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The Central Intelligence Agency is secretly collecting bulk records of international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union — including transactions into and out of the United States — under the same law that the National Security Agency uses for its huge database of Americans’ phone records, according to current and former government officials.
The C.I.A. financial records program, which the officials said was authorized by provisions in the Patriot Act and overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, offers evidence that the extent of government data collection programs is not fully known and that the national debate over privacy and security may be incomplete.
Somedetails of the C.I.A. program were not clear. But it was confirmed by several current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is classified.
The data does not include purely domestic transfers or bank-to-bank transactions, several officials said. Another, while not acknowledging the program, suggested that the surveillance court had imposed rules withholding the identities of any Americans from the data the C.I.A. sees, requiring a tie to a terrorist organization before a search may be run, and mandating that the data be discarded after a certain number of years. The court has imposed several similar rules on the N.S.A. call logs program.
Several officials also said more than one other bulk collection program has yet to come to light.
“The intelligence community collects bulk data in a number of different ways under multiple authorities,” one intelligence official said.
Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the C.I.A., declined to confirm whether such a program exists, but said that the agency conducts lawful intelligence collection aimed at foreign — not domestic — activities and that it is subject to extensive oversight.
“The C.I.A. protects the nation and upholds the privacy rights of Americans by ensuring that its intelligence collection activities are focused on acquiring foreign intelligence and counterintelligence in accordance with U.S. laws,” he said.
Juan Zarate, a White House and Treasury official under President George W. Bush, said that unlike telecommunications information, there has generally been less sensitivity about the collection of financial data, in part because the government already collects information on large transactions under the Bank Secrecy Act.
“There is a longstanding legal baseline for the U.S. government to collect financial information,” said Mr. Zarate, who is also the author of “Treasury’s War,” about the crackdown on terrorist financing. He did not acknowledge the C.I.A. program.
Orders for business records from the surveillance court generally prohibit recipients from talking about them. A spokeswoman for one large company that handles money transfers abroad, Western Union, did not directly address a question about whether it had been ordered to turn over records in bulk, but said that the company complies with legal requirements to provide information.
“We collect consumer information to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and other laws,” said the spokeswoman, Luella Chavez D’Angelo. “In doing so, we also protect our consumers’ privacy.”
In recent months, there have been hints in congressional testimony, declassified documents and litigation that the N.S.A. program — which was disclosed by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor — is not unique in collecting records involving Americans.
For example, the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for documents related to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision that allows the government to compel companies to turn over business records for counterterrorism purposes. After the government declassified the N.S.A. phone records program, it has released many documents about it in response to the suit.
But the government has notified the A.C.L.U. that it is withholding two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rulings invoking Section 215 — one dated Aug. 20, 2008, and the other Nov. 23, 2010 — because they discuss matters that remain classified, according to Alexander Abdo, an A.C.L.U. lawyer. “It suggests very strongly that there are other programs of surveillance that the public has a right to know about,” Mr. Abdo said.
In addition, a Justice Department “white paper” on the N.S.A.’s call records program, released in August, said that communications logs are “a context” in which the “collection of a large volume of data” is necessary for investigators to be able to analyze links between terrorism suspects and their associates. It did not say that call records are the only context that meets the criteria for bulk gathering.
In hearings on Capitol Hill, government officials have repeatedly avoided saying that phone logs — which include date, duration and numbers of phone calls, but not their content — are the only type of data that would qualify for bulk collection under the Patriot Act provision. In a little-noticed exchange late in an Oct. 3 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the N.S.A. director, appeared to go further.
At the hearing, Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, asked General Alexander and James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, a sweeping question: “So what are all of the programs run by the N.S.A. or other federal agencies” that used either Section 215 of the Patriot Act or another surveillance law that allows warrantless wiretapping of phone and emails?
General Alexander responded by describing, once again, the N.S.A.’s call records program, adding, “None of that is hid from you.” Mr. Clapper said nothing.
Then, moments later, General Alexander interjected that he was talking only about what the N.S.A. is doing under the Patriot Act provision and appearing to let slip that other agencies are operating their own programs.
“You know, that’s of course a global thing that others use as well, but for ours, it’s just that way,” General Alexander said.
In September, the Obama administration declassified and released a lengthy opinion by Judge Claire Eagan of the surveillance court, written a month earlier and explaining why the panel had given legal blessing to the call log program. A largely overlooked passage of her ruling suggested that the court has also issued orders for at least two other types of bulk data collection.
