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Somehow, John Kerry Forgot Ryan Fogle

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In trumpeting America’s recent cooperation with Russia in criminal matters as justification for turning over Edward Snowden, John Kerry somehow forgot the wig-wearing CIA agent Ryan Fogle who was arrested while trying to “turn” a Russian government official.

Do we honestly think that the Russians have overlooked incidents such as these?

Written by mokane

June 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm

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Hong Kong, Iceland and the Achille Lauro

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The latest reports claim that an airplane in Hong Kong is ready to take Edward Snowden to Iceland if political asylum is granted.

Any flight from Hong Kong to Iceland which passes over international airspace is subject to being forced down by US fighter aircraft, as was the case with an Egyptian airliner carrying the Achille Lauro hijackers. Even though the US later apologized and the exercise of military power led to a stand-off with the Italian army over custody of the hijackers at a NATO base, there is no impediment to the US engaging in this conduct again. So flying to Iceland from Hong Kong is hardly in Snowden’s interest. It is impossible to fly to Iceland from Hong Kong without entering international airspace.

Written by mokane

June 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm

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Nudity Means Trouble for NSA Chief Clapper

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James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, is trying to avoid a federal perjury charge by saying that he gave the “least untruthful” answer to a question while under oath. “Least” is an adjective which modifies the noun “untruthful.” We in the law business call this kind of a defense a “confession.” Then he claimed that perhaps he understood the word “collection” in a way different from that understood by the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee. This won’t work either. One court has said:

“Hyper-technical parsing of ordinary English words and sentences has been rejected in prior cases. See, Matter of Fieger, 887 N.E.2d 87 (Ind. 2008) (discipline imposed for calculatedomissions on application for temporary admission); Smith v. Johnston, 711 N.E.2d 1259, 1264(Ind. 1999) (even if literally true, counsel’s affidavit created potential for misperception and wasthus prejudicial to administration of justice); Matter of Fletcher, 694 N.E.2d 1143, 1147 (Ind.1998) (although judge’s inquiries were not “perfectly phrased or formulated with pinpoint precision,” Court found respondent actively concealed facts from judge); Binder v.Benchwarmers Sports Lounge, 833 N.E.2d 70 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005) (even if technically correct,counsel’s statements were calculated to mislead opposing counsel). Respondent’s hide-and-seek approach to the RFAs [Requests for Admissions] reflects a gaming view of the legal system, which this Court has soundly rejected. See, Smith v. Johnston, 711 N.E.2d at 1264.”

I pulled this quote from an attorney discipline case in Indiana. An older partner had the hots for a law clerk who had been a minor actress. When she rebuffed his advances, he obtained a copy of one of her films, made a screenshot of a nude scene, and sent an e-mail around to her new employers and potential clients. In his defense, he claimed he suffered from depression. As if it made a difference, she claimed that she used a body double for the nude shots.

While the facts of this case have nothing to do with Director Clapper, the rejection of “hyper-technical parsing of ordinary English words” means trouble for him in case of an indictment. The statute of limitations is five years, by the way. Unless the lie was part and parcel of a conspiracy, in which case the statue is effectively unlimited.

I know another attorney who was accused of trying to humiliate his ex-wife by filing a lawsuit against her to recover sums she and her family fraudulently obtained from him. “If I was trying to humiliate her,” he said in defense, “I would have published her nude pictures on the Internet.” The complaint was dropped soon after.

Written by mokane

June 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm

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Show Me the Money

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NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander has claimed that the NSA’s surveillance program(s) have helped prevent “potential terrorist events” over 50 times since 9/11.

That’s great. All you have to do now, General Alexander, is point us in the direction of the publicly filed indictments (even if the indictment is sealed, you can still give us a case number) showing where these fifty plots became the subject of the U.S. judicial system.

If you don’t have approximately 50 indictments or criminal informations filed, then you’re lying.

