Category Archives: Disclosures

Feds Hunted Down An Undocumented Immigrant Using Controversial Phone Tracker

As part of a dramatic uptick in the arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants promised by President Trump, the Detroit News reports that FBI and ICE agents used a powerful, secretive device to find Rudy Carcamo-Carranza, a 23-year-old restaurant worker living in Michigan.

State, local, and federal law enforcement agencies have fought to conceal the details of how they use devices that impersonate the cellular communication relays widely deployed by private companies like Verizon and AT&T.  The fake relays, often referred to as Stingrays, after the leading brand of such devices, can trick mobile phones into disclosing  their locations, and in some cases can apparently extract the content of voice and text communications. Stingrays can be used across broad geographic areas, or as in the case of Carcamo-Carranza, to pinpoint a single person. According to an affidavit  filed by the FBI’s Violent Gang Task Force and obtained by the Detroit News, federal agents hoped that “locating the target cellular device will assist law enforcement in arresting Carcamo-Carranza” on the basis that he was guilty of “Unlawful Re-entry after deportation.” The Detroit News notes that despite the involvement of the Violent Gang Task Force, Carcamo-Carranza’s “only brushes with the law involve drunken driving allegations and a hit-and-run crash.” Police were able to find Carcamo-Carranza’s cell number after browsing his Facebook private messages, obtained with an earlier warrant. The affidavit briefly acknowledges that cell phones other than the targeted phone could be inadvertently swept up in the Stingray’s dragnet.

Nathan Wessler, an attorney and technology expert at the ACLU, told The Intercept that documents show ICE has been purchasing Stingray devices for years, and presumably been putting them to use. But this case, said Wessler, is “the first time I’m aware of [Stingray] use in an actual immigration enforcement operation.”

The post Feds Hunted Down An Undocumented Immigrant Using Controversial Phone Tracker appeared first on The Intercept.

from The Intercept bit.ly/2rAyLiG

Feds Used Secretive Phone-Tracking Tool to Hunt Down Undocumented Immigrant

As part of a dramatic uptick in the arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants promised by President Trump, the Detroit News reports that FBI and ICE agents used a powerful, secretive device first designed for war zones and counterterrorism operations to find Rudy Carcamo-Carranza, a 23-year-old restaurant worker living in Michigan.

State, local, and federal law enforcement agencies have fought to conceal the details of how they use devices that impersonate the cellular communication relays widely deployed by private companies like Verizon and AT&T.  The fake relays, often referred to as Stingrays, after the leading brand of such devices, can trick mobile phones into disclosing  their locations, and in some cases can apparently extract the content of voice and text communications. Stingrays can be used across broad geographic areas, or as in the case of Carcamo-Carranza, to pinpoint a single person. According to an affidavit  filed by the FBI’s Violent Gang Task Force and obtained by the Detroit News, federal agents hoped that “locating the target cellular device will assist law enforcement in arresting Carcamo-Carranza” on the basis that he was guilty of “Unlawful Re-entry after deportation.” The Detroit News notes that despite the involvement of the Violent Gang Task Force, Carcamo-Carranza’s “only brushes with the law involve drunken driving allegations and a hit-and-run crash.” Police were able to find Carcamo-Carranza’s cell number after browsing his Facebook private messages, obtained with an earlier warrant. The affidavit briefly acknowledges that cell phones other than the targeted phone could be inadvertently swept up in the Stingray’s dragnet.

Nathan Wessler, an attorney and technology expert at the ACLU, told The Intercept that documents show ICE has been purchasing Stingray devices for years, and presumably been putting them to use. But this case, said Wessler, is “the first time I’m aware of [Stingray] use in an actual immigration enforcement operation.”

