William Thien

Archive for the ‘IRS Scandals’ Category

I blogged recently about what I believe is happening with regard to The NSA’s program to surveil the telephone records of all Americans. I concluded that due to the success of the 9/11 attackers and that of The Boston Bombers, even though our intelligence analysts had advanced information on both events, the fact that both attacks were still successful indicated that the focus of the surveillance (collection of telephone records) by The NSA on all Americans may not be couched entirely in a desire to prevent further terrorist activity. Such flags as a heads up from a foreign intelligence agency (from Russia on The Boston Bombers) or the report about a pilot not wanting to learn how to land a jetliner (regarding the 9/11 attackers) only to fly the jetliner, such reports and information are the holy grail of the intelligence business. If someone looked the other way it was because they were told to do so. When you discover something like that while working in the intelligence business, it often merits a promotion. There are accolades and back slapping. And why not? Look what can be prevented with such knowledge? But more importantly in those cases, look what wasn’t.

Now, let me add that I have worked for The NSA (See my “About Page”) while on assignment from The US Army. In my experience, The NSA doesn’t simply just start collecting information on particular targets and the thought that they should start wiretapping or collecting information on all US Citizens on their own accord is absurd. These along with all of the other recent developments, The I.R.S. scandal, all have political origins, I am certain.

In fact my experience with such matters leads me to recall a situation where a number of us, all analysts, were asked if we should re-direct the focus of a multi-capability surveillance satellite over the country’s border to collect information on drug activity of a particular type. Of the ten or so of us sitting in the secure facility, all said we should not do so. With the technology we had at the command of what was basically a joystick, we could have easily done so, I must tell you. There were members of all US Armed forces present and members of several agencies as well. Not one person voted to turn the satellite in the direction of The United States. That tells you something about the very highest caliber of members of The US Armed Forces, then. This was in the early nineties. Instead, the information about the targets was given to the state police of said state and forwarded to domestic agencies.

That sentiment, that we should not surveil our own country due to the charter of The NSA may have changed since 9/11. But I doubt it. Why? The screening process to become an employee of The NSA or work in my capacity at the time in The US Army on assignment there at an NSA post is very thorough and involves numerous and lengthy questionnaires with cross-referenced questions, often a series of polygraph examinations with members of The Department of Defense visiting your neighbors, former employers, and going to schools you attended. The process frequently takes months, sometimes more than a year. My Top Secret SCSI Clearance took seven or eight months to complete. The older you are, the longer it takes because there is more footwork for the investigators to do.

Getting back to the point though, I believe that there is a political component to The NSA’s surveillance of all US Telephone records. I believe this because information obtained by said surveillance is transferred to local authorities. The federal government can’t be everywhere in a physical sense if it can in fact be everywhere in an electronic sense, which is what all of the databases, the telephone records, the credit card transaction records, the internet activity records, it is what all of the records allow, a sort of electronic omniscience. But since the federal government can’t be everywhere, they must utilize local resources to accomplish certain activities. Whoa! Where are you going with this?

The answer to the question that is forming in your minds is a definite, “yes.”

What is happening at a certain level is that the federal government is tasking local authorities with the responsibility to collect information on your physical activities if you make “the list” you could say.

But even more importantly, The Patriot Act, that legislation which authorized the expansion of wiretapping and such activities as you have now become aware of, also allows something much more insidious, the “sneak-and-peek” (entry) of your residence, with a warrant but unannounced (they do it when you are not there). Who knows when they will decide to tell you or how often they enter? In other words, someone deemed to be suitable to the task (may even be someone who is duly deputized due to a certain skill set such as a locksmith), someone deemed suitable is authorized to enter your dwelling in your absence and search it. But does it stop there? Do they sabotage your things during the search? Do they take things? You will never know unless you notice something yourself, because The Patriot Act authorizes such governmental intrusion.

The real problem in my estimation with such activity though is that anyone with a badge or any type of governmental authority can probably get away with doing what I’ve just described and you would never know and with no authority from the federal government. Your neighbors may even be aware, and you wouldn’t have a clue if they didn’t tell you. Things get bumped during such searches. Perhaps you noticed something was disturbed. Do your neighbors have a key to your apartment? What is happening here?! See what I’m talking about? I’ve blogged in the past about putting an end to The Patriot Act. Why? Not only does the Patriot Act undermine The Constitution (which may have been temporarily necessary, but that is unlikely), The Patriot Act also undermines the social well being of the country.

Just as importantly, The Patriot Act makes no real distinction between foreign and domestic terrorism and that is the catch (Read the link I’ve included from The ACLU further on).

