March 22, 2012 – The Obama administration announces new rules that will allow millions of U.S. citizens’ government files to be copied and analyzed for terrorism clues

In Conservative Treehouse, Featured Timeline Entries, Investigations by Katie Weddington

(…) “Within the 99-page opinion from Judge Rosemary Collyer  she noted none of this FISA-702 database abuse was accidental. In a key footnote on page 87: Collyer outlined the years of unlawful violations was the result of “deliberate decisionmaking“:

This specific footnote, is key to peeling back the onion.

Note the phrase: “([redacted] access to FBI systems was the subject of an interagency memorandum of understanding entered into [redacted])”.  This sentence exposes an internal decision; withheld from congress and the FISA court by the Obama administration; and outlines a process for access and distribution of surveillance data. Note: “no notice of this practice was given to the FISC until 2016“.

We feel confident we’ve now found the source of the “memorandum of understanding” that lies at the heart of the issue.

Barack Obama and Eric Holder (Credit: Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

In March 2012 the Obama administration through Attorney General Eric Holder made changes to the exploitation of intelligence databases as noted in this Wall Street Journal article later in the year:

(December 2012WSJ) Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans “reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information” may be permanently retained.

The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.  (more)

The 2012 changes, instituted by Eric Holder, permitted files of specific Americans to be generated under the auspices of potential terror threats.  The NSA databases could be exploited by the National Counterterrorism Center to extract content that would be contained within these files on targeted Americans.

Keep in mind this is early 2012, John Brennan is Deputy National Security Advisor and Asst. to President Obama for Homeland Security.

When Attorney General Eric Holder empowered the National Counterterrorism Center with this new authority, the office assigned to the data-collection was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC).  The founder of the TTIC was John Brennan:

On 1 May 2003, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) opened its doors. Led by its first Director, John Brennan, TTIC filled its ranks with approximately three dozen detailees from across the US Government (USG) and was mandated to integrate CT capabilities and missions across the government. (link)

Also note the date of this DOJ Memorandum is March 2012:

Under the new rules issued in March, the National Counterterrorism Center, known as NCTC, can obtain almost any database the government collects that it says is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information.”  (link)

The March 2012 date is right before the IRS scandal hit the headlines.

The IRS targeting scandal is where the term “Secret Research Project” originated as a description from the Obama team. It involved the U.S. Department of Justice under Eric Holder and the FBI under Robert Mueller. It never made sense why Eric Holder requested over 1 million tax records via CD ROM, until overlaying the timeline of the FISA abuse:

The IRS sent the FBI “21 disks constituting a 1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The transaction occurred in October 2010 (link)

Why disks? Why send a stack of DISKS to the DOJ and FBI when there’s a pre-existing financial crimes unit within the IRS. All of the evidence within this sketchy operation came directly to the surface in spring 2012.

Here’s how it looks:

♦ In 2010 Eric Holder asked the IRS to send him the records of 501(c) non profit groups and individuals representing conservative voters. [LINK] Lois Lerner sent the DOJ 1.1 million pages of 501(c)(4) tax filing data. Including a very specific set of “33 Schedule B attachment files”. The Schedule B’s were specific to Large Conservative 501(c)(4) groups operating and organized to oppose the agenda of President Obama. The Schedule B’s include the donor lists of specific people and sub-groups attached to the 501(c)(4).

The IRS sent the FBI “21 disks constituting a 1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The transaction occurred in October 2010 (link)

♦ In 2012 Eric Holder authorizes the use of government databases to search records of Americans and assemble “files” on potential targets. [Link] “The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior.”

♦ In the period of 2012 through April 2016According to FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer, there were tens of thousands of illegal (“non-compliant”) search queries of the NSA database targeting Americans.  The search results were unlawfully “extracted” to unknown entities.  Eighty-five out of every hundred searches were illegal (85% non-compliant rate).

Consider purposeful actions, as a political targeting operation, by weaponizing the systems of government.  Steps:

  • First, identify the targets (IRS Database).
  • Second, research the targets (NSA Database).
  • Third assemble files on the targets (DOJ Authorization).
  • Fourth use the files to leverage/destroy your opposition.

We now have evidence of the first three steps; and my hunch is if we apply hindsight a lot of unusual activity will now make sense.  We have been living inside the fourth step for a few years.  We noticed the consequences… but we only had suspicions, until now.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/28/2019)

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On December 12, 2012, the Wall Street Journal publishes a timeline of events regarding the National Counterterrorism Center controversy:

Dec. 25, 2009 – On Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man, boarded a flight to Detroit from Amsterdam wearing explosives sewn into his undergarments. His bomb didn’t properly detonate. He eventually pleaded guilty to terror-related charges.

Jan. 7, 2010 – The White House issued a report about the attempted bombing, citing the need to strengthen the watchlisting process.

May 18, 2010 – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the Christmas Day bombing concluded that “NCTC was not organized adequately to fulfill its mission.”

Feb 24, 2011 – In February 2011, Homeland Security staffers began corresponding about their concerns about the proposed NCTC guidelines, including issues with “oversight/compliance” and difficulty stripping down “what you need to focus on as the problems.”

March 4, 2011 – By March, Justice Department was on its “third round of edits” with NCTC. DHS Associate General Counsel Matthew L. Kronisch encouraged Homeland Security colleagues to submit their comments soon.

March 7, 2011 – In a heated exchange, an official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – whose name was redacted – said that several Homeland Security comments “suggest a potential lack of understanding” and “would eviscerate the authorities” of the counterterrorism center.

March 11, 2011 – Homeland Security Associate General Counsel Matthew Kronisch expressed “little expectation of resolving our concerns” but requested a meeting with the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice.

May 12, 2011 – Homeland Security Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Margo Schlanger elevated their concerns to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in a memo titled “How Best to Express the Department’s Privacy and Civil Liberties-Related Concems over Draft Guidelines Proposed by the Office of The Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center.”

June 17, 2011 – Ms. Callahan expressed frustration with the process, stating that she “non-concurred” on “operational examples,” and that the examples were “complete non-sequiturs” and “non-responsive.”

November 8, 2011 – “I’m not sure I’m totally prepared with the firestorm we’re about to create,” Margo Schlanger wrote in an e-mail to Mary Ellen Callahan in November, referring to the fact that the two wanted to push for further privacy protections in the guidelines. Others in the department were willing to agree to the counterterrorism proposal.

March 7, 2012 – Staffers for the Homeland Security Privacy and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties offices’ prepared talking points for the “Deputies Committee meeting” at the White House to discuss the guidelines.

March 22, 2012 – But right after the meeting the guidelines were finalized and quietly released with a statement from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who cited the Abdullmutallub failures. “Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information,” said Clapper, “The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated Guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively than the 2008 Guidelines allowed.”

April 2, 2012 – Homeland Security staffers began preparing the terms under which they would hand over the “six DHS datasets associated with the revised NCTC AG Guidelines.”

(Wall Street Journal, 12/12/2012)