We really want to get rid of these [tanks]. We’ve been trying to get the military to take them back since 2004.

Chelan County Sheriff’s Department’s Undersheriff John Wisemore, as quoted in "Police Want to Get Rid of Their Pentagon-Issued Combat Gear. Here’s Why They Can’t."

In the past eight years, the Pentagon grant program has loaned local law enforcement some 200,000 ammunition magazines, 94,000 machine guns, and thousands of armored vehicles, aircraft, land mine detectors, silencers, and grenade launchers—all at the request of the local agencies themselves. But images of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, of police in military gear cracking down on peaceful protesters, have turned many communities against a program critics say has eroded the line between police officers and soldiers. […]

Even before police militarization made the news, hundreds of police departments were finding that grenade launchers, military firearms, and armored vehicles aren’t very useful to community policing. When Chelan County police officers requested one armored car in 2000—the request that landed them three tanks—they pictured a vehicle that could withstand bullets, not land mines. Law enforcement agencies across the country have quietly returned more than 6,000 unwanted or unusable items to the Pentagon in the last 10 years, according to Defense Department data provided toMother Jones by a spokeswoman for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who has spearheaded a Senate investigation of the Pentagon program that is arming local police. Thousands more unwanted items have been transferred to other police departments.

But some agencies have found the process of getting rid of unwanted military gear next to impossible. Agencies can’t return or trade equipment without Defense Department approval, and because the Pentagon technically still owns the equipment, they can’t sell it.

According to interviews with state officials running point between the Pentagon and police, the Defense Department prefers to leave equipment in circulation whenever possible. “It’s a low-cost storage method for them,” says Robb Davis, the mayor pro tem of Davis. His town is trying to shake its MRAP. “They’re dumping these vehicles on us and saying, ‘Hey, these are still ours, but you have to maintain them for us.’”

(via hipsterlibertarian)

This is fascinating. 

Also, how much do they want for those tanks, anyway?

Debate Simmers Over Disclosing Warrantless Spying - NYTimes.com

"Obama administration lawyers have been debating whether the Treasury Department must inform the people or groups it sanctions as foreign terrorists when it relies on warrantless surveillance as the basis for the designation, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

Intelligence officials are said to oppose being more forthcoming about who has been subjected to surveillance, especially in cases involving noncitizens abroad — who do not have Fourth Amendment privacy rights — because such information would tip them off that the National Security Agency had intercepted their communications.
But a provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, requires the government to disclose when it uses information from eavesdropping in any “proceeding” against people. In 2008, Congress made the N.S.A.’s warrantless surveillance program a part of FISA, but the full implications of applying its disclosure provision to that program were initially overlooked.”

The great crime that begins the great fortune never truly goes away. The corruption that the great crime embeds in the great fortune is never excised because it cannot be. It can be glossed over, camouflaged in fancy legalisms, alibi-ed by politicians that the great fortune allows the great crime to sublet, or perfumed by charitable donations that spring from a river fouled centuries ago. But the great crime — and the corruption it spawned — is eternal in the great fortune. Nobody ever gets clean.

Criminal Minds by Charlie Pierce (via esquire)
High-res Apparently, how it ends is not with a bang or a whimper but with an Editor’s Note.

Apparently, how it ends is not with a bang or a whimper but with an Editor’s Note.

#536: The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra

Just finished TAL’s Carmen Segarra bit, and while it’s not, as Michael Lewis claims, the Ray Rice video of the Fed, it’s undeniably powerful and damning. Just give it a listen.