Monthly Archives: January 2010

METT-TC


As building blocks for future learning, please read this excerpt from Chapter 5 of FM 3-0:

The Factors of METT-TC

5-12. METT-TC refers to factors that are fundamental to assessing and visualizing: Mission, Enemy, Terrain and weather, Troops and support available, Time available, and Civil considerations. The first five factors are not new. However, the nature of full spectrum operations requires commanders to assess the impact of nonmilitary factors on operations. Because of this added complexity, civil considerations has been added to the familiar METT-T to form METT-TC. All commanders use METT-TC to start their visualization. Staff estimates may address individual elements of, and add to, the commander’s visualization.

5-13. . Commanders determine the mission through analysis of the tasks assigned. The results of that analysis yield the essential tasks that, together with the purpose of the operation, clearly indicate the action required. The mission includes what tasks must be accomplished; who is to do them; and when, where, and why the tasks are to be done.

5-14. . The analysis of the enemy includes current information about his strength, location, activity, and capabilities. Commanders and staffs also assess the most likely enemy courses of action. In stability operations and support operations, the analysis includes adversaries, potentially hostile parties, and other threats to success. Threats may include the spread of infectious disease, regional instabilities, or misinformation. Commanders consider asymmetric as well as conventional threats.

5-15. . Analysis of terrain and weather helps commanders determine observation and fields of fire, avenues of approach, key terrain, obstacles and movement, and cover and concealment (OAKOC [see FM 6-0] and here). Terrain includes manmade features such as cities, airfields, bridges, railroads, and ports. Weather and terrain also have pronounced effects on ground maneuver, precision munitions, air support, and CSS operations. The nature of operations extends the analysis of the natural environment (weather and terrain) into the context of the physical environment of a contaminated battlefield. To find tactical advantages, commanders and staffs analyze and compare the limitations of the environment on friendly, enemy, and neutral forces.

5-16. . Commanders assess the quantity, training level, and psychological state of friendly forces. The analysis includes the availability of critical systems and joint support. Commanders examine combat, combat support (CS), and CSS assets. These assets include contractors (see FM 3-100.21).

5-17. . Commanders assess the time available for planning, preparing, and executing the mission. They consider how friendly and enemy or adversary forces will use the time and the possible results. Proper use of the time available can fundamentally alter the situation. Time available is normally explicitly defined in terms of the tasks assigned to the unit and implicitly bounded by enemy or adversary capabilities.

5-18. . Civil considerations relate to civilian populations, culture, organizations, and leaders within the AO. Commanders consider the natural environment, to include cultural sites, in all operations directly or indirectly affecting civilian populations. Commanders include civilian political, economic, and information matters as well as more immediate civilian activities and attitudes.

5-19. At the operational level, civil considerations include the interaction between military operations and the other instruments of national power. Civil considerations at the tactical level generally focus on the immediate impact of civilians on the current operation; however, they also consider larger, long-term diplomatic, economic, and informational issues. Civil considerations can tax the resources of tactical commanders while shaping force activities. Civil considerations define missions to support civil authorities.

5-20. Political boundaries of nations, provinces, and towns are important civil considerations. Conflict often develops across boundaries, and boundaries may impose limits on friendly action. Boundaries, whether official or not, determine which civilian leaders and institutions can influence a situation. These considerations can be important at all levels.

5-21. Media presence guarantees that a global audience views US military activities in near real-time. Commanders factor public opinion into their vision of the battlespace. The activities of the force-including individual soldiers-can have far reaching effects on domestic and international opinion. The media also affect activities and opinions within the AO and often prove a valuable information resource.

5-22. The local population and displaced persons influence commanders’ decisions. Their presence and the need to address their control, protection, and welfare affect the choice of courses of action and the allocation of resources. In stability operations and support operations, these people are a central feature of AOs.

>WRSA Intro to Fifty Caliber Shooting Seminar – June, 2010 – Western Nevada

>Still in the planning stage, but here’s what we know now:

What: Intro to Fifty Caliber Shooting Seminar; two days of instruction and shooting

Where: The pristine Nevada desert, about thirty miles east of Fallon. Nearest major airport is Reno. Additional details to follow.

