From the December 2004 Idaho Observer:

The Sense of Congress

Intelligence reform, the shadow government turns black and other tales of treason

by Hari Heath

It may be an oxymoron, but Congress often uses the phrase "it is the sense of Congress" when it issues reports or policy statements. Given the fact that over 600 local jurisdictions have passed ordinances and resolutions in opposition to the contents of the PATRIOT Act, the Congress must "sense" that many Americans will not tolerate further insults to our national dignity.

PATRIOT Act II has been looming on the horizon for several years. As Alex Jones from stated, "From snatch and grab operations to warantless searches, Patriot Act II is an Adolf Hitler wish list."

Cloaked in a more palatable name like the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, Patriot II was "leaked" February 7th of that year by the Center for Public Integrity. Opposition to its treasonous Nazi police state contents have kept that Hydra from rearing all its heads at once. But one head at a time, it is emerging from Congress—masquerading as a necessary and benevolent creature.

Some of the contents of Patriot Act II are in Congresses’ latest debacle. In fact, as of this writing, we’re really not sure what is in the "National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004."

There are several versions on the legislative website,, and the contents vary. The Table of Contents of the "Public Print" version of S.2845 is 14 pages in length, and the bill status summary of amendments, with a sentence or so describing each act of amending the bill is over 20 pages. They have been quietly busy with this latest round of federal paper terrorism.

Bill summary

The Bill was originally introduced September 23 and passed by 96-2 in the Senate October 6th with amendments. Senator Susan Collins is the sponsor; Feinstein, Lieberman, Carper, Durbin, McCain, Clinton, Rockefeller, Mikulski, Coleman and Voinovich are co-sponsors.

After 10 days of being bantered about in the House the reps passed their version of it. Conferees were hammering out the conflicts between the House and Senate versions while we were amazed, confused and preoccupied by all the hoopla of the recent non-election. On December 8, the Senate agreed to the Conference Report by 89-2, which cleared it for the White House.

The full text is easily hundreds of pages and, by some reports, 3,000 pages. There isn’t enough time in a day to read it all, so you can rest assured that your representatives in Congress didn’t read it either before it passed with "overwhelming bi-partisan support."

What changes were made between October 6th and December 8th remains a mystery.

Black government

In a nutshell, this intelligence reform bill is the dark storm cloud that will overshadow the Homeland Security mega-merger of only a year or so ago. The shadow government, once the black-ops agencies fully coagulate under this reform, will become the black government that Hitler only dreamed of: Out of the shadows and into the darkness.

Necessity being the plea of every infringement, the "problem" of failed intelligence on 9/11 is the impetus for this new reform. This is the "fix" that the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)-dominated 9/11 omission commission report recommended. The Hegelian solution is to trump even the Homeland Security Agency by creating a new spook central to which the CIA, FBI and the Homeland apparatus are subservient.

The "National Intelligence Authority," will presumably become a new acronym, the NIA, headed by a National Intelligence Director, combined with "the elements specified in subtitle D," and "such other elements, offices, agencies, and activities as may be established by law or by the President or the National Intelligence Director."

It is apparently the sense of Congress to leave the door wide open for any well-promulgated future expansion.

The mission

The self-proclaimed primary missions of the National Intelligence Authority are:

"(1) To unify and strengthen the efforts of the intelligence community of the United States Government.

"(2) To ensure the organization of the efforts of the intelligence community of the United States Government in a joint manner relating to intelligence missions rather than through intelligence collection disciplines.

"(3) To provide for the operation of the National Counterterrorism Center and national intelligence centers under subtitle D.

"(4) To eliminate barriers that impede coordination of the intelligence, including counterterrorism activities of the United States Government between intelligence activities located abroad and foreign intelligence activities located domestically while ensuring the protection of civil liberties.

"(5) To establish clear responsibility and accountability for counterterrorism and other intelligence matters relating to the national security of the United States."

To accomplish these missions the Office of the National Intelligence Director will be composed of the following:

(1) The Principal Deputy National Intelligence Director.

(2) Any Deputy National Intelligence Director appointed under section 122(b).

(3) The National Intelligence Council.

(4) The General Counsel of the National Intelligence Authority.

(5) The Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the National Intelligence Authority.

(6) The Privacy Officer of the National Intelligence Authority.

(7) The Chief Information Officer of the National Intelligence Authority.

(8) The Chief Human Capital Officer of the National Intelligence Authority.

(9) The Chief Financial Officer of the National Intelligence Authority.

(10) The Chief Scientist of the National Intelligence Authority.

