Trump Sued For Not Releasing White House Visitor Logs

Three organizations have filed lawsuits against President Trump’s administration for not publicly disclosing White House visitor logs.
According to The Hill, the lawsuits were filed against the Department of Homeland Security by The National Security Archive, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University after the administration failed to release the records pursuant to several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
‘We hoped that the Trump administration would follow the precedent of the Obama administration and continue to release visitor logs, but unfortunately they have not.’ CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.
‘Given the many issues we have already seen in this White House with conflicts of interest, outside influence, and potential ethics violations, transparency is more important than ever, so we had no choice but to sue.’
‘President Obama routinely released the data we’re seeking with no damage to presidential privilege, and this information is central to the Secret Service mission and thus clearly agency records subject to FOIA,’ Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, said in a statement.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 10, 2017.

Trump Shuns Establishment ‘Board Meeting’

On Saturday, president Trump signed three more executive orders aimed at fighting terrorism and corruption. They follow yesterday’s order for a temporarily ban on immigrants from certain countries entering the U. S. Today’s actions are as follows:
EO #1: Implementing a five year lobbying ban on administration officials. “This is something I’ve talked about a lot on the campaign trail… and now we’re putting it into effect,” said Trump. EO #2: Calling for a reorganization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council. EO #3: Calling on military leaders to present a report to the president in 30 days that outlines a strategy for defeating ISIS. “This is the plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, in other words ISIS. I think it’s going to be very successful.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 28, 2017.

‘Following the money’ in travel surveillance

The growth of a homeland-security industrial complex funded by single-source contracts and shielded by knee-jerk invocation of ‘security’ as an excuse for secrecy has created huge opportunities for cronyism and collusion between lobbyists, contractors, and government officials.
The poster child for this revolving door and its invidious effects on government policies and spending is former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and his work as a lobbyist for Rapiscan, the supplier of the TSA’s virtual strip-search machines.
Unsurprisingly, the US isn’t alone in allowing the commercial interests of spy-tech companies to drive government decisions to spy on travelers.
In the latest issue of the EDRi-gram newsletter, our friends at the European Digital Rights Initiative explore ‘The curious tale of the French prime minister, PNR and peculiar patterns.’ It seems that the French military technology contractor Safran, whose ‘Morpho’ division is one of the leading vendors of turnkey PNR-based traveler surveillance and profiling systems, is one of the largest employers in the home town ofFrench Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

This post was published at Papers Please on Oct 7, 2016.

Barbarians at the Gate: ISIS terrorist tells Fed officials he has jihadist brothers in Mexico

August 2016 – MEXICO – Earlier this year a top ranking Homeland Security official acknowledged that Mexican drug cartels were helping ISIS sneak across the southern border to scope out targets for terrorist attacks. ISIS operative Shaykh Mahmood Omar Khabir has reportedly been training militants near the US border near Ciudad Juarez for the past year.
Khabir actually brags in an Italian newspaper article published last week that the border region is so open that he ‘could get in with a handful of men, and kill thousands of people in Texas or in Arizona in the space of a few hours.’ Today Judicial Watch confirmed reports that ISIS is operating in Mexico. Judicial Watch reported, via Free Republic:
An ISIS operative arrested and criminally charged in Ohio this month has confirmed that the terrorist group has cells in Mexico, according to federal authorities. Judicial Watch has reported this for years, documenting it in a series of articles as part of an ongoing investigation on the connection between drug cartels, corruption and terrorism on the southern border. In fact, last spring Judicial Watch broke a story about an ISIS camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas in an area known as ‘Anapra’ situated just west of Ciudad Jurez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

This post was published at UtopiatheCollapse on August 13, 2016.

How Congress Quietly Passed The Second Patriot Act: CISA Is Now The Law

Shameful: @Facebook secretly backing Senate's zombie #CISA surveillance bill while publicly pretending to oppose it. — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 25, 2015

Back in 2014, civil liberties and privacy advocates were up in arms when the government tried to quietly push through the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, a law which would allow federal agencies to share cybersecurity, and really any information with private companies, and vice versa, including the NSA, “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” The most vocal complaint involved CISA’s information-sharing channel, which was ostensibly created for responding quickly to hacks and breaches, and which provided a loophole in privacy laws that enabled intelligence and law enforcement surveillance without a warrant.
Ironically, in its earlier version, CISA had drawn the opposition of tech firms including Apple, Twitter, Reddit, as well as the Business Software Alliance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association. In April, a coalition of 55 civil liberties groups and security experts signed onto an open letter opposing it. In July, the Department of Homeland Security itself warned that the bill could overwhelm the agency with data of ‘dubious value’ at the same time as it ‘sweep[s] away privacy protections.’ Most notably, the biggest aggregator of online private content, Facebook, vehemently opposed the legislation however a month ago it was “surprisingly” revealed that Zuckerberg had been quietly on the side of the NSA all along as we reported in “Facebook Caught Secretly Lobbying For Privacy-Destroying “Cyber-Security” Bill.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/18/2015.

