That ‘Sucks’ Palo Alto left out of Starbucks’ high-tech map

That Suck'sStarbucks announced it will try out new technology in its coffee shops in the heart of Silicon Valley but has decided that place is not Palo Alto.

Starbucks will introduce wireless charging stations for smartsphones in several stores.

Customers can simply place their smartphones on Duracell Powermat, which will automatically charge their phones without plugging in a cord or wire.

Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills told the post yesterday that they wanted to test the charging stations in an area known as “a hot bed of technology.”

So the company chose Campbell, Santa Clara and San Jose locations not Palo Alto where the likes of Hewlet-Packard is located, or Menlo Park, where Facebook is based, or Mountain View, where Google headquarters is located.

Mills said if the testing phase goes well, the company could install them and other stores nationwide. The company already tested the product last year in Boston. Customers at one store in San Jose, on Meridian Avenue, began using the Powermats on Sunday.

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The homeless and not so homeless dinner gathering of the minds

Former State Assembly contender Joseph Rosas and Occupy movement spokesperson San Jose
Former State Assembly contender Joseph Rosas and Occupy movement spokesperson San Jose

As local and surrounding city community members mingled yesterday to discuss and exchange ideas on the pending Palo Alto vehicle ban which will prevent a small group of non-conventional housed homeless individuals also know as vehicle dweller from sleeping in their vehicles on streets of Palo Alto the tone was relaxed.

The event described as a community dinner in an effort to bring together opposing interests to find equitable solutions to an outright ban.

So what gives?

Missing we’re both the Daily Post and the Palo Alto Weekly who support the vehicle ban in their efforts to rid Palo Alto streets of vagrancy including member of the Palo Alto Human Relations Commission tasked with addressing human rights issues were also notably missing. (note mission statement at bottom of agenda)

From all outward appearances those who gathered from the community were as one prominent vehicle dweller Tony Ciampi put it; “Can’t tell the vehicle dwellers from the resident”.

And as members from the local and surrounding community’s stepped up to the microphone to exchange ideas, it was clearly expressed from both sides, a deep concern about homeless issues not only on a local level, but nationally.

Palo Alto councilwomen Gail Price and event organizer Edie Keating
Palo Alto councilwomen Gail Price and event organizer Edie Keating

Comments given were spirited yet cordial absent of any animosity.  In fact, I was surprised at the relaxed and casual atmosphere.

Far different from any ‘heated exchanges’ at times fill the Palo Alto city council chambers as noted by the one, and the only city council member in attendance Gail Price as she strained her eyes to find others colleagues.

As boxes of pizza lay before my eyes, I thought the event organizers felt there strategy would be to feed those in favor of the ban, making then happy and content perhaps forgetting the real reasons why they were the there. A strategy that seemed to work.

I was surprised to see Palo Alto Police chief help himself to a large piece. The strategy must have worked because he didn’t say a thing concerning the ban and he’s just one person leading the way in pushing for a ban against homeless vehicle dwellers.

The Cubberely Community Center where the community dinner and gathering was held and part of the Green Meadow Neighborhood association is the epic center of the controversy on the homeless and vehicle dwellers and has been designate and labeled as the city of Palo Alto’s de facto homeless shelter by Palo Alto City Manager James Keene.

One speaker who claimed to be the spokesperson for Green Meadow Neighborhood claimed to speak for the residents of Green Meadow and she stated that she and others “DO NOT support a Vehicle Habitation Ordinance”

Defining moment for the homeless vehicle dwellers coming up

All she was concerned about was that her 6 year old child who attends several classes/groups at Cubberely Community Center wants assurance that her child can safely walk from the classrooms to the bathrooms without adult supervision.

‘She stated that she grew up in Palo Alto and believes that their are systemic problems with the cost of housing related to income which results in homelessness’.

Another person in attendance, attorney Robin Yeamans from Los Gatos was asked what brought her here today.  She stated she was outraged why such a wealthy city such as Palo Alto would even think of “begrudging” the homeless.

