People are sending this to me in large numbers today, and it is even being reported that Reuters broke the story, but actually I had it at Jihad Watch on January 2. Certainly it is abhorrent that DHS would be doing this at all, instead of any real work to secure the nation from actual threats, and it is ominous, given the Department’s politically correct willful ignorance about Islam and jihad, as well as its focus on “right-wing extremists,” which hints at an intention to target Obama’s political opposition, since the “extremists” in question are largely a fantasy of the DHS’s own making and include (in the infamous DHS report on this phenomenon from 2009) conservative groups that have never been involved in any violence or illegal activity whatsoever.
Nonetheless, while much is being made of it, it is hard to be too concerned at this point, since the monitored sites are all over the map ideologically. This may simply be cover for targeting truth-tellers about jihad and Islamic supremacism, as well as those who explain other inconvenient realities that the DHS would prefer to ignore, but about that only time will tell.
Much more immediately ominous is what Pamela Geller reports here: Pro-Freedom Websites Come Under Surveillance In Germany. The German government is targeting anti-jihad sites out of an entirely trumped-up fear that they would promote violence. This is, of course, based on their having been cited by the Norwegian mass murderer Breivik, who has become as popular as Tim McVeigh among Leftists and Islamic supremacists who use him to try to establish a connection between my work and those of other counter-jihadists and the murder of innocent people. This despite the fact that we have never called for or approved of violence, and that Breivik is obviously insane and his “manifesto” actually has no ideological coherence: he even called for alliance with jihadi groups, which is hardly something that counter-jihadists would ever do. Nonetheless, he is being used as a stick to beat pro-freedom activists in Germany. And with Clinton and Obama signing on to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s campaign to criminalize truth-telling about Islam and jihad, it is coming here as well.
But it isn’t here yet, and so I repeat the invitation I made when I first wrote about this: “Welcome, agents! Grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile. Read around in the archives and articles. You might just learn something, if you dare to think outside the politically correct intellectual straitjacket enforced at the DHS these days. Go ahead. Dare to embrace the truth.”
“Homeland Security watches Twitter, social media,” by Mark Hosenball for Reuters, January 11 (thanks to all who sent this in):
(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security‘s command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.
A “privacy compliance review” issued by DHS last November says that since at least June 2010, its national operations center has been operating a “Social Networking/Media Capability” which involves regular monitoring of “publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites and message boards.”
The purpose of the monitoring, says the government document, is to “collect information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.”
The document adds, using more plain language, that such monitoring is designed to help DHS and its numerous agencies, which include the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency, to manage government responses to such events as the 2010 earthquake and aftermath in Haiti and security and border control related to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.
A DHS official familiar with the monitoring program said that it was intended purely to enable command center officials to keep in touch with various Internet-era media so that they were aware of major, developing events to which the Department or its agencies might have to respond.
The document outlining the monitoring program says that all the websites which the command center will be monitoring were “publicly available and… all use of data published via social media sites was solely to provide more accurate situational awareness, a more complete common operating pictures, and more timely information for decision makers…”
The DHS official said that under the program’s rules, the department would not keep permanent copies of the internet traffic it monitors. However, the document outlining the program does say that the operations center “will retain information for no more than five years.”…
News and gossip sites on the monitoring list include popular destinations such as the Drudge Report, Huffington Post and “NY Times Lede Blog”, as well as more focused techie fare such as the Wired blogs “Threat Level” and “Danger Room.” Numerous blogs related to terrorism and security are also on the list.
Some of the sites on the list are potentially controversial. WikiLeaks is listed for monitoring, even though officials in some other government agencies were warned against using their official computers to access WikiLeaks material because much of it is still legally classified under U.S. government rules.
Another blog on the list, Cryptome, also periodically posts leaked documents and was one of the first websites to post information related to the Homeland Security monitoring program.
Also on the list are JihadWatch and Informed Comment, blogs that cover issues related to Islam through sharp political prisms, which have sometimes led critics to accuse the sites of political bias….
- Homeland Security Monitors, Blogs, New Sites, Twitter, Social media (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Did You Know Homeland Security is Monitoring the Internet? (papundits.wordpress.com)
- (Not) Breaking News: People Who Work For The Government Look At The Internet (outsidethebeltway.com)