At least 25 federal agencies have implemented a system to track religious exemption requests for mandated vaccines, according to a review of Federal Register notices. The agencies include the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, the Treasury, the Social Security Administration, the Federal Election Commission.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative group, earlier this week found that 19 agencies were either considering or have already implemented the tracking system. The group warned that the system may be a test pilot plan to monitor all federal workers. A TruthNewsNetwork review of Federal Register notices identified six additional agencies and confirmed that a total of 25 are actively tracking religious exemption requests from employees of federal agencies along with any contractors, consultants, interns, and volunteers associated with them.
Due to the Biden administration’s choice of the little-known Pretrial Services Agency to implement the database, The Heritage Foundation called the system a “test run” for a nationwide database of all religious exemption requests made by federal workers. The Pretrial Services Agency gathers information and makes recommendations about newly arrested defendants in the federal criminal system.
“It is likely the Biden administration is using these agencies to stealth test a policy it intends to roll out across the whole government,” attorneys for the foundation wrote in an analysis of the tracking system. Notices of the new tracking system were only made public in the Federal Register, the daily journal of the federal government. News of the system drew criticism from conservative officials.
“The Biden Administration must immediately dismantle the Orwellian Database,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote in a public comment he posted on regulations.gov. “There is no freedom under our Constitution more sacred than the freedom of religious expression and practice.” He called the move “alarming” and said it had “a chilling effect on a citizen’s exercise of religion.” The attorney general directed his comments specifically to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “Rather than give the public ample time to weigh in on the advisability or legality of collecting such personal information, the Department of Transportation’s database, in particular, became effective on the day it was published,” Schmitt said.
None of the notices published in the Federal Register announcing the tracking systems state why the religious exemptions were being tracked or what the Biden administration plans to do with the information collected. Descriptions of the religious exemption tracking system don’t specifically name the COVID-19 vaccination as one of the mandates. However, the notices do state that the new system is in response to guidelines issued by the newly created Safer Federal Workforce Task Force under Biden’s executive order that established the nationwide COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“This system of records maintains personal religious information collected in response to religious accommodation requests for religious exception from the federally mandated vaccination requirement in the context of a public health emergency or similar health and safety incident, such as a pandemic, epidemic, natural disaster or national or regional,” one of the notices reads. The tracking system will include names and personal religious information, according to the notices.
“As the nation’s largest employer, with over four million civilian and military employees, the federal government has received tens of thousands of religious exemption requests,” The Heritage Foundation wrote in its updated report. “It now appears that an increasing number of federal agencies are keeping and preserving those individuals’ names, religious information, personally-identifying information, and other data stored in lists across multiple government agencies.”
Last week, the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s executive order that mandated a COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing workers at private businesses with more than 100 employees. The court didn’t overturn the vaccination mandate for health care workers or military members. Those employees can only avoid the COVID-19 vaccine by applying for a religious exemption.
If you feel like this tracking of Americans who have filed vaccine religious exemptions is something new (or different) for the federal government, think again:
The government secretly orders Google to track anyone searching certain names, addresses, and phone numbers
In an attempt to track down criminals, federal investigators have started using new “keyword warrants” and used them to ask Google to provide them information on anyone who searched a victim’s name or their address during a particular year, an accidentally unsealed court document that Forbes found shows.
Google has to respond to thousands of warrant orders each year, but the keyword warrants are a relatively new strategy used by the government and are controversial.
“Trawling through Google’s search history database enables police to identify people merely based on what they might have been thinking about, for whatever reason, at some point in the past,” Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, told Forbes. “This never-before-possible technique threatens First Amendment interests and will inevitably sweep up innocent people, especially if the keyword terms are not unique and the time frame is not precise. To make matters worse, police are currently doing this in secret, which insulates the practice from public debate and regulation,” she added.
The government said that the scope of the warrants is limited to “avoid implicating innocent people who happen to search for certain terms,” but it’s not publicly disclosed how many users’ data are sent to the government and what the extent of the warrant requests are.
