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"Alabama school system paid former FBI agent $157,000 to spy on black students"

cobblandcobbland "Shorty": Belly (1998)Chicago...Members Posts: 3,768 ✭✭✭✭✭
Alabama school system paid former FBI agent $157,000 to spy on black students: critics
SCOTT KAUFMAN
02 NOV 2014 AT 11:23 ET

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Huntsville City Schools (HCS) paid a former Federal Bureau of Investigations agent $157,000 to direct security last year, but critics contend that the system he implemented is designed to monitor the social media activity of black students, according to AL.com.

Chris McRae, the agent in question, was brought in to oversee the Students Against Fear (SAFe) program, which works by allowing students and teachers to provide anonymous tips to security personnel, who then scour social media sites like Facebook to determine the credibility of the threat.

Over 600 Huntsville City School students had their social media presence monitored last year. Of the students expelled last year for reasons related to social media, 86 percent were African-American. The school system as a whole is 40 percent black — but 78 percent of all students expelled are black.

Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison said that the policy “is effectively targeting or profiling black children in terms of behavior and behavioral issues.”

Last month, Superintendent Casey Wardynski told AL.com that “our SAFe program is really about bringing information together. Often we’ll find on Facebook things going on right now, kids are posting from inside school or on Twitter. Here’s a kid with a pistol on Facebook. These are his buddies, each with a gun. We’re instantly interested in that.”

“This isn’t like folks are going out looking at everybody’s Facebook and working our way back to, ‘Should we be interested in them?’” he insisted. “It is, ‘We’re interested in this guy, what’s he up to? Is he in school today? Let’s look at his social media.’ All you do is go to Facebook and YouTube and type in their name. If you find out they are doing something in real time or those other people look like they’re doing nefarious things, they can be a threat.”

McRae and the others involved in running the SAFe program do not work directly for the school system — instead, they are employed by T&W Operations. According to paperwork provided by the system, “McRae provides security training, along with reviewing security features at Huntsville facilities both existing and those under construction. He recommends enhancements and improvements and works with HCS security staff on tips that are referred to the District office.”

However, after news of SAFe’s relation to T&W Operations, many critics of the city noticed that their groups were being monitored by it. Jeannee Gannuch, co-founder of the South Huntsville Civic Association, which is often critical of the city, discovered that T&W Operations was following her group on Facebook.

“My tax dollars are paying for a hired hand to watch a political organization? That doesn’t seem right,” she told AL.com.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/11/alabama-school-system-paid-former-fbi-agent-157000-to-spy-on-black-students-critics/

Comments

  • cobblandcobbland "Shorty": Belly (1998) Chicago...Members Posts: 3,768 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Huntsville schools say call from NSA led to monitoring students online
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    Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski (The Huntsville Times file)

    By Challen Stephens | [email protected]
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on September 24, 2014 at 6:35 AM, updated October 06, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - A secret program to monitor students' online activities began quietly in Huntsville schools, following a phone call from the NSA, school officials say.

    Huntsville schools Superintendent Casey Wardynski says the system began monitoring social media sites 18 months ago, after the National Security Agency tipped the school district to a student making violent threats on Facebook.

    The NSA, a U.S. agency responsible for foreign intelligence, this week said it has no record of a call to Huntsville and does not make calls to school systems.

    Regardless of how the program started, Huntsville City Schools began scanning Facebook and other sites for signs of gang activity, watching for photos of guns, photos of gang signs and threats of violence.

    The Huntsville monitoring program is called SAFe, or Students Against Fear. School board members said they did not know about the program when contacted last week.

    Internal documents explaining the program, obtained by AL.com, show examples of four different students posing on Facebook with handguns. None are on school grounds. Three are listed as expelled. One was referred for counseling.

    Here's the school district's explanation of how the program got started:

    About a year and half ago, Wardynski said, the NSA called Huntsville and reported a high school student had threatened on Facebook to injure a teacher.

    student1jpg-5884b0dc915e5b15.jpg
    One of several former Huntsville students posing with a weapon on Facebook. Taken from system documents on the SAFe program. Face and name redacted by AL.com.

    Al Lankford, the city's longtime school security officer, told AL.com that he took the NSA phone call. He said security officers went to the high school and eventually searched the boy's car.

    "We found a very good size knife and the student was expelled," said Wardynski, a former U.S. Army colonel appointed as superintendent in Huntsville in 2011.

    NSA did not acknowledge placing such a call. "The National Security Agency has no record that it passed any information to the Huntsville school district, and the description of what supposedly occurred is inconsistent with NSA's practices," said Vanee Vines, public affairs specialist with the NSA, on Monday.

    The NSA is focused on foreign intelligence. Vines said any information about a domestic safety issue would be sent to another federal agency, like the FBI. "Moreover, NSA does not make recommendations regarding school safety programs," said Vines via email.

    "There was a foreign connection," said Wardynski, explaining why the NSA would contact Huntsville schools. He said the student in Huntsville had made the online threats while chatting online with a group that included an individual in Yemen.

    He said the junior, who had been an A student, was placed in the boot camp Pinnacle program and later graduated. Wardynski declined to identify the school, but said the NSA call woke him to threats on social media.

