Statement of Facts for CitiGroup Settlement – Dept. Of Justice Action

http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/558201471413645397758.pdf

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STATEMENT OF FACTS
In 2006 and 2007, Citigroup Inc., through certain of its affiliates (“Citigroup”), securitized thousands of residential mortgage loans and sold the resulting residential mortgagebacked securities (“RMBS”) for tens of billions of dollars to investors, including federally insured financial institutions. Prior to securitization, Citigroup conducted due diligence on loans (including credit, compliance, and valuation due diligence). In securitizing and issuing the RMBS, Citigroup provided representations in offering documents about the characteristics of the underlying loans. As described below, in the due diligence process, Citigroup received information indicating that, for certain loan pools, significant percentages of the loans reviewed did not conform to the representations provided to investors about the pools of loans to be securitized.  Citigroup’s RMBS securitization process and representations In 2006 and 2007, Citigroup securitized and sold RMBS, through both “thirdparty” and “principal” transactions.  For “third-party” transactions, Citigroup served as an underwriter. In certain of those transactions, Citigroup served as the lead underwriter. In that role, Citigroup, among  other things, structured the transaction and sold RMBS certificates to investors. Citigroup acted as an underwriter through its wholly-owned subsidiary Citigroup Global Markets Inc. For “principal” transactions, Citigroup purchased groups or “pools” of loans from third parties prior to securitization and, in certain instances, originated the loans itself through another of its subsidiaries. Citigroup also acted as underwriter for certain of the principal transactions. Citigroup bought pools of mortgage loans from numerous lending  institutions, or “originators.” These lending institutions included Ameriquest Mortgage Company, Argent Mortgage Company LLC, Accredited Home Lenders, Inc., Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., New Century Mortgage Corporation, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and others. 
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In these transactions, Citigroup securitized the loans under its own shelf registration, such as its shelf  known as “Citigroup Mortgage Loan Trust Inc.” or “CMLTI.” In various RMBS offerings, Citigroup provided representations, or otherwise disclosed information, in certain offering documents, about the loans it securitized, telling investors that:
 Loans in the securitized pools were originated generally in accordance with the loan originator’s underwriting guidelines.
 Exceptions to those underwriting guidelines had been made when the originator identified  “compensating factors” at the time of origination.
 The securitization sponsor or originator (which, in certain instances, was Citigroup) represented that each loan had been originated in compliance with federal,  state, and local laws and regulations.
 The loans being securitized had various characteristics, such as loan-to-value ratios at origination within various ranges.

In the base prospectus for certain RMBS offerings, Citigroup further represented that it would not include any loan “if anything has come to [Citigroup’s] attention that would cause it to believe that the representations and warranties made in respect of such mortgage loan will not be accurate and complete in all material respects as of the date of initial issuance of the related series of securities.”  Citigroup’s due diligence process Citigroup reviewed due diligence results on loans prior to securitization.
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In principal transactions, before purchasing a pool of loans from a third-party originator, Citigroup conducted due diligence on those loans.  Citigroup typically conducted this due diligence by reviewing certain loans in the loan pool, rather than the entire pool. This sample was generally composed of certain loans from the pool with characteristics that Citigroup viewed as warranting review. Citigroup  would contract with a due diligence vendor to review the sampled loans. The vendor would “re-underwrite” the individual loan files in the sample.  Part of this review focused on “credit,” including whether the loan met the originator’s underwriting guidelines, or whether the originator had found the loan to possess sufficient “compensating factors” to warrant a deviation from the guidelines. Another part of this review was focused on “compliance,” to determine whether the loan had been originated in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. For each sampled loan reviewed for “credit” and “compliance,” the due diligence vendor assigned a grade. In general, the vendor graded a loan “EV1” when the loan was underwritten according to the applicable guidelines and originated in compliance with applicable laws. The vendor generally graded a loan as “EV2” when the loan did not comply with applicable underwriting guidelines, but nonetheless had sufficient compensating factors that the originator had found to justify the extension of credit. The vendor graded a loan “EV3” when the loan was not originated in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the loan did not comply with applicable underwriting guidelines and lacked the sufficient offsetting compensating factors, or the loan file was missing a key piece of documentation.  Citigroup obtained the results of the credit and compliance reviews from the due diligence vendors and was provided information about the number or percentage of loans in the sample that the vendor had graded EV3. Citigroup also was provided with the reasons that the vendor had assigned the EV3 grades, including the nature of the defects, such as 