The post Feds Used Secretive Phone-Tracking Tool to Hunt Down Undocumented Immigrant appeared first on The Intercept.

from The Intercept bit.ly/2rAyLiG

Imprensa ensaia operação abafa diante de suposta estabilidade econômica evocada por Temer

A manchete de hoje da Folha de S.Paulo – “Temer afirma que não renuncia; áudio sobre Cunha é inconclusivo” – causou desalento a uma grande parcela da população que anseia por ver Eduardo Cunha e Michel Temer na mesma vala comum da história. A Folha tem razão quando diz que não se pode concluir que Temer tenha incentivado a compra do silêncio de Cunha com base no trecho noticiado pelo Globo, mas erra ao escolher, diante da infinidade de maus feitos revelados, destacar isso.

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Capa da Folha de São Paulo desta sexta-feira (19).

Reprodução

Na quarta-feira (16), uma nação perplexa assistira a Willian Bonner e Renata Vasconcellos iniciarem o Jornal Nacional com um trecho bombástico da reportagem de O Globo:

Bonner: “O dono da JBS grava conversa como presidente Michel Temer…”

Renata: “Diz ao presidente que paga pelo silêncio de Eduardo Cunha e Lúcio Funaro na Prisão.

Bonner: “E Temer responde: ‘tem que manter isso, viu?”

O áudio divulgado ontem, contudo, revelou que a conversa não havia sido exatamente assim. A fala “tem que manter isso, viu?” vem depois de Joesley Batista dizer: “eu tô de bem com o Eduardo, ok?”.

A Folha não comete erro de informação ao cravar que, especificamente no que se refere à anuência de Temer sobre a propina de Cunha, o áudio é inconclusivo. Tudo bem que a informação é um tanto relativa. Afinal, o que é conclusivo para um pode não ser para outro (vide as redes sociais de coxinhas e petralhas). Mas, vá lá, que o trecho seja inconclusivo. Isso justifica a manchete?

De tudo que há no áudio, de todas as notícias avassaladoras do dia de ontem, o mais relevante era, de fato a dubiedade de um trecho?

De tudo que há no áudio, de todas as notícias avassaladoras do dia de ontem, o mais relevante era, de fato a dubiedade de um trecho? Uma breve espiada nas edições impressas da concorrência sugere que não. O Globo: “‘NÃO RENUCIAREI’: em gravação, Temer ouve dono da JBS relatar crimes”. O Estado de S.Paulo: “STF manda investigar Temer; presidente diz que não renuncia”.

Então o que houve? Deu a louca na Folha? As pistas para se buscar uma resposta estão lá mesmo, na primeira página do maior jornal do país, nas duas chamadas de maior destaque. Primeira: “No país, 2,9 mi estão em busca de emprego há mais de 2 anos”. A segunda: “Bolsa tem pior queda desde 2008; dólar à vista sobe 8,7%”. Em outras palavras, como diz o bordão neoliberal, “é a economia, estúpido”.

Não é de hoje que o jornal e boa parte da imprensa ensaiam fechar com o governo Temer como o menor dos males. No dia 13 de agosto do ano passado por exemplo, em pleno sabadão, a Folha se saía com a seguinte manchete: “Governo vê indícios de melhora na arrecadação”.

Mas voltemos à capa da edição de hoje. Não foi um pouco demais apelar para a economia em meio a uma tormenta do calibre da atual? Seria, talvez, apenas um editor tresvariado, a pressa do fechamento, um caso de cegueira momentânea, causada pelo brilho da careca de Henrique Meirelles? Ao que parece, não.

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Destaques da homepage da Folha de São Paulo na manhã de sexta-feira (19)

Reprodução

Durante toda a manhã e até o começo da tarde, a manchete no site da Folha vinha oficiosa qual um Pravda tropical: “Planalto desconfia que gravação de Joesley foi editada e envia áudio de Temer a perito”. Linha finda do título parte 1: “Conversa desperta suspeita, mas não leva a conclusão”. Parte 2: “Temer afirma que não acreditou nas declarações”. É ou não é um belo serviço de relações públicas?

Mas, bem, pelo menos o restante da grande imprensa manteve algum decoro e seguiu apertando o governo, certo? Não exatamente.

