FBI Agent Turned ACLU Counsel: Feds Spy On Citizens Based on Religion, Politics

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    Feb 09, 2011 9:55 PM GMT
    I'm surprised there isn't more protests from groups over the Obama Administration which has been even worse than the Bush Administration when it comes to playing fast and loose with civil liberties who has even issued a kill order on an American citizen.

    http://www.dailytech.com/FBI+Agent+Turned+ACLU+Counsel+Feds+Spy+On+Citizens+Based+on+Religion+Politics/article20854.htm

    The police are watching you. If you're the wrong religion, they'll spy on your every move. If you voice the wrong political opinions they'll be watching you. According to Mike German, a 16-year veteran with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations, this is happening right in the U.S.

    Mr. German has become the FBI's worst nightmare. Fed up with the abuses of privacy he was seeing, he complain to higher authorities and was promptly fired by the FBI. Recently he became the ACLU's Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy [press release]. And he's speaking up about what he witnessed.

    States Mr. German in a recent interview with Network World:

    The most disturbing thing we've uncovered is the scope of domestic intelligence activities taking place today. Domestic spying is now being done by a host of federal agencies (FBI, DOD, DHS, DNI) as well as state and local law enforcement and even private companies. Too often this spying targets political activity and religious practices. We've documented intelligence activities targeting or obstructing First Amendment-protected activity in 33 states and DC.

    He says that this Orwellian atmosphere could leave the U.S. a far different beast than the proud beacon of freedom it once was. He states, "The biggest threat is that the increase surveillance of political activity will create a chilling effect that will dissuade people from exercising their rights, which will cause significant harm to participatory democracy."
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    Feb 09, 2011 10:06 PM GMT
    Much as I share your sentiments about invasion of privacy, I think you might have gotten your timeframe a little off. In his interview Mr. German says,

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/former-fbi-agent-turned-alcu-attorney-feds-roWhat was the final straw that led you to quit the FBI and start at the ACLU?

    German: I left the FBI when the DOJ Inspector General failed to investigate an FBI cover-up of a failed FBI counterterrorism investigation I reported, or protect me from official retaliation that resulted. I reported the information to Sen. Grassley and resigned. Grassley put pressure on the IG , so almost two years later the IG issued a report that showed the FBI falsified and backdated records about the case and retaliated against me for reporting it. I joined the ACLU two years later because I knew from my counterterrorism work that protecting civil liberties and keeping law enforcement accountable is what keeps America safe from terrorism and other crime.


    The date of this hearing ("Grassley put pressure on the IG") is 5/21/2008:
    http://www.judiciary.house.gov/news/052008c.html

    As for the kill order:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7089899.eceThe Obama Administration has taken the unprecedented step of authorising the killing of a US citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to the plot to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day.

    The move to place Mr al-Awlaki, 38, on a hit list was taken after a White House review concluded this year that he had moved from inciting terrorist attacks to taking part in them.

    The decision is extraordinary not only because Mr al-Awlaki is believed to be the first American whose killing has been approved by a US President, but also because the Obama Administration chose to make the move public.


    Simply put, Obama inherited a whole bunch of institutions and problems (such as the PATRIOT Act and the War in Iraq and Afghanistan) that would have damned him no matter what he did.
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    Feb 10, 2011 2:36 AM GMT
    Riddler did an oopsie! icon_lol.gif
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    Feb 10, 2011 2:55 AM GMT
    I know, I experienced this first hand and they continue to do soicon_exclaim.gif
    From my days when I was a student activisticon_exclaim.gif
    I found solace in doing secret research to get away from the mental coercion, our intellect is all we have in this world.
    I really have no time for the arbitrariness of overgrown children.
    These people will destroy lives in the name of democracy.
    I know other activists who were targeted, from my student activist days.
    These are the instruments of democracy, as far as the world is concerned my only interest is to continue my scientific research, which I have done for more than a decade in secret and if they think they will get their hands on it they got another thing coming
    And when I am done, I'm gonna go teach, preferably in a land far far away, and I'm not going to teach unruly children either, which I abhor.icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 10, 2011 3:35 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidMuch as I share your sentiments about invasion of privacy, I think you might have gotten your timeframe a little off. In his interview Mr. German says,

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/former-fbi-agent-turned-alcu-attorney-feds-roWhat was the final straw that led you to quit the FBI and start at the ACLU?

