I found the covering up of the unauthorized Snowden statue in a NYC park with a tarp very disturbing. If it had been an unauthorized sculpture of a horse put in that park, would they have covered it with a tarp immediately, before taking it down? What about graffiti? Do they immediately tarp that as well? Why does Snowden need to be tarped immediately, but a Crucifix soaked in urine, or a Virgin Mary covered in Elephant dung gets placed in a museum?
Even more chilling, from this article:
The bust has since been removed, NYPD spokesman Sgt. Lee Jones told Time.
“It’s an ongoing investigation by the Intelligence Division,” Jones said.
I’m guessing that most people reading this don’t know that large Law Enforcement agencies have different divisions, such as Investigative, Criminalistics, Patrol, Tactical, and Intelligence. Investigative is what you would normally think of as Homicide, Robbery, Narcotics, etc. It accumulates evidence and information according to strict procedures that adhere to the law, and gathers evidence in accordance with all legal limitations, chief among which are an investigated individual’s Constitutional rights.
It is very rule-governed because the evidence it gathers will one day need to be submitted to a court of law as part of a criminal case, where its provenance will be gone over with a fine toothed comb by the opposing counsel. People generally assume that these evidentiary restrictions mean that Law Enforcement will always abide by these restrictions when collecting evidence and performing investigations. So for example, if you are not breaking the law then no law enforcement agency could possibly bug your house, since they almost certainly could never get a warrant absent the most bizarre misunderstanding. Au contraire – that is not quite how it works.
Law Enforcement Intelligence Division operations are different from Investigative Division operations. The Intelligence Division is so named because its purpose is to gather information on criminals that can be used to structure a future investigation. Intelligence is designed to use techniques similar to those used by modern intelligence agencies. Intelligence is kept separate from Investigative because it is designed to get all the information it can, legally or illegally, and regardless of whether that information could be used in a court of law against the criminal target.
Intelligence is supposed to be what is called into play when Law Enforcement encounters a criminal entity that is a clear and present threat to public safety, but which is resistant to the more traditional and restrictive techniques used by the Investigative Division. The mafia or terrorists are good examples of viable Intelligence Division targets. So for example, if a high-level drug dealer uses sufficient tradecraft to avoid being closely associated with his network, and no probable cause can be found to generate a warrant for banking records, LE Intelligence may backstop an agent with a banking resume and get him hired on in the target’s bank as a teller. That agent will surreptitiously lift the target’s bank records from the computer, and pass them back to the surveillance team. If the suspect works in a building, an agent may get hired on as a janitor, and rifle through his desk and locker, or hack his computer and install a keylogger after hours. If the target hires a maid service, Intelligence may get an agent hired on at that service, so their agent can rifle through the target’s personal belongings while “cleaning” their house. If they need to know more about his social contacts, Intelligence may surveil his friends until one is found who could be pressured through blackmail or otherwise, and turned into an informant. If they need ears inside his house, intelligence will provide it, with the caveat that the transcripts gained through such eavesdropping cannot be introduced into a court, and everyone must deny they were ever gathered if asked.
Although such evidence is inadmissible in a court of law, and clearly inhabits a legally-gray-if-not-black area, the information can, as a practical matter, be used to develop investigative leads as part of a broader strategy for Investigative to assemble its criminal case. Perhaps they will identify a new target for Investigative to legally surveil, a weak link in the operation that can be busted by Patrol on some minor charge and then turned into an informant, or a strategy by which to gain some data which will give Investigative officers probable cause for other warrants. Because Investigative is a different division, if the case ever goes to trial, the Investigative officers identified as being involved in the investigation will have limited knowledge of any wrongdoing or illegal activity, and will not have to lie or perjure themselves significantly if asked about it.
LE Intelligence openly maintains that much of the information it gathers should not be introduced into any court of law however, because to do so would compromise it’s semi-legal-to-totally-illegal methods and procedures (plus the information is probably gathered so illegally it would poison the entire case, anyway). If such information needs to be used by an Investigative team, it has been documented such information must be subject to “parallel construction,” prior to being introduced into the investigation. That is, the investigation must develop a cover story which will offer a legal explanation for how the information came to the investigative team’s attention by legally permitted means, and all assertions of any illegal acquisition must be denied forcefully. If an illegal bug reveals a meth lab in a basement of a warehouse building used for a construction supply business, but no warrant can be gained via any other means, then the agents may get an OSHA officer to perform an onsite safety inspection and complain to the Investigative team about a chemical odor in the building similar to drugs, so they may get a warrant to search it. If the search reveals the lab, nobody will ever admit that the original data leading to the investigation may have been tainted in any way by an illegal eavesdropping allegation. As far as anyone is concerned, it all happened by chance, due to an observant OSHA agent.
