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FBI orders local police into silence about capabilities of cell phone surveillance gear


Cell phone surveillance
(NaturalNews) More and more, the federal government is behaving like a Stalinist entity that views We the People as adversaries to be subdued, rather than as citizens to be served.

According to a document released by the FBI under a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Washington Post, the federal law enforcement agency requires state and local police departments to remain silent regarding the capabilities of a controversial form of surveillance equipment that enables officers to listen in on cellphone calls and track individuals based on signals sent from their mobile devices.

As further reported by the Post:

The December 2012 document is a heavily redacted letter between the FBI and police in Tacoma, Wash., as the local department sought to acquire an IMSI catcher, sometimes described as a "fake cellphone tower" because it tricks individual phones into routing their calls and other data through the surveillance equipment.

Tacoma Police were buying equipment that was produced by the Harris Corp., a Florida-based firm that manufactures the StingRay, as well as other IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catchers that are used by law enforcement entities around the country.

The FBI document was not classified, the Post reported. However, it was designated as "law enforcement sensitive." In it, the bureau informed the Tacoma police chief that the Federal Communications Commission authorizes the sale of that particular kind of surveillance gear to state and local police agencies, but only if they sign an FBI "non-disclosure agreement."

'Don't tell anyone about this'

Details of the agreement were redacted, said the Post, which further reported that "the blacked-out portions stretch across the bulk of a six-page document, which was first published on [September 22] by MuckRock, a news site that helps journalists, researchers and others" in submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and then publishes the results of those requests.

The FBI, which describes the IMSI catchers as "cell site simulators," would not comment to the Post regarding the document. The federal agency has said in the past that it considers tactics used by IMSI interceptors to be sensitive technology that could probably be defeated if too much were known about how it works.

An affidavit by an FBI official from April of this year said, "The FBI routinely asserts the law enforcement sensitive privilege over cell site simulator equipment because discussion of the capabilities and use of the equipment in court would allow criminal defendants, criminal enterprises, or foreign powers, should they gain access to the items, to determine the FBI's techniques, procedures, limitations, and capabilities in this area."

Florida police asked to lie by the U.S. Marshals Service

Last month, the FCC launched an investigation into reports that foreign intelligence services as well as criminals were using IMSI interceptors illegally. But the FCC noted that it does not provide any oversight into the use of such catchers by federal government agencies.

The Post also reported that, in mid-September, makers of a device that is designed to detect IMSI interceptors said they found 18 in the Washington, D.C., area alone, following two days of looking. The Post added:

The locations, said the marketer of the GSMK CryptoPhone, included areas around the White House, the Capitol, the Russian Embassy and the cluster of defense contractors near Dulles International Airport. The CryptoPhone was not able to determine whether the IMSI catchers were being used by the federal government, local police or some other entity.

Emails that were collected under a separate FOIA request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union showed that, in June, the U.S. Marshals Service had requested that police in Florida not reveal that it had used ISMI interceptors to determine locations of criminal suspects. Rather, police were told to say that they had determined the whereabouts of the suspects through the use of "a confidential source."

Check out Natural News editor Mike Adams' report on these phony cell towers here.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com

http://www.muckrock.com

http://www.washingtonpost.com

http://www.naturalnews.com
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