Sunday, June 16th, 2013 — Good Morning, Stay Safe
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Consequence of August 2010 84 Precinct P.O. Alfonso Mendez Refusal or Inability to Render CPR
Briana's Law, requiring biannual CPR training for police, passes state Assembly
By Unnamed Author(s) — Saturday, June 15th, 2013; 2:44 p.m. 'News 12 Brooklyn' / New York, NY
BROOKLYN - The family of a girl who died of an asthma attack three years ago is celebrating today as Briana's Law moves one step closer to becoming a state law.
Briana's Law, requiring all law enforcement agents to receive CPR retaining every two years, just passed in the New York state Assembly.
Briana Ojeda was 11 when her mother drove the wrong way down a one-way street to get her daughter to the hospital, because she was having an asthma attack. Carmen Ojeda says she was stopped by a police officer, who refused to give Briana CPR. Ojeda says if he had, Briana might still be alive.
Ojeda says she hopes the law will save people's lives. The bill now goes up for vote in the Senate.
Recent drop in violent crimes on Long Island, state stats show
By KEVIN DEUTSCH — Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'New York Newsday' / Melville, L.I.
Violent crime is down on Long Island this year -- mirroring a trend across the Northeast -- according to the latest statistics compiled by New York State.
Through April 30, murders, forcible rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults -- the categories that constitute violent crime -- taken together have fallen to 476 in Suffolk County Police Department jurisdictions compared with 586 during the same period last year, according to records kept by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
The data do not include crimes committed in May or June, including three fatal shootings that occurred in Central Islip.
In areas patrolled by the Nassau County Police Department through April 25, violent crimes dropped from 344 to 333 compared with the same period last year, state records show, even though rapes and murders rose slightly.
"It's a good sign," Eli Silverman, professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said of the Islandwide decrease in violent crime. "But we shouldn't go overboard and draw very large conclusions from a few months' worth of numbers."
Many smaller departments, including Village of Hempstead police, have also seen decreases in violent crime this year. The village saw such crimes fall to 84 through April 5, compared with 113 during the same period last year -- a decrease of nearly 26 percent.
Property crimes, comprising burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts, also are down in areas covered by county police forces, falling 9 percent in Nassau, from 3,112 to 2,831, through April 25, and 10 percent in Suffolk, from 7,002 to 6,283, though April 30.
Police alter strategy
Intelligence-led policing in both counties, officials said, has been a key to the recent decrease.
"We've really changed the way the department does business," said James Burke, chief of department for Suffolk County police.
The violent-crime decline so far this year in areas patrolled by Suffolk County police continues a trend that began in 2010, when 2,377 such crimes were reported. In 2012, that number had fallen to 2,129.
Overall crime -- both violent and property crimes -- also fell both in Suffolk police jurisdictions and countywide.
But in Nassau, while there has been a drop so far this year, serious crime actually was on the upswing in 2012 when compared with 2011.
Violent crime rose 12 percent in areas patrolled by the Nassau County Police Department and 10 percent countywide compared with 2011, the state records show.
The combined number of violent and property crimes in Nassau County police jurisdictions alone also rose slightly from 14,771 in 2011 to 14,941 in 2012, the records show.
In Nassau County as a whole, the combined number of violent and property crimes increased from 19,373 in 2011 to 19,468 in 2012.
Violent crime is just one portion of the overall crime picture, but police consider it a leading indicator of public safety both locally and nationally.
Identifying crime patterns
The intelligence-led policing increasingly used by departments involves quickly identifying crime patterns and trends, analyzing data to predict which offenders are most likely to commit crimes again and where they are most likely to strike.
It relies heavily on human intelligence and state-of-the-art technology to collect, analyze and rapidly distribute intelligence to officers in the field.
Such policing -- which grew more popular after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- emphasizes information sharing among multiple law enforcement agencies as part of an effort to identify larger, regional trends.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said he attributed the drop in crime in 2013 to "our bedrock philosophy of service to the community, intelligence-led policing and predictive analysis."
Nationwide, violent crime rose 1.2 percent and property crimes decreased 0.08 percent in 2012 compared with 2011, according to preliminary federal Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for 2012.
The lower numbers on Long Island, however, are part of a regional trend. The Northeast was the only section of the country in which all categories of violent crime showed decreases, the national statistics show. Murder fell 4.4 percent, rapes fell 0.2 percent, robberies fell 1.4 percent and aggravated assaults fell 0.1 percent.
The national and state data include only the number of violent and property crimes reported by law enforcement agencies. The statistics do not consider crimes that were not reported to authorities or certain types of misdemeanors, like loitering and disorderly conduct.
Other agencies' statistics
Comparing the 2012 and 2011 New York State statistics for several other law enforcement agencies revealed:
A 20 percent increase in violent crime in the Village of Freeport, where local police investigated 209 violent crimes as compared with 174 in 2011.
Hempstead Village police saw violent crime rise nearly 6 percent in their jurisdiction, from 439 to 464. Property crime dropped more than 5 percent, with burglaries falling from 1,049 in 2011 to 992 last year.
The combined number of violent crimes and property crimes in the City of Long Beach rose 14 percent last year, to 360, compared with 315 in 2011.
In Rockville Centre Village, the number of violent crimes increased 60 percent, from 20 in 2011 to 32 last year, thanks mainly to a large jump in assaults.
An 18 percent increase in property crime in Amityville, where village police reported 200 such crimes compared with 169 in 2011.
East Hampton Town police reported a 23 percent increase in property crime, from 338 in 2011 to 417 last year.
Property crime more than tripled in Nissequogue Village, with police reporting 36 incidents in 2012 compared with 10 in 2011.
Ocean Beach Village police saw the number of property crimes more than cut in half, from 27 to 13.
Property crime in Shelter Island fell from 84 in 2011 to 53 last year -- a 37 percent decrease.
The Town of Southampton saw a 27 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes, from 88 in 2011 to 64 last year. Property crime rose 4 percent, from 968 in 2011 to 1,005 last year.
Property crime fell 18 percent in Southampton village, from 146 in 2011 to 120 last year.
New York State
Gun-theft spree tied to permit map never materialized
By Richard Liebson, Shawn Cohen and Tim Henderson — Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'The Journal News' / White Plains, NY
The reaction was immediate, massive and virulent.
On Dec. 23, when The Journal News posted an interactive map on its lohud.com website with the names and addresses of registered pistol-permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties, angry critics inundated the newspaper with phone calls and emails and took to social media to blast the release of the information.
Many said its publication would lead criminals to guns they could steal. Others said people with grudges against law enforcement officials now knew how to find them. The Rockland sheriff said in a news conference that county correction officers were being threatened because of the map.
Four months and 593 Westchester and Rockland burglaries later, there's little to suggest those fears materialized. A Journal News review of burglaries in the two counties found that 11 handguns were stolen in six break-ins — four of those plus a rifle from one residence — through May 1. Three of those homes were not on the map, and police said they found no link between the map and the three that were, despite widespread media reports and statements from public officials that the map was to blame.
A newspaper data analysis found no evidence of an increase in burglaries in general in the period after the map was published, using estimates based on 2012 state burglary rates and the addresses of break-ins provided by 22 local police departments.
The local gun-permit map, published after the Newtown, Conn., shooting massacre, was taken down Jan. 18 after New York enacted a tougher gun-control law that also let permit holders shield their identifying information from being released.
