Congress expands ‘unmasking’ probe amid questions over Rice role



As seen on: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/55750485/posts/1426818286
Brittius
If It Walks Like A Duck…
Stately McDaniel Manor
An enormous amount has already been written about the Obama Administration’s coopting of American intelligence agencies for the domestic surveillance of members of the Trump campaign and eventual transition team. Virtually none of that has been written by the mainstream media, who have actually categorized it a non or false story, preferring instead to beat the long dead horse of Trump collaboration with Russia. Fox News has been the media leader in accurately reporting that particular, ever-expanding story. Fox now adds to the mounting revelations and evidence:

Republicans
Congress expands ‘unmasking’ probe amid questions over Rice role
Malia Zimmerman
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/12/congress-expands-unmasking-probe-amid-questions-over-rice-role.html
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What is the status of the Susan Rice investigation?

The House and Senate intelligence committees are expanding their investigation into the so-called “unmasking” controversy, Fox News has learned, to examine whether other candidates or lawmakers beyond President Trump’s associates were affected.

Until now, the investigation focused on how the identities and communications of Trump transition members were collected by U.S. intelligence agencies and then revealed to, and disseminated among, high-ranking members of the Obama administration.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., now plans to audit files from the National Security Agency and White House to determine whether identities and conversations of presidential candidates — or members of Congress — also were swept up during NSA surveillance of foreign leaders. He also plans to review whether Obama’s National Security Council and White House counsel collected and distributed the intelligence for reasons unrelated to foreign intelligence.

“We will be performing an accounting of all unmasking for political purposes focused on the previous White House administration,” a member of the committee told Fox News. “This is now a full-blown investigation.”

Staffers on the Senate committee told Fox News they also have expanded their investigation into whether presidential candidates were unmasked and information was misused — and what role former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, among others, played following reports that she requested Trump-affiliated names be unmasked.

For a private U.S. citizen to be “unmasked,” or named, in an intelligence report is extremely rare and typically only done if it has some foreign intelligence value. Typically, the American is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report.

The intelligence reports that Rice and others in the administration reportedly assembled are similar to what a private investigator might piece together, congressional and U.S. intelligence sources said. In some cases, rather than documenting foreign intelligence, the files included salacious personal information that, if released, could be embarrassing or harmful to the person’s reputation, U.S. intelligence and House Intelligence Committee sources said.

These reports were then disseminated to about 20 to 30 people who had classified clearance in the Obama administration hierarchy, these sources said.

Trump, members of his family, and members of his campaign and transition teams, were likely subjects of “incidental electronic surveillance” by U.S. intelligence agencies, Fox News reported.

Sources told Fox News that names were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan — as well as Rice and her former deputy Ben Rhodes, even though the names were supposed to be reported only to the initial requester.

If the names were unmasked in intelligence reports and then leaked to the media for political reasons, it could constitute criminal behavior.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s initial national security adviser, is one known example of a Trump campaign official whose name was unmasked from an intelligence report and leaked to the press. While Rice hasn’t said whether she unmasked Flynn, the leak of his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak where he discussed U.S. sanctions led Flynn to resign three weeks into his term.

Nunes first announced on March 22 that he’d viewed intelligence reports that contained incidental surveillance on members of the Trump team.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page also was monitored by the FBI after the agency obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant as part of an ongoing investigation into possible links between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign.

In a statement to Fox News, Page said he has done nothing wrong and was a political target.

Malia Zimmerman is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on crime, homeland security, illegal immigration crime, terrorism and political corruption. Follow her on twitter at @MaliaMZimmerman

Adam Housley joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based senior correspondent.

Health Ranger: “California to throw adults in JAIL if they refuse government-mandated vaccines”


California to throw adults in JAIL if they refuse government-mandated vaccines

SB792
 (NaturalNews) In case you haven’t noticed, there’s an incremental push right now by the controlling elite to force vaccinations on all Americans, both young and old. And this agenda is gaining considerable traction in California, where legislators are now moving forward with plans to force childhood vaccines on all adults who work in daycare centers, both private and public.

Senate Bill 792, also known as the “Day care facilities: immunizations: exemptions” act, was presented quietly alongside SB 277, which eliminates personal, philosophical and religious vaccine exemptions for children who attend both private and public schools in the Golden State. The bill, as recently heard by the California Assembly Human Services Committee, reads as follows:

This bill, commencing September 1, 2016, would prohibit a day care center or a family day care home from employing any person who has not been immunized against influenza, pertussis, and measles.

