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20 May 2015


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it might get worse despite the Senator.

At least in Europe: http://hosted2.ap.org/WVWIL/3fe81851761548beb9baf9af7bc1fa67/Article_2015-05-20-EU--Rethinking%20Intel/id-e41396bf63a04689a4daaabc3fc48651

But as much as I respect Senator Rand's stand, I have to ask: is he grandstanding? Couldn't he block it easily without the attempt at an old-fashioned Jimmy Stewart/Frank Capra filibuster. I understood there was a better way to block bills in the Senate nowadays.

The Twisted Genius

The Europeans will have to fight this battle within their own societal and political norms. Is he grandstanding? Perhaps that's a consideration given his Presidential aspirations. However, I believe this is a matter of a deeply held conviction on Rand's part. The Patriot Act has plenty of powerful supporters in the Senate who desperately want bulk collection to continue. They will use every trick they can devise to see that happen. I don't fully understand the timing on this filibuster, but there may be a reason for it. As for it's effectiveness, this article describes it's importance. You have to be a real political wonk to fully understand this stuff.




God bless them all. pl


TTG, Sir

Thank you for speaking out against this most Unpatriotic Act. As an intelligence professional you know better than any of us lay people that the dragnet is useless against our adversaries. The purpose then can only be to strengthen the deep state which would inevitably lead to the intimidation of those that oppose them. I remember with much revulsion that only the good senator from Wisconsin voted against this Act when it was first passed. I am glad a few senators have found their conscience now. The passage of this Act demonstrated how corrupt both parties have become and their allegiance is not to the Constitution but the increasing power of the state.

Sir, do you think the genie is out and that wether they have legal protection or not, the deep state will not give up their surveillance powers?

The Twisted Genius


Only if we let them. Some things are well worth fighting for.

The Twisted Genius

Rand Paul wrapped up his filibuster or marathon speech just before midnight. That had to be his plan, because he had enough supporters with him to spell him with extended questions to go on past dawn if he wanted to do so. We'll see how this all works out over the next two days. His last remark was, "Bulk collection must end, and I think we have the votes to end it now."


Good luck!


Germany is an interesting case since we do have real pushback here as a result the still relatively recent of Stasi snooping (never mind the Third Reich). We have strong privacy laws, and that's a good thing.

We had a major debate over 'Rasterfahndung' in the 1970s, an early electronic dragnet, which was used to go after the RAF terrorists. Rasterfahndung is electronic profiling (my rough translation):

"In 1979 the RAF had rented in Frankfurt am Main several flats under false names; the Police didn't know where. Since the terrorists could not transfer money from account to account, the police assumed that that the false names would be in the group of persons which paid their electricty bills in cash. That was at the time 18000 people. How to find the false names in that large a number of names? ... the names of all those who were known to be true names were deleted ... in the case of Franfurt there were only two false names left: a drug dealer and the wanted terorist Heißler, who then was arrested in the so found flat."

(in German) http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasterfahndung

Because Rasterfahndung ignores the assumption of innocence (of the 17998 other people who were scrutinised), it is deemed invasive (to the 17998) and only allowed when there is a clear and present danger. A few ears back Wolfgang Schäuble wanted to expand its use, reviving the debate - as an illustration:

Green party election placard (obviously inspired by an iconic US propaganda poster)

"YOU are suspicious" - http://tinyurl.com/luq3vo

Point is, I have had the opportunity to read my father's Stasi file. It was utterly banal because my father led a rather normal life and only visited the DDR to visit a diaspora church and a cousin. He was in the verdict of the Stasi case officer, roughly put, a 'burgeouis and reactionary element', being catholic and a public servant. Trivialities - on the permanent record.

There is no point to allow the government to have a file on everybody, if anything it is harmful. It was in the DDR.

It will allow past conduct to be used out of context to confirm contemporary suspicions. The persecution of innocents as a result of investigators being blinkered by such information is a probable result. It allows to scrutinise everybody in light of his (permanent) record. Security organs will be able and inevitably be tempted to investigate persons, not crimes.


A slow awakening: "Neo-McCarthyism and the US Media, The crusade to ban Russia policy critics," by James Carden

William R. Cumming

I was asked to prepare the backgrounder set forth below that was published as part of Working Paper 107 by the Natural Hazards Center of the University of Colorado and organization that I helped found and fund about 1975. The backgrunder published about 2003.

The U.S.A. Patriot Act, Pub.L 107-56, October 26, 2001
The U.S.A. Patriot Act consists of ten titles (Over 130 pages of the U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News). The full title of the Act is "Uniting and Strengthening America By Providing Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism" (USA Patriot Act) of 2001.

