David Slesinger's blog

Man Says He Was Paid To Spy On Muslim Groups

http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/171262/man-says-he-was-paid-to-spy-on-muslim-groups

Man Says He Was Paid To Spy On Muslim Groups
By: Dean Meminger

Muslim groups have long complained that the NYPD has targeted them for surveillance and now a self-described informant has come forward to say he was doing more than spying. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Outraged members of the Muslim Student Association at John Jay College say Shamiur Rahman told them he was a paid informant of the police after pretending to be a part of their group.

"It felt like someone stabbed you in the back right there, someone you trust too much, someone you reach out to, someone you try to help out," said Syedtalha Shahbaz, a student at John Jay College.

The Muslim students at John Jay said that Rahman said he was sorry for spying on them in a Facebook message this month. Shahbaz, the president of the association, said they went on Muslim retreats together and he even invited Rahman into his home.

Shahbaz said that Rahman told the group that they were not doing any illegal activities.

"Definitely not," Shahbaz said. "We actually asked him that, and he admitted that he wasted his time over here because obviously we are not doing any illegal activities over here."

The Associated Press reports Rahman was paid up to $1,000 a month to infiltrate groups and mosques and take pictures.

Will the next 9/11 happen online? The secretary of defense claims cyber war is imminent. Its real threat may be to our constitut

http://www.salon.com/2012/10/22/will_the_next_911_happen_online/

MONDAY, OCT 22, 2012 09:45 AM EDT
Will the next 9/11 happen online?
The secretary of defense claims cyber war is imminent. Its real threat may be to our constitutional liberties
BY KAREN GREENBERG, TOMDISPATCH.COM

(Credit: AP/Paul J. RIchards)
This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.
First the financial system collapses and it’s impossible to access one’s money. Then the power and water systems stop functioning. Within days, society has begun to break down. In the cities, mothers and fathers roam the streets, foraging for food. The country finds itself fractured and fragmented — hardly recognizable.

It may sound like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie or the first episode of NBC’s popular new show “Revolution,” but it could be your life — a nationwide cyber-version of Ground Zero.

Think of it as 9/11/2015. It’s Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s vision of the future — and if he’s right (or maybe even if he isn’t), you better wonder what the future holds for erstwhile American civil liberties, privacy, and constitutional protections.

Last week, Panetta addressed the Business Executives for National Security, an organization devoted to creating a robust public-private partnership in matters of national security. Standing inside the Intrepid, New York’s retired aircraft-carrier-cum-military-museum, he offered a hair-raising warning about an imminent and devastating cyber strike at the sinews of American life and wellbeing.

Yes, he did use that old alarm bell of a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” but for anyone interested in American civil liberties and rights, his truly chilling image was far more immediate. “A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups,” he predicted, “could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11.”

Panetta is not the first Obama official to warn that the nation could be facing a cyber catastrophe, but he is the highest-ranking to resort to 9/11 imagery in doing so. Going out on a limb that previous cyber doomsayers had avoided, he mentioned September 11th four times in his speech, referring to our current vulnerabilities in cyber space as “a pre-9/11 moment.”

Did US have improper influence in 9/11 trial?

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/did-us-have-improper-influence-911-trial

Warren Richey | The Christian Science Monitor | Oct 21, 2012
ALASKA NEWS & FEATURES

A defense lawyer in the 9/11 war crimes tribunal at Guantánamo told a military judge on Friday that the former chief prosecutor for military commissions refused at least 25 times to answer his questions about whether there had been any improper influence from senior Defense Department or Obama administration officials in bringing war crimes charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others.

The lawyer, US Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, said he interviewed Navy Capt. John Murphy while trying to investigate the possibility that senior government officials attempted to exert pressure in the case.

Captain Murphy invoked a special privilege against answering questions dealing with internal government deliberations, Commander Ruiz said. He invoked it 25 to 30 times, Ruiz said.

“One of the things I asked was who else was in the room,” he said.

Ruiz said he asked Murphy if he had contact with the general counsel of the Defense Department. “They raised the privilege on those issues” as well, Ruiz added.

The comments came on the last of five days of pretrial hearings designed to iron out pending legal issues in advance of the expected war crimes tribunal at Guantánamo. No trial date has been set.

Command influence is a thorny issue in military courts given the fact that all parties in the court – the judge, the jury, the prosecutors, and many of the defense lawyers – all work for the Department of Defense and function within a chain of command. Ruiz was asking the judge, US Army Col. James Pohl, to intervene on his behalf to help him investigate the improper influence claim.

