TSA pat-down of special needs boy at DFW Airport ‘horrifying’…

By Kim Green and Julieta Chiquillo

A mother who asked TSA agents at DFW International Airport for alternative screening for her son with special needs said they were “treated like dogs” and forced to miss a flight during an extensive security check, according to her Facebook post that has since gone viral.

But the Transportation Security Administration said in a prepared statement that it followed approved procedures to “resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop.”

Jennifer Williamson wrote Sunday morning that her son has a sensory processing disorder and that she asked agents to “screen him in other ways per TSA rules.”

An accompanying video shows a TSA agent patting down her son. The agent pats down his backside before moving to his front. She writes in the post they were kept for more than hour in the “horrifying” incident.

TSA disputed Williamson’s account, noting in its statement that the passengers were at the checkpoint for about 45 minutes, including the time it took to discuss screening procedures with the teen’s mother and the inspection of three carry-on items.  The pat-down took about two minutes, according to the agency.

Williamson’s post had more than 26,000 shares by Monday afternoon.

“Let me make something else crystal clear,” she wrote. “He set off NO alarms. He physically did not alarm at all during screening, he passed through the detector just fine. He is still several hours later saying ‘I don’t know what I did. What did I do?’ I am livid.

“I wish I had taped the entire interchange because it was horrifying. We had two DFW police officers that were called and flanking him on each side. Somehow these power tripping TSA agents who are traumatizing children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in.”

TSA said two police officers were called to mitigate the mother’s concerns.

“The video shows a male TSA officer explaining the procedure to the passenger, who fully cooperates,” the agency’s statement reads. “Afterward, the TSA officer was instructed by his supervisor, who was observing, to complete the final step of the screening process.”

Williamson could not be reached for comment.

CORRECTION, 7:50 p.m., March 27: Because of an error in a TSA statement, an earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the family was at the airport checkpoint for 35 minutes. The agency said the passengers were at the checkpoint for 45 minutes.

VIDEO: LIBERAL HAS NO ANSWER WHEN ASKED WHY ENFORCING IMMIGRATION LAWS IS ‘RACIST’

“Why does your argument always take a turn into racial demagoguery?”

Steve Watson | Infowars.com – MARCH 28, 2017

Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson wanted to know why the head of the New York City Council suggested that enforcing illegal immigration laws is racist, but his guest, a sanctuary cities advocate, couldn’t provide the answers.

The comments were made by Melissa Mark-Viverito at the National Conference on Sanctuary Cities, where she repeated claims she made earlier in the month that enforcing US immigration laws against those seeking to enter the country illegally was tantamount to ethnic cleansing.

The council speaker has claimed that “I think in the last couple of weeks we’ve seen very, very, very clearly what the ultimate goal is of this administration. There clearly is a sense of purging… of implementing policies to purge certain groups of people from this country.”

Carlson asked Cristobal Alex, a civil rights attorney, and sanctuary cities advocate, why such a prominent figure in the debate would suggest such a thing, but he spent the entire interview dodging the question:

Alex, also a self proclaimed Hillary supporter, first suggested that “the point that she was trying to make is that sanctuary cities are actually much safer. And what Jeff Sessions, and what this Department of Justice are trying to do is pass draconian laws that will make it much harder and unsafe for our cities in the United States.”

Carlson pointed out that there are no studies that support the claim that such cities are safer.

“There’s no disagreement — there haven’t been studies done on that that show it.” Carlson told Alex, when he attempted to continue the line of argument.

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Carlson returned to the line of questioning about ‘ethnic cleansing’, noting ” I don’t understand why this has be a racial conversation, I don’t understand why if you disagree with someone about the immigration policy, that person needs to be a racist’.”

Alex simply had no comeback, saying that he ‘respected’ the council speaker and was ‘looking forward to what she has to say next’, while admitting that sanctuary cities would not solve the problem of the immigration system.

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“Do me the favor of addressing what she actually said.” Carlson requested, to which Alex responded, “you’ll need to ask her directly”.

“Why does it always take a turn into racial demagoguery?” Carlson asked, adding “you’re accusing Trump of being a demagogue, and then when people say things like ethnic cleansing and murdering people because of their race? Come on now!”

