EFF Effs With The FBI, Wants Your Help

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Hugh D’Andrade of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says that in order to keep funding as a nonprofit, they have to be able to show that their work is "important and relevant." I don’t think he has to worry about that. I’ve said it before, after watching more than one EFF-spanking, you don’t eff with the EFF.

Warning: There’s a lot of acronyms in this article.

The most recent entity to learn (or is about to learn) this lesson is none other than the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which stared the down the business end of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

And so, the EFF, after making the FBI get its ass in the kitchen and make some pot pie, got a hold of some 1138 pages-worth of National Security Letters (NSL) issued from one room at the FBI headquarters, the soon to be notorious Room 4944.

This room is also known as the Communications Analysis Unit, reports Wired, and is where FBI Executive Assistant Director Larry Mefford, in charge of the counterterrorism division, likes to hang out, and it just so happens a lot of the NSLs have his name on them.

NSLs are basically letters granted under the controversial Patriot Act that allow national security agents to demand information and records from Internet service providers (ISPs), telephone companies, and even librarians about constituents.

American citizen constituents.

The EFF isn’t hoarding this information, though. The organization has posted them online and is asking for help from bloggers to investigate. The documents are downloadable with the searchable text from the EFF’s website.

"We’ve had over 8000 downloads so far," D’Andrade wrote yesterday, "and the blogosphere is starting to light up with feedback and analysis of the documents."

EFF Effs With The FBI, Wants Your Help
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  • lauren hicks

    I Yelled, Kicked & Screamed in letters, petitions and phone calls to my Senators & Rep from 2001 through 2005 that my phone was being tapped (I had AT&T & Verizon) in an attempt by the FBI-Police to gather information on activities that I, my children or others known (?) to us knew of said/wrote/were involved in/planning (?huh?), etc of which the government disapproved. And What were they going to do about this obviously illegal police behavior? Apparently Nothing. I never even got a personal letter from any of them. Republican Mike Roges just sent me pages & pages of who knows What in arabic–probably what was claimed to be evidence of Al Queda in Iraq. Was he trying to set me up? Or let me know I was right?
    They were after anyone critical of the government, of alien philosophy, or who are-Oooowww…scary! Threatening even! fringe-types, wierdos, dirty barefoot violent hippies (ain’t That an oxymoron!), “father rapers” & holiday litterers (nods to Arlo). Yes! Anyone anti-power who just might give an excuse to a bunch of bored agents & special police units to harass hippies & all other anti-authoritarian citizens. And especially to use their new homeland security toys so they can procure more $ next yr.
    [“hippies”–still for some unfathomable reason the pariahs of society & only group pejorative allowed-Even generally applied-in a ‘politically correct’ world.]
    After all, if these fringe anti-gov types disagree with the powers that be they’re of special interest to those protecting that entity (not’the people’ as they claim) and ergo, they’re anti-police! They threaten ‘Police Power’ & that just can’t be tolerated. So they Must be dangerous for even having such thoughts!
    Self-promoting Grandstanding statement, you say? Think what you wish. Go on living in delusionland-or is it Disneyland. No difference.
    I don’t have the time to go into all of the ways & the period of time, incidents, an abundance of outside & supporting evidence, or how I learned how to detect sloppy phone & internet surveillence. I won’t go into the learning process and Certainty of recognizing an amateur local phone tap–nor the dozens of times agents/police & ‘under-cover’ agents followed, watched, photographed & otherwise harrassed group members & even their parents. But I’ll give two examples & the proof.
    1) It’s the morning after “Shock & Awe”. I’m thinking, “here we go (again) invading another country for fun, profit & power. I can’t say What might happen besides death & destruction solving nothing but trouble. I know the’re aren’t any WMD’s.”
    I’m watching the news, flipping through channels, and come on the local news….”Hey There’s something other than a baby-boomer’s vigil right here in East Lansing & it happened during rush hour this morning.” Some college kids blockaded the mainline through town just like they’d done here in the 60s. Only a handful of protestors had pulled-off a good job though.
    They’d disabled an old car across the west-bound lanes & chained themselves outside and inside the car. The police had a hell-uva-time getting one off the steering wheel & it gave the media a ‘national news’ photo. 15 were arrested. How ’bout that!”
    “And I hadn’t known Anything about it before hand. That’s odd. Guess they weren’t involved.” Wrong!
    I later discovered from ‘some participants’ they’d also tried to dump a bunch of old appliances from a truck into the other lane. (Both obstacles placed so traffic cold easily be re-routed without real interruption, btw.) But the contingent of junkers arrived late & had been more obvious than an unassuming car handled by another faction. So they never finished their planned mission.
    Police were already everywhere; strategically placed & scattered in squad cars, vans, on foot, on their radios, photographing, videotapeing and ready for action…..BEFORE anyone from the organization had arrived to start Anything! “How did That happen?” I asked.
    “I don’t know, she said. All planning meetings were held in secret places, different locations at different times and never spoken of on phones or the internet (or those were the rules anyway). So either someone slipped, homes had been bugged &/or there had been an informant.