Mas, bem, pelo menos o restante da grande imprensa manteve algum decoro e seguiu apertando o governo, certo? Não exatamente. Pela manhã, o site do Estado já havia mudado o foco da política para a economia: “Após dia de tensão no mercado, dólar abre em queda e Bolsa tem leve alta”. O site de Veja, com todo o seu conservadorismo, resistiu um pouco mais. Pela manhã, continuava a bater no moribundo presidente “Ótimo, diz Temer, ao ouvir de Joesley estratégia para barrar investigações”. O lapso petralha, contudo, não duraria muito. Pouco depois do meio dia, o capital havia voltado ao comando da casa dos Civita: “Bolsa sobe e dólar opera em queda após abalo no governo Temer”.

Em mares revoltos, façamos, portanto, um resumo da rota que nossa brava imprensa vinha tentando traçar para si. Folha se colocava como porta voz do governo. O Estadão, de uma hora pra outra, circunscrevia a tensão como pertencente ao “mercado”. Veja passava a retratar a hecatombe política como um “abalo no governo Temer”. Ironicamente, portanto, a mídia escrita tradicional estava pendurada em O Globo, que, às 12h43, seguia apegado ao furo e trazia, em seu site, a seguinte manchete: “Dono da JBS relata tentativa de barrar investigações; Temer responde ‘ótimo, ótimo’”.

No início da tarde, nova reviravolta. Foram divulgados os vídeos da delação premiada de Joesley Batista, assim como o pedido de abertura de investigação sobre Temer, feito ao Supremo pelo procurador-geral da República, Rodrigo Janot. Diante do agravamento da crise, ficou impraticável manter os panos quentes da estabilidade econômica e a imprensa voltou a fustigar o governo. A patacoada matinal, contudo, deixou a impressão de que há um punhado de editores tentando desesperadamente enxugar a enxurrada de fatos que inunda a nação e transforma o futuro, incluindo Bolsa e dólar, num oceano de incerteza.

The post Imprensa ensaia operação abafa diante de suposta estabilidade econômica evocada por Temer appeared first on The Intercept.

from The Intercept bit.ly/2q1YuPK

As Trump Travels to Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s D.C. Lobbying Surge Is Paying Off

An examination by The Intercept of lobbyist disclosures filed with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act shows that Saudi Arabia has greatly expanded its spending on influence peddling during the past two years. Since 2015 the Kingdom has expanded the number of foreign agents on retainer to 145 individuals, up from 25 registered agents during the previous two year period.

Perhaps not coincidentally, President Trump, who less than a year ago vilified Saudi Arabia’s influence over the American political establishment, is now marching to the Saudi lobbyists’ tune.

The selection of Saudi Arabia as the first foreign nation Trump will visit as president when he embarks on his maiden overseas trip is just the latest example of Trump changing his behavior to embrace a country responsible for widespread human rights violations, a growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and the export of an intolerant form of Islam.

Gone are the days when Trump mocked a prominent member of the Saudi royal family for wanting to “control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money,” openly alleged that the Kingdom was behind the September 11 terror attacks, and demanded that the U.S. receive free oil for protecting the Saudi elite. During his trip this week, Trump is expected to give an address that backs the Saudi government as a strong Muslim ally and a partner in the fight against extremism.

The Saudi lobbying expenditures, totaling over $18 million, eclipse other established interest groups in Washington. For perspective, lobbying heavyweight Google employs 74 registered lobbyists and spent $7 million over the same two-year period on federal influence.

Like others seeking to influence the U.S. government, Saudi Arabia invests in lobbyists with close connections to both major political parties. They include a wide array of former Democratic and Republican elected officials, retired government officials, and even former journalists.

Republicans lobbying for the Saudis include former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman. Lott was deeply involved in the White House hiring process, according to reports, and now three former Lott staff members work for Trump. Coleman chairs the Republican dark money outfit American Action Network, which has helped flood the airwaves with campaign commercials help vulnerable House GOP incumbents.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia also paid large fees to the Podesta Group and the Glover Park Group. The Podesta Group is run by Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta. The Glover Park Group was founded by alumni from President Bill Clinton’s administration.

