Arlene from Israel

And that hardly begins to say it all. But then, I’m speaking about Obama, so what else would we expect?  I’m sorry I cannot start with good news today: I must begin with the outrage.

Israeli investigative journalist Ilana Dayan has just done an interview with President Obama for Israel’s Channel 2.  The full interview is being aired tonight, but segments have already been released.  Highlights, clearly.  And what he says must be countered.


Intoned Obama:

“I can, I think, demonstrate, not based on any hope but on facts and evidence and analysis, that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough agreement.

“A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it.”


Credit: dnaindia


It’s difficult to know where to begin.

Perhaps what is most outrageous here is that he has just announced to Iran that no matter what, the US will not be attacking.

We all knew that, of course.  But the US policy, enunciated every so often, has been that all options, including the military option, were on the table.

What Obama has done here, in pulling the military option off the table, is not something that should be done when in the midst of negotiations.  Not if the desire is to come out with the best possible deal: then you negotiate from strength and, at the very least, keep the your adversary guessing.

This tells us a great deal about Obama’s lack of seriousness in the negotiations. 


Or perhaps this is the most outrageous aspect of what he has said:  He is trying to convince the Israeli public that there is no point in attacking Iran, because a military solution won’t work.

My friends, at this point in time, a military solution is the only thing that will work!

Obama is quite correct that a tough, verifiable agreement would be the best way to go.  But the deal that is on the verge of being struck is neither tough nor verifiable.  P5+1 – and most specifically the US – have caved on all sorts of demands for verification.  Their demands have been spurned by Iran again and again, including with regard to inspections of military sites.  It is something of a fiasco, which practically guarantees that Iran will acquire the ability to build that bomb.


What is more, it is not true that a military solution would only slow down Iran’s operation.  Let’s parse what he said, for a moment.  He didn’t refer to the US attacking Iran, but to the US “participating,” which means Israel would have the lead. This is different from a determined attack from strength directly by the US.

It is true that Israel can only set back Iran’s operation – I’ve been told by three to five years (which would be no small matter).  That’s because Israel does not have the enormous 30,000 pound bunker busters – the Massive Ordnance Penetrators – that would be required to break through Iran’s underground fortifications.

But the US has them, and has the B-2 and B-52 bombers required for carrying them.


In fact, let me carry this one step further:

A mere two months ago, it was announced that the Pentagon had just upgraded and tested its bunker busters (emphasis added):

The Pentagon has upgraded and tested the largest bunker-buster bomb in the US, powerful enough to disable Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facilities in case of failure to reach a nuclear deal, a senior US official told the Wall Street Journal.

“’The Pentagon continues to be focused on being able to provide military options for Iran if needed,’ an unnamed senior US official has been quoted as saying.

“…work on the bunker buster (the so-called Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP) started before the latest round of talks with Iran.

“…according to Pentagon war planners the 30,000-pound (13,607 kg) bunker buster wasn’t powerful enough to destroy some fortified Iranian nuclear facilities. So work reportedly began to upgrade the bomb’s design and guidance systems.

“According to senior officials, the results show the improved bomb—when dropped one on top of the other—is now more capable of penetrating fortified nuclear facilities in Iran or in North Korea, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Pentagon also designed the bunker buster to challenge Iran’s Fordow facility, which is built into a mountain to protect it from potential airstrikes.

Upgraded electronic countermeasures have been added to the weapon to prevent jamming of its guidance systems by Iran, the source said. Electronic jammers could be allegedly used to throw an incoming bomb off target.

“It’s believed that the above mentioned measures will allow the destructive weapon to be targeted with a precision previously possible only for far smaller guided US bombs.”


Credit: CSIS


Clearly, the Pentagon and the Obama administration are not of the same mind. Also not news.  But in light of the Pentagon’s improvements to the bunker busters, Obama’s statement about the military option not being able to “fix” the situation is a glaring misrepresentation.  In other words, it’s a lie.

Please note: the US has denied Israel’s request to purchase these bunker busters and the necessary planes.  Obama does not want Israel to do the job.


The Israeli government is clear on why the request for those bunker busters was denied.  No one here is under any delusions:

’U.S. President Barack Obama is determined to sign a bad deal with Iran,’ a senior diplomatic official in Jerusalem said Monday. ‘It appears that there will be a [nuclear] agreement with Iran, because the American president wants there to be one.’”



