Monday, February 10, 2014

US -- Police State?

FBI Secret Agent - County Commissioner Tammy Hall [NaplesNews]

Click here for related story [USAToday] []

We've been inundated with monitoring by NSA via their SIGINT [Signals Intelligence] and COMINT [Communications Intelligence], but now, we're learning of a new intrusion HUMINT [Human Intelligence] by none other than our friendly FBI -- which, along with DHS is "protecting" us from "terrorists" by spying -- not on them, but on us.

We just don't realize that since 9/11, all US citizens, especially our combat Veterans, are now designated as "potential terrorists".

So, what's going on now?

According to USA Today, Tammy Hall was the Lee County [FL] Commissioner, who got caught pilfering $33,000 in campaign donations, struck a plea bargain with the FBI to reduce her jail term, and became a Human Intelligence recruited asset apparently to spy on her colleagues, political candidates, contractors, and "... public issues the FBI is known to be examining.

Details of her activities have been sealed, but, here's some informed information which might make you uneasy.

1) She was the County's dispute negotiator over Fort Myers' city officials the issue of impact fee credits to a developer widening State Road #82.  Subsequently, the FBI and US Attorney Nicole Waid gave city officials the third degree on the land deal, apparently using information supplied by Hall on the negotiations.

a) A Commissioner who preceded Tammy's term regarded her covert operations as a potential violation of her fiduciary responsibility to her constituents -- by extension, a criminal action which, under a normal DOJ, would likely be prosecuted.

Stasi Symbol
b) One concern is that the FBI's recruitment of elected officials on the public payroll -- even in plea bargain deals -- is "troubling" and goes beyond the facts of individual cases.  Having public officials spying on each other is the first step on the proverbial legal "slippery slope".  At what point do we institute a reporting system of officials spying on each other, and neighbors reporting on each other, and children reporting on their parents. 

---- Extreme?  Absolutely.  Read up on the Communist East German Stasi,
the national police organization which recruited everyone to spy on each other - creating a paralyzing national paranoia.

c)  According to a former prosecutor turned defense attorney
"If it wasn't for informants, law enforcement would have a great deal of trouble solving crimes. Simply put, they don't know what they don't know."  But, he added "Some jurors just won't trust a snitch, and informant".
--With good reason since the informant receives benefits for testifying on behalf of the prosecution.


So, is an informant a good asset -- or a liability.

Generally speaking, if the informant is on the public payroll, but being "handled" by an FBI agent, there's a direct conflict of interest, and a violation of federal law by both the FBI and the public servant.  That's covered in the US Attorney General Guidelines Regarding Use of FBI Confidential Informants

An informant in these circumstances should be used solely to alert the FBI to suspected criminal activities, and then removed from the reporting chain and replaced with FBI legal tools to complete the investigation to maintain the integrity of the rules of evidence during the prosecution -- if any.


Now, you may wonder why I'm reaching across the line to discuss the Law Enforcement world when I normally focus on the Intelligence Community.

1)  NSA has abused its position and resources as an agency authorized to collect foreign intelligence and has gathered masses amounts of metadata on the majority of US citizens.  In turn, they have provided access to this data to the Law Enforcement Community with explicit explanations of the intelligence collection programs, the sources and methods, and how to access and exploit the collected information -- an absolute violation of NSA's charter and a complete and unauthorized invasion of the privacy of US citizens.

2) Here's my main problem:
The Law Enforcement Community has become a conduit for recruiting by the Intelligence Services; it appears the CIA, for one, is now heavily populated by former DEA, ATF, and FBI agents, as well as state troopers and even street cops.  Their amateurish approach to espionage is to treat recruited assets in the same manner as their confidential informants, frequently leaving them in the cold, or burning them when the immediate collection task is over.  That, of course, violates the basic tenets of espionage, and Intelligence Services become little more than national police organizations.  Ultimately, no foreign citizens in their right mind would risk their lives working for US Intelligence under these conditions.

We're watching the US become a police state, just one step at a time, as our judicial system turns a blind eye by breaches of integrity, and even criminal actions by our Law Enforcement Community -- but, as the lines between the Law Enforcement Community and the Intelligence Community become blurred -- or non-existent, we will become that police state epitomized by East Germany's Stasi.