The content below was shared by an individual who wished to remain anonymous, but who recognized the need to inform others of the tactics used by some unsavory characters working in concert.
I am a former federal agent who worked for one of the big three letter agencies for several years I was also a state investigator for 2 years prior to joining the feds. I am avid follower and supporter of Copblock for several reasons, much of reason being because of the things I saw and then personally experienced while working as a federal agent who was then “turned on” by own former agency and colleagues. However, the story of what was done to me is a very long, complex story that could easy fill its own book.
I wanted to write this email to clarify some things that are already out there in the media and on the net and to further expand on how they are used to violate people’s rights and in fact throw many people in jail essentially using illegal means to “frame them”.
To start, if one was to do an internet search on “SOD” or “SOD NSA” they would probably get back a small story from a few years ago about how SOD (Special Operations Division) is a secret DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) program designed to essentially lauder intelligence gained from warrantless wiretaps to be used for purposes of Parallel Construction in DEA drug cases. The reporter who originally reported this only displayed a small part of the truth, probably because they did not have knowledge or documentation really showing what SOD actually is and what it does.
First explaining exactly what SOD is, because up until previously it was only ousted as being a sub-unit within the DEA. Special Operations Division is actually known by a few other names, most likely for reasons of plausible deniability, when someone asks someone in the NSA if they are spying on American’s without warrants they can “truthfully” say no because SOD an essentially separate agency is doing it. I have also heard it referred to as SOU (Special Operations Unit) and SAU (Special Activities Unit), it is much more than a single part of the DEA. In actuality it is a “mixed” agency made up of mainly of intelligence agents of the NSA but also from the CIA, FBI, DIA, DEA, ATF, ICE, USSS and pretty much every federal intelligence and federal law enforcement agency. Thus their “scope” is far, far greater then drug related activities. This is that “big brother” arm of the NSA that specializes in the all warrantless wiretapping Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake and William Binney have been talking about.
Let me provide a simple example of how Parallel Construction might work for the federal agencies (or local police). Say I am a federal narcotics agent working along the US/Mexico border. One day I get a duty call from the checkpoint at the border crossing that a vehicle coming into the United States was found to have narcotics in it after a drug sniffing dog “hit” on the vehicle. So the vehicle and the driver are both detained. Regardless of what happens with that suspect who was originally with the vehicle, I have all his property, and usually there is a cell phone (or 10) that, the person had on them at the time of detention. Well even if we don’t for some reason actually arrest this person, like the amount of narcotics was too low for federal prosecution or say there was a mistake and he/she didn’t even have narcotics. At a border checkpoint federal agents can still search everything in your possession at the time of crossing, including your electronics. I then use a “Cellbrite” machine to extract ALL of the data off his phone (assuming it isn’t encrypted) photo’s, texts, call logs, video, browsing history… everything. So now I have all of the contacts and all the information on this person’s life that was in their phone.
Now even if there isn’t anything in there that I find to be incriminating, even if I really don’t have any real reason to think this person or their associates are up to criminal activity, I can now take their phone number and any or all of the phone numbers of their contacts and forward them up to SOD so that SOD will put warrantless wiretaps on all of them. This could be any or all the numbers that were in that person’s phone book; their grandmother, their aunts and uncles, their cousin’s ex-wife’s sister… anyone.
Now say that one of these people is a small time marijuana dealer, not something the feds are typically interested in, but SOD may still get in contact with me and provide me (in a classified document envelope) the transcripts from those conversations. Perhaps one of the conversations talks about someone buying some marijuana at some specific location at some specific time, well now I can call up the local police (because I know the local prosecutors will take any drug case no matter how small) and we can just “happen to have” a marked police car pull over the person at said location after the deal goes down. Assuming I had the phone numbers of the people involved it might have involved a little bit of work but I probably could have identified not only their names but also their vehicles by this point (and probably a lot more).
Now, if the case goes to court and trial if the defense attorney asks the officer who pulled over the person why they did it. The officer usually will just make up something simply to justify reasonable suspicion to pull the person over (they crossed the line in the road, they didn’t signal, they were going a few miles above the speed limit, or they had complaints of drug activity in the area, or they could just say they were in the area and witnessed what they thought was illegal activity) either way it’s just to legally cover the tracks of how these officers “knew” to pull this particular person over. Fact is they still pulled him over and we assume they were able to find the drugs.
This is a very, very simple example of how a parallel construction case might look. It gets a lot more complex than that depending on the scale and scope of what the government is trying to do.
Of course originally this was sold as to be used for purposes related to international terrorism, but it has become something far more sinister. It is used for every imaginable purpose ranging from the political to the most “hushed up” “pre-criminal enforcements”. They justify much of this under the guise of terrorism, simply and easily because you can ask what exactly is terrorism? Much of what some federal agencies consider terrorism might at the absolute most be considered potentially violent acts. I stress potentially, since much of what SOD does it roam people’s phone calls listening in for “angry, violent speech” trying to decide if a person is a threat based upon essentially how they express themselves.
Information from SOD can also be fed in directly to the national “Fusion Centers” (if you are not familiar with what these are they are worthy of an entire article themselves) whereby local law enforcement agencies can now have access to whatever federal agencies might scoop up regarding some of your personal information, details or concerns they have about you.
Now apart from how wrong it is legally but also morally that these programs are being used as mechanisms of political control and vengeance is the fact that people who go on angry tirades on their private phone calls may now be subject to arrest and prosecution for FELONY charges. Because what SOD does to someone who they deem as a threat is they use any and all information from that persons calls, texts and emails to manipulate and twist whatever they might be doing (even normal everyday activities) and turn them into felony charges. And they are not at all hesitant to go as far as blackmailing someone the target might know into filing a false charge against the person just so they can hold them on something. Since they have access to the phone calls, texts and emails of everyone the targeted person might associate with its not hard to see that some person might have something they really don’t want known publicly.