The expansive Saudi lobbying team has attempted to shape the debate on issues as varied as whether the victims of the September 11 attack may file a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, arms deals used for the ongoing Saudi-led war in Yemen, and Trump’s upcoming trip to Riyadh this weekend.

Ed Rogers, the chairman of the BGR Group, a lobbying firm on a $500,000 annual retainer from the Saudi government, hailed the trip in a column for the Washington Post on Tuesday, calling the chosen destinations for Trump’s travel “opportune settings for this administration to make a bold statement to the world that the United States is stronger and more committed than ever to leading.”

Arabia Now, a website and social media network operated in part by a Republican digital media firm retained by the Saudi Embassy, began quickly producing content to promote the trip almost as soon as it became public. “With the recent announcement by President Donald Trump that Saudi Arabia will be the first destination of the Trump administration’s inaugural foreign visit, the White House has affirmed the enduring partnership between Saudi Arabia and America,” blared the website on Monday.

Fahad Nazer, a registered Saudi lobbyist, used his Twitter feed to help unveil a new website, hashtag, and logo to promote Trump state visit. The site features a countdown clock for Trump’s visit along with options for promoting pictures and positive stories about the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Previous disclosures show that consultants tapped by the Saudi government have contracted digital agencies that specialize in native advertising, a marketing technique that presents sponsored content into a news format.

And of course influencing the general public isn’t the only goal of Saudi lobbyists. FARA filings show they also inundate members of Congress and federal officials with meetings, dinners, and emails.

The Glover Park Group and several lobbyists from Brownstein Hyatt Farben Schreck, including a former top aide to former Speaker John Boehner, made 350 contacts over a short period of several weeks with Congress over the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The contentious legislation, which allows the families of terror victims to bring state sponsors of terrorism to court, was strongly opposed by the Saudi government but passed last year over President Obama’s veto.

Saudi Arabia mobilized a massive lobbying effort against JASTA, and also marshaled the support of former military leader leaders and executives from U.S. firms with business interests in Saudi Arabia, including Dow Chemical and Boeing, to protest the bill.

After passage of JASTA, filings show that Saudi lobbyists arranged all-expense paid luxury trips for veterans to travel to Washington to lobby for amending and defanging the law.

Numerous veterans who participated in the effort say they were misled by the Saudi lobbyists, who denied Saudi Arabia was involved in the advocacy campaign. As part of the same campaign, identical letters to the editor and letters to lawmakers against JASTA, supposedly written by military veterans, copied the same language over and over again, a pattern that suggests the letters were written by the lobbyists.

For the upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, Saudi lobbying priorities may veer towards securing an increased military partnership with the Trump administration, particularly regarding the Saudi war against Yemen. Axios is reporting that Jared Kushner has met with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the sale of munitions for the war, as well as a Saudi commitment to buy $110 billion in U.S. weapons over a 10-year period.

Soon after Trump was elected, Qorvis MSLGroup distributed a newsletter touting the warm relationship between the newly-elected president and Saudi leaders. In the same packet distributed to reporters, the newsletter proclaimed that Saudi Arabia is “leading international efforts to rehabilitate the health sector in Yemen and provide life-saving care to injured and ill Yemenis.”

International observers paint a starkly different picture. The war in Yemen has resulted in more than 8,000 casualties, mostly civilians. Medical facilities have been repeatedly attacked by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes. The ongoing assault on the country has raised the risk of more than 14 million running out of food, and cholera outbreak has already killed at least 34 people.

Moreover, the disclosed records are only the tip of the iceberg of Saudi Arabia’s campaign to influence U.S. politics. Saudi donations to think tanks, universities, and political foundations are not covered by the FARA law. And Trump’s sprawling business empire and network of associates provides other opportunities for establishing relationships. Not long after Trump’s election victory, Saudi’s lobbyists began booking rooms in the Trump International Hotel in Washington. And last month Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer at the Trump Organization, signed on to work with Squire Patton Boggs, a firm retained to lobby on behalf of the Saudi Kingdom.

The post As Trump Travels to Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s D.C. Lobbying Surge Is Paying Off appeared first on The Intercept.

from The Intercept bit.ly/2qCdCqn