Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet (2022) s01e06 Episode Script

The Stingray, Part 2

´╗┐1
My involvement with Daniel
ends when I go off on the run.

I realized that
I wanted to commit tax fraud
and try to get enough money up
to run down to Brazil.

I got to Dallas,
stole $67,000 in Dallas.

Bought a Jeep Cherokee.

I went on a Route 66 trip,
a bit of fraud upon fraud,
got to Las Vegas.

Stole $160,000 out of ATMs there.

Oceanside, California, another 150,000.

Los Angeles for another 120,000.

And back to Las Vegas,
where I stole $160,000 that night.

Woke up the next morning,
signed on to cartersmarket.
com.

There is my name,
"US Most Wanted" beside of it.

I sat there, I stared at it.

Took me a minute to click on it.

I didn't want to.

There was my picture.

First time my picture
had been shown on any criminal website.

There was my picture, my real name,
and a link to
the United States Secret Service.

So here I am, "United States Most Wanted,
Las Vegas, Nevada.
"
What do I do?
Idiot goes to Disney World.

Went to Disney World,
bought the year pass,
rented a timeshare for nine months.

Figured I'd lay low for a year
and then bug out to Brazil at that point.

Lasted six weeks.

Secret Service came and got me,
arrested me, sent me to prison,
and served out my time, finally.

Yeah, that's idiot.

After The Hacker gets away
after the FedEx Kinko's drop,
what happens next?
Well, after that, there was kind of
a little bit of a lull in the case.

We were able to get surveillance video
of him walking in,
but he had a hood on and a jacket,
so he concealed his face.

He was very detailed
about being anonymous.

The most positive thing about the case
is it wasn't a bust that night
because we still had our CI communicating
with him through encrypted email.

We instructed our CI not to engage him.

Like, "Hey, did you get the money?
Did you get it? Everything go okay?"
Told him,
"Don't mention anything about it.
"
"Just play it as if nothing.
"
Anytime you lose $68,000,
you're a little disappointed.

Fortunately, it did buy us
a lot of street cred with him.

I think it built up
a lot of rapport with him.

It solidified
our position as a fellow bad guy
because The Hacker
got his $68,000, no muss, no fuss.

Now, things seem to be
running very smoothly.

He's continuing to file
tax returns into our undercover account.

It's growing and growing over time.

The undercover team
then advised The Hacker
that we had a friend
in the banking industry
who could look the other way
and handle very large sums of money.

And then The Hacker filed even more
fraudulent returns with the IRS,
directing that the refunds be now
directed to our undercover account.

The other thing that
we were able to tell The Hacker was
is that this account was so magical,
if he had any funds
that were stuck anywhere in the country,
you could possibly transfer them
and then we could get
his money to him that way.

The Hacker then sent the undercover agents
a list of other accounts
that the IRS did not know about.

He made claims for over $5,000,000
and then the amount received
was over $1.
9 million.

The IRS's fraud detection center
was monitoring all the IP addresses
that were being used for the returns
being put into our undercover account.

From what I understand,
he was, what I guess you call
"spoofing" or "proxying" the IP addresses.

He was mask basically hiding them.

But then, we got a break.

One of the IP addresses
on one of the returns he did,
he let slip through,
and we were able to capture it,
and we were able to determine
it came back to a Verizon aircard.

In 2008,
before the miracle of Wi-Fi,
you could get what was called an aircard,
that you could put into a computer
and then your computer
could then connect to the Internet.

An aircard was like a mobile device
that you'd put into your laptop.

So it had a designated phone number
through, like, Verizon or AT&T.

And that's what you'd use
to get on the Internet.

You know, like what we see
with the hotspots now.

You start to see a pattern
that when The Hacker sends
the undercover team an email,
the aircard is operating
at that exact time.

We need to find this aircard.

That's our holy grail at this point.

I didn't think
that they would just let me walk.

