Smile Drivers And Other Official Enemies

January 27, 2015

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On January 16, soon to be ex-Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder announced what most of the press interpreted to be “reforms” in civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture is a procedure that allows police to seize cash, cars, suspected contraband and property from anyone without first proving the commission of a crime or a connection between the seized property and a crime.

For example, if your home is raided by Swat in the middle of the night based on an unproven tip from a compensated and anonymous accuser, and in the process of killing your pets, humiliating your women, terrorizing your children and wrecking your home Swat finds a month’s living expenses in cash in your sock drawer, the police are likely to seize that cash and use it to fund more Swat raids. And you will never get all your money back. And, it will probably be at least months and possibly years before you get any of it back.

Many reasonable people see civil asset forfeiture as inherently evil and un-American and they saw Holder’s “reforms” as indicative of the Obama Administration’s reasonableness.

What Holder announced a week and a half ago was that from now on federal police would only seize “property that directly relates to public safety concerns, including firearms, ammunition, explosives, and property associated with child pornography.”

The Washington Post broke the story and reported that Holder had “barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges.”

But it was, as it now turns out, simply a public relations stunt. Holder’s order did not forbid asset seizures by state and local police forces even in cases where local and federal police “are collaborating.” Most forfeitures are made by local police. All policing in the United States is ever-increasingly federalized. For years the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been hiding behind local police to discourage public scrutiny of cases against motorcycle clubs.

Now another shoe has dropped.

The Journal Report

In separate reports published by the Wall Street Journal and the American Civil Liberties Union yesterday and today, the sophistry of Holder’s hollow words about asset forfeiture become obvious.

The Journal reported this morning:

“The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.

“The primary goal of the License Plate Tracking Program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document. But the database’s use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects, say people familiar with the matter.”

The secret national vehicle database program began as a federal program along the Mexican border in 2008. Data collected by the program has been available to local police since 2009. Currently, networks of state, local and federal license plate readers are fully integrated. The information is stored at the “El Paso Intelligence Center” and any police force in the United States can request information about any vehicle. One redacted email quoted by the Journal states “Anyone can request information from our (license-plate reader) program, federal, state, or local, just need to be a vetted EPIC user….”


In its report on the License Plate Tracking Program, the ACLU also noted that the government program is “in addition to the corporate license plate tracking database run by Vigilant Solutions, holding billions of records about our movements.” The ACLU report by Bennett Stein and Jay Stanley is based on “documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act.” The DEA records “are heavily redacted and incomplete, but they provide the most complete documentation of the DEA’s database to date.” The DEA would only provide “documents that are undated or years old” so the current extent of the tracking system remains a matter of speculation.

The ACLU report states:

“With its jurisdiction and its finances, the federal government is uniquely positioned to create a centralized repository of all drivers’ movements across the country — and the DEA seems to be moving toward doing just that. If license plate readers continue to proliferate without restriction and the DEA holds license plate reader data for extended periods of time, the agency will soon possess a detailed and invasive depiction of our lives (particularly if combined with other data about individuals collected by the government, such as the DEA’s recently revealed bulk phone records program, or cell phone information gleaned from U.S. Marshals Service’s cell site simulator-equipped aircraft.) Data-mining the information, an unproven law enforcement technique that the DEA has begun to use here, only exacerbates these concerns, potentially tagging people as criminals without due process.”

Asset Forfeiture Primary

One DEA document obtained by the ACLU describes “asset forfeiture” as a “primary” goal of the program. The released documents also show:

The DEA had deployed scores of license plate readers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey by 2010.

Partnership agreements between the DEA and local, state and regional law enforcement agencies remain secret so there is no way, at this point, for the press or for Congress to know how that information is being used.

The DEA is also inviting federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country to contribute location information to the database. For example, the documents show that local and regional law enforcement systems in Southern California’s San Diego and Imperial Counties and New Jersey all provide data to the DEA. The program was “officially opened” to these partners in May 2009. Other agencies are surely partnering with the DEA to share information, but these agreements are still secret, leaving the public unable to know who has their location information and how it is being used.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the DEA and Customs and Border Patrol guarantees the two police entities will provide shared  license plate reader data to each other as well as local law enforcement and prosecutors and “intelligence, operations, and fusion centers.” Customs and Border Patrol recorded 793.5 million license plate reads between May 2009 and May 2013.

