Civil Liberties Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Civil Liberties Media Articles in Major Media
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The Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is using safety concerns as an excuse to limit media access to wild horse roundups across the West in violation of the First Amendment. The National Press Photographers Association and more than a dozen newspaper companies joined the committee in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals late Monday to back an advocacy group waging a series of legal battles over mustang roundups in Nevada. Horseback Magazine photographer Laura Leigh and others "have a right to see what happens" during the roundups, the media groups said, urging the court to be "highly skeptical of assertions by the BLM that restrictions placed on media access were done for administrative convenience and/or to satisfy safety concerns." The 9th Circuit sent the case brought by Leigh’s advocacy group, Wild Horse Education, back to U.S. Judge Larry Hicks in Reno last year to determine if the BLM limits are constitutional. Hicks ruled in 2011 that a balancing of the interests of the agency and public access to a roundup in Nevada didn’t warrant granting an injunction to block the gathers. But a three-judge panel of the appellate court ruled he failed to determine whether those restrictions violated First Amendment protections. "When the government announces it is excluding the press for reasons such as administrative convenience, preservation of evidence, or protection of reporters’ safety, its real motive may be to prevent the gathering of information about government abuses or incompetence," Appellate Judge Milan Smith Jr. wrote in the 18-page opinion in February 2012.
Note: For more on the disturbing decision to round up the few remaining wild horses, click here.
The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance. Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen "terrorism enterprise investigations" into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise. The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials. The revelations about the NYPD's massive spying operations are in documents recently obtained by The Associated Press and part of a new book, Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD's Secret Spying Unit... The book ... is based on hundreds of previously unpublished police files and interviews with current and former NYPD, CIA and FBI officials.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The federal government is making progress on developing a surveillance system that would pair computers with video cameras to scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with researchers working on the project. The Department of Homeland Security tested a crowd-scanning project called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System — or BOSS — last fall after two years of government-financed development. Although the system is not ready for use, researchers say they are making significant advances. That alarms privacy advocates, who say that now is the time for the government to establish oversight rules and limits on how it will someday be used. In a sign of how the use of such technologies can be developed for one use but then expanded to another, the BOSS research began as an effort to help the military detect potential suicide bombers. But in 2010, the effort was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security to be developed for use instead by the police in the United States. The effort to build the BOSS system involved a two-year, $5.2 million federal contract given to Electronic Warfare Associates, a Washington-area military contractor with a branch office in Kentucky. Significant progress is already being made in automated face recognition using photographs taken under ideal conditions, like passport pictures and mug shots. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is spending $1 billion to roll out a Next Generation Identification system that will provide a national mug shot database to help local police departments verify identities.
Note: For more on government and corporate threats to privacy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
It has been an infuriating few days for anyone who values the freedom of the press, as authorities in the United Kingdom resorted to the tactics of tyrants and thugs to squelch reporting that they simply don't like. In acts clearly calibrated for optimal intimidation, they have detained the partner of a journalist, threatened to shut down a reporting operation that has prompted a critical public debate over government spying and forced the destruction of a major publication's hard drives. It's breathtaking in its audacity - and if it comes to light that the U.S. government took any part in organizing, encouraging or supporting these acts, it will warrant immediate congressional investigation. As it is, the accelerating assaults on investigative journalism [indicate the need for] stronger protections for journalists and their sources. Using laws designed to ferret out suspected terrorists to detain a person aiding acts of journalism is a cut-and-dried abuse of government power, an act of intimidation that may well be illegal - and certainly should be. It gives the lie to the naive but oft-repeated notion that if you've done no wrong, you have nothing to fear. Such attacks on investigative journalism here and abroad appear to be escalating. The Justice Department has been caught spying on reporters at the Associated Press, and named a Fox News reporter a "co-conspirator" in a leak inquiry. Judges have threatened reporters at both the New York Times and Fox News with jail time for refusing to disclose their sources.
Note: For more on government attacks on civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The partner of the Guardian journalist [Glenn Greenwald], who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency, was held for almost nine hours ... by UK authorities as he passed through London's Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro. David Miranda ... was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals. The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last less than an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours. Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles. "This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," Greenwald said. "To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere. But the last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists. Quite the contrary: it will only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively."
Note: For more on government attacks on civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action ... that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search. Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. Farm owners and residents who live on the property [said] that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including "grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises." The raid on the Garden of Eden farm appears to be the latest example of police departments using SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics to enforce less serious crimes. In recent years, SWAT teams have been called out to perform regulatory alcohol inspections at a bar in Manassas Park, Va.; to raid bars for suspected underage drinking in New Haven, Conn.; to perform license inspections at barbershops in Orlando, Fla.; and to raid a gay bar in Atlanta where police suspected customers and employees were having public sex. A federal investigation later found that Atlanta police had made up the allegations of public sex. Other raids have been conducted on food co-ops and Amish farms suspected of selling unpasteurized milk products. The federal government has for years been conducting raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them.