Defense lawyers have filed a motion seeking dismissal of the charges against Mohammed and his four co-defendants because they claim that public statements by President Bush, President Obama, and other senior government officials have made it impossible for the defendants to receive a fair trial.

Government lawyers opposed the defense motion, denying that the case has been tainted by command influence. They suggest that defense lawyers have no evidence of wrongdoing.

“The defense is not entitled to go on a fishing expedition,” said Army Major Robert McGovern, a member of the prosecution team.

Judge Pohl did not rule on the issue.

Also on Friday, defense lawyers asked Judge Pohl to permit greater public access to close-circuit broadcasts of the Guantánamo proceedings. The defense even asked that the video-feed from Guantánamo be provided to broadcast companies such as C-Span to transmit nationwide.

Romney Family Investment Ties To Voting Machine Company That Could Decide The Election Causing Concern

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/10/20/romney-family-investment-ties-to-voting-machine-company-that-could-decide...

Rick Ungar, Contributor
Writing from the left on politics and policy.
OP/ED | 10/20/2012 @ 8:32PM |278,326 views
Romney Family Investment Ties To Voting Machine Company That Could Decide The Election Causing Concern

(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

It’s 3:00 a.m. on November 7, 2012.

With the painfully close presidential election now down to who wins the battleground state of Ohio, no network dares to call the race and risk repeating the mistakes of 2000 when a few networks jumped the gun on picking a winner.

As the magic boards used by the networks go ‘up close and personal’ on every county in the Buckeye State, word begins to circulate that there might be a snafu with some electronic voting machines in a number of Cincinnati based precincts. There have already been complaints that broken machines were not being quickly replaced in precincts that tend to lean Democratic and now, word is coming in that there may be some software issues.

The network political departments get busy and, in short order, discover that the machines used in Hamilton County, Ohio—the county home of Cincinnati— are supplied by Hart Intercivic, a national provider of voting systems in use in a wide variety of counties scattered throughout the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado and Ohio.

A quick Internet search reveals that there may be reason for concern.

A test conducted in 2007 by the Ohio Secretary of State revealed that five of the electronic voting systems the state was looking to use in the upcoming 2008 presidential election had failed badly, each easily susceptible to chicanery that could alter the results of an election.

As reported in the New York Times, “At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.”

We learn that one of the companies whose machines had failed was none other than Hart Intercivic.

With television time to fill and no ability to declare a winner so that the long night’s broadcast can be brought to a close, the staffs keep digging for relevant information to keep the attention of their viewers—and that is when it gets very real.

It turns out that Hart Intercivic is owned, in large part, by H.I.G. Capital—a large investment fund with billions of dollars under management—that was founded by a fellow named Tony Tamer. While is is unclear just how much H.I.G. owns of Hart Intercivic, we do learn that H.I.G. employees hold at least two of the five Hart Intercivic board seats.

TSA quietly replaces x-ray scanners at major airports with 'safer' devices... but moves the old machines to smaller cities Read

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2220673/TSA-quie

TSA quietly replaces x-ray scanners at major airports with 'safer' devices... but moves the old machines to smaller cities

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 12:33 EST, 20 October 2012 | UPDATED: 14:21 EST, 20 October 2012

The Transportation Security Administration has been quietly removing x-ray scanners from airports in major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Boston and replacing them with newer technology that experts believe is safer.

However, the TSA is not retiring the controversial backscatter x-ray machines, which some researchers say could cause cancer in up to 100 fliers a year. The devices are simply being moved to smaller airports.

The agency claims the change isn't because of safety or privacy concerns -- many fliers complained that the backscatter x-rays revealed blurred images of their naked bodies to TSA employees.

Quiet: The TSA claims that the withdrawl of backscatter x-ray machines from cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles was for the sake of 'efficiency' - not safety

Old and new: The backscatter x-ray machines (left) were quietly withdrawn from major airports by the TSA in favor of millimeter wave devices (right), which do not subject fliers to x-ray radiation
Authorities say the change is simply a matter of 'efficiency.'

ProPublica, an nonprofit organization specializing in investigative journalism, revealed that the TSA was taking the backscatter machines out of several major airports.

Those sites are: Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago O'Hare, Orlando, Logan International in Boston and both John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia in New York.

The TSA will not reveal which airports the x-ray machines have been taken to. ABC News reports that they remain in use at other top airports across the country.

