Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Secret Government Watchlist Criteria Revealed

Today the new First Look Media/Glenn Greenwald venture The Intercept published a story revealing a secret US government document outlining the rules - if you can call them such - governing the selection of individuals for the inclusion on terrorist watchlists. The story by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux is entitled "Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook for Labeling You a Terrorist" draws off of a "key government document obtained by The Intercept" that does not cite former government contractor turned NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as the source. It has already been speculated that there is at least one additional leaker to Snowden and this document would appear to prove that much to the ongoing dismay of the lawless Obama regime.
The story hasn't really broken yet as it was just published a few hours ago and the entire western media is still focused on manufacturing a thick fog of bullshit and innuendo to tie Putin and Russia to the increasingly obvious shooting down of Malaysian Airlines MH17 by forces within the Kiev junta so I will go ahead and excerpt some of the more interesting bits of the Intercept story here but please go and read it yourself and forward the link along with the entire 166 page government "rulebook" entitled "March 2013: Watchlisting Guidelines" that is published in its entirety at The Intercept:
The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.
The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.
[This monstrosity can be parked directly on the doorstep of Obama’s Oval Office as well has his fiendish, longtime fixer Eric Holder’s office at DOJ – but Rachel Maddow and the rest of the liberal sellouts who would demand Bush’s head on a stick will still defend this gross violation of privacy rights – if they even bother mentioning it at all]
The document’s definition of “terrorist” activity includes actions that fall far short of bombing or hijacking. In addition to expected crimes, such as assassination or hostage-taking, the guidelines also define destruction of government property and damaging computers used by financial institutions as activities meriting placement on a list. They also define as terrorism any act that is “dangerous” to property and intended to influence government policy through intimidation.
This combination—a broad definition of what constitutes terrorism and a low threshold for designating someone a terrorist—opens the way to ensnaring innocent people in secret government dragnets. It can also be counterproductive. When resources are devoted to tracking people who are not genuine risks to national security, the actual threats get fewer resources—and might go unnoticed.
“If reasonable suspicion is the only standard you need to label somebody, then it’s a slippery slope we’re sliding down here, because then you can label anybody anything,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent with experience running high-profile terrorism investigations. “Because you appear on a telephone list of somebody doesn’t make you a terrorist. That’s the kind of information that gets put in there.”
The fallout is personal too. There are severe consequences for people unfairly labeled a terrorist by the U.S. government, which shares its watchlist data with local law enforcement, foreign governments, and “private entities.” Once the U.S. government secretly labels you a terrorist or terrorist suspect, other institutions tend to treat you as one. It can become difficult to get a job (or simply to stay out of jail). It can become burdensome—or impossible—to travel. And routine encounters with law enforcement can turn into ordeals.
[For anyone who has been subjected to a pre-employment or contingent-employment “security” screening be aware that there is now a search of the “terrorist” database included so this has an enormous potential for essentially getting one trapped in the spider’s web essentially blacklisted for perpetuity]
There are a number of loopholes for putting people onto the watchlists even if reasonable suspicion cannot be met.
One is clearly defined: The immediate family of suspected terrorists—their spouses, children, parents, or siblings—may be watchlisted without any suspicion that they themselves are engaged in terrorist activity. But another loophole is quite broad—”associates” who have a defined relationship with a suspected terrorist, but whose involvement in terrorist activity is not known. A third loophole is broader still—individuals with “a possible nexus” to terrorism, but for whom there is not enough “derogatory information” to meet the reasonable suspicion standard.
Americans and foreigners can be nominated for the watchlists if they are associated with a terrorist group, even if that group has not been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. They can also be treated as “representatives” of a terrorist group even if they have “neither membership in nor association with the organization.” The guidelines do helpfully note that certain associations, such as providing janitorial services or delivering packages, are not grounds for being watchlisted.
[Translation: If you happen to purchase gas at a convenience store owned by a Muslim using your credit card you may end up in the big government “terrorist database” and unlike the mafia who has a code of honor the USG will go after your family too]
The guidelines provide the clearest explanation yet of what is happening when Americans and foreigners are pulled aside at airports and border crossings by government agents. The fifth chapter, titled “Encounter Management and Analysis,” details the type of information that is targeted for collection during “encounters” with people on the watchlists, as well as the different organizations that should collect the data. The Department of Homeland Security is described as having the largest number of encounters, but other authorities, ranging from the State Department and Coast Guard to foreign governments and “certain private entities,” are also involved in assembling “encounter packages” when watchlisted individuals cross their paths. The encounters can be face-to-face meetings or electronic interactions—for instance, when a watchlisted individual applies for a visa.
In addition to data like fingerprints, travel itineraries, identification documents and gun licenses, the rules encourage screeners to acquire health insurance information, drug prescriptions, “any cards with an electronic strip on it (hotel cards, grocery cards, gift cards, frequent flyer cards),” cellphones, email addresses, binoculars, peroxide, bank account numbers, pay stubs, academic transcripts, parking and speeding tickets, and want ads. The digital information singled out for collection includes social media accounts, cell phone lists, speed dial numbers, laptop images, thumb drives, iPods, Kindles, and cameras. All of the information is then uploaded to the TIDE database.
Screeners are also instructed to collect data on any “pocket litter,” scuba gear, EZ Passes, library cards, and the titles of any books, along with information about their condition—”e.g., new, dog-eared, annotated, unopened.” Business cards and conference materials are also targeted, as well as “anything with an account number” and information about any gold or jewelry worn by the watchlisted individual. Even “animal information”—details about pets from veterinarians or tracking chips—is requested. The rulebook also encourages the collection of biometric or biographical data about the travel partners of watchlisted individuals.
[Not that it should be a surprise but the cheap feeling up of cute women or children along with the bonus of humiliating hapless travelers aren’t the only thing that TSA goons are getting over on – they are stealing EVERYTHING for inclusion into that massive storage facility out in Utah]
As for any more just go and read the entire piece because it's huge.  I tried to only grab some of the more relevant pieces that affect everybody but the devil is in the details – and in the White House – since this is Obama’s baby.