I thought that if there was
a sting operation at that Kinko's,
they would have, like, tried to grab me
or like, pulled guns out and
told me to stop or something like that.

So, when I got home, I thought,
"No, probably wasn't agents.
"
"I was probably just paranoid about it.
"
"There's no way I would have
gotten away with that.
"
But I was also concerned about
how much exposure I was giving myself.

I just felt like it would be safer
if I'd got out of the city for a while.

So I would go backpacking
in Big Sur for like, long periods of time.

I would hike off-trail to other areas
that were more secluded.

And Big Sur is basically just living out
of a big 65-liter backpacking backpack.

So I would have a tent
and a sleeping bag, camping gear.

There is a sense of loneliness when
you just kind of dump your identity
and assume some other identity.

It makes you think, "Where is this going?"
And, "What's the end goal?"
I was thinking, you know,
maybe I should just stop all this
and lay low and live out
a simple quiet life somewhere.

I would just make enough money
where I could move from the US
to some other country
and not have to work
and just live off of that money.

And then I wouldn't have to basically
participate in society
to any significant degree.

At that point, my overall mission was
"I'm just going to withdraw
completely from the system.
"
We got subpoenas to get
the access to that aircard information.

And it came back to a person
in the name of Travis Rupard
with a P.
O.
Box
somewhere up in the Bay Area.

I was able to get the copy
of the P.
O.
Box application.

I ran the driver's license on the ID,
and it was not a legitimate number.

One of the IRS agents I worked with,
they were able to determine Travis Rupard
had filed an identity theft report,
his identity was stolen.

Verizon had historical records
of the aircard communicating
with cell towers.

And then an FBI agent
did an analysis of the data
of what cell towers
the aircard was communicating with.

It came to Santa Clara, California.

You do know, guys, that there
were some element of this case
that we weren't allowed to disclose,
there's some technology,
investigative technology, right?
- Was that?
- Yeah.

All right, you know we can't discuss that,
Through investigative means,
we were able to determine
that he lived in an apartment complex
right by Santa Clara University.

Coincidentally, this apartment complex is
three blocks away from a Caltrain station.

Now, we could not determine
the exact unit he was in.

So I went to the post office,
I was able to get the names of the people
that get mail at those locations.

We got all the water billing information.

You have to provide an identification,
your ID or driver's license.

For one of the units, the ID that
was given to Santa Clara, was a bad ID.

I'm like, "Okay, now we're in business.
"
He rented that unit
under "Stephen Travis Brawner,"
and the ID on the photo
fit the same description
of the person that picked up the money.

I interviewed the apartment manager.

I said,
"How does that person pay his rent?"
He's like,
"He always pays with money orders.
"
I said, "Have you met him?"
She's like, "You know what,
I have never ever seen that person ever.
"
So I'm like, "All right.

Now we got something going.
"
Then we obtain what was called
an "anytime, no-knock warrant.
"
One of our greatest concerns was,
if the investigators knocked on the door,
he could press a button
and all of his computers would be wiped.

A significant amount of the evidence
would be destroyed.

We tell The Hacker that, now,
his next cut is approximately $352,000.

He provided us the same
instructions on how to send the box to him
then he told us,
"Okay, go ahead and ship it.
"
We were anticipating
the long game on this one.

We set up 24 hours a day,
seven days a week surveillance
on his apartment.

We also had an agent in between
his apartment complex
and the Caltrain station.

And we had guys
set up at the Kinko's 24/7.

As far as he knows, that package
has been shipped, delivered,
and he thinks it's sitting
in a cage at a FedEx Kinko's.

It was four days,
and he still hadn't shown up.

Four days.

What does that tell you
about his patience and resolve?
I chose to work
the graveyard shift at the Kinko's
because I wanted to arrest this guy.

On the fourth day, it was around
two o'clock in the afternoon
Our subject
walks out of the security gate
for the apartment complex
out onto the main street.

