Archive for the ‘Bush Administration’ Category

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Antiwar.com, a news organization featuring overseas war coverage and anti-war opinion news, discovered over the weekend they have been an FBI surveillance target after a blogger sent them a redacted PDF file in the course of a Freedom of Information Act or FOIA document request for research.

We interviewed Jason Ditz, news editor at Antiwar.com, for details on recent events.

SUPPORTING INFORMATION:

FOIA shows Bush admin. spied on Antiwar.com

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c/o Los Angeles Times

Suppose Congress created a board to protect the privacy of Americans and no one showed up. That’s the bizarre reality of the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, all of whose five seats have been vacant since 2008. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) is pressing the Obama administration to fill the vacancies. In doing so, the president should choose individuals of sufficient experience and stature to act as watchdogs over the intelligence community and the Justice Department.

The board was originally established by Congress in 2004 and was raised to the status of an independent agency within the executive branch in 2007. Its mandate is to advise the administration when anti-terrorism policies threaten to trample civil liberties, and it has access to both public and classified information. It’s meant to complement, not replace, congressional oversight and investigations by the inspectors general of the Justice Department and the CIA. It also makes an annual report to Congress — or would, if it were reconstituted with new appointments.

Although it was the George W. Bush administration that inaugurated the illegal wiretapping of Americans suspected of being in contact with foreign terrorists, invasions of privacy are a constant danger in any intelligence program empowered to collect and scrutinize the personal and electronic records of U.S. citizens. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is designed to help protect against abuses in advance so that we don’t have to conduct inquests after the fact.

Appropriately, anti-terrorism measures constantly are being refined to address new challenges. In a letter to Obama, Harman and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, cite policy changes proposed after the attempted destruction of an airliner on Christmas, including expanded watch lists and increased use of body-scanning technology at airports.

It would be naïve to think that the board always will prevail in its recommendations to Congress or the administration. Nor is it the only brake on ill-considered or legally dubious anti-terrorism initiatives. In addition to various inspectors general, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is supposed to advise the administration and federal agencies of the legal limits on counter-intelligence operations and other tactics in the war on terrorism.

Stung by criticism of its inaction, the administration insists that it is considering candidates for the three Democratic seats on the board and expects congressional Republicans to recommend nominees for the other two seats soon. Better late than never, but the empty seats at the table more than a year into the Obama administration are an embarrassment.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) told Rumsfeld during a public hearing in 2003 that the Total Information Awareness program “not only raises serious privacy concerns [but] might also be illegal and possibly unconstitutional.”

“Suspicionless Surveillance” was developed by the Pentagon’s controversial Total Information Awareness department, led by Adm. John Poindexter, the former national security adviser, who secretly sold weapons to Middle Eastern terrorists in the 1980s during the Iran-Contra affair and was convicted of a felony for lying to Congress and destroying evidence. The convictions were later overturned on appeal.

Report Critical of NSA Program

The unclassified report prepared by inspectors general of five federal agencies said George W. Bush justified his warrantless wiretapping by relying on Justice Department attorney John Yoo’s theories of unlimited presidential wartime powers, and started the spying operation even before Yoo issued a formal opinion, a government investigation discovered.

Essentially, President Bush took it upon himself to ignore the clear requirement of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that all domestic intelligence-related electronic spying must have a warrant from a secret federal court, not just presidential approval. Illegal wiretapping is a felony under federal law. ::MORE HERE::

E-Verify is a voluntary system used by about 134,000 employers, though it is mandatory to some degree in 12 states. Under an executive order from the Bush administration, federal contractors were supposed to begin mandatory use of E-Verify in January. However, that deadline has been pushed back to Sept. 8 due to a lawsuit. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently said the Sept. 8 deadline would be firm.


Flaw could allow dishonest workers to thwart the system

c/o Federal Computer Week
Alice Lipowicz

The Homeland Security Department’s E-Verify employment verification system cannot detect identity theft and fraudulent applications, according to testimony before a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee.

The Internet-based E-Verify system allows employers to check Social Security numbers for their employees and prospective employees to determine whether the numbers are valid and the employees are therefore eligible to work. However, it is not designed to detect borrowed or stolen Social Security numbers.

“E-Verify is not without its flaws, including one fundamental problem: its inability to detect identity theft,” Lynden Melmed, former chief counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told the committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship Subcommittee on July 21. “Unlawful workers can beat E-Verify by using another individual’s valid identification.”

USCIS has been expanding its database of photographs to be used as a back-up checking tool to ensure that the images of applicants presenting their Social Security numbers to E-Verify match in appearance the images in photos existing in current government systems linked to the same Social Security number. However, the photographic matching is limited in scope, Melmed added.

Melmed endorsed the idea of strengthening E-Verify to include possible fingerprint collection.

“Congress should therefore give consideration to using E-Verify as a platform and expanding photo-tool for currently issued documents and/or incorporating a new biometric identification document,” Melmed said.

Former USCIS Commissioner James Ziglar told the panel, “If someone has stolen an identity and presents legitimate documents connected to that identity, or presents fraudulent documents which make use of stolen identity data, the purpose of the employment eligibility verification exercise can be defeated.”

