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Posts tagged ‘Michael Mukasey’

Mukasey on NSA Report: Changes Will Hurt Ability to Monitor Threats.


Image: Mukasey on NSA Report: Changes Will Hurt Ability to Monitor Threats

By Melissa Clyne

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey says the recommended changes to National Security Agency surveillance programs by a presidential commission are unnecessary and will only hinder the NSA’s ability to protect the nation.

The five-member panel made up of intelligence and legal experts appointed by President Barack Obama recommended last week that massive phone and internet records collected by the NSA should be held by a private consortium or with the companies from which the information was acquired. If the NSA felt compelled to access the data, it would be required to obtain a court order.

“In other words, if investigators want to check a telephone number they should be required to scurry around to each individual provider — AT&T, Verizon etc. — to run the check, possibly against data bases that are inconsistently arranged, with consequent loss of time and efficiency,” Mukasey writes in op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal.

Calling it “an experiment,” that could seriously damage an important program designed to target terrorist communications and activities, he says there is simply no justification for it because the panel found no violations of privacy rights during its review.

“The panel’s investigation of the National Security Agency found — as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found before them — that the occasional unintentional violations of guidelines were stopped once they were detected,” he writes.

Mukasey also mocks critics of the NSA’s collection of phone and Internet communications who contend the agency could use the information to profile individuals or  or gather sensitive personal information.

“No evidence suggests that any such thing has been proposed or done, and indeed the 22 people at NSA who have access to the data are forbidden to use metadata in any fashion other than to run it against suspect telephone numbers,” he says.

Mukasey also takes issue with the recommendation that U.S. intelligence operations should not target non-U.S. persons outside of the United States based solely on their political or religious views. He says that could in some cases prevent the targeting of groups and individuals who declare as a “religious obligation to kill Americans.”

The president has yet to sign off on any of the recommendations contained in the commission’s report.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Michael Mukasey: NYC Stop-and-Frisk Decision ‘Unfortunate’.


Former U.S. Attorney Michael Mukasey says a judge’s ruling that the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy is unconstitutional was wrongheaded and will eventually be reversed.

“[The] decision was probably expected but is really unfortunate,” Mukasey told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“This judge has taken on herself the authority to essentially regulate the New York City Police Department.”

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In her decision, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin called the policy in which police officers can stop and search anybody they suspect of involvement in a crime “indirect racial profiling,” resulting in discrimination against blacks and Hispanics.

“No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life,” Scheindlin said in her ruling.

The judge also ordered the appointment of an independent monitor and changes to current NYPD procedures.

“[She would] require that the police department have a pilot program … in which police would carry cameras on their bodies — based entirely on statistics — when what the law requires is an intent to discriminate,” Mukasey said.

But Scheindlin’s decision lies on shaky legal ground, according to Mukasey, who served 18 years as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

“I don’t know about [it going to] the Supreme Court. If I had to bet, I would certainly bet that it’s going to be overturned,” he said.

“This is going to have the durability of one of those $3 umbrellas that you buy in New York and they collapse as soon as the wind kicks up.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who says stop-and-frisk has resulted in a lower crime rate, plans to appeal Scheindlin’s ruling.

On the subject of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s order that federal prosecutors no longer seek maximum sentences for some low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, Mukasey believes it defies logic.

“It’s interesting, not particularly logical, but interesting. If there are sensible proposals to be made for diminishing the amount of incarceration, I’m all for them. If there are sensible proposals to be made for eliminating mandatory minimums, I’m all for that,” he said. “But saying you’re not going to enforce the law isn’t the way to do it … If we want to get rid of those [mandatory minimums] then the way to do is to pass another law getting rid of them.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Former AG Mukasey: Holder Has Wrong Approach on Mandatory Sentences.


Former U.S. Attorney Gen. Michael Mukasey agrees with current A.G. Eric Holder‘s goal to end mandatory sentencing, but he thinks it should be done through passing new laws, not by just ignoring the current ones.

“Mandatory minimums impose a certain rigidity in sentencing that’s not appropriate in the individual case,” Mukasey said Monday on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

Congress has already passed a law that says judges don’t have to follow mandatory minimums if certain criteria are met, such as the defendant having no criminal history and if there was no violence involved, Mukasey explained.

But that law applies at the sentencing stage, he said. Holder is ordering prosecutors to apply it at the charging stage “when you know very little about a defendant, right after he’s arrested, and many of those criteria may not be met.”

Mukasey said that when he was attorney general under President George W. Bush he discussed eliminating mandatory minimums with Congressional committees. But it was a “non-starter at that time,” he said, “I think because politicians, let’s face it, get elected by being tough on crime.”