The titles are instructive and are as follows:

Title I Enhancing Domestic Security Against Terrorism
Title II Enhancing Surveillance Procedure
Title III International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act of 2001
Title IV Protecting the Border
Title V Removing Obstacles to Investigating Terrorism
Title VI Providing for Victims of Terrorism, Public Safety Officers, and Their Families
Title VII Increased Information Sharing for Critical Infrastructure Protection
Title VIII Strengthening the Criminal Laws Against Terrorism
Title IX Improved Intelligence
Title X Miscellaneous
Much of this statute had been in the "wish list" of the Department of Justice even prior to September 11, 2001. Some portions seem not to relate to the war on terrorism. For example, the so-called "Gratuity Act," which dates back to the Civil War was the basis of the prosecution for former Secretary of Agriculture Espy, and is found in Title 31 (Money & Finance) of the United States Code, is restated, amended, and updated to reflect case law (DOJ losses). See Section 329.

Section 411 provides new definitions of terrorism so as to affect the admissibility of persons seeking admission as legal resident aliens or seeking citizenship. For example, solicitation of funds for terrorist activity becomes a new absolute bar to temporary or permanent immigration. Additionally, a broadened definition of "terrorist organization" and association with them triggers immigration bans. By implication, authority for new investigation and tracking systems are authorized to enforce such restrictions. See also the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, Pub.L 107-173, May 14, 2002.

Section 412 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act concerns mandatory detention of suspected terrorist and has been the subject of many articles in the press.

Title VI involving victim compensation has been extensively discussed in the news, particularly the requirement to reduce awards from the DOJ supervised fund by the amount of life insurance and pensions.

Numerous amendments to the United States Code (Title 18-Crime) are contained in this new statute. For example, section 817 expands the prohibitions on possession or use of certain biologic agents. See also the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, Pub.L. 107-188, June 12, 2002. Section 1013 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act lists extensive Senate findings on bioterrorism issues. While Congressional findings do not make substantive law, they are useful in construing Congressional intent. On this basis, one could conclude from the Senate findings that the entire public health system requires reconstruction to effectively deal with bioterrorism.

Section 1005 of the Act is called the "First Responder Assistance Act" and authorizes so-called "Terrorism Prevention Grants." These grants would fund equipment, technical assistance, materials, and training. DOJ has already published grant application procedures. If there is a permanent appropriation, as opposed to a Continuing Resolution, for FY 2003, this would be the largest federal first responder grant program ever. FEMA also provides grants for similar objectives through its EMPG function, as well as grants through the United States Fire Administration to the fire community. The dollar amounts of these latter programs are much smaller. It remains to be seen whether the First Responder community will receive more grant money from DOJ, DHS, or DOD. If one includes the medical community, then HHS may also rival these organizations in total outlays for First Responders.

Perhaps confusingly, section 1014-Grant Program for State and Local Domestic Preparedness authorizes a grant to each state to prepare for and respond to terrorist acts involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD's) and biological, nuclear, radiological, chemical, and explosive devices.

Section 1012 requires a security risk determination to be made for all persons with HAZMAT transportation licenses. Since no investigatory or adjudication standards are included in the statute, presumably this is left entirely to the discretion of the Executive Branch.

Section 1016 concerns Critical Infrastructure Protection. The statute funds the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (successor to the former Defense Nuclear Agency) for certain functions now being transferred to the new Department of Homeland Security.

Interestingly, sections 224 and 303 contain mandatory review or sunset provisions. By December 31, 2005, certain portions of the statute, but not all, will expire (unless of course extended by new Congressional action). Foreign Intelligence Investigations (a term of art) started before that date will be allowed to continue. Other saving provisions may have to result from legal interpretations.

There is a key new provision giving immunity from suit in Section 225 to persons who cooperate with the government on so-called FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) wiretaps. Of course, under current Supreme Court case law there can be no immunity for violations of an individual's Constitutional protected rights.

This statute will probably see numerous technical amendments in the 108th Congress convening in January 2003. The statute has been cited in numerous court filings, but its real significance awaits final judicial construction, which may take years."

N.B. The Patriot Act has been amended and extended several times by Congress and enacted into law by signature of various Presidents.

Unfortunately the legislative history of Section 215 is NOT available to me.

Babak Makkinejad

There is this German family who have been visiting Iran for 5 months and I heard that their house in Germany has been searched already twice - under court order - by the German Police.

I think German Government clearly is unable - on its own - to make sensible distinctions among the various protagonists and antagonists of Middle East.


what you say about the case proves not what you say it does. I have never heard of it.

For a search warrant for a home to be issued the court requires reasonable suspicion, in this case apparently in the expectation to find evidence (I exclude expectation of arrest).

As for the crime in question, it can be everything - starting from petty crime, tax evasion to espionage, terrorism related accusations or embargo busting. Only because they're to or from Iran doesn't mean it's political.


re: legislative history of Section 215 - does this help?


Babak Makkinejad

Here is the site:


Ask them.

William R. Cumming

Thanks CP!