(11) The National Counterintelligence Executive (including the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive).

(12) Such other offices and officials as may be established by law or the Director may establish or designate in the Office.

Civil liberties?

The citizenry should have nothing to fear since the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the National Intelligence Authority shall: "assist the National Intelligence Director in ensuring that the protection of civil rights and civil liberties, as provided in the Constitution, laws, regulations, and Executive orders of the United States, is appropriately incorporated…"

Rest assured, this Officer will afford all the protections that federal courts do to those who dare mention the Constitution.

The Bill also requires that each Cabinet member appoint a similar officer for their department. Can you imagine Rumsfeld listening to his appointed civil liberties officer?

Intelligence centers

The reform Bill provides that "the National Intelligence Director may establish within the National Intelligence Authority one or more centers (to be known as `national intelligence centers’) to address intelligence priorities established by the National Security Council. Each national intelligence center established under this section shall be assigned an area of intelligence responsibility, whether expressed in terms of geographic region, in terms of function, or in other terms."

This allows an unfettered opportunity for the black-ops community to center themselves intelligently and prevent another 9/11. Yeah, right! Each center will also have its own director and a separate budget. There will be a review of each center "not less often than once each year… to determine whether or not such staffing or management remains appropriate for the accomplishment of the mission of such center."

The Bush jobs plan

This is apparently the new Bush jobs plan for putting America back to work. A massive domestic and foreign surveillance infrastructure will soon be unleashed, providing opportunities for all. And the private sector is chomping at the bit for all the software and hardware contracts to get the job done.

Estimates for the cost of this new endeavor range from 1 to 14 billion. And that doesn’t count any black budgets that may emerge from the operation of this new black-ops central. What kind of economy is going to pay for it remains a question.

Fascism in space?

Even the sky is not the limit in this reform Act. "The National Intelligence Director shall take actions to ensure, to the extent practicable, the utilization of United States commercial remote sensing space capabilities to fulfill the imagery and geospatial information requirements of the intelligence community."

The merger of corporate and state power is the very definition of fascism. Now it is authorized to spy on you from 150 miles up.

The new intelligence community

Like the Homeland Security merger, the reform Bill plans to create a cozy intelligence community, all working together to make America safer and more secure.

"The term ‘intelligence community’ includes the following:

(A) The National Intelligence Authority.

(B) The Central Intelligence Agency.

(C) The National Security Agency.

(D) The Defense Intelligence Agency.

(E) The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

(F) The National Reconnaissance Office.

(G) Other offices within the Department of Defense for the collection of specialized national intelligence through reconnaissance programs.

(H) The intelligence elements of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Energy.

(I) The Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the Department of State.

(J) The Office of Intelligence and Analysis of the Department of the Treasury.

(K) The elements of the Department of Homeland Security concerned with the analysis of intelligence information, including the Office of Intelligence of the Coast Guard.

(L) Such other elements of any department or agency as may be designated by the President, or designated jointly by the National Intelligence Director and the head of the department or agency concerned, as an element of the intelligence community."

Domestic spying?

Originally, when The National Security Act of 1947 created the CIA they were prohibited from domestic spying. This, of course, didn’t stop them, but now it appears to be authorized by simple name changes.

"The National Security Act of 1947, as amended by this Act, is further amended by striking ‘National Foreign Intelligence Program’ each place it appears…and inserting ‘National Intelligence Program’."

Congressional oversight

Throughout the text of this bill there are many requirements for reporting to Congress and the executive branch. Like the 9/11 omission commission report, these will likely result in more "problems," which will require more authority granted and further appropriations.

Watch lists and cargo screening

Various sections of the Bill create watch lists for passengers and crews of cruise ships; any individual seeking to charter an aircraft, any individual seeking to rent an aircraft and any passengers proposed to be transported aboard the aircraft; and the development of ‘no transport’ and ‘automatic selectee’ lists.

Air cargo will also be a target of the new super snoops. "The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish systems to screen, inspect, or otherwise ensure the security of all cargo that is to be transported in passenger aircraft operated by an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air transportation or intrastate air transportation; or all-cargo aircraft in air transportation and intrastate air transportation."

A key question of constitutionality is raised here by the word "intrastate," which means within a state. Congress has often attempted to invoke its powers over "interstate" commerce to regulate many subjects, which it has no business meddling in. But as the Supreme Court has repeatedly reminded it, it has no "intrastate" powers. This point, of course, pales in comparison to many of the other constitutional infringements the reform bill contemplates.

