Another Wild Story About Government Spying Circulates the Internet, Only to Be Debunked Later

stooges_phoneAs news of Edward Snowden’s one year asylum in Russia and his subsequent departure from his stay at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow (a story for another day) broke across the internet, yet another wild claim about government surveillance circumnavigated the globe.

I’m not talking about The Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald’s latest article, which I preemptively covered earlier in the week. Specifically, this was a story posted on Medium.com by a BoingBoing writer and former Forbes contributor, Michele Catalano, and it generated another tsunami of outrage porn for the anti-NSA Team Greenwald crowd.

But it turned out to be a great big nothing.

Catalano wrote that she had innocuously searched Google for pressure cookers (coincidentally the Tsarnaev Brothers’ weapon of choice), while her husband has searched for backpacks (also, coincidentally, the Tsarnaev Brothers’ luggage of choice), and her son had been reading news articles about bombings.

What could possibly go wrong?

Fast forward to Wednesday morning. Catalano reported that while she was at work on Wednesday, a fleet of ominous black SUVs appeared in front of her house while her husband was at home.

[Catalano's husband] looked out the window and saw three black SUVs in front of our house; two at the curb in front and one pulled up behind my husband’s Jeep in the driveway, as if to block him from leaving.

Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles and spread out as they walked toward the house, two toward the backyard on one side, two on the other side, two toward the front door.

[...] He walked outside and the men greeted him by flashing badges. He could see they all had guns holstered in their waistbands.

The men questioned Catalano’s husband for 45 minutes about his trips abroad, his family history and so forth. The officials also performed a cursory search of Catalano’s home. She ended the article with the same paranoia we’ve seen over and over again from Team Greenwald:

This is where we are at. Where you have no expectation of privacy. Where trying to learn how to cook some lentils could possibly land you on a watch list. Where you have to watch every little thing you do because someone else is watching every little thing you do. [...]

I’m scared. And not of the right things.

So you can imagine how rapidly this story was picked up.

I’m not exactly sure who posted in what order, but the first major article appears to have been posted on The Atlantic Wire. For the record, The Atlantic was also a culprit in my previous article about how a wild theory about NSA transformed into factual reality.

This is the actual scare-photo from The Atlantic Wire's article. That's NOT Catalano's family or her house.

This is the actual scare-photo from The Atlantic Wire’s article. That’s NOT Catalano’s family or her house.

This time, writer Philip Bump noted that in Catalano’s story the men identified themselves as being from the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Catalano never actually wrote that the men had identified themselves at all. Instead, she merely stated they were from the “joint terrorism task force” (lower case, oddly).

Bump continued by speculating about possible FBI and Homeland Security involvement and described how NSA’s PRISM and XKEYSCORE might’ve led authorities to Catalano’s house.

Let the game of journalistic Telephone begin.

Andrew Sullivan wrote that the “FBI and Homeland Security” visited Catalano. Raw Story and The Guardian posted articles about the incident. Popular liberal blogger Digby speculated about the FBI’s involvement, as well as the “Insider Threat” program. Business Insider posted about it, Alan Colmes posted about it and Yahoo! News re-posted Bump’s article with this attention-grabbing but inaccurate headline: Google Pressure Cookers and Backpacks, Get a Visit from the Feds. Gizmodo posted the headline: Yes, The FBI Is Tracking American Google Searches. There were also frantic tweets like these:

catalano_tweets1

There was this tweet from Catalano herself, identifying the investigators as members of the FBI:

catalano_tweets2

To his credit, Greenwald appears to not have posted anything about it [see CORRECTION below]. But his Mini-Me, Salon.com’s David Sirota, wondered on Twitter whether this is how “NSA is deploying its Internet surveillance.”

catalano_tweets3

Never mind that NSA is tasked with foreign intelligence and not domestic law enforcement — another indication that many of the most histrionic critics of NSA have no idea what NSA is all about.

Every time one of these stories launches — berzerker-style — through the tubes, reality eventually emerges. The rule of thumb is to wait for around 12 hours before the clarifications and updates pop up. This time, it took around eight hours, but only after the story had earned some serious frequent flyer miles.

It turns out the mystery goon squad was actually the Suffolk County Criminal Intelligence Detectives, part of the Suffolk County Police Department. While the Suffolk County PD is technically associated with the JTTF, it wasn’t NSA or FBI or Homeland Security or the JTTF itself that led the investigators to Catalano’s Google searches and then to her home.

It was Catalano’s husband’s former boss.

Apparently, Catalano’s husband worked for a Bay Shore computer company, and the Google searches were conducted on a work computer. The husband’s former boss discovered the dubious searches for “pressure cooker bombs” and “backpacks” and alerted the authorities.

So, no, NSA didn’t flag her Google search; it didn’t suspect her of being a terrorist; and it didn’t dispatch a team of government agents to her house. Not only did this not happen, but NSA would only have been targeting Catalano (using an individual court order) if she or her husband were communicating with suspected terrorists overseas. But none of this matters when there are garments to rend and 140-character outrage porn to be retweeted. The viral game of journalistic Telephone continues, with one source feeding the next and wild speculation tossed into the mix that, when blockquoted enough times, suddenly emerges on the other side of the looking glass as factual reality — more fuel for outrage.

Sadly, this will probably keep happening. Read with extreme caution.

CORRECTION: Greenwald did, in fact, tweet about the story.

Bob Cesca is the managing editor for The Daily Banter, the editor of BobCesca.com, the host of the Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and a Huffington Post contributor.

  • Matt Sapero

    Defend this unconstitutional garbage:

    “Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans”

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE97409R20130805?irpc=932

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

    Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

    The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

    “I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

    “It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

    THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION

    The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

    Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

    “Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”

    A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.

    But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to “recreate” an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.

    A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. “You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it,” the agent said.

    “PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION”

    After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as “parallel construction.”

    The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. “Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day,” one official said. “It’s decades old, a bedrock concept.”

    A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.

    “It’s just like laundering money – you work it backwards to make it clean,” said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

    Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.

    A QUESTION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY

    “That’s outrageous,” said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. “It strikes me as indefensible.”

    Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin “would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional.”

    Lustberg and others said the government’s use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant’s identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.

    “You can’t game the system,” said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. “You can’t create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don’t draw the line here, where do you draw it?”

    Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.

    “It’s a balancing act, and they’ve doing it this way for years,” Spelke said. “Do I think it’s a good way to do it? No, because now that I’m a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge.”

    CONCEALING A TIP

    One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

    “I was pissed,” the prosecutor said. “Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you’re trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court.” The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

    A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

    The SOD’s role providing information to agents isn’t itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.

    The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD’s role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don’t accidentally try to arrest each other.

    By John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

    Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

    The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

    “I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

    “It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

    THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION

    The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

    Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

    “Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”

    A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.

    But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to “recreate” an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.

    A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. “You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it,” the agent said.

    “PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION”

    After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as “parallel construction.”

    The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. “Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day,” one official said. “It’s decades old, a bedrock concept.”

    A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.

    “It’s just like laundering money – you work it backwards to make it clean,” said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

    Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.