While outraged gun-rights advocates saw the map as an invasion of privacy, others said the health and safety issues associated with handguns give the public a stake in knowing who owns them, particularly parents wanting to know whether guns are in the homes where their children play.
During the four weeks it remained active, the map was viewed 1.2 million times by 677,602 website visitors. Critics speculated that many of those viewers were criminals.
"It's not possible to judge the magnitude and significance of three pistol thefts in homes that appeared (in The Journal News) database," Carnegie Mellon University professor Alessandro Acquisti said. "It's interesting suggestive evidence that the map was not used to steal guns, but it's not conclusive."
In 2010, Acquisti and MIT professor Catherine Tucker studied the impact on burglaries after a Memphis, Tenn., newspaper published a database with information on more than 200,000 carry-permit holders. The study found that break-ins decreased in areas with more gun permits and increased in areas with fewer permit holders.
"We found no evidence that publishing the identities of gun permit holders led to an increase in gun thefts," Acquisti wrote in an email to The Journal News on Tuesday.
The Journal News obtained the local pistol-theft data through Freedom of Information Law requests for the number of burglaries in each municipality, the address of each burglary and whether any registered handguns were stolen. It cross-referenced that data with the gun map and conducted follow-up interviews with law enforcement, burglary victims and academics.
Putnam County pistol-permit holders were not included on the map after County Clerk Dennis Sant, in violation of the state open records law, refused to release the information, saying that doing so would put residents "in harm's way." Sant also has denied the newspaper's request for the permit data after the period when permit holders could have applied to keep their information private, saying he considered all those records sealed regardless of the new law.
The Journal News burglary survey found that no handguns were stolen in 33 Putnam burglaries between Dec. 23 and May 1.
The majority of police departments did not provide burglary addresses, saying that doing so would identify crime victims. Of 260 burglary addresses that were released, 20 appeared on the gun map, and of that 20, three involved the theft of guns.
"From those statistics, it doesn't appear the gun map was being used to steal guns," said David Chong, White Plains public safety commissioner.
A number of media outlets were quick to conclude otherwise after pry marks were found on a gun safe in a Jan. 12 White Plains burglary and two guns were stolen in a Jan. 16 Clarkstown break-in. In both cases, the gun map was named as the culprit in screaming headlines and immediately echoed by Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson.
"The Journal News has placed the lives of these folks at risk by creating a virtual shopping list for criminals and nut jobs," said Ball, who used anger over the map to solicit political donations.
Ball and Assemblyman Steve Katz, R-Yorktown, later pushed for the opt-out provision on permit-holder information that became part of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.
'The hot topic at the time'
As recently as Tuesday, former Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro told roughly 1,000 gun-rights advocates at an Albany rally protesting New York's new gun law that the gun map "put us in danger."
The damage attributed to the map extended to Montana, where the Billings Gazette reported in January that state Sen. Terry Murphy testified incorrectly during a public hearing on a similar law that because of The Journal News' map, "there has been a rash of people targeting these homes, just putting them under watch until nobody is home and stealing guns and using them in other crimes."
Murphy backtracked when pressed by a reporter afterward, saying he may have misinterpreted Internet articles discussing the possibility of such crimes.
Locally, police said they never found a link between the map and burglaries.
"Never did I ever say it was linked to the gun map," said Clarkstown police Sgt. Jo Anne Fratianni, who issued a news release on the Clarkstown break-in. "If people insinuated that from us or the press release, that's on them. … There are no facts to support this."
She said a number of media outlets prematurely reported a supposed connection.
"It became an issue like five minutes after I sent out the press release," Fratianni said. "I had to send out another one because my phone was nonstop being dialed by people speculating whatever it was they wanted to speculate. … It was the hot topic at the time. (The media) like to sensationalize things."
Chong said the same was true in the White Plains burglary, noting that finding pry marks on a safe was not unusual.
"Any burglar who sees a safe is going to try and pry it open," he said. "It does not appear that that house was targeted specifically because of the map. It was a coincidence that there were guns in the home.
"I don't agree with The Journal News publishing the map, but the media reports linking the burglary and the map created unnecessary angst for both the public and this department," he said.
Theodore Jones, 37, was feeling that angst in mid-March when his deceased father's home was burglarized in New City. Four handguns and a rifle were stolen from the house, which was listed on the map.
"My original thought was that it was gun-map related," Jones said. "I couldn't think of any other reason we would have been targeted. But the detectives seem to think it wasn't related."
The other burglary where a gun was taken and the address was on the map occurred April 8 in Mamaroneck, where police said a registered handgun, along with cash, was stolen. When contacted by The Journal News, the homeowner declined to discuss the incident.
Threats didn't materialize
As for threats against active or retired police and correction officers, Robert Buckley, vice president of the Affiliated Police Association of Westchester County, a union umbrella group, vowed in a January news conference that he would "hold The Journal News accountable" if any of its 25,000 members were contacted by criminals because of the map.
This month, he conceded that nothing had come from his concerns.
"I haven't heard of any law enforcement people having any problems because of the map, and I'm very thankful for that," Buckley said. "Our response at our press conference was for potentially what could have happened. We're happy that nothing did, but we had to raise the point, in a responsible way."
In Rockland, Sheriff Louis Falco claimed in a January news conference that prisoners at the county jail were taunting and threatening correction officers because of the map.
"They have inmates coming up to them and telling them exactly where they live," Falco said. "That's not acceptable to me."
While his statement made for sensational media and blog fodder, the alleged threats apparently were not considered serious enough to generate any written reports or disciplinary actions. In response to a Freedom of Information Law request for records of threats to correction officers and any punishment handed out to inmates, the county said none existed.
"My officers just brought it up during a labor management meeting," Falco said this month. "None of them filed a report. They weren't considered specific threats. No disciplinary action was taken."
According to a federal Bureau of Justice Statistics report released in November, firearms were stolen in about 4 percent of all burglaries in the U.S. from 2005 through 2010. The six local burglaries involving gun thefts since December, including three from homes that did not appear on the gun map, represented about 1 percent of reported burglaries during that time.
Scarsdale Police Chief John Brogan, president of the Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association, said it's difficult to explain why no guns were stolen during burglaries of 17 of the 20 homes that appeared on the lohud.com pistol-permit map.
"It could be that the guns were well secured in a locked safe, or hidden away," he said. "The burglar may not have been aware there were weapons in the house. Guns are an aggravating factor; a burglar may have chosen not to take a weapon so as not to risk more charges if he were arrested. But really it's pure speculation on my part as to why guns weren't stolen."
To gauge whether break-ins increased after the gun map was published, The Journal News used annual residential burglary rates from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services to calculate that on average, 634 homes in Westchester and Rockland are burglarized in any given four-month period, higher than the 593 reported by local departments for January through April.
Bill Grueskin, dean of academic affairs at Columbia University's School of Journalism, said it often takes time for facts to overtake the hype generated by controversial stories.
"I'm not surprised that some fears voiced at the time of the gun map turned out not to be true," Grueskin said.
Referring to reports that mistakenly linked burglaries to the gun map and sensationalized threats against guards, he said: "There's this echo chamber that tends to set in. And there's this generalized fear. Then some journalist or somebody else comes up with an anecdote that's tangentially related to that fear. Ergo presto, you've got a real live trend on your hands."
He said one lesson still holds true from introductory journalism classes.
"You know the old joke," he said. "If your mom says she loves you, check it out. Due diligence is a core value of any proper journalistic enterprise."