The released memorandum clarifies yet another lie the Obama Administration told in February 2014. At that time, the Department of Homeland Security, of which Customs and Border Patrol is a part, announced it had “decided” it did not “need” a national license plate database. The plan became controversial when Homeland Security advertised for contractors to help assemble a National License Plate Recognition Database. At the time, the announcement was universally interpreted to mean that Homeland Security was announcing that such a would not be assembled because the American people found the concept of such a database to be repugnant. However, the reason Homeland Security abandoned the plan was efficiency and an intent to prevent redundancy. The database was already extant and had been for five years.

El Paso Virginia

The ACLU found that the El Paso Intelligence Center database is actually located in Merrifield, Virginia on the edge of the Washington beltway. An undated presentation obtained by the ACLU revealed the database held 343 million records.

The documents also reveal that the records are being data mined “to identify travel patterns” and the report wonders, “Are we all suspects if we drive on a certain road?”

The released information does not reveal the number of license plate readers operated by the DEA; their locations; the cost of the program; the number and types of arrests that have resulted from the program; the failure rate, or mis-hits, generated by the program; or whether the federal government has integrated its data with Vigilant Solution’s National Vehicle Location Service.

You can read the ACLU report here.



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23 Responses to “Smile Drivers And Other Official Enemies”

  1. DP Says:

    Regarding your comment Knucklehead: Comcast/Xfinity cable tv remotes, which detect and then act on your voice commands certainly have the same capabilities. Pretty scary shit!

  2. Knucklehead Says:

    From the BBC today:

    Samsung is warning customers about discussing personal information in front of their smart television set. The warning applies to TV viewers who control their Samsung Smart TV using its voice activation feature. Such TV sets “listen” to some of what is said in front of them and may share details they hear with Samsung or third parties, it said. Privacy campaigners said the technology smacked of the telescreens, in George Orwell’s 1984, which spied on citizens.

  3. Rusty Says:

    I would imagine that in this day and time we should not be surprised at just how much we are watched and or monitored.
    If you are genuinely concerned about it, do not ever attend an major event at any MC clubhouse or be found socializing with a traditional 3 piece club. If you ever have, you have been photographed, your tag recorded and and investigated. The abc’s already know who you are. Its a fact of club life.

  4. Road Whore Says:

    @ Rusty: Thanks for this info. I hope it’s true and that more such cooperation is forthcoming.

    Ride Free

  5. Rusty Says:

    Road Whore. ..take it for what its worth but I was told just last Saturday that 2 major clubs did in fact have their respective lawyers working together concerning an on going court case….
    I’m in no position to know the truth in what I was told but have no reason to doubt the man who told me.
    Respect to the deserving

  6. Road Whore Says:

    Yes, good words, Sieg. BTW, whatever happened to Save The Patch? Don’t ever see anything about that anymore.

    Ride Free

  7. Sieg Says:

    Most scooter-trash tend to live in their own time-zone, and that ain’t a bad thing.

    Except when you’re so far in it that you don’t see what’s happening around you.

    The FedBacon loves it dearly when clubs hassle, it’s about their favorite thing. In the last days of the Roman Empire, blood-circuses were used to keep the masses entertained, and the Emperor made sure that enough bread and wine got passed around to keep them docile. Not to mention the Legion sitting on the other side of the Rubicon.

    Now, substitute television and the like for entertainment, and welfare/entitlement programs for the bread and wine, and the various FedBacon armies for the Legion, and you pretty much have the picture.

    Complain, bitch, moan, whatever. As long as there is no unity, there is no resistance. As long as there is no resistance, well, relax and enjoy it.

    The day when voting might have made a difference is long gone. Rand Paul is a good man, but really, Barry Goldwater running with George Wallace couldn’t do a damn thing to turn this mess around now.

    I won’t beat that dead horse, you’ve all heard me say it a time or two, but there ain’t but one alternative to the “relax and enjoy it”, and it won’t be pleasant. I’m none too bright, but seems to me that two guys, stuck in a hostile and dangerous place, in fear for not just their WAY of life, but their very lives, would do better to stick together.

    But that’s just me.


  8. Mad Matt Says:


    Right the fuck on.


    Mad Matt

  9. Anonymous Says:

    No inspection, no registration, no insurance, no license.

