House seeks clarity on FBI facial recognition database
by Matt Leonard
The FBI has expanded its access to photo databases and facial recognition technology to support its investigations. Lawmakers, however, have voiced a deep mistrust in the bureau’s ability to protect those images of millions of American citizens and properly follow regulations relating to transparency.
Kimberly Del Greco, the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, faced tough questioning from both sides of the aisle at a March 22 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Stop. This is the same privacy issue I have with the utilization of LPR (License Plate Recognition) technology by law enforcement agencies locally and nationally. LPR systems, mounted on the roofs of enforcement vehicles, rapidly collect and analyze visual information, the license plates of vehicles, in order to determine their status, either stolen or wanted due to criminal activity. In essence, there is yet no limitation on what can or must be done with this information. It can and is shared with abandon between agencies — not just law enforcement — and the technology has the ability to track vehicles and place them at certain locations at precise times. Though you, the driver, have committed no crime.
With more LPR systems installed on law enforcement vehicles, the issue of privacy becomes even more impacted. At present there is policy, not law, regarding LPR collection.
The FBI’s use of facial recognition technology was called into question last year after the Government Accountability Office issued a report saying the bureau had not updated its privacy impact assessment when the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System “underwent significant changes.”
Now that you have an idea of the issue at hand, please watch the video in which Jason Chaffetz attempts to acquire some sort of cooperation or sense from Del Greco.
“So here’s the problem,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the committee chairman. “You’re required by law to put out a privacy statement and you didn’t and now we’re supposed to trust you with hundreds of millions of people’s faces.”
The FBI’s NGI-IPS allows law enforcement agencies to search a database of over 30 million photos to support criminal investigations. The bureau can also access an internal unit called Facial Analysis, Comparison and Evaluation, which can tap other federal photo repositories and databases in 16 states that can include driver’s license photos. Through these databases, the FBI has access to more than 411 million photos of Americans, many of whom have never been convicted of a crime.
Fingerprints, DNA, photographs, license plates. All ways that law enforcement can identify, follow and track you. All of them impacting your privacy.
Jason Chaffetz also revealed a vitally-important aspect of technological programs that collect massive amounts of information: social media. Will it collect from that?
More importantly, who answers when the information becomes corrupted, is erroneous, provides incorrect analysis or becomes hacked, compromised or distributed itself?
The GAO report said the FBI was not testing the accuracy of its system on a regular basis and has not done testing to ensure that the system provides accurate results for “all allowable candidate list sizes.”
Multiple witnesses, including Jennifer Lynch, the senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Alvaro Bedoya, executive director at the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, said that facial recognition technologies have provided false positives more regularly for women, younger individuals and people of color.
“That is due to the training data that is used in facial recognition systems,” Lynch said. “Most facial recognition systems are developed using pretty homogeneous images of people’s faces, so that means mostly whites and men.”
Perfect. A racist system that violates your privacy as well.
The point of displaying the video here on the blog is so that you formulate an idea of how difficult it is to acquire anything even remotely resembling the truth from government agencies and, in this case, the FBI, which is an arm of the Department of Justice. Remember what Jason Chaffetz said:
The FBI’s failure to update the privacy impact assessment, Chaffetz added, was yet another reason not to trust the agency with ordinary Americans’ personal information.
The federal government continually says that its citizens must trust it or there will be a gap of confidence. It implores America to have faith and belief. Yet it does nothing whatsoever to discourage citizens from thinking this way or disabuse us from questioning most everything it does.
What do you truly have as a country when the FBI proves it does not obey the law and, by dint of that, the Department of Justice? The FBI and the rest of the alphabet agencies continue to prove they cannot be trusted as they serially dissemble, dodge, evade, withhold, distract, lie and, moreover, politicize every aspect of their activities.
Then deny it all.
We are coming to a tipping point, ladies and gentlemen, not just here in America but throughout the rest of the world, with regard to big government. We have a trust crisis, a budget crisis and even a crisis of legitimacy.
Sources: Sean Hannity once pulled a gun on Juan Williams
by Dylan Byers
Sean Hannity is surrounded by jackasses.