Because the activities of the Intelligence Division could destroy future criminal prosecutions if they came to light, intelligence operators follow strict procedures designed to keep their activities in the shadows, and avoid creating any paper or evidentiary trail accessible to a criminal defense attorney. For example, most states have harassment or stalking laws. If you see the same license plate twice, over a great distance, you can file a harassment report with the police. Police will have to investigate, usually by approaching the registered owner and asking why they were in such disparate locations, if they know you, are they harassing you, etc. That report documenting the registered owner’s name and statement can then be subpoenaed by an attorney at a later date. It can be used either in a lawsuit against the surveilling agency, to depose the agent to establish that there was surveillance, or in a criminal defense to expose the activities of the intelligence division and show evidence in a case was gathered through illicit means that were not shared with defense council.
To prevent this, Intelligence Division Vehicle Surveillance Units will either sector the surveillance so specific vehicles only cover the target in a specific area, carry a deck of license plates and swap them out after each visual contact over a certain distance (if vehicles are limited), or pre-position additional vehicles along the route for agents to jump into, to change their “silhouette,” (if drivers are limited). If circumstances arise that make those options ineffective, they will even remove their license plates, and run without plates, using credentials to deal with patrol officers should they be stopped. To my knowledge, intelligence/surveillance is the only division of Law Enforcement which will routinely run without plates. So seeing a car without plates (or with defaced, unreadable plates) should spark anyone who thinks there is a possibility that they might come under surveillance with a realization of the possibility that the surveillance might be operative at that moment on them.
It is unclear today how often the official story about a criminal investigation that is presented in court is merely a conjured cover story for how the illegal evidence behind the case could have been obtained legally. Clearly in the course of operations, a prime directive of the Intelligence Division has to be to operate in such a way as to maintain plausible deniability of their methods and actions, so we may never know. Given the highly effective nature of the Intelligence Division’s tactics, and their almost immediate ability to generate results absent Constitutional limitations on their activities, I’m sure it is very tempting to Law Enforcement to make every Investigation a parallel constructed Intelligence operation.
Unfortunately it didn’t take long for those who pull the trigger on Law Enforcement Intelligence to figure out that political competition could be couched as dangerous to public safety and societal order in some way, thus allowing the Intelligence apparatus to be unleashed on them, to the benefit of those who controlled it. As an additional bonus, the Intelligence Division’s activities had already been designed to remain in the shadows, so those who would corrupt such activities would be corrupting a very powerful entity, which by its very covert nature, was already immune to any form of executive, judicial, or legislative branch oversight and wholly comfortable breaking any rules made to constrain it. As this occurred, the power of the corrupted organization and it’s immunity from oversight would only increase. Given the corruption of our ruling class in DC, I would not be at all surprised to find that one day in the future, it is these shadowy Intelligence Division characters who are actually running much of our government from behind the scenes.
For those interested, a quirky book with a most unusual format, beginning on page 379, has an interesting history of how Federal LE Intelligence first emerged from the early police detective bureaus and gradually began ignoring all laws and regulations while surveilling political figures – even infiltrating their own agents into, and seeking influence at, media and publishing houses to gain control over the tenor of their own organization’s coverage in such media. (Earlier in the book was a good rundown of J. Edgar Hoover’s extensive LE political surveillance operations.)
Today, these LE Intelligence guys are the characters whose threats of blackmail over the surveillance they gather are so great that an occasional honest State Governor proactively confesses his sins in public to avoid being blackmailed, even as legislators complain to him about the intensity of their own surveillance details. I get the impression that at the higher levels of politics, we would be shocked to find how pervasive these non-criminal political Intelligence operations are.
There is something else which has disturbed me of late. I have now seen three people on Free Republic say that they are being “gangstalked” for Conservative activism, and I saw one other who commented as an aside that they never knew what the term meant, until their friend was suddenly being “gangstalked” for doing Tea Party protest organization. I had never heard of the term before.