If passed, SB 792 would represent the first adult vaccine mandate in the U.S. that disallows exemptions for personal reasons, and that threatens criminal penalties for those who fail or refuse to comply. Here’s how Vaccine Impact describes SB 792:

SB 792, would eliminate an adult’s right to exempt themselves from one, some, or all vaccines, a risk-laden medical procedure.


This bill would make California the first state to require mandated vaccinations for all childcare workers, including all private and public school early childhood education programs (Headstart, Private preK and preschools), family daycares, and daycare centers.

SB 792 represents medical violence against adults

An affront to both medical and religious liberty, SB 792 appears to be the wave of the future in New America, where the perceived health of the “herd” is now more important than the health of the individual. Never before in the history of the United States have legislators pushed this hard to literally force vaccine injections on the public under duress.

But why do they feel the need to do this if vaccines really work and are truly safe as claimed? The answer is that vaccines aren’t safe and effective, and more people than ever are acknowledging this truth and opting out of the “requirements” of the system through vaccine exemptions, hence the rush to eliminate these exemptions as quickly as possible, starting with California.

“This bill eliminates medical autonomy, crushes religious freedom, undermines personal freedom, and burdens quality providers with a non-optional series of medical interventions in the form of mandated vaccines that are not even 100% effective,” adds Vaccine Impact.

Contact California legislators and say NO to SB 792

As of this writing, SB 792 awaits a hearing by California’s Committee on Appropriations, having recently passed through the Assembly Human Services Committee with a 6-1 vote. The official vote tally reveals that the following members of this committee voted in FAVOR of passing SB 792:

Ian C. Calderon
Kansen Chu
Patty Lopez
Brian Maienschein
Mark Stone
Tony Thurmond

You can contact the above individuals here and let them know how you feel about their betrayal of medical freedom in California.

You can also contact the individual members of the Committee on Appropriations and tell them to vote AGAINST SB 792 by visiting: pro.assembly.ca.gov

If Americans sit idly by while corrupt legislators pass incremental bills like SB 277 and SB 792, it will only be a matter of time before even stricter bills come along mandating vaccinations for additional groups of people, until eventually everyone is forced into being vaccinated by the state for the benefit of “public health.”

“Laws like these are forging a burden of responsibility that is collectively shared by everyone,” writes Joshua Krause for GlobalResearch.ca.

“It won’t be long before they try to force vaccines on every adult and child in California. And if they pull it off there, legislators in other states will try to see if they can use the sheepish tyranny of majority rule to force vaccines on their citizens as well.”

Sources:

experimentalvaccines.org

vaccineimpact.com

globalresearch.ca

leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

apro.assembly.ca.gov

By Bruce Moyer: March 2015: The Most Powerful Court You Have Never Heard Of



Washington Watch | March 2015
By Bruce Moyer

Long The disclosures by Edward Snowden about the size and scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, both in the United States and abroad, has prompted a flurry of Congressional proposals aimed at reframing the foreign intelligence- gathering process. While the thrust of these proposals is aimed at the intelligence-gathering process itself, several would also alter the operations of the federal court in Washington that provides judicial oversight of intelligence gathering and, in fact, authorized the con- troversial NSA telephone metadata collection effort disclosed by Snowden.

The court we’re talking about is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC. Described by CNN as “the most power- ful court you have never heard of,” the panel plays a significant role in the sensitive balance of foreign intelligence-gathering and civil liberties. Established in 1978 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the FISC hears applications from the government and decides whether to issue orders approving certain electronic surveil- lance activities for foreign intelligence purposes. Another Article III tribunal co-located in Washington, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR), reviews the rulings of the FISA court. Collectively these are referred to as the FISA courts.

Unique Among Federal Courts
The FISC is unique among federal courts in its narrow jurisdiction, the selection of its judges, and the secret conduct of its day-to-day operations. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court plays an especially engaged role in the affairs of the court. The FISC’s 11 district court judges and review court’s judges are “designated” by the Chief Justice, foregoing the usual process of presidential appoint- ment and Senate confirmation. Similarly, the Chief Justice designates the chief judge of the FISC and the FISCR. The judges of both courts serve one term of seven years and are not eligible for a second term. Because of the sensitive nature of its docket, the FISC and the Review Court operate largely in secret and in a nonadversarial fash- ion. Since its creation in 1978, the FISC has operated primarily in an ex parte manner with the government as the only party presenting arguments to the court and seeking warrants approving of electronic surveillance, physical searches, the use of a pen register or a trap- and-trace device, or the access to business ecords for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.

