ICE Hankering To Be The Actual SS. Pass The Tequila Please.

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.

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[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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