30JUN2014: ‘Sneak and peek’ warrants allow police to secretly enter homes without notice

(Police State USA) – Covert tactics have become legally accepted and increasingly popular.

Peeking burglar.

A little-known police tactic allows cops to covertly enter private residences, perform searches, seize property, and then leave quietly without notifying the homeowner. These searches, affectionately known as “sneak and peek” warrants, have been performed at a rapidly rising rate since 9/11.

Covert Tactics

Sneak and Peek warrants in actuality a more extreme version of the over-used “no-knock” raids that we cover so often. After seeking out a judge’s authorization, police are allowed to secretly break into private property without first announcing themselves or presenting the subject of the search with a signed warrant. Using this variety of warrant, officers intentionally wait until the subject is not present. The operations are performed covertly, and with the intention of masking the fact that any police activity took place.

The entire premise encourages government agents to adopt the tactics of criminals in order to gain access to property: breaking and entering, sneaking around, stealing, and risking a surprise confrontation with an unsuspecting civilian.

Burglar with a crowbar.

Often, the investigators leave the property undisturbed to avoid detection. After taking what they want and/or leaving wiretaps, cameras, or other planted devices, they exit quietly so as not to raise suspicions.

Sometimes, however, the agents literally stage the scenes to resemble robberies — sneak and stealoperations. In one 2010 case, federal investigators broke into an Cleveland apartment, collected evidence, and then “trashed the place to make it look like a burglary.”

The feds have used similar tactics when searching vehicles. According to a Department of Justice document, DEA agents used a delayed-notice warrant to literally steal a suspect’s car in March 2004. After following the suspect to a restaurant in Buffalo, NY, one agent “used a duplicate key to enter the vehicle and drive away while other agents spread broken glass in the parking space to create the impression that the vehicle had been stolen.” [1]

The government is supposed to eventually tell the subject that a warrant had been served on them, but that may not happen for months or sometimes more than a year. A report by the Director Director of the Administrative Office (AO) of U.S. Courts found that the period of delay in telling the suspect they had been served a warrant ranged from 1 to 455 days. The most common length of delay was 90 days [2].

Terminology and History

Officially, the government has termed these warrants innocuously as “Delayed-Notice Search Warrants.” Calling the tactics what they are — covert home invasions or “Sneak and Peek” searches — would not be helpful for public relations.

The man that President Obama chose to head the FBI, James Comey, once explained the etymological spin used by the government to present the tactics in a positive light:   “We in law enforcement do not call them [sneak and peek warrants]… because it conveys this image that we are looking through your sock drawer while you are taking a nap.” [3]

In private, the government once used a more honest description of the tactic — back when it was not legally recognized. They were quite literally referred to as “black bag jobs” within the FBI, as Bureau domestic intelligence head William Sullivan revealed in a declassified memo dated July 19, 1966:

“We do not obtain authorization for ‘black bag’ jobs from outside the Bureau. Such a technique involves trespass and is clearly illegal; therefore, it would be impossible to obtain any legal sanction for it. Despite this, ‘black bag’ jobs have been used because they represent an invaluable technique in combating subversive activities of a clandestine nature aimed directly at undermining and destroying our nation.” [4]

Mr. Sullivan was clearly aware that the actions were illegal, yet his memo went on to proudly admit that the tactics have been used to destroy political groups operating within the United States.

Governments have certainly been covertly sneaking and spying on their own citizens for all of history. The legal acceptance is the newer, more concerning development.

As law professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich points out, “There is no evidence of judicially-authorized covert searching, through a delayed notice warrant or any similar mechanism, in the history of search and seizure through 1791 [the drafting of the Fourth Amendment].” [6]

The professor also revealed that the first reference to a “Delayed-Notice Search Warrant” did not occur in U.S. case law until 1985 in United States v. Frietas [6].

The constitutionality of covert searches has been challenged in court several times in the modern era, and the searches were always upheld. In Dalia v. United States (1979), the U.S. Supreme Court called the 4th Amendment challenge “frivolous.” Modern courts have followed suit, holding that the tactics pose no Fourth Amendment concerns. And thus signaled the beginning to an era when “black bag” tactics became legitimate.

Although the courts had condoned the formerly dubious warrants, their issuance remained relatively low (at least searches performed on the record). The rarity of the searches changed after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The USA PATRIOT Act laid out a national standard for using Sneak & Peek tactics, and the floodgates began to open for their widespread usage.

Before the USA PATRIOT Act, only two federal circuits had ever acknowledged the practice of Delayed-Notice Search Warrants [6].

Title 18, Section 3103a provides that for any federal search warrant, “any notice required… may be delayed if… the court finds reasonable cause to believe that providing immediate notification of the execution of the warrant may have an adverse result.”

