News Roundup

In the world of keeping secrets secret, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Seeks to Tighten Protection of Intelligence with a new directive that “all personnel with access to national intelligence… shall be continually evaluated and monitored.”  All one million of them?  Not surprisingly, Financial Costs of Classification Soar, to roundabouts $12.5 billion, give or take, to secure classified info.  If the price tag on secrecy offends you, Homeland Security is looking for applicants to its DHS Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.  You have until July 23 to apply.

Drone-wise, there was a protest in Syracuse, NY, with 15 People Arrested in Drone Protest at NY Air National Guard Base.  Steven Aftergood notes there are Second Thoughts in Congress About Domestic Drones; a local affiliate in San Diego raises Concerns Raised Over Drones In US Airspace; and the former commander of the Afghanistan war, dubbed by Rolling Stone ‘The Runaway General’ for being directly critical of Commander in Chief Obama, is Stan McChrystal, Drone Skeptic.   While Darpa’s Drone Contest Ends Unconquered, a $1000 challenge by DHS resulted in researchers at UT Austin successfully overriding a drone’s flight instructions, showing Drones Vulnerable to Terrorist Hijacking.

Here are the Comments of EPIC urging the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to dump their Automated Targeting System, which creates risk-assessment profiles on individuals based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other factors.

On the domestic surveillance front, specifically the controversial 2008 FISA Amendments, the House Panel Votes to Renew Surveillance Law Without New Safeguards.  The Cato Institute takes former DOJ attorney Ken Wainstein to task for Misleading Congress on Surveillance History (and Why It Matters).

Doing their part in facial recognition, the leading commercial developer of that technology thinks it’s Awesome News – Facebook Acquires Face.com.  How to apply this technology?  How about here, in the National Institute of Justice’s Research Report Digest, Issue 5 (yawn), which includes an entry about the Automated Detection and Prevention of Disorderly and Criminal Activity.  Given enough “identity records of people based on their facial images in various environments” – in this instance a prison environment – the paper claims a 70% chance of “detecting disorderly or aggressive events” and “a 20-percent chance of predicting the event before it occurs.”

Two tragedies that illuminated fundamental, operational flaws in criminal justice bureaucracies were the drug sting scandal in Tulia, TX, and the 2006 killing of 92-year old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta, GA.  Notorious for their role in the Tulia scandal, the Last Multi-County Narcotics Task Force in Texas Closing its Doors.  Meanwhile, Author Ted Conover uses the Kathryn Johnston cover-up to explain policing as done through paid informants in A Snitch’s Dilemma, the New York Times Magazine’s cover story this week.

Two stories about the drug war in Mexico. Robert Beckhusen on why Mexico’s Next President Won’t Slow The Drug War, posted on Danger Room, and William Finnegan’s The Kingpins: The Fight for Guadalajara, in this week’s New Yorker.

The good people at Public Intelligence got a hold of this U.S. Army Presentation: Muslim Morality and Jihadi Ethics, which includes this one-liner: “When interacting with non-Muslims, Muslims are obligated to lie when they feel doing so will further the ends of Islam.”

Jennifer Lynch of EFF answers for all the good readers of Alternet the question, Why Is the Government Collecting Your Biometric Data?  Her colleague Trevor Timm asks, rhetorically, Why won’t the Obama administration reveal how many Americans’ emails the NSA has collected and reviewed without a warrant?

The Wall Street Journal confirms that yes, Your E-Book is Reading You.  The WSJ also scooped all other outlets in reporting on The FBI’s Secret Surveillance Letters to Tech Companies.  These national security letters bypass judges and instruct companies to turn over financial and internet data, while also telling companies they cannot talk about the existence of the national security letter.  That latter bit of Alice in Wonderland-ery has, according to the WSJ post, been changed, and the gag orders are no longer automatic. The FBI has not, however, told that to companies, which continue to refuse to talk about the letters because they have no reason to believe they’re no longer under gag order.

Following Obama’s non-executive order regarding DREAMer youth, the attorneys at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center put together this Practice Advisory for Criminal Defenders, highlighting the fact that young people with certain (as of yet not clearly delineated) criminal convictions are not eligible for deferred action and work authorization.

From the horses’ mouths, here is Chief of Staff of Office of the Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) Nick Harris’s take on The History of Information Sharing for National Security and Seven Years of the ISE.   If you have an hour and a half to burn, here is Panel One of Intelligence and Information Sharing to Protect the Homeland at a conference co-hosted by the CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program and the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.  What, you have another hour and half? Here is Panel Two.  If pressed for time, here is the transcript. Skip ahead to page 7 for question from Mike Downing, who runs the LAPD’s counterterrorism department.

This report on Counterterrorism Intelligence: Fusion Center Perspectives asks how fusion centers bureaucrats “view the terror threat, the efficacy of their centers, and the role fusion centers play in the intelligence enterprise.” Of note: 63% list law enforcement as their center’s most important function, compared to 28% that identify counterterrorism as their center’s most important function.

A good article in the New York Times about how Probation Fees Multiply for Poor as Companies Profit.  Private probation companies in Alabama and Georgia are not an anomaly – to the contrary, their business model perfected in criminal justice has and will migrate to immigration enforcement and low level surveillance in the name of national security.

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