Obama’s lies regarding the situation with Iran extend to this, below, as well (emphasis added):

Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles grew by a massive 20% over the past 18 months of negotiations between Iran and world powers, a report last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revealed…

News that Iran has been busily expanding its stockpiles contradicts claims by US President Barack Obama that the Islamic Republic had ‘frozen’ its nuclear program during the last year and a half of negotiations.”


This is what we are dealing with, then: Devoid of integrity or concern for ultimate consequences, Obama presses on in an effort to achieve his goal.  And he expects us to be reassured by his words, or even take them seriously?


At the concert that followed the parade in NYC on Sunday, former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton spoke, essentially agreeing with the position of the Israeli diplomat cited above, and advancing the view that Israel must strike Iran soon.

“I don’t think Iran has any intention of giving up its efforts to get deliverable nuclear weapons.  Even if a deal is signed sometime in the summer I think the ayatollahs will violate it even before the ink is dry…

“According to Bolton, the West doesn’t have enough knowledge about Iran’s covert nuclear program, nor does it possess any sufficient mechanism to monitor possible violations of a future deal…

“Israel must decide soon, he added, because once Iran has the bomb, ‘any attack would risk nuclear retaliation.’”  Bolton believes Israel must make it clear before attacking, that she is acting out of legitimate self-defense.


Credit: Wikipedia


Sirens were tested today in most parts of the country, as part of a Homeland Front security drill.  And I confess: even though I knew was it a drill, and even though I handled myself quite well during the recent war, I found that the sound of those sirens sent chills through me.  Next time I hear that sound it may not be a drill.

Said Prime Minister Netanyahu with regard to the drill (emphasis added):

“…when it comes to the security of Israel, I rely first of all on ourselves.” This is clearly necessary, he explained, because of “the agreement being formulated between world powers and Iran, which both paves the path for Iran to many atomic bombs and also streams in many billions [of dollars] into the coffers of Iran.

“With this money, it [Iran] can continue to arm our enemies with high-trajectory weapons and other weapons, and it will also arm its war and terror machine, which is acting against us and against the Middle East, and it is many times as dangerous as the terror machine of Daesh [ISIS], even though it too is very dangerous.”


So we have no illusions about the dangers being created for us and the larger Middle East by Obama’s relationship with Iran.  And it is important that the prime minister included among those dangers the arming of terrorist entities.


The situation to our north grows increasingly unstable, as Assad’s forces in Syria are weakening.  The debate has been long and involved, regarding which of the elements battling in the Syrian civil war – Assad or various rebels groups now including ISIS – is most dangerous.  Israel has hoped to see Assad go down because he is a puppet for Iran. As you see above, the position Netanyahu espouses is that those working at Iran’s behest are most dangerous.

See a report on the situation here:

“’De facto, the Syrian army has ceased to exist,’ Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, the Israel Defense Forces’ deputy chief of staff, said on Monday…

”This isn’t a good moment – not for Hezbollah, not for Assad and not for Iran in Syria.”


The following article, which cites MEMRI, speaks of the “existential danger” Hezbollah is now facing.

Hezbollah has endured a heavy loss of fighters in the Syria war (I’ve read as many as a thousand have died) as well as a loss of popularity among Lebanese Shias.



While there is room for a bit of gladness when Iranian puppets are weakened – and by extension also Iran – we should certainly not be complacent.  The situation just across the border in the Syrian Golan will continue to be highly unstable, and jihad forces overtly hostile to Israel may move in there with intention of carrying their jihad into Israel.

ISIS has not made its way to the border at the Golan, least not yet.  As I understand it, they are being blocked by the Free Syrian Army.


One of the things we may be seeing soon is that the Druze community in Syria near the Golan, may flee into Israel as Assad abandons them to rebel troops. These Druze were loyal to Assad, but no more.  Their cousins, on the other side of the border, have been loyal Israeli citizens for a long time.



We will also continue to see for some while, as well, attempts by Iran to bolster Hezbollah by sending in additional weaponry.  Hezbollah is down, but not out.  At present there is a report of a possible Israeli air strike in Lebanon at the border with Syria.  This strike has not been confirmed, but when such hits do take place, they are to take out sophisticated weaponry intended for Hezbollah.


