Conservatives Demand Action To Protect Privacy

A number of national conservative groups have written a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees demanding quick passage of the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS Act), a bill that would reverse the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) attempt to grab jurisdiction of most every piece of data stored on cloud computing systems all over the world. 

The legislation was prompted when Eric Holder’s Justice Department demanded Microsoft turn over electronic communications of an Irish citizen that were housed on a cloud server of an Irish subsidiary of the company. Lawyers note that if the materials in question were written forms of communication, as opposed to electronic, the US government would be required by treaty to get the Irish government’s sign-off before they could get access to the material. Instead, DOJ sought to bypass Dublin and demanded Microsoft turn over the material without the Irish government’s approval.

Signed by representatives from Americans for Tax Reform, Digital Liberty, Citizens Against Government Waste, Let Freedom Ring, and other organizations, the letter states: “Until now, the U.S. Government has relied on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to reach data of foreign citizens stored abroad so long as the company storing the data had a presence on U.S. soil. This practice creates distrust of American businesses and encourages foreign citizens, companies and countries to stop doing business with U.S. companies operating overseas. Eventually, this will harm U.S. companies and threaten America’s leadership in cloud computing technology.”

The letter is a reminder that “the U.S. Government can obtain emails wherever stored simply by serving a warrant on a provider subject to U.S. process; nothing stops other countries – including China and Russia – from seeking to obtain emails of Americans stored on servers in the United States. The LEADS Act addresses these problems by amending ECPA to clarify that law enforcement may use a warrant to obtain electronically stored communications overseas if the account- holder is a U.S. person. This extends the traditional reach of a warrant beyond U.S. borders, but is appropriately responsive to the global nature of electronic data storage in the 21st Century. The legislation provides that the U.S. law enforcement cannot require disclosure of data stored abroad if the data is not associated with a U.S. person or if accessing that data would violate the laws of the country where it is stored. Instead, the U.S. must work with the host country to obtain the data.”

The LEADS Act, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Tom Morino, R-Pa., is supported by a host of tech companies like Microsoft and IBM as well as groups like the Business Software Alliance.

Two lower courts have sided with the government, and the Supreme Court has been asked to take up the case. Should they refuse, and legislation is not enacted, the DOJ would assume jurisdiction of most of the Internet, marking another blow against privacy. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

BOMBSHELL In Baltimore: What The Obama Admin Did That May Have Lit The Fuse For The Riots

It’s been described by officials familiar with it as “the best training program the Baltimore Police Department has ever known” — a special program designed to improve relations between police and mostly minority communities. Yet, according to The Washington Times, the Obama administration cut off funding for the Diamond Standard training program despite strong evidence that it was a success.

“The Obama Justice Department turned down a request five years ago to help the Baltimore Police Department save a training program widely credited for improving the department’s relations with the city’s crime-ridden and minority neighborhoods and reducing homicides and police-involved shootings.”

The Times article quotes a principal developer and organizer of the training, police consultant Adam Walinsky, who claimed that the failure to continue the Diamond Standard program helped contribute to the deterioration in police-community relations that preceded the riots sparked by the police-custody death of Freddie Gray.

“Once they stopped training the officers — stopped their interaction with the community, that all that was left was locking people up, and that’s what led to this whole Freddie Gray thing.”

“The program made terrific efforts to show our trainees how to work with all of these really lost, mostly young men in the black community. We gave them the tools to show them how to make friends in the community — not to raise the tension but to lower it.”

Reportedly, the now-defunct training program was championed by the previous head of the Baltimore Police Department. Ironically, it was that police commissioner’s success in using the program to improve relations between his force and the city’s crime-ridden, minority neighborhoods —  the very program the feds failed to fund — that “led President Obama to appoint him to a federal commission on community policing.”

“The training program, which ran from 2008 to 2012, was a centerpiece of Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld’s tenure, during which period homicides in Baltimore reached a 20-year low, police-involved shootings declined and officers were pressed to leave their cars and walk their beats, and community relations improved.”

For its in-depth article on the demise of the Diamond Standard training in Baltimore, The Washington Times spoke with two unnamed officials reportedly involved with the program during the period it was in effect. They both lamented the loss of the training because, they said, it had such a positive effect. According to one of the Times’ anonymous sources: “’After every training session, questionnaires were collected. The department now has thousands of them that overwhelmingly confirm this was the best training program the Baltimore Police Department has ever known.’”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Exposed: Obama’s Massive New Program To Stack The Deck Against The GOP In 2016 And Beyond

“The deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top, and there is something wrong with that,” said Hillary Clinton in her YouTube video that helped to launch her latest bid for the presidency. Now, given what the current president is doing in an apparent effort to stack the deck against Republicans in 2016 and beyond, a former Justice Department official is warning that there’s something very wrong with what Obama and his DHS are trying to pull off.

