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Just another day in the land of the theoretically free.

Incredible, but true, courtesy of TechDirt, Washington's Blog, University of Washington Law Professor Ryan Calo, and WABC-TV, New York; and, now an update from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, regarding their protest inside the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, today...

(DIARIST'S NOTE: Washington's Blog provides a blanket license for republishing of their posts as noted on the front page of their website.)

Chief DHS Privacy Officer: Government Called Privacy Office “Terrorists”
Washington’s Blog
October 2, 2013

DHS Pretends It Still Has Privacy Officers … When They’ve All Quit In Disgust

Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Valentino tweets:

Former DHS Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan: DHS Privacy Office was accused monthly of being "terrorists" by DHS, IC
"DHS" stands for the Department of Homeland Security; "IC" stands for the intelligence community.

This is not an isolated or melodramatic statement.  Rather, it is how the homeland security and intelligence communities look at privacy.

(Continued below the "fold.")

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Here's the text from the tweets related to this story...

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More from Washington's Blog (continued from above):

For example, former NSA and CIA boss Michael Hayden compared privacy advocates to terrorists:
“If and when our government grabs Edward Snowden, and brings him back here to the United States for trial, what does this group do?” said retired air force general Michael Hayden, who from 1999 to 2009 ran the NSA and then the CIA, referring to “nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years”.

“They may want to come after the US government, but frankly, you know, the dot-mil stuff is about the hardest target in the United States,” Hayden said, using a shorthand for US military networks. “So if they can’t create great harm to dot-mil, who are they going after? Who for them are the World Trade Centers? The World Trade Centers, as they were for al-Qaida.”

Hayden provided his speculation during a speech on cybersecurity to a Washington group, the Bipartisan Policy Center, in which he confessed to being deliberately provocative.

Similarly, Slate reported last year:
If you’ve ever cared about privacy while using the Internet in public, you might be a terrorist. At least that’s the message from the FBI and Justice Department’s Communities Against Terrorism initiative. The project created flyers to help employees at several types of businesses—including military surplus stores, financial institutions, and even tattoo shops—recognize “warning signs” of terrorism or extremism. An admirable goal, perhaps, but the execution is flawed—particularly for the flyers intended to help suss out terrorists using Internet cafes.

The flyers haven’t been publicly available online, but Public Intelligence, a project promoting the right to access information, collected 25 documents that it found elsewhere on the Web. As Public Intelligence puts it, “Do you like online privacy? You may be a terrorist.”

Sadly, in its paranoid bunker mentality, the government considers just about all Americans to be terrorists.

Postscript (Irony Alert):  University of Washington Law School professor Ryan Calo points out an amusing irony in this story:

Former DHS chief privacy officer says # of privacy officers at NSA, including the chief privacy officer, was zero.
(Calo was reporting on a statement made by former chief DHS Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan at a recent talk.)

Tech Dirt explains:

Mary Ellen Callahan was the Chief Privacy Officer (and the Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer) at the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 until 2012 (though, don't tell DHS, since they still have a page on their website about her claiming she still has that role -- even though she left over a year ago).
In other words, the DHS considers government privacy officers to be terrorists, doesn't have any ... and yet - in blatant propaganda - pretends it does.

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So, as I’m reading this, and checking out the links over at University of Washington School of Law Assistant Professor Ryan Calo’s blog, I came upon this breaking story, via the ABC “Local” affiliate’s website: “EXCLUSIVE: Small drone crash lands in Manhattan”...

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UPDATE 10-2-13 5:00PM EDT:

Just received this in my email box re: PCJF protest inside the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings with James Clapper (hope to add a usable photo, soon)...

Activists from stage protest
inside the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
on NSA spying program

Activists from staged a highly visible protest today inside the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that featured the testimony of NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. The Thank You Ed Snowden campaign was initiated by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).

The activists’ signs read: “Clapper Lied,” “Snowden Told the Truth,” “Fire Clapper, Pardon Snowden” and “NSA Broke the Law.” Each was signed “”

When Clapper entered the hearing room in the Senate Dirksen Building at 10:00 a.m. this morning, he was greeted by a gaggle of photographers and an activist prominently holding the sign right behind him that read "Clapper Lied!"

People all over the country are demanding that Clapper be immediately fired for his perjured testimony before Congress on March 12, 2013, when he denied under oath that the government was secretly collecting data on the American people.

Snowden’s revelations forced Clapper to retract his sworn testimony

Clapper has admitted now -- but only after whistleblower Edward Snowden courageously revealed the existence of the spying program -- that he did not tell the truth in his sworn testimony before Congress.

“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” asked Senator Ron Wyden when Clapper gave his sworn testimony in March 2013.

“No, sir,” Clapper replied.

Perjury is a serious offense. Neither Clapper nor any other high government official is above the law. The U.S. Constitution requires removal of any civil officer guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” such as perjury. Clapper’s crime was more than mere perjury.

His crime is an abuse of office, a public corruption, an offense against society and democracy.

It was Edward Snowden’s revelations that exposed that Clapper was lying about these massive spying programs. Clapper, faced with the Snowden’s revelations, now concedes that his sworn testimony was “erroneous.”

While the activists staged the dramatic protest inside the Senate Judiciary Hearing, thousands more people joining the PCJF’s campaign and sending emails and faxes, and making phone calls to Congressional offices supporting the demand that the NSA spying program be ended. It has been developed in secret, without debate and without the consent of the people.

Take Action Now:
1) Tell Congress: End the NSA's Dragnet Surveillance Program!
2) Petition: Fire and Prosecute James Clapper – For Lying to and Spying on the American People
3) Join the "Thank You Ed Snowden" campaign
4) Donate

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