When: June 26-27, 2010

Who: Folks with .50 BMG (or other long-range rigs) who haven’t had the range to wring out zeroes and wind experience, along with other folks who feel the urge to taste before they buy. There will be limited rifles and ammo available for tire-kickers who wish to explore a new toy.

Why: Wouldn’t you take the opportunity to get zeroes out to 800 and more?

How much: TBD; likely ~$250/head/weekend

Lodging/Eating: Details to follow; you should be prepared to support yourself in high-altitude summer desert conditions for two days.

Interested folks should drop a note to westernshooters@live.com with thoughts/suggestions.

More asap.

>Three Essentials From Vanderboegh

>Some Light Reading on Guerrilla Counter-Intelligence

Rattlesnakes & Copperheads

Organzied Looting

Read them, save and print the attachments, and think.

Then do.

Tempus fugit.

>Denninger: Weekend Roundup

>From Karl Denninger:

Was that a little pre-shock tremor last week?

Let’s review…..

Kennedy’s former Senate seat – in a state that is so blue that you’d swear everyone is choking to death when you cross the state line, went to a Republican. A thirty-point swing in the polls in literally less than a month away from Democrats. Despite what the pundits have said this was not simply about health care. It was about general disaffection with where the country has gone and is headed.

Since March of last year the banks and stock market generally have rallied hard. But…..

The economy has not in fact improved. There are millions more out of work today than there were in March of 2009. There is scant little improvement in freight traffic. Sales tax and income tax numbers are below where they were last year at this time. This, of course, makes perfect sense – the unemployed pay few taxes.

The plates have been kept in the air only due to two things: (1) People not paying their mortgages for literally a year or more (and thus spending that money generally) and (2) massive transfer payments amounts to $500 billion a year from the government to the people – money that they borrowed, not taxed and collected.

You’d think with people not paying their mortgages the banks would be losing enormous amounts of money and all go under. The big banks haven’t, but only because in March they got permission to lie about their “asset quality.” This is a short-term game and relies on the cash flow being sufficient to (temporarily) cover up the truth. But the asset quality deterioration continues and the truly ugly reality isn’t even found in the first mortgages – it is in the fact that all the home equity lines out there behind an underwater first mortgage that defaults are worth zero. These loans are concentrated in the “big banks” – and yet they are all carrying this paper at values assuming they’ll be able to collect it.

Best of luck, boys.

In other words, the stock market rally has been about not improving economic prospects but rather utter BS, lies and scams. Let’s look at some basic statistics:

15 stocks in the S&P 500 have a P/E over 100. 23 have a P/E over 60. 37 have a P/E over 40. 65 have a P/E over 30 and 152 have a P/E over 20. 220 – nearly half – have a P/E over 13, the historical long-term average. The latter statistic is trotted out from time to time to claim that the market as a whole isn’t overvalued, but 125 stocks in the S&P 500 have a negative P/E – that is one quarter of the S&P 500 has negative earnings.

In the NDX (Nasdaq 100) believe it or not there are 13 stocks with a P/E over 40. But 39 have a P/E over 20 and 21, or 21%, have negative earnings.

People say we should ignore the past and focus on “predicted” earnings. But how accurate is that? Did those predictions correctly foretell the plunge in 2008 and early 2009? Nope. So why would you use them today, when they have a proven record of being wrong?

So how in the hell has the market rallied to the degree it has?

Simple: The market is a read of “fear and greed”, and as such as people perceived that thievery and scamming would continue to be profitable the market has reflected that expectation in price.

But things are changing. It has been reported that Wall Street bonuses will total some $145 billion. That’s 1% of GDP – and is absolutely obscene. The people have figured out that this is really nothing more than Wall Street firms sucking the blood of the citizens, and while it would be ridiculous in a good year where everyone is flush with lots of spendable income coming on the back of a year where millions of Americans have lost their jobs, taxes are going up, cities and states are going bankrupt and the economy has been and is for crap it is the sort of thing that stirs thoughts of boiled rope, lampposts and resurrection of the guillotine among citizens.