Former Newark Police Chief sues Booker, claims he was pressured to resign
(Garry Francis McCarthy)
By James Queally — Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'The Newark Star-Ledger' / Newark, NJ
NEWARK — Former Newark Police Chief Anthony Campos sued Mayor Cory Booker and the state's largest city last month, claiming Booker failed to deliver on promised pay raises and other incentives after using political pressure to force Campos to resign in 2008, according to a lawsuit obtained by The Star-Ledger.
Campos' public feud with Booker and then-Police Director Garry McCarthy divided Newark at the highest levels of government, leading to lawsuits, union challenges and Campos' suspension before the position was finally abolished after he resigned and McCarthy absorbed his powers.
Campos remained in the department as a deputy chief, but the suit alleges he stayed with the promise that he would actually be the city's public safety director.
According to the lawsuit, Booker negotiated Campos' resignation during an October 2008 meeting at City Hall. When Campos agreed to resign and cede power to McCarthy, Booker promised to pay him an annual salary of $170,000 and expunge his disciplinary record, the lawsuit alleges. He also told Campos he would be named director of public safety, a position outside the police department chain-of-command and McCarthy's authority, according to the suit.
Booker, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Frank Lautenberg died this month, allegedly told Campos he had the political clout to get the agreement past the City Council.
"The Mayor stated that he was the 'Commander In Chief' and the most popular Mayor in the State of New Jersey, and if he said something would get done, it would get done," the suit reads.
Booker, through a spokesman, declined to comment on the suit. Campos and his attorney, Reuben Sinins, also declined comment.
The suit claims Booker failed to increase Campos' salary or alter his disciplinary record. Campos' internal affairs record includes a suspension levied by McCarthy after a spate of personnel issues in 2008, including allegations he patronized an illegal city bar. Days after Booker named him chief in 2006, photos surfaced showing Campos posing in uniform with scantily clad women at a 1993 New Year's Eve event hosted by radio personality Howard Stern.
Campos, in his lawsuit, refutes the allegations regarding the illegal club.
The lawsuit also alleges Campos was never given the promised public safety position and that the department still considers him a deputy chief, his current rank.
Public records show Campos' annual salary is $162,676, short of the $170,000 the suit says Booker allegedly offered. Police experts also said Booker may not have the authority to clear Campos' disciplinary history.
"As a general rule, if there were sustained disciplinary actions that resulted in a suspension, then the guidelines do not give the mayor the authority to unilaterally expunge a disciplinary record," said Wayne Fisher, a criminologist at the Police Institute at Rutgers University in Newark.
The 2008 battle between Campos, McCarthy and Booker boiled over when McCarthy suspended the chief for reversing transfer orders. The Superior Officer's Association, which represents Newark captains, lieutenants and sergeants, then sued to block McCarthy from assuming Campos' powers.
By October 2008, Booker reached a settlement with the association and negotiated Campos' resignation before abolishing the chief's post altogether in 2009, a move he referred to as "legal jiu-jitsu."
The city was without a chief until 2011, when Sheilah Coley was named to the post, which she still holds.
The lawsuit is the second clash between Campos and the Booker administration in the past year. In July, Police Director Samuel DeMaio launched an investigation into Campos' use of sick time after the former chief won a district leader election in the East Ward when he was off-duty, supposedly with a bad back.
DeMaio said that investigation is ongoing.
North Plainfield PD facing controversy over arrest of chief's son, possible whistle blower lawsuit
By James Queally — Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'The Newark Star-Ledger' / Newark, NJ
NORTH PLAINFIELD — Last month, the 22-year-old police officer son of North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti was charged with drunken driving in Warren Township.
Released to his father's custody, William Parenti Jr. refused to take a Breathalyzer test, officials said, but was allowed to remain on duty because state guidelines do not allow suspensions without pay for motor vehicle offenses.
Now, another North Plainfield police officer says Parenti Jr. was improperly hired, and claims he was targeted with disciplinary action when he accused the chief of falsifying documents to help get his son into the police academy. The officer, Mark Messenger, who is also the department's former union president, is threatening to file a whistle-blower lawsuit, his attorney said.
The controversy over Parenti Jr.'s hiring came to light after he was stopped by Warren police about 2 a.m. on May 16. After allegedly refusing to take a Breathalyzer test, he was arrested and released to his father's custody, officials said.
Though he was allowed to remain on duty, Parenti Jr. faces a municipal prosecution and possible job loss because of the arrest.
A lawyer for Messenger, who is a delegate to the state Policemen's Benevolent Association and a former president of the North Plainfield PBA, said his client was suspended for 14 months after accusing Chief Parenti of "falsifying documents" so his son could attend a 2011 police academy class.
"My client's complaint is that the paperwork was fudged to accommodate the chief's son," the attorney, Charles Sciarra, said. "They've known about the complaint, and they continue to retaliate against my client."
Parenti signed a document swearing his son was hired as a full-time officer in late 2011, according to a March 2012 letter from the state PBA to the Attorney General's Office.
Documents obtained by the PBA show Parenti Jr. was actually a special police officer when he was placed in the academy. According to state guidelines, special police and full-time officers are supposed to attend separate academies and full-time officers must already have a promise of employment when they enroll. The PBA letter claims Parenti signed a document swearing his son had been hired as a full-time officer, and that was not true at the time.
Questioned about the controversy, Parenti said Messenger's suspension was unrelated and the hiring complaints were nonsense. At an internal affairs hearing last month, North Plainfield officials argued Messenger has been the target of numerous internal complaints and failed a fitness for duty examination last year.
Parenti and the Attorney General's Office say the incident has been blown out of proportion by Messenger and union leaders. Parenti said he signed the wrong training card when his son applied for the academy, and had him placed in the correct one as soon as he was notified of the error.
"There is no deception. There was never any trickery," he said. "I've been in contact with the Police Training Commission from the very beginning."
Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, echoed those comments. An investigation showed Parenti made a mistake but did nothing improper, said Loriquet, who would neither confirm nor deny an investigation into the allegations of retaliation against Messenger.
Sciarra, the attorney, was skeptical.
"These mistakes sound very convenient," he said. "But with that said, my client wants to go back to work and continues to be denied that opportunity and that is what we need to address."
Messenger requested his internal affairs hearing be made public and tempers were hot when the proceedings began May 29. During his opening remarks, Sciarra took several potshots at Chief Parenti.
"It wasn't like (Messenger) was drunk driving, asleep at the wheel, law enforcement comes up and grabs him. It wasn't like he falsified some forms to get somebody into the academy," Sciarra said.
Kevin Lyons, the PBA delegate to the state's police training commission, called the incident "disturbing" in the 2012 letter and questioned the basis of Messenger's suspension.
In an interview, Lyons said he contacted the Attorney General's Office twice in the last year, but never received a response.
"I can't believe it's falling on deaf ears," he said.
Parenti said he is more focused on his son, whose future with the department could be in jeopardy. "As a parent it's heartbreaking. It's every parent's worst nightmare when your kids go out and something happens," Parenti said. "As a parent first, I'm going to deal with the situation and we'll see what life brings us."
Bite marks, long accepted as criminal evidence, face doubts about reliability
By AMANDA LEE MYERS (The Associated Press) — Sunday, June 16th, 2013; 10:58 a.m. EDT
At least 24 men convicted or charged with murder or rape based on bite marks on the flesh of victims have been exonerated since 2000, many after spending more than a decade in prison. Now a judge's ruling later this month in New York could help end the practice for good.
