Why Was The DOJ So Fearful Of Its Terrorist Watchlist Guidelines Being Made Public?

from the not-because-it-helps-terrorists dept

Having already discussed The Intercept's publication of the federal government's guidelines for declaring people terrorists to put on its various watchlists (including the infamous "no fly list"), it's raising some serious questions about why the DOJ had been fighting so hard to keep these guidelines from coming out. As we've discussed, in basically any case challenging the various government watchlists, the DOJ has freaked out and claimed "state secrets" to try to get the cases thrown out entirely.

Just a few months ago, Attorney General Eric Holder directly claimed that revealing these guidelines would be helping the terrorists. In that legal filing, Holder does the "state secrets" dance and then says:
I agree with the FBI that the Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed, for the reasons discussed in the FBI's classified declaration, could cause significant harm to national security.... If the Guidance were released, it would provide a clear roadmap to undermine the Government's screening efforts, a key counterterrorism measure, and thus, its disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause significant harm to national security.
Of course, now that the Watchlisting Guidance is out, we can take a look and see if that's actually true. And... Holder's statements, not surprisingly, appear to be completely bogus. The Guidelines are so vague and so broad that it gives no real indication of how to get around them or whether or not any particular person is likely to be placed on the list.

What the guidelines do show, however, is the level of extra scrutiny people on the list are subject to. And, as we noted, much of that certainly appears to violate the 4th Amendment (or, at the very least, open itself up to a pretty clear 4th Amendment challenge in the courts). So, once again, it seems like Holder's real reason to declare "state secrets" had little to do with "national security" and a hell of a lot to do with "DOJ security" in keeping its illegal and unconstitutional practices from further public and judicial scrutiny.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:14am

    If anyone thinks they're going to provide Americans a real list of what they're doing you're extremely gullible .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    AricTheRed (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:21am

    this revelation...

    "...it seems like Holder's real reason to declare "state secrets" had little to do with "national security" and a hell of a lot to do with "DOJ security" in keeping its illegal and unconstitutional practices from further public and judicial scrutiny."

    .gov guidelines are about as revelational as the ending of a Friday the 13th movie.

    Shame on them!

     

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  3.  
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    Eponymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:25am

    It could just be that tye DOJ belives the courts to be an "extremist forum" and any legal pushback they'll recieve for their overstep(s) to be a blow to "natonal security" for checks and balances is aiding the enemy dontchaknow!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:25am

    when anyone is up to 'no good', they want to keep things hidden. when a 'governmental security force', one that is supposed to be working for the good of the people, is up to no good, it will go to whatever lengths it must to cover that up, particularly if it has been doing something for a political individual or private industry!

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:35am

    They were afraid their fascist fuckwittery would be discovered?

     

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  6.  
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    Ted Louise Hammer, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:37am

    The U.S. was formed out of a *rebellion*. It's about damned time we have our *revolution* and start taking back what is ours. Put an end to all this war on terror and drugs nonsense, and funnel the money back to education, healthcare, and industry and be the country we always thought we were.

     

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  7.  
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    Squirrels Without Borders, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:38am

    If the Guidance were released, it would provide a clear roadmap to undermine the Government's screening efforts, a key counterterrorism measure, and thus, its disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause significant harm to national security.


    I think he is at least partially correct. It gives litigants a clear roadmap to [rightly] undermine the Government's [illegal] screening efforts.

     

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  8.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    If the ignorant masses found out they have been classified as terrorists for asinine reasons I am sure they might get a little upset.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    Over classification is a drug addiction for government officials. They can't get enough of it. Even discussions about over classification, are classified.

    The real reason for over classification is secrecy. If laws and executive orders don't full comply with the US Constitution, just keep those laws a secret.

    If you're blowing American taxpayer money left and right like a drunk sailor and using that money to spy on the very people funding the project. Just keep the Black Budget a secret.

    Heck, even trade agreements are classified these days. If you're attempting to bone people all over the world, by-passing their democratically elected representatives using international corporate tribunals. Just keep the trade agreements a secret.

    Ruling from the shadows is so much easier. You can lie and deny everything... unless Edward Snowden comes along and starts shining a spot light round.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:45am

    Parallel to that

    Isn't it obvious? He is using a parallel construction to prevent everyone from knowing about the parallel constructions where the Feds are telling LEO's to lie in court about the sources that create the original parallels. If that does not work in state court, he just has the US Marshals steal the documents and remove them to a more cooperative, yet parallel federal facility.

     

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  11.  
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    bshock, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:49am

    Sorry

    I'd like to add a snarky-yet-insightful comment about this situation, but I'm afraid I'd end up on a terrorist watchlist.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Ok...

    ... I think that's enough. Congratulations, you're on it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 12:33pm

    why ? ? ?

    because MOTHER FUCKIN' EAGLES, bitchez ! ! !

    geez, don't you moon flowers know nuthin' ? ? ?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    Look at who and what we keep voting in...

    WE ARE extremely gullible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Calling your bluff

    How many techdirt posts have at least one commenter saying, "The time for revolution is now!" or "We need a revolution!".

    Empty words.

    If you want to see *real* change, it is probably easier to affect change within the current system.

    Now before anyone jumps all over that last statement, let me be clear: I'm not talking about calling your local representative or any of that nonsense.

