Treasury Departments FinCen, A Secret Police Disguised As Drug Task Force
The U.S. Department of the Treasury established the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in 1990 to provide a government-wide multisource financial intelligence and analysis network. The organization’s operation was broadened in 1994 to include regulatory responsibilities for administering the Bank Secrecy Act, one of the nation’s most potent weapons for preventing corruption of the U.S. financial system.
The Bank Secrecy Act, enacted in 1970, authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to require certain records or reports where they have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory investigations or proceedings, or in the conduct of intelligence or counterintelligence activities, including analysis, to protect against international terrorism. The authority of the Secretary to administer Title II of the Bank Secrecy Act (codified at 31 U.S.C. 5311-5332 with implementing regulations at 31 C.F.R. Part 103) has been delegated to the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Hundreds of thousands of financial institutions are subject to Bank Secrecy Act reporting and recordkeeping requirements. These include depository institutions (e.g., banks, credit unions and thrifts); brokers or dealers in securities; money services businesses (e.g., money transmitters; issuers, redeemers and sellers of money orders and travelers’ checks; check cashers and currency exchangers); casinos and card clubs; and dealers in precious metals, stones, or jewels.
The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, enacted shortly after the 9/11 attacks in America, broadened the scope of the Bank Secrecy Act to focus on terrorist financing as well as money laundering. The Act also gave the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network additional responsibilities and authorities in both important areas, and established the organization as a bureau within the Treasury Department.
On March 8, 2004, the organization became a part of the Department of the Treasury’s new Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. This is the lead office in the Treasury Department for fighting the financial war on terror, combating financial crime, and enforcing economic sanctions against rogue nations.
FinCEN was created in 1990 to support federal, state, local, and international law enforcement by analyzing the information required under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), one of the nation’s most important tools in the fight against money laundering. The BSA’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements establish a financial trail for investigators to follow as they track criminals, their activities, and their assets. Over the years, FinCEN staff has developed its expertise in adding value to the information collected under the BSA by uncovering leads and exposing unknown pieces of information contained in the complexities of money laundering schemes.
Dirty money can take many routes-some complex, some simple, but all increasingly inventive-the ultimate goal being to disguise its source. The money can move through banks, check cashers, money transmitters, businesses, casinos, and even be sent overseas to become clean, laundered money. The tools of the money launderer can range from complicated financial transactions, carried out through webs of wire transfers and networks of shell companies, to old-fashioned currency smuggling.
FinCEN researches and analyzes this information and other critical forms of intelligence to support financial criminal investigations. The ability to link to a variety of databases provides FinCEN with one of the largest repositories of information available to law enforcement in the country. Safeguarding the privacy of the data it collects is an overriding responsibility of the agency and its employees-a responsibility that strongly imprints all of its data management functions, and indeed, all that the agency does.
FinCEN provides a networking process designed to facilitate information sharing between agencies with shared investigative interests.
James H. Freis, Jr. (April 2007 – present)
Robert W. Werner (March 2006 – December 2006)
William J. Fox (December 2003 – February 2006)
James F. Sloan (April 1999 – October 2003)
Stanley E. Morris (1994 – 1998)
Brian M. Bruh (1990 – 1993)
Source: AEN News
Linda Thompson 03-07-94
FINCEN - Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Brian Bruh, Director Operates under Dept. of the Treasury Former address: 3833 North Fairfax Drive Arlington, Va. 22203 Relocated April, 1993 to: 2070 Chain Bridge Road Vienna, Va. FINCEN is a federally operated, multi-U.S. government-agency, 92- computer data bank center located in Vienna, Virginia. It is accessed by modem by government agencies. Each state has a coordinator with the State Police. Sgt. Danny Ellis is the Indiana State Police FINCEN COORDINATOR. Check with either FINCEN or your state police headquarters to find out who your state police coordinator is. FinCEN was established in 1990 with $13.4 million in funding. Brian M. Bruh, a former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Criminal Investigation at the IRS and chief investigator for the Tower Commission, was appointed as director in March 1990. It's staff includes agents of the BATF, the Secret Service, Postal Inspectors, DEA, Defense Intelligence Agence, and CIA. It's first application was to target the assets of Iraqi people and corporations in the United States for another Treasury agency, the Office of Foreign Asset Control in 1990, during Desert Storm. These targets were people suspected, merely suspected, of financial dealings of any type with Iraq. Their bank accounts and property were identified by FINCEN and then "frozen" and seized. Andy Flodin, who in April, 1993, was the Executive Officer, at that time told me that "OCEDEF" is probably the agency that flies the black helicopters. OCEDEF is an acronym for the "Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force." Their phone number is 202-616-1940. I have confirmed that OCEDEF operates under Department of the Treasury, as does FINCEN, and that IRS agents also fly with OCEDEF, as do DEA and FBI agents. This is at least one part of the Multi-Jurisdictional task force referred to in Public Law 100-690. We have identified black helicopters being flown by Department of Energy and Department of Engery Contractor, Wackenhutt Services Organization, so OCEDEF is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Joanna Brown, Operations Center, Acting Branch Chief, says Fincen does: Work for federal, state, and local government regulatory agencies Provides law enforcement, commercial and financial information in support of cases of various agencies. The information FINCEN has on file includes: Open and closed customs cases IRS cases Secret Service Cases Vehicle VIN and driver's license and tag registration Some passenger information on out of country flights Addresses, SSN, spouses names Credit bureau files Property registration (home/corporate property loans, liens, deeds).
