Retroactive NSLs based on illegally obtained evidence
American Joint Terrorism Taks Force [JTTF] law enforcement officers have been self-certifying National Security Letters [NSLs] using evidence gleaned from illegal searches.
This is one of the illegal-classified Presidential programs, similar to the unlawful NSA domestic surveillance program.
This classified and illegal Department of Justice program is the use of retro-active NSL's. This is the practice of retroactively getting a National Security Letter based on infirmation obtained during an unlawful intrusion. Under the Constitution warrants are required before law enforcement can seize people, or invade private homes.
Many American law enforcement officers in JTTF are poorly trained. More professional law enforcement officers are assigned to the National Guard in Iraq, where they are engaged in an illegal occupation far from where they are needed to help with natural disasters.
At the 6 Feb 2006 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney Gereral Gonzalez confirmed there were many classified programs. He has not publicly discussed the illegal activity.
National Security Leters have been a tool to trump the Constitution. NSLs have been used to seize evidence unrelated to criminal activity. The FISA court has publicly rebuked the President and FIB agents for requesting FISA warrants based on evidence the NSA and JTTF illegally obtained.
NSL's have numbered in the tens of thousands, the JTTF and NSA act like a giant vacuum cleaner looking for anything. They do not care if the evidence is or is not obtained legally. They will lie and make up stories to pretend the information was lawuflly obtained.
NSLs can be self-certified. Rather than appear before a court as required under the Constitution, law enforcement can self-certify that the National Security Letter is required.
Under the Constitution and FISA statutes, one may not get a warrant based on information glaned from unlawful surveillance.
Rather than admit they themselves illegally obtained the evidence, JTTF officers are known to cite "anonymous sources" with other "confirming indicators" to justify the National Security Letter.
The problem with this program and the NSA unlawful activity is simple: The laws provide exceptions, but the JTTF and NSA fail to follow the procedures.
The problem is similar to the NSA unlawful programs. The FISA statute outlined what should be done, but the NSA, Joint Staff, and President ignored these workrounds. Not only are there unconstitutional procedures "legalized" by the Patriot Act and NSL process, JTTF now ignores these procedures.
Yet, despite being able to self-certify, law enforcement fails to get the required nationa security letter based on the approved standards. Rather, information gleaned from illegal intrusions is then used to self-certifiy the national security letter.
The issue with oversight is clear. Congress has already voted to do nothing about teh NSA unalwful activity.
It remainsn to be seen how many more illegal programs will surface before the courts say the conduct is uconstitutional.
Law enforcement uses several means to illegally obtain evidence. They will appear in work areas unannounced and compel workers to explain what they are working on.
Without any warrant or notification to building mangement, JTTF officers do appear in plain clothes, demand to see identification, seize computers, and tell personnel to step aside.
They may not explain what they are doing, the reason they are looking for information, or the basis for them to believe there is or isn't a problem. They are on a fishing expedition, moving without court ovresight.
JTTF has no specific information that there is something wrong. Rather, they merely assert that something may be going on, and seize control of the computer.
They are known to upen and close files, windows, and adjust window settings. The work product you are working on may be deleted, lost, or adjusted.
This officer conduct bring discredit upon law enforcement and reduces public confidence in the integrity of the judicial system.
One of the JTTF tactics is to publicly insinuate before other workers that an employee is using the equipment for illegal purposes.
The tactics are simple. JTTF relies on surprise. They use high pitched voice. Their goal is to annoy you.
When it is clear that they are under observation, or their conduct is questionable, JTTF may lower their voices.
Without stating a reason, officers often demand employees produce their identification. Employees who question this request may be quickly threatened with handcuffing and detention. This is designed to scare you. You are encouraged to discuss your options with private counsel -- you have the right to state your preference that you prefer not to show your personal information.
JTTF will accuse you of not cooperating. Your job is to remain calm, know that they are trying to get you to do something that you are not lawfully required to do, and divert attention from their illegal objective and focuse the attention on you.