And the good news today?  I absolutely love this because it truly is an “only in Israel” moment, reflecting something deep about our culture:

Hebrew University Prof. Sydney Engelberg, a social psychologist, was lecturing in front of a class.

One of his students had brought her baby to class.  As a vice provost from Hebrew University explained:

“Israel is a very familial society, and it is not at all strange for young mothers to bring children to classes.”

Professor Engelberg, a grandfather, loves babies.  He leaned over and picked up the baby, and just continued to lecture.  Someone took a picture of him and it went viral.



And how about this:

According to the UN’s 2015 World Happiness Report, Israel ranks as the 11th happiest country in the world.


This is in spite of all the violence and chaos surrounding us.  The article speaks of such things as personal freedom, healthy life expectancy and social support.  And, indeed I am sure these are all important.  But let me add here a sense of purpose, and sense of broader connectedness, and a belief system that provides meaning – which is very important.


Who’s Behind the “Disinformation” Against the NSA?

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Since Matt Drudge is a recluse who doesn’t respond to questions about his news judgment or political views, it’s hard to know for sure why he put a photograph of Edward Snowden on his website above the words, “Free to chat without NSA tracking! At least for now.” Was he recognizing enemy agent Snowden’s important role in Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) victory in the Senate in closing down National Security Agency (NSA) terrorist surveillance authority?

Despite the implication behind this misleading headline on Drudge’s influential website, people were always “free to chat.” That phrase contributes to the lingering misperception that the NSA is listening to ordinary Americans’ telephone conversations and gathering private and personal data about their lives.

Our media, under the influence of left-wing groups like the ACLU and libertarian organizations such as the Cato Institute, certainly have no desire to clear things up.

On Monday, these so-called “privacy advocates” and “surveillance experts” held a press call for the media, responding to the expiration of the Patriot Act and its various provisions. They are now desperate to prevent the Senate from adopting amendments to fix the flawed House bill known as the USA Freedom Act.

It’s fashionable to join this campaign and go with the flow, perpetuating false assumptions about what the NSA actually does.

But to his credit, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), also a presidential candidate, pointed out, “Internet search providers, Internet-based email accounts, credit card companies and membership discount cards used at the grocery store all collect far more personal information on Americans than the bulk metadata program” of the NSA.

As such, headlines like those on the Drudge Report are misleading to the point of paranoia and can only serve to make an enemy agent like Snowden, now living in Moscow and serving his Kremlin masters, into some kind of hero.

Yet, there can be no doubt that Snowden came out the big winner, thanks to Senator Paul.

If anything, this state of affairs should cause Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to rethink his support of Senator Paul’s presidential run.

In remarks on the Senate floor, McConnell said, “We shouldn’t be disarming unilaterally as our enemies grow more sophisticated and aggressive, and we certainly should not be doing so based on a campaign of demagoguery and disinformation launched in the wake of the unlawful actions of Edward Snowden.”

Those terms “demagoguery” and “disinformation” were directed at the junior senator from Kentucky. McConnell seemed to be suggesting that Paul was playing Snowden’s tune.

The term “disinformation” carries special weight, since it is an intelligence term that signifies a political influence campaign being waged by our enemies abroad, perhaps in Russia or China. Snowden, based in Moscow, has to be considered under the control of the Russian security services.

Was McConnell suggesting that Paul is acting on behalf of Russia or China?

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Paul acted on the Senate floor like President Obama was behind the NSA program and was trying to maintain it in its present form. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Obama has abandoned the NSA, something his progressive base had been demanding ever since Snowden went to Russia.

McConnell noted that Obama was pushing the House-passed USA Freedom Act, which Democrats admit has serious flaws and loopholes. McConnell said, “The administration’s inability to answer even the most basic questions about the alternate bulk-data system it would have to build under that legislation is, to say the least, troubling. And that’s not just my view. That’s the view of many in this body, including colleagues who’d been favorably predisposed to the House bill.”

McConnell went on: “In particular, I know senators from both parties have been disturbed by the administration’s continuing inability to guarantee whether the new system would work as well as the current one, or whether there would even be any data available to analyze. Because while the administration has let it be known that this non-existent system could only be built in time if telephone providers cooperate in building it, providers have made it abundantly clear that they will not commit to retaining the data for any period of time unless legally required to do so—and there is no such requirement in the House-passed bill.”