“I’m not going to speak for the speaker.” Alex responded, returning once again to the claim that there is evidence to suggest sanctuary cities are safer.

Alex then attempted to argue against the documented reality of supply and demand, and suggested that it isn’t the case that wages are driven down when areas are flooded with people who are willing to work for less.

“Come on, this is insulting!” Carlson told Alex.

Alex then wouldn’t answer Carlson’s further question of “how many illegal immigrants is too many?”, wheeling out the cliche of “This is a country built on immigrants. And we should be building bridges, not walls.”

“On illegal immigrants?” Carlson shot back, adding “What does that even mean?”

“You guys always fall back on these ‘bumper stickers’.” Carlson exclaimed.

Social media blew up following the interview.

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PROFESSOR: GOOGLE HOME DEVICE COULD ALLOW GOVERNMENT TO LISTEN IN ON PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS

A surveillance bug in your home?

| Infowars.com – MARCH 28, 2017

A professor at the University of Texas thinks that “mission creep” could one day lead to the government listening in on private conversations in people’s homes via the new Google Home device.

Google Home is a newly launched wi-fi connected “smart speaker” that responds to voice commands with relevant information via a virtual speaking assistant. The device is a rival to Amazon Echo, which performs many of the same functions.

According to Dr. Philip Doty, associate dean of the School of Information at the University of Texas, privacy advocates are right to be concerned, especially in light of revelations that the CIA allegedly hacked Samsung Smart TVs to record private conversations.

“We now have a third party presence which not only can listen to us but can record us and share that information with retail giants, with third party information brokers and potentially with government,” Professor Doty told KXAN.

Doty added that there was “some rationale” for describing the devices as “surveillance robots”.

Patrick Moorhead of Austin-based Moor Insights and Strategy said he “believes” Google when the company says it promises to only listen for key words and “delete all of the other conversations they happen to overhear.”

However, Professor Doty said he didn’t believe that promise and “mission creep” could lead Google and Amazon to change their privacy policies in the future.

“Even if they were the best of actors, it would be difficult to resist the temptation to gather more and more information about us,” he said.

Another video posted to YouTube shows a user asking Google Home about the CIA, to which the device responds with a long rambling message which states, “No government entity, US or otherwise, has direct access to our user’s information. Respect for the privacy and security of data you store with Google underpins our approach to producing data in response to legal requests. You can learn more in Google’s transparency report.”

According to the “Data security & privacy” policy that applies to Google Home, “Google stores data about our conversations on its servers, which reside in its data centers.”

Under the sub-heading Is Google Home recording all of my conversations?, the document states, “Google Home listens in short (a few seconds) snippets for the hotword. Those snippets are deleted if the hotword is not detected.”

However, given the revelations about Samsung TVs, to take these promises at face value seems absurdly naive.

Back in 2013, former CIA director General David Petraeus admitted that the “Internet of things” was a transformational boon for “clandestine tradecraft”.

In other words, it would soon be easier than ever before for the government to keep tabs on the population since everything they use will be connected to the web, negating the need for spies to directly plant a bug in someone’s home.

Border searches of electronic devices prompt FOIA lawsuit against Trump administration

Dramatic increase in border searches of electronic devices prompt FOIA lawsuit against Trump administration

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A group of First Amendment attorneys has filed suit against the federal government after a surge in electronic device data searches at US border crossings.

On Monday, the the Knight First Amendment Institute (KFAI) at Columbia University filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), seeking “statistical, policy, and assessment records regarding the government’s searches” involving electronic devices.

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In a press release, the group states that they filed a FOIA request on March 15. When the request was ignored, they filed suit in US District Court for the District of Columbia to access the information.

The KFAI filed the request after Cynthia McFadden, senior investigative and legal correspondent at NBC News, released findings of a dramatic increase in American citizens who had their electronic devices searched at border crossings.

According to data provided by the DHS, the report found searches of electronic devices carried out by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents grew five-fold in one year, from fewer than 5,000 searches in all of 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2016. More devices were searched in February 2017 than all of 2015.