The FBI agent follows him,
but when he walks out of the apartment
complex with the security gate,
it clanks behind him.

Our subject sees
the same guy he saw in the courtyard
on the street with him.

Now he's getting nervous.

They were involved
in this cat-and-mouse game
with this guy near the apartment complex.

Hey.
No, I lost him.

I don't know where the hell he is.

Fortuitously,
a local marked unit police car
just happens to be driving by.

The FBI agent says,
"Hey, we're following somebody,
would you help us take him into custody?"
They didn't know if he was The Hacker.

They didn't know if he was
associated with the apartment,
all they knew was this guy looks like
the guy that rented the apartment
and he's taking sophisticated
counter-surveillance moves
as we're trying to follow him.

Hey, he's here! That's him, that's him!
I just took off on,
like, a really fast sprint,
but as I'm running across the street,
another Santa Clara Police Department car
very ever-so-slightly taps, like,
the side of my leg,
and I trip and fall down.

And at that point,
it was pretty much over with.

One of them jumped
on top of me and was like,
"Let me see your hands.
"
He was banging my hands
on the concrete so hard,
my hands were scraped up and
gravel was embedded in my fingers.

The palms of my hands
were in really bad shape.

He had no identification on him.
None.

But he did have a set of keys.

So the FBI agent took those keys,
went back to the apartment complex.

All he did was
put the keys in the door of the unit
that we suspected he came out of,
and they fit perfectly.

The computer experts and the search team
then descend upon the apartment.

There is the aircard sitting on a table
attached to a computer.

This is the aircard
that we've been looking for.

Unfortunately for The Hacker,
when he left the apartment,
he didn't turn his computer off,
and it was up and running.

So when the IRS CI computer expert
sat down at the computer
and pressed "return,"
she was in.

When the $68,000 was sent
to the original FedEx Kinko's,
the agents copied down
all the serial numbers
for every single hundred dollar bill.

And, approximately, I think,
48,000 of that 68,000
was sitting in a closet in the apartment.

We also found a significant amount
of gold coins and silver coins,
numerous prepaid debit cards,
numerous false identifications,
all types of equipment
to manufacture false identifications.

The IRS computer experts
searching the computer
for evidence in the case
found a storage unit
under another false identity.

At that storage unit,
what we found was
right out of a Jason Bourne movie.

He had, from the State Department,
a facially valid US passport
with his photograph on it
in the name of a deceased person.

If we had missed
The Hacker at that apartment,
if he had been spooked
and he had gotten away from us,
he could have gotten on a plane
and disappeared,
and we would have never captured him.

Once we arrest him,
we took him back to the police department
and attempted to interview him.

At this point, we don't know who he is.

They asked him his name
and he refuses to cooperate at this point,
and says nothing except,
"You can call me 'sir.
'"
I said,
"You're not going anywhere.
"
"You're not gonna be able to leave,
so you're going in as a John Doe.
"
I could not, for the life of me,
figure out why he just
wouldn't give me his real name.

I just asked him,
"Why won't you give me your name?"
And he goes, "What's in a name?"
And I said, "What's in a name?
Everything's in a name.
"
"My parents gave me this name.

I'm proud of this name.
"
Then, for some odd reason, I could tell
he got a little upset about that.

I would not give them a name.

I didn't give them any information at all.

My hands were so injured from that arrest
that the machine
wouldn't register my prints.

I actually had to wait like a week
for my hands to heal
in order to finally
take me to the US Marshals
and get me printed in their system
to find out who I was.

Turns out, he was involved
in some Beanie Babies fraud years before
and so at that point in time
we were able to then identify him
as Daniel David Rigmaiden.

This guy's The Hacker.

I'm like, "This is the guy,
the guy behind the curtain.
"
We were chasing this guy
for a year and a half.

We got him.

How much money
had you taken from the IRS at that point?
Uh I think it was probably
around half a million dollars
in gold and cash and everything.

