The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday.
Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft. “Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on US soil?” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Mr Mueller during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Yes,” Mueller responded bluntly, adding that the FBI’s operation of drones is “very seldom.”
More confusion, or just more lies? You decide.In an exchange first caught by CNET, Rep Gerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, questioned FBI Director Robert Mueller late last week about the NSA surveillance programs.
Nadler asked Mueller if a warrant is needed to listen to the content of a domestic phone call. Mueller said a national security letter is needed to get subscriber info and a FISA warrant is needed to get content. Nadler said he was told the exact opposite.
The FBI is working to track down Edward Snowden for leaking scores of classified documents on U.S. surveillance programs.
FBI Director Robert Mueller on Thursday told members of the House Judiciary Committee that U.S. safety has been jeopardized by the leaks and that “all necessary steps” were being taken to track down Snowden, who is believed to be in Hong Kong.
“As to the individual who has admitted to making these disclosures, he is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation,” Mueller said in his testimony.
“These disclosures have caused significant harm to our nation and to our safety. We are taking all necessary steps to hold the person responsible for these disclosures.” Mueller declined to provide more details about the FBI’s probe into the leak.
In light of the latest revelations that the NSA is spying on the communications of millions of Verizon customers courtesy of information provided by the FBI, it probably makes sense to know a little more about Obama’s nominee to head that Bureau. That man is James Comey, and he was a top Department of Justice attorney under John Ashcroft during the George W. Bush Administration (since then he has worked at Lockheed Martin and at the enormous Connecticut hedge fund Bridgewater Associates). This guy defines the revolving door cancer ruining these United States.
Comey’s defenders point out that he stood up to some of the more egregious spy programs that Bush officials wanted to pursue, and that he also expressed reservations about the torture program. Nevertheless, he signed off on, and provided the legal justification for both. This is the man being recycled back through the revolving door by Obama. I have read many articles on Mr. Comey ever since it surfaced he would be nominated and, as usual, Glenn Greenwald did the best work.
In other words, there was something the NSA was doing for years – that we still don’t know – even more extreme than the illegal NSA program revealed by the NYT in 2005. It was Comey, along with Ashcroft, Mueller, and Goldsmith, who threatened to resign if it did not stop, and they deserve credit for that. But the reason they didn’t end up resigning was because Bush officials “modified” that NSA program into something those lawyers could and did endorse: the still-illegal, still-radical NSA eavesdropping program that spied on the communications of Americans without warrants and in violation of the law. And this was accomplished by inventing a new legal theory to accompany the old one: that Congress, when it enacted the 2001 AUMF, silently and “implicitly” authorized Bush to eavesdrop in exactly the ways the law expressly forbade.
“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have” – Thomas Jefferson
Something odd and not quite as planned happened as America grew from its “City on a Hill” origins, on its way to becoming the world’s superpower: government grew. A lot. In fact, the government, which by definition does not create any wealth but merely reallocates it based on the whims of a select few, has transformed from a virtually invisible bystander in the economy, to the largest single employer, and a spending behemoth whose annual cash needs alone are nearly $4 trillion a year, and where tax revenues no longer cover even half the outflows. One can debate why this happened until one is blue in the face: the allures of encroaching central planning, the law of large numbers, and the corollary of corruption, inefficiency and greed, cheap credit, the transition to a welfare nanny state as America’s population grew older, sicker and lazier, you name it. The reality is that the reasons for government’s growth do not matter as much as realizing where we are, and deciding what has to be done: will America’s central planners be afforded ever more power to decide the fates of not only America’s population, but that of the world, or will the people reclaim the ideals that the founders of this once great country had when they set off on an experiment, which is now failing with every passing year?
