A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.
CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.
Revised bill highlights
✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans' electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.
✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans' correspondence stored on systems not offered "to the public," including university networks.
✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant -- or subsequent court review -- if they claim "emergency" situations exist.
✭ Says providers "shall notify" law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they've been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.
✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to "10 business days." This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.
Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.
It's an abrupt departure from Leahy's earlier approach, which required police to obtain a search warrant backed by probable cause before they could read the contents of e-mail or other communications. The Vermont Democrat boasted last year that his bill "provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by... requiring that the government obtain a search warrant."
Leahy had planned a vote on an earlier version of his bill, designed to update a pair of 1980s-vintage surveillance laws, in late September. But after law enforcement groups including the National District Attorneys' Association and the National Sheriffs' Association organizations objected to the legislation and asked him to "reconsider acting" on it, Leahy pushed back the vote and reworked the bill as a package of amendments to be offered next Thursday. The package (PDF) is a substitute for H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved.
MADRID (AP) Spain is to offer foreigners residency permits if they buy houses worth more than 160,000 ($200,000) as part of an attempt to reduce the country's bloated stock of unsold homes.
Trade Ministry secretary Jaime Garcia-Legaz said the plan, expected to be approved in the coming weeks, would be aimed principally at the Chinese and Russian markets as the domestic demand was stagnant and showed no sign of improving. Spain has more than 700,000 unsold houses following the collapse of its real estate market in 2008.
The country's economy is struggling and is currently in recession with 25 percent unemployment. Thousands of houses have been repossessed by banks and their owners evicted because they cannot pay their mortgages. The government last week approved a decree under which evictions would be suspended for two years in specific cases of extreme need.
The country's offer beats others in bailed-out countries such as Ireland and Portugal, where residency papers are offered to foreigners buying houses worth more the 400,000 and 500,000, respectively. It was not immediately clear if the residency would only refer to Spain, and not the European Union.
The stricken state of the country's real estate market was highlighted Monday by figures from the Bank of Spain which showed that the level of bad debt in the country's banks had risen to a record 10.7 percent of their loan total in September.
Imagine you're launching a company and only have six months to deliver a product. You face a competitor that has been in your industry four years longer than you with twice your staff and twice the budget. If you don't make your deadline, you're out of business.
That, in a nutshell, was the situation facing the technology team for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. The Obama for America (OFA) organization had the advantage: it didn't have to wade through the primary season first, allowing OFA's technology team to focus on building an infrastructure. Based on an Ars analysis of the Romney campaign's financial reports, Romney's team had less to work with and passed the lion's share of technology-focused spending directly to advertising companies and telemarketers. This left Team Romney's tech squad with only a fraction of the budget for consulting, services, and infrastructure.
So, the campaign did what a lot of small businesses would do: they went to Best Buy. Or more accurately, they went to Best Buy's subsidiary, MindShift Technologies, a managed service provider that specializes in small and medium business consulting. And when they were in a pinch for tech help, they called Staples' subsidiary ThriveNetworks and a collection of small consulting firms with links to Romney and the Republican Party.
HE BOUGHT THE EXTENDED WARRENTY!!!!!!
A back story to the sex scandal that ended David Petraeuss 14 months as director of the CIA is that his mistress, Paula Broadwell, was an apologist for abusive actions by the U.S. command in Afghanistan. She defended the leveling of an Afghan village deemed uncooperative, Gareth Porter says at Inter Press Service.
Paula Broadwell, whose affair with former Gen. David Petraeus brought his career to a sudden end last week, had sought to help defend his decision in 2010 to allow village destruction in Afghanistan that not only violated his own previous guidance but the international laws of war.
At the time, Petraeus was under pressure from the Obama administration to produce tangible evidence of progress that could be used to justify troop withdrawals. But the efforts had the opposite effect. The new Petraeus policy guidance allowed the destruction of villages in three districts of Kandahar province if the population did not tell U.S. forces where homemade bombs were hidden.
Gen. David Petraeus in a photo with his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell. (U.S. government photo)
In early January 2010, Broadwell went to visit the Combined Task Force I-320th in Kandahar to write a story justifying the decision to destroy the village of Tarok Kaloche and much of three other villages in its area of operations.