They claimed a lot more
only because they factored in tax returns
where I never actually got the money.

Money that had been locked up by banks.

Because a lot of times,
banks would suspect something is going on.

Here's what I think
the federal investigators say.

1,900 tax returns filed online
yielding four million dollars
sent to 170-plus bank accounts.

Yeah, it's way exaggerated.

The final number was around
like two million or $2.
2 million
or something like that.

I think that four-million-dollar amount
is what I attempted to take.

We issued him
a 50-count indictment.

Mail fraud, wire fraud,
access device fraud, tax fraud,
fraud against the government,
aggravated identity theft.

With all these counts and charges
and the loss amount,
he was potentially looking at anywhere
from 14 to 17 years in prison.

Marshals sent me to Florence, Arizona
at a private detention facility out there
ran by Corrections Corporation of America.

One thing I remember
you saying to me one time
is that even as you're being arrested,
you had the feeling that they cheated.

I just knew that there was no way
that they could have caught me.

There's no way that
they would have found my residence.

Nobody knew that I lived there.

They never followed me back to my house.

That was what bothered me.

There is a big question in my mind
about what they had actually done.

I knew they tracked the aircard
just because there was no other weak link.

But I I didn't know how.

My court-appointed attorney
gave me a copy
of the search warrant affidavit
that they used to get the search warrant
to search my apartment physically.

And there was a small paragraph in there
about how they used some type of, like,
cell site information
to locate the aircard.

But cell site information
isn't accurate enough
to get down to a specific apartment.

So they said cell site information
and "other investigative techniques.
"
So the mystery was, what were those
other investigative techniques?
That's what I wanted to figure out.

The very first thing that I did is
I started writing down my theory
of how they actually located the aircard.

I would work on this document,
and it was more than
just writing down how it was done,
I had written diagrams,
and I drew pictures of, like,
cell towers, cell phone networks.

I started talking to another guy in there
at CCA named John Wigglesworth,
and he always said,
"Well, this sounds like they needed
some type of, like,
electronic surveillance order,
a wiretap, or a trap and trace,
or pen register.
"
He said, "They needed something
in order to do this.
"
"You can't just, like, go in and do that.
"
I knew the Fourth Amendment
came into play.

The Fourth Amendment protects your right
against unreasonable search and seizure.

It generally requires law enforcement
to get a search warrant,
which means they've gone to a judge,
they've shown probable cause,
and they've shown
a particular place to be searched
and convince the judge
to issue the warrant.

All of the old cases concerning
the Fourth Amendment
have always concerned property,
search of your house, or your person,
search of your pockets, the search
of a jacket, the search of your car.

Only in the last ten years
were the courts starting to weigh in on
"What does it mean that everybody has
a computer in their pocket
by means of a smartphone?"
And at the time when
Rigmaiden was litigating this,
there was very little case law
and very little precedent
on what the legal standards would be.

And John Wigglesworth recommended
that I go down to the law library
and, like, do some research,
and figure it out on my own
because attorneys aren't
going to do anything for you out here,
based on his experience.

So I felt like it would be better
if I represented myself.

I was a prosecutor
for approximately 25 years.

Generally, when someone
represents themselves,
for me, it's going to be
a huge pain in the rear.

As a defendant,
when you decide to go pro se,
the court gives you
a very strict admonishment.

Like, "This isn't generally good for you.
"
"It is your right, but, you know,
you could use the help.
"
It's generally stupid,
just flat-out stupid to go pro se.

He was a very zealous
advocate on his behalf.

And that's not uncommon
for pro se defendants.

But I think what makes him different
is that he actually was able
to get information revealed.

I suspected some type
of high-tech cell phone tracking.

But it was just a theory.

I couldn't go to the court with that.

I needed actual documentation
proving that they had done these things.

So I started putting in, like,
massive discovery requests
to the government,
asking them for documents
on how they track cell phones down
and everything else.