The biometric age is upon us

"The Secretary of Homeland Security may establish and carry out a program to require the installation and use at airports in the United States of the identification verification technologies the Secretary considers appropriate to assist in the screening of passengers boarding aircraft at such airports.

"The identification verification technologies required as part of the program may include identification scanners, biometrics, retinal, iris, or facial scanners, or any other technologies that the Secretary considers appropriate for purposes of the program."

The bill also calls for improved pilot licenses "capable of accommodating a digital photograph, a biometric measure, or other unique identifier that provides a means of ensuring its validity and revealing whether any component or security feature of the license has been compromised."

They’re serious about the pilot’s licenses. For fiscal year 2005, they’ve appropriated $50,000,000 to carry out their biometric plans.

Explosive detection systems

Here’s another pork laden give-away to technology corporations: "The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish a schedule for replacing trace-detection equipment used for in-line baggage screening purposes as soon as practicable where appropriate with explosive detection system equipment. There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Homeland Security for the use of the Transportation Security Administration $100,000,000, in addition to any amounts otherwise authorized by law, for the purpose of research and development of next generation explosive detection systems for aviation security."

Aviation security and biometric R and D

"There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Homeland Security for the use of the Transportation Security Administration $20,000,000, in addition to any amounts otherwise authorized by law, for research and development of biometric technology applications to aviation security. Biometric Centers of Excellence: There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Homeland Security for the use of the Transportation Security Administration $1,000,000, in addition to any amounts otherwise authorized by law, for the establishment of competitive centers of excellence at the national laboratories. There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Homeland Security $100,000,000 for airport perimeter security technology, fencing, security contracts, vehicle tagging, and other perimeter security related operations, facilities, and equipment, such sums to remain available until expended."

Prohibited items list

"The Transportation Security Administration shall complete a review of its Prohibited Items List, set forth in 49 C.F.R. 1540, and release a revised list that prohibits passengers from carrying butane lighters onboard passenger aircraft; and modifies the Prohibited Items List in such other ways as the agency may deem appropriate."

More Border Patrol

"In each of fiscal years 2006 through 2010, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, increase by not less than 1,000 the number of positions for full-time active duty border patrol agents within the Department of Homeland Security above the number of such positions for which funds were made available during the preceding fiscal year. Of the additional border patrol agents, in each fiscal year not less than 20 percent of such agents shall be assigned to duty stations along the northern border of the United States."

There is also a pilot program "to test various advanced technologies to improve border security between ports of entry along the northern border of the United States" including the use "of advanced technological systems, including sensors, video, and unmanned aerial vehicles, for border surveillance."

The southwest border gets some attention too. "The Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the President and the appropriate committees of Congress a comprehensive plan for the systematic surveillance of the Southwest border of the United States by remotely piloted aircraft. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement the plan as a pilot program as soon as sufficient funds are appropriated and available for this purpose. There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section."

US policy towards dictatorships

"Consistent with the report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Congress finds that short-term gains enjoyed by the United States through cooperation with repressive dictatorships have often been outweighed by long-term setbacks for the stature and interests of the United States."

Congress is starting to make sense. "It is the sense of Congress that—United States foreign policy should promote the value of life and the importance of individual educational and economic opportunity, encourage widespread political participation, condemn indiscriminate violence, and promote respect for the rule of law, openness in discussing differences among people, and tolerance for opposing points of view."

Good idea, but will the Cheney-Rumsfeld dictatorship listen?

Treatment of foreign prisoners

"Consistent with the report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Carrying out the global war on terrorism requires the development of policies with respect to the detention and treatment of captured international terrorists that are adhered to by all coalition forces.

(2) Article 3 of the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, done at Geneva August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3316) was specifically designed for cases in which the usual rules of war do not apply, and the minimum standards of treatment pursuant to such Article are generally accepted throughout the world as customary international law.

The policy of the United States is as follows:

(1) It is the policy of the United States to treat all foreign persons captured, detained, interned or otherwise held in the custody of the United States (hereinafter ‘prisoners’) humanely and in accordance with standards that the United States would consider legal if perpetrated by the enemy against an American prisoner.

(2) It is the policy of the United States that all officials of the United States are bound both in wartime and in peacetime by the legal prohibition against torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

(3) If there is any doubt as to whether prisoners are entitled to the protections afforded by the Geneva Conventions, such prisoners shall enjoy the protections of the Geneva Conventions until such time as their status can be determined pursuant to the procedures authorized by Army Regulation 190-8, Section 1-6.