    A QUESTION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY

    “That’s outrageous,” said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. “It strikes me as indefensible.”

    Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin “would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional.”

    Lustberg and others said the government’s use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant’s identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.

    “You can’t game the system,” said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. “You can’t create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don’t draw the line here, where do you draw it?”

    Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.

    “It’s a balancing act, and they’ve doing it this way for years,” Spelke said. “Do I think it’s a good way to do it? No, because now that I’m a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge.”

    CONCEALING A TIP

    One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

    “I was pissed,” the prosecutor said. “Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you’re trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court.” The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

    A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

    The SOD’s role providing information to agents isn’t itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.

    The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD’s role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don’t accidentally try to arrest each other.

    SOD’S BIG SUCCESSES

    The unit also played a major role in a 2008 DEA sting in Thailand against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; he was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. The SOD also recently coordinated Project Synergy, a crackdown against manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic designer drugs that spanned 35 states and resulted in 227 arrests.

    Since its inception, the SOD’s mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit’s annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125 million.

    Today, the SOD offers at least three services to federal, state and local law enforcement agents: coordinating international investigations such as the Bout case; distributing tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, foreign law enforcement partners and domestic wiretaps; and circulating tips from a massive database known as DICE.

    The DICE database contains about 1 billion records, the senior DEA officials said. The majority of the records consist of phone log and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Records are kept for about a year and then purged, the DEA officials said.

    About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. Recently, one of the DEA officials said, DICE linked a man who tried to smuggle $100,000 over the U.S. southwest border to a major drug case on the East Coast.

    “We use it to connect the dots,” the official said.

    “AN AMAZING TOOL”

    Wiretap tips forwarded by the SOD usually come from foreign governments, U.S. intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic phone recordings. Because warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal, tips from intelligence agencies are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller’s citizenship can be verified, according to one senior law enforcement official and one former U.S. military intelligence analyst.

    “They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American,” the senior law enforcement official said.

    Tips from domestic wiretaps typically occur when agents use information gleaned from a court-ordered wiretap in one case to start a second investigation.

    As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don’t worry that SOD’s involvement will be exposed in court. That’s because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.

    Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren’t always helpful – one estimated their accuracy at 60 percent. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.

    “It was an amazing tool,” said one recently retired federal agent. “Our big fear was that it wouldn’t stay secret.”

    DEA officials said that the SOD process has been reviewed internally. They declined to provide Reuters with a copy of their most recent review.

    (Edited by Blake Morrison)

  • Matt Sapero

    I can’t wait to see you guys twist yourselves into knots defend this unconstitutional garbage:

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE97409R20130805?irpc=932

    By John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

    Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

    The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

    “I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

    “It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

    THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION

    The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

    Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

    “Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”

    A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.

    But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to “recreate” an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.

    A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. “You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it,” the agent said.

    “PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION”

    After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as “parallel construction.”

    The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. “Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day,” one official said. “It’s decades old, a bedrock concept.”

    A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.

    “It’s just like laundering money – you work it backwards to make it clean,” said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

    Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.

    A QUESTION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY

    “That’s outrageous,” said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. “It strikes me as indefensible.”

    Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin “would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional.”

    Lustberg and others said the government’s use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant’s identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.

    “You can’t game the system,” said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. “You can’t create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don’t draw the line here, where do you draw it?”

    Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.

    “It’s a balancing act, and they’ve doing it this way for years,” Spelke said. “Do I think it’s a good way to do it? No, because now that I’m a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge.”

    CONCEALING A TIP

    One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

    “I was pissed,” the prosecutor said. “Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you’re trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court.” The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

    A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

    The SOD’s role providing information to agents isn’t itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.

    The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD’s role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don’t accidentally try to arrest each other.

    SOD’S BIG SUCCESSES

    The unit also played a major role in a 2008 DEA sting in Thailand against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; he was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. The SOD also recently coordinated Project Synergy, a crackdown against manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic designer drugs that spanned 35 states and resulted in 227 arrests.

    Since its inception, the SOD’s mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit’s annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125 million.

    Today, the SOD offers at least three services to federal, state and local law enforcement agents: coordinating international investigations such as the Bout case; distributing tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, foreign law enforcement partners and domestic wiretaps; and circulating tips from a massive database known as DICE.

    The DICE database contains about 1 billion records, the senior DEA officials said. The majority of the records consist of phone log and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Records are kept for about a year and then purged, the DEA officials said.

    About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. Recently, one of the DEA officials said, DICE linked a man who tried to smuggle $100,000 over the U.S. southwest border to a major drug case on the East Coast.

    “We use it to connect the dots,” the official said.

    “AN AMAZING TOOL”

    Wiretap tips forwarded by the SOD usually come from foreign governments, U.S. intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic phone recordings. Because warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal, tips from intelligence agencies are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller’s citizenship can be verified, according to one senior law enforcement official and one former U.S. military intelligence analyst.

    “They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American,” the senior law enforcement official said.

    Tips from domestic wiretaps typically occur when agents use information gleaned from a court-ordered wiretap in one case to start a second investigation.

    As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don’t worry that SOD’s involvement will be exposed in court. That’s because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.

    Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren’t always helpful – one estimated their accuracy at 60 percent. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.

    “It was an amazing tool,” said one recently retired federal agent. “Our big fear was that it wouldn’t stay secret.”

    DEA officials said that the SOD process has been reviewed internally. They declined to provide Reuters with a copy of their most recent review.

    (Edited by Blake Morrison)

    Aug 05, 2013 11:39am EDT
    How convenient that a “credible Al Queda threat” came about at the same time this additional piece of government slimery got exposed along with Congress voting to fund its own extra Obamacare costs with the full blessing of the POTUS. Look at the shiny objects little people of no importance. There’s nothing to see here.

    © 2011 Thomson Reuters

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    How about this from the ACLU: “The FISC’s rules provide the appearance of limited and targeted access to Americans’ phone records — but the reality is far different. When a single query is, in fact, a three-hop frolic through American’s phone records, the initial restraints lose much of their force. And, when the NSA can combine the results of all these queries for future, unrestricted analysis, the FISC’s front-end protections have almost no significance at all. The weakness of the back-end controls renders the front-end protections all but irrelevant.” http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/raiding-corporate-store-nsas-unfettered-access-vast-pool-americans-phone-data

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    Marcy wheeler on stuff you haven’t even dreamed about. http://feedly.com/k/16sLKn1

    • ak1287

      I really don’t think you read the articles you link to.

      This article, for instance, said nothing. Just so no one has to click it, I will post the article, in it’s entirety, right here.

      Now that the Suffolk cops have revealed they investigated Michele Catalano’s family because of a tip from her husband’s former employer about his Google searches and not FBI or NSA analysis of Google data themselves, a lot of people are suggesting it would be crazy to imagine that the Feds might have found Catalano via online searches.

