[News] DHS Documents Show Role in Occupy Crackdown

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Mar 28 10:14:51 EDT 2012


DHS Documents Show Role in Occupy Crackdown

By Justice Online

25 March 12

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

trove of documents released today by the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response 
to a FOIA request filed by the Partnership for 
Civil Justice Fund, filmmaker Michael Moore and 
the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee 
reveal that federal law enforcement agencies 
began their coordinated intelligence gathering 
and operations on the Occupy movement even before 
the first tent went up in Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011.

On September 17, 2011, a Secret Service 
intelligence entry in its Prism Demonstrations 
Abstract file records the opening of the Occupy 
Wall Street (OWS) movement. The demonstration 
location that the Secret Service was protecting? 
The "Wall Street Bull." The name of the Protectee? The "U.S. Government."

American taxpayers might find it odd to learn 
that the Secret Service was on duty to protect 
the Wall Street Bull in the name of protecting 
the U.S. Government. But there it is.

The DHS's Game of Three Card Monte to Deflect 
Disclosure of Law Enforement Operations

These documents, many of which are redacted, show 
that the highest officials in the Department of 
Homeland Security were preoccupied with the 
Occupy movement and have gone out of their way to 
project the appearance of an absence of federal 
involvement in the monitoring of and crackdown on Occupy.

On the street it would be called "Three Card 
Monte," a swindler's game to hide the ball - a 
game of misdirection. The House always wins.

The DHS, as revealed in the newly released 
documents, has engaged in what appears to be a 
effort to avoid looking for Occupy related 
materials where it is likely to be found, 
including in Fusion Centers and DHS sub-divisions 
such as the Operations Coordination & Planning 
sub-division which is responsible for DHS 
coordination with local and federal law enforcement partners.

On November 16, DHS Press Secretary Matthew 
Chandler transmitted an e-mail to top ranking DHS 
officials, including the Chief of Staff to Janet 
Napolitano, the Chief of Staff to the DHS General 
Counsel, among others, in which he reports:

"We're getting inquiries from CBS, AP, Daily 
Caller and others on an un-sourced Examiner.com 
piece that says that DHS and FBI are 
collaborating with cities by providing tactics 
and information on removing Occupy protestors. A 
check of I & A [Intelligence and Analysis] and 
FPS [Federal Protective Services] shows that this 
type of outreach is not occurring in any wholesale manner."

The Press Secretary is careful to couch the 
official statement, that such is not occurring in 
any "wholesale" manner, leaving the door open to 
possible future revelations of such conduct.

But this official statement was based solely on a 
mid-November inquiry to two DHS sub-sections: 
Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) and Federal 
Protective Services (FPS). And by the date of 
that statement, Federal Protective Services and 
apparently also the I&A Directorate had already 
purged, "restricted and/or rescinded," any Occupy 
related intelligence products, as discussed further here.

In other words, having looked into only two 
drawers - which had already "restricted and/or 
rescinded" all Occupy related intelligence 
products - it is not surprising that Press 
Secretary Chandler's statement that no 
"wholesale' coordination of Occupy related 
actions is based on incomplete information.

The Press Secretary, following the script, 
conveniently avoided other likely DHS 
repositories and departmental components, 
including the personnel deployed to Fusion 
Centers or to the DHS Operations Coordination & 
Planning sub-division, which according to the DHS 
web site is "responsible for monitoring the 
security of the United States on a daily basis 
and coordinating activities within the Department 
and with governors, Homeland Security Advisors, 
law enforcement partners, and critical 
infrastructure operators in all 50 states and 
more than 50 major urban areas nationwide."

DHS Monitoring, Megacenters and Misdirection

Before the first OWS action took place, the DHS 
Office Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) produced a 
series of NCCIC (National Cybersecurity and 
Communications Integration Center) alerts about 
the coming OWS demonstrations. When this was 
picked up by the media and it generated inquiry 
and press, the DHS learned its lesson: Misdirection.

In an email exchange dated September 29, 2011, 
DHS officials discuss the NCCIC alert and the 
fact that they will now need to respond to media 
inquiries about DHS monitoring and involvement in 
the response to the Occupy movement. The 
substantive discussion about how to handle the 
media is redacted, with one participant writing, 
"Here it is. That answer works-" and the rest is redacted.

An October 5, 2011 document reflects that the DHS 
Philadelphia Megacenter was monitoring the OWS 
demonstration in New York, titled 
"Demonstration-Peaceful/Planned", and reporting 
on assembly and movements "peacefully protesting union solidarity issues."

An October 30, 2011 document shows DHS' Battle 
Creek Megacenter also reporting that a 
"peaceful/unplanned" "Occupy Wall Street 
demonstration is taking place in Ilus W. Davis Park in Kansas City, MO."

These documents appear to be the tip of the 
iceberg, carefully submerged by the DHS. While 
there is policy discussion as to the propriety of 
a threat assessment regarding Occupy Pittsburgh, 
other emails reference additional internal 
inquiries about OWS that were withheld from 
public disclosure in response to this FOIA request.

The Fusion Centers

Moreover, the DHS documents evidence the 
misdirection to avoid civil liberties issues by 
handing off OWS monitoring to DHS's project of 
Fusion Centers and then failing to make inquiry 
for information to the Fusion Centers or DHS 
personnel deployed to them, even though documents 
indicate that a push-down of Occupy related 
information into the massive fusion center clearinghouses was already in play.