The numbers don’t have to be exact because often federal indictments name more than one individual. But if they can’t point out the case numbers, which is a very easy thing to do, I’m sorry, the General is blowing smoke.

Written by mokane

June 18, 2013 at 11:03 am

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Bank Robber in South Florida makes NSA Prism Request

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This is not the first time a request like this has been made. In the Noriega case, the attorney for one of the co-accused pilots requested copies of telephone conversations intercepted by the NSA at their secret facility in Panama called “The Tunnel.” The Government went ballistic and tried to have the defense attorney arrested–somehow he had obtained a copy of a map showing the existence and location of the facility. The Government merely denied that it had such records but quickly made a princely deal with the lawyer which ended up excluding the pilot from the case with a sentence of less than a year.

The other issue that bothers me with respect to the defense lawyer’s tactic here is that it does not appear he has complied with the Classified Information Procedures Act. Since the request was made in the middle of trial, perhaps the judge waived these, but failure to comply would be another way to get around the disclosure requirement.

Finally, line U.S. Attorneys really have no knowledge of these matters–Main Justice flies in CIPA specialists to assist whenever there is classified information involved in a federal criminal trial.

Written by mokane

June 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

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NSA Disclosures

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Judge Vinson’s order requiring Verizon to turn over electronic metadata (not unlike the old law enforcement technique of recording mail covers, which required a warrant) was leaked and ignited a firestorm. A few observations:

1. No one trusts the American mainstream media anymore. When the Washington Post was offered the leak, they went to the Government to ask if it was OK to publish the information. I cannot imagine Ben Bradlee doing the same. Bradley Manning only turned to Wikileaks after the New York Times couldn’t be bothered. It took a British newspaper to publish this crucial news.

2. Where is the Church Commission when we need it?

3. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, lied before Congress. But I’m not holding my breath for a perjury indictment. He also claimed that releasing the Vinson order, classified until 2038, would irreparably damage national security. He then declassified other documents relating to the program. If there was so much damage, why the declassification? The answer is simple: there wasn’t any damage in the first place. He then declared that, despite the PRISM program, the U.S. did not collect evidence on “millions of Americans.” The next day the Guardian published information about yet another NSA program that did just that, called Boundless Informant. Oops.

4. The predictable attacks against the source, Edward Snowden, are a pathetic attempt to divert attention from this massive spying effort. The U.S. mistreatment of Bradley Manning (as determined by the United Nations and the courts) will hamper any extradition effort.

5. I know a certain person who for a while worked on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program. Has he been contacted by any of our friends in the intelligence community? Of course not. Maybe they’re too buy listening to phone sex calls: http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5987804.

6. It is interesting hearing the pundits claim they know what China will or will not do. They are clueless. China has already reaped rich rewards because of the disclosure: the U.S. effort to get them to stop their cyberwarfare efforts are dead in the water.

7. Google, Yahoo, Apple and anyone else who runs a cloud service in the U.S. will lose foreign business. All of it. There will be a race to locate new companies in Europe to service these customers.

8. In the Noriega and one other CIPA case, I refused to accept a security clearance. Not doing so would give me much more latitude in defending my clients. All the other lawyers in the cases rushed to accept the government’s offer of clearances and so were hampered in their defense.

9. The Government insists that the court-order justifying the PRISM program must be kept secret. This is noxious.

Written by mokane

June 11, 2013 at 11:40 am

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Government announces Sealed Indictment against Julian Assange

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I don’t know what could be more obvious. This is from the transcript of the morning session, Monday, June 3:

“In the same timeframe, Your Honor, the evidence will show that PFC Manning, with the help of what the evidence will show to be Julian Assange, attempted to devise a way to browse the SIPRNET anonymously.”

Julien was well-advised to seek asylum. But let’s keep in mind that legally there is no difference between Wikileaks and the New York Times.

Interestingly enough, there was no room made for bloggers and others outside the main stream media to report the Manning trial. Such reporters are permitted to attend as members of the public.

Written by mokane

June 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Blogroll