A small, mostly ungoverned group of dentists carry out bite mark analysis and their findings are often key evidence in prosecutions, even though there is no scientific proof that teeth can be matched definitively to a bite into human skin.
DNA has outstripped the usefulness of bite mark analysis in many cases: The FBI doesn't use it and the American Dental Association does not recognize it.
"Bite mark evidence is the poster child of unreliable forensic science," said Chris Fabricant, director of strategic litigation at the New York-based Innocence Project, which helps wrongfully convicted inmates win freedom through DNA testing.
Supporters of the method, which involves comparing the teeth of possible suspects to bite mark patterns on victims, argue it has helped convict child murderers and other notorious criminals, including serial killer Ted Bundy. They say problems that have arisen are not about the method, but about the qualifications of those testifying, who can earn as much as $5,000 a case.
"The problem lies in the analyst or the bias," said Dr. Frank Wright, a forensic dentist in Cincinnati. "So if the analyst is ... not properly trained or introduces bias into their exam, sure, it's going to be polluted, just like any other scientific investigation. It doesn't mean bite mark evidence is bad."
The Associated Press reviewed decades of court records, archives, news reports and filings by the Innocence Project in order to compile the most comprehensive count to date of those exonerated after being convicted or charged based on bite mark evidence. Two dozen forensic scientists and other experts were interviewed, including some who had never before spoken to a reporter about their work.
The AP analysis found that at least two dozen men had been exonerated since 2000, mostly as a result of DNA testing. Many had spent years in prison, including on death row, and one man was behind bars for more than 23 years. The count included at least six men arrested on bite mark evidence who were freed as they awaited trial.
Two court cases this month are helping to bring the debate over the issue to a head. One involves a 63-year-old California man who is serving a life term for killing his wife, even though the forensic dentist who testified against him has reversed his opinion.
In the second, a New York City judge overseeing a murder case is expected to decide whether bite mark analysis can be admitted as evidence, a ruling critics say could kick it out of courtrooms for good.
Some notable cases of faulty bite mark analysis include:
- Two men convicted of raping and killing two 3-year-old girls in separate Mississippi crimes in 1992 and 1995. Marks on their bodies were later determined to have come from crawfish and insects.
- A New Mexico man imprisoned in the 1989 rape and murder of his stepdaughter, who was found with a possible bite mark on her neck and sperm on her body. It was later determined that the stepfather had a medical condition that prevented him from producing sperm.
- Ray Krone, the so-called "Snaggletooth Killer," who was convicted in 1992 and again in 1996 after winning a new trial in the murder of a Phoenix bartender found naked and stabbed in the men's restroom of the bar where she worked. Krone spent 10 years in prison, three on death row.
Raymond Rawson, a Las Vegas forensic dentist, testified at both trials that bite marks on the bartender could only have come from Krone, evidence that proved critical in convicting him. At his second trial, three top forensic dentists testified for the defense that Krone couldn't have made the bite mark, but the jury didn't give their findings much weight and again found him guilty.
In 2002, DNA testing matched a different man, and Krone was released.
Rawson, like a handful of other forensic dentists implicated in faulty testimony connected to high-profile exonerations, remains on the American Board of Forensic Odontology, the only entity that certifies and oversees bite mark analysts. Now retired, he didn't return messages left at a number listed for him in Las Vegas.
Rawson has never publicly acknowledged making a mistake, nor has he apologized to Krone, who described sitting helplessly in court listening to the dentist identify him as the killer.
"You're dumbfounded," Krone said in a telephone interview from his home in Newport, Tenn. "There's one person that knows for sure and that was me. And he's so pompously, so arrogantly and so confidently stating that, beyond a shadow of doubt, he's positive it was my teeth. It was so ridiculous."
The history of bite mark analysis began in 1954 with a piece of cheese in small-town Texas. A dentist testified that a bite mark in the cheese, left behind in a grocery store that had been robbed, matched the teeth of a drunken man found with 13 stolen silver dollars. The man was convicted.
The first court case involving a bite mark on a person didn't come until two decades later, in 1974, also in Texas. Two dentists testified that a man's teeth matched a bite mark on a murder victim. Although the defense attorney fought the admissibility of the evidence, a court ruled that it should be allowed because it had been used in 1954.
Bite mark analysis hit the big time at Bundy's 1979 Florida trial.
On the night Bundy went on a killing spree that left two young women dead and three others seriously wounded, he savagely bit one of the murder victims, Lisa Levy. A Florida forensic dentist, Dr. Richard Souviron, testified at Bundy's murder trial that his unusual, mangled teeth were a match.
Bundy was found guilty and executed. The bite marks were considered the key piece of physical evidence against him.
That nationally televised case and dozens more in the 1980s and 1990s made bite mark evidence look like infallible, cutting-edge science, and courtrooms accepted it with little debate.
Then came DNA testing. Beginning in the early 2000s, new evidence set free men serving prison time or awaiting the death penalty largely because of bite mark testimony that later proved faulty.
At the core of critics' arguments is that science hasn't shown it's possible to match a bite mark to a single person's teeth or even that human skin can accurately record a bite mark.
Fabricant, of the Innocence Project, said what's most troubling about bite mark evidence is how powerful it can be for jurors.
"It's very inflammatory," he said. "What could be more grotesque than biting someone amid a murder or a rape hard enough to leave an injury? It's highly prejudicial, and its probative value is completely unknown."
Fabricant and other defense attorneys are fighting to get bite mark analysis thrown out of courtrooms, most recently focusing their efforts on the New York City case.
It involves the death of 33-year-old Kristine Yitref, whose beaten and strangled body was found wrapped in garbage bags under a bed in a hotel near Times Square in 2007. A forensic dentist concluded a mark on her body matched the teeth of Clarence Brian Dean, a 41-year-old fugitive sex offender from Alabama, who is awaiting trial on a murder charge.
Dean told police he killed Yitref in self-defense, saying she and another man attacked him in a robbery attempt after he agreed to pay her for sex; no other man was found.
Dean's defense attorneys have challenged the prosecution's effort to admit the bite mark evidence, and a judge is expected to issue a ruling as early as mid-June - a pivotal step critics hope could eventually help lead to a ban on such evidence.
A dayslong hearing last year over the scientific validity of bite marks went to the heart of the debate.
"The issue is not that bite mark analysis is invalid, but that bite mark examiners are not properly vetted," Dr. David Senn, of San Antonio, testified at the hearing.
Another case gaining attention is that of William Joseph Richards, convicted in 1997 of killing his wife, Pam, in San Bernardino, Calif., and sentenced to life in prison.
Pam Richards had been strangled and beaten with rocks, her skull crushed by a cinder block, and her body left lying in the dirt in front of their home, naked from the waist down.
Dr. Norman Sperber, a well-respected forensic dentist, testified that a crescent-shaped wound on her body corresponded with an extremely rare abnormality in William Richards' teeth.
But at a 2009 hearing seeking Richards' freedom, Sperber recanted his testimony, saying that it was scientifically inaccurate, that he no longer was sure the wound was a bite mark, and that even if it was, Richards could not have made it.
Shortly after that, a judge tossed out Richards' conviction and declared him innocent. The prosecution appealed and the case went all the way to the California Supreme Court, which ruled in December that Richards had failed to prove his innocence, even though the bite mark evidence had been discredited. In a 4-3 decision, the court said forensic evidence, even if later recanted, can be deemed false only in very narrow circumstances and Richards did not meet that high bar.