I looked up the term gangstalking, and the credible sites discussing it basically describe aggressive government surveillance, commonly referred to in that field as “decoy/diversion surveillance.” This is an obvious, almost harassing surveillance done to an individual by an unusually large number of agents, many of whom will seem poorly trained in surveillance procedures. Many may even be privately contracted “surveillance investigators” hired through local PI firms to pad out the ranks of a decoy team, making it seem larger and more complete than it is. Decoy surveillance used to be quite rare and reserved only for the most dangerous criminal and intelligence threats, so it’s description here, on non-criminal individuals of the most minor stature, would seem unusual.
Decoy/diversion surveillance may appear so blatant and obvious as to be done expressly for intimidation purposes. That is not actually the goal, though agents may view that perception as a beneficial side effect. The reason that it is commonly referred to as the “decoy team” (and the real reason that it is so blatant as to be harassing and intimidating) is that it is designed to focus the target on it and distract them, to keep them from noticing the deeper level of infiltration surveillance that is a part of what the FBI refers to as the “layered surveillance” applied to especially high level criminal threats such as the mob, terrorists, or high level drug dealers. Infiltration surveillance is viewed as the most important source of the most sensitive intelligence, and it is the surveillance they most want to protect.
In real surveillance operations, such as might be done on the mafia or a terrorist, infiltration surveillance can be a close associate, turned into an informant through blackmail or promise of favors. It can also be an undercover agent that appears to just be a fat single mom, her mom, and her kid, who move into a house with a good sightline to the target’s driveway, to fully monitor comings and goings at all times while posing as an innocent neighbor. Or it can be an undercover who gains entrance to the target’s social circle, or employment at the target’s workplace, or employment at the restaurant or club the target frequents, etc. It can be the neck-tattoo’d waitress girl at the coffee shop who looks kind of dumb and trampy as she waits on all the people around the target’s group. It can be the geek at the gym who lifts five pound dumbells for 500 reps so he can loiter around you, or the college wrestler who just joined the target’s BJJ class. It is the guy at the range who spends all his time dry-firing. It can even be the girlfriend of a distant relative who had a Child Protective Services problem just “go away,” in return for a promise to report back on the target after family get-togethers. There are even cases of police surveillance operators marrying targets, and having children with an unaware target. Never think the Intelligence Division would not do something, because it is too extreme. Within that world, pushing boundaries and operating at the edge of the envelope is a mark of the successful. In short, the goal of infiltration surveillance is to get as close as possible, without being burned, period. Nothing is out of bounds, except having bounds.
Those infiltrators are the surveillance operators which LE Intelligence desperately wants a target to not notice, and their protection as sources is why a target may end up in a state of continual amazement at the blatant and harassing “gangstalking” they see day to day around them. While the target is watching the “gangstalking,” they are ignoring the quiet girlfriend of a relative at the family gathering, who is recording the entire event on their phone. If a criminal or terrorist is important enough, the Intelligence Division may actually try to infiltrate their social circle to the point that many of their “friends” are either agents or informing to someone for some purpose.
Are any of these people online who report being “gangstalked” really under government surveillance? Fifteen years ago I’d have said no way. It is such a manpower intensive endeavor, and layered surveillance was reserved for such important targets, it would seem nearly impossible, unless maybe they were being used for training purposes, and the DHS surveillance division is training many more operators than we would believe.
Given what I see today however, I have no idea. You’d think not. But I find it interesting in looking around, the term gangstalking seems to have been first coined a few years after 9/11, and taken off in usage after 2008. Did anything change back around those times? We do know for a fact that FBI Intelligence was months from creating an informant system in eight major cities which would have put the Stasi to shame. (The article and comments page for it was strangely wiped from the Washington Times website, despite still being excerpted on Free Republic and available in full elsewhere. It makes you wonder if they have an agent in the Washington Times, scrubbing what they don’t want people to see.)
Today we have a sitting Governor saying his own State Police’s Intelligence Division was threatening to blackmail him for political control, over intelligence on sexual affairs that they gathered by covertly surveilling all political figures in the state constantly. Given that, today I’m not sure anything is impossible any more. The leviathan of government seems to have no boundaries anymore.