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whether the borrower had unreasonable stated income, when the borrower’s credit score was below guidelines, when the ratios of loan-to-property value and debt-to-income exceeded the underwriting guidelines, and when the loan file reviewed was missing  documents or had inadequate documentation. Citigroup referred to EV3 loans as “kicks,” “kickouts,” or “rejects.” Citigroup also used a due diligence process to assess the reported values of the properties that served as collateral for the mortgage loans. This “valuation” review was intended to determine whether information about the property’s value sufficiently supported the reported value for the property. The valuation review was conducted by a vendor, using methods such as automated valuation models, broker price opinions, and appraisal reviews.  The vendor used one or more of these methods to calculate a valuation determination for the property being reviewed. Citigroup used thresholds or “tolerances” for the valuation firm to assess whether the information about the property’s value sufficiently supported the reported value as determined by an appraiser. Citigroup instructed the vendor to recommend the loan for rejection if the vendor’s valuation determination differed from the appraised value by more than 15 percent with respect to certain types of loans. In other words, Citigroup had an internal “tolerance” of up to 15 percent. This meant that Citigroup routinely accepted, for purposes of  the valuation review, specific types of loans for purchase and securitization when the valuation firm’s determination deviated by less than 15 percent from the reported appraised value. Citigroup’s thresholds further provided that if a valuation firm determined that the combined loan-to-value ratio for a loan exceeded 100 percent, the loan would be recommended  for rejection.  In third-party transactions, depending on the role played by Citigroup, Citigroup would work with due diligence vendors to perform diligence on samples of loans selected with
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the participation of the issuer or otherwise review reports from due diligence vendors retained by the issuer or other underwriters to the transaction.  Due diligence on Citigroup RMBS in 2006 and 2007 In 2006 and 2007, Citigroup’s due diligence vendors provided Citigroup with reports reflecting that the vendors had graded certain of the sampled loans as EV3. For numerous pools, the reports showed that the vendors had graded significant percentages of the sampled loans as EV3.1  In addition, Citigroup’s internal due diligence personnel reevaluated loan grades and subsequently directed the due diligence vendor to assign grades of EV1 or EV2 to loans as  to which Citigroup’s due diligence vendors had previously assigned grades of EV3. Certain of Citigroup’s main due diligence vendors would track when loans that they had graded as EV3 were “waived” in by Citigroup. Citigroup’s contemporaneous records did not in all cases document Citigroup’s reasons for directing the due diligence vendors to re-grade loans.  Further, in certain instances, Citigroup learned from the vendors conducting valuation due diligence that loans in particular loan pools exceeded Citigroup’s valuation tolerances. The vendors also reported that a number of the properties securing the loans had reported or appraised values that were higher than the vendors’ valuation determination. In certain instances, Citigroup securitized loans that its vendors had reported exceeded Citigroup’s valuation tolerances or where the vendor’s valuation determination exceeded the reported or appraised value.

1 There were loans in each of the RMBS reviewed by the Justice Department that did not comply with underwriting guidelines, including the securitizations set forth on Appendix 1, which the Justice Department determined to contain significant percentages of  defective loans.
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Examples In the following deals, Citigroup securitized loans, making representations of the type described earlier that the loans generally complied with underwriting guidelines or  had sufficient compensating factors, had been originated in compliance with law, and possessed certain characteristics.
1. In three CMLTI RMBS issued and underwritten by Citigroup in 2006, Citigroup’s due diligence vendors reported to Citigroup their findings that loans in the samples had not been originated in compliance with underwriting guidelines and with applicable federal law and regulations. Certain of these loans were missing documentation, such as HUD-1 documents that Citigroup had told the vendor were necessary. A due diligence report sent to Citigroup, after the re- underwriting was complete, showed that more than 12 percent of loans in the sample had been graded EV3. A due diligence report for another large pool, which contributed over 2,000 loans to another RMBS, showed that more than 29 percent of the sampled loans had been graded EV3. Citigroup securitized the loans from these pools that had not been rejected at the end of the due diligence process in the three RMBS. 

2. In an RMBS where Citigroup served as the lead underwriter in 2006, the due diligence report provided to Citigroup by its vendor showed that more than 25 percent of the loans in the sample reviewed for credit and compliance had been graded by the vendor as EV3 or were found to have missing file documents. Many of the loans did not comply with underwriting guidelines or represented exceptions to those guidelines: more than 67 percent were graded as EV2 by the vendor. The vendor graded only approximately 6 percent of the loans in the sample as EV1. Notwithstanding these results, Citigroup securitized loans from this pool in the RMBS. 

