A federal hearing today on NSA surveillance programs leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden produced some interesting numbers about the scope of the data collections and other issues. We’ve produced a roundup below of some of the interesting stats and intelligence gleaned from the discussion.
The hearing, before Congress’s Select Committee on Intelligence, included NSA Director, General Keith Alexander; Deputy Attorney General James Cole; Deputy Director of the FBI Sean Joyce; and General Counsel Robert Litt, from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence General Counsel.
Brunswick Co., North Carolina -
“Every cop turned around and started unloading like super trigger happy as if their training was coming into full effect and they were being able to utilize it,” said Cleerdin. “Everybody was just blasting this car to pieces. It was absolutely terrifying.”
They were stunned with what was happening, as officers reportedly shot dozens of rounds - in the direction on-coming traffic.
“Cops are shooting from the front of the car, back into the rest of the on-coming traffic to the check point, into the rest of the innocent civilians down the road,” said Cleerdin.
Cleerdin says he believes the officers acted with no regard for public safety.
“It was way beyond reckless,” said Cleerdin. “I couldn’t believe it. These are professional people, professional officers, and they’re training, they’re highly trained and they’re not supposed to do stuff like that.”
Officials with the sheriff’s office are keeping tight lipped about the incident. No one will tell us who shot the two suspects, or what even led up to the shooting.
“I could understand why they wouldn’t come out with an explanation as to what happened after seeing what we saw,” said Cleerdin. “It looked like every officer there did not follow protocol in any way, shape, or form.”
After surviving such a scary moment, both Jared and Rose are thankful to spend this Father’s Day with their girl Chloe.
“We’re so lucky and so happy that our child still has parents,” said Cleerdin. “That’s how we feel. We feel like we were inches from death.”
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (CN) - Texas jailers ran a “rape camp” where they “repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates,” and forced them to masturbate and sodomize male guards, and one another, two women claim in court.
J.A.S. and J.M.N. sued Live Oak County and its former jailers Vincent Aguilar, Israel Charles Jr. and Jaime E. Smith, in Federal Court.
All three guards were arrested in August 2010 and charged with sexual assault, the Beeville Bee-Picayune reported at the time. The newspaper did not identify the victims.
Smith and Aguilar are in Texas state prisons today, according to the complaint, which says defendant Charles is living in Bee County.
Live Oak is a sparsely settled county in south central Texas. Its seat is George West.
“Beginning sometime in 2007 to at least August of 2010 the Live Oak County Sheriff’s office ran a ‘rape camp’ known as the Live Oak County Jail,” the complaint states. “In this facility, numerous jailers, all employed by the Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office, repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates over an extended period of time. These forced acts of lasciviousness included, but are not limited to, forcing female inmates to repeatedly perform oral sex on male guards, forcing female inmates to repeatedly masturbate the male guards, the male guards masturbating in view of the female inmates, male guards forcing digital penetrative sex acts in the female inmates’, forcing female inmates to engage in sexual sex acts with other female inmates, including but not limited to forcing female inmates to have oral sex with each other, among other things.
“In addition to the repeated sexual assaults, numerous female inmates were sexually harassed. Certain male guards would strip the female inmates of their clothing and provide only shaving cream to conceal their genitalia. Certain male guards would sometimes force the female inmates to shower in front of them while instructing them to shave their vaginas. In other instances, while detailing their degenerate sexual fantasies, the jailers would pin the girls against a wall, grope their persons, verbally berate them, digitally rape their vagina and/or anus, then force them to perform oral sex.
“In order to facilitate their carnal impulses, these guards would withhold food and water, engage in physical abuse, restrict privileges and verbally and emotionally abuse the women - even threaten to kill them in order to compel their compliance.”
J.A.S. says she was arrested on marijuana possession charges in July 2010, and transferred to the Live Oak County Jail after a brief stay at the Jim Wells County Jail.
”Not long after she was transferred, she was approached by a jailer known to her only as ‘Jesse,’” the complaint states.
State photo-ID databases become troves for police
The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations.
The facial databases have grown rapidly in recent years and generally operate with few legal safeguards beyond the requirement that searches are conducted for “law enforcement purposes.” Amid rising concern about the National Security Agency’s high-tech surveillance aimed at foreigners, it is these state-level facial-recognition programs that more typically involve American citizens.
The most widely used systems were honed on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as soldiers sought to identify insurgents. The increasingly widespread deployment of the technology in the United States has helped police find murderers, bank robbers and drug dealers, many of whom leave behind images on surveillance videos or social-media sites that can be compared against official photo databases.
But law enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities.
Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.
“Where is government going to go with that years from now?” said Louisiana state Rep. Brett Geymann, a conservative Republican who has fought the creation of such systems there. “Here your driver’s license essentially becomes a national ID card.”
Facial-recognition technology is part of a new generation of biometric tools that once were the stuff of science fiction but are increasingly used by authorities around the nation and the world. Though not yet as reliable as fingerprints, these technologies can help determine identity through individual variations in irises, skin textures, vein patterns, palm prints and a person’s gait while walking.
The Supreme Court’s approval this month of DNA collection during arrests coincides with rising use of that technology as well, with suspects in some cases submitting to tests that put their genetic details in official databases, even if they are never convicted of a crime.
Facial-recognition systems are more pervasive and can be deployed remotely, without subjects knowing that their faces have been captured. Today’s driver’s-
license databases, which also include millions of images of people who get non-driver ID cards to open bank accounts or board airplanes, typically were made available for police searches with little public notice.
Thirty-seven states now use facial-recognition technology in their driver’s-license registries, a Washington Post review found. At least 26 of those allow state, local or federal law enforcement agencies to search — or request searches — of photo databases in an attempt to learn the identities of people considered relevant to investigations.
“This is a tool to benefit law enforcement, not to violate your privacy rights,” said Scott McCallum, head of the facial-recognition unit in Pinellas County, Fla., which has built one of the nation’s most advanced systems.
The technology produces investigative leads, not definitive identifications. But research efforts are focused on pushing the software to the point where it can reliably produce the names of people in the time it takes them to walk by a video camera. This already works in controlled, well-lit settings when the database of potential matches is relatively small. Most experts expect those limitations to be surmounted over the next few years.
That prospect has sparked fears that the databases authorities are building could someday be used for monitoring political rallies, sporting events or even busy downtown areas. Whatever the security benefits — especially at a time when terrorism remains a serious threat — the mass accumulation of location data on individuals could chill free speech or the right to assemble, civil libertarians say.
“As a society, do we want to have total surveillance? Do we want to give the government the ability to identify individuals wherever they are . . . without any immediate probable cause?” asked Laura Donohue, a Georgetown University law professor who has studied government facial databases. “A police state is exactly what this turns into if everybody who drives has to lodge their information with the police.”