The replacement for the backscatter machines, which bounce low-level x-rays off each subject's body, are millimeter wave devices, which use radio waves similar to cell phones.

Federal Reserve plot renews debate on counterterrorism versus civil liberties

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121018/counterterrorism-versus-civil-liberties-fede...

Federal Reserve plot renews debate on counterterrorism versus civil liberties
Is the US striking the right balance between security and personal freedoms? It's an old question, but the answer remains elusive.
Lizzy TomeiOctober 19, 2012 12:22
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A US flag flies over the entrance to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on July 29, 2011. A Bangladeshi native was arrested Oct. 17, 2012, in an alleged plot to blow up the building, authorities say. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis had only been in the US for nine months when he was arrested by federal authorities on Wednesday.

Nafis, with the help of an undercover FBI agent posing as an "Al Qaeda facilitator," had allegedly packed a van full of what he thought were explosives this week, NBC reported. After parking the van in front of the Federal Reserve building and walking to a nearby hotel, Nafis attempted to detonate the vehicle remotely with a cellphone, according to The New York Times, citing the complaint against him.

The Times wrote:

"...The entire plot played out under the surveillance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department as part of an elaborate sting operation, according to court papers.... The case appears to be the latest to fit a model in which, in the process of flushing out people they believe present a risk of terrorism, federal law enforcement officials have played the role of enabler."

The native of Bangladesh, 21, was arrested and charged with trying to blow up New York's Federal Reserve Bank with what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb. He also stands accused of supplying material support to Al Qaeda.

While it's impossible to speculate on the guilt, innocence or intent of the accused, the case nonetheless — as the Times points out — brings up the thorny question of where to draw the line between fighting terror and provoking it.

Judge questions WTC blame of United in September 11 case

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/uk-usa-sept11-airlines-idUSLNE89I01120121019

Judge questions WTC blame of United in September 11 case
Fri, Oct 19 2012
By Basil Katz
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday questioned whether United Airlines could be held responsible for suspected airport security lapses that allowed hijackers onto the American Airlines plane that slammed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Thursday's hearing before U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan stems from one of the few remaining lawsuits arising from the hijacked plane attacks, which killed more than 3,000 people in New York, the Pentagon outside Washington, and Pennsylvania.
While most of the cases have settled, Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the World Trade Center property, is pursuing negligence claims against United Airlines, now United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), and American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). Silverstein says they should both be held liable for loss of property and business.
Silverstein's World Trade Center Properties is seeking additional damages beyond what he has already received from his own insurer. The hearing on Thursday dealt only with claims over the destruction of 7 World Trade Center, a building just north of the World Trade Center site that also collapsed in the attacks.

Silverstein argues that United is responsible for suspected security failures that resulted in the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11, which slammed into one of the towers.
Those failures, the court heard on Thursday, began very early in the morning of September 11, 2011, when hijackers Mohammed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari set out on their trip.
That morning, Atta and al Omari boarded a US Airways flight from Maine's Portland International Jetport to Boston. From Logan International Airport, they connected onto Flight 11, which they commandeered and crashed into the World Trade Center.
Silverstein argues that because United was one of the carriers that operated Portland's only security checkpoint, it is responsible for the screening of all passengers that passed through it, regardless of what flight they are ticketed for.
United "had to be really vigilant when it did the screening," World Trade Center Properties attorney Richard Williamson told the court. "The first line of defense was Portland.... They were just asleep at the switch."
But Hellerstein appeared skeptical.
"Would I be acting inconsistently if I did not dismiss United?" the judge asked, referring to a 2009 order in which he dismissed claims against other airlines for damages caused by United Flight 175, which also crashed into the World Trade Center.
United urged Hellerstein to follow his own logic.
"The duty is to the passengers on our flights," United attorney Jeffrey Ellis told the court.
Hellerstein said he would reserve decision on whether to grant United's bid to dismiss the damage claims over 7 World Trade Center and the American flight.
Judges often do not rule immediately from the bench, preferring to study the issues especially if they are complex.
Silverstein's 2008 lawsuit also named aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the Massachusetts Port Authority, which manages Logan International Airport, and security companies as defendants.
He is seeking $8.4 billion in damages for loss of property and lost business, even though Hellerstein has limited the amount to the $2.8 billion Silverstein paid for the leases.
In August, Hellerstein denied the airlines' motion for judgment on whether $4 billion that Silverstein recovered from his insurers more than compensated for the potential damages recovery of $2.8 billion against the airlines, saying it was an issue for a jury to decide at trial.
The attacks prompted the creation of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which

Questions of Legitimacy Hang Heavy Over 9/11 Trial

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daphne-eviatar/september-11th-trial_b_1989787.html

Defense lawyers aren't told what evidence is classified, need the prosecution's approval to call witnesses, and have to defend their clients in a commission that may have been unlawfully influenced by senior U.S. officials hungry for a conviction, they told the Guantanamo court on Friday.

