House Republican leadership today responded to their session with President Obama in a press conference.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) condemned the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal on Wednesday, demanding that the administration hold someone responsible.
"The IRS admitted to targeting conservatives, even if the White House continues to be stuck on the word 'if,'" he told reporters at a weekly briefing. "My question isn't about who is going to resign. My question is who's going to jail over this scandal?"
Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he had ordered the FBI to open a criminal probe in a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative political groups for extra tax scrutiny.
Speaker Boehner made no mention of jobs during the Republican press conference today, nor did any of the other GOP House "leaders."
Pictured are Rep. Paul Ryan (left) and former intern Adam Savader (right).
Um, Republican family values?
Adam Savader, reportedly a former intern for Paul Ryan, was arrested and charged with Internet extortion and cyber stalking by the FBI on Tuesday. Savader apparently sent anonymous text messages to 15 women saying he had nude photographs and threatening to distribute them unless he was sent more photographs. If convicted, he faces a maximum of five years in prison.
A 21-year-old Great Neck, New York man was charged in a criminal complaint in the Eastern District of Michigan with Internet extortion and cyber stalking, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.
Eric Harroun, a U.S. Army veteran from Arizona, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly fighting alongside an Al Qaeda front in Syria, and then boasting about it online. Harroun, who served in the U.S. army from 2000 to 2003, told the FBI in Turkey that he hates al Qaeda and was only trying to help topple the Assad regime in Syria when he fought alongside rebels. He was arrested upon his return to the U.S. The criminal complaint against him claims Harroun conspired to use a weapon of mass destruction." Harroun remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing in April.
Throughout his ordeal, Harroun appears to have posted pictures of himself online in military fatigues with his fellow fighters and weapons, including a rocket-propelled grenade. In one post, he reportedly claimed to have downed a helicopter. He also appeared in online videos threatening Syria’s President Bashad al-Assad, court documents said.
The court documents say Harroun admitted online and to the FBI agents that he had fought with the al-Nusra Front, but claimed that he hates al Qaeda and was only trying to help topple the Assad regime. The U.S. government has repeatedly called on Assad to step down and recent news reports allege the U.S. is helping the rebels acquire weapons from friendly regional governments.
In an interview with Fox News earlier this month, Harroun said he was welcomed by al-Nusra.
“Getting into al-Nusra is not rocket science,” he said, according to Fox News. “It just takes balls and brains.”
I think there is a lot more that is not being said about this case, otherwise, I suspect that Mr. Harroun's "balls and brains" would've had a close encounter with a U.S. drone. Not saying I agree with or condone drone strikes -- particularly on American citizens -- but this sounds like precisely the type of activity that the current policy for drone strikes was written for.
Twelve celebrities and politicians are victims of a hacker who posted information about their finances online, including their Social Security numbers, credit-card information, and mortgage amounts. Michelle Obama, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Hillary Clinton, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, and Joe Biden are among those who were hacked.
The site, which bore an internet suffix originally assigned to the Soviet Union, remained active Monday evening and had garnered nearly 70,000 hits, according to a ticker on the homepage.
It did not state how the information was obtained or why the 17 people targeted on the site were selected, describing the records only as "secret files."
Several of the pages, to which we are chosing not to link, featured unflattering pictures of the celebrities or government officials whose information was posted.
While government officials often have to disclose details on their finances – and celebrity divorces sometimes feature public financial data – the information posted online exceeds those disclosures.
September 25, 2011, 12th St between University and 5th Ave, NYC. A journalist (Louis Jargow) is violently arrested for documenting police brutality against OWS protesters and a young woman is attacked by a police officer and dragged into the street by her hair. Moments later the young women from the opening shot of the video are pepper sprayed, point blank without warning or provocation.
Naomi Wolf gives an excellent in-depth analysis of those newly released documents that reveal the FBI's counterterrorism monitoring of Occupy Wall Street, and points out the assassination by sniper fire threats against OWS leaders that the FBI never bothered to inform anyone in the movement about.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations' knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).
Wolf mentions that Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, has sought similar documents for more than a year, and reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. So indeed, is the release strategic? Having your personal information harvested and sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, and the threat of an unknown entity's "longterm" plans to shoot you could easily frighten off even the most hard-core activists among us.
Are we all Wikileaks?
Wolf writes,"There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent."
And of the push for counterterrorism fusion centers and the Department of Homeland Security militarization of police departments, she adds, "It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you."
