Ashcroft: New FBI Plan Protects Rights

Ashcroft: New FBI Plan Protects Rights
Posted by CN Staff on May 31, 2002 at 16:16:10 PT
By Carl Cameron and the Associated Press
Attorney General John Ashcroft on Friday defended the FBI's reorganization plan against charges the new, proactive approach to fighting terror will infringe on Americans' constitutional rights. "If you sit and wait for a crime to happen, and then you respond to it, that isn't a very good prevention strategy," Ashcroft said in an interview with Fox News. "You have to be able to develop or to get a lead from your own information, not wait for something to happen to trigger your activity." 
Ashcroft has been criticized by civil libertarians who fear the FBI's new approach to fighting crime will infringe on a range of personal liberties. Opposition to the plan to shift key parts of the agency from law enforcement to domestic intelligence came almost immediately after Ashcroft announced a draft outline Thursday that frees the bureau to conduct investigations without prior approval from headquarters. The new guidelines also allow agents to enter public areas such as churches, libraries and meetings of political organizations, from which they were previously barred. Ashcroft maintained these new guidelines actually further enable the U.S. government to protect constitutional guarantees. "I want to protect the constitutional right of individuals. I want to protect the right of Americans to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he said in the interview. "Protecting against terrorism protects the most important of our rights." FBI agents will be encouraged to participate in undercover investigations by "visiting places and events which are open to the public, on the same terms and conditions as members of the public generally, for the purpose of detecting or preventing terrorist activities," according to the "Attorney General's Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering Enterprise and Terrorism Enterprise Investigations." "Our philosophy today is not to wait and sift through the rubble following a terrorist attack," Ashcroft told a news conference Thursday. Critics lined up to denounce the new guidelines as another erosion by the Bush administration of Americans' constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism. "The administration's continued defiance of constitutional safeguards seems to have no end in sight," complained Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. "It only serves the purpose of heightening the scare in the society and the paranoia against Muslims," said Shaker Elsayed, secretary general of the Muslim American Society. The new outlook stems from recent criticism from Congress and others the FBI failed to string together a pattern of suspicious activity that was occurring in the United States prior to Sept. 11. Though Mueller says none of the information provided by Phoenix and Minneapolis field agents about Arabic men training at flight schools could have helped them predict the day of terror, agents were hindered from continuing investigations that may have turned up useful leads. With the combined change in structure, mission and techniques employed at the bureau, Mueller and Ashcroft hope agents will be able to take on new initiatives that they were previously prohibited from doing under restrictions laid down in the 1970s, including conducting computer and Internet searches that weren't even an investigative tool back then. "To give the FBI the right to go to public places on the same terms and conditions as the public, to give agents the right to search the Internet, to go where any 12- or 14-year-old who knows how to operate a computer can go," Ashcroft said Friday, "these are things the FBI needs the authority to do." "Nothing that we have put in the revised provisions or guidelines can, should or would erode the constitutional guarantees or even any statutory guarantees," he added. Ashcroft said nothing in the guidelines would permit the FBI to routinely build files on people or organizations. Critics disputed that, arguing a domestic intelligence organization allows the FBI to spy on citizens. "They are using the terrorism crisis as a cover for a wide range of changes, some of which have nothing to do with terrorism," said James X. Dempsey, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology. Dempsey predicted that one new tool, the power to mine commercial data, will be used in drug and child pornography and stock fraud and gambling and "every other type of investigation the FBI does." Stringent guidelines on FBI activities were put in place in the 1970s because of the FBI's domestic surveillance of prominent Americans, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose private life was subjected to electronic surveillance. The American Civil Liberties Union said the lifting of restrictions could renew abuses of the past. King's "persecution by law enforcement is a necessary reminder of the potential abuse when a government with too long a leash seeks to silence voices of dissent," ACLU legislative counsel Marvin Johnson said. Others said the authority granted by the new anti-terrorism law passed by Congress in the month following the terror attacks gave the FBI far more leeway than the guidelines would suggest. "The impact is far less significant and far less subject to abuse than what was enacted into law" by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks, said attorney Raymond J. Gustini, who chairs a subcommittee of the American Bar Association on electronic privacy and co-chairs an ABA task force on financial privacy. "The FBI really needs this right now. They're under a microscope now more than any other player other than the president. It's very important for the FBI to deliver." Fox News' Carl Cameron and the Associated Press contributed to this report.Source: FoxNews.comAuthor: Carl CameronPublished: Friday, May 31, 2002 Copyright: Fox News Network, LLC 2002Contact: comments foxnews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:ACLU FBI's Controversial Carnivore Surveillance Program Shakeup Would Mean More Drug Duties for DEA Focus Set For FBI
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Comment #4 posted by p4me on June 01, 2002 at 13:33:05 PT