McConnell quoted one provider as saying, “[We are] not prepared to commit to voluntarily retain documents for any particular period of time pursuant to the proposed USA Freedom Act if not otherwise required by law.”

In other words, the USA Freedom Act effectively dismantles the terrorist surveillance powers of the NSA, while giving the impression of “reform.” It’s no wonder that Snowden-friendly media like the British Guardian are giving the measure favorable publicity.

It’s troubling that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), another GOP presidential candidate, was backing the USA Freedom Act as well.

But Senator Paul stands to the left of even the House bill.

In another piece of disinformation, an outfit called America’s Liberty PAC released animated video showing Rand Paul vs. Barack Obama in a supposed showdown over the NSA, with the two of them depicted as the wrestlers “Rand Man,” and Obama as the head of the “Washington spy machine.”

Yet, Obama was mostly on the side of Rand Paul in this effort.

As noted, Obama had endorsed major changes in the NSA program that McConnell had described as unworkable. McConnell and those who wanted to maintain the system were Paul’s real enemies.

Let’s hope that Senator McConnell continues to set the record straight as the junior senator from Kentucky goes forward in the presidential campaign, attempting to portray himself as a friend of liberty and the Constitution against the odious Obama administration. Also odious is a presidential candidate who misrepresents the facts for political gain, and runs as a Republican when his position on the NSA makes him more comfortable in the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party.

It looks like Senator Paul is following in the footsteps of his father, who veered far-left on foreign policy matters and came to be associated with the “blame America first” mentality that the Democrats were once known for. Interestingly, America’s Liberty PAC, a Super PAC founded by former Ron Paul political operatives, is backing Rand Paul for president and has been endorsed by him.

In another example of pure disinformation, a video on a conservative website hailed Senator Paul’s actions under the headline, “Obama’s NSA Snoops Have Just Been Dealt A HUGE Setback That Could Shake Up The 2016 Race.”

Obama’s NSA Snoops? This is the same kind of nonsense that Senator Paul was spewing. The NSA is a professional intelligence agency whose main mission is to support America’s combat troops. It has also been assigned the job of maintaining a database of phone numbers possibly linked to foreign terrorist organizations. This information, after it is obtained legally, is provided to law enforcement agencies such as the FBI.

Largely because of the antics of Senator Paul, McConnell is now left with the option of bringing the House-passed bill to the Senate floor. “It’s not ideal but, along with votes on some modest amendments that attempt to ensure the program can actually work as promised, it’s now the only realistic way forward,” he said.

To his credit, Senator Rubio has backed McConnell’s effort to protect and preserve the NSA system. He noted, “Bulk metadata includes phone numbers, the time and duration of calls—nothing else. No content of any phone calls is collected. The government is not listening to your phone calls or recording them unless you are a terrorist or talking to a terrorist outside the United States.”

These basic facts have gotten lost in the “demagoguery and disinformation,” as Senator McConnell called the attacks on the NSA.

Even worse, the effort had a money-grubbing aspect to it. Paul posted a statement celebrating the end of the NSA program and urging his supporters to, “Click here to contribute and celebrate this tremendous victory for the Constitution.”

Edward Snowden was certainly celebrating. He had contributed to one of Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns and is probably tempted to support his son. But “clicking to contribute” rubles from Moscow might be going too far, even for the Pauls.


“Switch to Mitch” Better Than “Stand with Rand”

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

A new report on the damage done by Edward Snowden’s illegal leaks of classified information says terrorists now “better understand the scope and scale of Western intelligence capacity” and have altered the way they communicate about their plans to attack the United States and its allies. “By revealing information concerning intelligence-gathering techniques, Snowden has polluted ongoing operations” to catch terrorists, states the new report from the Henry Jackson Society.

At a time such as this, diminishing or dismantling the powers of the NSA seems like a suicidal course of action for the United States. Yet, acting at the instigation of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the Senate is close to voting for major changes to the NSA in the form of a so-called USA Freedom Act, which has already passed the House but which could risk a loss of critical intelligence information, thereby leading to future terrorist attacks. A Senate vote comes next Sunday, just hours before a vital NSA program authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act is scheduled to lapse.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who once endorsed Paul’s presidential run, seems to be having second thoughts as he scrambles to maintain the existing power of the NSA to obtain access to a databank of U.S. telephone numbers, known as metadata, which investigators could search for links to foreign terrorist organizations plotting attacks on the American homeland. Such information is obtained by the NSA and then provided to law enforcement agencies such as the FBI.