August 5th may in fact be the defining moment in which Palo Alto city council will once again meet and potentially decide on the fate of the vehicle dwellers. But, it just may not be the final conclusion on the matter, “Much more needs to be discussed” concerning the homeless issues in Palo Alto as city councilwomen Gail Price related…

Surprised about the real ‘news’ on Trayvon?

The real newsThe media is part of the whole Obama ‘Race’ Baiting Team.  They have been dividing and diverting attention since 2008.

Of course you’re not going to hear anything negative or truthful about Trayvon.  You also won’t see any pictures of Trayvon as a 17 year old. Instead they show the picture of him in the white hoodie when he was 12.

To establish and maintain a tyranny, the media must be controlled and part of the ‘truth washing’ apparatus.  It’s a sad truth, that people would rather believe a simple lie than a complex truth.   Our government, media complex, knows this.

For example, have you heard much about?

Fast and Furious Scandal – The Justice Department Scandal.  Attorney General Eric Holder, denies that ATBF allowed and encouraged guns to be sold illegally, that were later traced to the murder of a US Border Patrol Agent and hundreds of other people in Mexico.

This was supposed to be a ‘sting’ operation intended to help destroy the 2nd amendment (Right to Bear Arms) and criminalize law abiding US Gun dealers. But ‘Fast and Furious’ (The Justice Department) ended up killing lots of people.

IRS Scandal – the audit and delay of Conservative Election Groups.  The IRS was used to eliminate funding and cripple the election of conservatives in 2008,and 2010.  It’s believed that the IRS illegal harassment may have swayed the election in Obama’s favor in 2012 by defunding the Conservative campaign movement.

Libya Embassy (Benghazi) Scandal and Murders US Ambassador and 3 others murdered in Benghazi, Libya.  The embassy building was also destroyed.

Throughout the world, embassies are acknowledged to be the sovereign territory of the nation they represent.

An attack on an embassy is an attack on the ‘representative’ nation.  During the 2012 election Obama assured the country that terrorism was under control.  Because the Benghazi embassy attack occurred on 9/11/2012, the attack was so close to the election that it contradicted what Obama had been saying. It is alleged that Sec of State Hillary Clinton and the White House, tried to cover up and conceal the nature of the attack…calling it a ‘protest’  of an internet video ‘offensive to Islam.’

To this day, everyone at the Embassy has been silenced, forced to sign Non Disclosure Agreements, threatened with criminal prosecution if they testify about the events at the Embassy.   It is believed that SEALS and other Emergency Response Troops en route to the Embassy were called back by the White House to maintain the illusion that ‘terrorism was in retreat.’

When in fact, the Ambassador had been begging for more security for months and Emergency calls from the Embassy called the event a ‘terrorist attack, a siege event,’ during which the Ambassador was killed, along with 2 Seals who held off hundreds of attackers for hours.  The President was more interested in his ‘election campaign’ than in saving the lives of US personnel.

NSA – PRISM Scandal – This secret program, exposed by supposed traitor Edward Snowden (now seeking asylum in Russia) is the US government’s illegal spying on all US citizens’ telephone and internet use and the storage of all of that communication for possible future ‘anti-terrror’ analysis.

Many will say that this snooping is necessary to preserve our safety, security but the ‘War on Terror’ Patriot Act and NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act and other now secret Acts, and Executive Orders (Presidential Orders)…… are now being used to snoop on everyone and everything they use to communicate.

Do you know anyone who can honestly say, they are not afraid of the government.  The IRS.  FBI.  CIA.  NSA. Department of Homeland Security. TSA (Transportation Security Administration – airport monkeys), City Cops, County Cops, Park Police, Rangers, Sheriffs, Highway Patrol, State Police, DEA.

The USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world.   We are a Police State now. Look at how quickly they instituted Martial Law in Boston after the Marathon bombing. Ordering people out of their houses as if regular people were the criminals.  Local cops dressed like RAMBO.  We are seeing the ‘militarization of local police departments.’   This is not for our safety, this is for our Oppression.  Our government regards the people as a threat.

Back to Trayvon.  Presidents do not involve themselves or their high office in local city crimes, murders like Trayvon Martin. That is why we have State and City courts, local police.  But Obama uses Trayvon to divide the nation and divert attention from all of the other scandals and crimes being perpetrated against the country as a whole.

The government is out of control

When the government no longer fears the people, the people are in trouble.  Our government now dominates, deceives and loots the people to enrich the 1% and more trouble is coming.  Never mind what Clinton said, or what Bush said, or what Obama says, watch what is happening.  It does not matter who the President is.  It’s the same secret team….the military industrial media Banksters.

It’s the same criminals in charge of the Fed, the Treasury, the Too Big to Fail Banks.  The Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan crowd.  Real Prices are going up.  Real Incomes are falling down.  The Inflation rate is not 2%, if calculated the way it was back in 1985, the Inflation Rate would be 8%.  But food and fuel are no longer included.  Who doesn’t eat or use gas?.  It takes both parents working, to make ends meet.

Government statistics are intentionally false. The Unemployment Rate is not 7%. If calculated using the original formulas, the UE rate would be 14-18%.  But the media plays whatever they are told, in order to garner favor with the White House and continue their invitations to ritzy WhiteHouse events, like Beyonce and JayZ rapping with the Pres. Surprised about the real ‘news’ on Trayvon? Really………

Unlawful U-turn legal when it involves the police

U-turn crashNew details about a crash involving a Menlo Park police officer reveal that the officer was in route to an emergency call when he made an “illegal” U-turn against a red light, causing his car to collide with another vehicle.

Atherton police, who were called in to investigate the crash, told the post yesterday that because Officer Bradley Schuler was responding to an emergency call, he had the right to violate traffic laws so that he could arrive on the scene of an emergency more quickly.

Under normal circumstances, such a U-turn would have been deemed illegal.

According to police, the crash occurred at 10:12 p.m. on July 18 when officer Schuler, 39, turned on his emergency lights and made a U-turn from eastbound Willow Road onto westbound Willow Road.

As Schuler made the U-turn, he was hit by Christopher Staples, 27, of Sunnyvale, who was driving westbound, police said. Staples said he didn’t have time to stop before hitting the police cruiser on its passengers.

Major damages

Atherton police said they hadn’t found evidence that Schuler”s view of oncoming traffic was blocked before he make the turn.

Police also said that both cars sustained fairly serious damage and had to be towed away from the scene.

Atherton police said they did not know what emergency Schuler was responding to. Schuler was taken to the hospital that night, but was released a few hours later.

Menlo Park police said last night that they were not able to offer comment on the incident because it was an unusually busy night, but last week they said that Schuler had since returned to work.

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Palo Alto Police Department officially implements “new” enforcement tool without a policy

license plate readerPalo Alto police said yesterday that they don’t have an official policy for their new automatic license plate readers, which can take photos of thousands of plates per day but promised that they will soon.

As the post first reported yesterday, police have begun using a car equipped with automatic license plate readers, which are controversial because they can’t collect data on the day-to-day activities of innocent citizens.

But Lt. Zach Perron said yesterday the department currently only had a rough draft of a policy for how the information gathered by the readers will be used and stored, but was consulting with other cities in the county to figure it out.

Although police departments around the country say the readers help them catch criminals, privacy advocates, such as the a ACLU, warn that the numerous photos the cameras take could be abused to track innocent people without their knowledge.

The a ACLU, in a report it released last week entitled “You Are Being Tracked,” said many police departments it checked across the country lack policies that would guard against abuse of the data.

A key concern is how long the license plate data would be stored. “Data retention periods should be measured in days or weeks, not months or years, so that databases of our movements aren’t created in the first place,” the ACLU report said.