The Senate went so far as to demand that the citizens bare their necks once again by filibustering a vote to end TARP immediately.

Democratic leadership opposed the amendment because they felt it would have handcuffed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in his efforts to ensure the stability of the financial markets.

In other words, to make sure those $145 billion in bonuses could be paid – out of your pocket.

Of course this was just the last piece of idiocy. Fannie and Freddie had their losses transfered “in entirety” to the taxpayer on Christmas Eve – after the market closed and while nobody (they hoped) was watching.

The loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat may have rocked the foundation though. It sure led to President Obama deciding to roll out Paul Volcker and a proposal to end proprietary trading by banks – an abusive practice that has certainly played a big part of “heads I win ($145 billion), tails the taxpayer loses.”

Is it enough?

Hell no.

Nor does it go to the core of the problem.

I know I keep hammering on this but its important – we cannot have a sound economy when the “earnings power” of Wall Street is entirely focused on stealing a kid’s candy and sucking your blood – literally. Yet that’s what it’s been.

The entire premise of Wall Street (and banks generally) is to “expand credit.” You hear it from Obama and you heard it from Reid yesterday in his begrudging “I might vote for Bernanke” claim:

Reid said that Bernanke “must redouble his efforts to ensure families can access the credit they need to buy or keep their home, send their children to college or start a small business.”

There’s the statement of the problem right “in your face.”

Credit, folks, is just a fancy form of the old Wimpy character in the Popeye Cartoons: “I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

The reason the market collapsed in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 is that the eating of hamburgers exceeded the ability to pay for them Tuesday.

This should not have happened and indeed it is Bernanke’s job to guarantee that it does not, as mandated in The Federal Reserve Act (Title 12, Chapter 3, Sub1, Sec225a:)

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy’s long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.

In other words, the Federal Reserve does not set interest rates. It is charged under the law with controlling credit growth such that all the hamburgers you eat today can be paid for Tuesday, on balance, so that production and thus the economy grows at a sustainable rate.

When The Fed violates this prescription, as it has for the last 30 years, you set the stage for a credit boom – and subsequent bust.

Yet to get the boom (and then bust) you need more.

See, unbridled credit growth isn’t really under The Fed’s control, at least not in the main. Sure, The Fed can irresponsibly grow credit aggregates entirely within the government sphere where there is no private market activity to stop it, but in the private markets this is not possible all on its own. That is, the Fed can stop the expansion of credit but it can’t start the expansion; it has the ability only to place a cap on credit growth but not a floor.

Why?

Because in order to irresponsibly expand credit – that is, to grant credit to more and more people in larger and larger amounts, beyond that which is justified by actual economic expansion, someone has to get screwed.

That’s an inescapable fact – growth of credit that is supportable by output is both reasonable and sound. Growth of credit beyond that rate can only occur if some of the people it is granted to can’t pay. Given full disclosure of the quality of said credit it is unmarketable.

If you were to mandate that all lenders had to hold their loans on their balance sheets then lenders would be very unlikely to make an unsound loan, as they would have to eat it.

But securitization (and trading generally) of credit obligations (that is, debt instruments of all sorts) is not necessarily bad. Indeed, a debt (for the creditor) is an asset to the person who made the loan, so why shouldn’t he or she be able to sell it like any other asset – a house, a car, a boat, a backhoe or a combine?

We recognize in the law that the sale of a car with known-bad brakes to someone without disclosing that fact is an act of fraud. It is illegal to do that, just as it is illegal to sell a car and intentionally lie about the number of miles it has been driven (by, for example, rolling back the odometer.) Such an act in business is widely recognized as fraudulent and exposes the person who does it to both civil lawsuits and criminal penalties.

This is where the fundamental disconnect between Wall Street (and the stock market over the last nine months) and reality on Main Street lies.

We have done nothing to dissuade fraud and lies in the credit markets – quite the contrary. We have further enabled those lies, and that is why the stock market has “recovered.”