(4) It is the policy of the United States to expeditiously prosecute cases of terrorism or other criminal acts alleged to have been committed by prisoners in the custody of the United States Armed Forces at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in order to avoid the indefinite detention of prisoners, which is contrary to the legal principles and security interests of the United States.

The Department of Defense shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees:

(1) A quarterly report providing the number of prisoners who were denied Prisoner of War (POW) status under the Geneva Conventions and the basis for denying POW status to each such prisoner."

Integrated screening system

Here comes the internal checkpoints. A shallow reading of the following provisions might find them to be benign. I’ll add comments in brackets to emphasize the potential malignant ramifications of this section of the bill. "The Secretary of Homeland Security shall develop a plan for a comprehensive integrated screening system. The system planned shall be designed to— (1) encompass an integrated network of screening points [check points with armed enforcement personnel to question and detain you] that includes the Nation’s border security system, transportation system [highways, roads, airports, train and bus stations], and critical infrastructure [banking, food supply, fuel and a broad range of commercial activities] or facilities [an open door for ambiguous definition] that the Secretary determines need to be protected against terrorist attack; (2) build upon existing border enforcement and security activities [an other open door], and to the extent practicable, private sector security initiatives [corporate spooks that are not limited by constitutional constraints], in a manner that will enable the utilization of a range of security check points [from roadblocks to digital snooping] in a continuous and consistent manner throughout the Nation’s screening system; (3) allow [allow who?] access to government databases to detect terrorists [as broadly defined in this age of terrorism]; and (4) utilize biometric identifiers that the Secretary determines to be appropriate, feasible, and if practicable, compatible with the biometric entry and exit data system described in section XX03. In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall continue to review biometric technologies and existing Federal and State programs using biometric identifiers. Such review shall consider the accuracy rate of available technologies."

Registered travelers

"The Secretary shall— (A) develop plans for, and begin implementation of, a single program for registered travelers to expedite travel across the border; (B) continue the implementation of a biometric exit and entry data system that links to relevant databases and data systems…(C) centralize the ‘no-fly’ and ‘automatic-selectee’ lists."

"As soon as is practicable, the Secretary shall develop and implement a registered traveler program to expedite the processing of registered travelers who enter and exit the United States."

Biometric passports and visas

"Consistent with the report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Congress finds that— (1) existing procedures allow many individuals to enter the United States by showing minimal identification or without showing any identification; (2) the planning for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, demonstrates that terrorists study and exploit United States vulnerabilities; and

(3) additional safeguards are needed to ensure that terrorists cannot enter the United States."

"The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall develop and implement a plan as expeditiously as possible to require biometric passports or other identification deemed by the Secretary of State to be at least as secure as a biometric passport, for all travel into the United States by United States citizens and … shall require all United States citizens… to carry and produce [a biometric passport] when traveling from foreign countries into the United States."

"Not later than October 26, 2006, the Secretary of State shall certify to Congress which of the countries designated to participate in the visa waiver program established under section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187) are developing a program to issue to individuals seeking to enter that country pursuant to a visa issued by that country, a machine readable visa document that is tamper-resistant and incorporates biometric identification information that is verifiable at its port of entry."

Minimum standards for birth certificates

If you want to obtain benefits from your federal parent you will need new initializing documentation. "Beginning 2 years after the promulgation of minimum standards under paragraph (3), no Federal agency may accept a birth certificate for any official purpose unless the certificate conforms to such standards."

Driver’s licenses and ID cards

"The Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall by regulation, establish minimum standards for driver’s licenses or personal identification cards issued by a State for use by Federal agencies for identification purposes that shall include— (A) standards for documentation required as proof of identity of an applicant for a driver’s license or personal identification card; (B) standards for the verifiability of documents used to obtain a driver’s license or personal identification card; (C) standards for the processing of applications for driver’s licenses and personal identification cards to prevent fraud; (D) security standards to ensure that driver’s licenses and personal identification cards are—(i) resistant to tampering, alteration, or counterfeiting; and (ii) capable of accommodating and ensuring the security of a digital photograph or other unique identifier; and (E) a requirement that a State confiscate a driver’s license or personal identification card if any component or security feature of the license or identification card is compromised."

They’re messin’ with your TV

"The Congress finds the following:

(1) In its final report, the 9-11 Commission advocated that Congress pass legislation providing for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes. The 9/11 Commission stated that this spectrum was necessary to improve communications between local, State and Federal public safety organizations and public safety organizations operating in neighboring jurisdictions that may respond to an emergency in unison.