Perron said that the police department recognizes the concerns of critics and that police will only be allowed to look up information on people when it is related to a suspected crime the same “right to know ” or “need to know” criterion that applies with all other technologies that the department uses to investigate people.

Any police officer who violates that policy could face criminal prosecution and lose their job, Perron said.

“Were aware of the concerns that people have and that’s why it’s important to have a policy that addresses those concerns, “Perron said. “We have to make sure the technology is used legally and ethically.”

Chiefs to discuss plate readers

Perron said that the department plans to have an official policy soon after in Aug. 8 meeting of the Santa Clara county police Chiefs Association, which will discuss the system and develop a policy together, since all cities in the County have been given license plate readers with money from a grant obtained by the county.

Until then, Perron said, officers will be required to only use the information gathered by the readers when it applies to investigation.

Parron said that as a further precaution, none of the data store by the license plate readers will be stored until Aug. 26.

Perron added yesterday that Palo Alto’s upcoming policy would include plans for regular audits of the license plate readers system to make sure that the information gathered isn’t being abused.

Last year, then-state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alro introduced a bill that would limit the amount of time local police departments could retain plate data to 60 days unless the agency is using the data to investigate a crime. The bill died in the legislature after heavy lobbying against it by law enforcement and the manufacturers of plate readers.

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‘You are being tracked’: ACLU reveals docs of mass license plate reader surveillance

You are being trackedThe American Civil Liberties Union has released documents confirming that police license plate readers capture vast amounts of data on innocent people, and in many instances this intelligence is kept forever.

According to documents obtained through a number of Freedom of Information Act requests filed by ACLU offices across the United States, law enforcement agencies are tracking the whereabouts of innocent persons en masse by utilizing a still up-and-coming technology.

License place readers are among the latest items being regularly added to the arsenal of law enforcement gizmos and gadgets, but documents obtained through the FOIA requests have prompted the ACLU to acknowledge that safeguards that would properly protect the privacy of Americans are largely absent.

When a police department deploys license plate readers on top of patrol cars or at fixed locations, it lets officers see a snapshot of every vehicle that passes by a particular point. From there, that information can be matched against a database that contains automobiles involved in criminal investigations or cars whose owners may already be in trouble with the law. According to the ACLU, though, the data that’s collected and routinely stored reveal much more than the location of suspected scofflaws.

At first the captured plate data was used just to check against lists of cars law enforcement hoped to locate for various reasons,” ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump wrote on the non-profit group’s website Wednesday morning. “But increasingly, all of this data is being fed into massive databases that contain the location information of many millions of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years,”she wrote.

Crump and company filed FOIA requests to agencies in 38 states and Washington, DC compelling police departments there to provide them with information detailing their use of license plate readers. In response, the ACLU received 26,000 pages of information that it has analyzed and now made public.

Additionally, the ACLU has released “You Are Being Tracked,” a 37-page report that offers the background on a technology that’s being regularly used notwithstanding objections from civil libertarians and others. Those objections, noted Crump, come amid two other large issues: the government’s increasing use of significantly telling surveillance devices and the public’s mass ignorance about the issue.

As it becomes increasingly clear that ours is an era of mass surveillance facilitated by ever cheaper and more powerful computing technology, it is critical we learn how this technology is being used,” Crump wrote. “License plate readers are just one example of a disturbing phenomenon: the government is increasingly using new technology to collect information about all of us, all the time and to store it forever – providing a complete record of our lives for it to access at will.”

And while telephony metadata, Internet inbox intelligence and IP records can reveal an awful lot, scanning city streets and logging the locations of cars can provide the police with more than just a lot of useless data. License plate readers do occasionally prove effect with regards to locating criminal suspects or cars involved in crimes, but they are also allowing police to slowly build profiles painting a picture of the daily, weekly or annual driving habits of anyone, anywhere.

A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly church goer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups — and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts,” the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in 2010.

