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BIG BROTHER: DHS’ Domestic Spying Program Revealed

The program is “corrupt” and “shady”, say insiders.

Americans have long held a heavy distrust for their government.  You could say that this is a product of the same rebellious spirit that turned Boston Harbor into tea for a few hours in the 1770’s, and forged a nation of people unwilling to cede an inch of freedom to anyone…let alone the Washington DC crowd.

And so it comes as no surprise that Americans are once again outraged at the feds, as yet another domestic spying program has now come to light.

For years, the Department of Homeland Security has run a virtually unknown program gathering domestic intelligence, one of many revelations in a wide-ranging tranche of internal documents reviewed by POLITICO.

Those documents also reveal that a significant number of employees in DHS’s intelligence office have raised concerns that the work they are doing could be illegal.

Just how sketchy is it?

Under the domestic-intelligence program, officials are allowed to seek interviews with just about anyone in the United States. That includes people held in immigrant detention centers, local jails, and federal prison. DHS’s intelligence professionals have to say they’re conducting intelligence interviews, and they have to tell the people they seek to interview that their participation is voluntary. But the fact that they’re allowed to go directly to incarcerated people — circumventing their lawyers — raises important civil liberties concerns, according to legal experts.

That specific element of the program, which has been in place for years, was paused last year because of internal concerns. DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which runs the program, uses it to gather information about threats to the U.S., including transnational drug trafficking and organized crime. But the fact that this low-profile office is collecting intelligence by questioning people in the U.S. is virtually unknown.

The program even has a rather Orwellian name: The “Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program”.

Beyond the obvious issue that Americans tend to have with an overreaching federal apparatus, insiders have suggested that the program is being run in a “corrupt” manor, and is “shady”.


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