Posts tagged Fourth Amendment
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Despite the fact that the FBI was accused of hiding information from judges when obtaining authorization for use of the secretive “Stingray” cell phone tracking device, a judge has ruled that the use of the device by federal agents was lawful.
This case could quite unfortunately have wide-ranging effects on how the government conducts the type of dragnet surveillance enabled by the Stingray device.
Interestingly, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) also recently received a new batch of documents from the FBI about the Stingray.
On Wednesday, Judge David Campbell dismissed the motion to suppress the information gathered through the Stingray device in the case of Daniel Rigmaiden.
Campbell refused to dismiss the motion even though the ACLU pointed out in an amicus brief that by “failing to apprise the magistrate that it intended to use a stingray, what the device is, and how it works, it prevented the judge from exercising his constitutional function of ensuring that warrants are not overly intrusive and all aspects of the search are supported by probable cause.”
This is precisely the issue that has been raised in previous coverage of this technology.
Campbell ruled that the warrant was valid and the suspect “did not have an expectation of privacy society is willing to accept as legitimate.”
According to Campbell, since Rigmaiden allegedly rented the apartment and purches the computer fraudulently using false identities, Rigmaiden could not “credibly argue that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy.”
While that ruling is quite understandable, it gets troubling when one realizes that Campbell’s ruling goes much further.
Campbell ruled that the use of the Stingray did not in fact constitute a “severe intrusion” and ruled that “no Fourth Amendment violation occurred.”
The ACLU said that this ruling “trivializes the intrusive nature of electronic searches and potentially opens the door to troubling government misuse of new technology.”
According to the ACLU, the judge dismissed the significance of the Stingray’s ability to gather data from innocent third parties who just happen to be in the area.
“The violation arises from the fact that the government searched people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing,” the ACLU stated. “This is a violation even if the government doesn’t later use the information against those third parties.”
The TSA is effectively an unconstitutional, carcinogenic petting zoo. Deep down, we all feel that the airport security system is an FDA-approved rubdown and radiation parlor. But we are busy, rushing to catch flights, and we tell ourselves it is for our “safety.” So, like sheep, we comply.
The TSA security process is in violation of the law of the land, specifically the Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Let’s be honest, when I “opt” for a pat-down over a blast of cancer-inducing radiation, it is not a choice—it is a preference for the lesser of two fixed evils. A pat- down is a clear violation of my “person;” there is no probable cause warranting random government agents to feel me up for weapons.
The pat-down system also violates my right to be secure in my “papers and effects.” Every time I get a pat-down, my personal property is subject to theft. The TSA pat-down process does nothing to prevent an unconscionable person (going through the scanner) from taking advantage of the fact that I’m helplessly standing behind waiting for a pat-down—unable to monitor my luggage.
Because, here is what normally happens: I inform the TSA agent, “I’m opting out.” The agent then calls for a “female assist” and asks me to step aside. I wait (occasionally up to 10 minutes) for a pat-down. Meanwhile my luggage—including my purse, iPhone, MacBook Pro and other valuables—travel the conveyer belt and idle on the other side of the X-ray machine where anyone could easily walk off with them.
On a recent flight out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a female TSA agent (who was openly annoyed at the prospect of doing her job and giving me a pat-down while oddly assuming that I yearned for her to touch me) said: “Well, if you ask for one, we have to give you one. So, are you just doing this for the free massage we give you?” I wanted to respond: “No way, pervert.” But, since I wanted to make my flight, I replied: “No. I just don’t want the radiation.”
3,778 service calls were made between May of 2010 and May of 2011 to address mechanical issues in backscatter X-ray machines, according to a TSA report.
By Paul Joseph Watson
Roadblocks targeted motorists who refused to display sticker
Warrantless checkpoints in the city of Liberty, Kentucky that were used by authorities to interrogate drivers who refused to display a sticker in their vehicle have been ruled unconstitutional by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Residents who refused to buy the $10 dollar sticker were targeted after city officials ordered police to set up roadblocks. Those displaying the sticker were allowed through but refusniks were interrogated and had their vehicles searched, a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.