    I'm talking about trolling: Convert to Islam and start using the name "Eric Holder" as your alias.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Jasmine Charter, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    Holder

    Eric Holder is, like most of the current President's appointees, the most incompetent person ever to hold the position he was appointed to.

    And... yes... just this month, he played "the race card"... which like mentioning Nazi's online... means you've already lost the argument.

    If you can't agree or disagree with someone's philosophy, opinion, actions or otherwise without invoking race, or defend YOUR OWN philosophy, opinion, or actions without invoking race - then you've lost.

     

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  17.  
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    Edward Teach, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    Arrr, matey, could be! They should just open their gobs and say what they mean, rather than engaging in heathen palaver like "state secrets".

    Still, th' Feebies themselves distrustin the courts? Tis a cold day in Hell, lad!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 1:09pm

    You have hit on the real reason already in the article. Time and again this has turned up to be the hidden purpose, is not National Security but rather the National Security requires this and that item to be secret to prevent exposure to just how badly the government has chosen to ignore the Constitutional protections granted every citizen and state.

    The National Security card is a very easy and convenient way to remove cases from court without having to fight over it or reveal anything in the line of evidence.

    Without exposure of just what they are doing, you can not bring a valid reason to court to fight it. When National Security doesn't work, then stonewalling works pretty good to prevent it from coming out.

    I am beginning to view the Obama administration in the same light as the Nixon administration. There's just too much being hidden consistently, not to suspect there are some well hidden things going on that shouldn't be. The more is revealed, the stronger my suspicions are. I dare say I am not the only one in this nation with this viewpoint.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 1:30pm

    Sooooo, about the kings new clothes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Someantimalwareguy, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Holder

    But, if you are discussing the Nazis and their crimes you have not invoked Godwin's law. And if the racist shoe fits, he might actually have a point to make.

    Overreach much Jasmine?

     

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  21.  
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    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 2:37pm

    Re: race

    Race is never a valid argument. Period.

    I do not intend that point as an anti-racism argument. A person's genetic ethnicity is WHOLLY IRRELEVANT. There are many cultural and societal differences among people, such as religious or financial background, access to education or relative learning ability (etc.), that may have strong bearing on a given situation. But to say that any of those cultural or societal differences are the strict result that a person is a member of any general genetic grouping is patently false.

    "It's not the color of a man's skin it's the man inside that you must know." -- Someone Said

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 3:03pm

    Re:Look at who and what we keep voting in...

    Like we have a choice?

    Nobody with any honor or integrity wants to run for office in this country.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    ECA (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 3:18pm

    how many people in..

    How many people in TOP positions have ANY training in that job??
    After each name, All I tend to see is the word, LAWYER..which does not tell me if the person can Fill a bag with groceries..or balance HIS OWN check book.

    i love the watch list..
    A list of names, that could correspond to as many as 100 people..With no Identifiers as to the PERSON they are REALLY listing..
    no picture, no finger prints, no descriptions..
    JUST a name.. Thats like Yelling the name of a person in a MALL..."HEY BILL", and 3-4 people turn to see who is yelling at them..

     

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  24.  
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    Someantimalwareguy, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: race

    My point was not to support focusing on race in an argument. I do however make the case that Holder may have a valid point to make

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Holder

    Frankly I love to hear these guys cry racism. They have cried wolf so much now that it is losing the power it once had. Hopefully soon we can focus on the issues rather than the false cries of racism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 6:28pm

    Re:

    By that description, with which I wholly concur, the US Government, via all its various initialed forms, is a black hole, and the Internet is entropy, and the challenge is to prevent the black hole from eating the entropy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: race

    Some people have no concept of a middle ground. It's all black and white to them (no pun intended). Just because some people cry racism at the drop of a hat doesn't mean that racism doesn't exist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Sorry

    visiting sites that disagree with how the ruling class does things gets you on that list automatically.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Mark Noo, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 9:46am

    First Congress questioned Eric Holder and now TechDirt. It is unfair. He is a victim, just like Hillary is a victim of Benghazi.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 11:00am

    Re: Holder

    Eric Holder is, like most of the current President's appointees, the most incompetent person ever to hold the position he was appointed to.

    Eh.... I'm not so sure, I think Alberto Gonzalez might have been even more incompetent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 11:04am

    Re:

    The real reason for over classification is secrecy.

    Not to disagree with your overall point, but the reason for all classification is secrecy - that's kind of what it means.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    GEMont (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 4:29pm

    DOJ, doh!

    "So, once again, it seems like Holder's real reason to declare "state secrets" had little to do with "national security" and a hell of a lot to do with "DOJ security" in keeping its illegal and unconstitutional practices from further public and judicial scrutiny."

    Wow! Never saw that coming!

    I mean.... hooda thunk it huh!!!

    The Department of Justice, dealing in Injustice and Lying and Covering things up.... why, its enough to make one wonder just who the DOJ is actually working for and for that matter, exactly what their job really is.

    Its pretty obvious who they're working against, but its no longer readily apparent what their mandate actually is.

    Too bad there's no such thing as a Tax Strike.

    You know, the kinda strike where everyone just withholds their taxes until such time as they get a legally binding assurance from the Most Transparent Administration In American History that no taxpayer's money will be used to fund such agency corruption in future.

    That'd really piss off the greedy bastards.

    Sigh. Oh well, like Justice In America, a Tax Strike is a nice Fantasy to imagine.

    ---

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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