Charlton Heston couldn't state my position better. Watch:
Oath Keepers in Albany NY, speaking out strongly about preserving the 2nd Amendment. Powerful!
Charlton Heston couldn't state my position better. Watch:
With the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 about here, I find this a touching tribute by the men of 160th SOAR and the young lady from American Airlines. God bless America and NSDQ!
The Colorado prosecution of a woman accused of a mortgage scam will test whether the government can punish you for refusing to disclose your encryption passphrase.
The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to order the defendant, Ramona Fricosu, to decrypt an encrypted laptop that police found in her bedroom during a raid of her home.
Because Fricosu has opposed the proposal, this could turn into a precedent-setting case. No U.S. appeals court appears to have ruled on whether such an order would be legal or not under the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment, which broadly protects Americans' right to remain silent.
In a brief filed last Friday, Fricosu's Colorado Springs-based attorney, Philip Dubois, said defendants can't be constitutionally obligated to help the government interpret their files. "If agents execute a search warrant and find, say, a diary handwritten in code, could the target be compelled to decode, i.e., decrypt, the diary?"
To the U.S. Justice Department, though, the requested court order represents a simple extension of prosecutors' long-standing ability to assemble information that could become evidence during a trial. The department claims:
Public interests will be harmed absent requiring defendants to make available unencrypted contents in circumstances like these. Failing to compel Ms. Fricosu amounts to a concession to her and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible.
Prosecutors stressed that they don't actually require the passphrase itself, meaning Fricosu would be permitted to type it in and unlock the files without anyone looking over her shoulder. They say they want only the decrypted data and are not demanding "the password to the drive, either orally or in written form."
The question of whether a criminal defendant can be legally compelled to cough up his encryption passphrase remains an unsettled one, with law review articles for at least the last 15 years arguing the merits of either approach. (A U.S. Justice Department attorney wrote an article in 1996, for instance, titled "Compelled Production of Plaintext and Keys.")
Much of the discussion has been about what analogy comes closest. Prosecutors tend to view PGP passphrases as akin to someone possessing a key to a safe filled with incriminating documents. That person can, in general, be legally compelled to hand over the key. Other examples include the U.S. Supreme Court saying that defendants can be forced to provide fingerprints, blood samples, or voice recordings.
On the other hand are civil libertarians citing other Supreme Court cases that conclude Americans can't be forced to give "compelled testimonial communications" and extending the legal shield of the Fifth Amendment to encryption passphrases. Courts already have ruled that that such protection extends to the contents of a defendant's mind, so why shouldn't a passphrase be shielded as well?
In an amicus brief (PDF) filed on Friday, the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the Justice Department's request be rejected because of Fricosu's Fifth Amendment rights. The Fifth Amendment says that "no person...shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself."
"Decrypting the data on the laptop can be, in and of itself, a testimonial act--revealing control over a computer and the files on it," said EFF Senior staff attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Ordering the defendant to enter an encryption password puts her in the situation the Fifth Amendment was designed to prevent: having to choose between incriminating herself, lying under oath, or risking contempt of court."
The EFF says it's interested in this case because it wants to ensure that, as computers become more portable and encrypting data becomes more commonplace, passphrases and encrypted files receive full protection under the Fifth Amendment.
Because this involves a Fifth Amendment claim, Colorado prosecutors took the unusual step of seeking approval from headquarters in Washington, D.C.: On May 5, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer sent a letter to John Walsh, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, saying "I hereby approve your request."
While the U.S. Supreme Court has not confronted the topic, a handful of lower courts have.
In March 2010, a federal judge in Michigan ruled that Thomas Kirschner, facing charges of receiving child pornography, would not have to give up his password. That's "protecting his invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination," the court ruled (PDF).
A year earlier, a Vermont federal judge concluded that Sebastien Boucher, who a border guard claims had child porn on his Alienware laptop, did not have a Fifth Amendment right to keep the files encrypted. Boucher eventually complied and was convicted.
One argument published in the University of Chicago Legal Forum in 1996--constitutional arguments among legal academics have long preceded actual prosecutions--says:
The courts likely will find that compelling someone to reveal the steps necessary to decrypt a PGP-encrypted document violates the Fifth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination. Because most users protect their private keys by memorizing passwords to them and not writing them down, access to encrypted documents would almost definitely require an individual to disclose the contents of his mind. This bars the state from compelling its production. This would force law enforcement officials to grant some form of immunity to the owners of these documents to gain access to them.
Translation: One way around the Fifth Amendment is for prosecutors to offer a defendant, in this case Fricosu, immunity for what they say. But it appears as though they've stopped far short of granting her full immunity for whatever appears on the hard drive (which may not, of course, even be hers).
Fricosu was born in 1974 and living in Peyton, Colo., as of last fall. She was charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering as part of an alleged attempt to use falsified court documents to illegally gain title to homes near Colorado Springs that were facing "imminent foreclosure" or whose owners were relocating outside the state. Some of the charges include up to 30 years in prison; she pleaded not guilty. Her husband, Scott Whatcott, was also charged.
A ruling is expected from either Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty or District Judge Robert Blackburn.
Jennifer Guevin contributed to this report.
Are you prepared for the impending zombie invasion?
That's the question posed by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in a Monday blog posting gruesomely titled, "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse." And while it's no joke, officials say it's all about emergency preparation.
"There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for," the posting reads. "Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That's right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you'll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you'll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency."
The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for "flesh-eating zombies" much like how they appeared in Hollywood hits like "Night of the Living Dead" and video games like Resident Evil. Perhaps surprisingly, the same steps you'd take in preparation for an onslaught of ravenous monsters are similar to those suggested in advance of a hurricane or pandemic.