email to
I emailed info about Paul Peterson's story trying to see if there is only "bad journalism" left in our mass media. I included an email from Paul Peterson that he sent me when I requested that he inform us of the Choir about jury nullification since he has training and experience as a lawyer. My comment follows and Paul's take on jury nullification had to be split into two parts because of length and are in comments 2 and 3 below.I have seen articles at from your company and thought since the famed heavyweights of the newspaper world like the New York Times and Washington Post have abandoned any desire to cover anything cannabis, I would bring something to your attention.There is a Paul Peterson running for legislature in Illinois and was disbarred for his efforts to bring existing state law to the defense of medical patients using marijuana for their ailments. Some real journalist needs to break this story to the American people and I hope it is you. The law in question is 720 ILCS 550 section 11 and was put on the books at the same time states like my North Carolina did to help people that needed marijuana. North Carolina’s law expired but not the one in Illinois and Paul says it is much more progressive than the nine states that now have marijuana laws. Some reporters use a figure of eight states but the reformers in Arizona do not like being left out. The correct number should be 10 from all I can figure out. Someone needs to check this out and Paul Peterson would be happy to talk to you.  I am going to include an email he sent me just to let you know he is willing to right the wrongs of the far right in Illinois. His number is included in his email and his website is and his email would go to him at paulpeterson  This is the kind of thing that could win someone a Pulitzer Prize. All it takes is one real journalist and the ones that used to work at the New York Times or Washington Post had to go somewhere. Please give Paul Peterson a call at 312-558-9999 
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Comment #3 posted by p4me on June 01, 2002 at 13:27:29 PT
Paul Peterson on jury nullification-Part 1 of 2
 The way I see it is that judges 1) are control freeks, 2) are afraid of being seen as coddling to permissive ideologies, 3) all want to be seen as consistent with "case law" precedent, sorta like they are logical or something, so they will be asked to be appellate level judges someday and thus 4) if any jury nullification cases get by them on their shift, they will be chastised by the press, or the "judge police" or 5) they will be villified by the state legislature (and then broiled in the press) with such titles as "legislating from the bench" or 6) soft on drug crime, terrorism, etc. which they think is the kiss of death or something. Illinois is apparently reasonably conservative on this issue, and here a jury guy has to even quit any political organizations and shut up totally and say such buzzwords as "I will follow the evidence", "I will vote my conscience", blah blah. Of course, the interesting thing about this concept is what happens in the "orderly" development of the law in a well ruled democracy with "checks and balances". It goes like this 1) there develops a need for change in the law, 2) a judge (or jury) develops what they call a "fiction" to bend the rules for a unique situation, 3) the fiction (call it a rule of law, when a judge explains it in a decision, usually with some attempt at rational basis, etc) takes on case law "precedential value", 4) the legislature codifies the mandate into law (or the thing is passed by referendum). With jury nullification, however, since the jury is by definition never going to ever serve as a unit again, etc., a nullification verdict has no precedential value (I think, anyway). Now, in California there is an interesting slant on this-In the US Supreme Court decision of pivotal impact from May of 2001, where the California pot sales via the clubs to medicinal users was struck down, that case showed up on Judge Breyer's desk again, and the judge even had the audacity to ask in the recent injunction hearing if "he should consider the impact of jury nullification" in his deliberations. WHAT A TELLING REMARK, EH? Too cryptic for words really- 1) The very reason that the feds went for an injunction in the first place was so they could avoid just that impact-any jury would never have clipped such a populist attempt to get the feds outa town! In this instance, Jury nullification had, in fact, made such a presence and impact, in the press and in the collective conscience of the populous (the jury pool, etc.), that this almost A) gained the weight of precedential value (a truly novel and unique and newsworthy event in and of and by itself-perhaps for the first time in recent memory!) & more importantly, B) the sheer number of cases wherein JN has been seen in California, probably gave the populous a true enlightenment of the concept so endemically that this will have a resilient impact for years to come (and perhaps spilling over into other "populist" causes). Futher 2) the judge's comment proved just how much of an impact JN has taken on in that jurisdiction-to where the judge even had to consider that concept impirically in his reasoning! Truly phenomenol, really! So in actuality, we see a "reverse fictioning" going on in this unique populist setting-the judge has actually postulated a "fiction" to erase or eradicate a sort of "faux pax" bastardised "case precedent" (which could not or should not ever even exist because of the nature of the nexus of its development-JN cannot by definition develop such value!). The judge has designed, at least in his own mind, a "remedy" in the way of a fiction, to correct an anomylous result in the vernacular, because of the "runaway" impact of the ascendency of the collective rubric of JN, borne of the media (which in more repressive states, like Illinois, rules the populous with an iron clad fist-no paper would ever print anything about JN -even if it were to happen here-not likely!). So the judge figured that his "duty" was to take the matter once and for all away from the "jury", for the propogation of edictatorial control over the masses-at least for the moment-and for the limited purpose of striking the