According to research done by Professor Witmer-Rich, there were only 25 DSW’s issued in 2002, and in a decade, that number had grown to 5,601 DSW’s issued in 2012 [6]. In fact, sneak and peek search warrants now constitute about 10% of all warrants served by the federal government [5].

Evidence shows that judges are rarely rejecting these warrants. Data in a U.S. Courts Administrative Office report shows that there was a 0.7% chance of a judge denying a request for a sneak and peek warrant in 2010. Out of 2,395 total DSW requests, only 16 were rejected [2].

Institutionalized Injustice

The use of these tactics opens the doors for numerous problems, corruption, and unintended consequences.

Secret searches not only reduce/eliminate the privacy and freedom of those targeted in the investigation — who are legally innocent until proven guilty — but also spurs an insecurity within the entire community. As Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor noted in a 2012 case regarding secret GPS tracking, “awareness that the Government may be watching chills associational and expressive freedoms.”

Another glaring problem is the risk of having police officers barging in on unsuspecting people. Despite investigators’ best efforts to avoid contact, a sneak and peek search could easily be performed while a subject or family member is still present in the house. When the police enter without notice, they will appear indistinguishable from criminal home invaders. Violent confrontations may arise, as they often do with the use of standard “no-knock” warrants.

It is also worth noting that clandestine “black bag jobs” are a perfect working environment for corrupt government agents. If their objective is to stage a robbery, they can quite literally steal property for their own benefit and never report it to the courts. Pocketing cash and valuables would be quite easy for state-sanctioned burglars operating without any witnesses. Officers also have a practically unchecked ability to plant evidence and incriminate the subject.

Indeed, the secrecy and lack of witnesses in these situations makes it incredibly difficult to hold the police accountable for any wrongdoing that might occur.

The problem of Sneak and Peek warrants has been institutionalized by the legislature, and it must be reversed there as well. The courts are unlikely to go against the precedents that have already been established. If clandestine police tactics are of concern to the public, the people must spur a legal change and push back on these advanced state powers.

Read Original with Sources: http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/sneak-and-peek-warrants/








11JUN2014 – Indiana sheriff wants military vehicles because “the USA has become a war zone”

(Source: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty)
(Source: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty)

(PoliceStateUSA) – PULASKI COUNTY, IN — As the Department of Defense continues to flood America’s local police departments with military equipment, some cops are letting the propaganda and the free toys go to their heads.  One sheriff in Indiana let out a disturbing admission that he views America as a battlefield — making it imperative, in his opinion, to equip his deputies with gear fresh out of the hands of U.S. soldiers fighting overseas.

“The United States of America has become a war zone,” said Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer in an interview with the Indianapolis Star.

His department has received attention after it sought out and acquired a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle through the Pentagon’s police militarization program.

Pulaski County (Indiana) Sheriff Michael Gayer (Source: WKVI)

Sheriff Gayer remarked about the MRAP, “It’s a lot more intimidating than a Dodge.”

Pulaski County is extremely rural, containing only 13,124 residents.  In 2012, Pulaski County only 11 theft (or larceny) incidents, 1 murder and a grand total of 17 property crimes.  Despite this, sprawling farm county has procured hundreds of military items, valued at over $5,000,000.00, under Sheriff Gayer’s leadership.  The items, listed in a databaseat the Indy Star, range from dozens of vehicles, weapons, tactical equipment, bayonets, tools, and more.

Gayer defends the lucrative federal handouts by spreading paranoia about crime in America.

“There’s violence in the workplace, there’s violence in schools and there’s violence in the streets,” said Gayer.  “You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract. If driving a military vehicle is going to protect officers, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

Sheriff Gayer elaborates about the perceived battlefronts he faces on the department website: “With the threat of homeland terrorism, rising violence in our schools, drug and alcohol abuse, our society and freedoms that we so dearly cherish are being challenged,” Gayer wrote.

So there we have it.  The enemies Pulaski County faces are terrorists, unruly students, and prohibition violators.

“I will do this to the best of my ability and will not allow The Thin Blue Line to weaken by those who would do us harm,” Gayer added on the website.

Larry Thomas, a Hoosier, veteran police officer, and past contributor to Police State USA, wrote the following in response to Sheriff Gayer’s statements:

As a retired law enforcement command officer I was dismayed to read the remarks of Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer, who said, “The United States of America has become a war zone. There’s violence in the workplace, there’s violence in schools and there’s violence in the streets.”

During my tenure in law enforcement there was violence in those places too. But it did not motivate us to transform from public servants and peacekeepers into warriors, taking weapons that were designed for foreign battlefields and turning them on the American people.

We were reluctant to deploy SWAT teams, fully realizing the violent response that such a display could provoke and employing such tactics only in the most extreme circumstances. Law enforcement agencies are now eager to deploy such teams even in a total absence of demonstrated need.