    2) It’s the first morning of the Democratic National Convention. I’m up early. Listening to C-Span. Some people I know are there. I’m concerned for them because they suffered unspeakable (& Unreported) abuse by the Miami police at the ’03 FTAA protest. Abuse which had equaled what went largely unreported from Iraq’s infamous prison & Guantanamo. And Miami’s police Chief had been hired to handle security at the DNC.
    The day prior the press announced that police & FBI raided homes & harassed & jailed people involved in/planning anti-war actions, etc all across KS, OK & CO (& I’m told, many more states).
    C-Span goes to CNN live. Wolf Blitzer announces: “This just in from the FBI. Radicals & anarchists are planning to attack (& may even bomb) mobile media units covering the convention.”
    “Ohhh, these guys are good!”, I thought as coffee spilled from my dropped jaw back into my cup. Why? I knew precisely where that distorted statement had come from. Me “Really good at disinformation & misguiding the public-& This time got the public And the media Both on their side Immediately!”
    This was a direct-& brilliantly executed pre-emptive perversion of something I’d said months before. It’d been twisted into a violent scenario. What I’d actually said months before was a suggestion about getting their point across in a manner which would be more effective, safer, get media coverage by definition & w/luck protection from undo violence On the Part of Police by the Major media outlets. What had I actually said?
    Speaking to the ‘pannel’ from the back of the audience I formulated something better than their unfocused and tragic attempt in Miami. “At first light, individually descend on & occupy local radio & tv station headquarters & have a good-old-fashion sit-in. With One demand. 15 minutes for your best speakers to present your opinion to the public & show them you’re Not violent as claimed. This way, the police’d arrive Behind you and any violence would be on their part’d and recorded live. This might intimidate the police into caution. You’ll still be arrested but unharmed & charges’ll probably be dropped as thanks for good press!”
    Now of course nothing like the FBI’s warning Or my suggestion ever happened in Boston. Most of the protesters were herded from their buses into one huge cow-pen beneath a freeway over-pass. Wolf never repeated the FBI’s claim & nothing was said about it again.
    Now just what are the chances an innocent, and roundly dissed, suggestion like this, made at a local un-aired press conference for 7 police-violence victims of the ’03 FTAA conference, would resurface in such a deviously malformed way as an FBI Alert on national tv?! About the same as police announcing before new, large protests the sneaky ways those crazies planned to attack police; e.g. squirt guns full of acid. (Just the sort of mischive I knew they’d joked about after meetings but never intended to do. And wouldn’t work anyway!)
    Alot better than the probability the FBI cut it from whole-cloth or that it came from some other FBI plant in a different organization: I’m certain of that!
    So after incessant, distinctive clicks heard after beginning to talk politics, or mere Mention of a whitehouse member’s name & seeing someone drive up to my residence & photograph my license plate & speed off, I’d had enough.
    I called in the ACLU, as did another person who’d been rudely awakened and bewildered as the police searched his apartment “for a bomb”. A FOIA was filed and all the area secret police were forced to open their records. Yep, there we were: listed as a terrorist organization along side an affirmative action group and animal rights organization.
    Soon after I heard of EFF and their suit against AT&T. I joined immediately. I just read that the ACLU was unsucsessful in suing AT&T & the government for wire-tapping. This is great news! I wish I’d known about EFF earlier.

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