      Which is funny. Because just a day before this story broke, this exchange happened in the Senate between Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy and Deputy Attorney General James Cole. (after 1:45, though just before this exchange Leahy asks whether DOJ could use Section 215 to obtain URLs and bookmarks, among other records, which Cole didn’t deny)

      Leahy: But if our phone records are relevant, why wouldn’t our credit card records? Wouldn’t you like to know if somebody’s buying, um, what is the fertilizer used in bombs?

      Cole: I may not need to collect everybody’s credit card records in order to do that.

      [snip]

      If somebody’s buying things that could be used to make bombs of course we would like to know that but we may not need to do it in this fashion.

      This is not a surprise. It comes two years after Robert Mueller confirmed they use Section 215 to collect “records relating to the purchase of hydrogen peroxide,” a TATP precursor.

      So while we may not know how the government currently collects records relating to the purchase of fertilizer, acetone, hydrogen peroxide or — yes, after Boston, probably also pressure cookers and maybe even fireworks — and we don’t know just how broadly it collects such records, we do know that “of course” DOJ “would like to know … if somebody’s buying things that could be used to make bombs.”

      So just one day ago, Cole didn’t deny they could use Section 215 to get search URLs, he affirmed they would want to get records of bomb-making materials.

      He just didn’t tell us how they might do those things.

      And that’s literally all it says. It doesn’t say shit about them collecting data.

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        Cole didn’t deny section 215 could be used to get search terms. He said he didn’t need to use credit card info to see who is buying stuff. How do think they can do this? (FYI while all the fuss has mentioned NSA, there is a large agency tasked with domestic counter-terrorism that most people are ignoring, the FBI.)

        The larger point is that we don’t know a lot about how the stuff we know exists works and there are certainly lots of stuff we don’t know about yet. So the story will be advanced in little bits like this, not blockbuster documents all the time. If you think you know that Internet data or other “tangible records” is being searched only with an individual warrant you’re fooling yourself.

  • kfreed

    Koch’s Tea Party pet, Rand Paul: “Beyond the Left-Right Paradigm” / Rand Paul 2016 ad is Glenn Greenwald verbatim: http://www.dailypaul.com/285884/rand-paul-beyond-the-left-right-paradigm

    Paul’s premature 2016 ad also features “reformed” right-winger Cenk Uygur and “reformed” right-winger Arianna Huffington:

    Huffington’s profile: http://exiledonline.com/s-h-a-m-e-project-profiles-arianna-huffington-the-perfect-new-media-symbol-for-the-obama-era/

    Cenk’s profile: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439×904508

    The Federalist Society, to which Cenk belonged: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/11/a-small-right-wing-conspiracy-the-federalist-society.html

    “Koch-Funded Rand Paul Introduces National Anti-Union ‘Right To Work’ Bill To The Senate”
    http://boldprogressives.org/2013/02/rand-paul-introduces-national-anti-union-right-to-work-bill-to-the-senate/

    Rand Paul’s Koch $ (of which we can track) http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00030836&cycle=Career

  • Cob Phuku Besca
    • PinkamenaPanic

      Get banned again, troll? Had to name-morph to keep posting your hate and lies?

      Flagged. I suggest all users do the same.

      • Cob Phuku Besca

        Hate? I hate stupid and ignorant, guilty as charged. Lies? Clearly you love lies from your elected and none elected leaders-I’ve read your posts. As for getting banned, it’s par for the course with Cesca and company, at least Driftglass allows some dissenting opinions and his commenter attack dogs aren’t rabid profanity laden whack jobs. All you have to do is hang out long enough and Victor the crab, or Nicole, or some other worker drone will come along and call you a douche bag, a fucking moron, etc… Clearly hate and intolerance isn’t just tolerated here at TDB, but encouraged, as long as you agree with the overall narrative. Just saying.
        Have a great day!

        • PinkamenaPanic

          Aaawww, trollshit is mad up the ass that he got called out.

        • nathkatun7

          “I hate stupid and ignorant, guilty as charged.”

          Wow! Are you saying you hate yourself?

        • Victor_the_Crab

          Awww, I’m so flattered that I, and others, get under your skin like that, douchebag. But it’s nothing that tinfoiled hat emoprogs like you don’t deserve.
          When you come back after getting banned again (and you will) make sure your next username is PleaseKillMeImALoser. You’re welcome.
          Have a bad life.

    • kfreed

      You know, Libertarian Glenn Greenwald of Cato Institute sounds exactly like The Libertarian Standard: http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/02/08/the-myth-of-anti-war-democrats/

      The only thing wrong with that is that tea partying Koch-funded Libertarian Cato Institute was behind all the crap Libertarians now claim to be against (in short, not all of us are stupid):

      “Fact: The Cato Institute’s actual record during the Bush administration years was anything but principled and far from heroic.

      John Yoo, author of the notorious “torture memo,” served on the Cato editorial board for Cato Supreme Court Review
      during the Bush presidency. At the same time, Yoo was writing the Bush
      administration’s legal justifications for waterboarding, Guantánamo,
      warrantless wiretapping and more. Yoo also contributed articles to Cato Supreme Court Review and a chapter to a Cato book titled The Rule of Law in the Wake of Clinton criticizing President Clinton’s “imperial presidency.”<<< [SOUND FAMILIAR? Glenn Greenwald]

      The 'Cato Policy Report' attacked progressive critics of Bush’s “War on Terror” as “Terrorism’s Fellow Travelers“
      in its November/December 2001 issue. Former Vice President of Research
      Brink Lindsey wrote, 'Most of the America haters flushed out by
      September 11 are huddled on the left wing of the conventional political
      spectrum.'

      Another Cato executive, Ted Galen Carpenter, former VP for defense and foreign policy studies, enthusiastically supported Bush’s 'war on terror' [just like Greenwald] and called on Bush to invade Pakistan.

      The Cato Institute advised the 2002–04 Republican-dominated Congress to commence military strikes in Pakistan in its Cato Handbook for Congress
      arguing, 'Ultimately, Afghanistan becomes less important as a place to
      conduct military operations in the war on terrorism and more important
      as a place from which to launch military operations. And those
      operations should be directed across the border into neighboring
      Pakistan.'

      Another Cato Institute executive, Roger Pilon, vigorously supported Bush’s attacks on civil liberties. Pilon, Cato’s VP for legal affairs and founding director of the Cato Institute’s “Center for Constitutional Studies,” supported expanded FBI wiretapping in 2002 and called on Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act as late as 2008."

      http://www.thenation.com/article/167500/independent-and-principled-behind-cato-myth#

  • NintendoWii10

    Because spying and drones are the ONLY issues that matter to emoprogressives, let’s forget about the unemployed and those starving on the streets!

    And another thing, who the hell elected Greenwald to ANYTHING? He’s nothing more than the Libertarian Breitbart/O Keefe.

  • jezebel

    Dear Lord,

    Please don’t ever let me get this emo. Amen.

  • kfreed

    Yes, which is why some of us do NOT jump on the bandwagon every time one comes ’round because we’ve witnessed time and again the wheels come off at some point, particlarly as relates to tea baggers in general and Glenn Greenwald in particular.