3. In a CMLTI RMBS issued and underwritten by Citigroup in 2007, the due diligence vendor initially reviewed a sample of loans selected based on certain criteria (the
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“adverse sample”). Early in the diligence process, the vendor notified Citigroup employees that it had graded over 44 percent of the adverse sample as EV3s. The vendor identified trends associated with its review of those loans and stated that, if the trends continued, it expected the pool to have an “unusually large” number and percentage of rejects.  Later in the due diligence process, the vendor asked Citigroup whether it would  be “prudent” to perform additional diligence based on a random sample, to determine whether the large number of “kick outs” were the result of the adverse selection method or reflective of the loans across the entire pool. Thereafter, the due diligence vendor advised Citigroup that it had graded over 32 percent of the random sample as EV3.  In addition, during the due diligence on the same loan pool, Citigroup’s due diligence personnel reevaluated certain of the vendor’s loan grades and directed the due diligence vendor to change some of those grades from an EV3 to an EV2 or EV1. The final report from the vendor graded approximately 20 percent of the sample as EV3.  Apart from the random sample, Citigroup did not conduct further due diligence to determine whether the remaining loans in the pool contained defects. Instead, Citigroup securitized loans from this pool in the RMBS.

4. In two CMLTI RMBS issued and underwritten by Citigroup in 2007, Citigroup’s due diligence vendor identified a number of loans that were outside of Citigroup’s valuation rules and tolerances. These included loans where the difference between the reported original appraisal and the vendor’s valuation determination exceeded 15 percent, or otherwise exceeded Citigroup’s thresholds. Citigroup also instructed the due diligence vendor to change the grades of loans that its vendor had recommended for rejection, following Citigroup’s review of those loans and loan grades. Citigroup then securitized hundreds of the loans that its vendor had identified as outside of Citigroup’s tolerances.
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In addition, early in the due diligence process, a trader at Citigroup wrote an internal email that indicated that he had reviewed a due diligence report summarizing loans that the due diligence vendor had graded as EV3s and had noted that “a lot” of these rejected loans had unreasonable income and values below the original appraisal, which resulted in combined loan- to-value in excess of 100 percent. The trader stated that he “went thru the Diligence Reports and think that we should start praying… I would not be surprised if half of these loans went down. There are a lot of loans that have unreasonable incomes, values below the original appraisals (CLTV would be >100), etc. It’s amazing that some of these loans were closed at all.”   Despite this trader’s observations, Citigroup securitized loans from this pool in the two RMBS.

5. In four CMLTI RMBS issued and underwritten by Citigroup in 2007, Citigroup securitized loans from two loan sellers.  Citigroup employees had been informed that in prior RMBS securitizations where the underlying loans were from the same companies, a significant number of loans had already gone into early default.  In addition, prior to the securitization of those four RMBS, Citigroup received additional information about the quality of mortgage underwriting at those companies. Prior to the issuance of the four RMBS in 2007, Citigroup had begun the process to acquire assets from one of the companies. As part of that acquisition, Citigroup conducted due diligence on the companies. As part of that due diligence, Citigroup received some of the company’s internal audit reports, and distributed them to, among others,  a Managing Director who was involved with Citigroup’s RMBS securitizations. The internal audit reports showed that the seller had itself found, in the prior year, that it lacked key internal controls over its quality assurance for loan production, and that substantial percentages of the loans failed to adhere to underwriting guidelines, which the seller itself labelled as “high risk.”
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Citigroup also conducted its own reviews of a sample of loans provided by the seller. In that process, Citigroup identified issues with the seller’s internal quality controls. During this time, Citigroup’s due diligence vendors graded a number of sampled loans, both from loan pools to be securitized and from loans funded through “warehouse” lines of credit, as EV3, including loans that the vendors found did not comply with applicable laws and regulations due to missing documentation. In certain instances, Citigroup’s due diligence personnel reevaluated certain of the vendors’ loan grades and instructed its due diligence vendor to change some of those grades from an EV3 to an EV2 or EV1.  Notwithstanding the information Citigroup had received about the companies’ loans, Citigroup purchased the loan pools and securitized loans from those pools in the four RMBS.