"First of all, you should have an in your house," the posting continues. "This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored)."
Other items to be stashed in such a kit include medications, duct tape, a battery-powered radio, clothes, copies of important documents and first aid supplies.
"Once you've made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan," the posting continues. "This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your doorstep. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake or other emergency."
The idea behind the campaign stemmed from concerns of radiation fears following the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan in March. CDC spokesman Dave Daigle told FoxNews.com that someone had asked CDC officials if zombies would be a concern due to radiation fears in Japan and traffic spiked following that mention.
"It's kind of a tongue-in-cheek campaign," Daigle said Wednesday. "We were talking about hurricane preparedness and someone bemoaned that we kept putting out the same messages."
While metrics for the post are not yet available, Daigle said it has become the most popular CDC blog entry in just two days.
"People are so tuned into zombies," he said. "People are really dialed in on zombies. The idea is we're reaching an audience or a segment we'd never reach with typical messages."
It's really hard to NOT like this guy. What a true American hero.
WASHINGTON -- And let it be said, on this second day following the convening of the 112th Congress, newly sworn members of the House shall stand and read aloud the Constitution of the United States.
And so it was Thursday, as lawmakers took turns reciting each verse and article of the document. Republicans in charge of the chamber rattled it off with missionary zeal, as if in a school civics class. Democrats pitched in, but with seemingly less ardor.
Congressional historians say it's the first time the nation's governing document, which went into operation in 1789, was read in its entirety on the House floor. New Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) opened the recital, followed by outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who ceded the gavel to the Ohio Republican on Wednesday.
It's unbelievable that our Congressional representation should be so ignorant and unconcerned about the state of our country. Listen to how he demeans his constituents!
I'm curious why the Mexican President feels as though he can bring a lawsuit regarding the Arizona law?
On Thursday afternoon, a radicalized Muslim US Army officer shouting "Allahu Akbar!" committed the worst act of terror on American soil since 9/11. And no one wants to call it an act of terror or associate it with Islam.
What cowards we are. Political correctness killed those patriotic Americans at Ft. Hood as surely as the Islamist gunman did. And the media treat it like a case of non-denominational shoplifting.
This was a terrorist act. When an extremist plans and executes a murderous plot against our unarmed soldiers to protest our efforts to counter Islamist fanatics, it's an act of terror. Period.
When the terrorist posts anti-American hate-speech on the Web; apparently praises suicide bombers and uses his own name; loudly criticizes US policies; argues (as a psychiatrist, no less) with his military patients over the worth of their sacrifices; refuses, in the name of Islam, to be photographed with female colleagues; lists his nationality as "Palestinian" in a Muslim spouse-matching program, and parades around central Texas in a fundamentalist playsuit -- well, it only seems fair to call this terrorist an "Islamist terrorist."
But the president won't. Despite his promise to get to all the facts. Because there's no such thing as "Islamist terrorism" in ObamaWorld.
And the Army won't. Because its senior leaders are so sick with political correctness that pandering to America-haters is safer than calling terrorism "terrorism."
And the media won't. Because they have more interest in the shooter than in our troops -- despite their crocodile tears.
Maj. Nadal Malik Hasan planned this terrorist attack and executed it in cold blood. The resulting massacre was the first tragedy. The second was that he wasn't killed on the spot.
Hasan survived. Now the rest of us will have to foot his massive medical bills. Activist lawyers will get involved, claiming "harassment" drove him temporarily insane. There'll be no end of trial delays. At best, taxpayer dollars will fund his prison lifestyle for decades to come, since our politically correct Army leadership wouldn't dare pursue or carry out the death penalty.
Maj. Hasan will be a hero to Islamist terrorists abroad and their sympathizers here. While US Muslim organizations decry his acts publicly, Hasan will be praised privately. And he'll have the last laugh.
But Hasan isn't the sole guilty party. The US Army's unforgivable political correctness is also to blame for the casualties at Ft. Hood.
Given the myriad warning signs, it's appalling that no action was taken against a man apparently known to praise suicide bombers and openly damn US policy. But no officer in his chain of command, either at Walter Reed Army Medical Center or at Ft. Hood, had the guts to take meaningful action against a dysfunctional soldier and an incompetent doctor.
Had Hasan been a Lutheran or a Methodist, he would've been gone with the simoon. But officers fear charges of discrimination when faced with misconduct among protected minorities.
Now 12 soldiers and a security guard lie dead. 31 soldiers were wounded, 28 of them seriously. If heads don't roll in this maggot's chain of command, the Army will have shamed itself beyond moral redemption.
There's another important issue, too. How could the Army allow an obviously incompetent and dysfunctional psychiatrist to treat our troubled soldiers returning from war? An Islamist whacko is counseled for arguing with veterans who've been assigned to his care? And he's not removed from duty? What planet does the Army live on?
For the first time since I joined the Army in 1976, I'm ashamed of its dereliction of duty. The chain of command protected a budding terrorist who was waving one red flag after another. Because it was safer for careers than doing something about him.
Get ready for the apologias. We've already heard from the terrorist's family that "he's a good American." In their world, maybe he is.
But when do we, the American public, knock off the PC nonsense?
A disgruntled Muslim soldier murdered his officers way back in 2003, in Kuwait, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Recently? An American mullah shoots it out with the feds in Detroit. A Muslim fanatic attacks an Arkansas recruiting station. A Muslim media owner, after playing the peace card, beheads his wife. A Muslim father runs over his daughter because she's becoming too Westernized.
Muslim terrorist wannabes are busted again and again. And we're assured that "Islam's a religion of peace."
I guarantee you that the Obama administration's non-response to the Ft. Hood attack will mock the memory of our dead.