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 PEERS and the Team 21/08/2007

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Rang: Administrateur

Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

MessagePEERS and the Team 21/08/2007

is available online at

Dear friends,

are one-paragraph excerpts of important news articles you may have
These news articles include revealing information on the expansion of
domestic spying in the US to include physical searches and collection of
business records, surveillance of the US land surface by military spy
satellites, the privatization of intelligence gathering by the Defense
Intelligence Agency, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the
major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to
function, click
here. Key sentences are highlighted for those with
By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread
the word, we can and will build a brighter

best wishes,

Tod Fletcher and Fred
Burks for PEERS and the Team

Concerns Raised on Wider Spying Under New

August 19, 2007, New York

surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush
administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping
to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches
on American soil and the collection of Americans’ business records. “This
may give the administration even more authority than people thought,”
David Kris, a former senior Justice Department lawyer in the Bush and
Clinton administrations. Several legal experts said that by redefining
meaning of “electronic surveillance,” the new law narrows the types of
communications covered in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,
as FISA, by indirectly giving the government the power to use
collection methods far beyond wiretapping that previously required court
approval if conducted inside the United States. These new powers
include the collection of business records, physical searches and
so-called “trap and trace” operations, analyzing specific calling
patterns. For instance, the legislation would allow the government, under
certain circumstances, to demand the business records of an American in
without a warrant if it asserts that the search concerns
its surveillance of a person who is in Paris, experts said. Some civil
rights advocates said they suspected that the administration made the
language of the bill intentionally vague to allow it even broader
discretion over wiretapping decisions. The end result ... is that the
legislation may grant the government the right to collect a range of
information on American citizens inside the United States without
warrants, as long as the administration asserts that the spying concerns
the monitoring of a person believed to be overseas.

Defense Agency Proposes Outsourcing More

August 19, 2007, Washington

Defense Intelligence Agency is preparing to pay private contractors up to
$1 billion to conduct core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection
over the next five years, an amount that would set a record in the
outsourcing of such functions by the Pentagon's top spying
The proposed contracts ... reflect a continuing
of the Defense Department's intelligence-related work and fit a
well-established pattern of Bush administration transfers of government
work to private contractors. Since 2000, the value of federal contracts
signed by all agencies each year has more than doubled to reach $412
billion, with the largest growth at the Defense Department. Outsourcing
particularly accelerated among intelligence agencies after the [Sept. 11]
2001 terrorist attacks. The DIA's action comes a few months after CIA
Director Michael V. Hayden, acting under pressure from Congress,
a program to cut the agency's hiring of outside contractors by at least
percent. The DIA is the country's major manager and producer of foreign
military intelligence, with more than 11,000 military and civilian
employees worldwide and a budget of nearly $1 billion. It has its own
analysts from the various services as well as collectors of human
intelligence in the Defense HUMINT Service. DIA also manages the Defense
attaches stationed in embassies all over the world. Unlike the CIA, the
DIA outsources the major analytical products known as all-source
intelligence reports, a senior intelligence official said.

Domestic Use of Spy Satellites To

August 16, 2007, Washington

The Bush
administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of
the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement
officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and
aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate
buildings and underground bunkers. A program approved by the Office of
Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security
will allow broader domestic use of secret overhead imagery beginning as
early as this fall, with the expectation that state and local law
enforcement officials will eventually be able to tap into technology once
largely restricted to foreign surveillance. But the program ... quickly
provoked opposition from civil liberties advocates, who said the
government is crossing a well-established line against the use of
assets in domestic law enforcement.
The administration's decision would provide domestic authorities with
unprecedented access to high-resolution, real-time satellite photos. They
could also have access to much more. Civil liberties groups quickly
condemned the move, which Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, ...
likened to "Big Brother in the sky. They want to turn these enormous spy
capabilities ... onto Americans. They are laying the bricks one at a time
for a police state."
Steven Aftergood, director of the Project
Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, said that
oversight for the program was woefully inadequate. Enhanced access
"shouldn't be adopted at all costs because it comes with risk to privacy
and to the integrity of our political institutions," he said.