They ended up delivering
file box after file box.

A lot of it wasn't relevant
to what I was trying to do,
but what I did need was,
like, buried in there somewhere.

So I had to go through every single page.

Rigmaiden is in custody.

He's in a pre-trial detention facility,
which does not allow visitors,
and he has nothing to do all day,
every day, seven days a week.

I'd go through it page by page
and read whatever's on there,
waiting to find something.

And I eventually finally found a document
that talked about the cell phone tracking.

What happened was,
in the notes that were turned over
to Rigmaiden in the discovery,
an agent mentioned the term "Stingray.
"
In that report,
I mentioned a device called a Stingray.

I use that as a general term like
a good comparison,
when someone instead of saying tissue,
says, "Kleenex.
"
I see the word "Stingray,"
and it's at that point that I know
that I found what I was looking for.

A postal inspector had screwed up,
and in a single email sent to an FBI agent
used the term "Stingray" once.

That was the only signal Rigmaiden had
that a Stingray had been used.

It's kind of funny because Rigmaiden,
during all the criminal proceedings,
referred to my report
as the "Wilson Report.
"
I'd basically just
multiplied my discovery requests,
focusing it on Stingray technology.

And I also started
thinking about strategies
to search the Internet on this term
and see what I can come up with.

- You're not connected.

- I didn't have a computer at that point.

There was this carrier pigeon
Internet protocol that took place,
where his outside shadow counsel
would do a Google search
and give the printout to Rigmaiden,
and then Rigmaiden would circle
the things that he wanted to look at
and hand it back to his shadow counsel,
who'd then print out the result of that
and then take them back to Rigmaiden.

It had taken me years
to actually get the data sheet,
and in that data sheet,
had all the information
that verified my original theories
from years prior
about how the government
located my aircard.

This is the document
that I'd been waiting for.

This is what's going to get me
out of this place.

I've been pushing back
and fighting against
government surveillance for years,
and you get letters from people
who think that they're being tracked.

And many of them
are just straight-up crazy.

Many of them are behind bars
and are looking for any ray of hope
that will get them out.

In 2011, I get this email
Two minutes in,
I had an "Oh, shit!" moment.

And I knew that he had the goods.

Stingray was not, like, a well-known term.

Definitely in the government
people knew what it was,
but the general public was not
largely aware of what a Stingray was.

A Stingray is a device
that law enforcement uses,
and it mimics a cell tower.

So, it's a small portable cell tower
and it forces your cell phone
to connect to that device
instead of connecting to the cell towers
ran by your service provider.

So if you're on Verizon,
and your phone would normally connect
to a Verizon cell tower,
and the government uses Stingray
in the vicinity of your phone,
your phone will connect
to that government device
instead of your
service provider's cell tower.

Once your phone is connected
to that government cell tower,
they can do whatever they want.

They can monitor your communications
or they can use radio waves to figure out
exactly where you're located.

When police use a Stingray,
the device is also connecting
to everybody's phone in the area,
even if there's only one person
that they're interested in.

In contrast, if you go
to the cell provider,
you're asking for information for,
you know, Jennifer Granick's phone number.

You're not getting
everybody else's information.

This device, or devices like it,
they can be handheld,
they can be mounted in vehicles,
they can even be mounted on
the underside of airplanes
and helicopters and drones.

And so the police can sort of
drive around a neighborhood,
then walk through an apartment building
beaming their signals into each room
to figure out where the target is.

It's a trademarked name
by Harris Corporation
for their specific type
of cell site simulator.

The Harris Corporation
is a large defense contractor.

Harris has the contract for
the next-generation
air traffic control system.

They have the contract to manage
the president's encrypted phone.

They have a surveillance division,
where they make nothing but cell phone
tracking surveillance equipment.

So that's their primary product
when it comes to domestic law enforcement,
even military as well.