After the state Court of Appeals disagreed with the Casey County Circuit Court and claimed the checkpoints to be justified, the Kentucky Supreme Court stepped in and unanimously ruled that the city had no reason to stop motorists.
“The checkpoint’s only purpose was to enforce a revenue-raising tax upon vehicles in the city,” the court ruled. “Thus, the checkpoint to enforce the sticker ordinance comports with none of the purposes which the United States Supreme Court has found to be important enough to override the individual liberty interests secured by the Fourth Amendment.”
The court also added that authorities chose the most invasive method to find residents who had refused to display the ticket. Given the fact that it was known those refusing to display the ticket were teachers, officers could instead have simply visited the school parking lot instead of setting up roadblocks.
“Through a series of decisions, the US Supreme Court has authorized suspicionless roadblocks for the purpose of finding illegal aliens up to 100 miles from the border, verifying drivers’ licenses and registrations, looking for drunk drivers and responding to a specific crime that took place on the same highway as the roadblock. A dozen states have disagreed with these practices and outlawed one or more of these types of roadblocks by citing their own state constitutions. The Kentucky Supreme Court found none of these exceptions applied in the case at hand,” reports TheNewspaper.com.
The federal government is also expanding its use of highway checkpoints under the auspices of the Transportation Security Administration.
In October last year we reported on how Tennessee’s Homeland Security Commissioner announced that a raft of new “security checkpoints” would be in place over the Halloween period to “keep roadways safe for trick-or-treaters”.
If this question had been asked by a fictional character in a spy thriller, it might intrigue you, but you wouldn’t imagine that it could be true in reality. If the Constitution means what it says, you wouldn’t even consider the plausibility of an affirmative answer. After all, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was written to prevent the government from violating on a whim or a hunch or a vendetta that uniquely American right: the right to be left alone.
Everyone wants, at some point in the day, at some places in the home, to be left alone. The colonists who fought the war of secession from Great Britain were no different. But that war and the wish to keep the government at bay had been heightened by the colonial experiences involved in the enforcement of the Stamp Act.
That law, which applied to the colonies and not to residents of Great Britain, required that government stamps be purchased and printed on all legal, financial, and even political documents in the possession of every colonist. The enforcement of that law — which was done by British soldiers who entered private homes armed not only with guns but also with search warrants that they had written for themselves, which Parliament authorized them to do — was so disturbing and resulted in such anti-British political animosity that Parliament eventually rescinded the act.
But the damage to British rule had been done, and it was irreparable. After the Founders won the Revolution and wrote the Constitution and added the Bill of Rights, they rested in the assurance that only judges could issue search warrants “particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized,” and that judges could only do so if they found probable cause of criminal behavior in the place the government targeted.
The War on Drugs has regrettably weakened the intended protections of the Fourth Amendment, and the Patriot Act — which permits federal agents to write their own search warrants — has dealt it a serious blow. That act, which has not yet been ruled upon by the Supreme Court, fortunately has not yet animated the Supreme Court’s privacy jurisprudence. Last year, the court invalidated the police use of warrantless heat-seeking devices aimed at the home, and it will probably soon invalidate the warrantless use of GPS devices secretly planted by cops in cars.
Regrettably, unless the government attempts to use the data it has illegally gathered about a person, the person probably will not be aware of the government’s spying on him, and thus will not be in a position to challenge the spying in a court. Relying on the PATRIOT Act, federal agents have written their own search warrants just like the British soldiers did. They have done this more than 250,000 times since 2001. But the government has rarely used any evidence from these warrants in a criminal prosecution for fear that the targeted person would learn of the government’s unconstitutional and nefarious behavior, and for fear that the act would be invalidated by federal courts.
Now, back to the CIA in your kitchen. When Congress created the CIA in 1947, it expressly prohibited the agency from spying on Americans in America. Nevertheless, it turns out that if your microwave, burglar alarm, or dishwasher is of very recent vintage, and if it is connected to your personal computer, a CIA spy can tell when you are in the kitchen and when you are using that device. The person who revealed this last weekend also revealed that CIA software can learn your habits from all of this and then anticipate them.
