Not content to let the feds have all the fun, local governments are increasing their surveillance of citizens.Details
For years, the National Security Agency (NSA), the major league of electronic monitoring and surveillance, has sponsored programs that try to turn high schools and colleges into their private farm system.
As the snoops explain on their website under a tab called“Opportunities for You”:
Today’s job marketplace is competitive. To get a step ahead you need to gain practical experience before you graduate. Come work with the top professionals in your field at NSA. Our internships, co-op program, scholarships, and work study programs will help you to develop and shape your career well before your studies are through.
Come on, kids. Learn how cool it is to violate the Fourth Amendment. Not only will you not be prosecuted, but you’ll be paid and get killer federal government health insurance benefits!
The NSA isn’t looking for dummies, though. They want public schools to funnel the best and brightest into the agency’s ranks.Again, from the website:
The National Security Agency’s (NSA) Gifted and Talented Program is only open to high school seniors. The program is designed for high school students who have demonstrated an aptitude for Engineering, Math and Science. This program provides a tremendous opportunity to gain valuable experience in the area of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics].
Why waste those extraordinary talents on lawful, helpful, and noble pursuits when you can come spy on your fellow citizens? Heck, play your cards right and once you’re hired you can even use our substantial surveillance resources to keep an ear on that girl you’ve had your eye on.Details
Think state and local law enforcement aren’t watching you with high-tech federally-owned drones? Think again.
In a new post, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reports that Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, released an updated list of “times the agency has flown its Predator drones on behalf of other agencies — 500 flights in total over a three-year period.”
Some of the more interesting revelations contained in the report — obtained by EFF as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit — include the fact that CBP drones flew more than 100 missions on behalf of the Department of Justice.
As the EFF story indicates, this level of cooperation between CBP and the Department of Justice “is in direct contradiction to a recently released DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report (pdf) that stated DHS had flown its drones on only two occasions for DOJ law enforcement components.”
Although many of the agencies borrowing CBP drones were revealed in earlier lists, there are a few new entries: “Grand Forks SWAT, the North Dakota Narcotics Task Force, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Minnesota Drug Task Force, and several branches of the military.”
Read that again: “Several branches of the military” are flying drone missions above the United States. For what lawful purpose could the armed forces be conducting such operations domestically? Furthermore, the likelihood is high that such activities run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the U.S. military from performing domestic law-enforcement duties.Details
Minutes after midnight on Wednesday, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) rose to give his colleague Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) a breather from what was already a marathon speech warning of the “train wreck” that is resulting from the collision of the American economy with the oppression of ObamaCare.
While the remarks delivered by both men were eloquent, engaging, and educational, Senator Lee’s impromptu descant on the unconstitutionality of the Supreme Court’s rewriting of the original healthcare legislation was particularly noteworthy.
For nearly an hour and without a teleprompter, Senator Lee rightly accused the Supreme Court of having “rewritten” ObamaCare, converting it from a penalty into a tax, thus placing it, as Senator Cruz said, “in a different stream of jurisprudence.”
Parenthetically, one wonders if “former law professor” Barack Obama could have stood for nearly an hour in the middle of the night and delivered an unrehearsed lecture on the Constitution without the use of a teleprompter.
Speaking of the court’s ruling last year on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Senator Lee said, “Those five lawyers wearing black robes, who we call justices, were no more empowered than the queen of England to impose a tax on the American people.”
“This was a lawless act,” he added.
It was indisputably a lawless act of unconstitutional lawmaking on the part of the black-robed oligarchy.Details
In an editorial published September 16, the Los Angeles Times declared that states attempting to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government were “states of denial.” The very idea that states can “decide for themselves whether federal laws are unconstitutional” is, the paper insists, “rejected even by many legal scholars who support states’ rights.”
Articles such as this one are probably what made Thomas Jefferson declare, “I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid; and I find myself much the happier.”
That said, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times not only lacks basic understanding of fundamental principles of constitutional construction, but they hide their ignorance in a cowardly fashion behind the skirts of “scholars,” apparently afraid to come out and make statements of supposed constitutional certainty on their own.
To its credit, the article does make a bold statement so incredible and so detached from reality that it deserves reprinting here. TheTimes says, without qualification whatsoever, that state legislators violate [their oath of office] when they attempt to nullify duly enacted federal laws.”
With that statement in mind, one wonders if the Times will make the same accusation of all those federal lawmakers and President Obama who violate the oaths they have taken to be bound by the Constitution and to protect it from enemies foreign and domestic.