The Wall Street Journal columnist who called Hannity the “dumbest anchor” on Fox News is a “jackass,” according to Hannity. The forensic psychologist who suggested a blood vessel had popped inside Hannity’s brain is a “jackass.” Even the conservative MSNBC host who sometimes criticizes President Donald Trump is a “jackass.”
If you criticize Hannity, or the Trump administration, there is a fair chance he will call you a “jackass” on Twitter. The chances of being called a “jackass” by Hannity are significantly higher late at night. Of the 21 people Hannity called a “jackass” in the last year, nearly half were told off between 9 p.m and 2 a.m.
Seems to me that Byers is calling Hannity a “drunk Twitterer.” Isn’t that what you make of it as well?
Hannity, Trump’s biggest backer on television, has said this is entertainment for him: “I am a counterpuncher,” he told one Twitter user who asked why he was so antagonistic. “I do not start fights but I finish them. This is pure entertainment for me. If people take cheap shots I hit back.”
Still, Hannity’s version of entertainment can go too far. Last year, after ending one of his many spirited on-air arguments with liberal contributor Juan Williams, Hannity pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at Williams, according to three sources with knowledge of the incident. He even turned on the laser sight, causing a red dot to bob around on Williams’ body. (Hannity was just showing off, the sources said, but the unforeseen off-camera antic clearly disturbed Williams and others on set.)
So is this true? And did the author, Dylan Byers, go directly to the first-hand source, Juan Williams himself? I would have. I’m certain you would have. I was a journalist at one time in my callow youth, working for McClatchy Broadcasting and also stringing as a photographer for the Sacramento Bee.
Williams issued a statement. Hannity issued a statement. But as a CNN journalist or, hell, any journalist in general, wouldn’t you want to get a statement yourself directly from the sources involved? Who knows what you’d get?
Because, after all, what an amazing “get” it would be to have Hannity refuse to make a comment and, simultaneously, after a bit of time had passed, Juan Williams decide to actually open up to you. An admission. Perhaps a confession.
But no. CNN is just pleased as punch that Mr Byers stopped being inquisitive. As George Bush was accused of, so possesses, apparently, Mr Byers. An incurious mind.
But wait; there’s more. From Breitbart.com, I found these copies of associated Tweets.
These are the Tweets written by Juan Williams.
Williams refutes the nature of the incident. Further, this is Juan Williams supporting and defending Sean Hannity.
If it were true that Hannity pulled a gun on Juan Williams as alleged, after all, how grand would it be to have Williams completely confirm the story of Dylan Byers, tell all that he was forced to support Hannity by the Fox administration if he wished to keep his job, and then leave Fox News for refusing to play along?
Trust me: it would make Juan Williams the new darling of Leftists, Demorats and the American Media Maggots nationally. The story would be covered for weeks, non-stop.
Williams would be able to name his network, name his show and name his salary.
My thanks to the SHR Media Network for allowing me to broadcast in their studio and over their air twice weekly, Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as appear on the Sack Heads Radio Show each Wednesday evening.
Tuesday night we discussed:
US Secret Service agent let go; USSS is in terrible straits anyway;
Rand Paul and Edward Snowden on the Trump wiretapping; possible?
Newt Gingrich: FBI Director James Comey too clever for his own good;
Attorney White Mamba weighs in on Judge Watson’s hold on Trump’s EO;
CA Gov Jerry Brown wants a 42% gas tax hike to shore up public pensions;
EU poll: majority of persons want a Trump-like travel ban on Muslims;
Al Franken tries to trap Judge Neil Gorsuch in his hearing for SCOTUS;
CNN’s Trump Derangement Syndrome via Fareed Zakaria;
Let’s larf at Canada’s Leftist wonk, Justin Trudeau.
Please join me, the Bloviating Zeppelin(on Twitter @BZep and on Gab.ai @BZep), every Tuesday and Thursday night on the SHR Media Network from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern and 8 PM to 10 PM Pacific, at the Berserk Bobcat Saloon — where the speech is free but the drinks are not.
As ever, thank you so kindly for listening, commenting, and interacting in the chat room or listening via podcast. Thanks again to my very special guest tonight, White Mamba, for delivering his cogent insight with regard to Judge Watson’s recent ruling in Hawaii.
Don’t miss this Thursday’s show, The Aftermath, where I present a quite detailed assessment of Monday’s Comey Show and why what he said — and didn’t say — matters.
