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vidual customers — into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” it cautioned in an August 2004 report.
“The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment,” Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program, told Rothschild.
And they are privileged: A DHS spokesperson told Rothschild that InfraGard members receive special training and readiness exercises. They’re also privy to protected information that’s usually shielded from disclosure under the trade secrets provision of the Freedom of Information Act. The information they have might be of critical importance to the general public, but first it goes to the privileged membership — sometimes before it’s released to elected officials. As Rothschild related in his story, on Nov. 1, 2001, the FBI sent an alert to InfraGard members about a potential threat to bridges in California. Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley, received the information and relayed it to his brother Gray, then governor of California, who released it to the public.
Steve Maviglio, Davis’ press secretary at the time, told Rothschild, “The governor got a lot of grief for releasing the information. In his defense, he said, ‘I was on the phone with my brother, who is an investment banker. And if he knows, why shouldn’t the public know?’ ”
SOURCE: “The FBI deputizes business,” Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, Feb. 7, 2008.4.ILEA: Training Ground for Illegal Wars?
The School of the Americas (SOA) earned an unsavory reputation in Latin America after many graduates of the Fort Benning, Ga., facility turned into counterinsurgency death squad leaders. So the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) recently installed by the Unites States in El Salvador — which looks, acts and smells like the SOA — is also drawing scorn.
The school, which opened in June 2005 before the Salvadoran National Assembly approved it, has a satellite operation in Peru and is funded with $3.6 million from the U.S. Treasury and staffed with instructors from the DEA, ICE and FBI. It’s tasked with training 1,500 police officers, judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement agents in counterterrorism techniques per year. It’s stated purpose is to make Latin America “safe for foreign investment” by “providing regional security and economic stability and combating crime.”
ILEAs aren’t new, but past schools located in Hungary, Thailand, Botswana and Roswell, N.M., haven’t been terribly controversial. Yet Salvadoran human rights organizers take issue with the fact that, in true SOA fashion, the ILEA releases neither information about its curriculum nor a list of students and graduates. Additionally, the way the school slipped into existence without public oversight has raised ire. “Members of the U.S. Congress were not briefed about the academy, nor was the main opposition party in El Salvador, the Farabundo Martí-National Liberation Front,” Wes Enzinna noted in a North American Congress on Latin America. “But once the news media reported that the two