Lee veto protects the SFPD's ability to spy on you


Mayor Ed Lee yesterday vetoed legislation that would have banned San Francisco Police Department officers working with the FBI from conducting covert surveillance on law-abiding citizens. Not terrorists, not criminals, not foreign spies, but people like you (well, people like you who are Muslim, protesters, visitors to certain websites, or people who otherwise have caught the attention of the FBI) who are not even suspected of criminal activity.

While Lee says he will support a so-called “consensus ordinance” introduced yesterday by Sup. Jane Kim, the sponsor of the vetoed measure, his veto letter makes clear that he wants San Francisco to reserve the right to spy on whoever the FBI wants to, echoing post-9/11 fear-mongering and right-wing bait-and-switch tactics while still trying to placate civil libertarians with his rhetoric.

“This ordinance intends to amend the Administrative code to require the San Francisco Police Department to either terminate a counterterrorism Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or materially restrict the interaction between the two law enforcement bodies,” his veto letter begins.

That MOU with the FBI is the one that the SFPD secretly entered into back in 2007 (which was exposed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union after a long public records court battle) that placed SFPD officers under FBI control without recognizing state and local privacy and civil rights restrictions. The resulting scandal caused the SFPD to apologize and work with the Police Commission on a general order clarifying that local officers must obey those restrictions, which Lee, Police Chief Greg Suhr, and some supervisors have maintained is good enough.

But six members of the Board of Supervisors didn't agree with this “trust us” approach, noting that future chiefs and Police Commissioners can change the policy at any time, and saying protecting the privacy and civil rights of city residents and visitors is an important enough issue to be formally codified in local law.

John Crew, the police practices expert for the ACLU, has said that the only reason to oppose the ordinance is if officials want to reserve the right to spy on law-abiding citizens, and Lee seemed to signal as much by writing “the restrictions it places on our Police Department overly constrain their ability to protect our City from very real threats.” And he enumerated those “threats” by equating those being spied on for their political beliefs or because of their ethnicity with terrorists who want to blow us up.

“Recently, the United States Department of Homeland Security raised San Francisco's risk rating – we are now considered the fourth-highest terrorism target risk in the nation along with cities like New York and Washington, DC. Protecting San Franciscans is the most important responsibility I have as Mayor. This goal, however, does not justify a trampling of constitutionally protected principles, and we have a government structure in place to ensure this dichotomy never materializes,” Lee wrote.

See what he did there? There was nothing in this measure that limited the FBI or SFPD's ability to monitor suspected terrorists, which they're already free to broadly define, particularly since 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act and other police state changes, including the very creation of the Orwellian-named Department of Homeland Security. But civil libertarians have been trying to hold the line and prevent the FBI – which has a long and sordid history of spying on law-abiding citizens and using that intel for political sabotage – from going after anyone who looks different or criticizes this country's leaders or policies.

It's great that Lee, who was a civil rights attorney decades ago, gives lip service to that concern and says he's willing to work with the Coalition for a Safe San Francisco on legislation that would allow a hearing by the Police Commission of any future JOAs with the FBI after it's been signed. But Kim's statement that, “It's a compromise that essentially will accomplish the same thing” just isn't true, as the activists who pushed this tell us. The vetoed measure was already a compromise, with Kim making many amendments at the request of Suhr and repeatedly delaying final consideration of the measure so any other concerns could be addressed.

The JOA should have been suspended and rewritten, as the city of Portland, Oregon did when these same concerns were raised there, with no detriment to its relationship with the FBI. But even that request to suspend our JOA had already been removed from the watered down ordinance that Lee vetoed. “When we work together to create solutions that represent our shared values, we make San Francisco a safer, better City together,” Lee piously wrote, glossing over his unwillingness to work with the coalition before vetoing the measure. “He won't even meet with civil rights groups on this,” Crew told me last week, as the Coalition was trying to talk with Lee to head off a veto.

Activists like Shahid Buttar, executive director of Bill of Rights Defense Committee and a member of the Coalition, are trying to look on the bright side and they say they're happy that Lee now wants to work with activists on the issue. But the compromise and consensus are what's been happening over the last several months – now, it's simply Lee bowing to the SFPD rather than trying to regulate it and trying to save face on a bad veto.