CBP agents were reportedly demanding phones, laptops and other electronic devices to be handed over as well as pin numbers and passwords to social media accounts. Some citizens were even asked about their religion and ethnic origins.

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Mary Ellen Callahan, former chief privacy officer at the Department of Homeland Security called the increase in searches “shocking.”

Callahan, who wrote the rules and restrictions on how CBP should conduct electronic searches back in 2009, says the increase “was clearly a conscious strategy, that’s not happenstance,” according to the press release from the KFAI.

With that information, agents have also been able to access emails, photos, text messages, and other personal and private information. Some agents have even made digital copies of the content on electronic devices.

These searches can be performed within 100 miles of the US border on anyone without any suspicion the person has done anything wrong. The agents can also hold electronic devices for five days without providing any justification.

The current policy has not changed since 2009. However, Jayson Ahern, who served in the CBP under both Bush and Obama, says that these types of electronic searches are meant to be performed on individuals with security concerns, and not as routine searches.

“That’s reckless and that’s how you would lose the authority, never mind the policy,” Ahern said according to the report.

The First Amendment implications are a clear risk the activist group says.

The “fishing expeditions,” as senior KFAI attorney Katie Fallow calls them in the release, “will make it more difficult for [journalists] to do the work we need them to do.”

These searches are extremely intrusive, and government agents shouldn’t be conducting them without cause, Jameel Jaffer, executive director of KFAI, said. Putting this kind of unfettered power in the hands of border agents invites abuse and discrimination and will inevitably have a chilling effect on the freedoms of speech and association.

‘AP’s malicious lie’: Russian tycoon denies dealing with Trump’s ex-aide to ‘benefit Putin’

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Oleg Deripaska has slammed an AP report claiming he had dealings with former Donald Trump aide Paul Manafort in order to “benefit the Putin government.” The Russian tycoon says he’s ready to take part in “any hearing” in the US Congress on the subject.

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In a statement published in the Wall Street Journal, Deripaska, the president one of the largest aluminum companies in the world, RUSAL, said: “In recent days I have been the subject of a massive and misleading campaign generated by an ‘AP exclusive’, which alleged my involvement in a plan ‘to greatly benefit the Putin government.’”

The AP report claims that Paul Manafort, the former national chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign, “secretly worked for Russian billionaire” Deripaska.

 

AP assumed that Manafort had initiated the strategy back in 2005 to “influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government.” The AP exclusive also claimed that Deripaska had signed a $10 million annual contract with Manafort.

“I want to resolutely deny this malicious assertion and lie. I have never made any commitments or contacts with the obligation or purpose to covertly promote or advance ‘Putin’s government’ interests anywhere in the world,” Deripaska said.

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According to Deripaska, the AP report “falls into negative context of current US-Russian relations and causes fresh unfair and unjustified concerns and alarm in the US Congress about Russian involvement in US domestic affairs.”

He slammed the information presented in the reports as “based on complete lies.”

“I demand that any and all further dissemination of these allegations by the AP or any other media outlet must cease immediately. I am ready to take part in any hearings conducted by the US Congress on this subject in order to defend my reputation and name,” Deripaska added.

This is not the first time Manafort’s name has been connected with Russia in the mainstream press. In January, the WSJ said he, along with Trump advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page, had “known ties to Russian interests.”

At the time, Manafort called those allegations a “Democrat Party dirty trick and completely false.”

“I have never had any relationship with the Russian government or any Russian officials. I was never in contact with anyone, or directed anyone to be in contact with anyone,” he wrote in emails directed to US media outlets, including the WSJ and New York Times.

In February, President Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, stepped down after a scandal erupted involving his phone conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the USA, Sergey Kislyak.

READ MORE: ‘Like McCarthyism’: Lavrov slams US ‘witch hunt-like’ scrutiny of Russian ambassador’s contacts

In March, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions also came under scrutiny for having contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 US presidential election. Sessions denied that there was any wrongdoing involved in his meetings with the Russian ambassador, saying the two brief encounters had had nothing to do with the presidential campaign.