US Protesters Storm Torch Police Buildings, Cops Flee, George Floyd Murdered in Minneapolis, Umbrella Men, Antifa
grarpamp at gmail.com
Thu Jun 4 00:37:51 PDT 2020
Floyd protests... surveillance state's wet dream gift since 911...
Posted on June 2, 2020, at 6:48 p.m. ET
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new
authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on
people participating in protests over the police killing of George
Floyd, according to a two-page memorandum obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Floyd’s death “has spawned widespread protests across the nation,
which, in some instances, have included violence and looting,” the DEA
memo says. “Police agencies in certain areas of the country have
struggled to maintain and/or restore order.” The memo requests the
extraordinary powers on a temporary basis, and on Sunday afternoon a
senior Justice Department official signed off.
Attorney General William Barr issued a statement Saturday following a
night of widespread and at times violent protests in which he blamed,
without providing evidence, “anarchistic and far left extremists,
using Antifa-like tactics,” for the unrest. He said the FBI, DEA, US
Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”
Barr did not say what those agencies would do.
The DEA is limited by statute to enforcing drug-related federal
crimes. But on Sunday, Timothy Shea, a former US attorney and close
confidant of Barr's who was named acting administrator of the DEA last
month, received approval from Associate Deputy Attorney General
Bradley Weinsheimer to go beyond the agency’s mandate “to perform
other law enforcement duties” that Barr may “deem appropriate.”
Citing the protests, Shea laid out an argument for why the agency
should be granted extraordinary latitude.
“In order for DEA to assist to the maximum extent possible in the
federal law enforcement response to protests which devolve into
violations of federal law, DEA requests that it be designated to
enforce any federal crime committed as a result of protests over the
death of George Floyd,” Shea wrote in the memo. “DEA requests this
authority on a nationwide basis for a period of fourteen days.”
A spokesperson for the DEA declined to comment.
On Tuesday afternoon, Keith Kruskall, associate special agent in
charge of the DEA’s New York division, sent an urgent email seeking 25
volunteers to assist with “security” to the Capitol in Washington, DC
from Tuesday through Friday.
Two sources knowledgeable about the deployment said 15 people from the
DEA’s elite Special Response Team and 10 special agents were chosen.
Not all 25 volunteered, the sources said.
Kruskall’s email did not describe what specific tasks the detachment
would be given. It added that if insufficient numbers of agents
volunteered, others would be assigned the job. According to the
sources, fewer than 25 agents raised their hands
“Drug enforcement agents should not be conducting covert surveillance
of protests and First Amendment protected speech,” said Hugh
Handeyside, a senior attorney for the ACLU. “That kind of monitoring
and information sharing may well constitute unwarranted investigation
of people exercising their constitutional rights to seek justice. The
executive branch continues to run headlong in the wrong direction.”
Three DEA sources told BuzzFeed News they are troubled by the memo and
see it as an example of the Justice Department potentially abusing its
power in an attempt to smear the protests and crack down on protected
First Amendment activity.
The sources requested anonymity because they are not authorized to
speak with the media.
In addition to “covert surveillance,” the memo indicates that DEA
agents would be authorized to share intelligence with local and state
law enforcement authorities, to “intervene” to “protect both
participants and spectators in the protests,” and to conduct
interviews and searches, and arrest protesters who are alleged to have
violated federal law.
A day after Shea’s memo was approved, President Trump said he is
“mobilizing all available federal resources — civilian and military —
to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and
to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second
Under the Insurrection Act, the president has the authority to deploy
the US military for domestic purposes. It has not been employed since
1992, when troops were sent in during the Los Angeles riots.
There is a long history of federal agencies infiltrating and
surveilling protest groups. During the protests in Baltimore in 2015
over the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, the
Department of Homeland Security monitored Twitter and other social
media platforms for "intelligence" on the protesters. In Ferguson,
Missouri, during the 2014 protests over Michael’s Brown’s killing by a
white police officer, DHS planned to "plug" federal officers into
protests to conduct surveillance and collect intelligence. And the FBI
conducted extensive monitoring and surveillance of the Occupy Wall
Street protest movement that began in 2011.
It’s unknown if the ATF, FBI, or other federal law enforcement
agencies have been granted the same authority as the DEA.
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