The FISC operates out of a secure location in the federal court- house in Washington, D.C. Each week, one of the eleven district court judges that comprise the FISC is on duty in Washington. Most of the FISC’s work is handled by the duty judge with the assistance of a small group of attorneys and clerk’s office personnel who staff the court. On occasion, judges outside of the duty-week rotation handle more complex or time-consuming matters, at the direction of the Presiding Judge.

The secret and nonadversarial nature of the FISC’s proceedings and the revelation of the court’s approval of the NSA telephone meta- data collection effort have spurred several Congressional proposals that would change some of the underlying practices of the FISA courts. The most controversial proposal involves the court’s appoint- ment of a special advocate when the court is considering a novel or significant interpretation of law. Other proposals would establish en banc panels of the FISC and would alter the voting rules of the FISC in an attempt to create a higher bar for the approval of government surveillance activities.

A Special Advocate Before the FISA Courts?
The appointment of a special advocate within the FISA courts has stirred the greatest controversy. The House last year passed legislation (H.R. 3361) giving the FISA courts substantial discretion to determine when to appoint an advocate, as well as decide the nature and scope of the assistance to be provided by the advocate. A broader Senate measure (S. 2685) last year would have more rigidly mandated the appointment of an advocate to make specific argu- ments involving privacy and civil liberties. The Senate bill stalled at the end of 2014, carrying the debate into 2015 with some urgency. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes electronic foreign intelligence surveillance activities, expires on June 1.

Proponents of the appointment of a special advocate argue that the nature of a non-adversarial process prevents the FISA courts from hearing opposing viewpoints on difficult legal issues, especially ones involving privacy and civil liberty interests. The Federal Judiciary is not so sure. In a letter to Congress last year, Judge John Bates, then director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (and a for- mer FISC judge) embraced the House legislation’s approach, which imparts to the FISA court the discretionary authority to appoint an advocate, a power the court already inherently maintains. Bates criticized the Senate’s approach, which directs the FISC to appoint an advocate in certain kinds of cases. “… [W]e are concerned that insert- ing into FISA court proceedings an advocate with a statutory mandate to make specific arguments would raise substantial legal questions and impede the courts’ work without furthering the interests of privacy or civil liberties,” Bates wrote. Those questions involve separation of powers and judicial independence considerations.

FBA Panel Session on the FISA Courts
These concerns and the broader challenge of balancing national security, privacy, and civil liberties will be spotlighted at the FBA Mid-year Meeting on Saturday morning, March 28, in Arlington, Virginia, when an esteemed panel of judges, lawyers, and academics will debate the pros and cons of altering the FISA courts and their operations. Consult the FBA website for further details.

Bruce Moyer is government relations counsel for the FBA. © 2015 Bruce Moyer. All rights reserved.

BOB UNRUH For WND.com: NOW FEDS TRYING TO DENY 2 MORE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS



(The United States Supreme Court)
NOW FEDS TRYING TO DENY 2 MORE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Fight on to stop government grab of money needed for legal defense
Published: 2 hours ago
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It’s no secret that President Obama and his Democratic Party want to restrict the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

In addition, First Amendment religious-freedoms protections have been challenged by Obamacare.

And freedom of speech? That’s just fine as long as it lines up with the “same-sex marriage” social agenda.

Now, a case is posing a challenge to the Fifth Amendment’s property rights and due process protections along with the Sixth Amendment’s assurance of counsel for those accused of crimes.

The U.S. Supreme Court now is posed with the question: Does the government have the right to charge you with a crime and then seize your bank accounts, checkbook, savings and other assets so that you cannot afford to hire a lawyer to defend yourself?

The Rutherford Institute has filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the nation’s Founders – who wrote the Fifth and Sixth Amendments – would be horrified by the idea.

“It is Dangerous to be Right when the Government is Wrong,” explains the new American case for personal freedom, by Judge Andrew Napolitano.

“If the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.

“Protecting their property from governmental abuse was just as vital to the Founding Fathers as preserving their lives and liberties, hence the Fifth Amendment.”

Whitehead said that what makes the current case so critical is “that if the government is allowed to freeze a person’s untainted – i.e., legitimate – assets, the government can essentially render them penniless and unable to hire an attorney of their choosing in order to preserve their life and liberty, which renders the Sixth Amendment utterly useless.”

