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They have a dream, too! Warrantless wiretaps, for instance.


As if the goon squads of the New Cruelty weren't already terrifying enough, the Daily Beast reports officials inside Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would really like to jump-start an effort they've long dreamed of and become an actual part of America's intelligence community. They're part of the Department of Homeland Security, so why can't they join the big-boy spy agencies, too? An "ICE official familiar with the matter" told Betsy Woodruff why some in the agency are pushing to become part of the Intelligence Community, or "IC" as your spy types like to say, because if it doesn't have an acronym, it's not really spy-y enough. Advocates of having ICE in the IC

focus on the potential benefits to the agency’s work on counterproliferation, money laundering, counterterror, and cybercrime. The official added that joining the IC could also be useful for the agency’s immigration enforcement work –– in particular, their efforts to find and arrest undocumented immigrants with criminal arrest warrants (known in ICE as fugitive aliens).

Yes, we now have to go after green card holding dental techs who were busted for marijuana when they were 19 with the same tools we use to search for terrorists, because as every idiot on Twitter or sitting at the Resolute desk knows, every undocumented immigrant is a member of MS-13. Or could be. Needless to say, your squishy liberal types who still cling to an obscure fondness for civil liberties think elevating ICE to an actual spy agency is a perfectly terrible idea:

“The idea that ICE could potentially get access to warrantless surveillance is frankly terrifying,” Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, told The Daily Beast.

Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, also expressed concern.

“The prospect of ICE joining the Intelligence Community, if true, should sound alarm bells,” he said. “Such a move threatens to give an agency responsible for domestic immigration enforcement access to a vast pool of sensitive information collected by our spy agencies for foreign intelligence purposes. Those spying tools do not belong in the hands of ICE agents.”

Well, yes, we can see where letting the same people who already seize little girls with cerebral palsyshortly after emergency surgery have access to spy toys just might be a bit of a problem. Do they need Predator drones to nab people dropping their kids off at daycare?

To be sure, there is a component of ICE that does do law-enforcement stuff that doesn't involve giving immigrant children and their parents nightmares. Woodruff notes that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigates "transnational crimes, including drug trafficking, money laundering, cybercrimes, and arms trafficking[.]" The other component, "Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)," is the part we're all more familiar with, which does all the mom-grabbing, family-separating, and detaining stuff for which ICE has come to be loved and admired by Donald Goddamn Trump. And some leaders in ICE would really like the agency to have the "greater prestige and credibility and authority" that would come with being a full-on intelligence agency, according to Peter Vincent, ICE's former general counsel under Barack Obama.

Vincent himself isn't too keen on ICE becoming a spy agency, since it could lead to "many potential mission creep spectres, especially in this current climate[.]" Most intelligence agencies are focused on foreign bad guys, not on Americans, while ICE -- especially its ERO division -- deals almost solely with people in America, and with federal courts. Possible problem there, notes Woodruff:

If they use classified material to generate leads, that information could be inadmissible in court. Both the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which are in the Intelligence Community, deal with this issue. Adjusting would be a challenge for ICE.

Another former official, Charlie Allen, who was DHS's former chief of intelligence, also said he saw no need to elevate ICE, and that making it part of the IC might "complicate the architecture further.” Yes, keep ICE informed of major security issues, and include its head of intelligence in IC meetings, but more than that would be a "step backward" for the agency.

Also, just in case you've been sleeping too soundly lately, Woodruff notes that Donald Trump could make ICE part of the Intelligence Community via an executive order, "though that would be unusual." She also reminds us that unlike the FBI, Trump has never seen fit to criticize any of ICE's operations. Just imagine a John Kelly unleashing all the tools of the intelligence community on people he already considers "too lazy."

Yeah, we'll be hugging the bourbon tonight, too.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click here to contribute to our delinquency.

[Daily Beast]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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