J. Christian Adams, an ex-DOJ official who has frequently talked of corruption in the federal department run by Eric Holder, is now blowing the whistle on a new program in another huge part of government, at the Department of Homeland Security — a program that’s designed to add as many Democrat supporters as possible to the voter rolls in time for the 2016 elections. Adams claims that sources inside Obama’s DHS have leaked information to him about the department’s so-called “Task Force on New Americans.” This massive effort, says Adams, is all about urging some 9,000,000 green card holders, non-citizen aliens, to naturalize and thus gain voting rights.

Appearing on Fox and Friends Weekend, J. Christian Adams disclosed that DHS is redirecting resources to this campaign to help Democrat candidates, including Hillary Clinton, in their efforts to win public office.

“This is a transformative campaign going on to fundamentally transform the country. And if you don’t talk about it, if you don’t confront it, you’re going to lose all the other issues you care about.”

You can watch the dire warning from this ex-official of the Justice Department by clicking on the video above.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Ted Cruz Obliterates AG Nominee Loretta Lynch And Republican Senate Majority For Allowing Her Nomination

Early Thursday morning, ahead of Loretta Lynch’s nomination for Attorney General, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, ranted about current Attorney General Eric Holder, the likelihood of having Lynch as his successor, and the Republican Senate majority. He argued that as bad as Eric Holder has been as the attorney general, Lynch would be just as bad, if not worse.

Cruz, who is running for president, posed a tough question to the Senate: what difference would it make whether Republicans or Democrats dominate the Senate, if someone arguably promising to be just like Holder is nominated as AG?

Cruz concluded his speech by saying that any senator who votes in favor of Lynch would ultimately violate their oath of office to support and defend the Constitution–and would have to explain said vote to their constituents.

Just recently, as Western Journalism reported, the Senate approved Lynch on a 56-43 vote. 10 Republicans disregarded Cruz’s advice and supported her nomination: Kelly Ayotte, (N.H.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Rob Portman (Ohio), and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).

h/t: Right Scoop

Is there a difference between a Republican or Democratic majority? Why didn’t these ten Republicans heed Cruz’s advice? Will Lynch be just as bad as Holder? Let us know what you think.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Breaking: What These 10 Republicans Just Did Gives A HUGE Boost To Obama’s Executive Amnesty

After a wait of more than five months since President Obama nominated her to replace Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch has been confirmed by the Senate as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. The vote Thursday afternoon saw more Republicans than expected giving their approval to the controversial nominee, with ten GOP senators joining all Democrats in the upper chamber to propel Lynch into the top Justice Department post.

Still, as Fox News reports: “The vote total for Lynch was the lowest for any attorney general since Michael Mukasey won confirmation with 53 votes in 2007 after Democrats decried his refusal to describe waterboarding as torture.”

In Lynch’s case, a number of Republicans had decried her endorsement of President Obama’s executive order on amnesty. Western Journalism reported on her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, in which Lynch said she had reviewed the legal rationale behind Obama’s unilateral action to bypass the Congress and change immigration rules for millions of illegals, and she found the president’s actions to be proper and justified.

Curiously, in the same hearing, Lynch told the panel that the U.S. Constitution would be her “lodestar” in making decisions if she were to become attorney general. Many conservatives have contended that Obama’s actions on immigration, as well as Lynch’s expressed support of those executive orders, are not in line with the constitutionally mandated separation of powers.

The Senate vote to confirm Loretta Lynch clears the way for her to be sworn in as the nation’s first African-American woman to head up the Department of Justice. Lynch currently serves as a federal prosecutor in New York state.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Image Credit: Wiki Commons

The Hill provides a list of Republican senators who voted in favor of confirmation — a list that, surprisingly, includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had earlier indicated he was inclined to vote against Lynch.

“Ten Republican senators broke ranks and sided with Democrats to get Lynch over the 50-vote threshold: Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Mitch McConnell (Ky.).”

The Hill points out that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who had indicated he would stand against Lynch and even delivered a floor speech earlier today opposing her nomination, missed the vote. The reason, as of this writing, is unclear.

In speaking out against the confirmation prior to the vote, one passionate GOP senator called for the confirmation of a nominee who would vow to uphold the Constitution and not support Obama’s executive action that many claim violates both the letter and the spirit of the law.

“Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) added that senators should [not] confirm someone who has ‘publicly committed to denigrating Congress [and] violating the laws of Congress.’”

It has not yet been announced when Loretta Lynch will take the oath of office to replace Eric Holder.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth