by Michael Krieger
“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement.
FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.
Well we knew this was coming, and it’s no surprise to see Mitch McConnell leading the charge. A man who never saw a 4th Amendment violating piece of legislation he didn’t like.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information.
The move, made via an amendment to a criminal justice appropriations bill, is an effort by Senate Republicans to respond to last week’s mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub after a series of measures to restrict guns offered by both parties failed on Monday.
“In the wake of the tragic massacre in Orlando, it is important our law enforcement have the tools they need to conduct counterterrorism investigations,” Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican and sponsor of the amendment, said in a statement.
The bill is also supported by Republican Senators John Cornyn, Jeff Sessions and Richard Burr, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Privacy advocates denounced the effort, saying it seeks to exploit a mass shooting in order to expand the government’s digital spying powers.
The amendment would broaden the FBI’s authority to use so-called National Security Letters to include electronic communications transaction records such as time stamps of emails and the emails’ senders and recipients.
NSLs do not require a warrant and are almost always accompanied by a gag order preventing the service provider from sharing the request with a targeted user.
The letters have existed since the 1970s, though the scope and frequency of their use expanded greatly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The amendment filed Monday would also make permanent a provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on “lone wolf” suspects who do not have confirmed ties to a foreign terrorist group. That provision, which the Justice Department said last year had never been used, is currently set to expire in December 2019.
Once the next collapse gets under way and we witness an inevitable rise in domestic protests movements, you can guarantee these powers will be primarily used against U.S. citizens protesting government abuse and criminality. Such citizens will be quickly relabeled “domestic terrorists,” and endlessly targeted and demonized by the state.
Let’s not forget:
This is not what freedom looks like.