"(2) Specifically, the 9-11 Commission report stated `The inability to communicate was a critical element at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania, crash sites, where multiple agencies and multiple jurisdictions responded. The occurrence of this problem at three very different sites is strong evidence that compatible and adequate communications among public safety organizations at the local, State, and Federal levels remains an important problem.

"(3) In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the Congress directed the FCC to allocate spectrum currently being used by television broadcasters to public safety agencies to use for emergency communications. This spectrum has specific characteristics that make it an outstanding choice for emergency communications because signals sent over these frequencies are able to penetrate walls and travel great distances, and can assist multiple jurisdictions in deploying interoperable communications systems.

"(4) This spectrum will not be fully available to public safety agencies until the completion of the digital television transition. The need for this spectrum is greater than ever. The nation cannot risk further loss of life due to public safety agencies’ first responders’ inability to communicate effectively in the event of another terrorist act or other crisis, such as a hurricane, tornado, flood, or earthquake.

"(5) In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress set a date of December 31, 2006, for the termination of the digital television transition. Under current law, however, the deadline will be extended if fewer than 85 percent of the television households in a market are able to continue receiving local television broadcast signals.

"(6) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. Powell testified at a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on September 8, 2004, that, absent government action, this extension may allow the digital television transition to continue for ‘decades’ or ‘multiples of decades.’

"(7) The Nation’s public safety and welfare cannot be put off for ‘decades’ or ‘multiples of decades.’ The Federal government should ensure that this spectrum is available for use by public safety organizations by January 1, 2009.

"(8) Any plan to end the digital television transition would be incomplete if it did not ensure that consumers would be able to continue to enjoy over-the-air broadcast television with minimal disruption. If broadcasters air only a digital signal, some consumers may be unable to view digital transmissions using their analog-only television set. Local broadcasters are truly an important part of our homeland security and often an important communications vehicle in the event of a national emergency. Therefore, consumers who rely on over-the-air television, particularly those of limited economic means, should be assisted.

"(9) The New America Foundation has testified before Congress that the cost to assist these 17.4 million exclusively over-the-air households to continue to view television is less than $1 billion dollars for equipment, which equates to roughly 3 percent of the Federal revenue likely from the auction of the analog television spectrum.

"(10) Specifically, the New America Foundation has estimated that the Federal Government’s auction of this spectrum could yield $30-to-$40 billion in revenue to the Treasury. Chairman Powell stated at the September 8, 2004, hearing that ‘estimates of the value of that spectrum run anywhere from $30 billion to $70 billion.’

"(11) Additionally, there will be societal benefits with the return of the analog broadcast spectrum. Former FCC Chairman Reed F. Hundt, at an April 28, 2004, hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, testified that this spectrum ‘should be the fit and proper home of wireless broadband.’ Mr. Hundt continued, ‘Quite literally, [with this spectrum] the more millions of people in rural America will be able to afford Big Broadband Internet access, the more hundreds of millions of people in the world will be able to afford joining the Internet community.’

"(12) Due to the benefits that would flow to the Nation’s citizens from the Federal Government reclaiming this analog television spectrum—including the safety of our Nation’s first responders and those protected by first responders, additional revenues to the Federal treasury, millions of new jobs in the telecommunications sector of the economy, and increased wireless broadband availability to our Nation’s rural citizens—Congress finds it necessary to set January 1, 2009, as a firm date for the return of this analog television spectrum."

There you have it. In four years, TV as we know it will be gone, as part of this "Intelligence Reform," so that public safety officials can take over the frequencies. Fear not, though, with the "auction of the spectrum" the government can more than afford to give poor people digital TVs. But there’s a catch. In order to receive a free digital TV, poor U. S. citizens will presumably have to apply for the benefit with identification meeting new federal standards.

This issue begs more questions. All other infringement and intrusions aside, will the loss of analog broadcast TV be the issue that finally gets Americans up off the couch and out in the streets? And what is "the digital television transition?" Does it contain a two-way super snooper back door? Was George Orwell a novelist or a prophet?

End notes

These are only some of the highlights from the Intelligence Reform Act. The information in this article comes from the public print version of the Senate version passed October 6th. The allegedly 3,000 page version no doubt contains many more provisions that neither I nor Congress has read.

In light of the Tenth Article of the Bill of Rights and the relatively few enumerated powers of Congress, it is doubtful that there is much that could be considered constitutional in this Act. But that hasn’t stopped them before.

The century long proliferation of agencies reached a pinnacle with the Homeland Security merger. This new NIA is now the capstone on the pyramid of power. And now government has moved out of the shadows and into the black.

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