The Obama administration is backing Senate passage of the USA Freedom Act legislation that some experts describe as unworkable.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) says that the USA Freedom Act “undercuts the Intelligence Community’s capability to stop terrorist attacks here and abroad. Our intelligence personnel have responsibly and professionally used authorities granted them under Section 215 for years, and have helped keep Americans safe as a result….  Even the Administration has admitted that no intentional abuses of privacy and civil liberties have resulted from the use of the legal authorities provided by Section 215.”

Burr points out that the legislation “envisions an unknown technical solution based on uncertain access to data that may or may not exist.” He says the bill lacks “a mandatory data retention requirement for the telecommunications companies,” and therefore offers no real mechanism for investigators to obtain the information that could help thwart terrorist attacks.

“As terror groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaida grow in number, capability, and technical sophistication, now is not the time to turn to an untested, unproven proposal” such as the House-passed USA Freedom Act, he said. Burr supports McConnell’s proposed clean authorization of section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The “Stand with Rand” crowd points to a Breitbart “exclusive” article from Paul, who is opposing McConnell’s effort and insists that “FBI agents can’t point to any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers [for the NSA] in the Patriot Act.” Paul insists that the agency’s powers must be scaled back through Senate adoption of the USA Freedom Act.

In fact, however, the Senator’s claim about the NSA providing no role in cracking major terrorism cases is flat-out wrong, as AIM has documented. Paul was referring to a Justice Department Inspector General’s report that in fact confirmed the usefulness of NSA information in providing investigative leads and corroborating other information for the FBI. Cases are actually “cracked” by law enforcement authorities working with information provided by the NSA and other sources.

In another major miscue, the Kentucky senator claimed in his Breitbart column that “a recent Pew Research Poll shows that a majority of Americans want the Patriot Act changed.” But the link is to an article about a poll commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the senator’s left-wing allies in attempting to shut down the powers of the NSA.

The biased poll from Global Strategy Group and G² Public Strategies gets large margins against NSA surveillance powers by framing the issue in terms of the “privacy” of Americans’ “personal information” versus “government spying.” In fact, the NSA does not collect any “personal information,” except in cases where telephone numbers of terrorist contacts in the U.S. are matched with foreign terrorist organizations. That information is used by the FBI to conduct investigations of terrorist groups on U.S. soil.

Meanwhile, Paul has denied that his filibuster against the Patriot Act was a money-raising tactic linked to the release of his new book, Taking a Stand, and his presidential campaign.

If a political issue is what he’s seeking, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, a former prosecutor, is giving it to him. Christie, a possible GOP presidential candidate, told the “Fox & Friends” show that Paul and his Senate allies are taking the side of NSA defector Snowden, “a criminal” who is “hiding in Russia.” Christie noted the irony in Snowden “lecturing to us about the evils of authoritarian government while he lives under the protective umbrella of Vladimir Putin.”

As several news organizations have pointed out, Paul makes the erroneous claim in his new book that six Americans died in the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks. This basic error of fact (four died at Benghazi) is a serious lapse for a presidential candidate who is already facing questions over his expertise in national security matters.

But, as Christie suggests, the most serious questions facing the Senator concern his willingness to regard Snowden, now living in Moscow under the protection of the Russian secret services, as a legitimate whistleblower concerned about the privacy of the American people.

The new study from the Henry Jackson Society, written by Robin Simcox, says Snowden has had “contact” with the Russian security service, the FSB, “an obvious cause of concern” that has led the U.S. Government to fear that Russian and Chinese cyber warfare capabilities have increased as a result of getting access to Snowden’s stolen files.