FINCEN, OCDTF, FEMA, NDER: The takeover of your rights
March 18, 1994,
2070 Chain Bridge Road
Vienna, Va. 22182
FINCEN is a federally operated, multi-U.S. government-agency,
92-computer data bank center located in Vienna, Virginia. It operates
under the Department of Treasury.
It is accessed by modem (computer link by telephone to the
government computer) by government agencies. Each state has a
coordinator for FINCEN in the State Police. Sgt. Danny Ellis is the
Indiana State Police FINCEN COORDINATOR. Check with either
FINCEN or your state police headquarters to find out who your state
police coordinator is.
FINCEN was established in 1990 with $13.4 million in funding.
Brian M. Bruh, a former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Criminal
Investigation at the IRS and chief investigator for the Tower Commission,
was appointed as director of FINCEN in March 1990. It’s staff includes
agents of the BATF, the Secret Service, Postal Inspectors, DEA, Defense
Intelligence Agence, and CIA.
It’s first application was to target the assets of Iraqi people and
corporations in the United States for another Treasury agency, the Office
of Foreign Asset Control in 1990, during Desert Storm. These targets were
people suspected, merely suspected, of financial dealings of any type with
Iraq. Their bank accounts and property were identified by FINCEN and
then “frozen” and seized. A law enforcement magazine, Money Laundering
Alert, reported this first use of FINCEN in its April, 1991 edition as well.
Joanna Brown, at the FINCEN Operations Center, who at the time I
called (April, 1993) was the Acting Branch Chief, said that FINCEN does
work for federal, state, and local government regulatory agencies
Provides law enforcement, commercial and financial information in
support of cases of various agencies.
The information FINCEN has on file includes:
Open and closed customs cases
Secret Service Cases
Vehicle VIN and driver’s license and tag registration
Some passenger information on out of country flights
Addresses, SSN, spouses names
Credit bureau files
Property registration (home/corporate property loans, liens, deeds).
In April, 1993, when I spoke to then-executive director of FINCEN,
Andy Flodin, to learn if the black helicopters were “FINCEN troops”, he
told me that “OCDTF” is probably the agency that flies the black
OCDTF (pronounced OH-suh-def) is an acronym for the
“Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force,” in Washington, D.C..
Telephone number: (202) 514-1860.
On March 17, 1994, I spoke with Lyle Newton, the Deputy
Director of OCDTF in Washington, D.C. at 202-514-1860. He told me
that OCDTF is a coordinating agency for multi-agency law enforcement
operations by DEA, ATF, FBI, INS, Secret Service, Customs, IRS and U.S.
Marshalls and can use all the equipment from any of these agencies,including black helicopters.
OCDTF is the coordinating agency for the Multi-Jurisdictional task
force referred to in Public Law 100-690. It, too, operates under theDepartment of the Treasury.
Lyle Newton, the OCDTF deputy director, said that OCDTF was
formed in the fall of 1982, when the heads of all the federal law
enforcement agencies got together to determine how could they work
better together to target drug trafficking organizations, including money
laundering crimes, the aim being to convict the top leadership of the
enterprises. (Note that this means this is yet another government activity
that existed long before Congressional approval was sought for it, and it
also shows that Al Gore’s “reinventing government” plan to “unify” all the
federal law enforcement agencies already exists, too.)
Mr. Newton explained how OCDTF gets involved in a case.
OCDTF is primarily interested in pursuing people with a lot of assets that
appear to be “drug runners” or involved in racketeering. A local law
enforcement agency (city or state police, for instance) will call any of the
federal agencies (such as DEA, FBI, US Marshalls, IRS) and ask for
“federal assistance.” The federal agency then contacts OCDTF forassistance.
OCDTF has a committee that approves whether OCDTF gets
involved. If OCDTF gets involved in the case, that means the project gets
federal funding from the OCDTF budget, rather than the state or local
agency’s budget. This provides a BIG incentive for every city and state
police agency to call in the federal agencies at every opportunity, and it
provides a big incentive for the feds to call OCDTF.