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CitiGroup Penalty “Largest of It’s Kind”! FINALLY Someone is Paying For Misleading Investors About Toxic Mortgages

Department of Justice

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/July/14-ag-733.html

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, July 14, 2014

Justice Department, Federal and State Partners Secure Record $7 Billion Global Settlement with Citigroup for Misleading Investors About Securities Containing Toxic Mortgages

Citigroup to Pay the Largest Penalty of Its Kind – $4 Billion

The Justice Department, along with federal and state partners, today announced a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup Inc. to resolve federal and state civil claims related to Citigroup’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) prior to Jan. 1, 2009.  The resolution includes a $4 billion civil penalty – the largest penalty to date under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).  As part of the settlement, Citigroup acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public – including the investing public – about the mortgage loans it securitized in RMBS.  The resolution also requires Citigroup to provide relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers and affected communities through a variety of means including financing affordable rental housing developments for low-income families in high-cost areas.  The settlement does not absolve Citigroup or its employees from facing any possible criminal charges.

This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group, which has recovered $20 billion to date for American consumers and investors.  

“This historic penalty is appropriate given the strength of the evidence of the wrongdoing committed by Citi,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “The bank’s activities contributed mightily to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008.  Taken together, we believe the size and scope of this resolution goes beyond what could be considered the mere cost of doing business.  Citi is not the first financial institution to be held accountable by this Justice Department, and it will certainly not be the last.”

 The settlement includes an agreed upon statement of facts that describes how Citigroup made representations to RMBS investors about the quality of the mortgage loans it securitized and sold to investors.  Contrary to those representations, Citigroup securitized and sold RMBS with underlying mortgage loans that it knew had material defects.  As the statement of facts explains, on a number of occasions, Citigroup employees learned that significant percentages of the mortgage loans reviewed in due diligence had material defects.  In one instance, a Citigroup trader stated in an internal email that he “went through the Diligence Reports and think[s] [they] should start praying . . . [he] would not be surprised if half of these loans went down. . . It’s amazing that some of these loans were closed at all.”  Citigroup nevertheless securitized the loan pools containing defective loans and sold the resulting RMBS to investors for billions of dollars.  This conduct, along with similar conduct by other banks that bundled defective and toxic loans into securities and misled investors who purchased those securities, contributed to the financial crisis.                                  

“Today, we hold Citi accountable for its contributing role in creating the financial crisis, not only by demanding the largest civil penalty in history, but also by requiring innovative consumer relief that will help rectify the harm caused by Citi’s conduct,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West.  “In addition to the principal reductions and loan modifications we’ve built into previous resolutions, this consumer relief menu includes new measures such as $200 million in typically hard-to-obtain financing that will facilitate the construction of affordable rental housing, bringing relief to families pushed into the rental market in the wake of the financial crisis.”

Of the $7 billion resolution, $4.5 billion will be paid to settle federal and state civil claims by various entities related to RMBS: Citigroup will pay $4 billion as a civil penalty to settle the Justice Department claims under FIRREA, $208.25 million to settle federal and state securities claims by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), $102.7 million to settle claims by the state of California, $92 million to settle claims by the state of New York, $44 million to settle claims by the state of Illinois, $45.7  million to settle claims by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and $7.35 to settle claims by the state of Delaware.

Citigroup will pay out the remaining $2.5 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers harmed by the unlawful conduct of Citigroup.  That relief will take various forms, including loan modification for underwater homeowners, refinancing for distressed borrowers, down payment and closing cost assistance to homebuyers, donations to organizations assisting communities in redevelopment and affordable rental housing for low-income families in high-cost areas.  An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether Citigroup is satisfying its obligations.  If Citigroup fails to live up to its agreement by the end of 2018,  it must pay liquidated damages in the amount of the shortfall to NeighborWorks America, a non-profit organization and leader in providing affordable housing and facilitating community development.  

The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of New York and the District of Colorado conducted investigations into Citigroup’s practices related to the sale and issuance of RMBS between 2006 and 2007.

“The strength of our financial markets depends on the truth of the representations that banks provide to investors and the public every day,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh for the District of Colorado, Co-Chair of the RMBS Working Group.  “Today’s $7 billion settlement is a major step toward restoring public confidence in those markets.  Due to the tireless work by the Department of Justice, Citigroup is being forced to take responsibility for its home mortgage securitization misconduct in the years leading up to the financial crisis.  As important a step as this settlement is, however, the work of the RMBS working group is far from done, we will continue to pursue our investigations and cases vigorously because many other banks have not yet taken responsibility for their misconduct in packaging and selling RMBS securities.”