Specifically, Judge Eagan noted that the court had previously examined the issue of what records are relevant to an investigation for the purpose of “bulk collections,” plural. There followed more than six lines that were censored in the publicly released version of her opinion.
Lawmakers on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have been trying to gain more information about other bulk collection programs.
In September, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin and an author of the original Patriot Act, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking if the administration was collecting bulk records aside from the phone data. An aide said he had yet to get a response. Even lawmakers on the Intelligence Committees have indicated that they are not sure they understand the entire landscape of what the government is doing in terms of bulk collection.
Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, recently sent a classified letter to Mr. Clapper asking for a full accounting of every other national security program that involves bulk collection of data at home or abroad, according to government officials.
Christina Dabbs is upset about allegations her son’s science teacher assaulted him, but she’s even more concerned about Rayburn McGuire’s arrest record.
“He is accused of shooting his cousin over music after a funeral. This is someone who is violent. This is my son’s teacher,” said Dabbs.
Dabbs’ son Gavyn is in the fifth grade at Seaborn Lee Elementary in Fulton County. Gavyn said McGuire assaulted him in class last week.
“He punched me in my chest. He said ‘Come on, get up’ and then I walked outside. He grabbed me by my collar and yanked me outside,” said Gavyn.
Gavyn said McGuire didn’t stop there.
“He asked, ‘Why did you do that?’ I said ‘I don’t know’. He said, ‘Are you going to do it again?’ I said ‘no’. Then I walked back in the classroom. I was about to sit back down in my chair and he pushed my head down. I hit the floor and then I got up and laughed so I wouldn’t cry,” said Gavyn.
While a CBS Atlanta news crew was talking to Gavyn’s mother, she decided to look online for a picture of McGuire – what she found disturbed her.
“I just Googled his name and an article on the AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution) popped up. Is stated bond was denied for post-funeral shooter. Oh my goodness!” Dabbs said.
In February McGuire was arrested and charged with shooting his cousin. Fulton County Schools hired him in October.
“It’s shocking that he is allowed to be teaching in an elementary school – teaching, period,” said Dabbs.
Fulton County Schools spokeswoman Susan Hale emailed this statement:
“This is a serious allegation and one that our school district does not take lightly. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.”
Hale said the district placed McGuire on administrative leave Wednesday after inquires were made about his arrest record.
Hale said that arrest didn’t show up on McGuire’s background check, which he passed, because the charges against him were dropped.
McGuire’s attorney said the charges were dropped because he shot his cousin in self-defense.
Do you read blogs? I generally don’t, but somebody sent me a copy of a recent blog in the Daily RFT. It was written by Ray Downs. He’s got a good reputation. The blog was about Jeffrey Mizanskey, who is doing life without parole on a marijuana charge.
Recent Photo of Jeff Mizansky
According to the blog, Mizanskey got busted in 1993 in Sedalia, Mo., with another guy. They had gone to a motel to buy a brick of weed. About five pounds, the blog said.
I don’t get that part. I don’t want to sound like an authority on this stuff, but I’d figure a brick to be a kilo. You know, a little more than two pounds. But it doesn’t matter. Two pounds, five pounds, 10 pounds. They bring this stuff in by the ton. So we’re not talking about Pablo Escobar. We’re talking about a low-level pot dealer.
According to the blog, Mizanskey was just along for the ride, anyway. It was his buddy who was interested in buying the weed. Supposedly, the video backs it up. Video? It turns out the sellers had already been busted and were participating in a sting.
But who cares if Mizanskey was the real buyer? Let’s say he was. He gets life for buying a few pounds of pot?
By the way, his buddy got 10 years. It turns out this was Mizanksey’s third bust. None of them big. The first two didn’t even rate prison time. I checked with the Department of Corrections. First and only time they got him was for this third bust.
I’ve written about the criminal justice system for a long time, and I understand inequities abound. There are all sorts of variables. The quality of the defense lawyer, the jurisdiction in which one gets arrested, the sentencing judge, and so on. No two cases are identical. But still, life without parole for a pot charge? Are you kidding me?
I recently flew to San Francisco, rented a car and drove to visit a pal who lives near Seattle. I drove through the California town of Weed. The gas stations were selling T-shirts that read, “I love Weed.”
By the way, I was driving to Seattle. Guess what’s legal there.
You see where I’m going with this, Jay? This is 2014. Reefer Madness is passé. Society no longer equates pot with heroin. Nobody is selling “I love Heroin” T-shirts.
