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Excerpt: "A trove of documents released today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ... reveal that federal law enforcement agencies began their coordinated intelligence gathering and operations on the Occupy movement even before the first tent went up in Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011."

Occupy protesters and police clash outside Zuccotti park in New York, 11/17/11. (photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
Occupy protesters and police clash outside Zuccotti park in New York, 11/17/11. (photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

DHS Documents Show Role in Occupy Crackdown

By Justice Online

25 March 12


Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

trove of documents released today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a FOIA request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee reveal that federal law enforcement agencies began their coordinated intelligence gathering and operations on the Occupy movement even before the first tent went up in Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011.

On September 17, 2011, a Secret Service intelligence entry in its Prism Demonstrations Abstract file records the opening of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. The demonstration location that the Secret Service was protecting? The "Wall Street Bull." The name of the Protectee? The "U.S. Government."

American taxpayers might find it odd to learn that the Secret Service was on duty to protect the Wall Street Bull in the name of protecting the U.S. Government. But there it is.

The DHS's Game of Three Card Monte to Deflect Disclosure of Law Enforement Operations

These documents, many of which are redacted, show that the highest officials in the Department of Homeland Security were preoccupied with the Occupy movement and have gone out of their way to project the appearance of an absence of federal involvement in the monitoring of and crackdown on Occupy.

On the street it would be called "Three Card Monte," a swindler's game to hide the ball - a game of misdirection. The House always wins.

The DHS, as revealed in the newly released documents, has engaged in what appears to be a effort to avoid looking for Occupy related materials where it is likely to be found, including in Fusion Centers and DHS sub-divisions such as the Operations Coordination & Planning sub-division which is responsible for DHS coordination with local and federal law enforcement partners.

On November 16, DHS Press Secretary Matthew Chandler transmitted an e-mail to top ranking DHS officials, including the Chief of Staff to Janet Napolitano, the Chief of Staff to the DHS General Counsel, among others, in which he reports:

"We're getting inquiries from CBS, AP, Daily Caller and others on an un-sourced piece that says that DHS and FBI are collaborating with cities by providing tactics and information on removing Occupy protestors. A check of I & A [Intelligence and Analysis] and FPS [Federal Protective Services] shows that this type of outreach is not occurring in any wholesale manner."

The Press Secretary is careful to couch the official statement, that such is not occurring in any "wholesale" manner, leaving the door open to possible future revelations of such conduct.

But this official statement was based solely on a mid-November inquiry to two DHS sub-sections: Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) and Federal Protective Services (FPS). And by the date of that statement, Federal Protective Services and apparently also the I&A Directorate had already purged, "restricted and/or rescinded," any Occupy related intelligence products, as discussed further here.

In other words, having looked into only two drawers - which had already "restricted and/or rescinded" all Occupy related intelligence products - it is not surprising that Press Secretary Chandler's statement that no "wholesale' coordination of Occupy related actions is based on incomplete information.

The Press Secretary, following the script, conveniently avoided other likely DHS repositories and departmental components, including the personnel deployed to Fusion Centers or to the DHS Operations Coordination & Planning sub-division, which according to the DHS web site is "responsible for monitoring the security of the United States on a daily basis and coordinating activities within the Department and with governors, Homeland Security Advisors, law enforcement partners, and critical infrastructure operators in all 50 states and more than 50 major urban areas nationwide."

DHS Monitoring, Megacenters and Misdirection

Before the first OWS action took place, the DHS Office Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) produced a series of NCCIC (National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center) alerts about the coming OWS demonstrations. When this was picked up by the media and it generated inquiry and press, the DHS learned its lesson: Misdirection.

In an email exchange dated September 29, 2011, DHS officials discuss the NCCIC alert and the fact that they will now need to respond to media inquiries about DHS monitoring and involvement in the response to the Occupy movement. The substantive discussion about how to handle the media is redacted, with one participant writing, "Here it is. That answer works-" and the rest is redacted.

An October 5, 2011 document reflects that the DHS Philadelphia Megacenter was monitoring the OWS demonstration in New York, titled "Demonstration-Peaceful/Planned", and reporting on assembly and movements "peacefully protesting union solidarity issues."

An October 30, 2011 document shows DHS' Battle Creek Megacenter also reporting that a "peaceful/unplanned" "Occupy Wall Street demonstration is taking place in Ilus W. Davis Park in Kansas City, MO."

These documents appear to be the tip of the iceberg, carefully submerged by the DHS. While there is policy discussion as to the propriety of a threat assessment regarding Occupy Pittsburgh, other emails reference additional internal inquiries about OWS that were withheld from public disclosure in response to this FOIA request.