    License plate tracking program only has pictures of the back of my helmet and my middle finger. What plates? lol

    ^ if this gives you any ideas, leave your cellphone at home or at least remove the battery -.o

    Fuck the police.

  10. Tommy Says:

    Will the general public wake up and stop being sheep or let the government kill this country?

  11. BMW Says:

    Just another couple of notes on this story:
    1) this database has been developed for years, and seems to have been of little or no use to spot terrorists;
    2) I notice that the “primary purpose” of this “new” database of license plates and travel surveillance is designed to actually enhance the unconstitutional forfeiture program, an extra-legal system of punishment.

    Forfeiture, as currently practiced, does not really require a successful criminal prosecution. It is a form of taxation and punishment that seemingly doesn’t require the constitutional niceties of a criminal conviction, according to the current federal courts. (This, despite the clear language of Article V, of the Constitution, and the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Amendments to the Constitution — AND a president who claims to be a Professor of Constitutional Law…)

    It is an example of the blatant and extreme political corruption of the American judicial system that such an unconstitutional procedure as forfeiture is allowed to flourish unchecked. I am sure that the ghost of Joseph Stalin is laughing alongside the ghost of King John “Lackland” in the darkness…


  12. BMW Says:

    Think about it — between the fake cell tower and the license plate reader and the Marshal Service airplane telephone number skimmer, and the “through-the-wall” x-ray machines, and the old -fashioned telephone number register, they have all the facts about where each person is and who he is with. Add in our tax return and credit card information, and the government can find anything it wants. 1984 was not an exaggeration, it was an understatement! Yet innocent people still languish in prison, years after their Innocence has been proven. We don’t need these systems for justice, but they are handy for control…


  13. sherides Says:

    Pigs do everything while driving that the average person would get ticketed for. Its beyond ironic.


  14. T Hell Says:

    I watched the video above I would have loved to see that pig rear end someone while playing on the computer, and they say talking on a cellphone is dangerous.

  15. stroker Says:

    Go Rand Paul!

  16. Knucklehead Says:

    Scanning license plates, collecting data, phone records and personal information is becoming the new normal. Whistleblowers and journalists are being sentenced to time in jail for exposing corruption. People need to start paying attention.

  17. popeye Says:

    Rand paul has reintroduced a bill to deal with civil foreitures

  18. John Deaux Says:

    The new code word is terrorst and anyone who strays left or right of the official line is labeled as such, while our government creates boogy men to scare and control the weak it becoming the thing it’s supposedly saving us from.
    There is no way their actions are constitutionally legal and should be dealt with as such.

  19. Paladin Says:


    The guy you posted about will more than likely be charged with the crime of Terrorist Threats. Because he used a communication device, he very well may be charged federally. In this day and age, acting impulsively will ensure that it’s not going to be your best day ever.

    For every outrageous Government program that’s exposed by the ACLU and others, there are others that have yet to come to light. It is possible for the citizens of this Country to stop the Government’s assault on the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Unfortunately; after taking and posting selfies on facebook, tweeting, instagraming and gaming, there’s precious little time in one’s day for much of anything else.

    Long May You Ride,


  20. sherides Says:

    This is nuts. The govt is out of control. I really wish they would focus more on eliminating the radical Muslims and not worry about where citizens are vacationing.

  21. Phuquehed Says:

    The biggest hurdle to stopping this kind of communist/fascist shit on a free society, is getting the fucktards who think it’s ‘okay’ since they’re ‘not doing anything bad’ that the law will be watching them for.

    Too many pussy citizens out there who think the nanny state is a Good Thing. The only reason they’re around is because it’s illegal to kill them.

    Oh, and in other news…the pigs show what even bigger pussies they are by arresting some dumbshit low-life thug who happened to put a few teeny-tiny icons of guns next to a cop head icon in one of his social-media posts. The pigs found it and it scared them into thinking they’re now targets, so they busted the punk. Not sure what they’re gonna use in court as the ‘law/statute’ against the kid…probably “I wath thcared, your honor!! I thtarted to twemble and made weewee in my panth! I wath sure he wath coming for me and had found a way to make his meany wordth go all the way through my kevlar vest and jacket and leg guards and arm guards and helmet! I’m sure I’m going to have to put a fwesh tampon in as I wet myself all over in every way because he’s a meany!”

    The only good pig, is one that’s not breathing. Fuckin’ pussies.

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