Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: 'InfraGard ': Lincensed To Kill Americans In America ? For profit? With Impunity?

08 February 2008

'InfraGard ': Lincensed To Kill Americans In America ? For profit? With Impunity?

*

Someone, somewhere once said that fact is far stranger than fiction.

So who the hell are we to argue?



FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill'

By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive.

Posted February 8, 2008.

The FBI has a new set of eyes and ears, and they're being told to protect their infrastructure at any cost. They can even kill without repercussion.

Sound too far fetched to be true?

Even for 21st century (fast becoming fascist), America?

Judge for yourself.



And if this is the sort of sickening stuff that turns you on ... right now they're recruiting.

*(Cross posted at Appletree)

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Alan Clegg said...

As a member of InfraGard, I must say that the article that you reference from "The Progressive" is a work of significant fantasy.

InfraGard is a completely open organization that holds meetings that anyone is invited to attend.

Please consider attending a meeting and seeing for yourself that there is no "shoot to kill" mentality.

I write more in my own blog.

3:07 am  
Anonymous gordo said...

It never fails. Whenever a reporter digs something up on a company or trade association, it triggers a flood of employees, members, and PR flaks who write letters to newspapers, post comments in blogs, and call talk radio programs.

Remember when we were being told that Blackwater was a highly professional security company, made up of former Special Forces soldiers and adhering to the highest standards of conduct?

The Progressive has broken many important stories, and consistently follows journalistic ethics and standards. But the same can't be said for its critics.

Alan Clegg, for example, writes that InfraGard is a completely open organization. Hogwash. Its communications with government agencies are considered trade secrets and not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Clegg links to another blogger, who also spreads disinformation. This one is at least honest enough to admit that not all meetings are open to the public. In general, it confirms much of what the article said, and just complains about the tone.

Both bloggers comment on the alleged authorization to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law. That's not the focus of the article, and it's sourced to a member of InfraGard. It doesn't seem to have occurred to either of these critics that the FBI might not tell everything to every InfraGard member.

When you read these criticisms of The Progressive, keep in mind this information from the article:

"Any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed. 'The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members,' the website states. 'During interviews with members of the press, controlling the image of InfraGard being presented can be difficult. Proper preparation for the interview will minimize the risk of embarrassment. . . . The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the predilection of the answers, and identify the appropriate interviewee. . . . Tailor answers to the expected audience. . . . Questions concerning sensitive information should be avoided.'"

8:54 am  
Anonymous Charles said...

Mr Clegg, if it's fantasy (ie: lies) why isn't anyone suing the author or publishers of his work? Yourself for example? Or can nobody prove in a court of law that it's lies?

In the UK we have libel laws. Do you have those in the US?

11:34 am  
Anonymous kiwi said...

---there is no "shoot to kill" mentality.

That's fudging the issue. The point isn't what the "mentality" (of some members) is - the point is that anyone who does will not be brought to book.

One law for some but a different law for others? That's democracy?! You can not be serious, Mr Clegg.

12:53 pm  
Anonymous bootlean said...

Alan Clegg:

Go to meeting? In Bush' America? Where foreigners (including like we Brits) have no rights|protections at all? Ha! And put any of our cash at all into your sinking economy?

As kiwi said, you can not be serious.

1:26 pm  
Anonymous martha said...

Holy mother of God. They're about to make it legal for "haves" to murder "have nots". Not just that, but they're offcially encouraging it.

1:32 pm  
Anonymous pimpernel said...

Did nobody else see what I saw in this piece?

When refering to martial law they don't say "if" it comes ~ they say "when" it comes.

You know what? If ever there was a case for any kind of preemption then I'd say people should wake up to the fact this is such a case.

Or would millions of Americans rather sit in front of TV and sleep on their couches ~ and die in their sleep so to speak?

1:57 pm  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

A few words come to mind, Richard.
Blackshirts
Internment camps
Martial Law.
And it will happen.
Of that I have no doubt.
250 million people mesmerized by the crotch of Britney Spears.
What hope do the rest have?
XO
WWW

5:10 pm  
Blogger Jim Lippard said...

It's funny to see myself accused of disinformation here, but with no specifics. Tell me what I've written that is in error--if you're going to call me a liar for the government, back it up. (BTW, if you check out my blog you'll see that I'm a vociferous critic of the Bush administration.)

The fact is, InfraGard membership doesn't give you a right to kill, under martial law or in any other condition except the same right of self-defense that any American has. Rothschild's source is completely full of shit.

The "sue or its true" argument is absurd, especially in the U.S. where defamation is extremely difficult to prove (and impossible in some online cases, since republication of defamation is not actionable at all). Its especially absurd considering that this nonsense was just put online yesterday and the courts aren't open on the weekends. The best way to combat bad speech is with good speech, not lawsuits, anyway.