Simcox documents how the following has occurred as a result of the Snowden disclosures:

  • At least three al-Qaeda affiliates are known to have changed their communication methods.
  • Online jihadist platforms released new encryption tools, and at a quicker pace.
  • A video released onto a jihadist platform outlined what they had learned from the Snowden disclosures, providing advice on how to avoid detection and listing software packages that protect against surveillance.
  • Foreign terror suspects realized that their communications potentially passed through the U.S. (even if the individuals themselves were not based there) and that Communication Service Providers (CSP) was allowing the NSA to access these communications. They subsequently stopped using these CSPs to send emails, or even stopped using electronic communications altogether.

As one example of “non-domestic surveillance” revealed by Snowden, this report cites another report that the NSA had received permission to spy on groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

This may explain why groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, have joined Senator Paul in opposing NSA surveillance powers. On Sunday’s “This Week” program, Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) said he would “Stand with Rand” against the Patriot Act. “I’ve been proud to stand with him” on this and other issues, he said.

The Senate faces a choice this Sunday: “Switch to Mitch” or “Stand with Rand” and risk catastrophe.


Skies are Filled with FBI Aircraft

By: Denise Simon

More surveillance operations in those clouds above and they belong to the FBI even though there are alias names in front companies managing those aircrafts.

The FBI has under the ‘critical incident response group’ a fleet of aircraft. An inspector general has performed an audit of the division complete with redactions. Considering legitimacy of the program, then why the redactions and the fake companies and forged signatures?

FBI Runs Secret Air Force Posing As Fake Companies To Spy On U.S. Cities

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.

The planes’ surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge’s approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found.

Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence probes. But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.

U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed for the first time the wide-scale use of the aircraft, which the AP traced to at least 13 fake companies, such as FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services. Even basic aspects of the program are withheld from the public in censored versions of official reports from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

“The FBI’s aviation program is not secret,” spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. “Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes.” Allen added that the FBI’s planes “are not equipped, designed or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance.”

But the planes can capture video of unrelated criminal activity on the ground that could be handed over for prosecutions.

Some of the aircraft can also be equipped with technology that can identify thousands of people below through the cellphones they carry, even if they’re not making a call or in public. Officials said that practice, which mimics cell towers and gets phones to reveal basic subscriber information, is rare.

Details confirmed by the FBI track closely with published reports since at least 2003 that a government surveillance program might be behind suspicious-looking planes slowly circling neighborhoods. The AP traced at least 50 aircraft back to the FBI, and identified more than 100 flights since late April orbiting both major cities and rural areas.

One of the planes, photographed in flight last week by the AP in northern Virginia, bristled with unusual antennas under its fuselage and a camera on its left side. A federal budget document from 2010 mentioned at least 115 planes, including 90 Cessna aircraft, in the FBI’s surveillance fleet.

The FBI also occasionally helps local police with aerial support, such as during the recent disturbance in Baltimore that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who sustained grievous injuries while in police custody. Those types of requests are reviewed by senior FBI officials.

The surveillance flights comply with agency rules, an FBI spokesman said. Those rules, which are heavily redacted in publicly available documents, limit the types of equipment the agency can use, as well as the justifications and duration of the surveillance.

Details about the flights come as the Justice Department seeks to navigate privacy concerns arising from aerial surveillance by unmanned aircrafts, or drones. President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance, and has called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified programs.

“These are not your grandparents’ surveillance aircraft,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, calling the flights significant “if the federal government is maintaining a fleet of aircraft whose purpose is to circle over American cities, especially with the technology we know can be attached to those aircraft.”

During the past few weeks, the AP tracked planes from the FBI’s fleet on more than 100 flights over at least 11 states plus the District of Columbia, most with Cessna 182T Skylane aircraft. These included parts of Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and Southern California.

Evolving technology can record higher-quality video from long distances, even at night, and can capture certain identifying information from cellphones using a device known as a “cell-site simulator” — or Stingray, to use one of the product’s brand names. These can trick pinpointed cellphones into revealing identification numbers of subscribers, including those not suspected of a crime.

Officials say cellphone surveillance is rare, although the AP found in recent weeks FBI flights orbiting large, enclosed buildings for extended periods where aerial photography would be less effective than electronic signals collection. Those included above Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

After The Washington Post revealed flights by two planes circling over Baltimore in early May, the AP began analyzing detailed flight data and aircraft-ownership registrations that shared similar addresses and flight patterns. That review found some FBI missions circled above at least 40,000 residents during a single flight over Anaheim, California, in late May, according to Census data and records provided by the website FlightRadar24.com.