Since April 27, Richards' attorneys have been on what they dubbed a two-month "innocence march" from San Diego to the state capitol, Sacramento, to deliver a request for clemency to Gov. Jerry Brown and raise awareness about wrongful convictions. They are expected to arrive later this month.
The American Board of Forensic Odontology recently got a request from Richards' attorneys, who are affiliated with the Innocence Project, for a written opinion on the shoddy bite mark evidence used against him. The board declined.
Only about 100 forensic dentists are certified by the odontology board, and just a fraction are actively analyzing and comparing bite marks. Certification requires no proficiency tests. The board requires a dentist to have been the lead investigator and to have testified in one current bite mark case and to analyze six past cases on file - a system criticized by defense attorneys because it requires testimony before certification.
Testifying can earn a forensic dentist $1,500 to $5,000 per case, though most testify in only a few a year. The consequences for being wrong are almost nonexistent. Many lawsuits against forensic dentists employed by counties and medical examiner's offices have been thrown out because as government officials, they're largely immune from liability.
Only one member of the American Board of Forensic Odontology has ever been suspended, none has ever been decertified, and some dentists still on the board have been involved in some of the most high-profile and egregious exonerations on record.
Even Dr. Michael West, whose testimony is considered pivotal in the wrongful convictions or imprisonment of at least four men, was not thrown off the board. West was suspended and ended up stepping down.
Among his cases were the separate rapes and murders of the two 3-year-old girls in Mississippi, where West testified that two men later exonerated by DNA evidence were responsible for what he said were bite marks on their bodies. The marks later turned out to be from crawfish and insects, and a different man's DNA matched both cases.
West now says DNA has made bite mark analysis almost obsolete.
"People love to have a black-and-white, and it's not black and white," said West, of Hattiesburg, Miss., where he has a dental practice but no longer works on bite mark cases. "I thought it was extremely accurate, but other cases have proven it's not."
Levon Brooks, convicted of killing one of the girls, spent 16 years in prison. The other, Kennedy Brewer, was behind bars for 13 years, many of them on death row.
West defended his testimony, saying he never testified that Brooks and Brewer were the killers, only that they bit the children, and that he's not responsible for juries who found them guilty.
Other dentists involved in exonerations have been allowed to remain on the board as long as they don't handle more bite mark cases, said Wright, the Cincinnati forensic dentist.
"The ABFO has had some internal issues as far as not really policing our own," he said.
Wright and other forensic dentists have been working to develop guidelines to help avert problems of the past while retaining bite mark analysis in the courtroom.
Their efforts include a flow chart to help forensic dentists determine whether bite mark analysis is even appropriate for a given case. Wright also is working on developing a proficiency test that would be required for recertification every five years.
An internal debate over the future of the practice was laid bare at a conference in Washington in February, when scores of dentists - many specializing in bite mark analysis - attended days of lectures and panel discussions. The field's harshest critics also were there, leading to heated discussions about the method's limitations and strengths.
Dr. Gregory Golden, a forensic dentist and president of the odontology board, acknowledged that flawed testimony has led to the "ruination of several innocent people's lives" but said the field was entering a "new era" of accountability.
Souviron, who testified against Bundy in 1979 and is one of the founding fathers of bite mark analysis in the U.S., argued there's a "real need for bite marks in our criminal justice system."
In an interview with the AP, Souviron compared the testimony of well-trained bite mark analysts to medical examiners testifying about a suspected cause of death.
"If someone's got an unusual set of teeth, like the Bundy case, from the standpoint of throwing it out of court, that's ridiculous," he said. "Every science that I know of has bad individuals. Our science isn't bad. It's the individuals who are the problem."
Many forensic dentists have helped the Innocence Project win exonerations in bite mark cases gone wrong by re-examining evidence and testifying for the wrongfully convicted.
But a once-cooperative relationship has turned adversarial ever since the Innocence Project began trying to get bite mark evidence thrown entirely out of courtrooms, while at the same time using it to help win exonerations.
"They turn a blind eye to the good side of bite mark analysis," Golden told the AP.
One example is a case Wright worked on in 1998. He analyzed the bite marks of the only three people who were in an Ohio home when 17-day-old Legacy Fawcett was found dead in her crib. Of the three, two sets of teeth could not have made the bite marks, Wright testified; only the teeth of the mother's boyfriend could have. The boyfriend was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and served eight years in prison.
Without the bite mark, Wright said, the wrong person might have been convicted or the man responsible could have gone free, or both.
"Bite mark evidence can be too important not to be useful," Wright said. "You can't just throw it away."
Myers reported from Cincinnati. Associated Press News Researcher Barbara Sambriski in New York and AP writers Eric Tucker in Washington, D.C., and David B. Caruso in New York contributed to this report.
Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'The New York Times' Editorial:
Racially Biased Arrests for Pot
Researchers have long known that African-Americans are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, even though studies have repeatedly shown that the two groups use the drug at similar rates.
New federal data, included in a study by the American Civil Liberties Union, now shows that the problem of racially biased arrests is far more extensive that was previously known — and is getting worse. The costly, ill-advised "war on marijuana" might fairly be described as a tool of racial oppression.
The study, based on law enforcement data from 50 states and the District of Columbia, is the most detailed of its kind so far. Marijuana arrests have risen sharply over the last two decades and now make up about half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the more than eight million marijuana arrests made between 2001 and 2010, nearly 90 percent were for possession. There were nearly 900,000 marijuana arrests in 2010 — 300,000 more than for all violent crimes combined.
Nationally, African-Americans are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as whites. The disparity is even more pronounced in some states, including Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, where African-Americans are about eight times as likely to be arrested. And in some counties around the country, blacks are 10, 15 or even 30 times as likely to be arrested.
This nationwide pattern is evident in all kinds of communities — urban and rural, wealthy and low income, in places where the African-American populations are large and in places where they are small.
As the report notes, police officers who are targeting black citizens and black neighborhoods are turning "a comparatively blind eye to the same conduct occurring at the same rates in many white communities."
Paradoxically, this is happening at a time when polls show growing public support for full legalization. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized the drug for general use by adults; 18 others and the District of Columbia have legalized it for medical use. The mindless push to make low-level possession arrests distracts the police from serious crime, wastes billions of dollars and alienates minority citizens from the law. It also brings disastrous consequences for young people, as convictions can lead to fines, jail time and temporary loss of federal student financial aid — not to mention criminal records that make it difficult for them to find housing or work. The report urges the states to license and regulate marijuana, legalizing it for people 21 or older.
Regardless of laws in individual states, federal officials and local police departments need to abandon policies that evaluate officers based on numerical arrest goals, which encourage petty arrests, along with illegal stops that violate the Fourth Amendment.
This also means restructuring a main federal program that finances state and local efforts to enforce drug laws so that petty marijuana arrests are no longer counted as evidence of effective police performance. Beyond that, law enforcement agencies need to put an end to what is obviously a widespread practice of racial profiling.
Boston FBI, old and new, on trial
By Joan Vennochi — Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'The Boston Globe' / Boston, MA
(Op-Ed / Commentary)
Whitey Bulger is on trial, and with him, the old Boston FBI.
And just when it looked like it was improving its brand, the new Boston FBI is on trial, too.