The dive during this last week – some 500 pts on the DOW and nearly 60 handles on the S&P – was not due to Mr. Brown’s win, nor Obama’s rant against the banks.

Rather, it happened because market participants are sensing a crack in the government’s ability (but certainly not desire!) to keep the fraud going, to keep the lies from being exposed, and to keep the losses hidden where nobody can see or act on them.

That the truth will eventually come out, and the pyramid scheme that has “enabled” this unbridled credit growth to occur will ultimately collapse, is a certainty. We saw a piece of it in 2008 and 2009, but only a piece. By aborting the market’s ability to price in that fraud and accurately represent earnings capacity as a function of actual economic activity as opposed to scams, obfuscation and lies we have done even more damage to our economic future.

President Obama owns all of that additional damage, as it all – every bit of it – happened on his watch. The possible embedding of $500 billion in structural deficits is a part of this – money we don’t have and ultimately will not be able to borrow. The pressure from Geithner, Obama’s employee, to demand “mark to fantasy” accounting, allowing banks to hold HELOCs and other loans at values assuming payment where such is very unlikely to occur. The pressure, temporarily sated, from the Wall Street banksters to take “just another drink” from your jugular vein, much like the vampires in Daybreakers, while those on the street are blithely unaware that in the “harvesting lab” all of their sources of blood are literally dying off.

There are many pundits who say that the sell-off this week was an “over-reaction” in that the big banks will find a way around Obama’s plans, even if he manages to get them through Congress.

They’re probably right on the latter, but like most who focus only on the immediate they’re missing the forest for the trees.

Today’s valuations in the market can only be sustained if you believe that credit can be expanded from today’s approximately $53 trillion (total system-wide) to about $95 trillion over the next ten years. To believe this you must believe that either (1) there is more payment capacity for interest and principal in the economy than is being used – a preposterous notion when the entire collapse began due to people being unable to pay their debts or (2) that we can grow GDP by an average of 7% annually over the entire next decade without fail.

The last five decades of history says that #2 is flatly impossible.

If neither #1 or #2 can happen then what you saw this week is a warning, just as you saw warnings in the summer of 2006 and the early months of 2007. A sell-off triggered by a fleeting recognition that the values being expressed in the credit and stock markets do not reflect forward earnings capacity but rather the fact that Wimpy indeed cannot pay for his next hamburger come Tuesday.

We are only left to argue about when the market has night terrors of recognition and acts accordingly – not if.

Now go read the latest from John Galt’s Shenandoah, as well.

And remember — what credibility will the Fed and the FedGov bring to any rescue efforts in response to a new collapse?

>Corruption

>Denninger explains another manifestation of the elites’ rule:

One rule for thee…
A wholly different one for me.

>Evans-Pritchard: In Europe, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

>From the UK Telegraph:

ECB prepares legal ground for euro rupture as Greek crisis escalates
Fears of a euro break-up have reached the point where the European Central Bank feels compelled to issue a legal analysis of what would happen if a country tried to leave monetary union.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

“Recent developments have, perhaps, increased the risk of secession (however modestly), as well as the urgency of addressing it as a possible scenario,” said the document, entitled Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU: some reflections.

The author makes a string of vaulting, Jesuitical, and mischievous claims, as EU lawyers often do. Half a century of ever-closer union has created a “new legal order” that transcends a “largely obsolete concept of sovereignty” and imposes a “permanent limitation” on the states’ rights.

Those who suspect that European Court has the power pretensions of the Medieval Papacy will find plenty to validate their fears in this astonishing text.

Crucially, he argues that eurozone exit entails expulsion from the European Union as well. All EU members must take part in EMU (except Britain and Denmark, with opt-outs).

This is a warning shot for Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain. If they fail to marshal public support for draconian austerity, they risk being cast into Icelandic oblivion. Or for Greece, back into the clammy embrace of Asia Minor.

ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet upped the ante, warning that the bank would not bend its collateral rules to support Greek debt. “No state can expect any special treatment,” he said. He might as well daub a death’s cross on the door of Greece’s debt management office.