Not long ago, I wrote about the days when pot was everywhere. I mentioned that I could once roll a pretty good joint, but I remembered guys who could roll a joint with one hand. I envied them. They were rock stars. How cheated they must have felt when weed went underground. Maybe they’ll move to Colorado or Washington where they can once again show off, I wrote.
I got a lot of response to that column. Mostly from baby boomers who fondly remembered those days. Some of them boasted that they could still roll a joint with one hand. Arthritis be damned!
These are old people. Sixty-year-olds. Pot is the one of the few issues they have in common with the kids.
Last week, I got an email from a fellow with Show-Me Cannabis. That’s the group working to legalize pot in Missouri. One of their lobbyists is a sergeant in the St. Louis Police Department. Makes me think of Bob Dylan. The times they are a-changing.
I asked the fellow from Show-Me Cannabis if he knew about Mizanskey. Sure, I know about him, the guy said. We’re planning an advocacy campaign to get him clemency, he said.
This story isn’t going to stay a blog for long. Trust me on that, Jay. I know some of the people at the Riverfront Times. They’ve got themselves a story, and they know it. Life without parole for pot.
This thing is going to take off.
When the clamor for clemency starts, you’ll have three options. You can pretend not to hear the shouting. You can say you don’t see an injustice in the sentence. You can grant clemency.
Option three is clearly the best — the first two are untenable — but why look like you have to be forced into doing the right thing?
Let me suggest a fourth option. You can be proactive. You can move before the clamor starts. You can say you read the blog in the RFT — that will make you seem hip — and after looking into the matter, you have decided to grant Jeff Mizanskey clemency. Immediately! Twenty years on a pot charge is long enough, you say.
Aside from the injustice, it’s a complete waste of money to keep this guy in prison, you say.
In so doing you appeal to everybody — the young, the old, the liberals, the fiscal conservatives. Plus, you’d be doing the right thing.
Best move on this quickly, Jay. It’s a rare opportunity.
DÖKÜMANLARI BURADAN İNDİREBİLİRSİNİZ.
TOP SECRET : Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction Modifies Language on Collateral Damage Estimates for Drone Strikes
A chart from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3160.01A depicts collateral damage estimation levels and their representative risk to overall operations.
An updated instruction issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in October 2012 incorporates significantly modified language in numerous sections of the document that describe the process for estimating collateral damage prior to conducting drone strikes and other military actions. These subtle, but important changes in wording provide insight into the military’s attempts to limit expectations in regards to minimizing collateral damage and predicting the lethal effects of military operations.
The update to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 3160.01A “No-Strike and the Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology” incorporates technical updates to the process for estimating collateral damage as well as lessons learned from the conflicts in Libya and Afghanistan. Despite its release restrictions, a previous version of the instruction was provided in full to the ACLU in 2011 after the group filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the military’s use of armed drones. The version of the instruction obtained by the ACLU, which is dated February 2009, contains significantly different language in numerous key sections of the document that describe the accuracy and processes for predicting collateral damage.
While much of the actual technical methodology for predicting collateral damage remains unchanged, language throughout the document is modified in a way that minimizes expectations about the ability of U.S. forces to accurately predict collateral damage and includes qualifying statements regarding the compliance of U.S. military operations with international law. In a section of the document detailing procedures related to no-strike entities (NSEs), which have “protected status” and cannot be targeted in military operations, the new version of the instruction no longer describes the U.S. as “adhering to” international law, but instead states that the U.S. is “bound by” international law which “regulates”, rather than “requires” certain conduct during military operations. A few paragraphs later, a sentence warning against the “infliction of unnecessary suffering or damage to civilian persons or property that is excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated” is removed from the document, as is the statement that the conduct is “inconsistent with international law.” A section requiring “all military personnel to take reasonable precautions to ensure that only military objectives are targeted” and ensure that civilians are not made the object of attack is changed to require only that military personnel “avoid targeting (i.e., attacking) civilian or noncombatant persons or objects.”
The new version of the instruction also modifies a requirement that commanders limit “unnecessary suffering and disproportionate damage.” Instead, commanders are now only required to mitigate “human suffering and property damage.” The overall process for estimating collateral damage is described as “a conservative characterization” of the risks involved rather than the previous “best judgment of potential damage to collateral concerns.” Several additions are also made in the new version of the instruction including an allowance for “weapon delivery uncertainties” and a statement indicating that U.S. forces are not responsible for “secondary explosions” from fuel or other supplies on the ground.
A small selection of some of the differences between the two versions of the instruction is included in the table below. Blue indicates text modified from the previous version of the instruction. Red indicates text that was inserted into the new version of the instruction.