  • ChrisAndersen

    It’s been my experience, when reading stories like this, that there is always an element that isn’t being reported that, in context makes the story seem a lot less outrageous than originally reported.

    For example, a few months back there was a story making the rounds about a woman who was being threatened with jail time for collecting rainwater. The woman apparently made and sold planters out of old tires and she was allegedly being threatened with jail time unless she stopped making them. However, if you dug into the story, you would find that the unreported part of it was that she had been cited for improperly storing several old tires in her backyard (a health hazard since they are an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes). She had refused to pay the fine because she thought she should have the right to store anything she wanted in her backyard and damn the impact on the neighborhood. It was her failure to pay the fine that was leading to the threat of imprisonment.

    Lesson: always look for the context.

    • kfreed

      A very trite and very true bit of advice still valid to this day: LOOK before you leap.

  • Treading_Water

    This is nothing. One time, I was watching street racing videos on youtube, and then 2 days later I was pulled over for speeding. THEY knew exactly what street I was on and how fast I was going (they brazenly wrote it right on the ticket). How did THEY know I was going to be speeding that day on that road?

    • gn

      I googled my favorite lipstick and found it at amazon. SOMEHOW a package of it has come to my apartment. Had my correct name and address, and everything. THEY are watching us very very closely.

      • Reilly

        I sent you that. At the time I was working for the NSA as a MLRA (Mid-Level Rogue Agent) and started feeling bad about monitoring your every online communication, so I thought I’d do something nice.
        BTW, it looks great on you. Oops! Guess I gave away the final bombshell — one-way webcams installed on every computer. Sorry GG, hope you weren’t saving that one for your upcoming book.

        • gn

          It was YOU! Thanks for coming clean.

  • Olivia

    Wow,what was I thinking? I searched and researched pressure cookers all last week (canning season) and backpacks this week (back to school) without even considering that a armed,black clad, helmeted NSA agent (?) might pound my door down and take me away.

    • Dennis Collins

      If it worked and they showed up it could be a new form of speed dating. By Golly, I think Olivia’s onto something!

      • Reilly

        Be careful though. I was typing too fast and mistakenly googled “pressure cockers” and then “pleasure cookers.” About 20 NSA agents showed up, male and female. They said I wasn’t in trouble but they each wanted to take me out for drinks.

        • Aaron Litz

          HA!

  • missliberties

    The point being check your sources? The woman that spread this story IS a former blogger for Pajamas Media.

    This is a demonstration of why angry mobs with pitchforks are so dangerous to democracy.

    • nathkatun7

      “This is a demonstration of why angry mobs with pitchforks are so dangerous to democracy.”

      That’s the absolute TRUTH! History is filled with accounts of so many innocent people who died as a result of false rumors that inflamed “angry mobs with pitchforks.”

      • missliberties

        Japanese Internment for 1.

        FDR wasn’t willing to waste his time and political capital to fight off the 70% majority that insisted that the Japanese in America needed to be put behind bars. Was it worth what he accomplished as President to make such a difficult trade off? I say yes. Yet many libruls have erased this from their memories to put FDR on a pedastal.

  • blackdaug

    I guess they figured using the Elian Gonzales pictures to “illustrate” the sheer horrible horrible terror this family went through might trip a few switches!

    Also, this dude sure pissed his boss off big time! Wonder what he did?

    • quark

      Well for one thing he used a work computer for personal stuff and let his wife and kid use it too.

  • js hooper

    The Alex Jones Left

    Complete with blatant lies, deceit, manipulation, paranoia and a MONOMANIACAL AGENDA.

    Not only is this story bullshit…but the picture they used to accompany it isn’t even from the family involved. This is pure shameless deception and manipulation to spread fear to push their agenda.

    Alex Jones and Fox News would be proud.

    Of course NONE of these “journalists” and bloggers will retract their story and tell their audience that it was bullshit. They got the outrage they wanted and now they’ll just move on to the next thing.

    • TrumpDog

      The Alex Jones Left

      Indeed.
      It’s really getting harder and harder telling the left wing knee-jerk loons from the right ones.
      I first heard about this story from Daily Kos, the so-called “reality based” community.
      /sigh

      • kfreed

        With D-Kos, there’s always a 50/50 chance of coming up short. The half that consistently screws up is prone to hanging with Libertarans if not Libertarian themseves.

        • TrumpDog

          Good point. I went there today and someone had diaried the truth on this story. Another commenter took issue, saying he/she did not believe the police statement and that people should wait and see if their statement was true. Which was ironic because these same people did not take a wait-and-see approach to the original story.
          Go figure.

          • kfreed

            Yeah, go figure. This is what comes of schmoozing with Libertarians:) We may eventually learn our lesson, hopefully sooner rather than after they’ve done irreparable harm.

          • kfreed

            This may shed some light:

            There’s a whole lot of fakin’ goin’ on…

            Redstate.com: “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 5: Liberal Netroots” (note that this is only part 5, there are 10 parts):

            “First, infiltrate the site. For this, you will have to avoid creating screen names like “GoPalinGo” or “Heartlandredstater.” Also, some websites may actually have you wait a week before you are allowed to comment or blog. Perhaps, they are investigating the e-mail address you give them against whether it is used for a conservative website. Be sure to avoid that tendency; if you use, for example, aol.com screen name for RedState, make sure you use a yahoo e-mail address for Dailykos, or whatever. Once you are there, the second part of the strategy is to gain their trust. For this, you cannot be too overtly gung-ho conservative in your outlook. Instead, you sort of have to be the voice of a moderate liberal. This will take a lot of acting skill, but it could be done. For example, over at ThinkProgress, they had an article about how the folks in Alabama got what they deserved with the recent spate of tornadoes because their legislators did not believe in global warming. It took all my energies not to reach through the Internet and strangle these kooks, but I responded, “Well, that might be going a little too far…” Along the way, I gained the trust of certain posters on that thread.”

            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/15/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-5-liberal-netroots/

        • nathkatun7

          Sadly, many of the so called progressives who think that they are “pure progressives” have already made up their minds that President Obama is evil and all the people who support him are stupid yes people. If a story, like this one, which they are absolutely convinced proves the evilness of Obama turns out to be false, they simply refuse to believe that it’s false.

          • kfreed

            Which makes Cesca’s Greenwald “Left” and Alex Jones “Right” convergence highly relevant to the discussion.

            Not to mention, there’s a whole lot of fakin’ goin’ on:

            Redstate.com: “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 5: Liberal Netroots” (note that this is only part 5, there are 10 parts):

            “First, infiltratethe site. For this, you will have to avoid creating screen names like “GoPalinGo” or “Heartlandredstater.” Also, some websites may actually have you wait a week before you are allowed to comment or blog. Perhaps, they are investigating the e-mail address you give them against whether it is used for a conservative website. Be sure to avoid that tendency; if you use, for example, aol.com screen name for RedState, make sure you use a yahoo e-mail address for Dailykos, or whatever. Once you are there, the second part of the strategy is to gain their trust. For this, you cannot be too overtly gung-ho conservative in your outlook. Instead, you sort of have to be the voice of a moderate liberal. This will take a lot of acting skill, but it could be done. For example, over at ThinkProgress, they had an article about how the folks in Alabama got what they deserved with the recent spate of tornadoes because their legislators did not believe in global warming. It took all my energies not to reach through the Internet and strangle these kooks, but I responded, “Well, that might be going a little too far…” Along the way, I gained the trust of certain posters on that thread.”

