Thursday, February 18, 2010

Homeland Security Keeping An Eye On Web Sites During Olympics

From ABC News:
As the winter Olympics begin, the Department of Homeland Security has disclosed that it will be monitoring the comments and posts on websites and social media like Twitter for information on possible terror threats. Among the sites listed in a privacy impact statement filed [February 12] by DHS are the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post, Twitter, Google and this web site, the Blotter.
The National Operations Center of DHS will watch the web for information, according to the statement, to "provide situational awareness" in the event of natural disaster, an "act of terrorism, or other manmade disaster."
"The Olympics are a potential target for such events," said the statement. The statement did not list all web sites and social media that the NOC will monitor, but provided 31 examples, many of them, like the Blotter, sites that cover breaking news, security, or terror.
DHS officials say they will not be monitoring the web sites extensively, but would use the sites as a reference and open source tool in the event of an incident or emergency. DHS officials also used the monitoring of social media sites in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake to aid rescue efforts.

White House Receptive To Indefinite Detention For Terrorists

At least that's what Sen. Lindsey Graham tells Politico:
The White House is considering endorsing a law that would allow the indefinite detention of some alleged terrorists without trial as part of efforts to break a logjam with Congress over President Barack Obama’s plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday.
Last summer, White House officials said they had ruled out seeking a “preventive detention” statute as a way to deal with anti-terror detainees, saying the administration would hold any Guantanamo prisoners brought to the U.S. in criminal courts or under the general “law of war” principles permitting detention of enemy combatants.
However, speaking at a news conference in Greenville, S.C., Monday, Graham said the White House now seems open to a new law to lay out the standards for open-ended imprisonment of those alleged to be members of or fighters for Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

Obama Justice Department: No Warrants Needed For Cell-Phone Tracking

So let's review the bidding. The many critics of the Bush administration regularly accused the president and his team of violating civil liberties and shredding the constitution. Now comes the Obama administration telling the 3rd Circuit federal appeals court that is okay to track cell phones without a court order. Has there been any significant outcry from privacy advocates or civil libertarians?
The FBI and other police agencies don't need to obtain a search warrant to learn the locations of Americans' cell phones, the U.S. Department of Justice told a federal appeals court in Philadelphia on [February 12].
A Justice Department attorney told the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that there is no constitutional problem with obtaining records from cellular providers that can reveal the approximate locations of handheld and mobile devices.
There "is no constitutional bar" to acquiring "routine business records held by a communications service provider," said Mark Eckenwiler, a senior attorney in the criminal division of the Justice Department. He added, "The government is not required to use a warrant when it uses a tracking device."
This is the first federal appeals court to address warrantless location tracking, which raises novel issues of government surveillance and whether Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts.

Report: Dems To Plant Double Agents In Tea Party Movement

Andrew Breitbart's claims that treacherous Democrat operatives plan to undermine the Tea Party movement with dirty tricks, including blackmail:
Big Government has learned that Clintonistas are plotting a “push/pull” strategy. They plan to identify 7-8 national figures active in the tea party movement and engage in deep opposition research on them. If possible, they will identify one or two they can perhaps ‘turn’, either with money or threats, to create a mole in the movement. The others will be subjected to a full-on smear campaign. (Has MSNBC already been notified?)
Big Government has also learned that James Carville will head up the effort.
Obviously, there is no love lost between Obama and the Clinton machine. It may at first seem odd that Clinton would rush to Obama’s defense, but the tea party movement poses a threat far beyond the immediate goals of the Obama Administration.

Guest Blog: Live by the sword...

Guest blogger Jason Tabrys of shares his thoughts of his perception of Capitol Hill gridlock:

It was called "seppuku" by the Japanese Samurai, the act of falling upon ones sword to show contrition and shame. Through the course of human existence, there have been many variations, many words, and traditions all ending in the same place. A person wrapped in failure embracing one small bit of honor as he or she committed an act of self-sacrifice in the name of the greater good.

Perhaps the whole of the U.S. Congress should take note. Choosing to step aside and allow fresh voices from both parties to be heard. A new generation of legislators with a sense of urgency regarding matters beyond the self serving. There is certainly enough failure and there should be enough shame to justify it.

A global recession, two wars, and double-digit unemployment. Fear is incalculable, struggle a natural way of life for so many. And yet they sit on their hands. We are a nation in drought, no rains, no water, no relief, and all they do is light fires in each others villages. Bickering and scrapping, hoping to win our favor by scoring cheap points when all we care about is easing our own tortured journey.

America is not a nation of one party or two parties; their interests should not concern us. We are 300 million lights shining brightly, the majesty of an individual conquering adversity. A rich tapestry strung together by so many unique stories, so many ideas and purposes, and we are all being held down at once by a party that wishes to legislate us into roboticism and another that seeks to let us be free within the bounds of their own definition. Free to own a submachine gun but not free to marry who we wish. Free to poison yourself with tobacco but not marijuana; your body, your beliefs demanded into obsolescence and submission. The phrase "The greater good," a mallet used to bash a free man about the head.

Once I cared about the frivolity of politics, but a voice grows hoarse, and eyes can see a horror so many times before they close shut. And while the promises and proclamations grow in intensity and volume over these coming months, still just as hollow as those delivered to us last time and the time before that, we must remember that no time has demanded more, and no time has received less from our elected officials at nearly every rung of the ladder. Perhaps mass resignation is a tad fanciful but something must be done to push aside partisan bickering and prove that patriotism is more then a lapel pin, more then a slogan. But rather a religion unto itself where those who truly believe are willing to sacrifice upon its altar.