We got a lot of info on how Harris
went about making their devices
and selling them and different
law enforcement agencies
that had obtained them,
in Arizona, Florida.

I was floored.

The prospect for widespread abuse
of civil liberties was so apparent
that I was drawn into this.

I went to trusted colleagues
at public interest groups,
I went to legal scholars, and I said,
"I think there's something here,"
and no one took him seriously.

Eventually, I reached out to
Jennifer Valentino-DeVries,
who was a reporter at
The Wall Street Journal.

She was on her way
to Def Con in Las Vegas,
and I sent her
this, like, 100- or 200-page brief.

And I sent her
a couple links to the docket.

And then when she landed, she emailed me,
and she's like, "I'm sold.

This is it, I'm doing this.
"
It was a crazy read.

It was good airplane reading.

You don't usually see
cases going on this long.

You don't see this many motions,
and you don't see
a bunch of handwritten motions.

You know, it was hundreds of them.

This was the first time
I'd seen handwritten motions
that weren't actually somebody who
was having mental health issues, right?
These were handwritten motions
that culminated in something
that actually made sense,
and that was really unusual.

I actually got a copy
of the newspaper in jail,
which was pretty interesting to get
that article while you're in there.

That was a front-page story
in The Wall Street Journal.

And Jen's story,
one, blew the lid off this thing,
but it also legitimized it.

Suddenly, this guy wasn't nuts.

Suddenly, Rigmaiden was right.

This was 2011.

It was before Snowden,
and people were not
maybe as used to the idea
that the government
was just getting everything on them.

So I think it got
a lot of people's attention.

Little is known
about the device's capabilities
because law enforcement agencies
that buy one
have to sign confidentiality agreements.

There's not that other person there
who might object
or say, "Hey, you need
a higher court order in order to do this.
"
We asked police across
the Valley if they had Stingray systems.

Some haven't responded,
others won't admit it on record,
but privately tell us they have them.

No, we don't like to talk about it.

You know, when a general goes into battle,
he doesn't give out his battle plans.

They can follow
everybody around all the time.

They can say they won't do it,
but nothing says they can't.

It's the classic question,
safety or privacy?
The folks
at the ACLU were very interested in it.

The ACLU
and the Electronic Frontier Foundation
wrote an amicus brief
in support of Mr.
Rigmaiden,
but Daniel Rigmaiden accomplished
what thousands of criminal defense
attorneys before him had never achieved,
which was to get the government to admit
that it had actually used
this device in its criminal investigation.

This technology
was first used in the early '90s,
the precursor to the Stingray.

It shouldn't have taken 20 years
to get public debate about this.

It shouldn't have taken
the coordinated efforts
of a few activists
and a guy rotting behind bars
to expose this technology.

Everything was being done
through a Verizon aircard.

It wasn't wired into
any hardwired connection.

So if the government
ever got that IP address
and they subpoenaed Verizon,
all they would get is,
"It's just a card being used
at the cell towers in this area.
"
I think it was, like, maybe
four square miles or something like that.

The next step was
they were gonna drive the Stingray around
and get the precise location
of the aircard.

They drove out
and used the Stingray in that area.

They can use their laptop
to see which cell phones are connecting.

And by driving around,
they take multiple location estimates
and they average them all together,
and it allows them
to get a very precise location estimate
of where the device is located,
but they have to have every device
in the area connect to it.

In order to find
the device they're looking for,
they have to go through
these different cell phones
that don't belong to the target,
they belong to innocent people
that they're not even investigating.

My entire defense
was to file this specific motion
to suppress the evidence
they obtained using their Stingray device.

Because if I could suppress
the location of my apartment,
then they have no case
because all of their evidence
stemmed from the location of my apartment.

Rigmaiden's case
was a real David and Goliath story.

There's Daniel Rigmaiden
in his orange jumpsuit and me
on one side of the courtroom,
and then on the other side,
there is an army of people in suits.

