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Posts Tagged Department of Justice
EFF recently received dozens of pages of documents in response to a FOIA request we submitted about Operation Choke Point, a Department of Justice project to pressure banks and financial institutions into cutting off service to certain businesses. Unfortunately, the response from the Department of Justice leaves many questions unanswered.
EFF has been tracking instances of financial censorship for years to identify how online speech is indirectly silenced or intimidated by shuttering bank accounts, donation platforms, and other financial institutions. The Wall Street Journal wrote about the Justice Department’s controversial and secretive campaign against financial institutions in 2013, and one Justice Department official quoted in the article stated:
From The Denver Post:
The Denver Sheriff Department has run afoul of the U.S. Department of Justice because it made U.S. citizenship a job requirement for its deputies during a hiring spree in 2015 and early 2016.
The sheriff’s department will pay a $10,000 fine and will have to sort through old applications to identify people who were eliminated from consideration because they were not U.S. citizens, according to a news release from the justice department.
When will the insanity end?
Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion.
The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State, and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.
From Fox News:
From Open Whisper Systems:
In the “first half of 2016” (the most specific we’re permitted to be), we received a subpoena from the Eastern District of Virginia. The subpoena required us to provide information about two Signal users for a federal grand jury investigation.
This is the first subpoena that we’ve received. It originally included a broad gag order that would have prevented us from publishing this notice, but the ACLU represented us in quickly and successfully securing our ability to publish the transcripts below. We’re committed to treating any future requests the same way: working with effective and talented organizations like the ACLU, andpublishing transcripts of our responses to government requests here.
From The Wall Street Journal:
“Some of the emotion that I’ve received around this issued remind me sometimes, in the absolutist and slippery slope arguments, reminds me of some of the rhetoric we hear in the gun debate,” Mr. Comey said, according to the Associated Press.
From the EFF:
In addition, this new method of accessing the phone raises questions about the government’s apparent use of security vulnerabilities in iOS and whether it will inform Apple about these vulnerabilities. As a panel of experts hand-picked by the White House recognized, any decision to withhold a security vulnerability for intelligence or law enforcement purposes leaves ordinary users at risk from malicious third parties who also may use the vulnerability. Thanks to a lawsuit by EFF, the government has released its official policy for determining when to disclose security vulnerabilities, the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP).
From Oregon Live:
An FBI agent is suspected of lying about firing twice at Robert “LaVoy” Finicium and may have gotten help from four other FBI agents in covering up afterward, authorities revealed Tuesday.
Investigators gave no details to explain why the one FBI agent, a member of the Hostage Rescue Team, wouldn’t report the two shots. They also didn’t indicate what his four colleagues on the team did to warrant investigation other than saying it was related to conduct after the shooting.
From The Federalist:
Unlike a standard criminal trial, in which a jury must decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether you have violated a criminal law, under this proposed law the government must only show a preponderance of evidence–evidence which will almost certainly be redacted–in order to strip you of your Second Amendment right to defend yourself and your family from terrorists:
In any case in which the Attorney General has denied the transfer of a firearm to a prospective transferee pursuant to section 922A of this title or has made a determination regarding a firearm permit applicant pursuant to section 922B of this title, an action challenging the determination may be brought against the United States. The petition shall be filed not later than 60 days after the petitioner has received actual notice of the Attorney General’s determination under section 922A or 922B of this title. The court shall sustain the Attorney General’s determination upon a showing by the United States by a preponderance of evidence that the Attorney General’s determination satisfied the requirements of section 922A or 922B, as the case may be. To make this showing, the United States may submit, and the court may rely upon, summaries or redacted versions of documents containing information the disclosure of which the Attorney General has determined would likely compromise national security.
Remember, you don’t have to be convicted of any crime whatsoever to end up on the terrorist watch list. You don’t even have to be charged with a crime to lose your constitutional rights under the proposed law. If this proposed legislation were to become law, some DHS bureaucrat–perhaps the type of bureaucrat who wrote earlier this year that “right-wing terrorists” pose the biggest threat to American national security–only needs to snap his fingers and add your name to the blacklist in order to immediately deprive you of your Second Amendment rights and your constitutional right to due process. You don’t even get to review the entirety of the evidence against you.
“The ATF is not an ‘agency’ within the meaning of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552(f)(1), and is, therefore, not a proper party defendant,” the agency wrote in its answer to a complaint filed in federal court in June.
Attorney and Second Amendment scholar, David Kopel, said he didn’t know the reasoning behind the ATF answer. “I have no idea what ATF’s argument on that point is,” he said. “There is no separate FOIA law for ATF, and they are plainly an agency within the meaning of the statute.”
Washington, D.C. – Academy and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. transportation security agencies today demanding they release records documenting a six-year period in which she was searched, questioned, and often subjected to hours-long security screenings at U.S. and overseas airports on more than 50 occasions. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing Poitras in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The term “sporting purposes” is undefined by federal statute and has been subject to several reinterpretations by the BATFE and its predecessor agency. BATFE and anti-gun administrations have exploited the lack of a clear definition of “sporting purposes” to bypass Congress and impose gun control through executive fiat. The most recent (and perhaps most infamous) example of this was the Obama administration’s attempt to ban a highly popular form of ammunition for the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle.
More from NRA:
“This important legislation would prevent arbitrary ammunition bans like the one attempted earlier this year by the Obama Administration,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “With the support of America’s law-abiding gun owners, the NRA was able to beat back Obama’s attempt to ban ammunition used by millions of law-abiding Americans every day for target shooting, hunting, and self-defense. This legislation would fix the law to protect us from similar government overreach in the future.”
B. Todd Jones’ resignation is effective March 31. After that, Deputy Director Thomas Brandon will become acting director.
“I will truly miss leading and working side-by-side with these men and women in their pursuit of ATF’s unique law enforcement and regulatory mission,” Jones said in a statement Friday.
From The Hill:
The director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is stepping down following controversy surrounding the agency’s proposal to ban certain types of ammunition.
Jones, who in July 2013 became the first ATF director to be confirmed by the Senate and led the agency after a scandal involving the agency’s infamously botched Operation Fast and Furious gun tracking initiative, is departing shortly after the agency dropped a controversial attempt to ban certain armor-piercing bullets used in AR-15 rifles.
A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.
From Sen. Rubio:
“Operation Choke Point is an attempt by the Obama Administration to weaken 2nd Amendment rights in America, which enable people to protect themselves and their families,” said Rubio. “We must stop this administration’s effort to target private industries and the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Sen. Rubio’s bill followed Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s (R-Mo.) re-introduction on February 5 of the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act. This legislation would institute numerous reforms to bring more transparency and accountability to federal oversight of banks, all aimed at preventing the sort of unchecked abuse of discretion at the heart of OPC.
From The Daily Signal:
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has acknowledged its role in Operation Choke Point and is taking dramatic steps to reverse its policies in targeting legal and legitimate industries that are disfavored by the Obama administration.
From The Washington Times:
In an effort to put an end to Operation Choke Point — a financial task force that was created by the Obama administration to “choke out” businesses it finds objectionable like gun shops — the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. issued a letter Wednesday saying all banks should examine their customer relationships on a case-by-case basis and not by industry operational risk.
“The FDIC is issuing this statement to encourage institutions to take a risk-based approach in assessing individual customer relationships rather than declining to provide banking services to entire categories of customers,” the FDIC said in a letter to its financial institutions released Wednesday.