Holder announced the new policy Monday in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco. The move is a major policy shift against the “War on Drugs” begun by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

Mukasey said he would be happy to work with Holder to find proper ways to change mandatory sentencing laws.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Former Atty Gen. Mukasey: NSA Leaker’s Claims ‘Irrational’.


The leaking of secrets doesn’t serve to keep Americans safer, says former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Instead, it helps terrorists avoid detection.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Mukasey, who served as the nation’s top law enforcement officer during the last two years of George W. Bush’s presidency, called claims of pervasive spying “downright irrational.”

People from the left and right tend to unite when the government wants to collect data, even for counterterrorism efforts, Mukasey says. But he says their fears are unjustified.

The type of data being collected is not invasive, he argues, and a relatively small number of people have access to it. Add to that the huge responsibility that those people using the data have to keep the country safe — and the lack of time they would have for using it for improper purposes — and any reasonable person would have no need to fear, he says.

Still, he admits, it is theoretically possible that information could be misused, something he says would be “both a shame and a crime.”

But to deny that information to intelligence agencies because of the chance of misuse makes as much sense “as it does to deny guns to police because they could be turned on the innocent.”

The programs don’t violate the Constitution, Mukasey says. The Fourth Amendment bars “unreasonable searches and seizures” and states that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause” which must be established by an affidavit and must describe “what or who is to be seized, and from where.”

The first clause mentioned does not prevent warrantless searches, he says, only “unreasonable” ones. “And the second simply creates a warrant requirement that is read, with some exceptions, to bar evidence at trial if it is obtained without a valid warrant.”

For those concerned with the United States seizing foreign communications, Mukasey notes that the Constitution and U.S. laws protect U.S. citizens and not anyone else.

“Foreign governments spy on us and our citizens. We spy on them and theirs,” he writes. “Welcome to the world.”

Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor employee, caused real damage when he leaked information on how the United States tracks down terrorist activity, Mukasey says. “Every time we tell terrorists how we can detect them, we encourage them to find ways to avoid detection.”

But Mukasey says it isn’t just “whistleblowers” who are leaking classified information. President Barack Obama boasted in May 2011 that Osama bin Laden’s hideout yielded lots of valuable intelligence, “which alerted anyone who had dealt with bin Laden and thereby rendered much of that material useless.”

In June 2012, reports on the United States helping plant the malware Stuxnet in Iran’s nuclear facilities included discussions that took place in the White House Situation Room.

Further, Obama has defended the phone tapping and PRISM programs revealed just last week.

“There is little doubt, Mukasey said, “that we will be treated to further disclosures to prove that these programs were successful.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Fmr. Attorney General Mukasey: Boston Bombers ‘Did Not Act Alone.


The two brothers in the Boston Marathon bombings undoubtedly had help in planning and executing the deadly explosions, former U.S. Attorney General Mike Mukasey believes.

And there’s no question the surviving brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, deserves to be put to death if he is convicted, Mukasey told Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

Story continues below.

“I am convinced that the two of them did not act alone. I’m not talking about the three indicted [on Wednesday]. I’m talking about before, because the creation of those bombs and other materials wasn’t entry level work,’’ said Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush.

“They functioned with others … This guy is a poster child for the death penalty when you consider what he did and the planning it took.’’

Mukasey said the criminal complaints announced today against two of the three teens — both non-citizens charged Wednesday with obstructing justice — shows the government has major problems in enforcing immigration policy.

“You take a look at the criminal complaints. Two of these guys were in the country on student visas. They were already marked for deportation. They were supposed to have been deported,’’ he said.

“Apparently there was some legal proceeding ongoing and they were out and going to school. This is not the act of a couple of guys covering for somebody’s underage drinking or violating a curfew or cheating on an exam.

“This was a horrific crime and they covered it up … So it’s pretty grim.’’

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

Fmr. Attorney General Mukasey: Boston Bombers ‘Did Not Act Alone’.


The two brothers in the Boston Marathon bombings undoubtedly had help in planning and executing the deadly explosions, former U.S. Attorney General Mike Mukasey believes.

And there’s no question the surviving brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, deserves to be put to death if he is convicted, Mukasey told Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

“I am convinced that the two of them did not act alone. I’m not talking about the three indicted [on Wednesday]. I’m talking about before, because the creation of those bombs and other materials wasn’t entry level work,’’ said Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush.

“They functioned with others … This guy is a poster child for the death penalty when you consider what he did and the planning it took.’’

Mukasey said the criminal complaints announced today against two of the three teens — both non-citizens charged Wednesday with obstructing justice — shows the government has major problems in enforcing immigration policy.

“You take a look at the criminal complaints. Two of these guys were in the country on student visas. They were already marked for deportation. They were supposed to have been deported,’’ he said.