Give it credit for this: The Boston FBI tracked down Bulger in 2011, finally forcing the reputed mobster to account for his alleged crimes after 16 years on the run. Unfortunately, that's the same year it lost track of Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
And now, poof. Richard DesLauriers, the agent in charge of the Boston office since 2010, is leaving for the private sector. After 26½ years in the FBI, DesLauriers said his move to a corporate security job was in the works for awhile; it has nothing to do with any FBI controversies.
But still, the timing is interesting and raises accountability issues. FBI Director Robert Mueller is also a short-timer, scheduled to leave his post in September. On Thursday, Mueller told a House panel the FBI would "do better" next time when it comes to tracking individuals like Tsarnaev. He also found no fault with how the FBI handled a warning from Russian officials about the bombing suspect.
Because of Bulger, the Boston FBI is viewed as a highly flawed operation.
That hardly closes the book on questions for the FBI, from corruption in the Bulger case to bureaucratic blindness in the Tsarnaev matter.
Because of Bulger, the Boston FBI is viewed as a highly flawed operation, and the mobster's trial will only remind people of its past deficiencies.
Bulger desperately wants to turn the FBI into his co-defendant. The trial judge blocked his attorney's effort to argue that Bulger's deal with the FBI gave him immunity to commit his alleged crimes. Still, defense lawyer J.W. Carney opened his case by arguing that Bulger was running rackets in Boston with the help of corrupt law enforcement officials.
Bulger wasn't an informant, declared Carney; he was paying corrupt law enforcement officials for information that protected him.
Either way, the FBI looks terrible, and it can only look worse, as the trial reveals the deals that federal law enforcement cut with Bulger and his murderous cohorts. The gulf between a morally bankrupt FBI operation and local police will also be showcased.
But those were the bad old days. What about now?
DesLauriers has had his successes. As reported by the Globe, he was in charge during the conviction of Tarek Mehanna, a US citizen charged with terrorism, and during the political corruption case involving former House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. But the 1990 theft of artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum remains unsolved.
Today, bureaucratic corruption isn't the problem; but the persistence of bureaucratic silos may be. The relationship between federal and local law enforcement is better than it was during the Bulger years. But the FBI still doesn't always play well with others — as fallout from the Marathon bombing suggests.
Right after the April 15 attack, DesLauriers and the Boston FBI were hailed as heroes. His televised briefings gave federal law enforcement a public face and a very professional-sounding voice. The dramatic manhunt that ultimately ended with the death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the capture of his brother, Dzhokhar, fascinated the world.
But then the questions started up. In 2011, Russian authorities said they warned the FBI about the possible radicalization of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but agents decided he wasn't a threat. Who decided and why? On Thursday, Mueller said "a very good agent" interviewed Tsarnaev and his parents. More details would be helpful.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told a congressional panel that the FBI didn't share information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev that might have helped prevent the bombing attack. DesLauriers disputed that, but didn't provide much beyond a statement that Tsarnaev's name was on a watch list of thousands available to Boston police.
After traveling to Russia, US Representative William Keating said the FBI should provide more information about the warnings Russian officials said they sent. Mueller told the House panel that when the FBI sought more information from the Russians, "We got no response."
The FBI shooting of a man in Florida who is tied to Tamerlan Tsarnaev is also under scrutiny. The FBI accounts have shifted as to who was in the room when the fatal shooting occurred and what prompted it.
Like it or not, the Boston FBI remains on trial.
Week 1 of James 'Whitey' Bulger's trial complete
By Unnamed Author(s) (The Associated Press) — Saturday, June 15th, 2013; 8:54 p.m. EDT
BOSTON (AP) -- One of the FBI's Most Wanted for more than a decade, James "Whitey" Bulger went on trial this week. Here's a look back at the first week of the racketeering trial of a man who prosecutors say participated in 19 killings.
The 83-year-old Bulger, the alleged former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, was one of the nation's most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994. He was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living with his longtime girlfriend in a rent-controlled apartment. His early image as a modern-day Robin Hood who gave Thanksgiving dinners to working-class neighbors and kept drug dealers out of his South Boston neighborhood was shattered when authorities started digging up bodies.
Prosecutor Brian Kelly told the jury that Bulger was a "hands-on killer" who was responsible for "murder and mayhem" in Boston for almost 30 years. In his opening statement Wednesday, Kelly offered chilling details of some of the 19 killings Bulger is charged in, including how he allegedly strangled two 26-year-old women and how he asked one man if he wanted a bullet in the head after Bulger's attempt to strangle him with a rope failed.
Kelly said Bulger was a long-time FBI informant who provided information on the New England Mafia, his gang's rivals.
A retired state police colonel told jurors on Thursday that Bulger and his gang demanded payment from bookmakers, drug dealers and others who wanted to do business in the area they controlled. Failure to pay up could mean being run out of business, "taking a beating" or being killed, retired state police Col. Thomas Foley told the jury.
Two bookies who testified Friday told the jury they were forced to pay monthly "rent" or "tribute" payments to Bulger and his gang if they wanted to stay in business. James Katz said if bookies did not pay Bulger's gang, they could "wind up in the hospital." Richard O'Brien said he had been affiliated with the New England Mafia, but decided to operate independently after members of the mob were arrested. He said Bulger told him during a meeting, "If you want to be in business, you're with us."
Bulger's lawyer, Jay W. Carney Jr., acknowledged in his opening statement that Bulger made millions through illegal drugs, gambling and loan-sharking. But Carney told jurors three ex-mobsters who pinned murders on Bulger cannot be believed. The defense insists that Bulger was never an FBI informant. Instead, they say, Bulger paid FBI agents and other law enforcement to tip off him and his gang when they were being investigated or about to be indicted.
Under questioning by Carney, Katz acknowledged making most of his payments to Bulger's partner, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, and that he only met Bulger once. The defense is due to cross-examine O'Brien on Monday.
Eleven men and seven women are serving on the jury, including 12 regular jurors and six alternates. The trial is expected to last three to four months.
The usually stoic defendant chuckled after O'Brien testified that Bulger once threatened a man who wanted to go into business for himself by saying he had another business besides bookmaking: "Killing (expletive) like you."
WHAT'S UP NEXT
Hitman John Martorano is expected to testify Monday as one of the prosecution's star witnesses. Martorano admitted to killing 20 people and served 12 years in prison. Bulger's lawyers have attacked his credibility and the "extraordinary" deal he got from prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation.
Immigration Enforcement / Illegal Aliens
Fears of National ID With Immigration Bill
By ERIC LIPTON — Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'The New York Times'
WASHINGTON — Driver's license photographs and biographic information of most Americans would be accessible through an expanded Department of Homeland Security nationwide computer network if the immigration legislation pending before the Senate becomes law.
The proposed expansion is part of an effort to crack down on illegal immigration by requiring all employers to confirm the identity and legal status of any new workers by tapping into a Homeland Security Department system called E-Verify, which is now used voluntarily by about 7 percent of employers in the United States.
But the proposal already faces objections from some civil liberties lawyers and certain members of Congress, who worry about the potential for another sprawling data network that could ultimately be the equivalent of a national ID system.
The questions are being raised while a debate takes places over access to domestic phone records and Internet files of foreigners.
"Over time, this could become a single, national, searchable database of vital biographic information and photographs of nearly every American," said Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware. "I want to make sure we embed privacy protections in the system, both in how it is built and administered so that data cannot easily be stolen, and also that the information is only used for legitimate purposes."
