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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Department of Justice Oversight Issues

Perhaps ConyersBlog/TeamConyers readers may be aware of interests and concerns.

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The Honorable Congressman Conyers and the Staff in the Department of Justice,

Thank you for your service to the nation and continued attention to the Bush Administration's abuse of power. I agree that the war needs to end, and view the war as a symptom of a reckless government. I must admit I am a bit baffled: Although the President is under investigation, and has lost control of Congress, he appears to be moving forward on Iran as if Iraq didn't happen. For now, let's put aside the President's absurd conduct, and our disagreement over whether the President should or should not be impeached.

I approach you as a political opponent, in the spirit of what the President said last night: That people of differences can reach across the aisle and work together to solve problems. If there is nothing any reader of this content takes away it is this message: That there remains respect between private citizens and government officials; and even though private citizens may view elected officials in one light, that does not mean that important issues cannot be discussed in the spirit of what is good for America.

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Our common problem rests with the law enforcement management system under this Constitution. The details of the issues are what your committee, staff, and constituents bring to your attention.

My concerns relate to the President's speech on terrorism, and my observations which I hope to bring to the attention of your readers; and perhaps they may take the time to see whether they have noticed the same things. Perhaps, ultimately, these views may form the basis for your committee over the coming months to work with the Department of Justice OPR, DoJ IG, and the GAO on issues, solutions, ideas, and reforms.

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DOJ Grant Program For Crisis Management Teams
Blue Ridge Thunder-VA; how was invalid IP information connected with Nuckol's warrant?

Crisis Management Teams: What is to be done when, despite officer training, the officers appear to make more problems; and private citizens are required to diffuse a crisis connected with Crisis Management teams?

___ How many private citizens have observed, been the target of, or have suffered inappropriate treatment by so-called professionally trained law enforcement officials?

___ Is there evidence of Field Training Officers telling crisis management teams to rebuff complaints and concerns by calling complainants "mentally questionable"; and to what extent are complaints from private citizens rebuffed with (irrelevant) claims that the issue is "not a crime" [as a means to pretend the complaint is up to the officer's discretion, not, as it should be, up to the private citizen to file or not file]

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Manpower Requirements: Is it a Number or Management

One of the apparent urban myths floating around is that law enforcement is short manned; and that they do not have enough manpower to handle information. In my view, this claim is not supported by personal observations. Rather, the problem appears to be something related to poor management, poor training, and hasty conclusions.
In General it appears management in law enforcement does not adequately plan. Budget cycles are known things. Hearings are not a one-off, but can be scheduled well in advance. There is no excuse for anyone in DoJ to argue that they have a hearing on a given day and can't take the time to review an issue. Rather, it appears they've failed to adequately plan: A well known, annual budget-related requirement -- appearance at a hearing -- was not planned with sufficient buffer time to accommodate the known: Unexpected things will surface.

Also, personnel in law enforcement may wish to assert that there is a communication problem, or that they didn't know something as the basis to justify their excuses, inaction, or failure to remain professional. Rather, it is training that, in the heat of the moment, which is required to maintain officer discipline. My concern is the pattern of excuses:

___ Asserting that a private citizen has or hasn't done something as a smokescreen to what law enforcement mayor may not have done

____ During internal investigations of alleged law enforcement misconduct, personnel asserted that they "may" have said something; yet, their conduct belies this assertion -- they were deliberately doing something that was incorrect as evidenced by their specific choices. For someone to retract a certain statement and suggest that their statement was not equivocal puts them in a worse light: They've effectively asked us to believe that their specific actions were connected with an uncertain conclusion. That hardly inspires confidence in the law enforcement officers characterization of what they did or didn't say; but does the opposite -- puts law enforcement in the pool with the alleged suspects who are attempting to leave false impressions.

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JTTF Manpower and Jurisdictions

I would hope the GAO, DoJ OPR, and DoJ IG review the following apparent practice within JTTF: That of permitting officers to wear multiple hats, with apparent lack of coordination with local jurisdictions.

Personnel assigned to JTTF need to be clear with where their primary loyalty lies: Are they with a local unit under a specific municipality; or with a tenant unit that conveniently is not associated with any local government; or with the regional DHS-DoJ-FBI Special Agent in Charge under the JTTF.

The concern is that local law enforcement will respect jurisdictional boundaries; however, law enforcement assigned to JTTF can pick and choose which hat they want, as the case may be, and has bearing on the warrant issues.