            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/15/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-5-liberal-netroots/

  • kushiro -

    Wait wait wait. So you’re telling me the woman in that photo is NOT a writer for BoingBoing and Forbes, and that’s NOT her 20-year-old son? Sure. Whatever. Next you’ll tell me that those other people aren’t men in casual clothes.

    Well, at least I know that Flo from the Progressive ads is a real person, so my world continues to turn.

  • PostSurgeOperative

    Hey Bob, any thoughts about Lon Snowden lawyering-up with Bruce Fein, the conservative PR attorney who was also Ron Paul’s top legal advisor?

    Last night on his Current tv show, Cenk Uygur claimed Mr. Snowden qualifies as a ‘whistleblower,’ in part because, (loosely quoting here) “members of Congress and the American people didn’t know about the NSA programs until Snowden revealed them”. Nevermind the fact that Snowden made no effort to actually blow the whistle before absconding with US govt property while en route to nations hostile to the US; never mind the fact that in 2009 Pres. Obama ordered NSA to brief ALL members of Congress (including Ron Paul, and Rand too, when he was elected in 2010) as well as some of their senior congressional staff on the details of these classified programs. And again, nevermind the fact that virtually every detail of Snowden’s disclosures have been widely-reported through the mainstream media beginning in 2006.

    On his Youtube show, Cenk attempted to refudiate the fact that all these NSA program details have been widely reported in the mainstream media long before Snowden’s leaks by asking, incredibly, “If Congress already knew about NSA spying before Snowden leaked the info, then why are members of Congress flipping-out and demanding hearings?” The obvious answer to that question is that they’re pandering and grandstanding.

    I’m not sure about the timeline, but it seems as though both of Cenk’s broadcasts were produced after Catalano’s story was debunked.

    • kfreed

      Now there’s a juicy nugget. I, too, would like to know what the thoughts are on this.

      Been sayin’ – this whole dog and pony show was concocted by unscrupulous actors associated with the Ron/Rand Paul camp. Not unlike Darrel Issa’s fake scandalpalooza: http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/groundswell-group-plotted-scandals-congress

    • jezebel

      Cenk has turned out to be SUCH a disappointment.

      He’s an emo idiot.

      • nathkatun7

        Cenk is a former right wing Republican who loved St. Ronnie Reagan and voted for George W. Bush in 2000. He is like Arianna Huffington who was a staunch right winger who supported the impeachment of President Clinton. They are both “born again progressives/liberals” who were rabid right wingers, but are now pretending to be more liberal and more progressives than many of us who have been Democrats all of our lives. They couldn’t compete with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, so they decided that they could make money by being the progressive counterpart of their fellow insane right wingers.

        • NintendoWii10

          It truly is revealing how many of these “born again Progressives” were “former” right wingers.

          • nathkatun7

            It is, indeed, NintendoWii10! Libertarians and recent right wing converts to “progressivism” are the most vocal “holier than thou progressives.” Many poor misinformed people lurch on to them without knowing their backgrounds. Now don’t get me wrong, I love right wingers who see the light and truth and become democrats. What I hate are the “johnny come lately, holier than thou, born again progressives” who still act like the mindless right wingers. For them, every thing is a zero sum game. They could care less about Americans who expect the President to do everything in his power to prevent what this country was subjected to on 9/11/2001. They are absolutely clueless about the reality of the American political system which limits Presidential power. They are quick to label President Obama and the Democrats as the enemy without regard to the vile and unprecedented obstruction that the GOP has been waging against the President and his policies. They are quick to claim victimhood although many of them enjoy very privileged lives and could not cite any specific example to show how their personal lives and their personal freedoms have been curtailed under President Obama. And, they universally dismiss and denigrate all the progressive Democratic achievements under President
            Obama.

            Please forgive me if I tend to view former right wingers and libertarians, who are now the leading “born again progressives,” as suspicious infiltrators who seem bent on destroying the Democratic party by promoting the policy of “divide and conquer.” At 67, I just can’t stomach former right wing GOP’s, and avowed libertarians, telling me that they are more liberal and more progressives than all of us who have been Democrats all of our lives. I am even more angry when they compare traitors like Manning and Snowden to Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King.

  • trgahan

    You know I have this friend. He went to college and has a successful job. Yet, he gets pulled over by the cops all the time and he has gotten stopped and questioned just walking in his neighborhood. He says it has been happening all his life, not just after January 2009, and he says his parents had it worse.

    He talks about some kid similar to him in Florida that was even killed for just appearing suspicious to some neighborhood watch guy and the guy didn’t even go to jail.

    I wonder if Catalano, Greenwald, or Sirota would want to talk with him about his civil liberties being violated…

    • js hooper

      LMAO…these MF’ers could care less about black people.

      • NintendoWii10

        Unless they’re token progressive black people like Cornell West and Tavis Smiley.

        • Cob Phuku Besca

          The irony of you posting this “token” bs followed by your lastest post above is so perfect in its cognitive dissonance that it captures the stupid in a beautiful little pearl of ignorance. It’s simply spectacular.  

          And clearly the only thing these emoprogs care about or talk about are spying and drones.  

          http://www.povertytour.smileyandwest.com/  

          The stupid is strong in this one. He’s a keeper Bob, one of yours for sure.  

      • Kerry Reid

        Hey now — you talk as if SDS, even though dominated by white males, ceased operations after the draft was no longer a threat to their prerogatives and failed to engage in the ongoing battles for civil rights for black people, immigrants, women, etc. after Nixon was elected!

        Oh wait — that is exactly what they did.

    • nathkatun7

      I can relate to your friend.

  • sealiagh

    The photo that goes with the Atlantic Wire story is very scary indeed: terrified family leaving house apparently at the order of heavily armed, dare I say it, jackbooted police. The only problem is that it has nothing, zero, not a thing to do with the story itself. Yet it is only when you get to the bottom of the story that the photo is identified as from the post-Marathon bombing door-to-door (which, yeah, probably was quite scary for those effected). According to the story, the Catalano family consists of herself, her husband and their 20 year old son. And the detectives showed up in street clothes. So, why the picture? The Atlantic Wire story has been updated to reflect that the trigger for the search came from the husband’s former employer but still the photo remains. Why? Could someone be trying to manipulate his readers? Of course not, he is a journalist with standards…..

    • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

      So the use of this photo also presents Boston police looking for an attempted mass murderer as jackbooted thugs harassing a woman who was innocently looking for a pressure cooker. Nice.

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    Okay, Cesca, you’ve won a skirmish. There exists one silly reporter and most of our press corps is credulous. Dog bites man. Rest assured that your day will be over soon and one year from now, your “government spying is the one human endeavor where no lying, cheating and stealing ever happen” will look even more ridiculous than today.