Homeland Security Department officials consider such fears unwarranted because E-Verify simply reaches out to other existing government computer systems, like Social Security records or passport records, to confirm a person's identity and work eligibility.
"It is not a stand-alone database that collects and stores," said Christopher Bentley, a spokesman at the department's Citizenship and Immigration Services division, which runs E-Verify. "It pings the other databases that are already established for confirmation, and once that process is complete the information disappears."
E-Verify would have to be greatly expanded if the immigration bill is passed, because within four years all employers would have to electronically submit information gathered from new employees, including citizens, to confirm that they are eligible to work in the United States.
Alex Conant, a spokesman for Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, whose staff helped write the language in the Senate bill, said the E-Verify changes would make it harder for someone who has entered the country illegally to find a job and would accomplish this without creating a national identification card.
"The system we currently have is full of fraud and contributes to illegal immigration," Mr. Conant said. "This proposed system protects individual civil liberties while giving employers the tools to make sure their employees are legal."
To prevent a job applicant from using fraudulent credentials — as often occurs with illegal immigrants — the legislation mandates the expansion of a photo-based confirmation system. It would allow employers to compare a photo on a driver's license or a passport with what should be a replica of that photo maintained by the agency that issued the identification document.
Since late 2010, the Homeland Security Department has had access to the 113 million State Department passport records and photos to help prevent abuse. But the Senate bill would direct the department to expand the photo program by offering grants to states if they allow the department to tap into their driver's license photo records, and also makes it clear that allowing such access would not represent a violation of a federal privacy law.
Currently, only Mississippi allows the department into its motor vehicle database, Mr. Bentley said, and only for biographic information, like name and date of birth, not photographs.
But several civil liberties lawyers and lawmakers have said they were concerned that an expanded E-Verify — if it had access to all 212 million driver's license records in the United States — would soon be tapped by other federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration at airport checkpoints or the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a search for suspects.
Just as Social Security numbers became adopted for identification uses never intended, E-Verify, they say, would draw many unexpected uses.
"We are wary of giving the federal government this kind of centralized power over our daily lives," Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, wrote in an opinion article in The Washington Times, opposing the plan for expanding the E-Verify system.
The Senate legislation makes it clear that the proposed law should not be interpreted to "permit or allow" any other government agency to use the E-Verify data for any purpose other than employment verification. But it does not explicitly prohibit such a use, as the law governing the census does, critics said.
In fact, privacy guidelines issued by the Homeland Security Department governing E-Verify say it may, on a case-by-case basis, "give law enforcement agencies extracts of information on potential fraud, discrimination or other illegal activities."
Mr. Bentley said this provision was intended to prevent individual cases of wrongdoing, and not to allow broad searches of the data that are linked together by the E-Verify system.
Mr. Conant said Senator Rubio would consider amendments to the legislation to address privacy concerns about the proposals.
"Given the justified concerns that many Americans have with the current administration's overreach," Mr. Conant said in a statement, "we are open to refinements that would further restrict the government's use of this technology, without undermining the ability of employers to ensure undocumented immigrants are not illegally obtaining employment."
U.S. surveillance architecture includes collection of revealing Internet, phone metadata
By Barton Gellman — Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'The Washington Post' / Washington, DC
On March 12, 2004, acting attorney general James B. Comey and the Justice Department's top leadership reached the brink of resignation over electronic surveillance orders that they believed to be illegal.
President George W. Bush backed down, halting secret foreign-intelligence-gathering operations that had crossed into domestic terrain.
That morning marked the beginning of the end of STELLARWIND, the cover name for a set of four surveillance programs that brought Americans and American territory within the domain of the National Security Agency for the first time in decades. It was also a prelude to new legal structures that allowed Bush and then President Obama to reproduce each of those programs and expand their reach.
What exactly STELLARWIND did has never been disclosed in an unclassified form. Which parts of it did Comey approve? Which did he shut down? What became of the programs when the crisis passed and Comey, now Obama's expected nominee for FBI director, returned to private life?
Authoritative new answers to those questions, drawing upon a classified NSA history of STELLARWIND and interviews with high-ranking intelligence officials, offer the clearest map yet of the Bush-era programs and the NSA's contemporary U.S. operations.
STELLARWIND was succeeded by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications, according to the interviews and documents.
Foreigners, not Americans, are the NSA's "targets," as the law defines that term. But the programs are structured broadly enough that they touch nearly every American household in some way. Obama administration officials and career intelligence officers say Americans should take comfort that privacy protections are built into the design and oversight, but they are not prepared to discuss the details.
The White House, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on the record for this article. A senior intelligence official agreed to answer questions if not identified.
"We have rich oversight across three branches of government. I've got an [inspector general] here, a fairly robust legal staff here . . . and there's the Justice Department's national security division," the official said. "For those things done under court jurisdiction, the courts are intrusive in my business, appropriately so, and there are two congressional committees. It's a belts-and-suspenders-and-Velcro approach, and inside there's rich auditing."
But privacy advocates, such as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), said the intelligence committee on which he serves needs "straight answers" to do vigorous oversight.
He added: "The typical person says, 'If I am law-abiding and the government is out there collecting lots of information about me — who I call, when I call, where I call from' . . . I think the typical person is going to say, 'That sure sounds like it could have some effect on my privacy.' "
Two of the four collection programs, one each for telephony and the Internet, process trillions of "metadata" records for storage and analysis in systems called MAINWAY and MARINA, respectively. Metadata includes highly revealing information about the times, places, devices and participants in electronic communication, but not its contents. The bulk collection of telephone call records from Verizon Business Services, disclosed this month by the British newspaper the Guardian, is one source of raw intelligence for MAINWAY.
The other two types of collection, which operate on a much smaller scale, are aimed at content. One of them intercepts telephone calls and routes the spoken words to a system called NUCLEON.
For Internet content, the most important source collection is the PRISM project reported on June 6 by The Washington Post and the Guardian. It draws from data held by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other Silicon Valley giants, collectively the richest depositories of personal information in history.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, 29, who unmasked himself as the source behind the PRISM and Verizon revelations, said he hoped for a systematic debate about the "danger to our freedom and way of life" posed by a surveillance apparatus "kept in check by nothing more than policy."
For well over a week, he has had his wish. Startling disclosures have poured out of the nation's largest and arguably tightest-lipped spy agency at an unprecedented pace. Snowden's disclosures have opened a national conversation about the limits of secret surveillance in a free society and an outcry overseas against U.S. espionage.
The debate has focused on two of the four U.S.-based collection programs: PRISM, for Internet content, and the comprehensive collection of telephone call records, foreign and domestic, that the Guardian revealed by posting a classified order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to Verizon Business Services.
The Post has learned that similar orders have been renewed every three months for other large U.S. phone companies, including Bell South and AT&T, since May 24, 2006. On that day, the surveillance court made a fundamental shift in its approach to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which permits the FBI to compel production of "business records" that are relevant to a particular terrorism investigation and to share those in some circumstances with the NSA. Henceforth, the court ruled, it would define the relevant business records as the entirety of a telephone company's call database.
The Bush administration, by then, had been taking "bulk metadata" from the phone companies under voluntary agreements for more than four years. The volume of information overwhelmed the MAINWAY database, according to a classified report from the NSA inspector general in 2009. The agency spent $146 million in supplemental counterterrorism funds to buy new hardware and contract support — and to make unspecified payments to the phone companies for "collaborative partnerships."