    German: I left the FBI when the DOJ Inspector General failed to investigate an FBI cover-up of a failed FBI counterterrorism investigation I reported, or protect me from official retaliation that resulted. I reported the information to Sen. Grassley and resigned. Grassley put pressure on the IG , so almost two years later the IG issued a report that showed the FBI falsified and backdated records about the case and retaliated against me for reporting it. I joined the ACLU two years later because I knew from my counterterrorism work that protecting civil liberties and keeping law enforcement accountable is what keeps America safe from terrorism and other crime.


    The date of this hearing ("Grassley put pressure on the IG") is 5/21/2008:
    http://www.judiciary.house.gov/news/052008c.html

    As for the kill order:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7089899.eceThe Obama Administration has taken the unprecedented step of authorising the killing of a US citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to the plot to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day.

    The move to place Mr al-Awlaki, 38, on a hit list was taken after a White House review concluded this year that he had moved from inciting terrorist attacks to taking part in them.

    The decision is extraordinary not only because Mr al-Awlaki is believed to be the first American whose killing has been approved by a US President, but also because the Obama Administration chose to make the move public.


    Simply put, Obama inherited a whole bunch of institutions and problems (such as the PATRIOT Act and the War in Iraq and Afghanistan) that would have damned him no matter what he did.


    Nope, the timelines are correct. The programs have not only been continued but expanded since the Obama Administration has taken over. It is simple - the Obama Administration has had a choice. Especially with the Patriot Act whose success has been dubious at best - not to mention the security theater with the TSA as practically anyone who travels frequently by air can attest. Each administration inherits institutions that they choose to keep, discard or expand. Almost consistently when it has come to civil liberties, the Obama Administration has come across as being not only arbitrary but on the side of restricting civil liberties/curtailing privacy. What's happening with Guantanamo Bay? Or the show trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed?

    What's particularly ironic is the dismissiveness of those who were so adamantly opposed to George W Bush for these reasons discrediting the whole "anti-war" movement prior to the war as nothing more than a partisan political charade rather than one of principles. It's remarkable how quickly and successful the Obama Administration has been at coopting the left.
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    Feb 10, 2011 4:07 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    q1w2e3 saidMuch as I share your sentiments about invasion of privacy, I think you might have gotten your timeframe a little off. In his interview Mr. German says,

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/former-fbi-agent-turned-alcu-attorney-feds-roWhat was the final straw that led you to quit the FBI and start at the ACLU?

    German: I left the FBI when the DOJ Inspector General failed to investigate an FBI cover-up of a failed FBI counterterrorism investigation I reported, or protect me from official retaliation that resulted. I reported the information to Sen. Grassley and resigned. Grassley put pressure on the IG , so almost two years later the IG issued a report that showed the FBI falsified and backdated records about the case and retaliated against me for reporting it. I joined the ACLU two years later because I knew from my counterterrorism work that protecting civil liberties and keeping law enforcement accountable is what keeps America safe from terrorism and other crime.


    The date of this hearing ("Grassley put pressure on the IG") is 5/21/2008:
    http://www.judiciary.house.gov/news/052008c.html

    As for the kill order:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7089899.eceThe Obama Administration has taken the unprecedented step of authorising the killing of a US citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to the plot to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day.

    The move to place Mr al-Awlaki, 38, on a hit list was taken after a White House review concluded this year that he had moved from inciting terrorist attacks to taking part in them.

    The decision is extraordinary not only because Mr al-Awlaki is believed to be the first American whose killing has been approved by a US President, but also because the Obama Administration chose to make the move public.


    Simply put, Obama inherited a whole bunch of institutions and problems (such as the PATRIOT Act and the War in Iraq and Afghanistan) that would have damned him no matter what he did.