They had flew people out from
the Department of Justice in Washington
and FBI headquarters in Virginia.

Rigmaiden was extremely focused.

Very, very sophisticated
legal arguments and pleadings
as if he was a skilled lawyer
who had graduated from law school
and passed the Bar.

I said, "Judge, if you
allow him to file a 200-plus motion,
this is setting a bad precedent.
"
And the judge asked me in open court,
he goes like,
"Do you really think, Mr.
Battista,
you'll ever see anything like this again?"
And, I mean, I had to be honest with him
and say, "No.
"
Rigmaiden was saying the government
didn't obtain any court authorization.

And government's saying,
"No, we obtained court authorization.
"
"Look at this particular order.
"
One of Rigmaiden's arguments is
that the information we provided
to the magistrate judge
was insufficient to authorize the conduct
that we undertook to locate the aircard.

And that there was violations
of other people's rights
because, for a very brief time,
the federal government
does have a record of the location
of all those other electronic devices
that communicated
with their cell site simulator.

It didn't seem to comply
with the particularity requirement
of the Fourth Amendment.

"Particularity" means
if the government seeks authority
to conduct some type of search or seizure,
they need to explain specifically
what it is they're going to search
and what it is
that they're going to seize.

There is no doubt
that our warrant did not lay out in detail
how these devices would operate.

But we had a very specific target,
we were very particular
about what we were looking for.

The hearing concluded
and the judge said
he would wait to rule on it.

I knew that it was bigger than just me.

I knew what the government
was doing with their technology
was something that everyone
should be concerned about.

Some weeks later, he issued his order.

He denied the motion to suppress
and said that the government,
although they could've
been more clear in their order,
that he felt like
that they hit on enough points
in order for it to be authorized,
what they had done.

The judge issues his formal order,
but he also says,
using the device to capture
and figure out where Daniel was located
was a search under the Fourth Amendment.

No courts had ever said
that this was a search
and, you know, the government,
they conceded that it was a search,
and this was really groundbreaking.

I was disappointed, obviously,
that we couldn't get
the good result for Daniel.

But in terms of furthering the law
for other defendants
who are going to come after Daniel,
I think what he got out of it
is something that's beneficial
to all those other defendants as well.

They had, to some extent,
lost an important aspect of the case
in that they had to admit
that they were using this technology
that people didn't know anything about.

This would set the standard
for how the government would proceed
from that point forward.

Immediately after the motion was denied,
I was offered a plea deal.

I got a letter from the government
saying that they would just give me
"time served" and let me out.

Like, I can basically walk out
a week later or something like that,
I think was their offer.

- Why'd they do that?
- I'm not sure.
It was a very short letter.

The plea did keep him
from appealing the case,
whether that was the goal or not,
I don't know,
but it did have that effect.

And it was better for the government
that Daniel not appeal the case
because then they wouldn't get precedent
that would be binding
on a bunch of courts,
including a published ruling
that could go against them.

Because Mr.
Rigmaiden was
suspicious of the government in general,
the plea negotiations
took approximately nine months.

I had made a decision early on in the case
to hold on to
the gold and silver as evidence.

The IRS originally wanted to sell the gold
and silver when it was first seized,
but I said, "No, I would like to
maintain this for evidence at trial.
"
There are certain things that just have
a great impact in the courtroom.

Stacks of gold and silver coins,
they would be one of them.

By the time he ultimately agreed
to resolve the case,
the gold and silver
had appreciated so much in value
that, including the cash that we found,
the bank accounts,
and the gold and the silver,
the federal government actually
made money on the case.

He made money
for the federal government?
He actually made money.

Because Rigmaiden was such
a wise investor in gold and silver,
the government covered all the money
that had been paid out
in fraudulent tax returns,
and the government actually made
a small profit on top of it.

He was held
for five years and eight months
in a pre-trial detention facility
with no visitors,
very limited options
in terms of recreation.