As Buttar told us, “It's disappointing that Mayor Lee would choose to overrule the voice of residents of the city and their representatives on the Board of Supervisors.”


see link for full story
What J. Edgar Hoover Did to a New York Times Critic of the FBI

John R. Bohrer, Capital New York 67 Views 4:40 PM ET

In the early 1970s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation considered it pertinent biographical information that The New York Times' Tom Wicker suffered from “mental halitosis.” Since this is not, strictly speaking, a medical condition, they qualified the classification with “apparently.”

Internal documents obtained by Capital New York through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the bureau began keeping tabs on Wicker, who died last November, after he published a wide-ranging article for the New York Times Magazine asking, “What Have They Done Since They Shot Dillinger?”

The 1969 article took the F.B.I. to task for expending its resources on bank robberies and sensational murders that garnered them publicity while doing little to no work investigating criminal syndicates and the nuanced financial crimes of much more consequence to the national public interest. Wicker laid the blame at the feet of the man who embodied the bureau—its one and only director, J. Edgar Hoover—for being a practiced P.R. man more than a crime fighter, too concerned with bureaucratic protocol, too slow on civil rights, and too long in the job to right the bureau’s course.

With that article, the F.B.I. began a file on a man they had ignored as “a screwball” despite his having been the Washington bureau chief for the most influential newspaper in the country. It would contain rumors from an unknown third-hand source, a hunt for ulterior motives, and the director’s general disdain. In short, Wicker’s file provides a case study of the personal terms in which the bureau dealt with critical journalists in the final years of Hoover’s reign.

ON MARCH 30, 1970, A LETTER REACHED HOOVER at his desk in F.B.I. headquarters. It had been expedited in its delivery via the director’s “Special Correspondents List,” from a retired special agent named Leon A. Francisco. Francisco felt it his duty to report a conversation he’d had with “an acquaintance of mine here in Washington, Connecticut … a professional writer,” in which he learned that Wicker had received a $60,000 advance—approximately $350,000 today—to write a book “which will attack you and the Bureau.”

“The book is to come out within about six months, and, presumably, will be along the scurrilous lines of Wicker’s New York Times Magazine article of December 28, 1969,” Francisco wrote. His writer friend did not know the name of the publisher, only that his source was reliable and that “a $60,000.00 advance is an unusually large one.”

In an accompanying memo, assistant director for the Criminal Records division Thomas E. Bishop noted that a review of bureau files showed “previous cordial relations” with the professional writer—whose identity was not released as it might constitute an invasion of privacy—“whom we have assisted in connection with his writing.” As for his recommendation on Wicker, Bishop wrote, “This matter is being followed by the Crime Records Division with a view toward obtaining an advance copy of Wicker’s forthcoming book.”

This was not the first they’d heard of a Wicker book. An earlier F.B.I. memo recorded that on the morning of February 9, 1970, Wicker’s research assistant—name redacted—called to request an interview with someone knowledgeable at the bureau to discuss items for a possible book. Wicker, the caller said, “wanted to get the “other side,” that is “both sides,” of the various matters discussed by Wicker concerning the Director and the F.B.I. in the magazine article.”

The caller, who identified himself as “regularly employed as a reporter for Congressional Quarterly,” was likely Dupre Jones, who had managed the Times’ Washington research library and assisted Wicker on his 1968 book, JFK and LBJ. Jones passed away in January.

In fact, another bureau memo indicates that Wicker did his due diligence: His secretary phoned the director’s office five weeks in advance of the article’s publication. Hoover declined to speak with him then, too.

ON NOVEMBER 19, 1970, THE TIMES PRINTED A WICKER column titled “Calvin Coolidge’s Revenge,” after Hoover’s latest broadside against his critics. Wicker playfully mocked the director’s hypersensitivity, but noted “this kind of thing stops being funny when it is realized that the F.B.I. is a police agency” with a mountain of personal dossiers on American citizens. He concluded that no president would dare fire him or even simply “tell the old boy to shut up.”

Hoover had the article duplicated for nearly every high-ranking bureau member listed on his interoffice stationery, including a note, in excellent penmanship: “This jerk has mental halitosis,” with his powerful “H” struck beneath.

The column appeared just as Hoover received an update from Special Agent Francisco, with more news from the professional writer. “[Name redacted] informed me yesterday that the publishing of the book had been held up for reasons not known to him, but that now his agent has advised him that the book is being prepared for publication on an unknown date by Random House.”