Most flight patterns occurred in counter-clockwise orbits up to several miles wide and roughly one mile above the ground at slow speeds. A 2003 newsletter from the company FLIR Systems Inc., which makes camera technology such as seen on the planes, described flying slowly in left-handed patterns.

“Aircraft surveillance has become an indispensable intelligence collection and investigative technique which serves as a force multiplier to the ground teams,” the FBI said in 2009 when it asked Congress for $5.1 million for the program.

Recently, independent journalists and websites have cited companies traced to post office boxes in Virginia, including one shared with the Justice Department. The AP analyzed similar data since early May, while also drawing upon aircraft registration documents, business records and interviews with U.S. officials to understand the scope of the operations.

The FBI asked the AP not to disclose the names of the fake companies it uncovered, saying that would saddle taxpayers with the expense of creating new cover companies to shield the government’s involvement, and could endanger the planes and integrity of the surveillance missions. The AP declined the FBI’s request because the companies’ names — as well as common addresses linked to the Justice Department — are listed on public documents and in government databases.

At least 13 front companies that AP identified being actively used by the FBI are registered to post office boxes in Bristow, Virginia, which is near a regional airport used for private and charter flights. Only one of them appears in state business records.

Included on most aircraft registrations is a mysterious name, Robert Lindley. He is listed as chief executive and has at least three distinct signatures among the companies. Two documents include a signature for Robert Taylor, which is strikingly similar to one of Lindley’s three handwriting patterns.

The FBI would not say whether Lindley is a U.S. government employee. The AP unsuccessfully tried to reach Lindley at phone numbers registered to people of the same name in the Washington area since Monday.

Law enforcement officials said Justice Department lawyers approved the decision to create fictitious companies to protect the flights’ operational security and that the Federal Aviation Administration was aware of the practice. One of the Lindley-headed companies shares a post office box openly used by the Justice Department.

Such elusive practices have endured for decades. A 1990 report by the then-General Accounting Office noted that, in July 1988, the FBI had moved its “headquarters-operated” aircraft into a company that wasn’t publicly linked to the bureau.

The FBI does not generally obtain warrants to record video from its planes of people moving outside in the open, but it also said that under a new policy it has recently begun obtaining court orders to use cell-site simulators. The Obama administration had until recently been directing local authorities through secret agreements not to reveal their own use of the devices, even encouraging prosecutors to drop cases rather than disclose the technology’s use in open court.

A Justice Department memo last month also expressly barred its component law enforcement agencies from using unmanned drones “solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment” and said they are to be used only in connection with authorized investigations and activities. A department spokeswoman said the policy applied only to unmanned aircraft systems rather than piloted airplanes.


Our Weasel Of The Week Nominees! – 06/02/15

The Watcher’s Council


It’s time once again for the Watcher’s Council’s ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations, where we pick our choices to compete for the award of the famed Golden Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations!

Here are this week’s nominees…

Image source: Charleston Animal Society
The Monster Who Tortured And Abused This Dog

Don Surber: The known-only-to-God-and-the-Devil expletive who did this. The bastard.

Racialist Cop Hater and Baltimore City Attorney Marilyn Mosby!!

The Noisy Room: I nominate for Weasel of the Week, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for pulling an Anthony Weiner and claiming her Twitter account was hacked after two controversial tweets were “favorited” by a personal Twitter account belonging to her. The first tweet referred to the officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray as “those 6 THUG cops” and the other praised Mosby and claimed she “INFURIATES a certain kind of white person.” Her office is now claiming that these acts were conducted by some shadowy hacker. It’s amazing to me that these politicians can’t behave on social media and when they get caught, they always blame some nefarious nerd for their bad behavior.

From The Blaze:

“Both Mosby’s official Twitter account and her personal account were hacked,” the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office reportedly told “The Kelly File” on Wednesday. “We do not know how long it’s been going on, we are working with Twitter.”

Mosby revealed on May 23 that her official government Twitter account had been hacked, but did not mention her personal account being compromised. Further, the tweets in question were favorited by her personal account weeks before her government account was reportedly hacked.

How convenient that only two Tweets were hacked on a Twitter account that wasn’t reported hacked at all – I’m sure it’s just a massive coincidence that the two Tweets are highly racist, offensive and just so happen to paint her as the cop-hater and grand-stander she really is. She’s just the kind of weasel Progressive that Obama hearts.