Those were just some of the many frustrations defense attorneys expressed at the military commission hearings in the case of September 11 terrorist attacks this week at Guantanamo Bay. Other concerns were whether the U.S. Constitution applies at Guantanamo and whether the government can classify the memories and experiences of the five accused men and thereby silence them.

James Connell, a lawyer for Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the five men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks, on Friday insisted he doesn't know how to handle information pertaining to his client because the government won't explain what's classified. He could be prosecuted for mishandling classified evidence, he said, so "I treat everything at the highest classification level and drive my IT folks crazy." It also makes it extremely difficult for him to prepare his case. Connell said the National Security Agency created a document specifically explaining the classification of evidence in military commissions, but the government has refused to provide it to the defense. "It stuns me that no one will give us this information," he said.

Prosecutors at the hearing claimed they're just following the rules, although the chief prosecutor, General Mark Martins, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of "transparency" in these "reformed" military commissions.

The defense request "is not relevant as a matter of law," Joanna Baltes, a Justice Department lawyer for the prosecution, told the court on Friday. "The defense is required to treat classified information as classified. If the government marks it classified, that's the end of the inquiry."

Battles Over Government Secrecy Dominate 9/11 Hearings

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daphne-eviatar/battles-over-government-s_b_1974460.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

October 19, 2012

This is the print preview: Back to normal view »
Battles Over Government Secrecy Dominate 9/11 Hearings
Posted: 10/17/2012 1:49 pm

The definition and use of classified information, and the public's right to hear it, is proving to be one of the most important issues arising in pre-trial hearings in this historic September 11th terrorism prosecution. With only two of the defendants actually in the courtroom on Wednesday (the others elected not to come), lawyers from the government, defense, ACLU and 14 media organizations over the last two days have argued vehemently over whether the government is properly classifying information -- particularly the memories and experiences of the defendants, who were subjected to the CIA's classified "enhanced interrogation" program. Even if it is deemed classified, argue the ACLU and news organizations, it still has to meet a strict First Amendment standard for the court to lawfully prevent the public from hearing it.

The First Amendment only allows the closing of a courtroom, argued ACLU lawyer Hina Shamsi and media lawyer David Schulz, if it will "cause grave harm to national security."

"The government fails utterly to explain how it has a legitimate interest, let alone a compelling one, in suppressing information about a CIA coercive interrogation and detention program that was illegal and has been banned by the president," the ACLU says in its brief to the court.

The issue is important, both for the public's right to know what its government did and for the legitimacy of this historic trial. As Schulz told the court yesterday: "Nothing is likely to shape the public perception of the fairness of these proceedings more significantly than the way the court handles this request for a protective order."

The current proposed order, he said, "covers things that quite clearly can't credibly constitute a threat to our national security."

If the FBI both planned and thwarted a terrorist attack, who's the hero?

http://www.govexec.com/defense/2012/10/if-fbi-both-planned-and-thwarted-terrorist-attack-whos-hero/58868/

If the FBI both planned and thwarted a terrorist attack, who's the hero?
By Adam Clark Estes
October 18, 2012
A 21-year-old Bangladeshi man tried and failed to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in downtown Manhattan on Wednesday, largely thanks to the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That "thanks" ought to be attached both to the "tried" and the "failed" parts of that sentence, since it was the FBI that not only coaxed the suspect, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, into moving forward with the bombing but also supplied him with the means to do so. Don't worry. The Feds know what they're doing. They do this all the time.

Judge questions WTC blame of United Airlines in September 11 case

http://www.mymoinfo.com/Judge-questions-WTC-blame-of-United-Airlines-in-Se/9050097?newsId=172416

A logo is pictured on a wall during a news conference announcing the merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines in New York, May 3, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Judge questions WTC blame of United Airlines in September 11 case
Posted: Thursday, 18 October 2012 06:55PM
By Basil Katz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge on Thursday questioned whether United Airlines could be held responsible for suspected airport security lapses that allowed hijackers onto the American Airlines plane that slammed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Thursday's hearing before District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan stems from one of the few remaining lawsuits arising from the hijacked plane attacks, which killed more than 3,000 people in New York, the Pentagon outside Washington, and Pennsylvania.

