Bush/CHENEY's U.S. Government Gang Stalking is just another version of COINTELPRO. This is what the Senate Committee that investigated COINTELPRO recommended.
Please help stop the violation of basic human rights of Americans. Demand President Biden reinstate anti-COINTELPRO regulations and Adopt the recommendations of the Church Committee to stop the conspicuous surveillance, harassment – even with dogs – of innocent Americans.
Statutes should be created implementing the recommendations of the Church Committee Report which must be made the exclusive legal authority for our intelligence agencies to the exclusion of executive directives which might contradict them.
- The FBI should concentrate on “criminal conduct as opposed to political rhetoric or association.” It shouldn’t investigate because someone had merely associated with those who were investigated which could lead to investigations of peaceful speech and association.
- There needs to be precise limitations on covert techniques.
- The Attorney General should monitor investigations using covert techniques and there needs to be “restrictions upon the maintenance and dissemination of information in such investigations.”
- The Attorney General must be made accountable for our intelligence agencies compliance “with laws designed to protect the rights of Americans.”
- Oversight must rest with the Justice Department “to assure compliance with the constitution and laws of the United States.”
- To make sure the abuses of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program would never happen again the FBI must be prohibited from interfering with “lawful speech, publication, assembly, organization, or association of Americans.” Never again must there be things like fake letters to factionalize a group, informants used to manipulate or influence the peaceful activities of a group.
- There needs to be limits on the kinds of investigations opened and controls provided for how these investigations are conducted.
- Circumstances must be enumerated under which the FBI could collect information on Americans, limits put on authority “to maintain information on political beliefs, political association, or private lives of Americans, judicial warrants for the most intrusive collection techniques “ and restrictions on other covert techniques especially the use of informants.
- The FBI must be prohibited from “harassing individuals through unnecessary overt investigation techniques such as interviews or obvious physical surveillance for the purpose of intimidation.” When there was “specific allegation or specific or substantial information” the preliminary investigation into that must be “limited in scope, duration and investigative technique.”
- Problems of abuse of rights occurred because the use of the term “subversion” was so vague “as to constitute a license to investigate almost any activity of practically any group that actively opposes the policies of the administration in power.”
- “The General Accounting Office found that when the FBI initiated its investigations on ‘soft evidence’ – evidence which probably would not meet this ‘reasonable suspicion’ standard – it usually wasted its time on an innocent target. When it initiated its investigation on harder evidence, its ability to detect imminent violence improved significantly.”
- “The Committee’s recommendations limit preventive intelligence investigations to situations where information indicates that the prohibited activity will ‘soon’ occur, whereas the guidelines do not require that the activity be imminent.” This kind of limit could prevent “sweeping endless investigations of remote and speculative ‘threats.’”
- Full investigation should be reserved to cases where there was “substantial indication of terrorism or hostile foreign intelligence activity in the near future.” The Committee was trying to “eliminate unnecessary investigations and to provide additional protections for constitutional rights.”
- Safeguards should be put in place in the area of preliminary preventive intelligence investigations based on allegations that a person would engage in terrorist activity or hostile foreign intelligence activity. It wanted the investigation not to continue more than 30 days unless information and corroboration indicates it should extend longer, but no longer than 60 days.
- Full preventive investigations should occur only when there was “reasonable suspicion” that an American or foreigner will soon engage in terrorist activity or hostile foreign intelligence activity. Even then such investigations should not continue longer than one year unless the Attorney General or his designee found compelling circumstances. In no event should the FBI open a preliminary or full preventive intelligence investigation based upon information that an American is advocating political ideas or engaging in lawful political activities or is associating with others for the purpose of petitioning the government for redress of grievances or other such constitutionally protected purpose.”
What the Church committee was intent on safeguarding was that “investigations of peaceful protest groups and other lawful associations should not recur.” It stated “that advocacy of political ideas is not to be a basis for government surveillance.”
- The Committee was concerned about the reliability of people who might come forth with allegations about an American citizen. It stated, “the ‘reasonable suspicion’ standard requires that the investigation have confidence in the reliability of the individual providing the information and some corroboration of information.” It wanted investigations about terrorist activity or hostile foreign intelligence activity, not investigations into constitutionally protected activity.
- The Committee found because informants don’t have clear guidelines, they participated in violent and illegal activities. The Committee wanted informants to be approved by the Attorney General only in cases where there was probable cause. There needed to be standards for targeting informants against Americans such as saying an informant cannot be targeted for more than 90 days.
- The Committee wanted more intrusive techniques subjected to more stringent procedural checks. In authorizing covert techniques it wanted its potential for abuse to be considered, along with the practicality of applying the procedure or technique, and the facts and circumstances that gave rise to the request for the technique all to be considered.
- The most intrusive techniques should require a judicial warrant and the review and approval of the Attorney General’s Office.
- It held inherent Executive power to target Americans for surveillance was a dangerous doctrine except on probably cause of criminal activity. “The Committee believes that an American ought not to be targeted for surveillance unless there is probable cause to believe he may violate the law.” It didn’t want covert techniques used on Americans in mere backround investigations. It would limit physical surveillance to criminal investigations or full preventive intelligence investigations.
- It called for limitations on the maintenance and dissemination of information. It asked – is information purged as soon as an investigation was terminated.
- It wanted routine and periodic reviews of the FBI’s domestic security operations to insure they were complying with the Church Committee’s recommendations which it wanted to become law.
- It set limits on the power of the FBI, such as saying – “Preventive intelligence investigations of terrorist activity or hostile foreign intelligence should be terminated within one year, except that the Attorney General grant extension based on compelling circumstances.”
- It wanted oversight of the FBI strengthened, specifically, oversight by General Counsels and the Inspector General of Intelligence Agencies.
- Laid at the feet of the Attorney General “primary responsibility to detect, or prevent, violations of law by any employee of intelligence agencies.”
- It said the question those who gave oversight must ask was “Are regulations proper and adequate to protect constitutional rights of Americans?”
- The Church Committee wanted Americans to have a way to redress injuries caused by improper federal intelligence activities. In addition to mechanisms by which Americans could gain access to information on illegal or improper intelligence activities against them, they recommended civil remedies to deter improper intelligence activity, including monetary injunctive relief. The deprivation of constitutional rights could be the basis for lawsuits for Americans who were deprived of rights of privacy and free speech, the loss of a job or professional standing, or impairments in physical or mental health. The Church Committee wanted Congress to enact a comprehensive civil remedies statute.
Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. who was Chief counsel for the United States Senate’s Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, the Church Committee, at Senator Feingold’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights hearing on Restoring the Rule of Law on September 16, 2008 in written testimony urged Congress “to establish a bipartisan, independent investigatory Commission to determine what has gone wrong with our policies and practices in confronting terrorism since September 11, 2001, and to adopt a series of specific reforms aimed at restoring checks and balances and the rule of law in order to reduce risk of repetition of recent abuses.”
Note: Fusion Centers all over the country operate under the auspices of state or local police. Hence they are not covered by the Privacy Act of 1974 and are not subject to Congressional oversight. The FBI is part of Fusion Centers.