Moreover, will the Times call out these elected officials for their disregard of the very clear constitutional limits on their power? It only stands to reason that if an attempt to enforce constitutional limits on power is a violation of the oath of office, then overt acts to exceed those limits are even more unforgivable offenses against it.Details
President Obama sought and obtained permission from a secret surveillance court to disregard previously enacted restrictions on the domestic, warrantless spying programs of the National Security Agency (NSA), the Washington Post reports.
According to sources cited in the story, in 2011, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, issued an order “permitting the agency [NSA] to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases.”
Also included in the order was an extension of the amount of time the NSA can store the electronic communication data it collects in the United States. Prior to the judge’s decision, such files could be retained for only five years; the limit was pushed back to six years by the terms of the ruling.
The order, the story claims, reversed an “explicit ban” on such unconstitutional searches imposed by the same court in 2008. These restrictions reportedly were “not previously acknowledged.”
A decision of this type would cause immediate and irreparable harm to the Constitution and the right of Americans — and all free people — to be free from unwarranted surveillance by agents of their own government.
What’s more troubling and tyrannical is the fact that none of these changes to exceptions to the Fourth Amendment was ever debated or passed by the people’s elected representatives in Congress. Rather, this fundamental civil liberty was repealed by a judicial appointee at the behest of the very department who sought the expanded authority.Details
After the uproar over his plan to appoint Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to head his intelligence review board, President Obama promised to pack the group with “outside experts.”
News of the names of board members reveals that the president’s definition of “outside” comes from somewhere outside the dictionary.
The five men tapped to lead the panel known officially as the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies are Richard A. Clarke (shown), Michael Morell, Cass Sunstein, Geoffrey Stone, and Peter Swire.
It would be challenging to assemble a group more “inside” the government.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s response to the announcement of the board members sums up the situation exactly. Said EFF: “A task force led by General Clapper full of insiders — and not directed to look at the extensive abuse — will never get at the bottom of the unconstitutional spying.”Details
In yet another indication that ObamaCare must be repealed, a federal judge ruled last week that a challenge to the healthcare “law” filed by the state of Oklahoma may proceed.
According to a report in the Washington Times, the suit filed by the Sooner State “claims the federal government is unlawfully extending tax credits to states that opted not to set up their own insurance exchanges under the new health care law.”
In his order, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald A. White refused to rule on the merits of the case, but simply permitted the challenge to proceed along the path of adjudication.
Although not all of the state’s assertions were accepted by White, among those that the judge did sign off on was the claim that the state as an employer would be harmed by the administration’s application of various provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Specifically, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt argues that President Obama is permitting federal healthcare agencies to ignore the letter of the law in order to benefit the federal government. The Washington Times explains the government’s alleged errant interpretation:Details
originally posted at The New American
The National Security Agency was forced to de-classify a document, the contents of which make it easy to see why the snoops wanted it kept secret.
In an 85-page ruling handed down by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (commonly known as the FISA court) judge John D. Bates, the NSA was called out “for repeatedly misleading the court that oversees its surveillance on domestic soil, including a program that is collecting tens of thousands of domestic e-mails and other Internet communications of Americans each year,” the New York Times reported on Thursday.
Bates found that the NSA routinely misled the court as to the scope of its domestic surveillance activities.
“The court is troubled that the government’s revelations regarding N.S.A.’s acquisition of Internet transactions mark the third instance in less than three years in which the government has disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program,” former FISA court chief judge Bates wrote in his ruling.
Most of the secret NSA programs recently brought to light by the Edward Snowden leaks are mentioned by Bates as being evidence of the NSA’s blatant disregard for the Constitution and for legal limits on its surveillance authority.Details
The National Security Agency (NSA) is using a “secret backdoor” to conduct warrantless searches of the e-mails and phone calls of American citizens, the Guardian (U.K.) reports. As with earlier reports, this latest revelation comes from information given to the newspaper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Spencer Ackerman and James Ball, reporting for theGuardian, write that a rule change that was previously unreported is giving the NSA the inroad it needs to monitor “individual Americans’ communications using their name and other identifying information.”
In a statement to the Guardian, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) reportedly said that this rule change makes it possible for the NSA to conduct “warrantless searches for the phone calls or e-mails of law-abiding Americans.”
The regulatory restatement relied on by the NSA to justify their unconstitutional surveillance was “approved in 2011” by the Obama administration, in direct contradiction to the president’s commitment to protect the constitutionally protected privacy of the American public “from the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs.”
The federal spy apparatus is relying on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments of 2008 (FISA). This provision purports to grant the government the “authority to target without warrant the communications of foreign targets, who must be non-US citizens and outside the US at the point of collection.”Details