Remain calm. They are doing this because they are arrogant and insecure.
Once the JTTF confirms what is in the files, they will inquire further.
Once confirming the employee has been shaken up, they return the ID and may say, "You are free to leave."
Some employees are unsure whether this means they are free to leave, they are fired, or they can go back to work.
JTTF conduct is disruptive and backfires. Rather than rally cowokers against the employee, the officer conduct raises questions about the program and professionalism.
JTTF is on fishing expeditions. At a time when they could get national security letters, they're now taking the next step: Using their appearance before the employee as a pretext to find something.
The conduct is well known. JTTF will also use the same type of tactic when stopping people around public buildings or going about their dialy business. Rather than admit the invasion is a violation, officers will invent some sort of ruse.
Some ruses include "finding abandoned property" or "looking for illegal activity."
The problem is this was the very conduct the British Redcoats engaged in. The idea behind the warrant requirement was to ensure there was a court overseeing the process.
Today, the officers are simply asserting their power. They are acting in an uncontstitutional manner.
What you can do
Your job is to know the conduct occurs. Discuss this with your mnagment. Devise procedures of what to do when JTTF enter your facility unannounced.
Invite your general counsel to discuss the 42 USC 1983 statute.
Diccuss with private counsel what your rights are. You may wish to review whether you are or are not required to produce an ID during an intrusive search.
Discuss with your friends "Civilian Oversight Boards."
Reivew with your state auditors the effectiveness of the non-notice visits to filed training officers. Encourage your community leadership to make public stands on the Patriot Act, and the JTTF practice of appearing without notice to look for possible evidence.
Discuss with your state attorney general the process to review politice officer conduct and the decertification process.
Encourage others to ensure the data in police officer decertificaiton database is up to date.
Ensure government officials are clear on who does or does not have access to the JTTF-NSA databases: Who can update, get access to, and change information. Inquire whether law enforcement personnel can access this information to use during the private consulting and private investigation firms.
Ask when the last time your state police officer standrads and trianing conduct a no-notice visit to the field training officers, and whether these visits are truly "no notice" or whether they are like the FAA visits with a "heads up" of a review.
Inquire whether Interpol does or does not review your state poiice officer standards training.
Review whether your state law enforcement office oath includes sanctions or decertification for violation the law, intimidating the public, or acting in a condescending manner that would lower public confidencen in law enforcement.
If you are using official equipment, but officers have no evidence or specific information to justify the search, they may be violating the law.
It remains to be understood how many officers have collected evidence using this method. Cleraly, they appear in this manner because they have no warrant, and no natoinal security letter.
Officers are known to not produce their badge upon request, and may refuse to idnetify who they are or why they are there.
Workers have the right to work in quiet areas. They do not have to be treated in a disrepsectful manner, especially by officers who have contempt for the Constitution.
This conduct reflects poorly on American law enforcement.
At the state level your attorney general may have a police officer and standards training oversight system. Your attorney general may have official information on their website. This is related to officer decertifications.
If you are confronted by federal law enforcement, there are offices of professional responsiblity who review these matters. Know that if you personally file a complaint your name goes into an OPR database. You may wish to have an attorney draft the complaint letter instead.
You are encouraged to discuss these issues with private counsel.
This is not legal advice. It is general information for a wide public audience.
Remember, only you can protect your rights. JTTF will lie to get you to give up your rights. American law enforcmeent is not your friend. They have one goal: To gather information to update teh NSA-JTTF database and put you in jail.
DOn't wait. Find a lawyer and talk to them before it is too late. JTTF will surprise you, shock you, and intrude into your private affairs by violating the law. If you rfuse to assert your lawful rights, you may be tricked into giving up something that you are not lawfully required to do.
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Talk to a licensed attorney. Don't wait.
Added 10:04PM EST, 11 Mar 2006: Via Conyers