Those guidelines about talking to the press are for InfraGard leadership, not members, and exist for the same reason that corporations have corporate communications departments--people speaking off the cuff can say things that get misrepresented, and Rothschild's article is a perfect example of the problem.

The purpose of InfraGard keeping some information private is to create an environment where companies feel comfortable sharing information about security vulnerabilities without the fear that they will be published in the newspaper or on the Internet. In my experience with InfraGard, most members still tend not to share details of actual compromises and attacks, though some do, and I respect their right to keep that confidential.

5:59 pm  
Blogger Jim Lippard said...

"Both bloggers comment on the alleged authorization to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law. That's not the focus of the article, and it's sourced to a member of InfraGard. It doesn't seem to have occurred to either of these critics that the FBI might not tell everything to every InfraGard member."

It's the only part that you and most others have quoted. Look at your graphic and title--it's clearly the focus of your post. And it's clearly bullshit. InfraGard is not a law enforcement organization, it's not even an incident or emergency response organization. It's an information-sharing and educational organization. The respective chapters have public board representation, publicly filed articles of incorporation, publicly filed Form 990s, and membership and meetings open to the general public. How about doing some research next time before spreading misinformation?

6:19 pm  
Blogger Jim Lippard said...

I must correct a misstatement I made in a previous comment: "Those guidelines about talking to the press are for InfraGard leadership, not members." Actually, the guidelines are for any InfraGard member speaking on behalf of InfraGard, e.g., giving a public presentation about the organization or presenting InfraGard materials to the public. My analogy to corporate communications departments still stands.

I didn't seek any FBI or InfraGard approval before blogging about Rothschild's article or posting here, and I don't need it because I'm not speaking on behalf of InfraGard, only on behalf of myself (the way I like it), based on my knowledge and experience as a member of the organization.

6:36 pm  
Anonymous rex said...

Um, Jim Lippard ....

You talk here about doing research and not spreading misinformation but, at the same time don't even bother to read this minor and obviously uncomplicated piece correctly. Hence the 'disinformation' you have spread by way of your comment here.

Richard the Old Brit chooses [the graphics for his own posts on his own blog. Not only that but in this one he used very few words -- fewer still of his own words. Of those few, three were very important - and at the same time totally impartial and none judgemental - ie: "judge for yourself."

It was Gordo, an American poster, made the reference to you. Then it was a different [regular] poster again who spoke of libel laws.

You know, if you [mistakenly] chide others [in public] for the words of someone else and still wish to come across as authorative and/or credible, then you'll have to prove that you can pay attention [and comprehend] lots better at your meetings than you have here - simply reading a few uncomplicated lines of a blog.

In short, I think you've merely proved to everyone how difficult it is for yourself to comprehend [in the literal sense] even extremely simple scenarios, as well as how easily you apparently become confused.

Ever hear how useless it is to shoot [or just try to] the messenger? And, how silly it looks when one shoots oneself in the foot? But by gosh, to manage to achieve both these things in just a single comment --- well, really.

8:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regular American citizens, it's time to wake up. It's already almost too late.

Please take my word for it, I KNOW.

9:35 pm  
Anonymous RKT said...

I haven't learned enough about InfraGard to judge its validity, but I did just look at its bylaws. As an attorney, I am curious about a couple of things. (http://www.infragardky.org/docs/nat_by_laws_2004.pdf).

First, does it seem a bit curious an altruistic organization would create such extensive and rigid bylaws?

Next, why does the Corporation indemnify its members against civil and criminal actions?

"ARTICLE X -- INDEMNIFICATION
The Corporation shall indemnify each director and each of its officers, for the defense of civil or criminal actions or proceedings as hereinafter provided and notwithstanding any provision in these Bylaws, in a manner and to the extent permitted by applicable law."

There are some caveats, but they're pretty fuzzy, and open to a wide latitude of interpretation.

Finally, does anyone else find the Ethics rules ambiguous enough to favor the accused?

"APPENDIX B -- ETHICS COMMITTEE -- PREAMBLE

"The INMA strives for careful balance to ensure that the Ethics process is not used inappropriately and that the rights of the accused are fairly protected. The INMA will take appropriate action either if violations are found or if malicious accusations are made."

"A. Procedures
1). [If an]ethics complaint... concerns members of the IMA board, special considerations will be given.

"By filing an Ethics complaint, each InfraGard Member will share the liability equally if the complaint is found to be inappropriate, malicious, or in bad faith.

"By filing the complaint, the accusers also agree to maintain confidentiality throughout the process.

"6) In the event the Board makes a determination to recommend the censure, suspension, or expulsion of a member as the result of a violation of the bylaws or ethics policies the Board may do so under the provisions of Article II, Section 3 of the bylaws.