The Padilla Conviction

August 17, 2007, New York

It would
be a mistake to see [the verdict against Jose Padilla] as a vindication
for the Bush administration’s serial abuse of the American legal system
the name of fighting terrorism. On the way to this verdict, the
repeatedly trampled on the Constitution, and its prosecution of Mr.
Padilla was so cynical ... that the crime he was convicted of —
to commit terrorism overseas — bears no relation to the ambitious plot to
wreak mass destruction inside the United States which the Justice
Department first loudly proclaimed. When Mr. Padilla was arrested in
the government said he was an Al Qaeda operative who had plotted to
detonate a radioactive dirty bomb inside the United States. Mr. Padilla,
who is an American citizen, should have been charged as a criminal and
on trial in a civilian court. Instead, President Bush declared
an “enemy combatant” and kept him in a Navy brig for more than three
years. The administration’s insistence that it had the right to hold Mr.
Padilla indefinitely — simply on the president’s word — was its first
outrageous act in the case, but hardly its last
. Mr. Padilla was
kept in a small isolation cell, and when he left that cell he was
blindfolded and his ears were covered. He was denied access to a lawyer
even when he was being questioned. It was only after the Supreme Court
appeared poised last year to use Mr. Padilla’s case to decide whether
indefinite detention of an American citizen violates the Constitution,
that the White House suddenly decided to give him a civilian trial. He
will likely never be brought to trial on the dirty-bomb plot. The
administration did everything it could to keep Mr. Padilla away from a
jury and deny him impartial justice.

Source Disclosure Ordered in Anthrax

August 14, 2007, Washington

reporters must reveal their government sources for stories they wrote
about Steven J. Hatfill and investigators' suspicions that the former
scientist was behind the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, a federal judge
ruled. The ruling is a victory for Hatfill, a bioterrorism expert who has
argued in a civil suit that the government violated his privacy rights
ruined his chances at a job by unfairly leaking information about the
probe. He has not been charged in the attacks that killed five people and
sickened 17 others, and he has denied wrongdoing. Hatfill's suit, filed
2003, accuses the government of waging a "coordinated smear campaign." To
succeed, Hatfill and his attorneys have been seeking the identities of
and Justice Department officials who disclosed disparaging information
about him to the media. In lengthy depositions in the case, reporters
identified 100 instances when Justice or FBI sources provided them with
information about the investigation of Hatfill and the techniques used to
probe his possible role in anthrax-laced mailings. But the reporters have
refused to name the individuals. In 2002, then-Attorney General
John D. Ashcroft called Hatfill, who had formerly worked at the Army's
infectious diseases lab in Fort Detrick in Frederick County, a "person of
interest" in the anthrax case. Authorities have not made any arrests in
the investigation.
Hatfill's search for government leakers is
"strikingly similar" to the civil suit filed by Wen Ho Lee, a nuclear
scientist who became the subject of a flurry of media stories identifying
him as a chief suspect in a nuclear-secrets spy case. Those stories also
relied on anonymous sources. Lee was never charged with espionage.

For more reliable information about the anthrax attacks that followed
closely after 9/11 and the mysterious deaths of over a dozen renowned
microbiologists shortly thereafter, click

Learn from the fall of Rome, US

August 14, 2007, Financial

The US
government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and
practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding,
immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if
action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has
warned. David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually
downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out
he called “chilling long-term simulations”. These include “dramatic” tax
rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign
governments of holdings of US debt. Drawing parallels with the end of the
Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities”
between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down
Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home,
over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal
irresponsibility by the central government.
In my view, it’s
to learn from history.” Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a
non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office,
often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress. In an
interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had
mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to “turn up the
volume”. Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to
their name associated with. I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a
wake-up call,” he said. “As comptroller general I’ve got an ability to
look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in
many cases may not be in a position, to take on."

Le Mensonge peut courir un an, la vérité le rattrape en un jour, dit le sage Haoussa
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