I would encourage the committee to review to what extent JTTF personnel are able to enter, exit, and conduct business in a given jurisdiction under the guise of investigations; yet they are not adequately coordinating the activities [which really fall outside their true jurisdiction] with local government officials.

Some on JTTF may argue that they don't have time to coordinate. As with the warrant requirement, this is a concern: The burden of a warrant isn't' simply to protect the citizens, but to compel law enforcement to articulate with precision -- under penalty of perjury before a magistrate -- what the facts are. The goal isn't' to waste time, but to compel the officer to review the records, come to an understanding of the full record and facts, and outline their plan to an independent body.

JTTF appears to have run over the warrant requirement, and is using the "crisis" [which they've thrown themselves into] as the basis to say-suggestion-imply that they don't have time to coordinate. However, it is the failure to coordinate that leads to mistakes; or, in the heat of the moment, an excited officer may make specific assertions disconnected from a reasonable assertion. Ultimately, the private citizen is harmed:

___ Where law enforcement should be professional, officers may choose to jump to conclusions, be abusive, and create more problems than solving; however, if they took the time to review the matter, they may find there is a reasonable basis for their observations, and nothing to get excited about. This does not have anything to do with a lack of manpower, but poor officer discipline reasonably expected of all sworn officers.

___ Where the public may view law enforcement as a last hope to solve a problem, it is troubling to realize that a vulnerable victim may be further abused by law enforcement because a crafty suspect can manipulate law enforcement. At worst, an abused Victim is further traumatized by law enforcement assertions only consistent with the suspects incorrect recasting of information.

___ Where management knows about law enforcement discipline problems -- that of acting hastily, or being aggressive with the public -- management cannot credibly assert that the officers are "trained" [as a defense] when management has not handled the known aggressiveness problems of their officers.

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GAO: Is Manpower A Real Constraint in American Law Enforcement?
Law enforcement field training officers [FTOs] teach recruits in the field -- in effect -- one way to avoid paperwork is to claim the issue is not a crime. This is a training issue, not one of limited resources.

Unlike Iraq where law enforcement recruiting centers have been targeted, there is little evidence to suggest there is an unexpected turnover problem in officers. Retirements are not new; nor are known turnover rates. The issue is whether law enforcement leadership will or will not plan for these known manning changes, and actively recruit; not use their management problems as an excuse to ask the legislatures to resolve a leadership problem with more money. it makes no sense to throw money at a problem linked with management of existing resources, and little to do with real manpower shortages.

I view the American law enforcement concerns with manpower as a management problem, not a resources problem: Poor training, failure to plan, and chasing today's fires as opposed to planning for known, upcoming requirements.

JTTF doesn't credibly argue that they're short manned; yet we have known, specific, by-name DoJ Staff spending time on non-official business; or law enforcement chitchatting during business hours. This doesn't mean that cross talks are bad; rather, the picture for the Congers and State legislatures is not consistent with the manning resource picture: Personnel are available, they're just not effectively using their time.

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GAO: To What Extent are DoJ Staff Rebuffing Indicators

___ How much work does DoJ Create for itself by not prosecuting people who lie to law enforcement?

If the public believes they can openly deny the truth without consequences, the issue changes from whether law enforcement can enforce the law, to the opposite: How many suspects, knowing they can lie without consequences, will -- as a defense -- refuse to cooperate with law enforcement.

Refusing to cooperate is not a crime. It's absurd for law enforcement to argue they can do something when they refuse to check the evidence they have with one suspect vs. a more credible source. When suspects do not hate their misstatements challenged, they become emboldened, even targeting witnesses, inducting law enforcement to believe the issue is with the complainant.

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JTTF Units: Multi-Jurisdiction -- Have they coordinated?

JTTF as most people know stands for Joint Terrorism Task Force. This is a unit made up of officers from different departments. Officers may wear three different hats: Their JTTF-hat, when they are assigned to the DoJ unit at the FBI-level; a second when they are located with the tenant units that may not have direct local-government oversight; and a third hat of their actual unit.

The issue relates to warrants: Warrants aren't designed to slow Law enforcement; but ensure that the law enforcement are thinking through their plan, coordinating, and not rushing into a mess. The warrant requires the officers to show that there is a plan in place.