The publisher identified, they now had leverage. Milton A. Jones, a top aide in the Crime Records division, wrote in a memo, “As you are aware, Random House published Don Whitehead’s 'The F.B.I. Story,' as well as a young reader’s edition of this work, and 'J. Edgar Hoover on Communism,' and has indicated an interest in publishing a book by the Director on the New Left movement.”

Jones also dug up some pertinent information on Wicker at the request of Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s faithful Number Two. The memo included a brief sketch of Wicker’s early life, career, and his relationship with the F.B.I.

“The Bureau has never conducted an investigation concerning Wicker,” the final memo said. “Files do reflect that he was characterized by at least one associate as a 'screwball.' In 1957, he reportedly went over Great Falls in the Potomac River and received considerable publicity.” Wicker, then a correspondent for the Winston-Salem Journal, capsized in his canoe and became one of two people known to have survived the 76-foot plunge and its multiple drops over massive, craggy rocks.

More to the point of Jones’ memo was determining the source of Wicker’s discontent with the F.B.I. It reported that Wicker had taken his son and a group of boys on a tour of bureau headquarters in 1967, and that the journalist had once been invited to a party for a Communist leader held at the Cuban mission to the United Nations (it could not be confirmed whether he attended). The memo catalogued his criticisms of Hoover going back five years, taking offense at a 1968 column that suggested President-elect Nixon could have gotten dovish presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy to join his administration if he had named McCarthy director of the F.B.I. and Hoover ambassador to the United Nations.

Yet finding no outwardly symptoms for his criticisms, Jones pointed the finger at two familiar culprits: the Kennedys and the Times.

“A review of [Bureau files] fails to indicate any obvious reasons for Wicker’s antagonism towards the F.B.I. Would appear he is strongly entrenched in the Kennedy political camp and the longtime antipathy of 'The New York Times' is well known.”

It continued, “Wicker wrote the introduction to [name redacted’s] current book and probably wrote most of the book for [redacted].” This almost certainly refers to John Osborne’s first annual installment of The Nixon Watch, which had just been published.

And, as with many small insults the director bothered to write, Hoover’s diagnosis became F.B.I. dogma. Regarding the “Coolidge’s Revenge” piece, the memo on Wicker to the bureau files would read, “In connection with this column the Director commented that Wicker is apparently suffering from mental halitosis.”

"MENTAL HALITOSIS" WAS A FAVORITE INSULT OF HOOVER'S, one he used many times over the years. That it was directed at Wicker was originally reported by Anthony Summers in his 1993 book Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, along with other instances of the Director’s hyperbolic media commentary. Drew Pearson was “a jackal” and Jimmy Wechsler “a rat,” while Walter Lippmann was the “coyote of the press” and Art Buchwald a “sick alleged humorist.” Hoover did worse to others, maliciously divulging secrets, like telling the White House that columnist Joe Alsop was gay.

More slights toward Wicker would follow and be filed away for reference. Hoover distributed a 1971 William F. Buckley, Jr., column that accused Wicker of selective reporting on the prison death of Black Panther George Jackson. “This clearly portrays Wicker’s bias + tendency to angle the real facts. H.” He had this to say about a 1971 Wicker article in the Boston Globe: “The usual Wicker lies interspersed with innumerable “faceless informers.” H.” (Along with that clipping, the name of the paper’s editor was attached.)

In the meantime, the F.B.I.’s concerns over a Wicker book had been put to rest. A December 11, 1970 memo from Bishop relayed a conversation he had had with someone—name redacted—at Random House, who “emphatically stated that Random House was not in the process of publishing any book written by Wicker and would not under any circumstances publish a book by him that would be critical of the Bureau or the Director.” (Though Wicker may have explored the idea, his high-dollar book advance was nothing but a rumor.)

The redacted Random House employee “stated that he would like Mr. Hoover to know that he considers the Director a “friend” and would never publish any book critical of him.” Furthermore, the source “stated that he saw Wicker a week or so ago at a cocktail party, at which time Wicker told him he was very busy with his normal duties for the “New York Times” and that he has no time to write any books.” Yet, the Random House source couldn’t rule out whether Wicker might be collecting material for a future publication.

WICKER'S FILE TOOK A TURN IN TONE after Hoover’s death in May of 1972. The article clippings with reassuring letters from Hoover loyalists around the country stopped. Wicker continued to make mentions of the bureau in his reporting, but with Hoover gone, it had stopped paying attention.

Then in June 1974, Wicker called F.B.I. headquarters to request some interviews for a follow-up to his 1969 Times magazine piece. An internal memo said, “He intends that the current article … to be a comparison of the Bureau today with what it was at the time of the previous article.”

The memo revisited the Wicker file compiled in the Hoover years and then made these observations: “Although experience demands that we be guarded in our approach to Mr. Wicker, his requests afford us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the professional validity of the “open stance” policy with the media and to present our side of many crucial issues to a major news outlet.”

Two weeks later, a date was set for Wicker to interview the F.B.I. director.

The article never ran.

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Posted by Therapy Now on Oct. 13, 2012 @ 8:03 am

those who seek to destroy our way of life?

Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

I think they need tracked.

Posted by Troll II on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104074962Ex-Agent Accuses FBI Of Retaliation Over Race Suit

by Dina Temple-Raston

May 13, 2009

A former FBI agent at the center of one of the biggest discrimination cases in the agency's history has filed a new lawsuit, in which he says the FBI continues to exact retribution for a case he settled back in 1990.

Donald Rochon was 37 years old when he filed his landmark discrimination suit against the FBI. Rochon, who is black, was a young agent in Omaha, Neb., when some troubling things started to happen. In one incident, Rochon returned to his desk to find that someone had put a picture of monkey over his son's face in a family photograph.

Another episode took place shortly after Rochon learned to scuba dive. "Their ideology [was that] blacks couldn't swim," he says. "And they put up a photograph of me and another black person swimming in a garbage dump."

The situation escalated when Rochon and some of his tormentors were transferred to Chicago. He started getting death threats. In one instance, white agents said they would cut off his genitals. Then, about a week later, a death and dismemberment insurance policy appeared on Rochon's desk.

"That was traced back to an FBI agent," he says. The agent forged Rochon's signature on the policy.

The FBI supervisor said it was harmless fun and wrote the incidents off as pranks.

In separate investigations, the Justice Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw it differently. They found that Rochon was humiliated by agents because he was black. The former special agent in charge of the Omaha office told the EEOC that he considered the pranks to be "healthy" and a sign of "esprit de corps." He said he was aware of Rochon's racial harassment complaints, but he didn't take any formal action.

Posted by Guest ms greeh on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 8:03 am

FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse

Tuesday February 17, 2004 11:46 PM


The former chief internal watchdog at the FBI has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl and has admitted he had a history of molesting other children before he joined the bureau for what became a two-decade career.

John H. Conditt Jr., 53, who retired in 2001, was sentenced last week to 12 years in prison in Tarrant County court in Fort Worth, Texas, after he admitted he molested the daughter of two FBI agents after he retired. He acknowledged molesting at least two other girls before he began his law enforcement career, his lawyer said.

Posted by Guest ms greeh on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 8:01 am

Well, imagine you are in China (or North Korea, or Iran). Would you feel the same about it then? East Germany was the epitome of this type of thought. You must either be a communist, or some kind of cop.

Posted by Guest on May. 21, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

Americans is exactly like being in the KGB.

Posted by Guest on May. 21, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

As has been observed recently in these pages, San Francisco politics does *not* range in between "moderates" and the "far left" *at* *all*. Mayor Lee is a right-wing apparatchik. (And now, quite possibly, I'm on the FBI watch list for having said so.)

ps. Screw the Chronicle, SFGate, and all the tools there. I'm boycotting them: no clicks for you scumbags!

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

Are right next to each other on the political scale.

Seriously, it is posts like this that just crack me up. Anywhere else Lee would be considered an on far, card carrying member of the far left. In SF, he gets labeled "far right".

It just shows how out of touch so many people in the City are.

Posted by DNative on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 8:52 am

gets confused at times, using the government to enforce your social agenda used to be "conservative," but now forcing people to obey a social agenda is "liberal" too.

Santorum his followers and the average self identified progressive share a lot in common when it comes to tormenting the rest of us.

As I get older I think people are hard wired to their thinking pathology, the Guardian crowd under different circumstances would be just as crazy as the Santorum crowd. Under the right circumstances Santorum would be just as crazy laike any progressive.

It is the need to believe that is hard wired into some people.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

February 22, 2007

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. A F.B.I. analyst has been sentenced to seven years in prison for having sex with a young girl in Spotsylvania County.
Forty-four-year-old Anthony John Lesko entered an Alford plea yesterday in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to nine counts of felony indecent liberties upon a child. An Alford plea means Lesko doesn't admit guilt but believes there is enough evidence for a conviction.
Authorities say Lesko engaged in a sex act with her nine times, beginning when she was nine years old.
According to the plea, Lesko said he was a victim in the case. He said the girl initiated the contact.

FBI Agent Accused Of Masturbating In Public

May 25, 2007 09:02 PM
FBI Agent Accused Of Masturbating In Public

Posted by, Marissa Pasquet KOLD News 13 News Editor

FBI Special Agent Ryan Seese, 34, is facing sex offense charges after a cleaning woman said she found him masturbating in a women's lavatory on campus, according to a University of Arizona police spokesman.
7th read

Posted by Guest ms greeh on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 7:59 am

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Posted by DNative on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 8:56 am

fear-mongering on both sides. Lee and SFPD and the ACLU.

Posted by DNative on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 9:00 am

Ladies, if you value your privacy and civil liberties, join the ACLU!

In his 1992 book, Visions of Liberty, former Executive Director of the ACLU, Ira Glasser writes:

"The use of wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping emerged during the Prohibition era. Roy Olmstead was a suspected bootlegger whom the government wished to search. It placed taps in the basement of his office building and on wires in the streets near his home. No physical entry into his office or home took place. Olmstead was convicted entirely on the basis of evidence from the wiretaps.

"In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Olmstead argued that the taps were a search conducted without a warrant and without probable cause, and that the evidence seized against him should have been excluded because it was illegally gathered. He also argued that his Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself was violated.

"By a 5-4 vote, the Court rejected his arguments and upheld the government's power to wiretap without limit and without any Fourth Amendment restrictions, on the grounds that no actual physical intrusion had taken place.

"Olmstead's Fifth Amendment claim was also dismissed on the grounds that he had not been compelled to talk on the telephone, but had done so voluntarily.

"Thus the Court upheld the government's power to do by trickery and surreptitious means what it was not permitted to do honestly and openly.

"It wasn't until 1967, in a similar case involving gambling, that the Court overruled the Olmstead decision by an 8-1 margin and recognized that the Fourth Amendment applied to wiretapping and electronic surveillance.

"The other major use of electronic eavesdropping has been to punish political dissent. For decades, former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover used wiretaps and other electronic devices to spy on political figures and citizens not yet suspected of having committed a crime. He built vast dossiers on their political activities and personal lives. Special units of local police called 'Red Squads' did the same.

"Nor has electronic surveillance been the only source of our loss of privacy. The widespread use of urine-testing in employment to see whether people may have been using illegal substances violates the rights of many innocent people.

"Urine-testing programs are usually not restricted to those who show evidence of impaired job performance that may be due to the use of drugs. These tests are normally administered randomly. Without any probable cause for search, this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

"Many of these random tests have been struck down by the courts, where the government is the employer. But some have been upheld. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (hardly a Constitutional liberal!), denounced them as 'an immolation of privacy and human dignity in symbolic opposition to drug use.'"

In January 2006, on the eve of the West Coast Walk For Life in San Francisco, CA, Carol Crossed of Democrats For Life (kind enough to write the foreword to my own book, The Liberal Case Against Abortion) spoke optimistically of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

When I asked her if Roe could be overturned without Griswold v. Connecticut (the 1965 Supreme Court decision which guarantees a right to marital privacy regarding the practice of contraception) being overturned as well, Carol froze, and couldn't answer the question!

Although this was well before the scandals involving Republican poltiicans David Vitter and Larry Craig, I would have preferred it if Carol had said:

"You're right. Only a pervert watches or eavesdrops when others pee, defecate, copulate, masturbate, etc. It's wrong to put people under surveillance without their knowledge or consent. Democrats For Life will never resort to draconian tactics to protect prenatal life."

ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004 (212) 549 - 2500

Democrats For Life of America, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, South Building, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20004 (202) - 220 - 3066

Posted by Vasu Murti on Apr. 13, 2012 @ 1:49 pm