Acting “diabolically” and hoping to “change fingerprints and eyeballs” in its “worldwide mission” to steal and keep secrets, the CIA can then gut the Fourth Amendment digitally, without ever physically entering anyone’s home. We already know that your BlackBerry or iPhone can tell a spy where you are and, when the battery is connected, what you are saying. But spies in the kitchen? Can this be true?
Who revealed all this last weekend? None other than Gen. David Petraeus himself, President Obama’s new director of the CIA. I wonder whether he knows about the Fourth Amendment and how the Supreme Court has interpreted it and that federal laws prohibit his spies from doing their work in America. I wonder whether he or the president even cares. Do you?
COPYRIGHT 2012 ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM.
I’ll keep this brief.
Yesterday I was subjected to an illegal, warrantless, and groundless “physically invasive” pat down by a TSA agent. A stranger grabbed my genitals — this wasn’t your simple frisking before entering an airport terminal. This was how you treat a prisoner in a maximum security prison. I posted the chilling details of my encounter on my Google+ profile here.
I fly often, and have never been subjected to anything this extreme, disgusting, and profoundly un-American. Aside from violating the Fourth Amendment, what was done to me violated the founding spirit of our nation.
Also, on a recent cross-country road trip I was repeatedly pulled over for “speeding.” I wasn’t speeding, or was going so marginally above the speed limit as to be impossible to prevent. Pulling over motorists without cause is becoming more prevalent in many areas of the US. It’s done to intimidate, it’s done to raise revenues (speeding tickets), and it’s done to casually search your vehicle and your person without probable cause or a warrant.
This is the kind of thing I’d expect in a third-world dictatorship, or in Syria. Not in the United States of America.
How dare we condemn human rights abuses in the Middle East when we treat productive members of our own society — frequent business travelers — like drug mules and felons.
The TSA is unconstitutional. Security at the expense of our most basic freedoms is not freedom at all.
I’ve disagreed with some of Ron Paul’s economic views (I think getting rid of the Fed and rapidly transitioning to a new gold standard would create many unintended consequences, and harm middle class folks who don’t have any exposure to precious metals; their savings are in US-dollar denominated bank accounts) — despite this, he is the ONLY CANDIDATE who seems to care that our civil rights have been egregiously rolled back over the past decade.
This alone makes him worth my vote. And I can’t in good conscience vote for President Obama’s re-election.
I’ve heard supporters of the current administration say that the TSA and other violations of our freedoms were enacted by his predecessor. Fair enough — but Mr. Obama has had THREE YEARS to roll back the infrastructure of the police state and restore some of our constitutionally guaranteed rights. He has not done so.
Maybe Ron Paul will be able to reverse some of what this country has become. At least he talks about the problem. That’s a start.
Because this isn’t the America I learned about in school:
ABC’s Jason Volack and Michael Falcone report:
AMES, Iowa — Pivoting away from his economic-focused speeches of the past week, presidential candidate Ron Paul told a crowd in Iowa on Saturday that “life does not come from the government– it comes from our creator.”
His defense of the unborn during a speech at the Ames Straw Poll drew heavy applause from the audience as he makes a play for social conservatives in this state.
During his remarks, he recalled some graphic stories from his time as an obstetrics-gynecology resident to explain his opposition to abortion rights. Paul said that in the 1960s, physicians were “defying the law in doing abortions,” and told a story of seeing doctors deliver a baby via Caesarean section and then “put it in a bucket in the corner of the room and let it die and pretended nobody heard it.”
It took Paul several minutes to return to his-bread-and-butter issues like returning America to the gold standard.
“It’s still on the books that only gold and silver can be legal tender,” the Texas congressman, who is in the midst of his second presidential bid, said.
During his speech he also spent time defending individual liberties and bashing policies like the Patriot Act, calling it an “attack on our liberties and the Fourth Amendment.”
“Just think of what is happening at our airports,” he said.