He served pretty hard time.

If he would have went with
the attorneys that were appointed to him,
he would have gotten 17 to 20 years,
but this dude says,
"Screw that, I'll handle it.
"
And And he does!
I'm like, "Holy shit.

You're a bad man.
"
I mean, I'm a little jealous,
to be honest with ya.

That was it.
I got to walk out of there.

It's extremely secretive.

They can't let this get out,
so they covered it up.

They don't want to talk about it.

The very first iPhone came out
like, right before I got arrested.

So, there were no smartphones
when I went into jail.

When I got out,
there were just smartphones everywhere.

It was such a bigger part of society
than it was when I had gotten arrested.

I remember thinking,
"What are people looking at?"
"Why are people
looking at their phones all day?"
What's going on on their phones
that they're so interested?
I had an idea
of the bigger picture
of the fight that I was doing.

I knew that it was affecting people
on a larger scale.

Digital is different.

If you're going to have long-term
surveillance with Stingrays
and cell phone location surveillance,
there ought to be
a strong warrant requirement,
unless there's
a national security emergency.

The government certainly
has been very unwilling
to really lay out what the policy is.

And that is part of the problem.

One of the things
we learned from Daniel's case
is that invasive surveillance tools
that we don't totally understand
are being employed in secret
without public oversight or
the adversarial judicial review necessary
in order to ensure
that this is something that we want to do,
and that we're regulating it properly.

Customs and Border Protection
flew this unmanned aircraft
over protesters
at the request of Homeland Security.

Government watchdogs
fear planes were used to track protesters
and perhaps capture cell phone data.

It was 551 times in three years.

According to ICE,
they used this type of device
to find suspects throughout the country.

The purpose of this powerful technology
was to hunt down terrorists
by secretly tracking
their cellular phones.

But now it's used to find
undocumented people accused of crimes.

That combination
of secrecy and lack of oversight
is pervasive in the surveillance world.

It applies to location tracking
technology,
it applies to big data analysis of our
phone calls or Internet connections.

It used to be
that you got a measure of protection
simply because there were areas
that technology couldn't reach.

All of that has disappeared
in the last five to eight years.

Now there is virtually nothing
that technology can't reach.

People are really becoming aware that
we don't fully know
what our government's capabilities are.

It's almost always true
that it's in the context
of some kind of criminal prosecution,
that's where we learn about
new surveillance technologies
or we establish
civil liberties rights for people.

These almost always take place
in the context of a criminal prosecution
where somebody's
allegedly done something wrong.

In the end, he ended up
doing all of us a big favor
by revealing the methodology or the scheme
through which these kinds
of surveillance technologies
were being masked
from the public and even from courts.

I've always thought about
how there's problems with society
and I don't want to participate because
things aren't the way that they should be.

Being able to break the system
or get around the system
gave me a feeling of power
in a society where everyone has their
power stripped from them in some way.

This is one of the rare occasions
where I actually did
have the power to change something,
and I'm happy that I was able to.

At Rigmaiden's sentencing,
he told the court that he had not been
a member of society
and he'd been taking
the government's money
that could have been used
to help other people.

He wanted to come out of the shadows
and join society.

Now that I'm out,
I continue to work on surveillance issues.

Daniel Rigmaiden, who now
consults with defense attorneys
on government surveillance,
fears innocent people's information
could be scooped up
from their cell phone and saved.

There's people who say,
"If you don't have anything to hide,
why worry?" when it comes to surveillance.

But, eventually your idea of things
that should or should not be hidden
is going to change.

And maybe things that you think
you don't have to hide today,
you'll have to hide tomorrow.

Maybe they'll come after you next.

- How are you guys?
- We're okay, how are you doing?
- Hello, is this Brandi?
- Yeah?
Yeah, hi, it's Pat
You don't have to call.
I love you.

But it shows
the type of person that you are
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