Note: The author of this report, Radley Balko, is a senior writer and investigative reporter for The Huffington Post. He is also the author of the new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. For an ABC News report on this disturbing raid, click here.
A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans. Documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin—not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges. The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence—information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses. "I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers. "It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
As the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington approaches ... where Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, it is important to recall the extent to which King was targeted by the government. The FBI operation against King is one of the most shameful episodes in the long history of our government's persecution of dissenters. In a heavily redacted, classified FBI memo dated 4 January 1956 – just a little more than a month after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger – stated that an agent "had been assigned ... to find out all he could about Reverend Martin L King, colored minister in Montgomery and leader in the bus boycott … to uncover all the derogatory information he could about King." [FBI] director, J Edgar Hoover ... was deploying the vast resources he controlled against any and all perceived critics of the United States. The far-reaching clandestine surveillance, infiltration and disruption operation Hoover ran was dubbed "COINTELPRO", for counterintelligence program. The FBI's COINTELPRO activities ... were thoroughly investigated in 1975 by the Church Committee, [which] reported that the FBI "conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of first amendment rights of speech and association." Among COINTELPRO's perverse activities was an FBI effort to threaten Martin Luther King Jr with exposure of an alleged extramarital affair, including the suggestion, made by the FBI to King, that he avoid embarrassment by killing himself. Deeply concerned about the crackdown on dissent happening under Obama, scholar Cornel West ... wondered if [King] "would not be invited to the very march in his name."
Note: This article fails to mention a key fact. At a 1999 court trial held in Memphis, the family of Rev. King accused elements of the U.S. government of complicity in King's death. After one month of hearings from 70 witnesses, a jury composed of six white and six black jurors took only one hour to find the U.S. government, the state of Tennessee, the city of Memphis, the Memphis police, and several individuals guilty of murdering King. Yet the mainstream media completely boycotted this trial. Thankfully, CBC (Canada's PBS) gave it some coverage. To see a six-minute CBC clip of this highly revealing trial, click here.
Pop quiz: Name a state residential school where children were enrolled in medical experiments over an almost 20-year period, in which they were unknowingly fed a steady diet of radioactive isotopes, subjected to regular blood draws, and placed in solitary confinement if they refused to cooperate. Answer: the Walter E. Fernald State School in Waltham [Mass.} during the mid 20th century. Unfortunately, as Allen Hornblum, Judith Newman, and Gregory Dober painfully describe in their chilling new book, Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America, Fernald was not the only institution in the country, or even in the state, where children were conscripted into sometimes deadly medical experiments. These were conducted by ambitious physicians and scientists whose belief in what they were trying to accomplish often blinded them to the potentially horrific consequences of their actions. “Against Their Will’’ opens with an overview of the eugenics movement in the United States, which found sympathizers among many luminaries of American medicine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. With its disdain for the disabled, who were considered genetically inferior, the movement paved the way for use of “defective’’ children in research. The book then provides multiple examples of medical experiments perpetrated on developmentally delayed and physically disabled children at multiple institutions across the country over the course of decades, often reading like case studies straight out of the 1947 Nazi doctors’ trial.
Note: For a long list of verifiable incidents where unknowing citizens were used as guinea pigs on a massive scale, click here.
The Army is blocking all access to The Guardian newspaper's reports about the National Security Agency's sweeping collection of data about Americans' email and phone communications, an Army spokesman said Thursday. The Monterey (Calif.) Herald reported that employees at the Presidio of Monterey, an Army public affairs base about 100 miles south of San Francisco, were unable to gain access to The Guardian's articles on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and his professed leaks of classified information about the intelligence programs. Late Thursday, an Army spokesman told The Herald by email that the newspaper's NSA reports were, in fact, being blocked across the entire Army. He wrote that it's routine for the Defense Department to take "network hygiene" action to prevent disclosure of classified information, The Herald reported. "We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security," the newspaper quoted the spokesman as saying. "However there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information."