death knell for all the "clubs" that anyone could even ever envision from what exists at present. What will happen? I see a logical progression to where the "clubs" will "evolve" in two ways First, municipal or state authority will "hire" grow experts that will provision patients with growth "technology" like seeds, dirt, planters, lights, watering devices, fertilizer, knowledge and whilst on the public payroll these people will go into "patients'" homes to tend to the patient owned plant "assets", sort of like a "meals on wheels" basis, and so as to (Secondly) therefore avoid any commercial exchange, or supplying, or distribution, of anything whatsoever (so as to avoid any "commerce clause" trigger to allow for federal intervention). Thirdly, as more and more municipalities and local entities become more and more militant against the feds and the DEA (like SF & Berkeley), the sheriffs, police departments and DA's will become so militant that they will start to charge the DEA with obstructing justice, in creative ways I cannot even envision! One means might be to utilize the state's board of law examiners to charge (federal) government lawyers and judges with ETHICAL INFRACTIONS for failure to observe local laws, etc., and remember, the state has total control over policing lawyers and judges in the state! If the populous control of the state (public opinion, that is), becomes so great, one might even envision ethical or malpractice or EEOC or even criminal (or quasicriminal or civil) actions filed against various officials, lawyers, doctors, judges or police officers, including LEGISLATORS (I know I am getting rather theoretical and spurious, but that's expected by the sheer need to extrapolate in this area by the very hypothetical nature of the predicament we all are in in these regards, eh?). The next weird development? How about the federal government trying to move federal indictments OUT OF CALIFORNIA out of well founded fear that they won't be able to get a FAIR AND IMPARTIAL JURY in California! I can't wait for the field day the press will have on that one! The feds might even try to send in the marshalls "marshall law" to take over local governmental agencies due to the 'MUTINY" from federal law-just like they are itching to do in their invasion of Canada, that wayward colony that has always cowtowed to Washington's edictatory rule! Well, enough states are coming forward now to where the die is cast-As long as the feds do not start rounding up congressmen in the night and shooting them, etc., and a few more closet liberals keep joining ranks with Barney Frank gradually, it appears that the will of the populous will be felt. John Ashcroft and Asa Hutchinson are doing a great job of alienating people all over.  
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Comment #2 posted by p4me on June 01, 2002 at 13:18:37 PT
Paul Peterson on jury nullification
 I tried to invoke the concept of JN myself in my recent ARDC (lawyer kangaroo court) hearing-Of course, since it was only a fake court, with three "hearing officers", two lawyers and one "layman", a doctor, actually, and since this was a "licensure" hearing, I have no right to a "trial by jury", etc., they denied that flat. I still could argue of course, and rightly so, that if the so-called "criminal activity" with which I was charged, was tried before a real jury, no jury would actually convict me due to that concept, ie, they can't take me out and shoot me for the same activity for which I would be aqcuitted, etc. (The same argument would go for and which I used herein-"necessity", "compulsion", "political defendant status", "entrapment", constitutional issues-"vague, inconsistent, unequal enforcement, unconstitutionally applied, no requisite level of criminal intent stated in the statute"). Since the ARDC people actually committed FRAUD, PERJURY & MAIL FRAUD, in certain filings in the ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT (like by stating I had "threatened" to file charges against some lawyers where I had already "filed" those bona fide charges-and believe it or not, these ARDC people actually thought they could invoke a "secrecy rule" to keep me from getting the copies of the charges to prove I had done that first!), I will be able to prove false motive opn their part, false pretenses on the part of the SUPREME COURT, AIDING AND ABETTING PERJURY on the part of the top dog there, as well as AIDING AND ABETTING on the part of the Illinois Attorney General-republican running for governor! I think I will therefore be able to prove monetary damages against them all + defamation? (still unsure as to how this all might come out or transpire-it's too weird for words, really!). As I have noted on today, last Thursday, a prosecuting attorney from the Attorney General's office blew a 9am court call in the Illinois Supreme Court. The "unlawful search and seizure" case was argued by the criminal defendant's lawyer without the state being allowed to argue their side! This was unprecedented! I'm thinking the supreme court judges are infuriated that I was able to sully both the AG office and impugn the credibility of the ARDC & the supreme court. That attorney will be disciplined by the ARDC (under the supreme's direct control!). This will be reported as an unrebutted argument (and how could they not rule against the state in the absence of the lawyer!). Why, they might even be thinking they need to soften their stance on me, since I just solicited the Chief Judge of the Federal District Court in Chicago about these very issues (jury nullification, first amendment freedoms-see my 4/11/02 letter attached). I've even gotten the federal district attorney and the FBI involved in this MAIL FRAUD infraction. As you will recall, my flyer (also attached) got the DEA all pissed off, I thnk they were the ones that dissed my web site (and the FBI might have told them to lay off?). Hey, sorry I got so long winded. Hope you like the dribble, though. Please feel free to clean up the details and post the story if you want (with the attachments-there are more where these came from, OK?) By for now. PAUL  312-558-9999 (hope you like the churchy thingy-I'm waiting for that Hawaii case to hit soon-I mentioned it in my Zine # 8 I think on the site. more later on that).   
