FWD: LA wiretaps -- full details available

Rohit Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Thu, 7 Oct 1999 20:05:39 -0700

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>To: dee3-interest@pothole.com
>Subject: FWD: LA wiretaps -- full details available
>Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 00:45:12 -0400
>From: "Donald E. Eastlake 3rd"
>Message-Id: <199909280046.RAA25362@toad.com>
>In-reply-to: <199909242355.QAA17309@blowfish.isaac.cs.berkeley.edu>
>Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:46:17 -0700
>From: John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>
>The LA County Public Defender's Office has full information about their
>case against the LAPD and LA Sheriff's Office up on the web at:
> http://pd.co.la.ca.us/
>It's particularly gruesome how the LAPD reported these wiretaps to the
>Federal wiretap report, which cypherpunks and policy-makers examine
>closely every year (e.g. http://jya.com/wiretap98.htm). What the LAPD
>reported as a single wiretap order turns out to have tapped 250
>telephones over a period of years. Few or none of the thousands of
>people tapped were ever notified of the wiretap. This calls the
>validity of all the wiretap statistics into question.
>Even now, after a direct order by the judge to the District Attorney
>in open court, two-thirds of the logs from this single wiretap have
>been withheld. (The one-third that have been disclosed required a
>forklift to move the tapes, and produced 65,000 pages of logs.) See
>http://pd.co.la.ca.us/contempt.htm. The logs show that the LAPD made
>no attempt to "minimize", recording only the portions of conversations
>related to the investigation for which they obtained a warrant; they
>recorded everything, and then used the miscellaneous information to
>instigate new wiretaps, investigations, and prosecutions.
>One overheard conversation that helped to blow the lid off was that of
>a Mexican man who used his cellophone to discuss receiving a wire
>transfer from the sale of some inherited land in Mexico. (He intended
>to use it to buy a house in the US.) When the cops overheard this,
>they rushed to a judge and to the bank, lied to the judge, and
>obtained a warrant to seize the $265,000 as "drug money" under the
>civil forefiture laws. It only came out a year and a half later, when
>Mr. Rodriguez's lawyers questioned the officers involved, that the
>"reliable confidential informant" they had used to establish probable
>cause to seize the money was in fact an illegal wiretap, and that
>there was no cause at all to believe the money was related to drugs.
>See the federal judge's final order giving Mr. Rodriguez back his
>money, at:
> http://pd.co.la.ca.us/alvara2.htm
>When sworn officers of the law and the courts violate the law with
>impunity, concealing their activities by making fraudulent statements
>under oath, and filing all incriminating information under seal, the
>law-abiding public cannot trust the justice system. None of us would
>enjoy a society without credible means to redress injustices. We
>already see the beginnings of the results in drive-by shootings and
>other manifestations of a subculture (drug users) in which people have
>no recourse but to take justice into their own hands. If the public
>cannot rely on the courts for justice against illegal wiretaps,
>particularly when our adversaries are large, secretive, and publicly
>funded organizations such as the LAPD and the NSA, we will end up with
>"frontier justice" before this whole controversy is settled. Note
>well the NSA's recent refusal to provide documents about their
>monitoring of US citizens' communications to their oversight committee
>in the House of Representatives (http://jya.com/nsa-clash.txt). I
>implore the misguided individuals who have been violating the law
>behind the screen of official secrecy to reveal their crimes and take
>their punishments, before they destroy a vital part of the fabric of
>society that they are supposedly paid to defend.
> John Gilmore
>From: David Wagner <daw@cs.berkeley.edu>
>Message-Id: <199909282037.NAA22680@blowfish.isaac.cs.berkeley.edu>
>Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 20:37:12 +0000 ()
>In-Reply-To: <199909280046.RAA25362@toad.com> from "John Gilmore"
>at Sep 27, 99 05:4
>6:17 pm
>X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.4 PL25]
>Right. The scope of this violation of wiretap laws is breathtaking.
>There's no need for conspiracy theories anymore; we've got conspiracy
>theorems, complete with proof and everything.
>There's one amazing paragraph that deserves quotation here:
> [...] The [LAPD] engage in two totally different types of
> court-authorized wiretap operations. One appears to comply with
> the requirements of exhaustion, specificity, lawful execution, and
> notice. The other, however, is broad-based, widespread, clandestine
> and illegal. Notice, inventory, and production of these wiretaps are
> never provided. Defendants intercepted by the latter type of wiretap,
> who are not immediately arrested, subsequently become the target
> of what appears to be a lawful wiretap. While the [LAPD] readily
> disclose the apparently lawful wiretap, they intentionally fail to
> provide notice, inventory, and production in the other.
>The LAPD brazenly call this their "hand-off procedure".
>What a scam. The LAPD avoids any oversight by "laundering" the results
>of their wiretaps -- they've been taking lessons from the crooks.
>See also <http://pd.co.la.ca.us/CACJ.htm>.
>It is worth noting that the actual number of telephones illegally
>wiretapped exceeded the number reported by _more than an order of
>magnitude_, according to the LA public defenders. One of those unreported
>LA wiretaps ended up intercepting the calls of 130,000 LA residents
>(with no attempt at minimization and no arrests made), which beats the
>reported _nation-wide total_ of 75,000. (For reference, that's about 1%
>of LA's metro-area population.) Another unreported wiretap was for an
>_entire cellphone service provider_. Holy shit!
>This brings a new perspective on law enforcement's initial requests for
>CALEA capacity to tap 1% of the population's phones. Maybe they weren't
>joking after all...
>Note also that California has one of the strictest wiretap oversight laws
>in the nation. If this type of everyday, streamlined illegal wiretapping
>was routine practice for the LAPD since 1989 (as the LA public defenders
>demonstrate), in a state with unusually restrictive wiretap laws, what
>will happen if the CESA bill---which essentially removes all courtroom
>oversight on electronic wiretaps---passes?
>Message-Id: <>
>X-Sender: gbroiles@pop.sirius.com
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>Date: Sat, 02 Oct 1999 00:26:19 -0700
>From: Greg Broiles <gbroiles@netbox.com>
>In-Reply-To: <199909280046.RAA25362@toad.com>
>References: <199909242355.QAA17309@blowfish.isaac.cs.berkeley.edu>
>At 05:46 PM 9/27/99 , John Gilmore wrote:
>>When sworn officers of the law and the courts violate the law with
>>impunity, concealing their activities by making fraudulent statements
>>under oath, and filing all incriminating information under seal, the
>>law-abiding public cannot trust the justice system.
>Last Saturday's LA Times had an article about the growing wiretap scandal.
>The reporter talked to Gil Garcetti, LA County District Attorney; this
>quote from the article is particularly telling -
>>Garcetti defended the use of the so-called handoff practice, saying
>>that the technique is used around the country. Kalunian disputes the
>>"To my knowledge, no court has said you can't do that," Garcetti
>(Kalunian is an assistant LA County public defender, who apparently still
>has faith in the honesty of law enforcement officers outside of the LAPD.)
>Apparently, Garcetti hasn't darkened the doorstep of a law library since
>the mid 1960's, when the federal wiretap statutes were passed. He also
>seems distressingly unfamilar with California state law on the topic, which
>is somewhat problematic, given that he's a prosecutor.
>I believe his comment about the widespread use of the tactic will prove
>Greg Broiles
>PGP: 0x26E4488C