“Apparently there was some legal proceeding ongoing and they were out and going to school. This is not the act of a couple of guys covering for somebody’s underage drinking or violating a curfew or cheating on an exam.

“This was a horrific crime and they covered it up … So it’s pretty grim.’’

See the Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV each weekday live by Clicking Here Now

You can listen to the Steve Malzberg Show each weekday live from 3-6 PM ET on SiriusXM 166.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Bush Attorney General: It Was Jihad.


The Boston Marathon bombings were unmistakably a jihadist act, says former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. But the Obama administration has disbanded the CIA interrogation group charged with investigating these plots, leaving America more vulnerable than ever to future threats.

Those who feel the only threat from brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been eliminated now that one is dead and the other is in custody for the rest of his life can rest easy, Mukasey writes in an op-ed piece published in The Wall Street Journal Sunday.

“But if your concern is over the larger threat that inheres in who the Tsarnaev brothers were and are, what they did, and what they represent, then worry — a lot.”

One big worry, Mukasey notes, is how the High-Value Interrogation Group (HIG) will even do its job.

The group was formed by the FBI after the so-called “underwear bomber” was Mirandized in 2009. President Barack Obama had disbanded the CIA interrogation program that might have run the interrogation of the bomber. The two programs aren’t even remotely similar in their tactics and goals, suggests Mukasey, who served in the Bush administration from 2007 to 2009.

The FBI has “bowdlerized” its training materials at the request of such Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations (the very controversial CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America, writes Mukasey. They no longer even mention references to militant Islamism.

“Does this delicacy infect the FBI’s interrogation group as well?” he asks in the op-ed, entitled “Make No Mistake, It Was Jihad.”

“Will we see another performance like the Army’s after-action report following Maj. Nidal Hasan‘s rampage at Fort Hood in November 2009, preceded by his shout ‘allahu akhbar’ — a report that spoke nothing of militant Islam but referred to the incident as ‘workplace violence’?

“If tone is set at the top, recall that the Army chief of staff at the time said the most tragic result of Fort Hood would be if it interfered with the Army’s diversity program,” Mukasey writes.

Mukasey wonders whether the probe will look into the FBI’s own previous questioning of Tamerlan, which was made after questions were raised by a foreign government, presumably Russia, about radical leanings.

“Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the fifth person since 9/11 who has participated in terror attacks after questioning by the FBI,” Mukasey writes.

Another worry: The Tsarnaevs obviously were conducting a suicide operation, Mukasey says, though not the type in which one blows himself up along with his intended victims. Rather, the brothers went about it “in the way of someone who conducts a spree, holding the stage for as long as possible, before he is cut down in a blaze of what he believes is glory.”

It had been widely accepted that such attacks were unlikely on American soil since organizers would find it hard to find enough spiritual support to keep would-be suicide attackers focused.

“That analysis went out the window when the Tsarnaevs followed up the bombing of the marathon by murdering a police officer in his car — an act certain to precipitate the violent confrontation that followed,” Mukasey writes.

Smaller, less complicated crimes have been attempted since 9/11 because the United States has stepped up its defenses. Mukasey points to the Times Square attempted bomber. These smaller events are still intended to send a message of terror.

But that message may be lost on a president who seems preoccupied with Islamic sensibilities, Mukasey suggests, and not American security.

“There is also cause for concern in the president’s reluctance, soon after the Boston bombing, even to use the ‘t’ word—terrorism—and in his vague musing on Friday about some unspecified agenda of the perpetrators, when by then there was no mystery: the agenda was jihad.”

For five years there have been claims that Americans need to learn how to change the Muslim world’s perception of the United States. Few have focused on a more important question: why we are hated, Mukasey writes.

The ideology of hatred extends at least to the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in the early part of the 20th century, according to Mukasey.

“The ideology has regarded the United States as its principal adversary since the late 1940s, when a Brotherhood principal, Sayid Qutb, visited this country and was aghast at what he saw as its decadence.”

Qutb was especially shocked by the freedom that women had at the Colorado college he attended. One of the most influential Muslim thinkers of the last 100 years, his inner circle mainly consisted of influential politicians and intellectuals in Egypt and other countries. Many of his writings were required reading in the curricula of the Arab world’s finest universities.

The first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, U.S. embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, and the 9/11 attacks were all fueled by hatred of American values that has its roots in Qutb’s writings, Mukasey writes.

Despite this, no outreach is extended to critical Muslim organizations in the United States, such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, that speak out against the totalitarian Islamic ideology, he points out.

“There are Muslim organizations in this country, such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, headed by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, that speak out bravely against that totalitarian ideology. They receive no shout-out at presidential speeches; no outreach is extended to them,” he adds.

“One of the Tsarnaev brothers is dead; the other might as well be. But if that is the limit of our concern, there will be others,” he concludes.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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