Are you an outspoken conservative that wants to downsize government (maybe you went on the “possible terrorist” list)? 2nd Amendment Activist (possible terrorist)? Who knows how long the list is and who or what defines it? Did you recently buy some ammunition online? How about a firearm? Do you blog as I do? Do you like to read blogs like mine? Do you write to your elected officials with your suggestions (this is a crucial one because it immediately becomes a national security matter, almost certainly if you express any disgruntlement and dissatisfaction with their performance)? Isn’t everyone disgruntled about the performance of the government? Hold it, isn’t just about everyone disgruntled?

Lo and behold, suddenly we discover we are all under surveillance.

Enough said.

But don’t take my word for it. And I’m not the greatest fan of these people, but read this http://www.aclu.org/national-security/surveillance-under-usa-patriot-act

Note: the only other reason I can offer for the oversight which missed the obvious regarding The Boston Bombers is that now that the US Government has tasked intelligence agencies to monitor all of our activities, search old ladies and children at the airport, what have you, there is so much information coming in that the intelligence agencies are overwhelmed with a sort of white noise of information and unable to completely function or focus on certain threats. There is essentially information overload at the intelligence agencies. But to me the prior scenario seems more likely. Nevertheless, our intelligence agencies don’t just start spying (as our elected would have us believe), they don’t just start spying on us en masse without direction from our elected, Congress in particular. And this is why I’ve written to the effect that we should once again start profiling and leads to the title of that essay on profiling, Welcome to Post 9/11 America: The United States of Police States. An Argument for Profiling.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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I had a surprising discussion with someone at a local newspaper’s web site regarding the collection of the telephone records of US Citizens. The person mentioned that he supported the collection of phone records to prevent terrorism. There is a serious flaw in his logic as you will see. His main supporting point was that it was good to collect phone records of US Citizens in order to catch terrorists such as The Boston Bomber.

The problem with his position is that the system, even with advanced warning about The Boston Bombers (the F.B.I. and other intelligence agencies had knowledge of the bombers, were put on the trail by Russian Intelligence), didn’t prevent The Boston Bombings. That fact reminded me of 9/11, by the way. The F.B.I. was on to one of the terrorists from 9/11, a pilot in training, but the terrorist plot was successful nevertheless. Recognize a pattern?

To me the mere fact that the bombers were already on the US Intelligence Radar and still had the ability to enact such an effective terrorist event indicates that the program in question that collects all of the telephone calls and internet traffic of US Citizens may not be entirely focused on terrorists, if you get my drift.

In other words, the mere fact that there was such an obvious foreknowledge of the bombers and the bombers were still successful indicates to me that the focus of the program is on another subject entirely, us, the U.S. population in general, and with the I.R.S. scandal not even a week or two old, more specifically, those who are conservative and want to address the matter of big, expensive, overbearing, overreaching, INTRUSIVE GOVERNMENT!

Of course this could all be a big conspiracy theory. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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When Lois Lerner made it public during a speech to a legal conference that The IRS was targeting conservative organizations with extra scrutiny she then in fact waived her right to plead The Fifth. She initiated this entire episode prior to the event even becoming a national matter, prior to The Congressional Hearing or any court commencement. In other words, Lois Lerner initiated the investigation herself when she disclosed the wrongdoing at said legal conference in a question apparently planted by The IRS itself. By taking the matter to court or to a Congressional Hearing, one can not suddenly plead the fifth. It is too late! It is no longer legally or in any other sense unreasonable to ask, “Hey, what did you mean by that?”

It is too late, Lois Lerner.

A change of venue does not change the chain of evidence or interrupt the line of testimony once an admission of guilt is made, nor do they change upon revelation of criminal behavior. By swearing in before Congress Lois Lerner only agrees to be truthful, that is all.

When Lois Lerner revealed the activities in The IRS Division of Tax Exempt Organizations during her speech at the legal conference, she admitted illegal behavior. This didn’t just slip out during ordinary conversation or off the record, she said it in an organized, pre-meditated way, most likely in an effort to head a larger scandal off at the pass that we may never discover. Lois Lerner meant to say what she said, we can be sure. It was no accident! Therefor, it is not beyond the legal scope of Congressional Investigation to make further inquiry. She can no longer plead The Fifth!

Then, during the Congressional Hearing itself she stated she was innocent of any wrong doing, once again negating her right to plead The Fifth. What wrong doing? So she admits there have been misdeeds! Again, it is too late now to plead The Fifth.

Could Lois Lerner’s revelation merely be an attempt by The IRS to prevent the discovery of the wider, more devastating scandal that has appeared in everyone’s mind, “Does The IRS investigate individual conservative donors?”

Our elected must work exhaustively on this and other such tax-related matters to ferret out all of the wrongdoing at The IRS so that Americans can feel free to contribute to whomever or whatever cause they feel necessary. This is one of the reasons why I have been calling for an end to Amendment Sixteen for some time, now. The IRS is simply too powerful, vindictive, and socially destructive.

Rep. Issa, call Lois Lerner back if you would please! Call her back!

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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