Adam L Silverman


It's not a filibuster. He spent yesterday talking during an intervening calendar day on the Senate schedule. Once the cloture TPP fast track legislation was calendared, because of the insane Senafe procedural rules, an intervening day where no real business on the Senate floor was going to be/could be done, though committee work would take place through 2:00 PM the end of the formal Senatorial working day... What Senator Paul did was grab that open Senafe floor time to (correctly) lambast the Patriot Act renewal legislation. This isn't a traditional filibuster - he has not, nor will he, rise to take and hold the floor during the debate on the Patriot Act renewal for as long as he or any allies can continue talking, nor is it a modern filibuster/non filibuster filibuster that requires a sixty vote majority to end debate and proceed to the actual and simple majority vote on the actual legislation. It's clear that Senator Paul doesn't have the support to sustain either of those types of actual filibuster. This was a political stunt for the cameras, in order to bolster his bona fides with and increase his fundraising from his father's supporters who think he's going week on national security issues, for supporters of his via NAGR who are convinced the renewal will create a a national firearms registry. Both of the fundraising efforts are well underway! When the actual Patriot Act comes up on the calendar it will, most likely and unfortunately, pass with little trouble. Unfortunately almost no one in the news media that covers national politics will take the two minutes and explain how any of this stuff works. Rather, and because they're both incurious and in pursuit of eyeballs or ears to sell advertising too, they just report that giving a really long speech on an important topic on a down day in the Senate is a filibuster.

The Twisted Genius


You're right. It wasn't a real filibuster. Paul carefully ended his speech before midnight so he didn't effect the legislative schedule. That may have been his plan all along. He doesn't want to burn all the bridges with his party's leadership. I'm not sure how this will effect all the moving parts in the various pieces of legislation. His comment that he thinks he has the votes to end it now could be just rhetoric, but I'm hoping he and his allies can prevent a clean renewal of Section 215 before Congress adjourns. We'll see what happens with Saturday's votes. We have to take small victories when we can get them.


Are you sure the USA Freedom Act has no chance of passing? It is not great, but better than an extension of the current status. The data would still be there (collected by the telecom companies), but it would not be auto-accessible by the NSA etc.
If that does not pass, we are moving into dark times - and pretty much simultaneously all over the world, too. New, transgressive laws have either already been passed in many countries recently or are currently under consideration/in preparation/planned (France, Austria, Britain, Canada, possibly Germany).
This trend started after 9/11 in the U.S. If all goes well, the U.S. will set the signal to reverse it.

Email, fax, call your senators' offices. Tell others to do it, too. Freedom is just another word for having put in enough effort.

Richard Armstrong



I fly into a rage on principle when I consider the govts dragnet however I'm not surprised by it. Overreaching their authority is what govts do. It's their nature. And now technology is tilted in their favor.

I believe in "Caveat Emailor".

Encrypt your emails. Use the dark web (TOR). Just as the adoption of email began slowly in the mid 90s so will the adoption of TOR, or the dark web accelerate as more learn to use it. Recall that at one time the largest portal to the WWW was AOL through dial-up.

The government is trying to play the 6° of Kevin bin Laden which is ridiculous because we are each connected to one another to some degree. (pun)

Always remember encryption is an option and TOR is the future. Then rent Terry Gilliams 1985 movie "Brazil" and enjoy the absurdity of what the govt is attempting.

Adam L Silverman

That was you? Good stuff! Before I got recruited to do culture ops for the Army my scholarly research work was on terrorism, counter-terrorism, security administration, and emergency response. Not only do I remember seeing this, but I used to read/refer/use your Center's stuff all the time. You all should be proud of the work you were doing and the Center still does!

Adam L Silverman


I think that it is more likely that the modified act/Freedom Act could garner 51 votes to pass, but I don't think it would clear the current, Senate rules mandated 60 vote threshold to end debate and proceed to that simple majority vote (cloture). As a result the only two real viable options will be to renew the Patriot Act as it stands or to let it expire out right. The former will also require 60 votes for cloture (voting on voting) and will likely get it as there are only a handful of senators that won't worry about being accused of being soft on terror when they come up for reelection. The other option, doing nothing, wouldn't require the Senate to do anything, but in this case that's also not a likely option. No individual senator actually trusts their colleagues enough to agree to hold hands, close their eyes, and jump over the edge together. They believe they'll each be left to jump by themselves. With the exception of Senator Graham who truly seems afraid of everything, and a few folks who just aren't worried about the effects of any given vote on their career (and we have to few of these people in the Senate), the others are really not afraid of a terrorist attack, they're afraid of being primaried out of office.

Adam L Silverman


I'm with you. I agree with Senator Paul on very little, but on this, for whatever his real reasons are he's right and should be recognized for that. I doubt he has the support or the real interest, however,not effect significant change on this.


It is not hard to see what is coming. Politicians are now engaged in morphing the enemy from "Terrorist" to "Extremist" and by that definition anyone advocating change in any form can be labelled as such.

The Twisted Genius


That bullying bastard Christie has already labeled those of us who would rather stand in freedom rather than cower in fear "civil liberties extremists."


"I heard that their house in Germany has been searched already twice..."

There is a problem with that. Babak. In an interview, he shows his fancy truck's inside, apparently he custom built. He claims, and if you ask me that is exactly what it looks like, he simply took the closets from the house and fixed them inside the vehicle. They then rented their house to someone while traveling.

Are you suggesting because they visit Iran, whoever lives there now has been searched? Twice?


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