Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 13, 2012

WSJ: National Counterterrorism Center given access to full-spectrum of Federal databases

Filed under: Intelligence and Info-Sharing,Privacy and Security — by Philip J. Palin on December 13, 2012

If you’re a Wall Street Journal subscriber, you  read the story late Wednesday night or earlier today.   If not it’s behind the Journal’s pay-wall.   I carried today’s (paper) Wall Street Journal to my morning meetings and didn’t see it until lunchtime.

But here’s how Wired magazine is summarizing the WSJ’s investigative journalism:

In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens, even if they are not suspected of a crime, according to a news report.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases holding information on flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and other data, and to store it for up to five years, even without suspicion that someone in the database has committed a crime, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

Whereas previously the law prohibited the center from storing data compilations on U.S. citizens unless they were suspected of terrorist activity or were relevant to an ongoing terrorism investigation, the new powers give the center the ability to not only collect and store vast databases of information but also to trawl through and analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior in order to uncover activity that could launch an investigation.

The changes granted by Holder would also allow databases containing information about U.S. citizens to be shared with foreign governments for their own analysis.

A former senior White House official told the Journal that the new changes were “breathtaking in scope.”

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2 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 13, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

Well we know how trustworth the FBI was about its files. And now the electronic age has not just dawned but long since replaced paper files. So clearly again Holder, a political hack of the first order but loyal to the President, has acted in secret to erode further privacy in our Republic. This President, a former Harvard Constitutional law prof is totally insensitive to the long range implications of actions by him and his minions. If we impeach over semen stains can such an action be over the horizon in this President’s second term.

I would like to know the formal review process on this action and who exactly signed off!
nlw

Comment by ...and our demise is certain!

December 14, 2012 @ 12:21 am

Barry Obama obviously cares little for our Republic’s character or composition and will continue to do his utmost in his divisive way and the corruptive practices and lack in leadership on both sides of the aisle promise a much weakened USA!

We are at much peril and it is now certain that We lack the fortitude to stand forthright no matter political designation on behalf of our beloved Republic!

Holder should be ousted, however we now have more political charade to play w/John kerry to lead us on this path to even far worse consequences.

…and our demise is certain.

Christopher Tingus
chris.tingus@gmail.com
Boston

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