Earlier this week — Paul told ABC News that talking about what he sees as the abuses of the Patriot Act is one of the factors that sets him apart from his GOP opponents. He also told ABC News that nobody is talking about our undeclared and illegal foreign wars.
Paul’s now common catch line — “it’s time to bring troops home” — again drew a thunderous applause from the straw poll crowd here, many of whom were wearing bright red shirts with Paul’s name on it.
Aides to Paul, a perennial favorite at straw polls like this, were predicting on Saturday that he could receive as many as 4,000 votes. His campaign staff said they bought 2,750 tickets for supporters. But his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., warned supporters that if his father wins today, ”some will try to delegitimize” it.
While attending a continuing legal education course today, I learned of an interesting case recently issued by the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. I have never considered that arguments might arise over what the framers meant by “the people” and thought you, too, might find this an interesting issue.
In US v. Portillo-Munoz, 2011 WL 2306248 (5th Cir., June 13, 2011), at issue was the Constitutionality of a federal statute, 18 USC § 922(g)(5), making it a crime for an illegal alien to possess a firearm. Portillo-Munoz came to Texas illegally and took employment on a farm outside of Dimmit. He carried a .22 caliber gun for protecting himself and protecting his employer’s chickens from coyotes. He had no criminal history.
The 5th Circuit held, with Justice Dennis dissenting, that the statute was not a violation of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. The majority held that the Second Amendment’s use of “the people” referred only to certain people excluding illegal aliens and that “the people” did not mean the same thing wherever it is used in the Constitution. The majority wrote:
In United States v. Verdugo–Urquidez, the Court held that its analysis of the Constitution “suggests that ‘the people’ protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, … refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.” 494 U.S. 259, 110 S.Ct. 1056, 1061, 108 L.Ed.2d 222 (1990). Portillo relies on Verdugo-Urquidez and argues that he has sufficient connections with the United States to be included in this definition of “the people,” but neither this court nor the Supreme Court has held that the Fourth Amendment extends to a native and citizen of another nation who entered and remained in the United States illegally. 1
Moreover, even if there were precedent for the proposition that illegal aliens generally are covered by the Fourth Amendment, we do not find that the use of “the people” in both the Second and the Fourth Amendment mandates a holding that the two amendments cover exactly the same groups of people. The purposes of the Second and the Fourth Amendment are different. The Second Amendment grants an affirmative right to keep and bear arms, while the Fourth Amendment is at its core a protective right against abuses by the government. Attempts to precisely analogize the scope of these two amendments is misguided, and we find it reasonable that an affirmative right would be extended to fewer groups than would a protective right.
IMHO, there could be various reasons, none good, that these photos were allowed. Nice to see he is smiling, must be a warm up for the gathering at the Bohemian Grove, which was the last time he was probably groped and groping. When guessing he gets “it” once a year any additional attention must be a thrill!
July 14, 2011
TSA humiliation and crotch groping ain’t strictly for the commoners, as a couple photos posted on the TMZ web site reveal.
Old Rummy, the former Pentagon boss, was treated to the TSA once over at Chicago O’Hare. Don’s all smiles in the photo, indicating that intrusive pat-downs are no big thing so long as they stop al-Qaeda and turban-donning bad guys from slaughtering us for our freedoms.
Makes you wonder, though. Why would a big shot like Donald Rumsfeld fly on a commercial airline? Recall Madame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling us she’d avoid the Fourth Amendment busting procedure at all cost. Government officialdom doesn’t get its junk frisked.
So why did Rummy? Sure, he’s out of government now. Is it possible the TSA thinks he might be carrying one of those newfangled surgically implanted tummy bombs?
Or is this some kind of TSA promotional thing? It would be interesting to find out how TMZ came into possession of the photos.
After all, the TSA no longer allows photos to be taken at the gate.
No word if the TSA goon in the photo found the $2,000,000,000,000 Rumsfeld admitted was missing from the Pentagon’s coffers.
It should have been a big scandal – and it would have been if not for the fact Rummy made the admission on September 10, 2001.