When the New York Times revealed the warrantless surveillance of voice calls, in December 2005, the telephone companies got nervous. One of them, unnamed in the report, approached the NSA with a request. Rather than volunteer the data, at a price, the "provider preferred to be compelled to do so by a court order," the report said. Other companies followed suit. The surveillance court order that recast the meaning of business records "essentially gave NSA the same authority to collect bulk telephony metadata from business records that it had" under Bush's asserted authority alone.
Telephone metadata was not the issue that sparked a rebellion at the Justice Department, first by Jack Goldsmith of the Office of Legal Counsel and then by Comey, who was acting attorney general because John D. Ashcroft was in intensive care with acute gallstone pancreatitis. It was Internet metadata.
At Bush's direction, in orders prepared by David Addington, the counsel to Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the NSA had been siphoning e-mail metadata and technical records of Skype calls from data links owned by AT&T, Sprint and MCI, which later merged with Verizon.
For reasons unspecified in the report, Goldsmith and Comey became convinced that Bush had no lawful authority to do that.
MARINA and the collection tools that feed it are probably the least known of the NSA's domestic operations, even among experts who follow the subject closely. Yet they probably capture information about more American citizens than any other, because the volume of e-mail, chats and other Internet communications far exceeds the volume of standard telephone calls.
The NSA calls Internet metadata "digital network information." Sophisticated analysis of those records can reveal unknown associates of known terrorism suspects. Depending on the methods applied, it can also expose medical conditions, political or religious affiliations, confidential business negotiations and extramarital affairs.
What permits the former and prevents the latter is a complex set of policies that the public is not permitted to see. "You could do analyses that give you more information, but the law and procedures don't allow that," a senior U.S. intelligence lawyer said.
In the urgent aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, with more attacks thought to be imminent, analysts wanted to use "contact chaining" techniques to build what the NSA describes as network graphs of people who represented potential threats.
The legal challenge for the NSA was that its practice of collecting high volumes of data from digital links did not seem to meet even the relatively low requirements of Bush's authorization, which allowed collection of Internet metadata "for communications with at least one communicant outside the United States or for which no communicant was known to be a citizen of the United States," the NSA inspector general's report said.
Lawyers for the agency came up with an interpretation that said the NSA did not "acquire" the communications, a term with formal meaning in surveillance law, until analysts ran searches against it. The NSA could "obtain" metadata in bulk, they argued, without meeting the required standards for acquisition.
Goldsmith and Comey did not buy that argument, and a high-ranking U.S. intelligence official said the NSA does not rely on it today.
As soon as surveillance data "touches us, we've got it, whatever verbs you choose to use," the official said in an interview. "We're not saying there's a magic formula that lets us have it without having it."
When Comey finally ordered a stop to the program, Bush signed an order renewing it anyway. Comey, Goldsmith, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and most of the senior Bush appointees in the Justice Department began drafting letters of resignation.
Then-NSA Director Michael V. Hayden was not among them. According to the inspector general's classified report, Cheney's lawyer, Addington, placed a phone call and "General Hayden had to decide whether NSA would execute the Authorization without the Attorney General's signature." He decided to go along.
The following morning, when Mueller told Bush that he and Comey intended to resign, the president reversed himself.
Three months later, on July 15, the secret surveillance court allowed the NSA to resume bulk collection under the court's own authority. The opinion, which remains highly classified, was based on a provision of electronic surveillance law, known as "pen register, trap and trace," that was written to allow law enforcement officers to obtain the phone numbers of incoming and outgoing calls from a single telephone line.
When the NSA aims for foreign targets whose communications cross U.S. infrastructure, it expects to sweep in some American content "incidentally" or "inadvertently," which are terms of art in regulations governing the NSA. Contact chaining, because it extends to the contacts of contacts of targets, inevitably collects even more American data.
Current NSA director Keith B. Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. have resolutely refused to offer an estimate of the number of Americans whose calls or e-mails have thus made their way into content databases such as NUCLEON.
The agency and its advocates maintain that its protection of that data is subject to rigorous controls and oversight by Congress and courts. For the public, it comes down to a question of unverifiable trust.
"The constraints that I operate under are much more remarkable than the powers that I enjoy," said the senior intelligence official who declined to be named.
When asked why the NSA could not release an unclassified copy of its "minimization procedures," which are supposed to strip accidentally collected records of their identifying details, the official suggested a reporter submit a freedom-of-information request.
As for bulk collection of Internet metadata, the question that triggered the crisis of 2004, another official said the NSA is no longer doing it. When pressed on that question, he said he was speaking only of collections under authority of the surveillance court.
"I'm not going to say we're not collecting any Internet metadata," he added. "We're not using this program and these kinds of accesses to collect Internet metadata in bulk."
Julie Tate and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.
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Metadata reveals the secrets of social position, company hierarchy, terrorist cells
By Ellen Nakashima — Sunday, June 16th, 2013 'The Washington Post' / Washington, DC
Excerpt; desired to read the article in its entirety, go to:
Metadata — or data about communications — can reveal so much about who we are, where we go and whom we associate with.
Metadata is so rich with clues that entities from Google and eBay to the world's largest spy agency, the National Security Agency, are collecting and mining this deceptively innocuous information: e-mail addresses to and from, times of e-mails, phone numbers dialed and received, lengths of calls, unique device serial numbers.
The NSA until 2011 gathered e-mail and other digital metadata from major Internet data links, presumably to detect and thwart terrorist plots.
But the government has resisted explaining its legal justification for gathering such massive amounts of data, which hold the potential to permit vast intrusions into the personal lives of Americans.
Officials: NSA programs broke plots in 20 nations
By KIMBERLY DOZIER (The Associated Press) — Saturday, June 15th, 2013; 10:41 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top U.S. intelligence officials said Saturday that information gleaned from two controversial data-collection programs run by the National Security Agency thwarted potential terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries — and that gathered data is destroyed every five years.
Last year, fewer than 300 phone numbers were checked against the database of millions of U.S. phone records gathered daily by the NSA in one of the programs, the intelligence officials said in arguing that the programs are far less sweeping than their detractors allege.
No other new details about the plots or the countries involved were part of the newly declassified information released to Congress on Saturday and made public by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Intelligence officials said they are working to declassify the dozens of plots NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander said were disrupted, to show Americans the value of the programs, but that they want to make sure they don't inadvertently reveal parts of the U.S. counterterrorism playbook in the process.
The release of information follows a bruising week for U.S. intelligence officials who testified on Capitol Hill, defending programs that were unknown to the public — and some lawmakers — until they were revealed by a series of media stories in The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who remains in hiding in Hong Kong.
The disclosures have sparked debate and legal action against the Obama administration by privacy activists who say the data collection goes far beyond what was intended when expanded counterterrorism measures were authorized by Congress after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Intelligence officials said Saturday that both NSA programs are reviewed every 90 days by the secret court authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under the program, the records, showing things like time and length of call, can only be examined for suspected connections to terrorism, they said.
The officials offered more detail on how the phone records program helped the NSA stop a 2009 al-Qaida plot to blow up New York City subways. They say the program helped them track a co-conspirator of al-Qaida operative Najibullah Zazi — though it's not clear why the FBI needed the NSA to investigate Zazi's phone records because the FBI would have had the authority to gather records of Zazi's phone calls after identifying him as a suspect, rather than relying on the sweeping collection program.