While most of the cases have settled, Larry Silverstein, the leaseholder of the World Trade Center property, is pursuing negligence claims against United Airlines, now United Continental Holdings Inc, and American Airlines. Silverstein says they should both be held liable for loss of property and business.

Silverstein's World Trade Center Properties is seeking additional damages beyond what he has already received from his own insurer. The hearing on Thursday dealt only with claims over the destruction of 7 World Trade Center, a building just north of the World Trade Center site that also collapsed in the attacks.

Silverstein argues that United is responsible for suspected security failures that resulted in the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11, which slammed into one of the towers.

Those failures, the court heard on Thursday, began very early in the morning of September 11, 2011, when hijackers Mohammed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari set out on their trip.

That morning, Atta and al Omari boarded a US Airways flight from Maine's Portland International Jetport to Boston. From Logan International Airport, they connected onto Flight 11, which they commandeered and crashed into the World Trade Center.

Silverstein argues that because United was one of the carriers that operated Portland's only security checkpoint, it is responsible for the screening of all passengers that passed through it, regardless of what flight they are ticketed for.

United "had to be really vigilant when it did the screening," World Trade Center Properties attorney Richard Williamson told the court. "The first line of defense was Portland.... They were just asleep at the switch."

But Hellerstein appeared skeptical.

research on the recent Denver massacre by my friend Adam Coate

David I've added the embed links from youtube. They don't seem to work in email, so I'm not sure they're going to work on 9/11 Blogger either. But if people are interested they can click the links. I also expanded with some other videos.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Adam Coate
Date: Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 5:36 PM
Subject: Fwd: James Holmes - Reasonable Doubts
To: Adam Coate

In no particular order here are the things I feel are the most important in casting reasonable doubt on James Holmes' guilt.

1) No means to carry out crime. James Holmes had never gone to a shooting range before. Clearly the 90 seconds total shooting time stated by Oates isn't realistic. However, even if we assume the shooting lasted 3 minutes (which seems to be true), an AR-15 semi-automatic can shoot 50-60 rounds per minute unless you're really good. Also keep in mind shotgun rounds were shot as well in this (a non-auto shotgun), which obviously has a much slower rate of fire. So I estimate the maximum number of shots that could've been fired by James Holmes at around 100. With 70 victims, that would put his accuracy at 70%. Also, a shotgun has lots of recoil, and an inexperienced marksman like Holmes would have struggled with it.

http://triblive.com/usworld/nation/2266742-74/gunman-officials-theater-evidence-gun-investigation-percent-shooting-checks-...

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57478483/miller-aurora-shooter-must-have-practiced/

2) No motive. The only motive seems to be gun control, among other things. Obama still supports bringing back the assault rifle ban. This seems to be him doubling down on the failure of his Fast and Furious black op.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/white-house-gives-cool-welcome-bill-restricting-online-182934423.html

http://news.yahoo.com/administration-urges-terror-surveillance-renewal-182138348.html

Bloomberg News Sept. 11 Defendants Press for Right to Waterboarding Talk

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-16/sept-dot-11-defendants-press-for-right-to-waterboarding-talk

Bloomberg Businessweek
News From Bloomberg

Sept. 11 Defendants Press for Right to Waterboarding Talk
By David Lerman on October 16, 2012
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-16/sept-dot-11-defendants-press-for-right-to-waterboarding-talk
Lawyers for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks asked a military judge to reject secrecy rules they said would prevent public disclosure of details about “waterboarding” and other CIA interrogation techniques the defendants experienced.

“You cannot classify an observation and experience of the accused, particularly when it was imposed on them against their will,” David Nevin, Mohammed’s chief counsel, said yesterday, the second day of preliminary hearings at the U.S. naval station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

With a trial of the Sept. 11 defendants before a military judge and jury still a year or more away, lawyers for the five men have filed a barrage of motions seeking to define or expand the legal rights they will be afforded as they attempt to air grievances about their treatment in captivity.

Defense lawyers for the five men said the government’s proposed protective order governing the handling of classified information is too broad and would prevent them from effectively representing their clients.