According to “You Are Being Tracked,” license plate readers are configured to store not just snap shots of nearby autos, but also the license plate number, the date, time and location. All of this data is then placed into a local database that can in many instances by shared with other regional systems across the country.

As a result,” reads the report, “these data are retained permanently and shared widely with few or no restrictions on how they can be used.”

The ACLU’s research has sparsely linked the use of license plate readers to solving criminal investigations, but it has uncovered a number of shocking statistics about how much information is being kept and what that could do to influence the way people interact outside of their homes.

The implementation of automatic license plate readers poses serious privacy and other civil liberties threats,” the report read. “More and more cameras, longer retention periods and widespread sharing allow law enforcement agents to assemble the individual puzzle pieces of where we have been over time into a single, high-resolution image of our lives. The knowledge that one is subject to constant monitoring can chill the exercise of our cherished rights to free speech and association.”

If not properly secured, license plate reader databases open the door to abusive tracking, enabling anyone with access to pry into the lives of his boss, his ex-wife or his romantic, political or workplace rivals.”

Indeed, data being collected by these scanners are already being compiled in the same facilities where other personally identifiable information is collected by the buckets.

In Maryland, for example, the Greenbelt Police Department feeds information picked up from license plate readers to the state’s fusion center — a federally assisted data facility that collects all sorts of information sent from agencies, including surveillance camera footage and Federal Bureau of Investigation field reports. That information can then easily be sent to other fusion centers, and the ACLU notes that the Greenbelt facility already participates in a program that puts its data into the hands of DC, Virginia and other out-of-state authorities.

Coupled with the FBI’s current plan to put the driver’s license photos of 14 million Americans in one database accessible to agents anywhere by next year, the government is quickly providing investigators with the means to create fully detailed dossiers on anyone, brimming with everything from where someone goes shopping and how they get to the store, to the individualized biometric information about a person’s left eyeball.

But are these practices doing any good? With regards to the license plate readers, the ACLU doesn’t seem to think they’re all that effective. In the instance of readers deployed across Maryland, the ACLU noted that for every one million plates read, only 47 were potentially associated with more serious crimes, such as a stolen vehicle, a violent gang or a sex offender. They add, however, that “even these 47 alerts may not have helped the police catch criminals or prevent crimes. While people on the violent gang, terrorist, and sex offender lists are under general suspicion, they are not necessarily wanted for any present wrongdoing.”

In short, Maryland’s license plate readers collect massive amounts of data, almost none of which are tied to any known or even suspected wrongdoing,” wrote the ACLU.

In some jurisdictions, that information is then held forever. FOIA requests obtained by the ACLU estimated that authorities in Jersey City, New Jersey have accumulated 10 million license plate records as of last year — in a town of only 250,000 — because retention policies allow officials to keep that data for five years. In Milpitas, California — a town with roughly four times the population — has no retention policy and has picked up around 4.7 million plates.

The ACLU will host a question-and-answer session on the website Reddit.com this Thursday to explain more.

Source: RT Question More.

California defense law on ‘Stand your ground’

mgnstandyourground.1374099455California has a self-defense law that similar to Florida’s stand your ground law that George Zimmerman used to gain acquittal on charges he murdered Trayvon Martin, a local prosecutor said yesterday.

President Obama said yesterday that states should re-evaluate their stand your ground laws and celebrities such as Stevie Wonder are saying they won’t perform in states with such laws.

But Marc Buller, a Santa Clara County assistant district attorney said yesterday that California law also makes strong provisions to protect those who act in self defense.

Unlike some places in United States, including Hawaii and Iowa, California has no “duty to retreat” law, which only allows a person to use deadly force against another when they can’t get away or when running away, called “retreating”, puts the person being attacked in more danger.

Killing can be justified in some cases

“The (California) law says that if you are in imminent danger of death or injury you don’t have to retreat,” Buller said.