My concern under the Bush Administration is that the warrant -- a plan -- is looked at as an inconvenience; curiously, this is the same approach the Administration took with the Iraq and Iran in invasion plan: "Who needs a plan."

When officers don't coordinate, and they are wearing any of the three different hats, they may use the excuse of an (illusory) crisis as an excuse no to plan. My concern is that there's too much deference to law enforcement on the need to move quickly; and little attention, if any, looking at the consequences of having a disregard for the warrant [as a plan] and quickly moving, but making mistakes.
A solution to this problem is for the national and local civilian leadership to jointly review the following:

- Law enforcement oaths of office
- Reviewing sample cases of law enforcement violating standards
- Comparing the rules of evidence of officer misconduct
- Evaluating the ruses that officers use to avoid detection
- The impact this officer misconduct has on public confidence

I would prefer a proactive approach to this issue:

1. Encourage at a national level, to the state and local governments, to raise this issue and consider having no-notice visits to their JTTF officers; and examining whether the offers, in unusual situations, are able to handle the event; or whether they sway from their training and engage in misconduct;

2. Develop a proactive approach to the warrants, oversight, and leadership8ip in law enforcement to show the consequences of poor coordination, or failure of internal affairs to manage a particular officer: Recurring misstatements to the public; turning the reasonable public concerns in to a problem; or jumping to conclusions and leaving the victim at the mercy of misperceptions fueled by the suspect which law enforcement doesn't review;

3. Sitting down with the government entity general counsel/attorney, and reviewing the various types of officer misconduct; and seeing how these types of violations related to the oath might have been mitigated if there had been a credible showing to the officers that the public is aware of the rules of evidence; they know about the Police Office Standards and Training; and they are aware of the State Attorney power to investigate patterns of misconduct. The gaol isn't to threaten the officer, but remind the officer the level of oversight that can be applied if the officer misleads the public, violates the public expectation that their identify will be protected, or how the officer conducts themselves in a confusion situation.

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Rather than waiting for a problem to mushroom, law enforcement needs the informed leadership of civilians: Offering ideas, encouraging them to consider what law enforcement is doing to contribute to the problem; and consider ways of testing whether law enforcement is or is not meeting its standards at the local level and providing this information to the public so they can make informed decisions:

___ Do we trust law enforcement to do their jobs;

___ Who has been assigned to this specialized unit;

___ What is the track record of this unit: Are they professional interacting with the public; or are they doing the opposite, making it worse, and requiring the public to act as oversight for the officers;

___ What are the known risks of interacting with this particular law enforcement unit;

___ Before we begin a particular activity in an area where I may have an option to choose something else, might I prefer to choose an activity elsewhere, do the same thing, but remove myself from a troublesome jurisdiction where the officers are more interested in keeping an image, but not fully meeting their oath of office or doing what they should at all times;

___ To what extent do the officers have to be monitored minute by minute; or can they be trusted to professional handle a situation regardless whether they perceive the person is an expert on the law, or whether they are a young, vulnerable 17 year female who may be be in targeted by a persuasive male who has convinced law enforcement the problem is with the naive;

___ Based on the experience others have had with this unit, would it be better to wait for someone else; go to another jurisdiction; or work with other options to resolve this problem;

____ To what extent can I expect, in solving this problem using law enforcement, that I might be better using another options outside what law enforcement supposedly has been trained to do;

____ Do I have confidence that the law enforcement leadership will respond proactively to these issues; or is is more likely that stated polices, despite auditor reviews, are not enforced, and troublesome officers are able to make excuse for their inaction, misconduct, or unprofessionalism which are not aggressively reviewed;

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Professionalism requires professional officers in more than just name, but in act, spirit and deed. The importance of professionalism isn't the bade or reputation, but the results an officer leaves in the moment to moment they interact with the public.
Officers who believe they may be interacting with someone naive, stupid, or incompetent should consider how they would want to be treated:

___ If you didn't know something, would you wanted to be treated with respect, as an equal person; or would you want to be yelled at, insulted, or treated as if there is a problem?

___ Have I taken the time to review the issues, keep an open mind, and take the other person's perspective: There may be a logical reason for the other person doing what they're doing. Our job as officers is to put aside the badge [momentarily] and listen to the other person: What is their thinking; what is their view of the situation. Whether we agree or disagree on their thinking is less important as understanding their thinking behind why their actions are or are no treasonable. It may be a simple problem of us, as law enforcement, not understanding or taking the time to listen, understand: This might be solved if the warrant requirements included something new -- a requirement to outline a plan before action; as opposed to filing a report of what we though happened.