"7) In the event that the Board determines that an accusation was inappropriate, malicious, or in bad faith, the Board may recommend the censure, suspension, or expulsion of accuser(s) pursuant to the provisions of Article II, Section 3 of the bylaws.

9) In its deliberations and communication of recommendations, the Board of Directors shall comply with policies for preserving confidential information, and should refrain from discussing any matter before the Committee outside of the established process.

"Article II, Section 3. Termination of Membership.
The Board of Directors or IMA Executive Committee (of the member in question), by a two-thirds vote, may recommend to the FBI that it terminate the membership of an InfraGard Member pursuant to procedures codified in the Membership Documents.

Is it just me, or does it seem there's a lot of secret discussion that occurs, and that is disclosed only to the FBI?

Decide for yourselves.

11:49 pm  
Blogger Jim Lippard said...

Rex:

You didn't actually respond to anything I've said.

1:17 am  
Anonymous gordo said...

Jim Lippard--

You want specifics? OK:

1) You say on your blog that Rothschild is in error when he says that InfraGard is not readily accessible to the public. But as you indicate here, the organization DOES keep information private. Members may choose to keep their association with InfraGard a secret. And as Rothschild points out, communications with the FBI are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

As you say, the participating companies prefer to keep their communications secret. The trouble is, the FBI is an organization that should be accountable to the public. All unclassified FBI communications should be subject to FOIA, even communications with private companies.

2) You say membership in InfraGard is open to anyone who can pass a screening. In fact, membership is restricted, and even those who can pass a background check are not guaranteed acceptance.

You also say some things that you have no way of knowing. You say that InfraGard members get no special law enforcement powers of any kind. How do you know this? Some members belong to security companies and some have law enforcement backgrounds. For all you know, some of these these members have been given powers that you're not aware of, in the event of martial law.

You say that businesses are not under any pressure to provide information. Again, you don't know. And what's more likely and more concerning is the possibility that a business wanting to break a union would use its connection to the FBI to register false concerns about "problem" employees, and perhaps even obtain information about those employees. Since communication between InfraGard members and the FBI isn't open to the public, who's to know what information is exchanged?

Finally, I don't know why you dismiss concerns about the FBI using InfraGard to avoid FOIA or to funnel public money to businesses with FBI connections. Because you haven't personally witnessed such activity? Do you imagine they'd tell you if they were abusing the organization in this way?

The bottom line is, without more openness, InfraGard is ripe for abuse.

1:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Lippard,

I did respond. Though obviously not in the way you'd have liked me too.

11:55 am  
Blogger Jim Lippard said...

"You say on your blog that Rothschild is in error when he says that InfraGard is not readily accessible to the public. But as you indicate here, the organization DOES keep information private. Members may choose to keep their association with InfraGard a secret. And as Rothschild points out, communications with the FBI are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act."

Your "but" does not contradict Rothschild's being in error. What organizations and individuals *don't* keep some information private? Keeping some information private doesn't mean that the organization as a whole isn't accessible to the public. Of the Phoenix InfraGard chapter's meetings over the last five years, there have been perhaps 3 or 4 monthly meetings not open to the general public. Private organizations are not subject to FOIA--nor should they be. That itself would be an unwarranted intrusion of privacy by the government.

"You say membership in InfraGard is open to anyone who can pass a screening. In fact, membership is restricted, and even those who can pass a background check are not guaranteed acceptance."

Can you point to a single example of a U.S. citizen being denied acceptance to InfraGard?

"You also say some things that you have no way of knowing. You say that InfraGard members get no special law enforcement powers of any kind. How do you know this? You also say some things that you have no way of knowing. You say that InfraGard members get no special law enforcement powers of any kind. How do you know this?"

Some InfraGard members *are* members of law enforcement, and as such have some law enforcement powers in virtue of that fact--but *not* from being members of InfraGard. InfraGard is a private organization, and there are no statutes or regulations granting InfraGard any special powers.

"You say that businesses are not under any pressure to provide information. Again, you don't know."

I'm head of information security for a global telecommunications company operating in several hundred of the world's largest cities, yet I haven't been pressured to provide information.

"And what's more likely and more concerning is the possibility that a business wanting to break a union would use its connection to the FBI to register false concerns about "problem" employees, and perhaps even obtain information about those employees."

Making a false report is a criminal offense, I doubt the FBI would pass back information about individuals, since that *would* be subject to FOIA, and what does that have to do with InfraGard?

"Finally, I don't know why you dismiss concerns about the FBI using InfraGard to avoid FOIA or to funnel public money to businesses with FBI connections."

My blog post doesn't dismiss those concerns.

I think one of the best ways to ensure that InfraGard doesn't become abused is for people who support civil liberties to become members.

12:05 am  

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