Now you say, still if they have no solid proof even if they do frame me, and blackmail someone into filing a false charge, they still have to prove it in front of a jury so I can beat it in court yes? Well, the answer is maybe you can. But it’s not a sure thing by a long-shot. What they like to do, and it’s something they use quite commonly, is they will force a plea. They do this by having the judge set your bond super, duper high… even if the charge is completely non-violent, and you have no history of violence. All it takes is a phone call by the district attorney/prosecutor at your arraignment to turn a low level felony that usually
has a $5,000 bond into no-bond or a $1,000,000 bond. Then assuming they don’t think they have a real case to charge you federally with terrorism (like say you just made an angry comment, and you don’t have any plans on your computer detailing a plot or bomb making materials laying around) and they know they can’t prove terrorism, or even really prove the bogus charge they arrested you on, now they hold you for a few months and offer a low plea deal; a few years of probation maybe. If you decline to accept the offer because you’re a righteous person and believe in the law and justice well guess what? The prosecution will just delay the case for more time, in essence punishing you into accepting the plea, all the while your bond stays really high because by this time the judge who sets your bond is “in on it”, fixed so to speak. (federal intelligence agencies have a way of scaring even judges) Time to trial has quadrupled in the past 50 years in this country.
So you can sit in jail or plea out (confess to something you didn’t do) and go free, sounds a lot like authoritarian/totalitarian eh? Now for arguments sake and I know this is very rare, but say you are ultra-tough minded and don’t have anything better to do then sit in jail. All this time (possibly a year or two) the feds have been digging through your life with a fine toothed comb looking at anything they can use or twist into a being a crime, now they don’t care if they won’t charge you with it, they’ll just use the local police who usually operate a lot more “loosely” and usually have no problem using garbage evidence or false charges on someone, after-all the original bogus charge was probably a state charge to begin with.
For example, say you get framed for something bogus, because you said “I really want to kill such and such person” on your private phone and a search warrant is done on your house/apartment and all your property. While their searching they are obviously looking for weapons of any sort but their also looking for any other contraband and also anything they can use to make you look like a mean horrible person.
Like angry texts, emails or documents on your computer. Because yes of course their going to seize all of that and do computer forensics on it. As I mentioned previously they will also intimidate people into estifying against you, any person they can find who might have a grudge against you (and yes they will talk to everyone who you might have called or texted going back several years), just to make you look like you’re a dangerous, evil, insane person. Even if the person doesn’t really want to get involved… some encouragement with prosecutorial threats almost always does the trick. Then it’s up to the prosecutor if it goes to trial to convince the jury that you’re a threat to the natural world even if the facts of the case don’t really add up 100 percent. Somewhat of a roll of the dice, if the prosecution has a parade of people coming into court to defame you and talk bad about you… they’re also going to attack your “psychological state” traditionally an easy and favorite tactic of the government. All in an effort to deny you of your freedom with probation and take away your 2nd amendment right to bear arms, because at the end of the day that’s what this is really all about, controlling people and denying people the NSA thinks might be a threat, of legal access to firearms by using felony charges. Forget the reasons you said what you said, perhaps someone screwed you out of a job, money, business deal went horribly wrong or a love interest conflict. Nope, in their eyes if you say things they don’t like you might as well be the next public enemy number one.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the government can’t “warn” (threaten) people with criminal prosecution, so since we already know their doing things like warrantless wiretaps which is in fact strictly prohibited by the law, of course their going to be doing things that are not legally prohibited by law no matter if they may violate legal ethics.
The saving grace for the general public is that, yes most of you can still say whatever you want on your phone calls because there just simply isn’t the man-power to put an actual person behind a desk to listen to everyone’s phone calls day in and day out. It’s not feasible. You should however be mindful, because as it is already widely know everything (calls, texts, emails, all electronic transactions connected to any networked system) is being recorded going back several years and sitting in digital storage out in the Utah Data Center. Also they are working on digital keyword analysis software along with software designed to “gauge” a person’s “state of mind” based on how they are speaking. So if for some reason you draw their attention or ire (if someone in the federal government has an issue with you *Eliot Spitzer*) they can open up their digital treasure chest on you and see what’s going on. And if they don’t like it… even if it’s not illegal, well… you’ll find out just how free we really all are.
Editors Note: The author was asked if s/he was aware of apps or online programs that folks could use for more privacy, and this response was shared:
I recommend encryption just as Snowden has. Using the Tor Browser, and encrypting your hard drives and physical devices like your cells phones, tablets, computers and thumb drives. There are some back doors available to the high end intelligence agencies, but even in my agency we couldn’t crack basic cell phone encryption and any method an intelligence agency used to crack encryption would be legally controversial so it probably wouldn’t stand-up in court (at least not yet). Also many of the SIM cards we got out of even encrypted cell phones were not encrypted themselves so be wary of this.
There are several apps I have heard of including Redphone for encrypting voice calls but it can be difficult to use for some users not because its technical but more so call connectivity and no end-to-end encryption unless both parties are using it. For texts you have essentially the same thing. Phone number spoofers help because those even trick the phone companies records into recording a false called-from number but it won’t mask your conversation. But for legal reasons could be helpful.
Recommended Smartphone Apps: CopBlock.org/Apps
No permission is needed to share this post, or any content housed at CopBlock.org. Ideas have consequences – the more good ideas are shared the better we all are. Help fuel our efforts – donate Bitcoin: 1D6hdGKcFfzciJaMSLU6X1Tq69fcCsEh65