Joanna Baltes, a prosecuting attorney, said the proposed protective order is almost identical to one often used in federal courts. She said the government wants the order approved to guard against “potential disclosures that could be harmful to national security.”

Army Colonel James Pohl, the military judge, recessed the hearing day without ruling on the issue.

The consideration of how to handle sensitive information in the biggest terrorism case in U.S. history coincided with a ruling questioning the credibility of military tribunals.

National Security letters: Why Reform is Necessary

http://cardozolawreview.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=14%3Afeatured-de-novo-articles&id=202%3Awellsn...

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Home de•novo Articles Featured Articles National Security letters: Why Reform is Necessary
National Security letters: Why Reform is Necessary
Desirae L. Wells

2012 Cardozo L. Rev. de novo 216
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INTRODUCTION

A National Security Letter (“NSL”) is a form letter signed by an FBI Agent, with no judicial approval, compelling disclosure of sensitive information held by banks, credit companies, telephone carriers and Internet Service Providers. NSLs provide the Government with an extraordinary power and are controversial because of this extraordinary power. This power has been expanded under the Patriot Act. There has been much opposition to NSLs. Some argue that NSLs are an "unreasonable" search and seizure of customer records and thus a violation of the Fourth Amendment; the scope of NSLs is overreaching and unwarranted; NSLs are coercive in nature and the requirement of secrecy is dangerous; and most importantly, the lack of judicial oversight is unconstitutional. Essentially, opponents argue that we must not impede on our constitutional rights in the name of “protecting the country from terrorists.”1
However, there is also much support for NSLs. Proponents argue that NSLs serve as a key tool in allowing the FBI to follow leads when the target of an NSL is not necessarily the target of the investigation. NSLs assist the FBI in collecting information sufficient to eliminate concerns about investigative subjects and close national security investigations with a greater degree of confidence. Thus, in this post 9/11 world, national security is so important that extraordinary measures must be taken to protect its citizens. But can there be a balance? Are NSLs illegal, unwarranted searches that violate the First and Fourth Amendments, or are NSLs a necessary and highly effective counter terrorism and counterintelligence tool needed in this Post 9/11 area? Is there a way to improve NSLs so that they function as a [Page 217] necessary tool for the government while protecting the rights of citizens at the same time?
The answer is two-fold. As written, NSLs arguably violate tenets of the Constitution. They are intrusive in scope and method, they are coercive in nature and the secrecy surrounding the scope of their use and their operation complicates any effort at reform. Can they be improved? Yes, with precision and depth. Some statutes must be repealed and others may be simply enhanced with explicit protections for individual liberties. Admittedly, we want a government that is focused on protecting its citizens against terrorism in this post 9/11 world. However, we as citizens should not have to sacrifice our individual rights and privacy afforded under the Constitution to meet these tasks.
In this paper, I will describe the NSL statutes, the arguments for and against NSLs, how NSLs were used both pre and post 9/11 and detail suggested recommendations as to how NSLs can be improved.

NY court considers if NYC street gang member is ‘homegrown terrorist’ under post-Sept. 11 law

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ny-court-mulls-if-nyc-street-gang-member-is-homegrown-terrorist-under-post-sept-11-...

NY court considers if NYC street gang member is ‘homegrown terrorist’ under post-Sept. 11 law

By Associated Press, Published: October 8

ALBANY, N.Y. — In 2002, a New York City street gang crashed a christening party, shouted out their superiority, confronted a rival and started a fight that left a 10-year-old girl dead and someone else paralyzed.

On Tuesday, New York’s top court will consider whether one of the gang members is a homegrown terrorist.

Edgar Morales, a member of the Mexican-American gang the St. James Boys, sought to intimidate an entire population and deserves more prison time than others convicted of the same crimes, Bronx prosecutors say. They got him convicted for the shooting death in 2007 under the state’s anti-terrorism statute, the first case of its kind in New York.

“Violent crime committed by a street gang constitutes a crime of terrorism ... when it is motivated solely by the intent to establish a gang’s ‘street credentials’ as the toughest Mexican gang in the Bronx,” because those crimes are intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, prosecutors argue in a court filing.

They applied a statute that New York lawmakers passed just six days after hijackers crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Now 30, Morales was accused of firing five shots during the August 2002 fracas outside the christening party at a church, killing bystander Melany Mendez. Morales told police he was there and briefly handled a gun but said he wasn’t involved in either the fight or the shooting.