The government routinely confiscates the proceeds of proven illegal activity, such as drug money.

But the new case challenges the government’s decision to take away funds that were not alleged to be part of any criminal activity. Not as a fine; just confiscation.

A second friend-of-the-court brief, filed by Michael Connelly of the United States Justice Foundation and William J. Olson, Herbert W. Titus and others of William J. Olson, P.C., frames the dispute.

“In violation of the Fifth Amendment, the district court improperly seized assets of the petitioner over which the government has no valid, current property interest, denying her the right to retain counsel of choice to fight for her rights in violation of the Sixth Amendment.”

The filing continues: “As Congress and the courts have cooperated in the vast expansion of federal asset forfeiture powers, federal prosecutors have been given tools that no one in government should have – powers which put the American people in fear not of punishment for crime, but in fear of the exercise of arbitrary power by their own government.”

The case arose during a suspected Medicare fraud case in which the government froze $45 million in assets belonging to Sila Luis, who runs health-care businesses in Florida.

She was indicted three years ago for alleged schemes to pay illegal kickbacks for patient referrals and to bill Medicare for unnecessary services.

The government claimed the businesses received about $45 million in Medicare reimbursements and sought to recover the full amount in the criminal prosecution.

But Rutherford said the businesses also earned at least $15 million in untainted funds from sources other than Medicare – and the government moved to take those funds as well.

Attorneys for Luis objected, saying the government’s decision to deprive her of her own funds too violated the Sixth Amendment. Her right to due process, they contend, would be violated by such a move.

The case is pending before the Supreme Court.

The Rutherford Institute argued in its brief that the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment provides the accused the right “to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

“When Congress ratified the Sixth Amendment, they understood the constitutional right to counsel as the right to counsel a defendant could afford to retain. This was evidence because the right to appointed counsel had not yet been recognized as fundamental in all criminal cases,” the brief explains.

The brief says the “forfeiture at issue here is fundamentally inconsistent with the Founding Fathers’ understanding that criminal defendants had a right to choose any counsel they could afford.”

“By depriving petitioner of legitimate and untainted funds, the forfeiture prevents her from securing chosen counsel by making it impossible for her to pay that counsel.”

The Sixth Amendment “has always encompassed the core right of securing one’s counsel of choice at one’s own expense,” the brief says.

“If fact, it was the only understanding at the time it was ratified. The idea that the government could trample on this fundamental right with a tool that was despised by the Founders is inconceivable,” Rutherford said.

One year ago, the Supreme Court affirmed that defendants do not have a right to a hearing where they can plead for permission to use the money that the government alleges is tainted. In the case, the government said it was targeting the unconnected funds because the defendant “already has spent the ill-gotten gains on luxury items and travel.”

Rutherford argued that if the case is not reversed, the Sixth Amendment requirement for due process, specifically the right to counsel, will be blown apart.

“The government asks this court to endorse an abusive practice the Founders explicitly rejected and which contradicts their understanding of the limited seizures the government could undertake prior to a finding of guilt,” the brief contends. “In so doing, the forfeiture improperly undermines petitioners’ Sixth Amendment right to counsel of her choosing.”

The filing by USJF and Olson contends the government’s claims are based “exclusively on hearsay and a finding of mere ‘probable cause.’”

“Demonstrating no reluctance to assert highly aggressive statutory interpretations, as well as positions that impair petitioner’s rights protected by the U.S. Constitution at each turn, the government seeks every possible advantage over petitioner,” the brief states.

“The government claims that its only objective is to protect the government’s financial interests, but those interests are at best speculative future interests. The only certain effect of the government’s strategy is to facilitate the prosecutor’s quest for conviction through the crippling of petitioner in her ability to defend herself from federal criminal charges.”

Such a strategy, the brief explains, “should send shivers down the backs of the justices on this court, who are tasked with guarding the rights of the people against this government’s headline pursuit of powers typifying those of a totalitarian police state.”

The inequities are obvious, the brief says.

“Under the government’s theory, the prosecution would continue to be free to employ all the assets it needs to build a case against petitioner, while petitioner would be denied full use of her untainted assets for her defense. … If the prosecution, with the assistance of the court, is allowed to exercise the type of broad authority to tie up a criminal defendant’s untainted assets, [the law] will present an open invitation to an ever more powerful federal government to deprive defendants in criminal cases of counsel of their choice, in violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/08/now-feds-targeting-2-more-constitutional-rights/#yM2ZE78hkWvQBJxA.99