    Nope, the timelines are correct. The programs have not only been continued but expanded since the Obama Administration has taken over. It is simple - the Obama Administration has had a choice. Especially with the Patriot Act whose success has been dubious at best - not to mention the security theater with the TSA as practically anyone who travels frequently by air can attest. Each administration inherits institutions that they choose to keep, discard or expand. Almost consistently when it has come to civil liberties, the Obama Administration has come across as being not only arbitrary but on the side of restricting civil liberties/curtailing privacy. What's happening with Guantanamo Bay? Or the show trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed?

    What's particularly ironic is the dismissiveness of those who were so adamantly opposed to George W Bush for these reasons discrediting the whole "anti-war" movement prior to the war as nothing more than a partisan political charade rather than one of principles. It's remarkable how quickly and successful the Obama Administration has been at coopting the left.


    I guess you missed all the posts about how Obama is a radical, Kenyan socialist who hates America.

    Seriously, there are many of us and many leftwing NGOs who are still working on Obama to disavow these policies. Code Pink, Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU but the media you engage with mustn't be covering them, just as it didn't cover the antiwar movement. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 10, 2011 6:15 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidI guess you missed all the posts about how Obama is a radical, Kenyan socialist who hates America.

    Seriously, there are many of us and many leftwing NGOs who are still working on Obama to disavow these policies. Code Pink, Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU but the media you engage with mustn't be covering them, just as it didn't cover the antiwar movement. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Yeah I must have missed all those legions of protesters who also protested against Bush's supposed pro-war "fascist" policies, also protesting the Obama Administration. Oh wait, no, those are the Tea Partiers. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 10, 2011 6:59 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 saidI guess you missed all the posts about how Obama is a radical, Kenyan socialist who hates America.

    Seriously, there are many of us and many leftwing NGOs who are still working on Obama to disavow these policies. Code Pink, Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU but the media you engage with mustn't be covering them, just as it didn't cover the antiwar movement. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Yeah I must have missed all those legions of protesters who also protested against Bush's supposed pro-war "fascist" policies, also protesting the Obama Administration. Oh wait, no, those are the Tea Partiers. icon_rolleyes.gif




    What in hell makes you think that Obama can change in under two years what took Bush 6 years to build up and fuck up ?? and whoever told you that one presidency to another can change the direction of the Military Complex, the CIA, and the FBI. The Presidents all end up about the same, the only difference in the parties are just surface social issues, some economic differences and everyone gets whipped up into frenzies over such things and the real story's get covered over, so the wars go on, and the presidents "stay the course" that's laid out for them by circumstance much beyond their power. So don't crow too loud there buddy, Its the NEO CONS and AIPAC that wanted these wars, Not OBAMA.
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    Feb 10, 2011 12:03 PM GMT
    Guantanamo (updated 1/12/11):


    http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/177/close-the-guantanamo-bay-detention-center/

    President Barack Obama's campaign promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center has switched from In the Works to Stalled and back again (and again). All that movement reflects a simple dynamic: Obama really wants to close the center. But Congress really doesn't.

    The latest turn of events was the law authorizing defense spending for 2011. In addition to funding the military for the year, members of Congress attached several stipulations about Guantanamo. The law says no funds can be used to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the United States, and no funds can be used to transfer detainees to the custody of foreign countries, unless specific conditions are met about how the prisoners will be held.

    Obama didn't like those provisions and issued a statement deploring them. He said the limitation on transferring prisoners to the U.S. is "a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority ... ." Of the new requirements on transferring prisoners to foreign governments, Obama said it could "hinder the conduct of delicate negotiations with foreign countries and therefore the effort to conclude detainee transfers in accord with our national security."

    Obama stopped short of saying he would disregard the law, something presidents sometimes do via "signing statements." President George W. Bush issued many signing statements as president that said he would disregard parts of laws passed by Congress that he believed infringed on his executive authority. During the campaign, Obama said he would not "abuse" signing statements.

    But nowhere did Obama say he would disregard the new restrictions. Instead, he said he would seek to repeal of the restrictions.


    I wonder when the next 60 Minutes segment on torture at Guantanamo Bay is going to come out?

    It's interesting that some, not all, national security hawks have become civil libertarians, thanks to Obama.