Seasame Street turned down Luke Russett request for an interview because The Count said Luke couldn't count the numerous senators and representatives older than nancy pelosi.
Sesame Street said it does have standards and Luke should try Barney the dinosaur show because Luke thought Barney was real.
Luke will be interviewing the teletubbies next week to teach about gender but first he will be standing in as a pile of rocks in Fraggle Rock.
Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) is a United States Department of Defense psychological evaluation program, designed to permit only the most trustworthy individuals to have access to nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and biological weapons.
The PRP program evaluates many aspects of the individual's work life and home life. Any disruption of these, or severe deviation from an established norm would be cause to deny access.
He was in the nuclear chain of command
When he admitted having an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, CIA Director David Petraeus, as a senior civilian in the presidential chain of command should something go catastrophically wrong in Washington, violated special behavior codes for officials who might one day be forced to execute nuclear strikes.
In classified presidential emergency action documents, the CIA director is among the dozens, if not hundreds of officials who are listed as National Command Authority successors in the event that higher ranking officials are no longer able to do their jobs.
Because under certain circumstances he'd have ready access to the nuclear satchel, Petraeus was indoctrinated into the Personnel Reliability Program, which evaluates and monitors the lifestyle and behavior of Americans with access to nuclear command and control mechanisms. Adultery is not a minor sin under the PRP rules.
The details of so-called "nuclear pre-delegation" is one of the most tightly held secrets in the U.S. Government. The first 18 presidential successors are spelled out by law. But it is not clear whether the pre-delegation lists follow the Constitutional chain of command.
After retiring as a general, Petraeus was confirmed by the Senate as a civilian, and was probably given emergency action training by the White House Military Office, which runs the Continuity of Government program. In that role, he could serve as one of the two people needed to confirm codes that would key Permissive Action Links (PALs) and activate launch sequences, adhering to the U.S. Strategic Command's two-person rule for nuclear weapons. Precisely what would need to happen for an official like Petraeus to be in the catbird seat is classified, the result of decades of highly secret rules and provisions that are kept locked in safes.
This story isn't just about the sex.
Lurking in the background of the story, has been Kelley's twin sister, Natalie Khawam. You will recall that as a result of a bitter child custody dispute, General Petraeus and General Allen wrote glowing character references for Khawam. The ex-husband of Khawan, Grayson Wolfe, has been described in the press as an "investment banker," but he isn't just an ordinary IB.
Grayson Wolfe is a Partner at Akkadian. He previously served as Director of Broader Middle East Initiatives and Iraqi Reconstruction and Special Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. He was appointed to the bank by President Bush in June 2002. Between January and August 2004, Wolfe served as Manager of the Private Sector Development Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq. In this capacity he was directly responsible for implementing a wide range of initiatives to attract foreign direct investment and provide financing to Iraqi companies. During this time, Wolfe worked extensively on the ground with senior Iraqi and Kurdish officials, and with the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Oil.
From 2001 to 2002 Wolfe worked as an attorney for the law firm of Fleischman and Walsh, LLP, where he represented clients engaged in Homeland Security, Telecommunications and Intellectual Property matters. He served as a member of a seven-person team that worked with the North American Railroads and Chlorine Chemical Industries to develop a National Homeland Security Risk Analysis and Management Plan. This plan was adopted by the Class I Freight Railroad CEOs on Dec 6, 2001. Wolfe served as Legislative Director and Counsel for members of Congress from 1999-2002. He has also served in numerous positions in presidential, federal and state political campaigns. Before this, he worked for Citicorp in Poland focusing on emerging markets and franchise development opportunities in Central and Eastern European countries.
Tax cuts for the wealthiest (no one believed your etch-a-sketch away from this at the debates).
Reactionary Judge Appointments for the religious right.
Repealing regulations, for corporations.
Killing alternative energy for fossil fuel companies.
Building the Keystone pipeline also for fossil fuel companies.
Repealing Obamacare for the Tea Party.
Banning contraceptive coverage for the Catholic Church.
Killing the Dream Act for nativists.
Tax free Casino profits for Sheldon Adelson.
War with Iran for Sheldon Adelson.
You can always go to the Emergency Room.
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