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article imageWhistleblower says FBI Granting "Shoot to Kill" Rights to InfraGard

By Susan Duclos     Feb 9, 2008 in Politics
"The FBI has a new set of eyes and ears, and they're being told to protect their infrastructure at any cost. They can even kill without repercussion." This quote comes from a whistleblower that claims to have been at InfraGard/FBI meetings.
Our Government prepares for almost any eventuality, wars, attacks upon our soil, chemical and nuclear attacks and in this case, it is alleged that at meetings between InfraGard members and the FBI, the eventuality of martial law is also being prepared for.
According to a February 7 article published in the Progressive magazine, AlterNet, discusses an organization called InfraGard, which is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) program that began in the Cleveland Field Office in 1996. It was a local effort to gain support from the information technology industry and academia for the FBI’s investigative efforts in the cyber arena. The program expanded to other FBI Field Offices, and in 1998 the FBI assigned national program responsibility for InfraGard to the former National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and to the Cyber Division in 2003. InfraGard and the FBI have developed a relationship of trust and credibility in the exchange of information concerning various terrorism, intelligence, criminal, and security matters.
InfraGard has, as of right now, 23,682 members (including the FBI).
This magazine article is being quoted in the Iranian Press and Raw Story, specifically a portion of the article which quotes the whistleblower as saying "We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions. It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone."
According to the AlterNet article, written by Matthew Rothschild, he quotes Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years, has said that InfraGard has contributed to about 100 FBI cases.
Schneck also makes the point "On the back of each membership card we have all the numbers you'd need: for Homeland Security, for the FBI, for the cyber center. And by calling up as an InfraGard member, you will be listened to."
Evidently InfraGard members are varied and even tout that 350 of our nation's Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard and the organization is alerted to emergencies and threats, in some cases, even before elected officials, which is evidenced by a situation on November 1, 2001, where the FBI had information about a potential threat to the bridges of California, and InfraGard members were alerted, and so was Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley. He then notified his brother Gray, the governor of California.
"He said his brother talked to him before the FBI," recalls Steve Maviglio, who was Davis's press secretary at the time. "And 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?' "
Maviglio still sounds perturbed about this: "You'd think an elected official would be the first to know, not the last."
The ACLU in 2004, made their objections to this kind of information sharing program known, in a 47 page PDF file, where they discuss InfraGard in depth as well as list their many concerns with an organization of this type in regards to privacy issues.
But there is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private- sector corporations – some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers – into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI. For example, several program members told the Plain Dealer that
“they received through InfraGard a list of Web sites frequented by terrorists and were monitoring their computer networks to see if anyone on their systems visited those pages.”44 It is also
possible that the program serves as a more controlled version of the FBI’s watch list distribution program “Project Lookout” (see p. 19).
Other examples of how "in the loop" InfraGard is, include a press release on February 7, 2003, where the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General made the announcement that the security level had been raised from yellow to orange and went on to list "additional steps" that agencies were taking to "increase their protective measures."
One of those steps was to "provide alert information to InfraGard program."
George Bush, on May 9, 2007 signed a National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled "National Continuity Policy."
You can read the whole directive, but the area of concern for the AlterNet writer was where it said "he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with "private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency."
Phyllis Schneck does acknowledge that InfraGard has been involved in national emergency preparation drills and at times the groups members involved in those drills were in the hundreds.
Norm Arendt, the head of the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of InfraGard, and the safety director for the consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc., says, "In case something happens, everybody is ready. There's been lots of discussions about what happens under an emergency."
This is where the whistleblower aka informant comes in when they claim that as a part of those meetings to prepare for emergencies, one of those potential emergencies is how to prepare for "martial law" and what their (InfraGard members) role might be.
This whistleblower aka informant, a business owner, claims he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.
"Then they said when -- not if -- martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn't be prosecuted," he says.
The writer for AlterNet says he was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there, but that another member of InfraGard that attended that meeting "denies that the subject of lethal force came up"
Phyllis Schneck and the FBI both deny that the subject of lethal force never came up during their meetings.
The writer says that one other member of InfraGard, Christine Moerke, a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin, did corroborate the informants story.
"There have been discussions like that, that I've heard of and participated in," she says.
While under the direction of NIPC, the focus of InfraGard was cyber infrastructure protection. After September 11, 2001 NIPC expanded its efforts to include physical as well as cyber threats to critical infrastructures. InfraGard’s mission expanded accordingly.
If our country is attacked, chemically, biologically or with a nuclear weapon, is this type of organization going to be partially responsible for keeping our infrastructures safe and functioning?
To join InfraGard, one must go through an extensive FBI vetting process, including background checks and verification processes as well as being personally recommended by someone within the organization, and they are asked upon applying is which aspect of the critical infrastructure their organization deals with. These include: agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation.
In 2005, FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed an InfraGard convention, spoke at an InfraGard convention, telling them "To date, there are more than 11,000 members of InfraGard," he said. "From our perspective that amounts to 11,000 contacts . . . and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America. "
Later he added "Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense."
Are these people the first line of defense in keeping our country functioning should we be attacked?
If so, should they be?
Last question in this writers mind is, if you are given the task to protect our countries infrastructure in a time of attack or martial law, should private contractors, private organizations, be given the right to "shoot to kill" to accomplish that task, as the whistleblower/informant alleges this group has been?
More about Infragard, Martial Law, FBI