Here in my own city of Carmel, an incident occurred, reported in these pages, wherein a SWAT team deployed and terrorized a local family, jamming guns in their faces and dragging them away in handcuffs, based on nothing more than a single, unverified, uncorroborated phone call that a shooting had taken place. The report proved to be false.

This would have been simply impossible in my day. When we received such a phone call we sent officers to the location, and we knocked on the door! Wow! What a revolutionary concept!

No, Sheriff Gayer…The United States of America is NOT a war zone. It is the place where Americans work, live and play. Law enforcement officers who are trained that America is a war zone do not regard citizens as individuals with rights to be protected, but as an enemy to be subjugated. And if the law enforcement profession does not wake up and change this attitude, we, the people, will be forced to call on our legislators to rein you in.

Lieutenant Harry Thomas


Read original: http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/indiana-sheriff-usa-become-war-zone/



09JUN2014: New NDAA Bolsters Guantanamo-style Indefinite Detention for Americans

(Activist Post) – Top senators thought you wouldn’t notice. Behind closed doors, they wrote up new indefinite detention and Guantánamo provisions in the annual defense policy bill, and then waited 11 days to quietly file the bill.

But we now have the bill, and everyone can read it. And everyone should understand what is in this new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) before the full Senate makes a big mistake and paves the way for Guantánamo-style indefinite detention being brought to the United States itself.

The new Senate NDAA:

Brings Indefinite Detention to the U.S. Itself: The bill now says that detainees may be brought to the United States for “detention pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force” (AUMF). In plain English, that means the policy of indefinite detention by the military, without charge or trial, could be carried out here at home. Right now, the number of people in the U.S. in military indefinite detention is zero. If the bill is enacted, that number could immediately jump to 100 or more.
Bolsters Claims of NDAA and AUMF Indefinite Detention Authority: The AUMF is the basis for the indefinite detention authority included in the NDAA that Congress passed nearly three years ago. Indefinite detention is wrong today and certainly cannot be sustained past the end of U.S. combat in the Afghan war. But passing a new Senate NDAA that relies on detention authority based on the AUMF, just as the U.S. combat role in the war is winding down, could be used by the government to bolster its claim that indefinite detention can just keep on going. Even when any actual U.S. combat is over.

Requires Report on Even More NDAA and AUMF Indefinite Detention Authority: As if the government didn’t already have enough claims of indefinite detention authority, the Senate NDAA asks the administration to let Congress know what more indefinite detention authority it wants.

Tries to Strip Federal Courts of Ability to Decide Challenges to Harmful Conditions: In a stunning provision, the Senate NDAA tries to strip federal courts of their ability to “hear or consider” any challenge related to harmful treatment or conditions by detainees brought to the United States. This provision tries to gut our system of checks and balances by cutting out the courts.

Violates Supreme Court Decision by Stripping Habeas Rights from Detainees Left at Guantánamo: In a classic example of why it is never a good idea for a committee to legislate behind closed doors, the Senate NDAA includes language inadvertently stripping habeas rights from any Guantánamo detainee who is not moved to the United States. Habeas is the very fundamental protection of being able to have a judge decide whether it is legal or illegal to hold someone in prison. While this is almost certainly the product of sloppy drafting, the result squarely contradicts the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush, in which the Court said Guantanamo detainees have a constitutional right to habeas.

Blocks Most Cleared Detainees from Going Home: The Senate NDAA would block the transferhome of the vast majority of cleared detainees by imposing a blanket ban on transfers to Yemen, instead of continuing to allow the secretary of defense to make decisions on an individual basis. That would mean dozens of detainees cleared for transfer would remain trapped in limbo.

There is a right way and a wrong way to close Guantánamo. Charging and trying in court anyone who committed a crime – and sending anyone who isn’t charged with a crime back home or to another country – is the right way to close Guantánamo. Simply moving all of the bad Guantánamo policies to the U.S. itself is the wrong way.

The Senate NDAA gets it very wrong. We urge all senators to say “NO” to these provisions.

Read Original: http://www.activistpost.com/2014/06/new-ndaa-bolsters-guantanamo-style.html







(Jack Mullen) – Americans face a new crisis; police violence against citizens is escalating, blurring the line between criminal and public servant.

Escalating violence against American citizens by police has reached a bifurcation point, Americans are feeling the heat and are beginning to realize something must be done to deescalate police or soon America will join the ranks of hell holes of police crime and violence like Mexico, Haiti, Russia, Uzbekistan and elsewhere where police are independent gangs; violent and undisciplined and devolving into something closer to pirates – stealing property directly from their victims.

Horror stories of police murdering, beating, raping and plundering citizens are daily news in a cities large and small. One city, Albuquerque, NM is now murdering more people per capita than NYPD during arrests, yet NYC is 14 times more populated.