Other “perks” that go along with getting OCDTF involved in a law
enforcement investigation include immediate access to a grand jury (so
much for equal protection), and accelerated cooperation from IRS
“advisors”, immediate access to FINCEN, as well as access to FISA, the
Foreign Intelligence Service Agency secret federal court that has six judges
who meet in secret on the 6th floor of the Department of Justice in
Washington, D.C. and issue secret warrants to tap telephones (these
warrants last up to a year, whereas normal warrants last 60-90 days).
7500 applications for such warrants have been submitted to the “secret”
court and not one has ever been turned down. Copies of these warrants
can’t be obtained, not even by defense attorneys, the target of the warrants
is never informed, and the target of the warrants cannot appear in his ownbehalf.
The OCDTF Deputy Director also told me that OCDTF can and
does work with the “Strike Force” but wouldn’t tell me what the Strike
Force is or where it is from and I’m working on that information now.
Once OCDTF puts its official stamp of approval on a project, all
the assets of every other federal law enforcement agency are available, and yes, this does include black helicopters.
We have identified black helicopters being flown by Department of
Energy and Department of Energy Contractor, Wackenhutt Services
Organization, so OCEDEF is probably only the tip of the iceberg.
FEMA Watchers, Here’s a Tidbit of significant interest:
Have you ever heard of the Enders? Well, until today, March 17, 1994,
I hadn’t either, but I heard one of those “rumors” that needed chasing
do wn that there was an agency run by FEMA that had a lot of FEMA
people already working in civilian jobs, waiting for their agencies to
be “federalized” in an emergency and then they would automatically
become pre-approved federal employees and continue in their same jobs.
So I chased this rumor down. It’s true. The agency is called NDER
(appropriately pronounced “ender”). It operates under FEMA (the federal
emergency management agency).
NDER is the acronym for the National Defense Executive Reserve.
I spoke to Linda Maddox, who is the Executive Director of NDER in
Washington, D.C. Her number is (202) 696-2400, extension 2703.
Linda Maddox explains NDER as if it is a good thing for the
country. She says it is “a program very much like the military reserve,
formed after World War II, under the old ‘dollar a year man’ program
begun by Roosevelt. Counsellers who were former heads of government
and from civilian resources are brought in as independent consultants to
Ms. Maddox said that in 1979, FEMA became the coordinator of
program, and that NDER under FEMA works with other agencies to
“change legislation and rule making, and coordinate with other agencies.”
In other words, our federal tax dollars are funding a federally operated
lobbying group.NDER keeps a database of the membership and training (somebody
send in a FOIA request!)The members receive training once a year from FEMA, and
memberhip is a 3 year membership. Gary Kah, author of “Enroute to
Global Occupation,” and himself a former member of the NDER says he
was told that what was discussed at NDER meetings was “classified
information.”Members must come to training at their own expense. Backgrounds
of the people who are presently in NDER include acadamia,
transportation, energy, retired federal employees, and people from the
trucking and railroad industries. There are presently 1800 members
roughly. By way of example of what we are talking about there, a past
president of NDER is the vice president of Alcoa.If there were a “national security emergency,” all these people wouldalready have security clearances and begin working immediately in civilian
sector jobs that would be “federalized” because of the emergency.
Ms. Maddox related that “We have ten federal regional centers in the
US and a lot are assigned to those regional offices and areas. We try to go
out to the regions to do the training. The president is the only one who
can activate the NDER.”The catch is that the authority for the existence of the NDER comes
from the Defense Production Act. The entire program was intended only
for a national security emergency, and has no authority to authorize
mobilization of members for such things as FEMA’s “natural disaster
emergencies,” such as earthquakes, or “crime” emergencies (such as the
power given to the president in the new crime bill to declare a “crime
emergency”) or any other type of disaster.Ms. Maddox says that NDER is focusing in a new direction sincethe cold war is over. The present FEMA director, Mr. Whit, wants a
different definition of national emergency, not a strictly “defense”
emergency. He and those in FEMA are now looking at all-hazards
emergencies and looking for federalization in all situations, according to
Ms. Maddox.Ms. Maddox is also the Chairman for an interagency committee of
the heads of 12 other individual departments that also have NDER
programs (in other words, FEMA isn’t the only agency with thousands of
people standing at the ready for when the civilian sector is “federalized”
due to some declared “emergency.”)She says these agencies consist of any agency that had a formernational emergency provision, such as department of transportation, and
ports authorities, and agencies run their own programs. By way of
explaining how the NDER program works, she said that “If the ports had
to be ‘federalized’ the NDER people working at the ports would
immediately become federal employees and continue operating the ports.”
I know it gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling, how about you?
