Perhaps one of the more frightening aspects (there are so many to choose from in this story) of this latest story is the massive, institutionalized social/racial/ethnic/religious profiling that, since March of last year, is now officially integrated into our nation's surveillance guidelines, as noted in today's story by Scahill and Devereaux...
Profiling categories of people
While the nomination process appears methodical on paper, in practice there is a shortcut around the entire system. Known as a “threat-based expedited upgrade,” it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to elevate entire “categories of people” whose names appear in the larger databases onto the no fly or selectee lists…
…This extraordinary power for “categorical watchlisting”—otherwise known as profiling—is vested in the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, a position formerly held by CIA Director John Brennan that does not require Senate confirmation.
The rulebook does not indicate what “categories of people” have been subjected to threat-based upgrades. It is not clear, for example, whether a category might be as broad as military-age males from Yemen. The guidelines do make clear that American citizens and green card holders are subject to such upgrades…
It's this "profiling" section of the story which serves as a big part of the focus of this brief report on it from Thursday's WaPo
(Bold type is diarist's emphasis.)
Document details procedure for placing terrorist suspects on government watch list
By Adam Goldman
July 23 at 7:38 PM
The president’s top counterterrorism adviser has the temporary ability to prevent categories of people — already in the government's vast databases of known or suspected terrorists — from flying, in the face of a credible threat, according to a newly published report.
The previously unknown authority allows the adviser to add groups of names to the no-fly list for up to 72 hours. After that, the president’s Cabinet secretaries or their deputies have to extend the action.
If they don’t concur, the names are removed from the no-fly list.
The government added about 1.5 million names to its terrorist watch lists during the past five years, according to court documents. The no-fly list is more selective and is believed to hold several thousand names…
Here's a messaging "observation" which I've gleaned from today's news: Since President Obama's been in office, approximately one out of every 200 to 300 people in this country have been on our government's terrorism watchlist, at one time or another.
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Digby weighed-in on this story, via (h/t) Kossack Demi Moaned, in the comments…
Just this afternoon:
Jeremy Scahill is out with a blockbuster story about the criteria the government uses to put you on a list of suspected terrorists. It's terrifying, all right. The rules are so loose and contradictory it basically can put anyone on there it chooses:
…Read the whole story. It will scare you and not just because the government has assumed the power to arbitrarily "categorize" its citizens as threats to the state, although that's plenty scary. What's truly alarming is the fact that this manual makes almost no sense and is completely irrational and contradictory. If this is how they are allegedly protecting the nation, I'd start building some bomb shelters and safe rooms. These people have totally lost the thread.
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A great deal of the reporting over at The Intercept, over the past 24 hours, focuses upon Attorney General Eric Holder’s expansion of the Bush (II) era’s “Total Information Awareness” policies of our surveillance state, as I covered that specific topic in great detail in this post at Daily Kos, on March 23, 2012: “NYT's Orwellian Lead: AG Holder Officially Signs Off On "Total Information Awareness" For All.” (This two-plus-year-old post is well worth a [re-]read, since it provides intensive, direct historical context for Wednesday's story.)
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HERE'S THE LINK, provided by the folks at The Intercept to download the entire 2013 Watchlist Guidance document. And, I'm also providing a ScribD version for Kossacks to scroll through, immediately below...
2013 Watchlist Guidance by bobswern
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