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Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Domestic Surveillance

This is scary stuff. From Walter Pincus at the Washington Post:

The Defense Department has expanded its programs aimed at gathering and analyzing intelligence within the United States, creating new agencies, adding personnel and seeking additional legal authority for domestic security activities in the post-9/11 world.

The moves have taken place on several fronts. The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago. The proposal, made by a presidential commission, would transform CIFA from an office that coordinates Pentagon security efforts -- including protecting military facilities from attack -- to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage.

The Pentagon has pushed legislation on Capitol Hill that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about U.S. citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other intelligence agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign intelligence. Backers say the measure is needed to strengthen investigations into terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.

This is not limited to terrorist activity.

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the data-sharing amendment would still give the Pentagon much greater access to the FBI's massive collection of data, including information on citizens not connected to terrorism or espionage.

The measure, she said, "removes one of the few existing privacy protections against the creation of secret dossiers on Americans by government intelligence agencies." She said the Pentagon's "intelligence agencies are quietly expanding their domestic presence without any public debate."

Pincus reports that all branches of the military are now involved in the snoop and tell business:

In addition, each of the military services has begun its own post-9/11 collection of domestic intelligence, primarily aimed at gathering data on potential terrorist threats to bases and other military facilities at home and abroad. For example, Eagle Eyes is a program set up by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which "enlists the eyes and ears of Air Force members and citizens in the war on terror," according to the program's Web site.

The Marine Corps has expanded its domestic intelligence operations and developed internal policies in 2004 to govern oversight of the "collection, retention and dissemination of information concerning U.S. persons," according to a Marine Corps order approved on April 30, 2004.

Some CIFA links to note:

If you'd like to know if CIFA is keeping information on you, here's how you can find out:

Individuals seeking to determine whether information about themselves is contained in this system of records should address written inquiries to the Privacy and Freedom of Information Coordinator, Counterintelligence Field Activity, 251 18th Street, Suite 1200, Arlington, VA, 22202-3537.

Requests should contain the individual's name, date of birth, sufficient information to determine the type of records being sought, and the approximate date the records might have been created.

It's time blogs began broadcasting this information. Why blogs? CIFA has been reading at least two: Jesus's General and Uncommon Thoughts reports on finding CIFA in its stats.

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    Re: Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Do (none / 0) (#1)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:26 PM EST
    There's just too many leftists, antiwar types, people against Bush, people teaching evolution, poor, people who believe in fair elections, and uninsured for the FBI to track all by themselves. The slow but steady march to a fascist state continues and the sheep sleep.

    Re: Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Do (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:26 PM EST
    ...the sheep sleep. Not all of 'em, soccerdad. Not all. The Long March of Dick Cheney The Day the People’s March Began - A Saga

    Re: Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Do (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM EST
    Fear is a tactic. It is a calculated force, a strategic maneuver, a carefully constructed PR methodology. It is a poison in the air, a cancer in the national bloodstream, a media pastime and a cultural narcotic. And here's the biggest secret of all: Fear is a learned trait, a practiced habit. It is something you cling to and allow to fester. They are counting on it.

    Re: Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Do (none / 0) (#4)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM EST
    Another bad news in a long chain of them in recent years. Reaction is rather predictable, some agitation and let us admit it a lot of it is rather sophomoric, that fizzles out in two weeks time then back to business as usual. Even when it is sustained and broadly based as it was with the Patriot Act the fact is that it is impossible to maintain viable opposition to a powerful state security apparatus in the long run. Judiciary is and will be of little use here, too many little Alitos out there, they can be counted on for strengthening it not restraining. Congress seems impotent, people who push security apparatus agenda tend to run circles around them. All this is not too surprising, think local police and sherif departments for example. Historically, control over them was always rather illusory, with the result that most people continue to be genuinely afraid of them. If local communities find it so difficult to police their own police departments why should we presume bigger entities would be more amendable to control? With power comes arrogance, and arrogance demands more power. Join some civil or constitutional rights organization if you can. They are the only ones that keep an eye on those things on a systematic basis and they need your help.

    Re: Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Do (none / 0) (#5)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM EST
    (let me add this) .. they need your help because they are BADLY outnumbered. --- On a unrelated note, head over to Berman. A huge turkey or rather a flock of them is under consideration in the House. I read one of them HR 1751, and it's hair raising. It's nominal subject is court security onto which they piled up a lot of horse manure (arming judges and prosecutors among others!). Presumably because opposing court security would be suicidal.

    Re: Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Do (none / 0) (#6)
    by profmarcus on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM EST
    yes, it's absolute power stuff... add to that the implications coming from the padilla indictments... (from the nyt...)
    [N]o one outside the administration knows just how the determination is made whether to handle a terror suspect as an enemy combatant or as a common criminal, to hold him indefinitely without charges in a military facility or to charge him in court. Indeed, citing the need to combat terrorism, the administration has argued, with varying degrees of success, that judges should have essentially no role in reviewing its decisions.
    and add this to it... a well-known blogger, without revealing how he came to know, makes this claim...
    CIFA's [Counterintelligence Field Activity] been reading Jesus' General for over a year (seriously, this is not a joke). I feel much safer knowing that. I've always wondered if it was because I asked the government of Iran to fix a pothole in front of my house (again, I'm serious--it's the only reason I can think of for being on their radar). The timing's right. I first learned that CIFA was monitoring Jesus' General in the Spring of 2004. Are they reading your blog too?
    i guess it's time to start tracing the anonymous ip addresses of my site's visitors... And, yes, I DO take it personally

    Re: Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Do (none / 0) (#7)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM EST
    Huh. All along I thought it was the terrorists who wanted to take away our freedoms.

    Re: Beware CIFA: Defense Dept. Plans to Step Up Do (none / 0) (#8)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM EST
    Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power: Benito Mussolini