By November 16, when the PCJF filed this FOIA 
request, and when the media was contacting DHS 
regarding its role in the Occupy crackdown one 
I&A analyst, following such guidance, reported 
that I&A "scrupulously avoided any connection 
with the Occupy movement/protests/dismantlings. 
We cannot speak for any individual fusion center 
or other departmental component..."

On October 17, 2011, the DHS Intelligence 
Coordination Branch wrote in an email titled 
"Guidance Requested: Occupy Wall Street" that in 
response to requests for OWS information, "we 
have recommended
that our intelligence Officers 
refer inquiries [i.e., requests for intelligence 
information] to Fusion Centers and avoid the 
topic altogether. That being said, given the 
number of requests that have appeared, we would 
like to equip the field with formal guidance

DHS Guidelines on How To Justify Intelligence 
Gathering on Free Speech Activities

The DHS then undertakes to draft policy guidance 
on OWS. Within days, however, the DHS concludes 
that formal policy guidelines are not going to go 
into effect. Instead, on October 24, 2011, a 
redacted email chain includes the recommendation 
that policy guidance changes have sought "to take 
out language that indicates our guidelines are 
mandatory. For instance replace ‘personnel must' 
with ‘personnel should'. I also recommend that we 
advice only the DHS people and remain silent on 
whether they should pass along our input to the Pittsburgh folks."

On October 28, 2011, further exchanges on the 
guidance draft discuss making the recommendations 
less specific, and that they should focus on the 
"congruence concept." The "congruence concept" is 
the creation of a supposedly criminal pretext for 
investigation into First Amendment activities. It 
is so loosely applied that any unsupported, 
unsourced tip - or agent provocateur statement on 
a website - can create the basis for monitoring and investigation.

When the final guidance is produced, it has no 
mandatory language and states: "If you ever feel 
you are in put in a situation where first 
amendment rights could be potentially violated, 
please refer to the below guidance, which was 
created after we received a number of questions 
from around the nation in reaction to the Occupy protests."

The guidance then explains how to "justify 
research into and creation of a product 
containing First Amendment protected activity
including the "congruence concept."

Subsequent discussion on October 31, 2011 
regarding how and when DHS can "clear on any 
[intelligence] product on OWS" is significantly redacted as is the author.

Purging of DHS Files and the Carefully Constructed Media Response

A November 1, 2011 email reflects that following 
the internal guidance issued to I&A, all Occupy 
related materials had been "restricted and/or 
rescinded" including specifically by FPS. The 
email, from an FPS official, reports that:

"FPS was notified of the guidance to the I&A 
representatives to restrict production of all 
Occupy products absent criminal activity and/or 
life safety issues, FPS has followed this 
guidance and restricted and/or rescinded all 
products (both internal and pass-through)."

By November 16, when the media was barraging the 
DHS with inquiries about its role in the Occupy 
crackdown, the responses to media were carefully 
crafted. "We're getting inquiries from [various 
media] on an un-sourced Examiner.com piece that 
says DHS and FBI are collaborating with cities by 
providing tactics and information on removing 
Occupy protestors. A check of I&A and FPS shows 
that this type of outreach is not occurring in any wholesale manner."

As we now know, checking with I&A and FPS by 
November 16 was not likely to lead to responsive 
information given that the DHS activity was being 
carried out by other components and that a purge, 
restriction and/or rescission of intelligence "products" had taken place.

At this point the DHS provided a prepared 
statement, given over and over to the press, 
which includes a quotable paragraph and then "background" points.

Documents show that in the drafting of that 
paragraph, which is disseminated repeatedly to 
the press, and shows up in numerous press reports 
from the time, there is a second paragraph that 
is removed and appears not to be given to the 
press. That sentence read: "We have held standard 
coordination calls and face-to-face meetings with 
our partners to ensure that the proper resources 
are available for operations such as street closures, etc,"

Showing the deficiency of response to the FOIA 
demands, there are no records produced that 
reflect those "standard coordination calls" and "face-to-face meetings."

Evading a Complete FOIA Records Search

In addition to these efforts to misdirect the 
press and the public, the other tactic the DHS 
has used to stave off inquiry into DHS 
involvement is to evade a responsive search to 
this and other FOIA requests. As we stated 
previously, we had been told by the DHS that 
other media requestors agreed to narrow their 
FOIA requests to consist only of materials in the 
possession of select senior staff. We have not so 
agreed, and will be pursuing further disclosure of information from the DHS.

Highly conscious of the demand for public 
disclosure of DHS actions, one official wrote in 
November of their considered response to FOIA 
requests and urged the department to release 
their policy guidance regarding First Amendment 
activities. He wrote, "I understand we have 
already received some FOIA requests regarding our 
possible reporting of the "Occupy
" protests. I 
think should the FOIA experts find it appropriate 
to release information about the manner in which 
this issue was managed with DHS, it could only be 
perceived as a positive by those in the public 
who closely observer [sic] the Department."

So for those of you who wish to "closely observe" 
the Departments responses, the PCJF is making the 
documents available in a searchable format. We 
will also be disclosing and uploading more 
materials obtained from our national campaign of 
federal and local FOIA demands as they become available.

Documents Received from Department of Homeland Sercurity:

Pages 1 - 100
Pages 101 - 200
Pages 201 - 398

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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