    I haven’t checked you blog yet, but I’m guessing you didn’t write anything about the new NSA slides GG revealed, i. e. Ed Snowden could type an email address and read its content without an individualized court order. Your “preemptive” post doesn’t count.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca
      • ak1287

        Yeah, if Snowden ever did half the shit he says he did, he broke a literal shit-ton of laws.
        Good luck getting Greenwald to ask that question, though. That’s the problem with antagonistic journalism; once you have your enemy, you stop focusing on facts and start focusing on attacks.

        • blackdaug

          They are all starting to look the same to me, from Alex and Beck to GG ect….”Hey, you in the trench coat, stop with the screeching! People are trying to do things here!”

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Word.

          • nathkatun7

            Double Word!

          • Aaron Litz

            I tend to think of them all as the same guy, “Snowden Jones Beckwald.”

            If you don’t read the byline, it gets hard to tell who wrote what.

          • nasani

            Indeed!

      • Burpy

        In the case of the bank teller there is some chance that he might be discovered and imprisoned. In the case of the spies, with their super-duper-secret courts and ” oversight”, not so much.

        • Norbrook

          Actually, yes, there is a chance. There are also a lot of “monitor the monitors” systems in place, which means that anyone going “off the reservation” gets caught pretty quickly. Which makes me believe that the reason Snowden ran in such a hurry was that he was told “we need to talk to you.”

          • Badgerite

            I’ll bet that’s true.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Then how did Snowden get away with stealing all those files? If you’re suggesting that the NSA said “we want to talk to you” and then let him go, you haven’t even watched TV movies about this kind of stuff.

          • Razor

            That’s your problem here: you think real life is like movies and TV. Agent Smith doesn’t pop right up as soon as you Google “The Matrix.”

          • kfreed

            You mean they had the chance to “off” him and they just let him go? / snark

          • nathkatun7

            So are you basing your argument on TV movies? You are totally clueless.

          • Norbrook

            I would say his supervisor at Booz Allen Hamilton said it, and probably along the lines of “I need to talk to you tomorrow about your recent behavior.” Which, given what he was doing would have spooked him into running.

          • Aaron Litz

            I call Poe’s Law on this one. The TV movie argument is just to much.

            This has to be a parody.

            I’ve fallen for this kind of thing before at DXM, and I’m not buying it this time.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Really people, this goes over your head? Watching TV movies is the worst possible source of information. So I’m saying that whoever says the NSA would tell a potential stealer of secrets that they want to talk to him and then let the potential security risk leave the country is less well informed than someone who watches only TV movies. That wasn’t hard to figure out.

          • Badgerite

            They were just musing. Lighten up.

          • Matt Sapero

            Mark, these posters don’t have a clue and couldn’t even understand your simple post. Sad.

          • nathkatun7

            Exactly! Snowden new he violated the law and would be imprisoned. That’s is why he run away so quickly.

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        I’m not going to bother with your twitter feed. If you’ve got a link to a particular tweet, or better yet, a storify, provide it.

        The difference is the bank teller’s crime would immediately be known about by management and they would do something about it, like try to put the teller away for life. You are missing the entire point here. There is no oversight on what analysts do. There is no meaningful oversight on what orders the NSA wants the FISC to provide. Congress can’t even talk about it publicly. You are being amazingly dense if you continue to rely on “a law says it’s illegal” defense of your obfuscation.

        And it is also meaningless when and where things were first published. If it’s not on television, it isn’t a real story in this country right now. Snowden provided the documents and because of that we are having the debate now. It’s because of people like you that things like the NSA IG report that Snowden leaked and the Guardian published aren’t getting the attention they deserve. http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/jun/27/nsa-inspector-general-report-document-data-collection

        How about this story, did your write about this yet, “NSA Collects ‘Word for Word’ Every Domestic Communication, Says Former Analyst” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government_programs/july-dec13/whistleblowers_08-01.html If you would address these two links in your next column, I will take back that I called you a hack.

        • Badgerite

          The interviews that you note at the PBS Newshour were with analysts who have not worked for the NSA for quite some time. One of them retired in 2001 and the other was fired in 2005 for ‘whistle blowing’, though there is no mention of what that was about but I suspect it was about what happened in 2009. What happened in 2009 was a review ordered by the Attorney General brought about by complaints that the NSA was overstepping the legal limit. Please link to the New York Times article by Eric Lichtblau and James Resin of April 15,2009 cited by Bob in his post of July 29,2013 entitled ‘Greenwald’s Shocking Bombshell….”.
          Quoting from the Times article:
          “Legal and operational problems surrounding the NSA’s surveillance activities have come under scrutiny from the Obama administration………”
          “As part of a periodic review of the agencies activities, the Department ‘detected issues that raised concerns…” etc. Go read the WHOLE article.
          The first link you have to the Guardian brings up what are clearly the cover pages of that review dated 24 March,2009. Which was reported on by the Times in its April 2009 article So, what your own links show is that problems of overstepping legal limits in the NSA were detected during the Bush administration. The NSA officials who spoke on News Hour were working for the NSA during that time. I watched the same interview and William Binney stated that one of the government officials who had had his communications swept up was Judge Alito. This is entirely possible as, according to Shane Harris’s book, The Watchers, no less a personage than Hilary Clinton, at that time the wife of the POTUS, had her name swept up in a DNI program tasked in 1990’s with finding out how the Chinese were stealing design plans for advanced technologies from US companies. The program looked for connections between Universities and people on the theory that visiting Chinese scholars were pilfering plans and Hilary Clinton’s name was swept in because she visited a particular University to give a talk. As I understand it, under current standards probably instituted in 2009, once an analyst reasonably believe that the person who communication they have in front of them is an American citizen, they must stop and get an individualized warrant as required by the 4th Amendment. I think any analyst would have to know that Judge Alito and Hilary Clinton are US citizens. Any attempt to take the investigation with respect to communications by these people with out proper court authorization would be illegal as per Greenwald’s own reporting and Snowden’s own admissions. You do need to read the fine print though.

          • Matt Sapero

            You said ” As I understand it, under current standards probably instituted in 2009, once an analyst reasonably believes that the person whose communication they have in front of them is an American citizen, they must stop and get an individualized warrant as required by the 4th Amendment”

            If you believe that rule is followed, we have a nice bridge to sell you in the Arizona desert.

          • nathkatun7

            Where is your evidence to show that the rule is not being followed? This should not be a matter of belief. Either you have concrete evidence that the rule is not being followed all you are doing is speculating.

          • ak1287

            Evidence is for suckers, though. Don’t you know who Matt Sapero is? He doesn’t need EVIDENCE, when he has gut feelings and rampant paranoia.

          • nathkatun7

            You are absolutely right, ak1287! I should have been paying close attention. Like “a true believer,” Matt Sapero is “absolutely certain about things he does not know.”