FBI Director James Comey spoke publicly in DC on Monday in front of the House Intelligence Committee, stating there were in fact investigations occurring with regard to Russia’s meddling in the presidential election and also between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
It was clear to me, from the outset, that it was politics, politics, politics. Something of which Director Comey has become quite adroit in at least the past year.
The line was drawn in this fashion: Demorats wanted President Trump’s wiretap allegation smashed and derided, whilst Republicans were primarily concerned with the leaking of classified information.
Trey Gowdy begins the interaction with Director Comey and sets the foundation for his line of questioning involving FISA and safeguards.
Please note that Congressman Gowdy specifically utilizes the term “wiretap” to describe the acquisition of communications belonging to an “unnamed US citizen.” Again, Comey outs the Trump investigation but refuses to discuss anything to do with the leaks at all. Do you see my point and my resulting frustration?
FBI Director Comey refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia. pic.twitter.com/cUZ5KgBSYP
I highlight this portion because of its incredible importance. Do you see?
GOWDY: Admiral Rogers said there are 20 people within the NSA that are part of the unmasking process. How many people within the FBI are part of the unmasking process?
COMEY: I don’t know for sure. As I sit here, surely more, given the nature the FBI’s work. We come into contact with U.S. persons a whole lot more than the NSA does because we may be conducting — we only conduct our operations in the United States to collect electronic surveillance — to conduct electronic surveillance, so I don’t — I can find out the exact number, I don’t know it as I sit here.
GOWDY: Well, I think, Director Comey, given the fact that you and I agree this is critical, vital, indispensable, a similar program is coming up for reauthorization this fall with a pretty strong head wind right now. It would be nice to know the universe of people who have the power to unmask a U.S. citizen’s name. Because that might provide something of a roadmap to investigate who might’ve actually disseminated a masked U.S. citizen’s name.
COMEY: Sure. The number is relevant but what I hope the U.S. — the American people realize is the number’s important, but the culture behind it is in fact even more important. The training, the rigor, the discipline. We are obsessive about FISA in the FBI for reasons I hope make sense to this committee but we are — everything that’s FISA has to be labeled in such a way to warn people this is FISA, we treat this in a special way.
So we can get you the number, but I want to assure you the culture of the FBI and the NSA around how we treat U.S. person information is obsessive and I mean that in a good way.
GOWDY: Director Comey, I am not arguing with you and I do agree that culture is important, but if there are 100 people who have the ability to unmask and the knowledge of a previously masked name, then that’s 100 different potential sources of investigation and the smaller the number is, the easier your investigation is.
So the number is relevant. I can see the culture is relevant. NSA, FBI, what other U.S. government agencies have the authority to unmask a U.S. citizen’s name?
COMEY: I think all agencies that collect information pursuant to FISA have what are called standard minimization procedures, which are approved by the FISA court that govern how they will treat U.S. person information. So I know the NSA does, I know the CIA does, obviously the FBI does. I don’t know for sure beyond that.
GOWDY: How about the department of — how about Main Justice?
COMEY: Main Justice, I think does have standard minimization procedures.
GOWDY: All right, so that’s four. The NSA, FBI, CIA, Main Justice. Does the White House have the authority to unmask a U.S. citizen’s name?
COMEY: I think other elements of the government that are consumers of our products can ask the collectors to unmask. The unmasking resides with those who collected the information.
And so if Mike Rogers’s folks collected something and they sent it to me in a report and it says U.S. person number one and it’s important for the FBI to know who that is, our request will go back to them. The White House can make similar requests of the FBI or of NSA but they can’t on their — they don’t own their own collect and so they can’t on their own unmask. I got that about right?
ROGERS: No, that’s correct.
GOWDY: I guess what I’m getting at, Director Comey, is you say it’s vital, you say it’s critical, you say it’s indispensable. We both know it’s a threat to the reauthorization of 702 later on this fall. And by the way, it’s also a felony punishable by up to 10 years.
So how would you begin your investigation, assuming for the sake of argument that a U.S. citizen’s name appeared in the Washington Post and the New York Times unlawfully. Where would you begin that investigation?