Secretary Of State John Kerry – Did You know He Served In Vietnam?

Virginia Right!: John Kerry took a break from negotiations with Iran on a nuclear deal to have a little fun in the world of competitive cycling. The rigors of the Tour de France circuit are pretty daunting. And Kerry is 71 years old. et he decided to risk his health and limb on a bicycle.

And he broke his hip or leg. Apparently the hip replacement surgery he had a while back is pretty close to the break.

So first and foremost, he is an idiot.

But more importantly, Iran now miraculously has more time to refine nuclear material while the talks are on hold.

So, did John Kerry break his hip on purpose to help Iran develop the bomb? Of course not! His leg isn’t really broken. He is faking it. (Ok. That is for my conspiracy theory friends.)

I am sure he broke his leg. And it was nothing more than complete stupidity. But it does throw a monkey wrench in the Iran talks and gives them what they need most – more time.

And as if that were not enough, Kerry had his doctor flown to Europe and accompany him on his return flight to the US for treatment. In a military transport jet that usually carries 100 soldiers.

Kerry probably added 2 degrees to global warming on his trip back home.

The Daily Mail reports:

A US military C-17 transport aircraft that usually carries at least 100 troops flew to Geneva Airport to pick up Secretary of State John Kerry and fly him to Boston where he’ll be treated for a broken leg.

The Air Force plane touched down in Switzerland on Monday after taking off from a US base in Ramstein, Germany, and then heading to Massachusetts after collecting the 71-year-old politician.

Kerry tweeted out ‘big thanks’ to his well-wishers and said he looked forward to getting his leg set and getting back to work at the State Department.

Noo Yawk Dummy-crat, 2nd Amendment Hater  and Insurance Company Prostitute   Carolyn B. Maloney!!

JoshuaPundit: The thing about weasels is that they love to disguise their self-serving evil as virtue, as something ‘everybody knows’ and ‘every decent person supports.’  When you hear that coming out of someone’s mouth, it’s a dead giveaway you’re talking to a totalitarian lovin’ prog fascist.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney has a bill she’s submitting in the House that would require Americans who choose to avail themselves of the freedoms given to them by the 2nd Amendment to  purchase mandatory liability insurance. 

“We require insurance to own a car, but no such requirement exists for guns,” Maloney said in a statement. “The results are clear: car fatalities have declined by 25 percent in the last decade, but gun fatalities continue to rise.”

Maloney said auto insurance carriers incentivize drivers to take precautions to reduce accidents, but no such incentives exist for firearm owners.

Of course, aside from being unconstitutional, there are two outright lies in that statement. First, there’s no insurance requirement to own and drive a car. While most people buy it, especially if they have a vehicle of some value,  Every state in the union allows a cash bond to be  posted by a prospective car owner  in lieu of insurance. And there is no requirement to obtain insurance when you buy a vehicle. That’s why most policies include uninsured motorist coverage.

And gun fatalities aren’t rising. They’ve been falling for some time, and are down 49% from 1993.

Ah, but here’s where the real weasel touch comes in. Guess who Ms. Maloney’s biggest campaign contributors are?

Why yes! It’s the insurance companies, who stand to make a nice chunk o’ change if this idiocy went through.

The bill is almost certainly headed nowhere, but this way, Ms. Maloney can say she tried to her donors. And may I add that this legislation, like most gun control merda taurorum is racist and  elitest as well, since it discriminates against minorities and the poor whom need to defend themselves? Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it, from a privileged congress weasel with the best security money can buy – courtesy of the U.S, tax payers she wants to disarm so badly.

Well, there it is. What a despicable group of  Weasels… ANY OF THEM COULD WIN! Check back Thursday to see which Weasel walks off with the statuette of shame!

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Trevor Loudon to Speak Twice in Florida

New Zeal

Trevor Loudon will be addressing the Tea Party Manatee at Mixon Farm 2525, 27th Street East, Bradenton, Florida – Thursday, June 4, 6-8:30 pm.

He will be addressing the Fort Lauderdale Tea Party at Umberto’s 3051 East Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Saturday, June 6, 3-5:30 pm.

All welcome! See you there!!!florida