The [Monday] Papers
"A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans," Reuters reports.
"Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges."
Go read the whole thing. Then consider this Chicago angle which isn't in the Reuters story:
"An attorney for a suburban Chicago teenager facing terrorism charges raised the question at a pre-trial hearing Tuesday about whether expanded U.S. surveillance methods - the subject of heated national debate - were used in her client's case," AP reported last week.
"Abdella Ahmad Tounisi's lawyer, Molly Armour, told a judge it's unclear if authorities used enhanced surveillance against Tounisi but that she would press for clarity. It's the second time in just over a month that enhanced government surveillance has come up in a Chicago terrorism case.
"The American-born Tounisi, 18, has pleaded not guilty to lying to authorities and to attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group by trying to join al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, which is fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
"Attorneys for another Chicago-area terrorist suspect and a friend of Tounisi's, Adel Daoud, recently asked a judge to order prosecutors to state if they used enhanced surveillance in his case. If government investigators did, the defense lawyers signaled they would challenge the evidence on constitutional grounds."
Now consider this report in the New York Times on Sunday:
"The National Security Agency's dominant role as the nation's spy warehouse has spurred frequent tensions and turf fights with other federal intelligence agencies that want to use its surveillance tools for their own investigations, officials say."
Brian Fung of the Washington Post connects the dots:
"Earlier this year, a federal court said that if law enforcement agencies wanted to use NSA information in court, they had to say so beforehand and give the defendant a chance to contest the legality of the surveillance. Lawyers for Adel Daoud, who was arrested in a federal sting operation and charged with trying to blow up a bomb, suspect that Daoud was identified using NSA information but was never told."
As Reuters notes, "disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants."
Otherwise we have what is commonly referred to as a "police state," complete with secret police and secret courts in which you may never know the true nature of the charges against you. It's Kafka, Orwell and Huxley all rolled into one.
Now consider another angle: What if the cops arrest me for, say, murder, and I claim that I wasn't at the scene at the time but don't have much proof because, well, maybe I was alone meditating in the woods. Can I subpoeana the NSA for data they might have proving where I was at the time of the crime? How could that be denied to me?
Feel free to extrapolate a better example, but you get the point; if they're going to use their super surveillance to prosecute alleged criminals, you'd think alleged criminals would have access to super surveillance to prove their innocence.
Looks Like The University of Illinois-Chicago
"[Thomas Morano] got his job back despite having been convicted of attempted murder for shooting a man in the chest, leaving him paralyzed."
Oh, is that all?
"Records show he also lied about his criminal record on university job applications and claimed to be off work sick when he actually was locked up on felony gun charges for which he was later convicted."
Block that hire!
"Morano's reinstatement followed an Illinois Appellate Court ruling last year that the university had to take him back because a UIC facilities executive made a 'last-chance' deal with him in 2006 to let him keep his job, even after Morano's second felony conviction."
How was the idiot who did that?
"If UIC's Mark Donovan, who has since been promoted to a $236,134-a-year post as vice chancellor of administrative services, hadn't made that deal, Morano's 2007 firing in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times report about his past 'may very well' have been upheld, the justices wrote."
Mark Donovan, everybody!
From Donovan's bio as a member of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission:
"Previous experience includes serving as Manager of Chicago O'Hare Airport for the City of Chicago Department of Aviation and as Manager of Building Operations and Services for the City of Chicago Public Works."
I wonder how the dude whom Morano shot in the chest and paralyzed for life feels about all this.
Downstate PAC Man
"Shimkus, in fact, went to Washington saying he would serve no more than six terms. That was nine terms ago."
Just pausing to soak that one up.
"But now the Republican congressman from Collinsville who tweets Bible verses almost every morning and loves to talk about making government smaller, has become an influential Washington insider.
"He's chairman of a major House subcommittee that is responsible for legislation and the oversight of toxic substances, drinking water, fracking and the regulation of solid, hazardous and nuclear wastes. As such he is the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from political action committees representing electric utilities, oil companies, chemical companies, manufacturers, labor unions, agribusinesses and more."
It's not even necessarily that he's trading his vote - and leadership - for industry dough; it's that the industries he oversees have a significant interest in making sure he stays right where he is.
"In the April through June period, Shimkus raised $354,575. About a tenth of that sum - $34,375 - came from individuals, and most of those itemized donations were from outside his district.
"The rest of Shimkus' haul during the three months - $320,200 - came from big PACs like Exxon Mobil, Boeing, John Deere, Honeywell, Altria, Halliburton and Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison. There were dozens more contributors of between $5,000 and $1,000 to Shimkus' campaign fund."
Corporations may be people too, but their mouths are a lot bigger than yours or mine. So are the arms they use to embrace their friends.
"It's a far cry from Shimkus' first successful race for Congress in 1996, when he raised $569,566, and more than half that amount - nearly $300,000 - came from individuals.
"Since then he's morphed into the Washington PACman.
"And it's not just about the money coming in.
"Shimkus spends it, too, on fundraising consultants, tickets for concerts and sporting events, thousands of dollars on catering for fundraisers in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and transfers out to the National Republican Congressional Committee, where it can be spent to help elect other Republicans."
In other words, the industry Shimkus oversees - and someone please explain to me how this isn't a conflict of interest - isn't just investing in him but in his ability to spread their money around in just the right way.
Another Amazing Weekend In Chicago Rock
Including: The Cure, Queens of the Stone Age, The Killers, The Postal Service, Steely Dan, Eric Church, Diplo, Lana Del Rey, Phoenix, Mumford & Sons, Nine Inch Nails, Kendrick Lamar, Charles Bradley, Ellie Goulding, Little Green Cars, The Orwells, Knife Party, Band of Horses, Major Lazer, Tegan & Sara, Crystal Castles, Baauer, Alex Clare, Wavves, Icona Pop, Haim, Wild Nothing, The Bright Light Social Hour, Half Moon Run, The Dunwells, Ghost and more.
Fantasy Football vs. Reality Baseball
White Sox Fans Thank Biogenesis
The Cub Factor
The Beachwood Tip Line: Performance enhancing.
Posted on August 5, 2013
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