The Fusion Centers

Moreover, the DHS documents evidence the misdirection to avoid civil liberties issues by handing off OWS monitoring to DHS's project of Fusion Centers and then failing to make inquiry for information to the Fusion Centers or DHS personnel deployed to them, even though documents indicate that a push-down of Occupy related information into the massive fusion center clearinghouses was already in play.

By November 16, when the PCJF filed this FOIA request, and when the media was contacting DHS regarding its role in the Occupy crackdown one I&A analyst, following such guidance, reported that I&A "scrupulously avoided any connection with the Occupy movement/protests/dismantlings. We cannot speak for any individual fusion center or other departmental component..."

On October 17, 2011, the DHS Intelligence Coordination Branch wrote in an email titled "Guidance Requested: Occupy Wall Street" that in response to requests for OWS information, "we have recommended…that our intelligence Officers refer inquiries [i.e., requests for intelligence information] to Fusion Centers and avoid the topic altogether. That being said, given the number of requests that have appeared, we would like to equip the field with formal guidance…"

DHS Guidelines on How To Justify Intelligence Gathering on Free Speech Activities

The DHS then undertakes to draft policy guidance on OWS. Within days, however, the DHS concludes that formal policy guidelines are not going to go into effect. Instead, on October 24, 2011, a redacted email chain includes the recommendation that policy guidance changes have sought "to take out language that indicates our guidelines are mandatory. For instance replace ‘personnel must' with ‘personnel should'. I also recommend that we advice only the DHS people and remain silent on whether they should pass along our input to the Pittsburgh folks."

On October 28, 2011, further exchanges on the guidance draft discuss making the recommendations less specific, and that they should focus on the "congruence concept." The "congruence concept" is the creation of a supposedly criminal pretext for investigation into First Amendment activities. It is so loosely applied that any unsupported, unsourced tip - or agent provocateur statement on a website - can create the basis for monitoring and investigation.

When the final guidance is produced, it has no mandatory language and states: "If you ever feel you are in put in a situation where first amendment rights could be potentially violated, please refer to the below guidance, which was created after we received a number of questions from around the nation in reaction to the Occupy protests."

The guidance then explains how to "justify research into and creation of a product containing First Amendment protected activity…" including the "congruence concept."

Subsequent discussion on October 31, 2011 regarding how and when DHS can "clear on any [intelligence] product on OWS" is significantly redacted as is the author.

Purging of DHS Files and the Carefully Constructed Media Response

A November 1, 2011 email reflects that following the internal guidance issued to I&A, all Occupy related materials had been "restricted and/or rescinded" including specifically by FPS. The email, from an FPS official, reports that:

"FPS was notified of the guidance to the I&A representatives to restrict production of all Occupy products absent criminal activity and/or life safety issues, FPS has followed this guidance and restricted and/or rescinded all products (both internal and pass-through)."

By November 16, when the media was barraging the DHS with inquiries about its role in the Occupy crackdown, the responses to media were carefully crafted. "We're getting inquiries from [various media] on an un-sourced piece that says DHS and FBI are collaborating with cities by providing tactics and information on removing Occupy protestors. A check of I&A and FPS shows that this type of outreach is not occurring in any wholesale manner."

As we now know, checking with I&A and FPS by November 16 was not likely to lead to responsive information given that the DHS activity was being carried out by other components and that a purge, restriction and/or rescission of intelligence "products" had taken place.

At this point the DHS provided a prepared statement, given over and over to the press, which includes a quotable paragraph and then "background" points.

Documents show that in the drafting of that paragraph, which is disseminated repeatedly to the press, and shows up in numerous press reports from the time, there is a second paragraph that is removed and appears not to be given to the press. That sentence read: "We have held standard coordination calls and face-to-face meetings with our partners to ensure that the proper resources are available for operations such as street closures, etc,"

Showing the deficiency of response to the FOIA demands, there are no records produced that reflect those "standard coordination calls" and "face-to-face meetings."

Evading a Complete FOIA Records Search

In addition to these efforts to misdirect the press and the public, the other tactic the DHS has used to stave off inquiry into DHS involvement is to evade a responsive search to this and other FOIA requests. As we stated previously, we had been told by the DHS that other media requestors agreed to narrow their FOIA requests to consist only of materials in the possession of select senior staff. We have not so agreed, and will be pursuing further disclosure of information from the DHS.

Highly conscious of the demand for public disclosure of DHS actions, one official wrote in November of their considered response to FOIA requests and urged the department to release their policy guidance regarding First Amendment activities. He wrote, "I understand we have already received some FOIA requests regarding our possible reporting of the "Occupy…" protests. I think should the FOIA experts find it appropriate to release information about the manner in which this issue was managed with DHS, it could only be perceived as a positive by those in the public who closely observer [sic] the Department."