This euro-brinkmanship must be unnerving for the Hellenic Socialists (PASOK). Last week’s €1.6bn (£1.4bn) auction of Greek debt did not go well. The interest rate on six-month notes rose to 1.38pc, compared to 0.59pc a month ago. The yield on 10-year bonds has touched 6pc, the spreads ballooning to 270 basis points above German Bunds.

Greece cannot afford such a premium for long. The country must raise €54bn this year – front-loaded in the first half. Unless the spreads fall sharply, the deficit cannot be cut from 12.7pc of GDP to 3pc of GDP within three years. As Moody’s put it, Greece (and Portugal) faces the risk of “slow death” from rising interest costs.

Stephen Jen from BlueGold Capital said the design flaws of monetary union are becoming clearer. “I don’t believe Euroland will break up: too much political capital has been spent in the past half century for Euroland to allow an outright breakage. However, severe ‘stress-fractures’ are quite likely in the years ahead.”

As Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (PIIGS) slide into deflation, their “real” interest rates will rise even higher. “It is tantamount to hiking rates in the already weak PIIGS,” he said. This is the crux. ECB policy will become “pro-cyclical”, too tight for the South, too loose for the North.

The City view is that the North-South split may cause trouble, but that there will always be a bail-out to prevent a domino effect. “If a rescue turns out to be necessary, a rescue will be mounted,” said Marco Annunziata from Unicredit.

It comes down to a bet that Berlin will do for Club Med what it did for East Germany: subsidise forever. It is a judgement on whether EMU is the binding coin of sacred solidarity, or just a fixed exchange rate system like others before it.

Politics will decide, and in Greece it is already proving messy as teams of “inspectors” ruffle feathers. The Orthodox LAOS party is not happy that an EU crew dared to demand an accounting from the colonels. “The Ministry of Defence is sacrosanct,” it said.

Greece alone in Western Europe treats the military budget as a state secret. Rating agencies guess it is a ruinous 5pc of GDP. Does the country really need 1,700 battle tanks, 420 combat jets, and eight submarines? To fight NATO ally Turkey? Merely to pose the question is to enter dangerous waters.

Who knows what the IMF surveillance team made of their mission in Athens. The Fund’s formula for boom-bust countries that squander their competitiveness is to retrench AND devalue. But devaluation is ruled out. Greece must take the pain, without the cure.

The policy is conceptually foolish and arguably cynical. It is to bleed a society in order to uphold the ideology of the European Project. Greece’s national debt will be 120pc of GDP this year. S&P says it will reach 138pc by 2012. A fiscal squeeze – without any offsetting monetary or exchange stimulus – will cause tax revenues to collapse. Debt will rise higher on a shrinking economic base.

Even if Greece can cut wages without setting off mass protest, it lacks the open economy and export sector that may yet save Ireland in similar circumstances. Greece is caught in a textbook deflation trap.

Labour minister Andreas Loverdos says unemployment would reach a million this year – or 22pc, equal to 30m in the US. He broadcast the fact with a hint of menace, as if he wanted Europe to squirm.

Two can play brinkmanship.

Does this sitaution make the US more stable or less stable?

Bueller?

Bueller?

>FMFM1A — 4th Generation Warfare

>More material on 4GW, this time courtesy of “The Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Marine Corps”.

Why all this boring academic crap on 4GW?

To be blunt, you are already in a fourth-generation war.

And not as a neutral observer, either.

To quote some Obama apparatchik:

Either you are at the table, or you are on the menu.

Ain’t that a PISSR?

>Howard Beale Explains It All

>
The clip above, from the 1976 classic Network, was cited by Richard Fernandez of The Belmont Club as an example, “for old times sake”, of the indisputable power of television before the rise of New Media.

Watch all four minutes of the clip (adult language warning), consider the past 35 years in America, and see if you agree with Fernandez.

Do you dare to “turn them off” and face what you must face by using your own brain and senses, rather than the simulacrum world provided by the global media and their political lackeys?