“After nearly 50 subpoenas to Citigroup, Trustees, Servicers, Due Diligence providers and their employees, and after collecting nearly 25 million documents relating to every residential mortgage backed security issued or underwritten by Citigroup in 2006 and 2007, our teams found that the misconduct in Citigroup’s deals devastated the nation and the world’s economies, touching everyone,” said U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch.  “The investors in Citigroup RMBS included federally-insured financial institutions, as well as a host of states, cities, public and union pension and benefit funds, universities, religious charities, and hospitals, among others.  These are our neighbors in Colorado, New York and around the country, hard-working people who saved and put away for retirement, only to see their savings decimated.”

This settlement resolves civil claims against Citigroup arising out of certain securities packaged, securitized, structured, marketed, and sold by Citigroup.  The agreement does not release individuals from civil charges, nor does it release Citigroup or any individuals from potential criminal prosecution. In addition, as part of the settlement, Citigroup has pledged to fully cooperate in investigations related to the conduct covered by the agreement.

 Michael Stephens, Acting Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency said, “Citigroup securitized billions of dollars of defective mortgages, after which investors suffered enormous losses by purchasing RMBS from Citi not knowing about those defects. Today’s settlement is another significant step by FHFA-OIG and its law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who committed acts of fraud and deceit in the lead up to the financial crisis, and is a necessary step toward reviving a sound RMBS market that is crucial to the housing industry and the American economy.  We are proud to have worked with the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Eastern District of New York and the District of Colorado. They have been great partners and we look forward to our continued work together.”

The underlying investigation was led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard K. Hayes, Kevin Traskos, Lila Bateman, John Vagelatos, J. Chris Larson and Edward K. Newman, with the support of agents from the Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, in conjunction with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group.

The RMBS Working Group is a federal and state law enforcement effort focused on investigating fraud and abuse in the RMBS market that helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis.  The RMBS Working Group brings together more than 200 attorneys, investigators, analysts and staff from dozens of state and federal agencies including the Department of Justice, 10 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FHFA-OIG, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Federal Reserve Board’s Office of Inspector General, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and more than 10 state Attorneys General offices around the country.

The RMBS Working Group is led by its Director Geoffrey Graber and its five co-chairs: Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Leslie Caldwell, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement Andrew Ceresney, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Learn more about the RMBS Working Group and the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at: http://www.stopfraud.gov .

It Never Ceases to Amaze Me, The Stupidity of the Public

I swear!  It never ceases to amaze me, the stupidity of the public.  Everyone sitting around with their fingers in their asses while we are continually nuked!  What the f–k is wrong with people?  Is it Ok that you children’s children will be unrecognizable as humans?  What are you people thinking?

No one gives a shit!  What is going on?  Years ago, when 3-Mile Island was going on, people became afraid of nuclear reactors, and rightfully so.  Now, the horrible scary news about Fukushima, WIPP, and Hanford are just like totally ignored by you people!  Hell, I didn’t have kids, and I am more frantic about the situation than the people with kids, and grandkids.  What the fuck are you people paying attention to?  Nothing?

Yes, I am mad!  Mad as hell!  All the people that protested in the 60’s early 70’s what the hell are yall thinking?  Shit!  You would protest anything and everything, and now, it is suddenly ok to nuke everyone?  What the hell did you grow up to be?  A Senator or Congressman, protected from the radiation on earth?

I tell you what people…  If you don’t get out of your zombie states, and you own little world taking whatever kind of I don’t give a shit pills yall are taking, there won’t be nothing but radiation sickness, damaged genes, and the mutation of all mankind.

I don’t know what to tell yall!  I thought everyone snoozing through Foreclosure Hell was bad enough, but now they are literally killing us with an unseen toxin.  Do you really think you are immune?

Well, you’re not! 

Once Upon a Time…. I Thought the Worst We Had To Face Was Foreclosure Hell, I WAS WRONG!

Ya know, I used to think that Foreclosure Hell was the worst thing we in this Country had to face.  Wow, Was I Wrong!

I didn’t realize that just like in Japan, they will cook us to death with radiation, and not even bother to tell us.  I have condemned the Japanese for nuking the world and not telling us the truth about it, but fuck me, this country is doing the same thing.