So for those of you who wish to "closely observe" the Departments responses, the PCJF is making the documents available in a searchable format. We will also be disclosing and uploading more materials obtained from our national campaign of federal and local FOIA demands as they become available.

Documents Received from Department of Homeland Sercurity:

Pages 1 - 100
Pages 101 - 200
Pages 201 - 398 your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+49 # Larkrise 2012-03-25 11:15
Napolitano is a member of the Cabinet. She would not approve such a massive undertaking without the direction of the President. In the final analysis of this situation, Obama was behind it. His main concern was to protect Wall Street, not allow the voices of the people to be heard. He fears the Occupy movement, because it threatens to expose all of his alliances, lies, and missteps with Wall Street and the Big Banks. He has repeatedly sided with them; used smoke and mirrors to protect them; and has done little to reign them in. People are still losing their homes. Derivatives are still being bundled and sold. Bailouts are continuing to occur. Obama is as disingenuous as Bush ever was. He missed his opportunity for greatness from day one. He does not have the courage, the moral fiber, nor the ethics to ever be great. Instead, he panders to all the forces that are destroying us, shredding the Constitution along the way. I think he will beat Romney, but only because he is the lesser of two evils. We will be left with four more years of deception, broken dreams, little substantial change, and dashed hopes. We have no ethical,courage ous choices in 2012; only craven politicians, driven by their selfish ambitions.
+32 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-03-25 11:42
In the long list of ways that Obama is not acting in a responsible way to the people of this nation, you did not mention his support of Israel. Israel is preparing to attack Iran and I fear Obama will send our military forces to join in an attack on Iran. Such an attack may be the beginning of World War III. The voters of the United States must not vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. Go join Occupy.
+8 # Stephanie Remington 2012-03-25 16:28
You are absolutely right.
-2 # bugbuster 2012-03-26 10:07
So what you're saying is that things would have been much better with John McCain and Sarah Palin in charge.
+38 # DaveM 2012-03-25 11:27
Should we be surprised by this? The Department of Homeland Security was formed to combat terrorists (remember them?). It has yet to succeed in stopping one serious terrorist plot. justify their existence, they have turned their attention to people sitting around in public spaces. Gosh, what a threat to national security that is!
+21 # Barbara K 2012-03-25 11:29
Guess we better change some songs and some mottos. Looks like we are no longer "The Land of the Free. Wonder why they decided to treat the citizens like crooks?
+19 # giraffee2012 2012-03-25 11:52
Quoting Barbara K:
Guess we better change some songs and some mottos. Looks like we are no longer "The Land of the Free. Wonder why they decided to treat the citizens like crooks?

Answer; When they decided to treat corporations as citizens. (-united)
+26 # Sully747 2012-03-25 13:02
Because the citizens threaten the real crooks
+15 # Stephanie Remington 2012-03-25 14:39
And because a large group of people spend massive amounts of time trying to convince everyone that the problems are the exclusive purvey of one party or the other instead of expending their energy stopping abuses regardless of which party commits them.
-3 # giraffee2012 2012-03-25 11:57
Can hardly wait to see who sleeps with Scalia/Thomas when the Supremes "decide" on the "Health Care Law" --
Guess 1: The corporations who don't pay (most of their) taxes anyway.
Guess 2: The GOP fed by FAUX.
3. Doctors?

BTW - who made the law that we MUST wear clothes in public places? Is that in the Bill of Rights/Constitution?

VOTE DEM VOTE OBAMA - Volunteer "some time" to counting votes
+16 # Stephanie Remington 2012-03-25 14:50
You DO understand that it was Obama who implemented and expanded the policies described in this article as you encourage everyone to vote for him?

Could it be that the US government coordinating suppression of peaceful protest – and the admission that they consider a demonstration at the Wall Street bull an attack on the US government – are more serious problems that whether or not you must wear clothes in public?
+41 # anarchteacher 2012-03-25 12:09
Wake up folks! Here is progressive Glenn Greenwald on Obama:

The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability.

He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason.

Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes
+19 # redjelly39 2012-03-25 12:53
I dont see much difference these days between Republicans & Democrats when it comes to those in power. Obama would have never been elected if not for the Banks backing and our entire election process is now a farce with electronic voting and the ever-flawed electoral college system. The Gov't/Banks/Meg a-Corps are in complete control and We the People are the enemy. I see the Libs vs GOP more like a divide & conquer tactic which keeps us occupied pointing our fingers at each other while they continue to strip away our rights and drive us deeper into debt. Since 90% of the media are controlled by 6 corporations who are all playing from the same script, we get misinformation, no information or outright lies all at their behest. Many Faux Newz watchers are too lazy, ignorant or naive to see what is happening and many of them choose to remain that way (Ignorance is bliss) because they cant even fit what is happening into their heads.
I was checking out the reports on the FEMA camps and though I would like to believe myself that this is paranoid conspiracy drivel, I cant help but wonder why there are 100+ of these places scattered all over the US just sitting there... for what ?
The greatest enemy I see today is our own Gov't/Banks/Meg a-Corps and they have no regard for us or anyone else.
Is this all a coordinated tactic for something larger looming on the horizon ?
He have to keep questioning & searching & fighting to make each other aware.
+41 # brianf 2012-03-25 12:13
Looks like the purpose of DHS is to protect the 1% from the 99%.
+9 # paulrevere 2012-03-25 12:28
Here is an interview/song with John Lennon on the subject of who is running the show and who has the REAL power...

Peace...and Love
+14 # joestecher 2012-03-25 12:53
Why, the name of the health and welfare of this ntion, are lawe enforcement agencies harrassing and infiltrating a peaceful protest movement, rather than the rapidly growing right wing hatred groups that state outright their intentions to engage in violence? Please help me out here, because I certainly do not understand.
+19 # Stephanie Remington 2012-03-25 16:18
Because OWS protesters threaten the status quo, which involves obscene profits for a very small group of people at the expense of everyone else.

Government officials enable the ongoing theft of public money and resources by changing laws to benefit owners and CEOs of mega-corporatio ns, who reward cooperative politicians with bribes (currently referred to as “campaign donations” and “perqs”) so they can stay in office and continue the cycle. The people involved in this government-corp orate pairing are willing to do anything to gain more money and power; they don’t give a damn who gets harmed in the process.

Right-wing hate groups pose no threat whatsoever to threaten their booty and continued access to it.
+15 # Sully747 2012-03-25 13:00
These documents prove the effectiveness of OWS,.. The big guns only come out when they see a threat to their exclusive power. This is a worldwide movement that won’t go away.. It’s happening in China. See recent articles of locale Chinese government officials being dismissed for cracking down on Capitalist tugs … The money is winning.. for now.
+21 # James Marcus 2012-03-25 13:24
We cannot stop Their Surveillance or Personal Information Gathering. But we can overwhelm Them with sheer Numbers (of us) and More Data than They can choke on.
6.9 billion 'suspicious 'Guilty Parties' !!!
And, For Back-up 'Power':
A US Marine told me, last night, (not the first) that Many in the Corps are Awakened and Awakening...and they Have read The U S Constitution! (and smell Rats in the Government).
He used the word Treason (his words) in relation to Administration Officials, including his Commander in Chief. Semper Fi!
+10 # Sully747 2012-03-25 14:30
I HOPE you are correct about the Marines "awakening"-- Sully(USMC 1960-64) the shits..!
+14 # Sully747 2012-03-25 14:45
PS: A good friend of mine spent 4 years in Iraq & Afghanistan as a combat marine and then was called back for 15 more months (5 and a half years of Hell).. He ask if I thought these wars would be remembered as a waste like Vietnam.. He’s thinking…
+16 # Stephanie Remington 2012-03-25 14:53
I suspect that the reason they don't catch any real terrorists is because they are devoting such insane amounts of resources filtering through massive amounts of "intelligence" on people who have not even the remotest connection to terrorism.

That's what happens when you declare your citizens to be the enemy.
-3 # bugbuster 2012-03-26 10:29
"He used the word Treason (his words) in relation to Administration Officials, including his Commander in Chief. Semper Fi!"

As a military man he is treading on very thin ice, and so is the USA when its citizens tolerate it.

Tolerating this kind of disloyalty in the military invites the next step: a military takeover of the federal government. It has happened many times in many places, and it can happen here. This kind of ignorance and carelessness about the Constitution invites troubles undreamed of in our history.
+11 # reiverpacific 2012-03-25 13:34
DHS is a poor joke since Dimwits Bush polled FEMA in under it's "National Seccurity" cloak.
Ask anybody who survived Katrina -especially blacks.
+11 # seeuingoa 2012-03-25 14:33
Don´t forget operation GANDHI
(formerly operation overload!)

Get arrested in the thousands and
overload the whole system:

Step 1: Sit down and get arrested

Step 2: When released a few hours
later repeat step 1.

Where will they put all these people?