[Barrett] Brown is not a household name like Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning. But after helping expose a dirty tricks plot, he faces jail. Brown made a splash in February 2011 by helping to uncover "Team Themis", a project by intelligence contractors retained by Bank of America to demolish the hacker society known as Anonymous. The Team Themis story began in late 2010, when Julian Assange warned WikiLeaks would release documents outlining an "ecosystem of corruption [that] could take down a bank or two." Bank of America went into damage-control mode and, as the New York Times reported, assembled "a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials … scouring thousands of documents in the event that they become public." Days later, Bank of America retained the well-connected law firm of Hunton & Williams [which] "proposed various schemes to attack" WikiLeaks. Its partners suggested creating false documents and fake personas to damage progressive organizations. The tech companies' emails – which Anonymous hacked and Barrett Brown helped publicize – listed planned tactics: "Feed[ing] the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization. Submit fake documents and then call out the error." Brown [has] been cooling his heels in a jail outside Dallas ... awaiting two separate trials that could put him on ice for more than 100 years. In contrast to the FBI's aggressive pursuit of Brown, no probe of the Team Themis project was launched – despite a call from 17 US House representatives to investigate a possible conspiracy to violate federal laws.
Note: With the wide focus on the privatized national security state by the leaks from Edward Snowden, there is renewed interest in Brown's plight and the campaign for justice in his case. For more on this and to support Barret Brown, click here. For more on intelligence agency corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Britain's spy agency GCHQ has secretly gained access to the network of cables which carry the world's phone calls and internet traffic and has started to process vast streams of sensitive personal information which it is sharing with its American partner, the National Security Agency (NSA). The sheer scale of the agency's ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate. One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects. This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets. The existence of the programme has been disclosed in documents shown to the Guardian by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Britain's technical capacity to tap into the cables that carry the world's communications ... has made GCHQ an intelligence superpower. A total of 850,000 NSA employees and US private contractors with top secret clearance had access to GCHQ databases.
Note: For solid evidence spy agencies targeted even top politicians, click here. For more on intelligence agency corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst and Bush-era NSA whistleblower, claimed Wednesday that the intelligence community has ordered surveillance on a wide range of groups and individuals, including high-ranking military officials, lawmakers and diplomats. “They went after – and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things – they went after high-ranking military officers. They went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees," [said] Tice. “But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House.” Then Tice dropped the bombshell about Obama. "In summer of 2004, one of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator for Illinois ... that’s the president of the United States now.” FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and Tice agreed that such wide-ranging surveillance of officials could provide the intelligence agencies with unthinkable power to blackmail their opponents. “I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on,” Tice said. Tice first blew the whistle on ... domestic spying across multiple agencies in 2005.
Note: Listen to Tice's shocking revelations in this interview. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and throughout intelligence agencies.
FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged [to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 19 that] the law enforcement agency uses drone aircraft in the United States for surveillance. He did not say how many unmanned surveillance vehicles (UAVs) the FBI has or how often they have been used. But a law enforcement official told CNN the FBI has used them a little more than a dozen times but did not say when that started. The official said drones are useful in hostage and barricade situations because they operate more quietly and are less visible than traditional aircraft such as helicopters. Bureau spokesman Paul Bresson said their use allows "us to learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel." Bresson said the aircraft can only be used to perform surveillance on stationary subjects and the FBI must first get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in a "very confined geographic area." Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein expressed concern over drone use domestically. "I think the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans is the drone and the use of the drone, and the very few regulations that are on it today and the booming industry of commercial drones," the California Democrat said. The FAA forecasts some 10,000 civilian drones will be in use in the United States within five years, including those for law enforcement and commercial purposes.
A bill that bans the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence ... became law today. The bill is meant to give police an added tool to prevent lawful protests from becoming violent riots, and that it will help police identify people who engage in vandalism or other illegal acts. The bill originally proposed a penalty of up to five years, but the House of Commons justice committee amended it and doubled the penalty to up to 10 years in prison for committing the offence. The bill didn't have unanimous support, and was opposed by some who are concerned about its effect on freedom of expression and privacy. Civil liberties advocates argued the measures could create a chilling effect on free speech and that peaceful protesters can unintentionally find themselves involved in an unlawful assembly. They also noted that there are legitimate reasons for wearing masks at protests; some may be worried about reprisals at work, for example, if sighted at a political protest. "Any law that infringes upon civil liberties needs to be held to a test of absolute necessity, and I don't think that test has been met in this instance," said Michael Byers, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia.
Note: Police seem to be specifically targeting the now popular Guy Falkes masks representing opposition to oppressive authority. For more on the erosion of civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A divided Supreme Court ruled [on June 3] that police may take DNA samples when booking those arrested for serious crimes, narrowly upholding a Maryland law and opening the door to more widespread collection of DNA by law enforcement. The court ruled 5 to 4 that government has a legitimate interest in collecting DNA from arrestees ... to establish the identity of the person in custody. Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia ... amplified his displeasure by reading a summary of his dissent from the bench. “The court has cast aside a bedrock rule of our Fourth Amendment law: that the government may not search its citizens for evidence of crime unless there is a reasonable cause to believe that such evidence will be found,” Scalia said from the bench. He added, “Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.” Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union said the decision “creates a gaping new exception to the Fourth Amendment” and violates a long-established understanding that “police cannot search for evidence of a crime ... without individualized suspicion.”