___ Have we taken the time to review the available information

___ Despite the information, files, resources, and other personal that I may be able to access with backup, and I taking the time to review what I know; or am I concluding things based on evidence that does not exist

____ How much of what I, as a law enforcement officer amid concluding, is linked with projection of my concerns; as opposed to a real comparison between [a] what we observe; and [b] what people are saying

___ When I, as a law enforcement officer, make specific statements or movements, am I credibly fooling anyone when I try to make others believe my statements -- linked with my movement -- were conditional, while my actions indite that I was certain

____ How does the inconsistency between what I am saying that I am saying compare with what my observable movements are communicating: IT doesn't make sense to argue that I have said something is unclear, but my actions indicated that I made a specific decision, and I was certain on something -- this difference between certain actions and the desired impression that I "may" have said something leaves a sour taste in people's mouths: The public is dealing with officers who lie, mislead

___ To what extent, by our actions, are we doing no different than what Orwell wrote in 1984: In the end there was no difference between the animals and farmers. With respect to law enforcement: TO what extent are we, as law enforcement, no different than the criminals that we are supposedly combating: Misleading the public; making excuse for not fully following the rules, leaving incorrect perceptions; using our knowledge of the law to hide our violations of the illegal activity; or not listening to reasonable public concerns.

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Integrity Testing

A solution to this problem is for the civilian leadership, and private citizens who are thinking about becoming elected leaders is to learn:

- What is the oath of office for their law enforcement
- What do officers do to violate the law
- What are the rules of evidence
- What do offers do or say to justify [in their mind] their failure to fully assert their oath, not take information, rebuff reasonable concerns, not get a warrant, enter a jurisdiction/home without adequate coordination, not fully assert their oath at all times
- What are the known problems of officer misconduct; and how has this conduct been run through the civilian attorneys to develop a plan that would offer solutions, conduct tests, and evaluate independent whether the professional are or are not doing their job at all time

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The error of the Department of Justice is to assume no one can enter, exit, penetrate, or get access to the officer and Staff Counsel information.
The information is not behind a firewall. It can be legally seized; and also using methods which the NSA cannot detect, there are ways to lawfully enter a facility, access information, and know with certainty what officers and DJ Staff counsel are doing or not doing; and how this real conduct contradicts the information provided to courts.

DoJ Staff counsel have a problem. The law is certain; yet the enforcement of that law is not certain. The issues are serious. These are potential war crimes which DoJ Staff counsel are allegedly complicit.

It is not appropriate for DoJ OPR, DoJ IG, or the JTTF to be used, manipulated, or inducted to chase fires, when the real problem lies with the DOJ Staff counsel. You have training videos which you are ignoring; and the standards of conduct are known; yet the DoJ OPR reports and access are not consistent with what is expected.

The oath of office isn't' simply a piece of paper you sign. It is reasonable for the public to expect the Department of Justice to meet the standards of conduct, discipline themselves, and assent to outside oversight when they refuse to do their jobs as their oath and standards of conduct require.

The error is for the Department of Justice to believe that the public has not figured this out; or that the public does not have the ability to compare the standards of conduct, oath, and available information. The problem for the Department of Justice is that tings are not adding up; required reviews are not Being done; and the needed leadership is not there to manage this situation.
The error is to blame the problem on terrorism, or an excuse of a crisis. This excuse needs to end. People have been sitting around for going on six [6] years now, yet the Department of Justice would ask that We the People believe we're in the days just after 9-11. Incorrect.

US active combat involvement in WWII was planned, waged, and ended within 4 years. Today's enemy has not expanded geographically like Japan; they do not control physical space; rather, they inspire minds because the American model, as its recklessly implemented by DoJ, is not there as it should be.

Warrants are no there to waste the DOJ Staff counsel time; but to compel a plan, and ensure there is coordination. Rather than make excuses to ignore a warrant, perhaps We the People should discuss the opposite: Creating a new standard of required coordination to better insulate the public,and force law enforcement to plan, discuss, and mentally prepare for what they are going to do.