    Board members Topper Birney and Laurie McCaulley, contacted for this story last week, said they were unaware of the monitoring program and the board was not briefed. The city system web site contains no operational information on SAFe, but displays a logo and lists three staff members. Those include two security officers and consultant Chris McRae.

    McRae's Linked-In profile lists him as a former FBI agent. His full bio lists him as a Montgomery police officer who joined the FBI and then worked as an investigator for TVA and later the Alabama Attorney General. He began consulting with Huntsville City Schools in January.

    Wardynski said the city used the SAFe program to break up a gang called the Wolfpack, with six or seven members -- all related to each other through family -- in various schools. The students were expelled and placed in alternative school and boot camp programs.

    ***Article continues below***

    http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/09/after_warning_from_nsa_huntsvi.html#incart_story_package
  • Ajackson17Ajackson17 On the shoulders of Giants and Elders in history UniverseMembers Posts: 22,501 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Damn, but you need to monitor your kids and talk to them.
  • SneakDZASneakDZA damn, am I a sinner? Members Posts: 11,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    foul... but there's a really easy way to not get caught up in this particular 🤬 . i mean they're actually telling these kids how they go about catching them so from today on nobody should get caught that way again right?

    j/k - these idiot kids are gonna continue snitching on themselves no matter what and make it easy for these crackas to do 🤬 like this:
    Wardynski said the city used the SAFe program to break up a gang called the Wolfpack, with six or seven members -- all related to each other through family -- in various schools. The students were expelled and placed in alternative school and boot camp programs.

    Basically what I'm reading here is this "gang" is actually a family and there were only 6 of them and they don't even all go to the same school. That's not a gang that's called having cousins. They were just considered undesirable and the school waited until they snitched on themselves enough to send them away to the 🤬 school.
  • SneakDZASneakDZA damn, am I a sinner? Members Posts: 11,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    But let's be clear... in Alabama probably at least half the white kids have pictures of them posting with guns on facebook as well... but in their case it's their 2nd amendment right just because there's some dead animal in the picture with them.
  • The Lonious MonkThe Lonious Monk Man with No Fucks Given Members Posts: 26,258 ✭✭✭✭✭
    SneakDZA wrote: »
    But let's be clear... in Alabama probably at least half the white kids have pictures of them posting with guns on facebook as well... but in their case it's their 2nd amendment right just because there's some dead animal in the picture with them.

    Well another difference is that minors can legally own hunting rifles, whereas there are more restrictions on owning pistols and such.
  • SneakDZASneakDZA damn, am I a sinner? Members Posts: 11,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    SneakDZA wrote: »
    But let's be clear... in Alabama probably at least half the white kids have pictures of them posting with guns on facebook as well... but in their case it's their 2nd amendment right just because there's some dead animal in the picture with them.

    Well another difference is that minors can legally own hunting rifles, whereas there are more restrictions on owning pistols and such.

    word...

    stone_1.jpg
  • janklowjanklow god's lonely man. Members, Moderators Posts: 8,613 Regulator
    SneakDZA wrote: »
    word...
    stone_1.jpg
    something tells me he doesn't actually own that pistol.

    but i do have to ask, if you're complaining about kids not having their Second Amendment rights respected because they're not white kids... do you actually support that Second Amendment right? and vote accordingly? because if not, shouldn't you be supporting ALL these kids getting in trouble?

  • SneakDZASneakDZA damn, am I a sinner? Members Posts: 11,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I don't support any kid getting kicked out of school for a photo on their facebook profile that has nothing to do with school especially if it can't be proved that there was anything illegal actually happening. But if it happens to some kids it should happen to all of them.

    As far as the kids owning guns thing goes... I think that's about as good as an idea as little kids driving cars.
  • janklowjanklow god's lonely man. Members, Moderators Posts: 8,613 Regulator
    SneakDZA wrote: »
    But if it happens to some kids it should happen to all of them.
    something tells me that you can determine in some cases whether or not the gun ownership/use is kosher. if you're doing that for racial reasons, then you're 🤬 up, undoubtedly.

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  • janklowjanklow god's lonely man. Members, Moderators Posts: 8,613 Regulator
    Look at that trigger discipline tho...
    the most factual statement

  • mc317mc317 Chief Of Goddamn Station Dark Side of The MoonMembers Posts: 5,548 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This generation of stupid little 🤬 post all their business online, u didn't have to pay 150000 you could have monitored it for free. I'm going to create a similar firm to monitor stupid muthafuckas I'm going to be rich 🤬
  • onthaflyonthafly Members Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2014
    Only in Alabama would the school come up with a lie as stupid sounding as this one.

    School: Oh the NSA told us that he was threatening a teacher on social media!
    NSA: We don't do that. We have no records of it and we only handle foreign affairs. Try the FBI.
    School: Oh well the NSA tipped us off because he was talking to somebody in Yemen.

    BTW Yemen has been cooperating with the U.S. government in this bs war on terrorism. These guys are idiots. I can't believe I spent a good portion of my childhood in Alabama.
  • onthaflyonthafly Members Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭✭
    And $157000 to monitor some facebook pages? Did these stupid 🤬 not know how to use a computer?
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