We know that Michael Hastings told his family he was under a massive surveillance operation, and needed to get “off grid” right before he begged the neighbor for her car, because he said his surveillance team had tampered with his. When denied, he drove off in his own car and was found burned beyond recognition in an unusual looking car crash, which some witnesses said began with a flash and an explosion under his car.
Top 100 Talker winner and Conservative Radio host Tom Bauerle got hammered in an article by an unnamed “Law Enforcement” source for being paranoid about a massive surveillance op targeting him, but then at the end of the article, the only named LE source, the local Police Chief, noted that the police report on the subject couldn’t be released due to certain “sensitivities” – often cop-speak for a covert Law Enforcement Intelligence Division operation discussed in the report that wasn’t for public eyes. Doug Hagmann, a Conservative private investigator hired to do a security review for Bauerle said, “We had taken a look after receiving a mid-November call from Tom, who was concerned that he was under surveillance by a person or persons unknown… Our preliminary investigations showed that it was a multi-operative or a large scale surveillance, the likes of something I had never seen before and that’s what we told Tom.” That sounds an awful lot like a decoy/diversion surveillance team.
Of course we all know about CBS reporter Sharyl Atkisson’s travails, from her computer hacking to the extra FIOS line somebody installed into her house. She even had classified documents planted on her computer by her surveillance team, so she could be arbitrarily imprisoned at a later date. It is hard to believe that she didn’t get the full Intelligence Division treatment herself, complete with layered surveillance.
It is tough to say how important all of that is. These are all just curious anecdotal cases right now, happening to important people, albeit apparently innocent ones. Possible smoke, which the prudent might interpret as signaling that something bigger could be approaching. The transition from r-selection to K-selection within a society is never without turmoil.
But in light of the tarping of Snowden’s statue, and the open reference to the NYPD immediately unleashing the much more operationally aggressive Intelligence Division, instead of a more normal and law-bound investigative division on the culprits, things are beginning to feel a bit more Soviet-esque in America.
Investigative would assign detectives to pull surveillance camera footage, canvass the neighborhood, find the kids, and bring them in for questioning and charging, if necessary. Simply assigning normal Detectives in that way would seem an appropriately measured response to a minor case of petty vandalism to a statue in a park.
Intelligence is designed to have their guy in the phone company pull their phone records for the past ten years sans warrant, tap their phones, assign surveillance, investigate their social circles, try to find informants among their friends, get ears in their homes, grab their trash, point security cameras at their windows, ask their apartment manager to provide access to their apartments, plant backdoors in their electronics, access their Onstar, and gather whatever can possibly be gathered on them by any means necessary. Whether they will do any of that or not, their very mentioning in this minor case is chilling. Absent the crime-think, at its core this was at worst a case of petty vandalism by kids with nothing better to do. It would be tough to be more meaningless, short of writing a blog.
It sounds crazy and paranoid, but maybe if you aspire to a Vox-Day-level of fame, you should come to terms with the fact that in these weird times, you may have the “Intelligence Division” of some agency assigned to you at some point. If so, there are all sorts of goodies which come with an Intelligence Division investigation. Once they are on scene, you may even have to assume that they have ears inside your house.
For decades the first thing done in LE Intelligence operations was to immediately secure access to a common wall with a target apartment or condo, to place suction cup mics on the wall, and “get ears” in the apartment or condo. Intelligence Divisions have also, for some time now, had arrays of multiple super-small, highly-sensitive directional microphones, that they can mount on the telephone poles outside a target residence, if the nature of a target’s residence precludes gaining access to a common wall. Although so small as to be almost unnoticeable, each incredibly sensitive directional microphone captures all arriving sound waves and logs each wave’s exact arrival time at the mic. Together with the right software, the package is able to identify sounds originating in non-target positions based on phase/wave arrival times at the different mics, and remove it from the feed (triangulating the sound wave pattern’s origin based on the constant nature of the wave’s speed, similar to how GPS or Shot-spotter triangulate location, only much more sensitive and precise).
Once all sound wave patterns pinpointed as being outside the target location are lifted out by the computer, the computer can then amplify all sound wave patterns from the target position by laying the wave patterns that each mic detected from that position on top of each other. That means under appropriate conditions, they can digitally erase all sound from extraneous locations. Once extraneous sound is cleaned out of the feed, they can then amplify the targeted sound several times over, by using the several different feeds together to simulate having an ear up against your window (a prime target surface), all from up to fifty to seventy feet away, without a warrant. (If you are wondering how they timed the raid on Binney’s house to hit him just as he went into the shower, this is the most likely method. By the time of the raid they had probably already cataloged and timed his entire daily schedule down to the minute.)