Google has defended its decision to respond to the warrants and said it protects users when doing so. “As with all law enforcement requests, we have a rigorous process that is designed to protect the privacy of our users while supporting the important work of law enforcement,” a Google spokesperson said.
“Big Brother’s” Not Done Yet
Here are thirteen “other” ways the federal government keeps tabs on Americans. And they’ve been doing so for years:
One. The National Security Agency (NSA) collects hundreds of millions of emails, texts, and phone calls every day and has the ability to collect and sift through billions more. WIRED just reported NSA is building an immense new data center that will intercept, analyze and store even more electronic communications from satellites and cables across the nation and the world. Though NSA is not supposed to focus on US citizens, it does.
Two. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) has more than 1.5 billion government and private sector records about US citizens collected from commercial databases, government information, and criminal probes.
Three. The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times recently reported that the cellphones of private individuals in the US are being tracked without warrants by state and local law enforcement all across the country. With more than 300 million cellphones in the US connected to more than 200,000 cell phone towers, cellphone tracking software can pinpoint the location of a phone and document the places the cellphone user visits over the course of a day, week, month, or longer.
Four. More than 62 million people in the US have their fingerprints on file with the FBI, state, and local governments. This system, called the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), shares information with 43 states and 5 federal agencies. This system conducts more than 168,000 checks each day.
Five. Over 126 million people have their fingerprints, photographs, and biographical information accessible on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT). This system conducts about 250,000 biometric transactions each day. The goal of this system is to provide information for national security, law enforcement, immigration, intelligence, and other Homeland Security Functions.
Six. More than 110 million people have their visas and more than 90 million have their photographs entered into the U.S. Department of State Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). This system grows by adding about 35,000 people a day. This system serves as a gateway to the Department of State Facial Recognition system, IDENT, and IAFSIS.
Seven. DNA profiles on more than 10 million people are available in the FBI coordinated Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) National DNA Index.
Eight. Information on more than 2 million people is kept in the Intelligence Community Security Clearance Repository, commonly known as Scattered Castles. Most of the people in this database are employees of the Department of Defense (DOD) and other intelligence agencies.
Nine. The DOD also has an automated biometric identification system (ABIS) to support military operations overseas. This database incorporates fingerprint, palm print, face, and iris matching on 6 million people and is adding 20,000 more people each day.
Ten. Information on over 740,000 people is included in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) of the National Counterterrorism Center. TIDE is the U.S. government’s central repository of information on international terrorist identities. The government says that less than 2 percent of the people on file are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. They were just given permission to keep their non-terrorism information on U.S. citizens for a period of five years, up from 180 days.
Eleven. Tens of thousands of people are subjects of facial recognition software. The FBI has been working with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and other state and local law enforcement on facial recognition software in a project called “Face Mask.” For example, the FBI has provided thousands of photos and names to the North Carolina DMV which runs those against their photos of North Carolina drivers. The Maricopa Arizona County Sheriff’s Office alone records 9,000 biometric mug shots a month.
Twelve. The FBI operates the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (SAR) that collects and analyzes observations or reports of suspicious activities by local law enforcement. With over 160,000 suspicious activity files, SAR stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime but who are alleged to have acted suspiciously.
Thirteen. The FBI admits it has about 3,000 GPS tracking devices on cars of unsuspecting people in the US right now, even after the US Supreme Court decision authorizing these only after a warrant for probable cause has been issued.
Yes, some call people who actually believe that George Orwell got it right about “Big Brother” in his novel 1984 “conspiracy theorists,” and the belief that the federal government is actually surveilling private Americans a “conspiracy theory.” Call it what you will, it actually IS happening.
How do we know that?
Besides the above verified, documented, and truthful information, put on your memory cap: remember the fraudulent affidavit filed by FBI Director James Comey to beg the FISA Court to issue a warrant to surveil the Donald Trump campaign headquarters? That application for that warrant contained fraudulent information that the FBI added to illegally obtain that warrant!
That is not “opinion.” It actually happened…and it happened again…and it happened again…and it happened one more time!
And it continues to happen in scary numbers of ways that we have no idea are being used.
Big Brother’s real.