CISA Is Now The Law: How Congress Quietly Passed The Second Patriot Act

Shameful: @Facebook secretly backing Senate's zombie #CISA surveillance bill while publicly pretending to oppose it. — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 25, 2015

Back in 2014, civil liberties and privacy advocates were up in arms when the government tried to quietly push through the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, a law which would allow federal agencies – including the NSA – to share cybersecurity, and really any information with private corporations “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” The most vocal complaint involved CISA’s information-sharing channel, which was ostensibly created for responding quickly to hacks and breaches, and which provided a loophole in privacy laws that enabled intelligence and law enforcement surveillance without a warrant.
Ironically, in its earlier version, CISA had drawn the opposition of tech firms including Apple, Twitter, Reddit, as well as the Business Software Alliance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and many others including countless politicians and, most amusingly, the White House itself.
In April, a coalition of 55 civil liberties groups and security experts signed onto an open letter opposing it. In July, the Department of Homeland Security itself warned that the bill could overwhelm the agency with data of ‘dubious value’ at the same time as it ‘sweep[s] away privacy protections.’ Most notably, the biggest aggregator of online private content, Facebook, vehemently opposed the legislation however a month ago it was “surprisingly” revealed that Zuckerberg had been quietly on the side of the NSA all along as we reported in “Facebook Caught Secretly Lobbying For Privacy-Destroying “Cyber-Security” Bill.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/18/2015.

Up From Imperialism

The San Bernardino massacre, in which a seemingly harmless county worker and his wife murdered 14 people in cold blood and wounded 21 others, marks a new phase in the cycle of war and repression that characterizes the post-9/11 era. The authorities recognize this, and they are moving swiftly to take advantage of their opportunity. As Rahm Emmanuel famously put it:
‘You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.’
On the left as well as the right, the cry goes up: Give the government more power! Protect us! Oh, and there’s always this old standby: Bombs away!
As Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security chieftain, put it to the New York Times: ‘We have moved to an entirely new phase in the global terrorist threat and in our homeland security efforts.’ Terrorists have ‘in effect outsourced attempts to attack our homeland. We’ve seen this not just here but in other places. This requires a whole new approach, in my view.’
What is this ‘new approach’? The Times gives us a few hints:
‘Unable to curb the availability of guns at home or extremist propaganda from overseas, the authorities may have to rely more on encouraging Americans to watch one another and report suspicions. Federal and local governments already have programs urging friends, families and neighbors to identify people targeted for recruitment.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo ‘ December 7, 2015.

Serial Failure – – The Fed Is The TSA Of Finance

You may have heard recently about the Transportation Safety Administration’s record for safety measures in airline transportation. The task with which the government agency is charged has become a bit of a joke, with public perception almost of a gang of thieves running a sanctioned-criminal enterprise. The groping and stealing are held back, with apathy and inertia on its side, mainly by the idea that those may be the costs of keeping safe.
The revelations more recently call even that weak assumption into question, where the TSA was found to have a 5% success rate (or, as it should properly be classified, 95% failure rate) in detecting dangerous contraband items, most particularly weapons and explosives. If we tolerate the government’s band of misfits making airline travel an extreme chore all in the name of forestalling the next 9-11, then being fooled or missing 95% of the time is the very definition of a joke. That would prove that there is very little correlation between preventing violent attacks on transportation and what the TSA ‘provides.’
That was as much admitted, repeatedly, by TSA officials who cannot come up with any specific (or even general) cases where their agency’s efforts were fruitful (for the public’s interests rather than specific, rotten TSA agents). Even the agent in charge of screening and all that wasn’t fired, he was shuffled off to another high level position somewhere else in Homeland Security. All of which leaves the TSA as another epitome of bureaucracy, more concerned with its own interests than the original mandate and furthering the empowerment of government reach to the iron-clad exclusionof all other designs and ideas.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ June 3, 2015.

Federal Agents Investigating Bitcoin Money Laundering Extorted, Stole Over $1 Million In Bitcoin

This is one of those sad times when The Onion realizes it has badly, and permanently, missed its IPO window.
Just released from the Department of Justice
Former Federal Agents Charged With Bitcoin Money Laundering and Wire Fraud
Agents Were Part of Baltimore’s Silk Road Task Force
Two former federal agents have been charged with wire fraud, money laundering and related offenses for stealing digital currency during their investigation of the Silk Road, an underground black market that allowed users to conduct illegal transactions over the Internet. The charges are contained in a federal criminal complaint issued on March 25, 2015, in the Northern District of California and unsealed today.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U. S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California, Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI’s San Francisco Division, Special Agent in Charge Jos M. Martinez of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) San Francisco Division, Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Tompkins of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General Washington Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Lori Hazenstab of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General in Washington D. C. made the announcement.
Carl M. Force, 46, of Baltimore, was a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Shaun W. Bridges, 32, of Laurel, Maryland, was a Special Agent with the U. S. Secret Service (USSS). Both were assigned to the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force, which investigated illegal activity in the Silk Road marketplace. Force served as an undercover agent and was tasked with establishing communications with a target of the investigation, Ross Ulbricht, aka ‘Dread Pirate Roberts.’ Force is charged with wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest. Bridges is charged with wire fraud and money laundering.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/30/2015.