As the following video created by New America Now, using content by Brandon Smith whose work has been featured extensively on the pages of Zero Hedge, notes, “we tend to view government as an inevitability of life, but the fact is government is not a force of nature. It is an imperfect creation of man and it can be dismantled by man just as easily as it can be established.” Unfortunately, the realization that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and absolute central planning leads to epic catastrophes without fail, seems a long way away: most seem content with their lot in life, with lies that their welfare money is safe, even as the future is plundered with greater fury and aggression every passing year, until one day the ability to transfer wealth (benefiting primarily the uber rich, to the detriment of the middle class which is pillaged on an hourly basis), from the future to the present is gone, manifesting in either a failed bond auction or hyperinflation. The timing or shape of the transition itself is irrelevant, what is certain is that America is now on collision course with certain collapse unless something changes. And one of the things that has to change for hope in the great American dream to be restored, is the role, composition and motivations of government, all of which have mutated to far beyond what anyone envisioned back in 1776. Because America is now saddled with a Government Out Of Control.
Watch the two clips below to understand just how and why we have gotten to where we are. Also watch it to, as rhetorically asked by the narrator, prompt us to question whether the government we now have is still useful to us and what kind of powers it should be allowed to wield.
Presidential hopeful Ron Paul has publically attacked the Obama administration’s abolishment of due process in a new editorial, calling the move a turning point in American history.
Responding to Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent justification for the extrajudicial killings of three American citizens on foreign soil, Republican Party candidate Ron Paul has penned a scathing op-ed condemning the White House for circumventing the US Constitution. Earlier this month Holder spoke at Chicago’s Northwestern Law School to discuss last year’s execution of alleged terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki and two other US-born clerics in Yemen, a decision he says the White House still defends despite criticism from citizens and lawmakers alike.
Although both US President Barack Obama and the CIA signed off on the airstrike that killed the American citizens, Washington has been relatively quiet on the matter until Holder spoke earlier this month.
After Attorney General Holder justified the assassination of Americans, a congressional inquiry revealed that Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, wasn’t certain that the same laws could be applied to killing Americans on US soil. With the FBI and Oval Office both hiding behind vague verbiage to allow the assassination of their own citizens, Ron Paul is critiquing what he calls a complete disregard of the Constitution.
“It is particularly bizarre to hear the logic of the administration claiming the right to target its citizens according to some secret selection process, when we justified our attacks against Iraq and Libya because their leaders supposedly were targeting their own citizens,” writes Rep. Paul. “We also now plan a covert war against Syria for the same reason.”
After the Oct. 5, 2001, death from anthrax exposure of Sun photo editor Robert Stevens, Mueller was “beaten up” during President Bush‘s morning intelligence briefings for not producing proof the killer spores were the handiwork of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, according to a former aide.
“They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East,” the retired senior FBI official told The News.
On October 15, 2001, President Bush said, “There may be some possible link” to Bin Laden, adding, “I wouldn’t put it past him.” Vice President Cheney also said Bin Laden’s henchmen were trained “how to deploy and use these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together.”
But by then the FBI already knew anthrax spilling out of letters addressed to media outlets and to a U.S. senator was a military strain of the bioweapon. “Very quickly [Fort Detrick, Md., experts] told us this was not something some guy in a cave could come up with,” the ex-FBI official said. “They couldn’t go from box cutters one week to weapons-grade anthrax the next.”email@example.com Continue reading »
Exclusive: Major Events on the Horizon Prompt a Surge in Anti-Terror Efforts
Government officials have been quietly stepping up counterterror efforts out of a growing concern that al Qaeda or similar organizations might try to capitalize on the spate of extremely high-profile events in the coming months, sources tell ABC News.
WASHINGTON–The FBI on Wednesday called for new legislation that would allow federal police to monitor the Internet for “illegal activity.”
The suggestion from FBI Director Robert Mueller, which came during a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing, appears to go beyond a current plan to monitor traffic on federal-government networks. Mueller seemed to suggest that the bureau should have a broad “omnibus” authority to conduct monitoring and surveillance of private-sector networks as well.
The surveillance should include all Internet traffic, Mueller said, “whether it be .mil, .gov, .com–whichever network you’re talking about.” (See the transcriptof the hearing.)
Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does-and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.