above, or the entire list on the document cited above, do these sites present a security issue to DHS, or are thay the sites that may do the homework for the DHS?

In numerous cases, the DHS and other DC alphabet soup agencies already cull a lot of knowledge from these and many other websites, so why is there a mandated Privacy Impact Assessment Report that at a minimum identifies:

The NOC will access these web-based platforms to identify content posted by public users for the purpose of providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture. The NOC will assess information identified to assist decision-makers

PII on the following categories of individuals may be collected when it lends credibility to the report or facilitates coordination with federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, foreign, or international government partners:

  1. U.S. and foreign individuals in extremis situations involving potential life or death circumstances;
  2. Senior U.S. and foreign government officials who make public statements or provide public updates;
  3. U.S. and foreign government spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates;
  4. U.S. and foreign private sector officials and spokespersons who make public statements or provide public updates;
  5. names of anchors, newscasters, or on-scene reporters who are known or identified as reporters in their post or article or who use traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed;
  6. current and former U.S. and foreign public officials who are victims of incidents or activities related to Homeland Security; and
  7. terrorists, drug cartel leaders or other persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest, (e.g., mass shooters such as those at Virginia Tech or Ft. Hood) who are killed or found dead

You be the judge. Over at Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer and others cited the following as well:

“DHS Creates Accounts Solely to Monitor Social Networks,” by Olivia Katrandjian for ABC News, December 28, 2011 (thanks to C.Z.):

An online privacy group is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security accusing it of not releasing records from the agency’s covert surveillance of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

The DHS creates accounts solely to monitor social media sites and establish a system of records of the information gathered. The agency does not post information, seek to connect with other users, accept invitations to connect or interact with others according to a statement on their website.

How reassuring!

How much do you trust anything Janet Napolitano and DHS says or does?