Concentration camps?

and show their true face.
+16 # lorenbliss 2012-03-25 14:47
Only the pathetically naive – or those hopelessly ignorant of history – are even mildly surprised by the behavior of the Department of Homeland Security.

The agency is modeled after the dread SS-Reichssicher heitshauptamt, the R.S.H.A., Nazi Germany's Reich Security Office, for which Google.

This reflects the fact the One Percent is (and always has been) vehemently pro-Nazi. Why? Because Nazism is the ultimate form of capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class; total subjugation and genocidal poverty for all the rest of us; perpetual war to grow the One Percent's wealth forever and disguise or rationalize eternal tyranny against the 99 Percent.

Hence – once President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was dead (12 April 1945) – the open-arms welcome given huge (still-secret) numbers of Nazi war criminals. Hence too their legacy: first the Central Intelligence Agency, now DHS.

Third Reich Germany, Fourth Reich United States – beneath the propaganda and the names of the official enemies, it's all the same. Wake up!

As brianf said, the (sole) purpose of DHS is “to protect the 1% from the 99%.” It's Gestapo powers are already in place. The only reason we're not all in concentration camp is because it's an election year – hence the necessity of continuing, for a few more months, the charade of a constitutional democracy that was murdered long ago.
+3 # redjelly39 2012-03-25 17:06
Hi Lorenbliss, Fantastic post. I would like to use it - contact me via carltonwardphot o dot com - please :)
+3 # futhark 2012-03-25 21:59
The 1% are much more circumspect in declaring and pursuing their objectives than the Nazis. Few politicians in democratic countries believed that Hitler would ruthlessly pursue the agenda he explicitly described in "Mein Kampf" until the invasion of Poland in 1939 and few believed he would attempt genocide against Jews, Gypsies, and other minorities until the extermination camps were liberated in 1945.

The 1% continue to operate under cover of "Homeland Security" and "anti-terrorism ", in the somewhat justified belief that fear can be used as a tool to maintain control. As long as a large percentage of the American people belief that "they hate us for our freedom" garbage, our freedoms will continue to be jeopardized by those claiming to protect us.
+1 # zeep 2012-03-25 15:02
Any blocking actions of Occupy Movement demonstrators cannot stop the Movement. Check my website to find out why I believe this, and you should too. Thanks
+3 # jwb110 2012-03-25 18:10
It's all a measure of how frightened the establishment is and how strong OWS is.
-2 # cordleycoit 2012-03-25 18:10
Looks like the people are coming too/ after the long rest of the seventies, eighties and nineties. Now we have to change the system. If we go slow the whole moment will be crusted and too fast will end in unnecessary causalities that dog our Leninist brothers and sisters. Organizing any thing from an army to health care can be done in 100 (s.) This system has existed since the Greek Era and it works. In that way we can eliminate DHS and free up tens of thousands of fattened turkeys back in the real work world.
+1 # m... 2012-03-25 18:45
Does anyone know if DHS had such interest in Tea Party Gatherings..?
+1 # bugbuster 2012-03-26 07:22
They instigated them.
+4 # RMDC 2012-03-25 19:17
No surprises here. I'm sure DHS, the Secret Service, CIA, FBI and a whole shitload of other branches of the apparatus for repression are in full planning mode for the return of Occupy this spring. I think they will be swift and violent in their repression of the right of all citizens to free and unfettered expression of political views. The Amerikkkan Police State will be on full display very soon.

While the bankers are committing fraud on a monumental scale and ruining the lives of millions of people, the Amerikkkan police forces will be pepper spraying, busting heads, and arresting citizens who just want to say they've had enough. We'll we have had enough -- but it is enough of the GESTAPO or political police that protect the corporate criminals and punish those who call for justice.
+8 # treadlightly 2012-03-25 19:43
Time to release all the information Bradley Manning collected. Lets see it all. Come on Julian step up and deliver everything. It's time. My standard of living can hardly go any lower anyway. They sold my generation down the river, maybe the next generation can avoid the wars and greed that have brought us to this place. Hello DHS how you doing? Bite me.
0 # futhark 2012-03-25 21:43
It's odd how cyclical historical events seem to be. I just wonder where the sabers-drawn Cossacks are going to be recruited to greet the next big Occupy demonstration.
+2 # bugbuster 2012-03-25 21:57
Predictably, DHS has become a comic boondoggle chasing around and spying on doe-eyed idealists, grandmas, unemployed office workers, and sundry other ordinary citizens letting it be known what is on their minds. Were it no so insulting and threatening to the very people who pay their inflated salaries, this activity by these dolts would be the stuff of broad satire. It probably will be as soon as Garry Trudeau gets around to it.

So much to satirize, so little time.

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