The law even goes so far as to say that one person can justifiably kill someone else, if they believe the person attacking them could inflict life-threatening injury or death.

“The law says you can defend yourself. That’s justifiable homicide”, Buller said. The catch, Buller said, is that a person is only allowed to use as much deadly force as is necessary to stop the attack.

‘A reasonable fear’

Also, if the case goes to trial, defense attorneys have to convince the jury that a killing in self-defense came from a “reasonable” fear of serious harm or death, according to Buller.

Zimmerman’s lawyers argued that their clients had a fear of serious harm from Martin.

“The general rule is that if someone were to attack you, you don’t need to retreat if you are not the aggressor,” Buller said.

According to Buller, California juries are instructed at the start of the trial that person who his attack does not have to retreat from their attacker and can try to stop them with force.

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Homeless becoming a “Class”, thanks to the Vehicle Dwelling Ban

Protected species
Protected species

Since the cities have copied each other in this tragic pursuit of discrimination against the impoverished, the result is becoming clear that we homeless have now become a “class” of persons.

This means politically that we can now petition government for “recognition as a “class” of people, giving us a special status, just like Blacks, Gays, Disabled, Veterans, and any other “class” of people.

That will give us special rights inherent to our group and  Police will then have to stop profiling us. Government can then be pressured to actually provide funding for very affordable housing.

When I view the new correctional facility over in Stockton, I see the roof covered with thousand dollar bills, because California spent $900,000,000.00 on this facility for minor offenders. For that amount, the state could have constructed  100,000 Basalt domes costing about $9,000 each , fully liveable with plumbing and electrical.

That would get 100,000 homeless off the streets resulting in less crimes, a boost in the economy because construction jobs would result and many of these people would now get jobs because they have a permanent residence, and regained their self esteem.

Instead, the State has incarcerated citizens and make them into “wards of the State” in some cases, forever dependent upon government social programs which only exacerbates the problem, never solving anything. Palo Alto should be working to find solutions to the homeless problem, instead the city council members choose to get on the same merry-go-round as the surrounding cities (with the exception of Menlo Park) and pass some discriminatory ordinance preventing the poor from existing within the city limits.

Homeless Van belonging to retired school teacher
Homeless Van belonging to retired school teacher

The narrow minded few that want a Vehicle Dwelling Ban may, in fact, win this time around. They now have the big guns aimed toward Cubberly, which was a threat to no one, demanding that public showers be turned off, Police patrols increase, and the  library be patrolled to make it unfriendly to the homeless.

The policy of Palo Alto seems to be headed in a dangerous direction, to create some “privileged city status” infringing the rights of some while promoting the rights of others. This is completely opposite of what America is supposed to stand for. What is happening to “equal rights”, “justice for all”, “constitutional rights’, and” let freedom ring”?

Have we become a nation of hypocrites, bent upon our own selfish concerns at the cost of everyone else’s human rights? Some solutions to the homeless problem already exist, but politics becomes the stumbling block to actually carry these solutions to completion. Palo

Alto, as with many cities, is run by a who knows who club of well to do aristocrats vying to remain in power as long as possible, to thwart any real changes to both city policy and economic freedom, as long as those remain in power.

This issue, the Vehicle Habitation Ban, may actually be a turning point in Palo Alto, for it will allow the savvy citizens to really see which city council members are true blooded Americans, and which ones don’t deserve that title.

United States Senator Dianne Feinstein responds to National Security Agency Surveillance Programs

Dear Palo Alto Free Press:

I received your communication indicating your concerns about the two National Security Agency programs that have been in the news recently.   I appreciate that you took the time to write on this important issue and welcome the opportunity to respond.

First, I understand your concerns and want to point out that by law, the government cannot listen to an American’s telephone calls or read their emails without a court warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause.