COMEY: Well, I’m not gonna talk about any particular investigation…
GOWDY: That’s why I said in theory.
COMEY: You would start by figuring out, so who are the suspects? Who touched the information that you’ve concluded ended up unlawfully in the newspaper and start with that universe and then use investigative tools and techniques to see if you can eliminate people, or include people as more serious suspects.
GOWDY: Do you know whether Director Clapper knew the name of the U.S. citizen that appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post?
COMEY: I can’t say in this forum because again, I don’t wanna confirm that there was classified information in the newspaper.
GOWDY: Would he have access to an unmasked name?
COMEY: In — in some circumstances, sure, he was the director of national intelligence. But I’m not talking about the particular.
GOWDY: Would Director Brennan have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?
COMEY: In some circumstances, yes.
GOWDY: Would National Security Adviser Susan Rice have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?
COMEY: I think any — yes, in general, and any other national security adviser would, I think, as a matter of their ordinary course of their business.
GOWDY: Would former White House Advisor Ben Rhodes have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?
COMEY: I don’t know the answer to that.
GOWDY: Would former Attorney General Loretta Lynch have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name? COMEY: In general, yes, as would any attorney general.
GOWDY: So that would also include Acting AG Sally Yates?
COMEY: Same answer.
GOWDY: Did you brief President Obama on — well, I’ll just ask you. Did you brief President Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn?
COMEY: I’m not gonna get into either that particular case that matter, or any conversations I had with the president. So I can’t answer that.
But wait. I have what I consider to be an obvious question but one I’ve not yet heard people ask. Director Comey stated the investigation has been ongoing since July of 2016. If so, wouldn’t an integral part of such an investigation be surveillance of the Trump campaign and others aligned or linked therein?
Yet Mr Comey says there was no surveillance going on. How can that be? Was the FBI conducting half an investigation? A fraction of an investigation? How otherwise can one explain the information collected regarding General Michael Flynn? How was it gathered? How was it distributed? How did it get leaked and by whom? How does one acquire telephone conversation content — on Michael Flynn or Trump’s conversations with Australia’s PM Turnbull or Mexican President Nieto for example — absent wiretapping or surveillance in the first place?
In the process of conducting said highly important investigations wouldn’t you want to use all the tools at your disposal and, furthermore, collect as much pertinent evidence as possible? Of course you would. The statement makes no sense.
Where was James Comey with regard to Obama’s aides improperly accessing the names of Americans swept up in foreign surveillance or whether they leaked classified documents to the US press? Director Comey could confirm that, well, yes, we’re closely examining President Trump’s Russian “collusion” but otherwise could not confirm there was any sort of investigation on the matters of felonious leaking by government officials (Who else could have done so?) and would not talk about it. Why not? What’s the difference?
Another very important question. By the FBI’s own account and everyone else’s, including the Russians, it was believed with certainty that Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in for the presidency. Why, then, did the Russians magically decide to assist Donald Trump — as James Comey alleges — when people were convinced Trump would lose in a spectacular manner?
It doesn’t make sense. Neither the investigation nor the assumption about the Russians.
Perhaps the biggest question is this: will the leakers be identified and, if so, will they be arrested? Or is it in the best interest of the deep state to obfuscate the matter to the point that the leakers are never found?
Because, trust me, if the leakers are prosecuted and there is federal penitentiary time attached, you’ll hear sphincters slamming shut all around DC and the warm breezes will turn cold. That’s called a chilling effect.
FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at far-right news sites
by Peter Stone & Greg Gordon
WASHINGTON – Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.
Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.
In other words, the FBI under Comey is investigating “fake news.” What is fake news?
The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the bot attacks are part of an FBI-led investigation into a multifaceted Russian operation to influence last year’s elections.
For every individual arguing that InfoWars or Breitbart is fake news, I can provide a great deal of documentation indicating, over numerous years, that what people term the mainstream media such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and many others are equally or more fake than those two named above, and have been specifically colluding with the Democrats and Leftist-themed ideologues for a lengthy period of time.
The FBI investigating “fake news” is indeed disturbing. It is no less true now than any time prior that one must be an enlightened consumer of news and, as an adult, know enough about your country, your surroundings and your world in order to make the best informed decision regarding the portrayal of information to you by various news organizations. In other words, it blows to be stupid and there are penalties for being so, though we know that a “sucker is born every minute.”