While most people go about their daily business, they never think about the fact, that a pleasure of getting rained on is killing them.  We are the walking dead, and being asleep to the fact is just fucking us up more.

I would apologize for my slang, no, crude language, but something needs to wake these sleeping zombies up!

So, they are not only going to take every house they can get their grimy paws on, but they are going to continue the slow kill of humankind from the planet.  

It is not the kids growing up now that will suffer so much, it is like the butterfly test in Fukushima.  It is the children’s children that will be riddled with deformities. 

No matter what they try to tell us, we cannot be stupid, and believe that radiation is ok.  The thought of believing that, well, it is, stupid.  The sheeple that make up this country now, is amazing.  If the government says the radiation is not hurting us, we’ll just believe them.  Because the government says so?  Yall need to get out from under the rock, and out of the sun, cause damn!  You been drinking too much water with fluoride in it, for too long, and it has made you dumb!  I take that back, it has made you dumber than dirt!

For years, they have been doing things with the weather, with our food, with our prescriptions, our health!  They have taken healthy human beings and turned them into out of shape, fat slugs that have lives that are meant for cattle.  Chemtrails is no lie either.  What about HARP?  I guess that you also believe that 911 was not an inside job.

No, I am not a conspiracy theorist, I believe in taking what is put before me, studying it, seeing it for what it is, listening to scientists, listening to experts, and deducing my own opinion.  You see, we woke up.  We quit drinking the tap water.  We quit watching the regular news.  The news media is brainwashing you sheeple, which is not hard for them to do.

Terrorists are here, they are going to get you, so we have to militarize the Police forces.  These false flag shootings, are to outrage you sheeple, so that you will agree that guns are bad, and they can confiscate our guns.  We are told that our rights have to be taken, so that we can be protected from the terrorists, etc.,

If you are so blind you cannot see your nose on your face, you will not notice that Fannie Mae, and the banks are throwing our elderly out on the street.  Right now, in Goodyear, Arizona, and 83 year old woman and her 86 year old husband are being thrown out of their home.  No one cares.  In Colorado Springs, CO, an 82 year old woman is being thrown out of her home.  No one cares.

What the hell is wrong with you sheeple?  It’s not you, so it is Ok?  The Bank With the Most Homes in the End Wins, Get Used to It!!!

Sheeple Awaken! 

Judge rules secret FBI national security letters unconstitutional

CA Federal Judge Illston Sends FBI a Message

Judge rules secret FBI national security letters unconstitutional

fbiwarantless12z.jpg

Feb. 10, 2009: The main headquarters of the FBI, the J. Edgar Hoover Building, in Washington, DC.AP

A federal judge has struck down a set of laws allowing the FBI to issue so-called national security letters to banks, phone companies and other businesses demanding customer information.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said the laws violate the First Amendment and the separation of powers principles and ordered the government to stop issuing the secretive letters or enforcing their gag orders, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The FBI almost always bars recipients of the letters from disclosing to anyone — including customers — that they have even received the demands, Illston said in the ruling released Friday.

The government has failed to show that the letters and the blanket non-disclosure policy “serve the compelling need of national security,” and the gag order creates “too large a danger that speech is being unnecessarily restricted,” the San Francisco-based Illston wrote.

A Department of Justice spokesman told the Journal the department was “reviewing the order.”

FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the letters, which don’t require a judge’s approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The case arises from a lawsuit that lawyers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed in 2011 on behalf of an unnamed telecommunications company that received an FBI demand for customer information.

“We are very pleased that the court recognized the fatal constitutional shortcomings of the NSL statute,” EFF lawyer Matt Zimmerman said. “The government’s gags have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools. Our client looks forward to the day when it can publicly discuss its experience.”

Illston wrote that she was also troubled by the limited powers judges have to lift the gag orders.

Judges can eliminate the gag order only if they have “no reason to believe that disclosure may endanger the national security of the United States, interfere with a criminal counter-terrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interfere with diplomatic relations, or endanger the life or physical safety of any person.”

That provision also violated the Constitution because it blocks meaningful judicial review.

Illston ordered the FBI to cease issuing the letters, but put her order on hold for 90 days so the U.S. Department of Justice can appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Illston isn’t the first federal judge to find the letters troubling. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York also found the gag order unconstitutional, but allowed the FBI to continue issuing them if it made changes to its system such as notifying recipients they can ask federal judges to review the letters.

Illston ruled Friday that it’s up to Congress, and not the courts, to tinker with the letters.

