Print 100 comment(s) - last by hiscross.. on Feb 15 at 9:59 PM

Mike German was fired by the FBI for exposing their cover up. He now works for the ACLU and is speaking out about how the government targets people based on religion and politics, with little oversight.  (Source: Network World)
Feds have little respect for your privacy, Constitution

The police are watching you.  If you're the wrong religion, they'll spy on your every move.  If you voice the wrong political opinions they'll be watching you.  According to Mike German, a 16-year veteran with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations, this is happening right in the U.S.

Mr. German has become the FBI's worst nightmare.  Fed up with the abuses of privacy he was seeing, he complain to higher authorities and was promptly fired by the FBI.  Recently he became the ACLU's Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy [press release]. And he's speaking up about what he witnessed.

States Mr. German in a recent interview with Network World:

The most disturbing thing we've uncovered is the scope of domestic intelligence activities taking place today. Domestic spying is now being done by a host of federal agencies (FBI, DOD, DHS, DNI) as well as state and local law enforcement and even private companies. Too often this spying targets political activity and religious practices. We've documented intelligence activities targeting or obstructing First Amendment-protected activity in 33 states and DC.

He says that this Orwellian atmosphere could leave the U.S. a far different beast than the proud beacon of freedom it once was.  He states, "The biggest threat is that the increase surveillance of political activity will create a chilling effect that will dissuade people from exercising their rights, which will cause significant harm to participatory democracy."

He states that the "War on Terror" will continue to serve as an excuse for federal agencies to trample civil liberties.  He says that there are no clear-cut guidelines as to when you get put on a "watchlist" and are spied on by federal agents.  It's impossible to find out if your on a list and equally impossible to dispute or ask to be removed from a list.  

He also blasts TSA "enhanced pat-down" procedures and body scanners, calling them "unreasonable invasions of privacy that do not enhance security."

Given the Supreme Courts interpretation that privacy is a fundamental human right and thus Constitutionally protected by the Ninth Amendment, and given the First Amendments protections concerning freedom of speech and religion, Mr. German's claims are alarming.  Are U.S. federal employees deliberately spying on citizens and violating their rights, without the slightest legal accusation?

It'd be easy to dismiss Mr. German's claims as the words of a disgruntled employee.  But consider Mr. German's story of his departure from the agency:

I left the FBI when the DOJ Inspector General failed to investigate an FBI cover-up of a failed FBI counterterrorism investigation I reported, or protect me from official retaliation that resulted. I reported the information to Sen. Grassley and resigned. Grassley put pressure on the IG, so almost two years later the IG issued a report that showed the FBI falsified and backdated records about the case and retaliated against me for reporting it. I joined the ACLU two years later because I knew from my counterterrorism work that protecting civil liberties and keeping law enforcement accountable is what keeps America safe from terrorism and other crime.

Mr. German was clearly vindicated in the case that led to his dismissal.  The fact that the FBI tried to cover up its own wrongdoing and then punished Mr. German certainly damages its credibility and offers support for Mr. German's claims.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: I know
By zmatt on 2/8/2011 6:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
In a society such as ours it is very easy to commit a crime. However to commit one and get away with it is near impossible, and that is the main deterrent. This works most of the time however it isn't perfect ie: suicide bombers or lunatics. Unfortunately we live in an imperfect world. things fall apart, accidents happen, there are terrible people. Trying to make ourselves 100% safe from crime of all sorts is impossible and trying to do so will only waste time and resources. But people still try and lets be honest, the reactions to terrorist attacks can be and tend to be more damaging than the attack itself. the end goal of terrorism in the end is to terrorize your opponent into bending to your will.

RE: I know
By kingius on 2/9/2011 11:19:06 AM , Rating: 2
Quite right. Not only does getting caught need to be a given but a harsh punishment needs to be also. When a teenager throws a brick through a car window and ruins a young lady athelete's face permanently... and receives only a £200 fine for it... well, it doesn't matter that you can get caught, does it?

RE: I know
By zmatt on 2/9/2011 4:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a shame. I'm not familiar with the Uk legal system. can they sue him?

RE: I know
By Lerianis on 2/14/2011 7:46:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, they can.... though, I am wondering why the guy just got a fine? Even in the U.K., someone who did that would usually be put in prison for at least a short period of time!

RE: I know
By mindless1 on 2/10/2011 6:16:28 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like some of those Rose Colored Glasses you're wearing. People get away with crimes all the time, probably the majority of the time the law is broken nobody is held accountable though I have to suspect that the worse the crime is the less likely someone will get away with it, and yet suspecting it doesn't necessarily make it true.

Then there is the idea of what "getting away with it" really means. If someone robs a bank and is sentenced to 20 years but gets out on parole in 10, didn't they half get away with it? Further, if wikipedia is correct, "the clearance rate for bank robbery is among the highest of all crimes, almost 60 percent.", doesn't seem to indicate people aren't getting away with crimes.

RE: I know
By Lerianis on 2/14/2011 7:55:06 AM , Rating: 2
No, they did not 'half get away with it'.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki