FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill'

 

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FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers,
Sat Feb 9, 2008 13:45
 
Quote, "FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill'

By Matthew Rothschild , <http://www.progressive.org>.
Posted February 8, 2008

The FBI has a new set of eyes and ears, and they're being told to protect their infrastructure at any cost. They can even kill without repercussion.

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does -- and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law. InfraGard is "a child of the FBI," says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

"Then the FBI cloned it," says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.
"We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility," says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.
"At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector," the InfraGard website states. "InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories."

In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, www.infragard.net, which adds that "350 of our nation's Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard."
To join, each person must be sponsored by "an existing InfraGard member, chapter, or partner organization." The FBI then vets the applicant. On the application form, prospective members are asked which aspect of the critical infrastructure their organization deals with. These include: agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation.

FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed an InfraGard convention on August 9, 2005. At that time, the group had less than half as many members as it does today. "To date, there are more than 11,000 members of InfraGard," he said. "From our perspective that amounts to 11,000 contacts . . . and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America." He added a little later, "Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense."

He urged InfraGard members to contact the FBI if they "note suspicious activity or an unusual event." And he said they could sic the FBI on "disgruntled employees who will use knowledge gained on the job against their employers."
In an interview with InfraGard after the conference, which is featured prominently on the InfraGard members' website, Mueller says: "It's a great program."

The ACLU is not so sanguine.

"There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations -- some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers -- into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI," the ACLU warned in its August 2004 report The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.

InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and Homeland Security are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the "trade secrets" exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed.

"The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members," the website states. "During interviews with members of the press, controlling the image of InfraGard being presented can be difficult. Proper preparation for the interview will minimize the risk of embarrassment. . . . The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the predilection of the answers, and identify the appropriate interviewee. . . . Tailor answers to the expected audience. . . . Questions concerning sensitive information should be avoided."
One of the advantages of InfraGard, according to its leading members, is that the FBI gives them a heads-up on a secure portal about any threatening information related to infrastructure disruption or terrorism.

The InfraGard website advertises this. In its list of benefits of joining InfraGard, it states: "Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards, and much more."

InfraGard members receive "almost daily updates" on threats "emanating from both domestic sources and overseas," Hershman says.

"We get very easy access to secure information that only goes to InfraGard members," Schneck says. "People are happy to be in the know."

On November 1, 2001, the FBI had information about a potential threat to the bridges of California. The alert went out to the InfraGard membership. Enron was notified, and so, too, was Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley. He notified his brother Gray, the governor of California.

"He said his brother talked to him before the FBI," recalls Steve Maviglio, who was Davis's press secretary at the time. "And the governor got a lot of grief for releasing the information. In his defense, he said, 'I was on the phone with my brother, who is an investment banker. And if he knows, why shouldn't the public know?' "

Maviglio still sounds perturbed about this: "You'd think an elected official would be the first to know, not the last."

In return for being in the know, InfraGard members cooperate with the FBI and Homeland Security. "InfraGard members have contributed to about 100 FBI cases," Schneck says. "What InfraGard brings you is reach into the regional and local communities. We are a 22,000-member vetted body of subject-matter experts that reaches across seventeen matrixes. All the different stovepipes can connect with InfraGard."

Schneck is proud of the relationships the InfraGard Members Alliance has built with the FBI. "If you had to call 1-800-FBI, you probably wouldn't bother," she says. "But if you knew Joe from a local meeting you had with him over a donut, you might call them. Either to give or to get. We want everyone to have a little black book."

This black book may come in handy in times of an emergency. "On the back of each membership card," Schneck says, "we have all the numbers you'd need: for Homeland Security, for the FBI, for the cyber center. And by calling up as an InfraGard member, you will be listened to." She also says that members would have an easier time obtaining a "special telecommunications card that will enable your call to go through when others will not."

This special status concerns the ACLU.

"The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment," says Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU's technology and liberty program. "There's no 'business class' in law enforcement. If there's information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don't they just share it with the public? That's who their real 'special relationship' is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . . This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI's handing out 'goodies' to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery."

When the government raises its alert levels, InfraGard is in the loop. For instance, in a press release on February 7, 2003, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General announced that the national alert level was being raised from yellow to orange. They then listed "additional steps" that agencies were taking to "increase their protective measures." One of those steps was to "provide alert information to InfraGard program."

"They're very much looped into our readiness capability," says Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. "We provide speakers, as well as do joint presentations [with the FBI]. We also train alongside them, and they have participated in readiness exercises."

On May 9, 2007, George Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled "National Continuity Policy." In it, he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with "private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency."

Asked if the InfraGard National Members Alliance was involved with these plans, Schneck said it was "not directly participating at this point." Hershman, chairman of the group's advisory board, however, said that it was.

InfraGard members, sometimes hundreds at a time, have been used in "national emergency preparation drills," Schneck acknowledges.

"In case something happens, everybody is ready," says Norm Arendt, the head of the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of InfraGard, and the safety director for the consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. "There's been lots of discussions about what happens under an emergency."

One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation -- and what their role might be. He showed me his InfraGard card, with his name and e-mail address on the front, along with the InfraGard logo and its slogan, "Partnership for Protection." On the back of the card were the emergency numbers that Schneck mentioned.

This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.

"The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage," he says. "From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we'd be given specific benefits." These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out. But that's not all.

"Then they said when -- not if -- martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn't be prosecuted," he says.

I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. "I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose," he adds. "I'm so nervous about this, and I'm not someone who gets nervous."

Though Schneck says that FBI and Homeland Security agents do make presentations to InfraGard, she denies that InfraGard members would have any civil patrol or law enforcement functions. "I have never heard of InfraGard members being told to use lethal force anywhere," Schneck says.

The FBI adamantly denies it, also. "That's ridiculous," says Catherine Milhoan, an FBI spokesperson. "If you want to quote a businessperson saying that, knock yourself out. If that's what you want to print, fine."

But one other InfraGard member corroborated the whistleblower's account, and another would not deny it.

Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she's an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function -- including engaging in lethal force -- that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform.

"There have been discussions like that, that I've heard of and participated in," she says.

Curt Haugen is CEO of S'Curo Group, a company that does "strategic planning, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, physical and IT security, policy development, internal control, personnel selection, and travel safety," according to its website. Haugen tells me he is a former FBI agent and that he has been an InfraGard member for many years. He is a huge booster. "It's the only true organization where there is the public-private partnership," he says. "It's all who knows who. You know a face, you trust a face. That's what makes it work."

He says InfraGard "absolutely" does emergency preparedness exercises. When I ask about discussions the FBI and Homeland Security have had with InfraGard members about their use of lethal force, he says: "That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened."

"We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions," the whistleblower says. "It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone."

http://www.alternet.org/rights/76388/

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US Government Targets Its Own Citizens
Sat Feb 9, 2008 12:16

 

February 9, 2008

US Government Targets Its Own Citizens In Massive Tax Rebate Fraud
By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

In what one Russian Economist has stated is ‘the most massive fraud in human history’, the United States has targeted its own war weary citizens for financial destruction with the passage of new law that the American people, being told by their propaganda media organs, believe will give them tax rebate checks up to $1,200.00.

Dr. Tatyana Koryagina, of Russias Ministry of Economic Development, and who accurately predicted the September 11, 2001 attacks upon America, states that this new US Law, titled “Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008”, and to be signed into law by President Bush, does not, in fact, give any money at all to the American people, but instead is a loan on taxes for money earned by US citizens during 2008.

Dr. Koryagina states that the deception by the US War Leaders against their own people is contained in the very words used in this new law, and which says: “SEC. 6428. 2008 RECOVERY REBATES FOR INDIVIDUALS.`(a) In General- In the case of an eligible individual, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by subtitle A for the first taxable year beginning in 2008 an amount equal to the lesser of--`(1) net income tax liability, or`(2) $600 ($1,200 in the case of a joint return).”

The significance, Dr. Koryagina points out in understanding the exact wording of this new law, lies in the section name that states ‘rebate’ (a return of part of the original payment for some service or merchandise; partial refund), but in the actual wording of the law states that these monies are a ‘credit’ (an entry of payment or value received on an account) against imposed taxes for 2008.

Dr. Koryagina’s report to the Kremlin further points out that this new law is, in fact, a deceptively engineered ploy by the United States to pump billions of dollars into their failing banking system as nearly half of Americans (currently staggering under a record $2.5 trillion in personal debt), in a new poll conducted by International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS Securities, have stated they will use these checks to pay off creditors.

An American economist, Peter Morici from the University of Maryland, has also noted the odd ‘coincidence’ that the amount of monies under this new law equal the massive losses incurred by US banks from their loan debacles, and as he states:

“It’s a good thing [US stimulus package] , but it’s not enough to head off recession. We’re talking about $150 billion, so this roughly offsets what the banks have lost” in soured housing investments."

The greatest affect of this new law upon the American people, states Dr. Koryagina in her report, will be felt in 2009 when these ‘rebates’, given to them in 2008, will become due against their taxes, and which will push vast numbers of them into financial freefall.

In just one of the many examples Dr. Koryagina has complied in her report: an American married couple with 3 children would receive $1,200.00 for the man and wife with an additional $300.00 for each child, bringing the total to $2,100.00. But, with the average US Tax Refund amount being just over $2,500.00 per family, this exampled family would see no tax refund at all in 2009.

To the American people themselves there appears to be no understanding of the massive fraudulent complexities involved in the destruction of their way of life by their War Leaders, but, to the full extent of dangers posed to mankind by the monsters controlling the US they have left no doubt as to the depths of depravity they intend to plunge us all into, and as we can read as reported by the Reuters News Service in their article titled "US says no one too young for Guantanamo court", and which says:

"But a U.S. Department of Justice attorney, arguing for the prosecution, said that if Congress intended to exclude juveniles from the Guantanamo war court, it would have explicitly written that, because lawmakers knew Khadr could face charges. Instead, Congress wrote the law using the term "person," which legally refers to "anyone born alive," Justice Department attorney Andy Oldham said."

One cannot but shudder in fear for the American people having to live under such a despotic regime that sees nothing wrong with jailing “anyone born alive”, and the comparison of this US Officials statement with those of last century’s German Nazi Regime does indeed raise the specter of the wholesale jailing of American men, woman and children.

All that is needed now by the war mongering US War Leaders to totally destroy their own citizens is the total collapse of their economy, and which this new law will surely accelerate.

© February 9, 2008 EU and US all rights reserved.

[Ed. Note: The United States government actively seeks to find, and silence, any and all opinions about the United States except those coming from authorized government and/or affiliated sources, of which we are not one. No interviews are granted and very little personal information is given about our contributors, or their sources, to protect their safety.]
http://disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=149495

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Marshall Law & INFRAGARD...AN FBI PROGRAM:
Mon Feb 11, 2008 19:57

Radio Your Way: http://www.apfn.net/pogo.htm

02/11/08 Mike Malloy ... Air America 1480 Am Phx AZ

AUDIO:
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ABOUT INFRAGARD...AN FBI PROGRAM:
http://www.infragard.net/about.php?mn=1&sm=1-0

BlackBerry service outage affects users in Canada and the United ...
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NSPD-51: Bush prepares martial law | World War 4 Report
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BE AWARE --- BE ALERT

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ABOUT INFRAGARD...AN FBI PROGRAM:
Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:33
 

ABOUT INFRAGARD...AN FBI PROGRAM:
http://www.infragard.net/about.php?mn=1&sm=1-0

InfraGard is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) program that began in the Cleveland Field Office in 1996. It was a local effort to gain support from the information technology industry and academia for the FBI’s investigative efforts in the cyber arena. The program expanded to other FBI Field Offices, and in 1998 the FBI assigned national program responsibility for InfraGard to the former National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and to the Cyber Division in 2003. InfraGard and the FBI have developed a relationship of trust and credibility in the exchange of information concerning various terrorism, intelligence, criminal, and security matters.

InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States. InfraGard Chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories. Each InfraGard Chapter has an FBI Special Agent Coordinator assigned to it, and the FBI Coordinator works closely with Supervisory Special Agent Program Managers in the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

While under the direction of NIPC, the focus of InfraGard was cyber infrastructure protection. After September 11, 2001 NIPC expanded its efforts to include physical as well as cyber threats to critical infrastructures. InfraGard’s mission expanded accordingly.

In March 2003, NIPC was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which now has responsibility for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) matters. The FBI retained InfraGard as an FBI sponsored program, and will work with DHS in support of its CIP mission, facilitate InfraGard’s continuing role in CIP activities, and further develop InfraGard’s ability to support the FBI’s investigative mission, especially as it pertains to counterterrorism and cyber crimes.

The goal of InfraGard is to promote ongoing dialogue and timely communication between members and the FBI. InfraGard members gain access to information that enables them to protect their assets and in turn give information to government that facilitates its responsibilities to prevent and address terrorism and other crimes.

The relationship supports information sharing at national and local levels and its objectives are as follows:

* Increase the level of information and reporting between InfraGard members and the FBI on matters related to counterterrorism, cyber crime and other major crime programs.
* Increase interaction and information sharing among InfraGard members and the FBI regarding threats to the critical infrastructures, vulnerabilities, and interdependencies.
* Provide members value-added threat advisories, alerts, and warnings.
* Promote effective liaison with local, state and federal agencies, to include the Department of Homeland Security.
* Provide members a forum for education and training on counterterrorism, counterintelligence cyber crime and other matters relevant to informed reporting of potential crimes and attacks on the nation and U.S. interests.

Each FBI Field Office has a Special Agent Coordinator who gathers interested companies of various sizes from all industries to form a chapter. Any company can join InfraGard. Local executive boards govern and share information within the membership. Chapters hold regular meetings to discuss issues, threats and other matters that impact their companies. Speakers from public and private agencies and the law enforcement communities are invited. The following illustrates additional activities that local chapters may offer:

* Training and education initiatives
* A local newsletter
* A Contingency Plan for using alternative systems in the event of a successful large scale attack on the information infrastructure

InfraGard members are represented nationally by an elected board of seven representatives called the InfraGard Board of Directors. Elections are held annually at the InfraGard National Congress for voluntary two-year terms. The Board is responsible for representing the membership in the partnership with the FBI. They conduct weekly conference calls to address a variety of issues that face the organization. Board members travel to various chapter activities and attend conferences promoting InfraGard and other issues pertinent to the program.

The Board established several committees to address issues such as membership, incorporation, and partnerships with other private sector association / organizations.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have also been established to meet the challenges America faces in protecting against criminal, terrorist, and intelligence threats. One such SIG involves InfraGard, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Small Business Administration, and the FBI.

The InfraGard secure website provides members with information about recent intrusions, research related to critical infrastructure protection, and the capability to communicate securely with other members.
http://www.infragard.net/about.php?mn=1&sm=1-0

InfraGard - Public Private Partnership -Federal Bureau of ...
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