After the case of the Cleveland Five came to light earlier this year, it was abundantly clear that the feds were infiltrating Occupy groups because they believed them to be some sort of threat.
Even so, the documents are shocking. The FBI working with industry and the banks, too? And as Mara VerHeyden-Hilliard points out, this isn't the first time, it certainly won't be the last.
Once-secret documents reveal the FBI monitored Occupy Wall Street from its earliest days and treated the nonviolent movement as a potential terrorist threat. Internal government records show Occupy was treated as a potential threat when organizing first began in August of 2011. Counterterrorism agents were used to track Occupy activities, despite the internal acknowledgment that the movement opposed violent tactics. The monitoring expanded across the country as Occupy grew into a national movement, with FBI agents sharing information with businesses, local police agencies and universities. Democracy Now! is joined by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which obtained the FBI documents through the Freedom of Information Act. "We can see, decade after decade, with each social justice movement, that the FBI conducts itself in the same role over and over again, which is to act really as the secret police of the establishment against the people," Verheyden-Hilliard says.
A full transcript of the discussion after the jump.
In 2012 hacker and internet troll Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer found a public AT&T server that contained email addresses and names of Ipad3G users. Using a script he took a sample of the data and presented it to Gawker. The FBI later opened a criminal investigation into Weev even though no security bypass was used.
On November 20th 2012 Auernheimer was convicted of two felonies for his role in discovering the leak.
Tim Pool (@timcast) talks with Auernheimer, who is out on bail awaiting sentencing.
The FBI kept a watchful eye on the local Occupy movement last year, especially while it was planning protests to shutdown West Coast ports, according to documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California.
The 13 pages, obtained in a public record request, include FBI reports on Occupy protests in Oakland, a Jan. 27 meeting on how to deal with a possible Occupy Oakland action the following day at the Oakland International Airport, and an FBI alert to private corporate security officials before the attempted shutdown of the Port of Oakland on Dec. 12.
More troubling to the ACLU is that the bureau has refused to release an additional 24 pages of documents it acknowledges having, citing the need to protect confidential informants and protect national security.
"What we are really interested in finding out is why Occupy rises to that level," said ACLU attorney Linda Lye. "The bottom line issue for us is Occupy is a political activist organization, and the FBI has a history of surveilling political activists."
According to Lye, the ACLU suspects the FBI has far more documents than they have acknowledged regarding the local Occupy movement, and will continue efforts to obtain those reports.
A new investigative report from Seth Rosenfeld of the Center for Investigative Reporting has revealed that one of the most well-known radical activists of the 1960s, Richard Masato Aoki, an early member of the Black Panthers, was an FBI informant.
The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training - which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s - was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.
One of the Bay Area's most prominent radical activists of the era, Richard Masato Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities. He was a member of several radical groups before joining and arming the Panthers, whose members received international notoriety for brandishing weapons during patrols of the Oakland police and a protest at the state Capitol.
Aoki went on to work for 25 years as a teacher, counselor and administrator at the Peralta Community College District, and after his suicide in 2009, he was revered as a fearless radical.
But unbeknownst to his fellow activists, Aoki had served as an FBI intelligence informant, covertly filing reports on a wide range of Bay Area political groups, according to the bureau agent who recruited him.
Reportedly recruited as he was graduating from Berkeley High School, A Nov. 16, 1967, intelligence report on the Black Panthers lists Aoki as an "informant" with the code number "T-2."
"He was my informant. I developed him," FBI agent Burney Threadgill Jr. said in an interview. "He was one of the best sources we had."
The above Youtube video contains the audio of a 911 call that the New York Police Department tried to keep secret.
After over a year of requests, The Associated Press finally received access to a 911 tape the New York Police Department has tried to keep from the public. The recording details a confused New Brunswick, N.J. building superintendent’s discovery of an NYPD safe house, used while conducting undercover surveillance on Muslims outside of their jurisdiction. Following the 911 call, in which the dispatcher was just as confused as the superintendent calling, the New Brunswick police and FBI rushed to the apartment, having no idea the NYPD had been in town spying on the city’s Muslim citizens. Embarrassed, the NYPD demanded its materials back from the FBI, tried to keep the 911 tape a secret, and still will not discuss the New Jersey mission. Yet the tape offers details into the investigation, as the man on the phone describes a furniture-less apartment filled with two computers, New York City Police Department radios, dozens of boxes, photographs of "terrorists" and local buildings, as well as literature on Islam.