          • Matt Sapero

            Hey “Nath”, are you calling into question the allegations made by Russ Tice? Not a single person or entity has challenged his allegations made in front of millions of viewers that the NSA has been illegally wiretapping the highest echelons of American government and military for at least a decade. He’s an American hero and you’re some dude in his underwear trying to troll your way out of the fact that you’re a shill for the authoritarians who are eviscerating the Constitution. Congratulations! When your children grow up in dictatorship, they’ll have you to think. They’ll be so proud that their daddy sold out America on behalf of technocratic Eugenicist elites. Way to go!

          • Matt Sapero

            Sure, AK, it’s all paranoia that the NSA has been illegally wiretapping and potentially blackmailing the highest levels of government. Nothing here to see folks, return to you homes. You know, the homes where every electronic device with a net connection has been used to illegally spy on your activities beyond anything Orwell could possible conceive of…

          • ak1287

            That would be absolutely believable, if you had evidence. That’s what we real grown ups need.

          • Matt Sapero

            Are you in some kind of “cone of silence” where nothing that Russ Tice says can reach your tympanic membrane?! Which part of what he’s been saying do you NOT understand? Do you think he’s been lying and putting his life on the line for nothing?!

          • kfreed

            Ouch. Emos and Paulbots don’t read their own links. They assume we won’t either:)

          • Matt Sapero

            Badgerite, those men served America for decades at the HIGHEST level. They aren’t just analysts. William BInney was the head of the entire global military intelligence collection effort and Russ Tice wrote the code and collected intel by spying on inumerable foreign satellite systems. When they realized that Americans were being illegally and unconstitutionally spied upon by a government out of control, they spoke out for YOUR freedom and have been fired, threatened, and gave up just about everything so that the truth would come out. Your attempt to belittle them is pathetic. They’re American heroes and you’re some anonymous troll who gets off attacking those who would protect and defend the Constitution. I rest my case.

        • Matt Sapero

          Mark, please realize, like I now do, that this website is dominated by naive, knee jerk, “yes men” who couldn’t give a rat’s -a** about truth or investigation of any kind. According to them, everything’s fine and there are no unconstitutional conspiracies (you know, a plot between at least 2 people to do something). Bravo in joining and pushing back against these know-nothings. It will be sad consolation watching them eat crow since by then virtually nothing will be left of our eviscerated Bill of Rights.

          • nathkatun7

            What don’t you cite specific evidence to show how the Bill of Rights have been eviscerated? Or do you think that hype and exaggerations are evidence that proves that you more intelligent than people on this site?

          • Matt Sapero

            Which part of the fact that the 4th Amendment of all Americans has been rendered useless by the unconstitutional spying being carried out against them? Which part?!

          • ak1287

            I’m sorry, but how exactly does any of this render the 4th amendment useless?
            Without the proper evidence (and not supposition) you have absolutely no case to say that.

          • Matt Sapero

            Do I really need to explain how the 4th Amendment is been violated?

            “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.”

            Under the Fourth Amendment, search and seizure (including arrest) should be limited in scope according to specific information supplied to the issuing court, usually by a law enforcement officer who has sworn by it. The amendment is enforced by the exclusionary rule. Established by Weeks v. United States (1914), this rule holds that evidence obtained through a Fourth Amendment violation is generally inadmissible at criminal trials. Evidence discovered following an illegal search may also be inadmissible as “fruit of the poisonous tree” unless it would have inevitably been discovered by legal means.

            —–/

            Try to see beyond the shiny object that’s right in front of you. Not only has what’s recently come out obviously only been a fraction of what’s actually going on, but consider that this stuff is only going to continue to accelerate, so where will we be in 1, 2, 5 years and beyond?! What they are do
            ing is unAmerican at its core. If you don’t get that, I can’t help you.

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Hey, Matt. Totally missed your efforts here until just now. Good job. As for the 4th amendment, property seizures from drug cases have been unreasonable for a long time.

          • Matt Sapero

            Thanks, Mark. I haven’t made it a habit commenting on articles and getting dragged into the back and forth, but Good Lord, we are facing a dystopia beyond anything we could have conceived. Not only has the 4th Amendment been horrifically attacked, people’s 1st Amendment (even within their supposedly “private” communications) has clearly now been tragically stifled. I figure we might as well use what’s remaining of our rights to speak out and our other freedoms before they’re taken away altogether (that is, unless we find a way as Americans and as human beings to push back against this anti-human, anti-freedom machine which they’ve created under the guise of “protecting” us.

          • kfreed

            Speaking of not giving a rat’s ass and simply paying lip service… oh, and plots, we like plots, especially plots about fakers, straight from the fakers’ keyboards:

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base-Part 1: The Black Vote”:
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/10/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-1-the-black-vote/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base- Part 2: Labor Unions”:
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/11/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-2-labor-unions/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 3: The Media”
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/12/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-3-the-media/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 4: The Liberal Elites”
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/13/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-4-the-liberal-elites/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 5: Liberal Netroots”
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/15/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-5-liberal-netroots/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 6: Academia”
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/16/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-6-academia/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 7: Gay Activism”
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/17/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-7-gay-activism/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 8: Environmentalists”
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/18/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-8-environmentalists/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 9: Hispanics”
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/19/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-9-hispanics/

            Redstate.com “Weakening the Democratic Base, Part 10: The Female Vote”
            http://www.redstate.com/davenj1/2011/05/20/weakening-the-democratic-base-part-10-the-female-vote/

          • Matt Sapero

            Hey kfreed, I don’t get involved in the fake left/right paradigm BS garbage that you extremists love so dearly. While both of your sides scramble for billions of $ from your mega bucks founders so you can preen and compete for airtime, the entire country is being sold off for scrap by your multinational backers. Congratulations on playing your part in the destruction of American freedoms!

          • kfreed

            “I don’t get involved in the fake left/right paradigm” says every Libertarian right-winger everywhere. Where have we heard this before, for the millionth time? Oh yeah>>> from the right-wing Tea Party Paulbot camp: http://www.dailypaul.com/285884/rand-paul-beyond-the-left-right-paradigm
            On fake, fakers, and faking:

            You know, Libertarian Glenn Greenwald of Cato Institute
            sounds exactly like The Libertarian Standard:
            http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/02/08/the-myth-of-anti-war-democrats/

            “Cato: How the NSA Spies on Americans (Jim Harper) Cato
            Institute”http://patriotaction.net/video/how-the-nsa-spies-on-americans-jim-harper-cato-institute

            The only thing wrong with that is that tea partying Koch-funded Libertarian Cato Institute was pushing all the crap Libertarians now claim to be against (in short, not all of us are stupid):

            “Fact: The Cato Institute’s actual record during the
            Bush administration years was anything but principled and far from heroic.

            John Yoo, author of the notorious “torture memo,” served on
            the Cato editorial board for Cato Supreme Court Review during the Bush presidency. At the same time, Yoo was writing the Bush administration’s legal justifications for waterboarding, Guantánamo, warrantless wiretapping and more. Yoo also contributed articles to Cato Supreme Court Review and a chapter to a Cato book titled The Rule of Law in the Wake of Clinton criticizing President
            Clinton’s “imperial presidency.”<<< [SOUND FAMILIAR? Glenn Greenwald]

            The 'Cato Policy Report' attacked progressive critics of
            Bush’s “War on Terror” as “Terrorism’s Fellow Travelers“ in its November/December 2001 issue. Former Vice President of Research Brink Lindsey wrote, 'Most of the America haters flushed out by September 11 are huddled on
            the left wing of the conventional political spectrum.'