The Department of Justice is responsible for setting the tone; and local law enforcement are responsible for setting the example. Local law enforcement can act 9independently, but he way forward is for tensional leadership to realize that the tone in Washington does send waves -- good or bad -- to the local level.

Local citizens can effectively make informed choices about problems and solutions when they have adequate experts in place to review an issue, implement options, and ensure the course of action is reasonable. The error is when the private citizen, untrained in the complexities of the rules of evidence, must rise to the occasion and act more professionally to diffuse a crisis JTTF and law enforcement have created by their bungling, hasty action, and unreasonable assumptions.

Your customer isn't just the public or We the People; but your oath and the US Constitution. Public service doesn't mean lying to maintain an illusion; it means voluntarily accept that you may have a training issue, or need better leadership to more effectively manage a situation. Budgets and legislative reviews can be planned for; what cannot be planned for is the moment that law enforcement may take on the characteristics of a criminal enterprise, and directly target the most vulnerable in the name of solving problems, yet assent to manipulations of the most expert suspects.

* * *

DoJ leadership needs to stop laying the games. We the People outnumber you, and can make adverse inferences. Where you claim to be experts in the law, We the People can lawfully compare notes, and review to what extent:

___ Has the Attorney disciplinary ; system broken down

___ To what extent has the DOJ Staff not fully asserted their Article 82 Geneva obligations and requirements

___ Can we trust the DoJ Staff to report their concerns with peer misconduct to DOJ OPR

___ To what extent are the legal requirements being fully asserted, as opposed to counsel using non-sense [thereby violating the rules of evidence] to justify more absurdity

The law is based on one thing: The rules of reason and logic. When US Attorneys, DoJ Staff, and the Department of Justice leadership make excuses to avoid reason, they are violating the inherent principles of the US Constitution. The oath exists to bind you to do things you would not voluntarily do.

We the People do no take an oath to be loyal to you; rather, your oath is to the US Constitution and the implicit assumption that you will be professional, tell the truth, use your mind, plan, and follow the guidelines. When you point to excuses to "justify" your violations, you do not inspire confidence in your profession, law enforcement or the Department of Justice.

The way forward is for the civilians in America to open their minds and hears to the problem: The legal community has swayed from these rules of reason; and they have permitted the rules of non-sense, not reason, to guide the US leadership on issues of warrants, war making, and accountability. Iraq is a symptom of a bad plan; and a bad plan means the warrant does not exist as it should. Where the US leadership made excuses to ignore the FISA requirements, they made the same excuses to ignore the laws of war in re Iraq.

The solution is to have an open discussion: What is to be done when the so-called experts in the Department of Justice, despite DOJ OPR, refuse to be experts, and silently assent to war crimes, illegal warfare, and imprudent action. The White House counsel staff is accountable to the same standards. Either Th legal community will remedy this from within; or We the People through direct oversight will compel you to do what you refuse to do -- Be reasonable.
There are two options:

1. Law enforcement and DOJ leadership can wake up now and accept We the People have figured this out; or

2. We the People will continue to cooperate with all international patterns to gather evidence, observe, and notice that the law enforcement and DoJ leadership refuse to assent to the rules of reason.

It is time for the DoJ Leadership to decide whether you are with the rule of law an reason; or whether yo require We the People using lawful methods to compel you to assent. It is not appropriate to poi tn to illusory crisis as an excuse to avoid accountability for management problems. We the People no not only outnumber you, but we can work together to focus on the real problem, the rules of evidence, and notice when we are or are not being lied to by law enforcement.

Analysis, oversight, and review is not precise, but an art: Simply noticing, and what makes sense. Attorneys and prosecutors can do the same when they destroy a witness in court: Taking a minor problem or inconstancy in their story, and ripping it apart before a jury. DOJ Staff need to decide whether you are smart enough to move faster than the Criminal Justice System.

Here's a hint: You are not. Once you attempt to mislead in any way, your physical evidence will or will not stack up on one side. The longer you permit these misconceptions to linger, the worse it gets for you, your peers, and your legal foundation.

These are not political issues, but matters of criminal law. We the People have a vote because the rule of reason -- when contrasted with non-sense statements from DoJ and this White House -- will prevail. Your oath was your first check; your requirement is the Constitution; your oath of office as a peace officer means fully doing what you should, not pretending you are an expert while We the People see little difference between the criminal suspects who farm; and the DOJ Workhorses who engage in the same abuse of power and violations of clearly promulgated standards.