About 2,000 and 3,000 “special agents” in the IRS who form the criminal investigation division (CID) have the ability to get PEN register orders which is the only authority needed to use Stingray devices, according to an exclusive released on Monday by the guardian.
Stingrays are surveillance technology which can engage in full wiretapping without warrant clearance. It used to be we just had to watch out for the FBI and the NSA illegally wiretapping, now we have to worry about the agency that targets political opponents of the administration.
Twelve government agencies are now using these devices on Americans but we don’t know the breadth or depth.
Common Dreams has one comment that seems to explain it:
[Mark Matthews, a former deputy commissioner for services and enforcement at the agency who now works for the law firm Caplin and Drysdale] said the IRS on its own usually uses gentler investigation tactics. But increasingly, investigating agents from the agency are brought on board for joint operations with the FBI and other agencies when the latter need financial expertise to look at, for example, money laundering from drug organizations.
From these joint operations, he said, “the IRS had moved to drug work and had learned a lot of aggressive techniques in the money laundering and drug world, and these bad habits were leaking over into the tax world, which was supposed to be their real mission.”
Stingray is sophisticated cellphone dragnet equipment. They are of a type of device called an IMSI-catcher, also known as “cell-site simulators”. About the size of a briefcase, they work by pretending to be cellphone towers in order to strip metadata and in some cases even content from phones which connect to them.
Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Seth M. Stodder explained to a U.S. House subcommittee that the Secret Service, too, can employ Stingrays without a warrant if there’s believed to be a nonspecific threat to the president or another protected person, Common Dreams reported.
We have a government that is Progressive and by definition does not believe in the rule of law as outlined by our Constitution if it obstructs their objectives. Warrantless searches are a serious danger to our freedoms.
The potential for abuse is enormous. Extraordinary and suffocating scrutiny will inevitably corrode and corrupt free expression. Privacy is an illusion when the government knows everything about you and tomorrow may bring that government into your life because you have been targeted.
When you make a call, do you ever wonder who might be listening in? Imagine if your government is targeting you because of your political opinions. Now imagine that your government is arresting people. It wasn’t very long ago that the IRS was looking for a way to arrest conservatives.
Judicial Watch obtained documents in July from the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service that included an official “DOJ Recap” report detailing an October 2010 meeting between Lois Lerner, DOJ officials and the FBI for the CRIMINAL PROSECUTION of targeted nonprofit organizations for alleged illegal political activity.
Judicial Watch wrote:
The newly obtained records also reveal that the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress. Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit social 501(c)(4) welfare groups – or nearly every 501(c)(4) in the United States – as part of its prosecution effort.
According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”
The now “vindicated” Lerner herself was meeting with DOJ officials to discuss pursuing criminal charges.