Is the Seattle Police Intelligence Auditor Doing His Job?

Meet the Auditor Who Rarely Presents His Own Audits


Ansel- Thanks for the report. I would expect at least some questions about the auditing methods from Seattle City council.
So, Ansel, have you had any time to read that Tunnel project report yet?
Last year, I e-mailed the Seattle City Council committee charged with police oversight about this, but I received no response, and observed no reaction on their part.

Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2013 08:37:29 -0800
From: Phil Mocek
To: "Seattle City Council Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee": Sally Bagshaw, Bruce Harrell, Nick Licata, Mike O'Brien
Subject: Seattle Police Intelligence Auditors' reports

Councilmembers Bagshaw, Harrell, Licata, and O'Brien:

I am writing to suggest that some additional attention be paid to Seattle Police Department's roughly-semi-annual Police Intelligence Audit reports and to encourage you to follow up on Councilmember Harrell's and Councilmember O'Brien's expressed desire to have the auditor himself attend an upcoming committee meeting.

More detail on the above follows:

During the April 4, 2012, meeting of the Public Saf…, Councilmembers O'Brien and Harrell expressed surprise that the December 2011 Report of the Police Intelligence Auditor (C.F. 312091), was not presented by the auditor himself, but by a member of the organization being audited (Seattle Police Department) and expressed the desire for the auditor to so in the future. At 62m48s into the meeting, Councilmember O'Brien stated, "It would be interesting in next year, if it's not completely inconvenient, for David or whoever would be doing it then to be at the table, just for us to pick up body language and comments." Then, at 63m05s, Councilmember Harrell stated, "I'll be very candid with you. This is not-- I've been involved in a lot of audits, even before I've been on the Council, and on the Council [...] But it seems a little unusual that the auditor isn't presenting the findings of the audit."

Despite those statements, at the September 9, 2012, meeting of the commit…, last item of business, the July 2012 Report of the Police Intelligence Auditor (C.F. 312548), which was introduced at 140m00s, was presented again by Eric Barden of Seattle Police Department. The auditor was again absent, and the report was approved without a bit of discussion.

I hope you will invite Police Intelligence Auditor David Boerner to join you for presentation of his next audit report so that both you and the public can get a better feel for just what these audits entail and to ensure that Council, by way of Mr. Barden, by way of Mr. Boerner, are simply rubber-stamping activities that the people designated long ago as deserving of careful audit.

I found several anomalies in past audit reports: The June 2011, December 2011, and July 2012, reports (C.F. 311750, 312091, and 312548, respectively) each state that the "Last audit ended with a review of authorization number 10-A02." The 2009 report and August 2010 reports (C.F 310387 and 311542) each state that the last authorization from the previous report was 08-A03. These repetitions, objectively inaccurate, suggest to me that data from each report was carelessly copied to the next. The August 2007 report (C.F. 308899) was presented to the Public Safety, Governmental Relations and Arts Committee on December 13, 2007, then again 10 weeks later on February 22, 2008 to the Public Safety, Human Services & Education Committee. This causes me concern about the attention given to these reports.

I encourage you to explore two classes, in particular, of information audited in this process:

Given the small number of authorizations for collection of restricted information reviewed in each audit (there have been between two and five authorizations for each of the past eight audits), it seems reasonable to ask the auditor to summarize rationale for each of the authorizations he audits. As you know, these authorizations are required by SMC 14.12.160 and activities which require them are defined in SMC 14.12.030. It seems to me that these are special exceptions to otherwise-unacceptable information collection (e.g., information collected using informants or infiltrators, information about someone's sexual orientation, religious belief, or political affiliation, information about someone's participation in political demonstration, etc.) and that we should remain vigilant in reviewing our peace officers' self-authorizations to engage in such activities.

I think it would be enlightening to learn what information is shared by SPD staff via the Seattle Shield program, whose members I understand Seattle-area public utilities, the U.S. ….

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter, and for all the good work you do.

Phil Mocek

Perhaps it's time to reorganize the position of auditor to better make use of the OPA's resources. It seems to me that the interests of the OPA and the intelligence auditor are fairly well aligned. The auditor would probably benefit from having administrative support from the OPA at a minimum.
Perhaps you get what you pay for.
It would be good for the public to help review these reports. They are about police department use of infiltrators and informants, as well as their collection of "restricted information" like people's political or religious associations, activities, beliefs, and opinions, the membership, mailing, subscription, or contributor lists of political, religious, civil rights, and civil liberties organizations, and people's membership and participation in such organizations and in political or religious demonstrations.

The auditor's reports are public (see samples in my e-mail @3), though the materials he reviews are not.
The moral of the story is that SPD can't be trusted, especially if they're breaking the law, sneaking around taking pictures they're not supposed to and spying on law abiding citizens. Since moving to Washington, everything I've read about SPD would lead any reasonable person to distrust the department.
Seattle continues to be held hostage by its proven corrupt police department thanks to this mayor and city council.