The mics have been a staple of the Intelligence Division’s arsenal for years when they needed ears inside a building, but surreptitious entry was too risky or otherwise not an option. Since the sound waves harvested are grabbed at the poles, LE’s position is it doesn’t require any warrant, though they have yet to use the transcripts produced or evidence gained from it in a court case without parallel construction, to test that hypothesis.
Able to be linked up securely over broadband on most poles, and routed to a central station for digital tuning and then constant recording, the microphone arrays can create a hard record of almost everything said at normal volume inside a targeted building, even seventy feet from the pole or more under optimal conditions, with enough mics. Set to record the raw data from multiple mics all along a street, it can even create a hard record that can later be processed to reveal everything said in any house, or at any position on the street, much as shot spotter mic data recordings are being used now.
They are a great set-it-and-forget-it piece of tech that can be cheaply placed on anyone’s residence who might be of any interest. I’d be shocked if they weren’t being used much more widely in these times, given the low cost, lack of a need for in person monitoring, internet connectivity today, and the aggression of modern Law Enforcement Intelligence.
I would bet they are giving something like it to these kids who put that statue of Snowden’s head in a park. Given some of the history of LE Intelligence and politically active individuals, it would not overly surprise me to find out that Heartiste and Instapundit both have it on their poles at this very moment, and have for a while now.
Keep your nose squeaky clean, because one day you could suddenly find out that everything you’ve done has been under the microscope and fully documented for some time, no matter how minor the role you think you play is. One of the fundamental goals of LE Intelligence Operations is to be so aggressive that the target would never believe they would have gone to those lengths at that time, for so unimportant a target. It is how they get ahead of their target. Their willingness to expend copious resources on the most minor of details cannot be under-estimated.
Don’t get me wrong. I doubt Heartiste will be gangstalked and poisoned beginning tomorrow. However we’ve come this far. Our government is so threatened by a mere statue that they tarp it immediately, lest somebody somewhere see it and think some thought-crime other than the government-sanctioned narrative. That is a guilty conscience mixed with enough fear of what they see as an obvious conclusion to make them oblivious to how dystopic their actions look. Then they unleash the most ruthless, lawless, law-enforcement division (something previously reserved for terrorism, the most dangerous elements of the mob, and drug dealers) on what could most accurately be described as goofball pranksters.
If they freak out that badly due to a statue, how badly will they freak out over people trying to open a Constitutional Convention to amend our very governmental structure, or taking over the Hugo Awards, or getting an honest President elected without any voter fraud? What are they capable of, as the coming economic destruction that they have created materializes, and the real chaos of that debacle begins? What are they capable of when faced with any citizen who, in any way opposes “them,” or threatens their hold on the tools of surveillance and control they appear to be wielding so freely? A hallmark of K-selection is that the most ruthless survive. It only seems ridiculous to us, because we have never actually seen it.
To be clear, this is a self-limiting problem, about which I don’t worry too much. Back when George Bush was in office, they said by about 2030 we would only have enough money to pay for Social Security, Medicare, DoD, and debt service. Back then the national debt was about $4-5 trillion with a functional economy fueling the government, and you know all of that was the rosiest possible scenario, composed with the phoniest numbers Washington could create.
The real date, with the right numbers, could have been 2022, for all we know. Since then we have had two bailouts, Obamacare, unfettered illegal immigration, an economic recession with high-unemployment, and other wasteful spending. That has all brought the rosey deficit number up to $18.5 trillion – and who knows what the real number is. Now, nobody even talks about when the money might run out. Sooner or later, the government will have far greater concerns than exactly how good Heartiste’s game is, as much of the surveillance state will give way to the new financial reality.
However until then, given all this, it suddenly feels like we are on a path to a place where such bizarrely paranoid behaviors as assuming you are being followed and bugged may serve free thinkers well one day in the not too distant future. So it might be prudent that for now, you start practicing your paranoia and your surveillance-awareness, to be ready should the Intelligence Division one day be assigned to you.