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A further freedom of information act disclosure was made by the Dept. of Homeland Security today.  I focus on one sentence in one email, dated November 16, 2011, which is located on page 4 of the disclosure.

The email is in apparent response to an inquiry from CBS news asking if DHS had anything to do with the eviction of the occupy encampments.  The response reads as follows:

"DHS is not actively coordinating with local law enforcement agencies and/or city governments concerning the evictions of occupy encampments writ large."
Now this may be occunoia and this kind of sentence is par for the beltway course, but the phraseology struck me as odd.

If a normal person wrote this and meant to convey that the DHS did and does not have anything to do with the evictions, she would have written something like:  "DHS did not coordinate and has not coordinated with any agencies about the eviction of occupy encampments."  But that's not how it's written.

What purpose and meaning does the use of the term "actively" have?  Can one passively coordinate?

Why the present tense in the use of coordinating? Does this mean DHS was not coordinating in the precise moment it wrote this sentence?

And what activities does "coordinating" encompass and what does it exclude?

Why the limitation to local law enforcement and city governments?  Does that mean DHS is coordinating with other agencies and that they are coordinating with city governments?

Why the very odd use of the qualifier "writ large" at the end? What does that even mean?

Is this just the way bureaucrats talk or was this language carefully vetted?  And if the latter, why?  Just sayin'

Originally posted to Publius2008 on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes of course they can "Passively" coordinate. (5+ / 0-)

    If a city ASKS for their help... well, then they are blameless, and it's all on the city...

    Huh?  That helpful stuff we produce to smack down protestors?  They city has to REQUEST it...  it's not like we did anything...


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:55:12 PM PDT

  •  Why must they write it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The way you want? Bureaucrats do tend like lawyers to have their own phraseology

    Republican Family Values: Using the daughters from your first wife to convince everybody that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

    by jsfox on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:04:01 PM PDT

    •  No, it's a deliberate non-answer. (3+ / 0-)

      The question was "if DHS had anything to do with the eviction". The DHS reply simply says, no, we're not doing that now.

      It's like answering the question "Have you been beating your child?" by saying "Well, I'm not beating him now, am I?".

      "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

      by Bob Love on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:38:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  THey already coordinated (3+ / 0-)

    in the evictions, and there are no more encampments...right? So no need to currently be active in coordinating evictions.

  •  "Writ large" might mean "nationwide", (3+ / 0-)

    i.e. they're coordinating on a piecemeal basis. It may simply mean they're not coordinating with, say, the Ashtabula Police Department or concerning themselves with OWS in Claunch, NM, pop. 125.

    And of course "not actively" probably means they make strategic information readily available on how to fuck with protesters and waht weapons to use, but make police departments press "print" on their own initiative.

    Also "is" may mean "we were doing this actively throughout the country last month, but we're not doing it at this particular moment."

    The request for information asked about what DHS did in the past, but the DHS reply only refers to the present moment. I'd consider DHS statement to be a deliberate refusal to answer the question.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:34:21 PM PDT

  •  you might take a look at... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, antirove, Nada Lemming

    this article for some further clues:

    The new batch of records show additional warnings by DHS officials about unconstitutional surveillance. The documents DHS previously released to Truthout did not contain smoking guns proving DHS worked with local law enforcement and local government officials "in any wholesale manner," as noted by one DHS official, on the coordinated crackdown of Occupy encampments throughout the country last October.

    However, DHS and its sub-agencies, such as Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), spent a considerable amount of time monitoring the protest movement, apparently, without any justification, according to the new documents.

    For example, according to the documents, ICE sent a "special agent" on New Years Day to assist law enforcement authorities, if necessary, during an international meeting between members of Occupy Buffalo and Occupy Toronto and other regional Occupies on the famous Rainbow Bridge, where tourists can walk to each side of the Niagara Falls, according to a "significant incident report" issued by ICE.

    check out the article for further info.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:52:55 PM PDT

  •  Worked for the Fed for 30 years. Writing the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, Gooserock, Nada Lemming

    govt way takes a long time and much practice.  That's what it says, that's what they mean.  Actively clearly means not now, but excludes the past or future.  

  •  If you read all the documents, you can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    see that the "writ large" statement was proposed as an on-background talking point as part of the response to CBS News, and that the White House (I'm assuming that's what WH means in the doc) pushed to have it on the record. They definitely wanted to push back against the claims -- and indeed this set of documents provides no evidence for and some evidence against those claims.

    On the other hand, a denial of any federal/local interaction would not have been accurate given the Portland situation -- the feds did "coordinate" with the locals because the Occupy group occupied both federal (Terry Schrunk Plaza) and nonfederal property. But it's quite clear that it is Portland that fairly begged the feds to evict people, not the other way around. GSA seems to have ordered FPS to use a hands off policy barring any real threat.

    You missed the funny part -- way too much time spent running down a false Fox News story that the Port of Portland had been shut down. Good times.

    All in all, an interesting (if incredibly redundant) set of disclosures. Sure would like to know what some of those (b)(5) redactions were!

  •  a non-denial which looks like a denial. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:22:31 PM PDT

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