“In my opinion, it would border on irresponsible not to seriously analyze the possibility of incorporating a biometric identification and verification module into the E-Verify system,” Ziglar said.

E-Verify is a voluntary system used by about 134,000 employers, though it is mandatory to some degree in 12 states. Under an executive order from the Bush administration, federal contractors were supposed to begin mandatory use of E-Verify in January. However, that deadline has been pushed back to Sept. 8 due to a lawsuit. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently said the Sept. 8 deadline would be firm.

The E-Verify system has been controversial due to alleged high error rates in the databases used. USCIS acknowledges a 3.1 percent rate of initial non-matches in the system.

The Migration Policy Institute on July 20 issued a report recommending that DHS test several options to strengthen E-Verify, including use of personal identification numbers and biometric scans.

SHOO SHOO – a poem by Gg Re
http://www.poetreefree.US

SHOO!

SHOO!

THE TERRIBLE MAN WITH

HIS FOOT IN HIS MOUTH

HIS BOOTS IN THEIR SAND –

THEIR BLOOD ON HIS HANDS!

WAS OUR HERO ACTING ALONE –

OR ARE THERE MORE SHOETERS?

THROW YOUR SHOES AT THE DUCKER –

LET THEM KISS THE KING OF DEATH.

Bush shoe-thrower in hospital after beating: brother

Lori Price, Citizens For Legitimatre Government
http://www.legitgov .org/price_ send_bush_ shoes_161208. html

Bush shoe-thrower in hospital after beating: brother 16 Dec 2008 The Iraqi journalist who hurled shoes at US President [sic] George W. Bush is in hospital after being beaten up by security guards, his brother charged on Tuesday, as judicial authorities launched a probe into the incident. “He has been taken to Ibn Sina hospital because he has a broken arm and ribs and is also suffering injuries to his eye and leg,” Durgham al-Zaidi said of his brother Muntazer.

Shoe thrower ‘beaten in custody’ 16 Dec 2008 The brother of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President [sic] George W Bush has said that the reporter has been beaten in custody. Muntadar al-Zaidi has allegedly suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and internal bleeding, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC. Mr Zaidi threw his shoes at Mr Bush at a news conference, calling him “a dog”.

Official: Shoe-thrower in Iraqi military custody– 16 Dec 2008

The journalist who threw his shoes at U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush was handed over to the Iraqi military, an Iraqi official said, as hundreds thousands took to the streets Tuesday for a second day demanding his release. Muntadhar al-Zeidi was turned over by the prime minister’s security guards to face further investigation by the military command in charge of enforcing security in Baghdad, the official told The Associated Press.


CLG Managing Editor: Lori Price. Copyright © 2008, Citizens For Legitimate Government ® All rights reserved.

Privacy and Civil Liberties May Swing Votes 
Letter from  BTC Editorial 
The Bush adminstration has earned a bad reputation with the American people for railroading civil liberties during his two terms in office. 
Bush says things like, ” The Constitution is just a piece of paper.”  
Please refer to any one of the following:  Guantanamo Bay, The Patriot Act, nullification of Posse Comitatus, Habeas Corpus, commuting Scooter Libby, abuse of “Executive Privelege”, use of rendition and torture on the taxpayer dime, threat and intimidation on irrelevant basis of Continuity of Government, FISA and our favorite new Big Brother- The Real ID Act of 2005. The Executive Branch has had tremendous cooperation from the U.S. Congress and the Senate in doing its savaging deeds of unconstitutionality.   Please also refer to 15 attempts to impeach this President on Constitutional basis.  
The Constitution is the only U.S. entitled document standing between the average American and fascism.  This is one of the most challenging times in the U.S. History for those who have rights but will have to fight fresh for them.
Since the Constitution is no small deal to most Americans, it has become, sadly enough, a key issue which candidate can actually uphold the Constitution.  BeatTheChip.org and most poli-bloggers will be watching the competitive race for the Presidential seat.   We need a President who has some American genome remaining that prizes the liberty of the common American, who won’t look the other way at injustice and spend billions of tax dollars on “hush-up” operations and prison facilities designed for dissenting U.S. citizens.   We need an someone with an allegiance to The United States of America; not the vastly declining U.S. dollar and a strategic oil hitch.  We need a President with some ownership of their identity as an American who wants their citizenship in this country to hold true what what the Constitution has in store and knows that they too and their children will inherit our fate.  No more shortsighted policies for the highest bidder.
  
The Center for Democracy and Technology created an Executive letter to oppose the state-to-federal mandate of Real ID’s.  BeatTheChip.org  and  many other active voices against Real ID ask that you adapt a version of this letter and send it to your Presidential Candidate of choice. It wouldn’t hurt to send it to President Bush either.  You may gauge their response to your letters and decide how to vote from there.
We look forward to the November elections.  May the best American win.
The Presidential Candidates on our radar is as follows: 
Please write in your findings to : beatthechip@gmail.com.  We love to hear from you.