Read the whole article here: http://www.thegovernmentrag.com/deescalating-the-police.html#.U5SrjfldWp-

JACK MULLEN is a contributing writer on The Government Rag. Please visit his bio here and read other excellent articles he has contributed. 

Mullen cropped side





(Stephanie Sledge) – We are currently living in a state of paranoia where a rise of hostility is within our own neighborhoods and schools. The SWAT weapons search that took place in California at the Dana Point High School is yet another example of how tyranny is taking over the public school systems, incorporating the para-military police, and leaving questions in the minds of Americans as to the real justification for this pathetic and distressing behavior displayed by the Sheriff’s department and school administrators.

The security disturbance by the Orange County Weapons SWAT took place on Thursday, May 29th at the Dana Hills High School after someone found a carrying case for a firearm in the parking lot. Around 11:45 am, the Sheriff’s Department was summoned by panicked and paranoid school administrators.

Within minutes, according to Police State USA,  “Dozens of officers arrived and brought their $250,000 armored Lenco Bearcat vehicle.  Deputies could be seen suiting up for battle before entering the school.” Immediately the students were placed on lock-down, barricaded, and detained in their classrooms.

Guard dogs were brought on-site and the students were held in captivity in a prison-like environment for over four long hours. However, will there be an outrage from the parents who sent their children to school on this day or will the parents submit, like so many, and continue to buy the propaganda these SWATS are justified?

Is your child in more danger of being assassinated by the SWAT teams under a predictive programming mentality and the current teachings of the flawed ’cause and effect’ situations where everyone is considered a threat? The mentality of these SWAT raids upon our children, treating them like hardened criminals, detaining them inside a locked school, and making them urinate in the classrooms is downright outrageous, foolish, and disheartening.

The idea that ‘if’ a particular object is found, then, violence must follow. It is broken thinking in the minds of the script writers in government pursuing a vision of this nation that includes incorporating SWAT teams to be deployed upon our communities to keep us safe from imaginary threats using ‘weapons’ as a way to justify the deployment. We have clearly become a paranoid nation after the alleged Sandy Hook school shooting. School administrators carry forth this flawed thinking when no real threat was ever identified.

The policy writers are intertwined through the educational systems, the police and Sheriff’s departments, and the mental health industry. It appears they have successfully transformed the minds of blind parents. Most will now just foolishly fall to their knees and praise the system for their heroism and contributions to the community believing that their child was protected from a real threat that day. Additionally, parents quickly forget the threat was all made up… not real… an act of trickery to justify more police state in a newly reformatted educational system. The schools have become a new test pilot for the lovers of tyranny and resembles characteristics of re-education camps for the youth (of course, during the hours of…).

It would seem more appropriate to allow the teachers and administers to be armed in all schools to handle any threats which may arise and/or considered life-threatening to the students and/or faculty. Of course, the gun-grabbers do not agree and continue to lobby for more secretive gun control, which, is creating more para-military SWAT justifications within our communities – a type of hostile-takeover from within.  Missouri lawmakers seem to understand this concept when they recently passed SB656, which allows for teachers to carry guns on campus. Armed faculty is naturally more appropriate than waiting on a weapons SWAT that holds everyone hostage to search the entire premises. Again, there was no real threat here in this situation. It was only a carrying case identified and reported.

Dramatic measures were taken when no crime had been committed and there were no acts of violence. The school was searched for hours and the SWAT enforcers rummaged through students cars, lockers, backpacks, and classrooms looking for weapons. As you can see in the photos below, the SWAT showed up with their own weapons to defuse a situation that never existed. A paranoid and disturbing trend manifesting within the educational system.

(Source: CBS Los Angeles)
(Source: CBS Los Angeles)

(Source: Nick Argo, Orange County Register) (Source: CBS Los Angeles)It is also reported by the Laguna Niguel-Dana Point Patch, “desks were being converted into urinals to accommodate students who were not allowed to leave the classroom to use the bathroom.”


No weapons were found at the scene. By reviewing and analyzing the photos and information released to the public, it clearly shows this act of so-called heroism, is really a ploy to have total control over our children, public schools, and our communities. Just look for yourself, it is really a war zone against the American Citizens.

At approximately 4:00 pm, the lock-down and detainment of the students was lifted and the children exited the schools exhausted and confused about the SWAT search. No suspect was ever arrested and no crime had been committed. All for the children’s safety of an imaginary threat. The student’s rights appear to have been violated during the weapons search. One could even argue that their safety was jeopardized when the school summoned the SWAT to the premises to defuse a situation that was not really a threat. Owning a firearm case is not a crime and this is a clear example of how predictive programming in the gun confiscation movement and creation of the weapons paramilitary SWAT are seriously flawed.

Is it even safe to send your child to school these days?

(Source: CBS Los Angeles) (Source: LagunaNiguel-DanaPoint Patch)