            Another Cato executive, Ted Galen Carpenter, former VP for defense and foreign policy studies, enthusiastically supported Bush’s 'war on terror' [just like Greenwald] and called on Bush to invade Pakistan.

            The Cato Institute advised the 2002–04 Republican-dominated Congress to commence military strikes in Pakistan in its Cato Handbook for Congress arguing, 'Ultimately, Afghanistan becomes less important as a place to conduct military operations in the war on terrorism and more important as a place from which to launch military operations. And those operations should be directed across the border into neighboring Pakistan.'

            Another Cato Institute executive, Roger Pilon, vigorously
            supported Bush’s attacks on civil liberties. Pilon, Cato’s VP for legal affairs and founding director of the Cato Institute’s “Center for Constitutional Studies,” supported expanded FBI wiretapping in 2002 and called on Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act as late as 2008."

            http://www.thenation.com/article/167500/independent-and-principled-behind-cato-myth#

          • kfreed

            “I don’t get involved in the fake left/right paradigm” says every Libertarian right-winger everywhere. Where have we heard that before, for the millionth time? Oh yeah, from RW Tea Party Paulbot central:

            “Rand Paul: Beyond the Left-Right Paradigm”
            http://www.dailypaul.com/285884/rand-paul-beyond-the-left-right-paradigm

            On fake, fakers, and fakery:

            You know, Libertarian Glenn Greenwald of Cato Institute
            sounds exactly like The Libertarian Standard:
            http://libertarianstandard.com/2012/02/08/the-myth-of-anti-war-democrats/

            “Cato: How the NSA Spies on Americans (Jim Harper) Cato
            Institute”http://patriotaction.net/video/how-the-nsa-spies-on-americans-jim-harper-cato-institute

            The only thing wrong with that is that tea partying Koch-funded Libertarian Cato Institute was pushing all the crap Libertarians now claim to be against (in short, not all of us are stupid):

            “Fact: The Cato Institute’s actual record during the
            Bush administration years was anything but principled and far from heroic.

            John Yoo, author of the notorious “torture memo,” served on the Cato editorial board for Cato Supreme Court Review during the Bush presidency. At the same time, Yoo was writing the Bush administration’s legal justifications for waterboarding, Guantánamo, warrantless wiretapping and more. Yoo also contributed articles to Cato Supreme Court Review and a chapter to a Cato book titled The Rule of Law in the Wake of Clinton criticizing President Clinton’s “imperial presidency.”<<< [SOUND FAMILIAR? Glenn Greenwald]

            The 'Cato Policy Report' attacked progressive critics of
            Bush’s “War on Terror” as “Terrorism’s Fellow Travelers“ in its November/December 2001 issue. Former Vice President of Research Brink Lindsey wrote, 'Most of the America haters flushed out by September 11 are huddled on
            the left wing of the conventional political spectrum.'

            Another Cato executive, Ted Galen Carpenter, former VP for defense and foreign policy studies, enthusiastically supported Bush’s 'war on terror' [just like Greenwald] and called on Bush to invade Pakistan.

            The Cato Institute advised the 2002–04 Republican-dominated Congress to commence military strikes in Pakistan in its Cato Handbook for Congress arguing, 'Ultimately, Afghanistan becomes less important as a place to conduct military operations in the war on terrorism and more important as a place from which to launch military operations. And those operations should be directed across the border into neighboring Pakistan.'

            Another Cato Institute executive, Roger Pilon, vigorously
            supported Bush’s attacks on civil liberties. Pilon, Cato’s VP for legal affairs and founding director of the Cato Institute’s “Center for Constitutional Studies,” supported expanded FBI wiretapping in 2002 and called on Congress to
            reauthorize the Patriot Act as late as 2008."

            http://www.thenation.com/article/167500/independent-and-principled-behind-cato-myth#

  • http://friendfeed.com/jim Pseudonym

    As much as I may have issues with Glenn Greenwald and his reporting and opining, he does not deserve to be lumped in with David Sirota.

    • Badgerite

      No, he deserves to be lumped in with the cat liter. But that’s another story.

    • kfreed

      Are you kidding? I made the mistake of walking into David Sirota’s “event” at the Free Press Conference in Denver this year and was handed a broadsheet (yes a broadsheet) that read like InfoWars. I handed it back and walked out. It’s no coincidence that Sirota parrots Greenwald incessantly. They both belong to the Alex Jones tribe.

  • first last

    Booya, soon as I saw the headline I said “Anyone stupid enough to fall for this is dumb beyond redemption.”

  • Carter

    Besides countless millions google pressure cookers every day if there was a policy of spying on people who do that and sending cops to their house thats only police would be able to barely do.

  • Sinnach

    The really sad part is the initial story had enough plot holes to make Michael Bay jealous. The author wasn’t even there when it happened, offered absolutely no proof of her wild speculations, was obnoxious but adamant about her version of events, and even trollishly blamed Obama himself.

    Oh, did I mention the author used to write for Pajamas Media and last updated her blog in July with a Vietnam fanfic mocking John Kerry’s service?

    ..but it was a slam dunk in terms of outrage porn, and what’s really important.

    • Stellours

      Yea, plot holes, in Digby’s defense (where I first read the story) they kept asking ‘how could this happen’, looks like they were right to question it.

  • blackdaug

    In the old days, a lie could only travel around the world once before the truth finished tying it shoes.
    Now, bullshit circumnavigates the planet at the speed of light a thousand times, while the truth is setting its alarm clock for the next day.

  • BlueTrooth

    The 12 hour rule should be a hashtag on Twitter. I mean, it’s always great to be “first” when an intriguing bit of news pops up, but…but the problem is there is no “but”. There’s no accountability for “panic tweeting” or shamelessly plugging a blog with a soon-to-be-debunked “incredible” story. At some point in the future, I’m fairly confident that reason and moderation will make a comeback, but for now we are going through an unstable period of “growing up” with the new internet toy. But I do like the 12 hour rule as a hashtag for questionable “news”. Or better yet, the #CescaRule…ya, that’s got some class.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      The #CescaRule. I like that.

    • blackdaug

      The Cesca Rule prevents “Premature Twitjackulation Syndrome”.

    • Christopher Foxx

      I mean, it’s always great to be “first” when an intriguing bit of news pops up

      I fail to see any reason to believe that.

      • ak1287

        I’m not quite sure why Foxx got downvoted so much for this.
        There is absolutely no reason to get a story pushed out first; at best, it promotes laziness, and at worst, it encourages journalistic stupidity, which has been happening all too often.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Thanks, ak. I can only suspect that folks didn’t bother to consider what I was saying and responded only to the fact that I was disagreeing with something that had been said.