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Comment #1 posted by paul peterson on June 01, 2002 at 10:36:42 PT:
Let's hope these new powers will help this embattled agency to investigate true crime, and avoid violent terrorist activity. If John Ashcroft is true to his word, that there will be safeguards and guidelines to ensure there is no abuse of these powers, this could improve our system and protect the citizens from harm.I personally have always been treated by the FBI with courtesy. When I complained to them about my web site being offed by the DEA (or some other group-I don't have the investigation powers to check that out), it appeared that they helped me to restart my advocacy efforts.Last fall, however, when I complained to them about absolute evidence of MAIL FRAUD being committed against me by the Illinois ARDC (lawyer police) based upon an absolute PERJURY on the face of a document filed in the ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT, which document was used to have me SUSPENDED FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW ON FALSE PRETENSES 12/27/01, I was rebuffed and refused any assistance by that agency.The Department of Justice (John Ashcroft's agency, of course), refused to investigate unless the FBI thought it was warranted. I have renewed my calls to both agencies to investigate these matters further. I have called for the Illinois Attorney General to investigate also, and he likewise has refused.At the same time, I have recently concluded my trial for ethical charges stemming from my claims for and attempts to gain proper authorization under the Illinois Medical Marijuana Act (720 ILCS 550 section 11) for use of cannabis in treatment for ADD, which now is being considered by the state of Oregon for valid authorization under their more restrictive statute (the Illinois law is open ended).Could it be that the Justice Department and the FBI are showing some bias and deference towards the Illinois ARDC & Attorney General's office here, since they have a political interest in 1) avoiding the granting of authorization under this state law which runs counter to their own federal agenda?, 2) avoiding the state people from appearing to have violated state and federal criminal statutes against PERJURY & MAIL FRAUD, which, if investigated and prosecuted, might just require that the people that have falsely maligned me (for the pot claims) would be discredited and forced to cooperate with me, a true DISSIDENT in this repressive state, 3) might a valid investigation into these matters not give me (unwanted to them) publicity that the Illinois medical marijuana statute exists at all?I have invited ASA HUTCHINSON to come to ILLINOIS to debate these things, as to the efficacy of MEDICAL MARIJUANA and various legal precedences and statutory guidelines (including constitutional issues). I am assuming that ASA and friends are investigating me real good right now, to ascertain if there is some kind of criminal charge they can bring against me at this time, based upon my previous claims and admissions herein. I am just a person that believes in CHRIST and believes in FREEDOM and believes that I have a valid medical need for this substance, for which I had sought approval for the use of, to try to keep my family together, and to save my marriage, and as soon as I was advised by the Illinois ARDC that they believed me to be an addict, I ceased all usage of, that's all. At that very time, I was ejected from my home by my soon to be ex-wife, because I became more impulsive, etc., and now I have to live my life, knowing that because I wanted to do these things honestly, above board, pursuant to the valid law of the land, to save my marriage, all is lost to me and I cannot even help my disadvantaged clients perhaps ever again.JOHN ASHCROFT, ARE YOU LISTENING? DO YOU PLEDGE NOT TO USE THE NEW FBI POWERS TO RUIN OTHER PEOPLES' LIVES LIKE YOUR PEOPLE APPARENTLY DON'T CARE HOW PEOPLE RUINED MINE? Call me to chat sometime, before my phone is disconnected, if you or your people want to help me to regain my former life. The laws as they exist right now might and could and should help me to do just that, IF YOU BELIEVE IN JUSTICE AND TRUTH, LIKE I WOULD LIKE TO BELIEVE IN JUSTICE AND TRUTH! paul peterson 312-558-9999
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