As is described in the attachment to this letter provided by the Executive Branch, the programs that were recently disclosed have to do with information about phone calls – the kind of information that you might find on a telephone bill – in one case, and the internet communications (such as email) of non-Americans outside the United States in the other case.  Both programs are subject to checks and balances, and oversight by the Executive Branch, the Congress, and the Judiciary.

As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I can tell you that I believe the oversight we have conducted is strong and effective and I am doing my level best to get more information declassified.  Please know that it is equally frustrating to me, as it is to you, that I cannot provide more detail on the value these programs provide and the strict limitations placed on how this information is used.  I take serious my responsibility to make sure intelligence programs are effective, but I work equally hard to ensure that intelligence activities strictly comply with the Constitution and our laws and protect Americans’ privacy rights.

These surveillance programs have proven to be very effective in identifying terrorists, their activities, and those associated with terrorist plots, and in allowing the Intelligence Community and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to prevent numerous terrorist attacks.  More information on this should be forthcoming.

· On June 18, 2003, the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) testified to the House Intelligence Committee that there have been “over 50 potential terrorist events” that these programs helped prevent.

· While the specific uses of these surveillance programs remain largely classified, I have reviewed the classified testimony and reports from the Executive Branch that describe in detail how this surveillance has stopped attacks.

· Two examples where these surveillance programs were used to prevent terrorist attacks were: (1) the attempted bombing of the New York City subway system in September 2009 by Najibullah Zazi and his co-conspirators; and (2) the attempted attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in October 2009 by U.S. citizen David Headley and his associates.

· Regarding the planned bombing of the New York City subway system, the NSA has determined that in early September of 2009, while monitoring the activities of Al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, NSA noted contact from an individual in the U.S. that the FBI subsequently identified as Colorado-based Najibullah Zazi.  The U.S. Intelligence Community, including the FBI and NSA, worked in concert to determine his relationship with Al Qaeda, as well as identify any foreign or domestic terrorist links.  The FBI tracked Zazi as he traveled to New York to meet with co-conspirators, where they were planning to conduct a terrorist attack using hydrogen peroxide bombs placed in backpacks. Zazi and his co-conspirators were subsequently arrested. Zazi eventually pleaded guilty to conspiring to bomb the NYC subway system.

· Regarding terrorist David Headley, he was also involved in the planning and reconnaissance of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India that killed 166 people, including six Americans.  According to NSA, in October 2009, Headley, a Chicago businessman and dual U.S. and Pakistani citizen, was arrested by the FBI as he tried to depart from Chicago O’Hare airport on a trip to Europe.  Headley was charged with material support to terrorism based on his involvement in the planning and reconnaissance of the hotel attack in Mumbai 2008.  At the time of his arrest, Headley and his colleagues were plotting to attack the Danish newspaper that published the unflattering cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, at the behest of Al Qaeda.

Not only has Congress been briefed on these programs, but laws passed and enacted since 9/11 specifically authorize them.  The surveillance programs are authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which itself was enacted by Congress in 1978 to establish the legal structure to carry out these programs, but also to prevent government abuses, such as surveillance of Americans without approval from the federal courts. The Act authorizes the government to gather communications and other information for foreign intelligence purposes.  It also establishes privacy protections, oversight mechanisms (including court review), and other restrictions to protect privacy rights of Americans.

The laws that have established and reauthorized these programs since 9/11 have passed by mostly overwhelming margins.  For example, the phone call business record program was reauthorized most recently on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 72-23 in the Senate and 250-153 in the House.  The internet communications program was reauthorized most recently on December 30, 2012 by a vote of 73-22 in the Senate and 301-118 in the House.

Attached to this letter is a brief summary of the two intelligence surveillance programs that were recently disclosed in media articles.  While I very much regret the disclosure of classified information in a way that will damage our ability to identify and stop terrorist activity, I believe it is important to ensure that the public record now available on these programs is accurate and provided with the proper context.

Again, thank you for contacting me with your concerns and comments.  I appreciate knowing your views and hope you continue to inform me of issues that matter to you.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 224-3841.

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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