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government assaults on privacy, click here.
The Obama administration acknowledged [on May 22] that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since 2009, the first time it has publicly taken responsibility for the deaths. Three are known to have died in CIA drone strikes in Yemen in 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and Samir Khan. The fourth — Jude Kennan Mohammad, a Florida native indicted in North Carolina in 2009 — was killed in Pakistan, where the CIA has operated a drone campaign against terrorism suspects for nearly a decade. His death was previously unreported. In addition to disclosure of the four killings, Holder wrote that Obama has approved classified briefings for Congress on an overall policy document, informally called the “playbook.” The document, more than a year in the making, codifies the administration’s standards and processes for its unprecedented program of targeted killing and capture of terrorism suspects outside of war zones. Nearly 400 drone strikes, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, have been launched by the CIA and U.S. military forces during Obama’s presidency. According to Holder’s letter, Awlaki was the only U.S. citizen the administration “has specifically targeted and killed.” Two weeks after Awlaki’s death, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman — who had gone to the Yemeni desert in search of his father — was killed in a drone strike meant for someone else. That strike was similarly unacknowledged, although a senior administration official privately characterized it as a “mistake.”
Note: So an American citizen, Awlaki's son, was killed by a drone by "mistake"? What happened to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states no citizen shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the atrocities carried out by the US and UK in their global wars of aggression, click here.
With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news. The latest reported episode involves James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News. In 2009, Mr. Rosen reported on FoxNews.com that North Korea planned to launch a missile in response to the condemnation of its nuclear tests by the United Nations Security Council. The Justice Department ... indicted Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department security adviser, on charges of leaking classified information. Mr. Kim pleaded not guilty. Normally, the inquiry would have ended with Mr. Kim — leak investigations usually focus on the source, not the reporter. But, in this case, federal prosecutors also asked a federal judge for permission to examine Mr. Rosen’s personal e-mails, arguing that “there is probable cause to believe” Mr. Rosen is “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leak. Though Mr. Rosen was not charged, the F.B.I. request for his e-mail account was granted secretly in late May 2010. The government was allowed to rummage through Mr. Rosen’s e-mails for at least 30 days.
Note: For a fascinating and revealing look inside Fox News by an insider, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government threats to civil liberties and freedom of the press, click here.
A Wisconsin dairy farmer is set to go on trial for a strange offense: selling raw milk to a group of consumers who were members of a private buyer’s club. So in many parts of America, it’s basically legal to grow, sell, and smoke pot. But you can go to jail for selling people fresh milk? Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger, a 41-year-old father of ten, will go on trial later this month. Hershberger started a private buyer’s club for raw milk in 2003 after “some friends from town—who were retired farmers—wanted to continue getting this raw milk that they had for years. By word of mouth ... it grew from there.” By the time of his arrest in 2010, over 100 families were members. Technically, these club members were not customers of the farm, but partners: they legally leased animals from Hershberger, and in return for his family boarding and caring for their cattle on his 157 acres of farmland, they paid certain agreed-upon fees each time they came to pick up the products of those cattle—namely, raw milk. So Hershberger felt he didn’t need a license as a retail food establishment, because there was no retail going on; the milk already belonged to the club members. Hershberger grew up milking cows by hand on a small Amish dairy farm, and this hold order violated his religious values: though no longer Amish, he’s a non-denominational Christian, and opposes waste.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
The Internal Revenue Service’s special scrutiny of small-government groups applying for tax-exempt status went beyond keyword hunts for organizations with “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their names, to a more overtly ideological search for applicants seeking to “make America a better place to live” or “criticize how the country is being run,” according to a part of an inspector general’s report that was given to Congress. The head of the division on tax-exempt organizations, Lois Lerner, was briefed on the effort in June 2011, seemingly contradicting her assertion on Friday that she learned of the effort from the press. But she seemed to work hard to rein in the focus on conservatives and change it to a look at any political advocacy group of any stripe seeking tax exemptions. The appendix of the inspector general’s report ... chronicles the extent to which the IRS’s exempt organizations division kept redefining what sort of “social welfare” groups it should single out for extra attention since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That decision allowed corporations and labor unions to raise and spend unlimited sums on elections as well as register for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)4 of the tax code, as long as their “primary purpose” did not consist of targeting electoral candidates. On June 29, 2011, according to the documents, IRS staffers held a briefing with Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.”
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.