Spies in blue - Page 5

A secret memo indicates that SF cops may be working as FBI spies — with no local oversight

|
()

"Folks were saying that the FBI was asking about their religious identity, their family situation, and their political activities," she recalled. "I certainly saw an upswing in innocent people being contacted. People were saying, 'What the hell? — the FBI knocked on my door at 5 a.m.'"

 

COMMUNITIES UNDER SIEGE

A 2011 Human Rights Commission report documents frequent complaints from Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities facing racial and religious profiling while traveling and unwaraanted interrogation, surveillance, and infiltration by local and federal law enforcement personnel at their homes, places of worship, and workplaces.

The report recommended asking the supervisors and the Police Commission to "ensure that all SFPD officers, including those deputized to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, follow and comply with local and state privacy laws, including DGO 8.10."

On April 5, the Board of Supervisors voted 10-0 to approve a resolution, sponsored by Sup. Ross Mirkarimi and cosponsored by Sups David Chiu, Eric Mar, David Campos, and John Avalos, to endorse the HRC report.

All this is happening against the backdrop of FBI guidelines that have been loosened twice since September 2011, first by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then by Attorney General Michael Mukasey in the dying days of the Bush administration, and now by the Obama administration.

And as The New York Times reported in March, records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that between Dec. 2008 and March 2009, the FBI began 11,667 assessments of people and groups for criminal/terror links, completed 8,605 assessments, and launched more than 400 intensive investigations based on the assessments. The FBI also told the Times that agents continue to open assessments at about the same pace

Crew noted that Mukasey's guidelines marked the first time since 1976 that the FBI has been allowed to do assessments and collect files without a suspicion that a crime has occurred.

Dubal observed that the most relevant documents to emerge from a recent FOIA request to determine if the FBI has engaged in disturbing intelligence gathering activities are those related to "geomapping."

"The materials are not particular to Northern California, but they show how FBI maps communities based in ethnic concentrations," Dubal said.

Dubal also pointed to the case of Yasir Afifi, an Egyptian American student from Santa Clara, who found an FBI tracking device on his car when he took it in for an oil change. In March 2011, CAIR filed suit in Washington, D.C., alleging that the FBI violated Afifi's First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights by failing to obtain a warrant.

DeJesus recently told the Guardian that the Police Commission was never made aware of the MOU's existence. "The chief should have checked in with the commission president, at the very least," she said. "The idea that they were not reporting this to anyone is disconcerting."

"The SFPD does not have the authority to enter into a secret agreement with the FBI whereby some of its officers are allowed to conduct intelligence operations in violation of the Police Commission's General Order 8.10," Crew added.

In a Jan. 25 letter to Mahoney, representatives from the ACLU and the ALC noted that "in the past, the SFPD had not previously deferred to the FBI on whether or how to openly address how San Francisco police officers will be supervised and held to well-established and painstakingly and collaboratively crafted San Francisco general orders."