Perhaps we should ask what there was to learn from the hearing today with FBI Director James Comey. I conclude below with the real lesson to be intuited from the hearing, but in terms of hard facts we discovered there are, well, no real hard facts. There is still no evidence that Russia hacked the election or somehow influenced the presidential election despite what the American Media Maggots emphatically say. There is still no evidence that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign or his staffers. We learned that James Comey is rather selective in terms of the political topics he’s willing to address.
We learned that no evidence was provided that indicated Obama wiretapped Trump. But if that were true, then why has Fox News summarily fired Judge Napolitano for saying this?
House Intel Chair Devin Nunes weighed in, and he wasn’t terribly happy.
Did you notice Director Comey was a bit nonplussed at her direct first question? I did. She has taken Comey aback. He did not anticipate such pointed and informed questions from a neophyte. When Comey said he didn’t have a DNI, that was bullshit. He did. It was James Clapper. The lying James Clapper. The lying under oath James Clapper. You know. That guy.
Did you also hear James Comey admit to Rep. Stefanik that, along with the Demorats and DNC, the Republicans were tapped as well? He stated so. But what was the difference between the GOP being tapped and the DNC being tapped? That’s right. The lack of corruption in the content of the emails and information.
But let me say this. Elise Stefanik has a great career ahead of her because she appears fearless, resolute, and unimpressed by dark, carved wood. You get my drift. “When did you notify the White House?” Boom. Done. Owned.
Let us transition.
“I am a faithful servant to the Constitution.” So said Judge Neal Gorsuch in his opening statement with regard to his SCOTUS nomination, on Monday. The actual flames and grilling begin Tuesday morning at 9:30. First, here’s the Demorat take on Gorsuch, from CBS.
Then there are the actual words of Judge Gorsuch himself as he makes his opening statement.
Bottom line regarding Neil Gorsuch? He will be confirmed. I also predict the Demorats will not choose to use their filibuster against him. You’re dealing with an individual who
Presided over 2,750 case on the 10th Circuit;
Wrote 175 majority opinions;
Wrote 65 concurrences or dissents;
Had 72 in-person meetings with US Senators
Charles Krauthammer may have jinxed things when, on Monday, he said: “Too stupid. Even the Democrats won’t do it.”
But never minimize the ability of Demorats and Leftists to see racists and sexists everywhere. Joe Dinkin, National Communications Director for the Working Families Party (yes, that is a party) states that Neil Gorsuch is a white supremacist and nationalist because Gorsuch hasn’t overtly and publicly disavowed President Trump’s travel ban. It’s a Muslim ban, you see. So Gorsuch wears a white robe and a pointy hat. Insanity.
In conclusion, do not doubt that there is a message to be acquired from Comey’s hearing today, and the message to President Trump as well as his advisors, staff and assistants comes from not just Director James Comey, the Demorats and a portion of the GOP, but much of the embedded deep state as well.
The message is: back off. Leave the DC swamp as it is. Undrained. The creatures prefer it unmolested. If you fail to heed our warning, we’ll destroy you at all costs and by any means necessary.
If you were President Trump you’d have to be asking yourself: whom can you trust?
That potential pool is dwindling by the day.
You should now be asking yourself: is FBI Director James Comey the source of the leaks?
Fear not good people, TDS — Trump Derangement Syndrome — is alive and well and, if drinking a carbonated beverage, will still make you spew it out your nose in laughter.
First, let’s look at the story from an — ahem — MSM viewpoint, as Philly.com writes:
CNN host Fareed Zakaria gets profane in uncensored Trump discussion
by Rob Tornoe
Late Friday night, CNN host Fareed Zakaria had some complaints about President Trump that revolved around one word in particular.
My. What might that be?
Appearing beside host Don Lemon on CNN Tonight in a discussion about the president’s unsubstantiated claims that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election, a frustrated Zakaria said Trump is “indifferent” to the truth before launching into a profanity-laced comment about the commander-in-chief.
Ah, the buttery goodness of the informed, cogent, rational, level-headed, sensitive, well-grounded cadre of Leftists.
After all, everyone knows emesis of that nature advances the argument of mainstream media outlets.