Do you?

>Latest "Day The Dollar Died" Installment

>Here.

Prior installments here.

>Sober Counsel On The Brown Victory

>Three solid thinkers on the Brown upset last night:

Vanderboegh: Brown Won. Big Deal. What Has Changed?

Codrea: What Does Scott Brown Victory Mean For Gun Owners?

Vandam: While You Were Out Celebrating Scott Brown’s Win…

Read all of each piece, please.

And remember:

Like it or not, constitutionalists and libertarians must face the fact that the large majority of their fellow Americans, across the political spectrum, are perfectly fine with state-effected armed robbery through taxation, nanny-state intrusions into personal lives, and virtually limitless government power at the local, state, and Federal levels.

Those same Americans also view most freedom advocates as potentially dangerous extremists, meriting, at the very least, surveillance and investigation.

The Brown victory changes nothing about that cold, hard set of facts.

Back to work, Threepers.

>Volk on Freedom

>Another Oleg Volk masterpiece.

“The last method of a citizen”, indeed.

>Still More About Your Taxpayer-Funded Security Apparatus

>From the WaPo:

FBI broke law for years in phone record searches

By John Solomon and Carrie Johnson
Special to The Washington Post and Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 19, 2010; A01

The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions.

E-mails obtained by The Washington Post detail how counterterrorism officials inside FBI headquarters did not follow their own procedures that were put in place to protect civil liberties. The stream of urgent requests for phone records also overwhelmed the FBI communications analysis unit with work that ultimately was not connected to imminent threats.

A Justice Department inspector general’s report due out this month is expected to conclude that the FBI frequently violated the law with its emergency requests, bureau officials confirmed.

The records seen by The Post do not reveal the identities of the people whose phone call records were gathered, but FBI officials said they thought that nearly all of the requests involved terrorism investigations.

FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni said in an interview Monday that the FBI technically violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act when agents invoked nonexistent emergencies to collect records.

“We should have stopped those requests from being made that way,” she said. The after-the-fact approvals were a “good-hearted but not well-thought-out” solution to put phone carriers at ease, she said. In true emergencies, Caproni said, agents always had the legal right to get phone records, and lawyers have now concluded there was no need for the after-the-fact approval process. “What this turned out to be was a self-inflicted wound,” she said.

Caproni said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III did not know about the problems until late 2006 or early 2007, after the inspector general’s probe began.

Documents show that senior FBI managers up to the assistant director level approved the procedures for emergency requests of phone records and that headquarters officials often made the requests, which persisted for two years after bureau lawyers raised concerns and an FBI official began pressing for changes.

“We have to make sure we are not taking advantage of this system, and that we are following the letter of the law without jeopardizing national security,” FBI lawyer Patrice Kopistansky wrote in one of a series of early 2005 e-mails asking superiors to address the problem.

The FBI acknowledged in 2007 that one unit in the agency had improperly gathered some phone records, and a Justice Department audit at the time cited 22 inappropriate requests to phone companies for searches and hundreds of questionable requests. But the latest revelations show that the improper requests were much more numerous under the procedures approved by the top level of the FBI.

FBI officials told The Post that their own review has found that about half of the 4,400 toll records collected in emergency situations or with after-the-fact approvals were done in technical violation of the law. The searches involved only records of calls and not the content of the calls. In some cases, agents broadened their searches to gather numbers two and three degrees of separation from the original request, documents show.

Bureau officials said agents were working quickly under the stress of trying to thwart the next terrorist attack and were not violating the law deliberately.

FBI officials said they are confident that the safeguards enacted in 2007 have ended the problems. Caproni said the bureau will use the inspector general’s findings to determine whether discipline is warranted.

The internal memos were obtained from a government employee outside the FBI, who gained access to them during the investigations of the searches. The employee spoke on the condition of anonymity because the release was unauthorized.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the need to get information quickly and connect the dots was considered paramount throughout the federal government. The failure to obtain timely and actionable information has been a recurrent theme in the U.S. counterterrorism effort, up to and including the recent shootings at Fort Hood, Tex.

