Congressman In Charge Of OPM Hacking Report Announces Plan To Investigate Stingray Use Next

from the a-stingray-sting dept

Representative Jason Chaffetz, fresh off his bombshell report on the OPM hacking, is promising to drop another explosive report in the future. This one will deal with law enforcement’s dirty little secret — one that’s not that much of a secret anymore.

The Stingray, a controversial cellphone tracking device used by the U.S. government and law enforcement, will be the subject of a forthcoming investigation from the House Oversight Committee, according to Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

“You will be shocked at what the federal government is doing to collect your personal information,” Chaffetz said on Wednesday morning. “And they can’t keep it secure, that’s the point.”

It’s a good point, one fresh in the mind of millions thanks to the just-delivered OPM report. The government appears willing to take security seriously if it means doling out tax dollars to dozens of agencies with cyberstars in their eyes and crafting bad legislation, but not so much when it comes to actually ensuring its own backyard is locked down.

Chaffetz was one of the legislators behind the 2015 attempt to turn the DOJ’s Stingray guidance into law, laying down a warrant requirement for US law enforcement. Unfortunately, the bill went nowhere. Presumably, a thorough investigation into law enforcement use of this repurposed war tech might prompt more legislative cooperation in the future.

Chaffetz has done little to endear himself to security and law enforcement agencies since his arrival on the Hill. In addition to the failed Stingray warrant bill, Chaffetz also partnered with Ron Wyden to attempt to add a warrant requirement for law enforcement GPS tracking — something the Supreme Court almost addressed in its US v. Jones decision.

He also made new friends with the Secret Service while grilling officials over an incident where drunken agents arrived on the scene of a “suspicious package” report in spectacular fashion, crashing the vehicle they were driving into a White House barricade. Almost as soon as the hearing had begun, Secret Service employees were accessing Chaffetz’s personal info (generated by his attempt to join the Secret Service in 2003), hoping to find something embarrassing they could use to discredit him.

This new report will further alienate law enforcement agencies and personnel, starting with the FBI — which has acted as Stingray Overlord since the introduction of the equipment — and trickling all the way down to the local level, where agencies have relied on secrecy, lies, and case dismissals to keep information about the cell phone-tracking devices from being made public.

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Comments on “Congressman In Charge Of OPM Hacking Report Announces Plan To Investigate Stingray Use Next”

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Whatever (profile) says:

Based on his already expressed opinions, you can already pre-write the report for him. That’s not an investigation, that’s just a witch hunt. Probably a good one, considering there are plenty of (what he considers to be) witches out there.

I can’t imagine how much you guys would be losing your shit if a supporter of these devices was “investigating”.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can’t help but wonder if these investigations were influenced by his personal attack by the SS.[0] Politicians seem to care more when they are directly affected by an issue.


DannyB (profile) says:

Next: investigate Parallel Construction

Parallel Construction is simply a euphemism for Conspiracy to Commit Perjury. Lying to the Court. Lying to the defense. Lying on the record. And a criminal conspiracy to not only commit this perjury, but to do so in order to cover up other crimes. Such as using Stingray or other illegal techniques to obtain evidence which then must be fraudulently and untruthfully explained with some sanitized fiction to prevent the defense from having the actual facts.

Evidence cannot be used when it is obtained illegally. Parallel Construction is simply a way to commit another illegal act to cover up the first illegal act.

Your honorable law enforcement folks at work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Executive has an easy way to prevent these embarrassing investigations

If Internal Affairs did their jobs well (holding all officers to the plain meaning of the law), these types of embarrassments would be reported and adequately disciplined before it bubbled up to the level of a Congressional investigation. Instead, we frequently see that Internal Affairs is unwilling (or sometimes unable, when bizarre union contracts interfere) and the Office of the Inspector General is unable (due to stonewalling) to adequately police the misconduct within the agency, so it falls to external forces to hold the agency accountable. Very few external entities have both the intent and the clout to do so, which is why it has now come to the point of a Congressional investigation.

If the agencies want to avoid a Congressional investigation, they should fix their problems internally, instead of needing Congress to remind them that they are supposed to obey the law while enforcing it.

GEMont (profile) says:

How to get a secret raise in pay in Congress.

“Congressman In Charge Of OPM Hacking Report Announces Plan To Investigate Stingray Use Next”, if his graft checks from various agencies are not increased 25%, immediately.

Next month’s headline:

Congressman In Charge Of OPM Hacking Report Announces Stingray Investigation Turns Up No Evidence Of Misuse By Any American Agency.

That’s how we do it in America. 🙂

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