In 2007, the Justice Department’s inspector general found widespread violations in the FBI’s use of the letters, including demands without proper authorization and information obtained in non-emergency circumstances. The FBI has tightened oversight of the system.

The FBI made 16,511 national security letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011, the latest data available. The FBI uses the letters to collect unlimited kinds of sensitive, private information like financial and phone records.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Gundersen: New development at Fukushima, “Essentially entire plant has a gamma ray haze over it… a haze of radioactive particles” — Tepco: It’s impossible to stop, using more shielding won’t help (AUDIO)

Published: January 16th, 2014 at 7:39 pm ET
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http://enenews.com/gundersen-new-development-at-fukushima-entire-plant-has-a-gamma-ray-haze-over-it-a-haze-of-radioactive-particles-tepco-its-impossible-to-stop-using-mroe-shielding-wont-help-audio
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Interview with nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education, Power Hour, Jan. 16, 2014: “The most fascinating new thing is there’s a gamma ray haze over the plant. Gamma rays are like x-rays. Essentially, the entire plant has a gamma ray haze over it to the tune of about 1,000 millirem a year […] There’s essentially a haze of radioactive particles.”

Tepco Press Conference with summary translation by Fukushima Diary, Jan. 10, 2014: There is no way to shield Bremsstrahlung from contaminated water tanks, Tepco stated […] shielded by water and the tank material, it turns into Bremsstrahlung. […] it is technically impossible to shield each tank. Even if they put the shielding material inside of the tanks, it also causes Bremsstrahlung. […]

From last week: Radiation jumps at Fukushima plant — Now almost 1,000% previous levels — Officials knew of increase but ‘too busy’ to do anything

More about Bremsstrahlung: Gundersen: Fukushima tanks releasing x-rays in very high quantities offsite — Exposure to people outside plant is very, very high from ‘Bremsstrahlung’ phenomenon — Hundreds of tanks could easily start leaking after quake (VIDEO)

Closer to the Truth on Fukushima

Inside Sources: Fukushima crisis “actually far worse than anyone acknowledged… information withheld to prevent panic” – Professor: “Level of radiation was far worse than Navy officers anticipated” – US gov’t shredded documents for 4 days while drawing up plans to evacuate Japan — “Somebody was obviously very worried”

 
Published: April 5th, 2014 at 5:51 pm ET 
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Japan Times, Jeff Kingston of Temple Univ., Apr. 4, 2014: Kyle Cleveland, my colleague […] recently published a report […] a critical, but nuanced picture of a crisis that was closer to careening out of control than is generally acknowledged. […] Naval officers […] discovered the level of radiation was far worse than they anticipated. Radiation gauges on the [USS Reagan] measured levels of radiation at 100 nautical miles off the coast that were 30 times greater than normal. [Sailors report] significant health problems due to exposure to radiation […] Cleveland finds that there was considerable disagreement between various U.S. agencies about the severity of the risk […] Given that the U.S. government expanded the exclusionary zone in Fukushima to 80 km and developed contingency plans for a massive evacuation while shredding of documents continued for four days at the U.S. Embassy and military bases in Japan, somebody was obviously very worried. […] Some of his insider sources tell him that the crisis was actually far worse than anyone acknowledged at the time and that information was withheld to prevent a panic. Cleveland concludes that Japan’s nuclear reactors should not be restarted.

Professor Kyle Cleveland, Temple University Japan: “[The navy was] more risk averse than either the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) or State, and from day one was ringing alarms that were not entirely understood, not completely validated and not well received by the NRC and State. The navy was pushing the other federal agencies to take more aggressive actions because their radiation measurements were indicating dose rates that were more significant than what was implied by the abstract modeling […]”

Unidentified US Nuclear Expert: “Without a qualitatively different regulatory system, and in light of how Japan/Tepco responded to this crisis, Japan has not earned the right to have nuclear energy. No critically minded and informed person can evaluate this disaster and look at how Japan has responded in the aftermath and have any confidence that Japan will use nuclear energy safely. In the most seismically active country […] even if Japan had a robust regulatory structure and thoroughly integrated crisis protocols, nature conspires against the best-laid-plans of human institutions. And what Japan has is certainly not the best plan by any measure.”

See also: Anonymous U.S. Gov’t Nuclear Expert: Fukushima radiation levels were “astronomical… nothing containing release of radioactivity, it’s an unmitigated, unshielded number”