Before 9/11, FBI agents ordinarily gathered records of phone calls through the use of grand jury subpoenas or through an instrument know as a national security letter, issued for terrorism and espionage cases. Such letters, signed by senior headquarters officials, carry the weight of subpoenas with the firms that receive them.

The USA Patriot Act expanded the use of national security letters by letting lower-level officials outside Washington approve them and allowing them in wider circumstances. But the letters still required the FBI to link a request to an open terrorism case before records could be sought.

Shortly after the Patriot Act was passed in October 2001, FBI senior managers devised their own system for gathering records in terrorism emergencies.

A new device called an “exigent circumstances letter” was authorized. It allowed a supervisor to declare an emergency and get the records, then issue a national security letter after the fact.

The procedure was based on a system used in the FBI’s New York office in the days immediately after the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings, officials said.

On Jan. 6, 2003, then-FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Larry Mefford issued a bureau-wide communique authorizing the new tactic, saying the bureau’s telephone analysis unit was permitted in “exigent circumstances . . . to obtain specialized toll records information for international and domestic numbers which are linked to subjects of pending terrorism investigations.”

The e-mail called this new method of gathering phone records “imperative to the continuing efforts by the FBI to protect our nation against future attacks,” even as it acknowledged the phone records of many people not connected to a terrorism investigation were likely to be scooped up.

The 2003 memo stated that the new method “has the potential of generating an enormous amount of data in short order, much of which may not actually be related to the terrorism activity under investigation.”

Within a few years, hundreds of emergency requests were completed and a few thousand phone records gathered. But many lacked the follow-up: the required national security letters.

Two individuals began raising concerns.

Special Agent Bassem Youssef, the new supervisor of the communications analysis unit that gathered the records, began to receive complaints from phone companies that they had not received documentation to show the searches were legal.

Youssef, a longtime counterterrorism investigator, had earlier fallen out of favor with FBI management as he pursued a whistleblower claim that he had been wrongly retaliated against and denied promotion because of his ethnicity.

He raised questions in spring 2005 with his superiors and the FBI general counsel’s office about the failure to get national security letters. E-mails show he pressed FBI managers, trying to “force their hand” to implement a solution.

Youssef’s attorney, Stephen Kohn, said Monday that he could not discuss the specifics of the investigation except to confirm that his client cooperated with the inspector general. FBI officials said they could not discuss the conduct of individual employees.

Separately, Kopistansky in the FBI general counsel’s office learned in mid-December 2004 that toll records were being requested without national security letters. She handled a request that originated from then-Executive Assistant Director Gary Bald, who had “passed information regarding numbers related to a terrorist organization with ties to the US” and obtained toll records, the memos show.

The communications analysis unit asked Kopistansky to “draw up an NSL” to cover the search, but she was unable to get superiors to tell her which open terrorism case it involved. The request “has to specify why the numbers are relevant to an authorized investigation,” she said.

An employee in the communications analysis unit wrote back that most of the emergency requests he received “come from upper mgmt. I don’t always receive documentation or know all the facts related to the number, which is a problem for me when I try to get the NSL.”

Kopistansky persisted, demanding an open terrorism case file for the legal rationale. “I am sure you know it is true and Gary Bald knows it’s true, but it needs to be reflected on a piece of paper,” she wrote.

Two months later, Kopistansky was still unable to issue a national security letter to comply with the FBI rules.

She took note of the overall problem. The issuance of a national security letter after exigent searches “rarely happens,” Kopistansky warned in a March 11, 2005, e-mail seeking the help of the FBI’s top national security lawyer and the deputy counsel.

By March 2005, Kopistansky and Youssef were discussing a worsening “backlog” of other cases where no national security letters had been issued and growing concerned that exigent letters were being abused, e-mails show.

“I also understand that some of these are being done as emergencies when they aren’t necessarily emergencies,” Kopistansky wrote in an April 26, 2005, e-mail to Youssef.

Kopistansky and the other FBI lawyers discussed a strategy to handle the past emergency searches and to allow the practice to continue.

The e-mails show that they conceived the idea to open half a dozen “generic” or “broad” preliminary investigative (PI) case files to which all unauthorized emergency requests could be charged so a national security letter could be issued after the fact.

The generic files were to cover such broad topics as “threats against transportation facilities,” “threats against individuals” and “threats against special events,” the e-mails show.

Eventually, FBI officials shifted to a second strategy of crafting a “blanket” national security letter to authorize all past searches that had not been covered by open cases.

A November 2006 e-mail chain indicates that then-FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Joseph Billy signed the blanket national security letter. But when FBI lawyers raised concerns about it, he wrote back that he did not remember signing.

“I have no recollection of signing anything blanket. NSLs are individual as far as I always knew,” Billy wrote Caproni on Nov. 7, 2006.

Billy did not immediately respond to a message left at his office on Monday. Kopistansky and Bald, reached by phone Friday, said they could not comment without FBI approval. Mefford did not return calls.

In all, FBI managers signed 11 “blanket” national security letters addressing past searches, officials told The Post.

Although concerns about their legality first arose in December 2004, exigent searches continued for two more years. Youssef’s unit began limiting the number of exigent letters it signed between summer 2005 and spring 2006, seeking more assurances the requests could be covered by a national security letter, the memos show.

Phone record searches covered by exigent letters ended in November 2006 as the Justice Department inspector general began investigating.

Among those whose phone records were searched improperly were journalists for The Washington Post and the New York Times, according to interviews with government officials.

The searches became public when Mueller, the FBI director, contacted top editors at the two newspapers in August 2008 and apologized for the breach of reporters’ phone records. The reporters were Ellen Nakashima of The Post, who had been based in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Raymond Bonner and Jane Perlez of the Times, who had also been working in Jakarta.

Solomon, a former Post reporter and Washington Times editor, is a freelance journalist. Johnson is a Post staff writer.

Do you understand yet?

Perhaps you need to read 18 USC 1001 another time?

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 > § 1001

§ 1001. Statements or entries generally

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.
(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party’s counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—
(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

Now do you get it?

One rule for thee…
A wholly different one for me.

>Resistance To The Last

>

(click on image above to enlarge)

Read the introduction above, then consider buying this classic.

Or click here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

The classics are forever, nu?

>Brown Wins

>Drudge calls it:

THE BOSTON TEA PARTY…
52% SCOTT BROWN (R) 1,086,897
47% MARTHA COAKLEY (D)D: 0,972,650

May this be the first of ten thousand savage cuts….

>Self-Aid/Buddy-Aid, Combat Lifesaver Course Materials, & First Aid for Soldiers

>Print and/or download a copy of each of the following essential medical manuals:

Self-Aid/Buddy-Aid

Combat Lifesaver Course — Lessons 1-9

Combat Lifesaver Course — Lessons 16-25

First Aid For Soldiers (1988)

Links for each manual can also be found in the left margin under “Practical Resources”.

Share it with others as well, please.

>Tactical Combat Casualty Care And Wound Treatment

>Print and/or download a copy of this essential medical manual.

The link can also be found in the left margin under “Practical Resources”.

Share it with others as well, please.

>USMC Rifle Marksmanship Manual — Download Capability Fixed

>
Try again here, but note that you will need to sign up with Scribd to download a .pdf copy.

>The Enemy As A System

>Here’s another paper worth your time and reflection.

Audentes fortuna iuvat.

>4GW & Grand Strategy

>
Please take the time to review this slideshow on 4GW and unconventional conflict.

Think about how the concepts could be applied in your situation.

Then pass the deck, along with this paper, to others who need to be thinking along similar lines.

Tempus fugit.

>US Marine Corps – Rifle Marksmanship MCRP 3-01A

>Available here and in the left margin under “Shooting Resources”.

Suggest saving an off-line version (preferably both hard and soft copy) as well.

Tempus fugit.

UPDATE 2050 EST 19 JANUARY 2010: New link above to permit downloads, and see also links below in comments section