Shedding Light On Black Helicopters By Linda Thompson
There is nothing cosmic, paranormal, or ethereal about black helicopters. They belong to the U.S. military, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, based in Ft. Cambell, Kentucky, in Hopkinsville, KY. They park many of the helicopters at different locations where they are used, however. The only reason the color black is significant is that only this one military unit gets this particular type of paint for its helicopters, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (“160th SOAR”) in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. The paint is called “CARC” and it is used because it is chemically resistant and non-radar reflective . Other military units do get this paint for use on airplanes and other craft, except helicopters, however. If you look at military webpages of aircraft, you will find plenty of pictures. The 160th SOAR is a military special operations unit that began as an intentionally covert, illicit and illegal arm of what was formerly called “Delta Force,” which was a branch of 5th Group, Special Forces, and a “reserve” branch called 12th Group, the way special forces was FORMERLY set up. It was operated and funded through CIA and this alliance continues to this day. Many former members also are now prominent in the media, which is why it has been a relatively simple matter for them to run the stories calling people exposing the activity of the 160th “loonies” or claiming the helicopters are associated with “UFO” activity, etc., in efforts to keep the public ignorant of the true military source and illegal purposes of these craft and their pilots and unit members. Robert K. Brown, of Soldier of Fortune Magazine, and his patsy, James Pate, are two examples. Joe Gelarden of the Indianapolis Star-News (the same company also owns the Arizona Republic) is another. Governor O’Bannon’s press secretary is another. U.S. Congressional Representative Dan Burton’s Chief of Staff is another (straight out of the 160th before he worked for Burton). These are just a few examples out of dozens. Placing members in such prominent locations, it is quite simple to undermine Congressional investigations and place stories prominently in the media discrediting any “leaks” of truthful information. In recent years, the military created two separate branches from what was formerly the legitimate “special forces” and this covert band of CIA-sponsored thugs operating under the cover of being “special forces.” (You may remember “Operation Phoenix” and “Air America” as two examples of the CIA sponsored illegal activity of the illicit group). Now, there is a separate military branch, known as special forces, and another, known as special operations. Special Forces branch consists of the traditional “green berets,” and “airborne” branch of the Army with a fairly long, special infantry, history. Special operations is the bastard step child and brainchild of a bunch of former covert thugs and rogues of the self-styled “Delta force,” that has gained “legitimacy” (through lobbying and funding) and is now its own separate branch of the military, headed in the pentagon by a Col. (probably a general by now) Sheldon. Immediately prior to his appointment to head special ops at the pentagon, he was the commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. (See above . The 160th is the unit which has the black helicopters.) These helicopters flew missions to decimate Panama, under the leadership of (now) “drug czar” MG McCaffrey. We show this same unit, the supposed “heros” returning from Somalia (broadcast on NBC and named by name) in a video that shows what they really did in Somalia — firing down on crowds of civilians as a “diversion” while paratroopers were dropped into the area. THAT, in fact, is how they train, to “create diversions” (by firing on any live target below) while they drop in members of their unit by parachute from the helicopters. They do this training in the U.S., over U.S. cities, frequently now, and they are training police in many of the same “special operations” tactics. If you are seriously interested in black helicopters, go to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, which is located near Hopkinsville, KY. There is what is called the “Pratt Museum,” open to the public, but somewhat obscure, there . At the Pratt Museum, they have a training tape from the 160th playing continuously, made by the Army, where you can see black helicopters and the 160th in training missions. It’s quite impressive . They have an entire section on the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment there, with memorabilia from many of their missions, such as to Panama, Somalia, etc. Lots and lots of scenes of nothing but black helicopters, since that is all they have . Then, if you can (they may not let you since I filmed them, they tightened security a lot), drive over to the airfield. The 160th has a separate hangar there . They park a lot of dark green helicopters outside, usually, so they can make the claim they don’t “really” have any black ones, “see, they’re dark green?” But hang around long enough and you’ll see black helicopters and black C-5A’s among other things. Likewise, they park a lot of these helicopters at other miltiary locations throughout the country, always among dark green ones. Anyone asking about them is shown the dark green ones with the bogus, “See, they’re dark green” refrain. It is usually simple, however, to film a dark green one parked directly adjacent to a black one and point out the differences. At Ft. Campbell, the 160th also has a MOUT training area there (Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain) which is a mock up of a city. They also train soldiers to jump out of the helicopters there, often using the black helicopters, which is also one of the simplest ways to see them. Just sit around and wait. They fly over. Some of those used in training are marked, whereas the ones used in clandestine operations are not marked and any you find parked at military installations will not be marked. I’ve noticed, of late, on some of the ones in our local area, that they have taken to putting big “red cross” emblems on some, apparently to give the impression they are rescue, however, I would seriously doubt that. If you see a black “little bird,” that is the simplest proof it is from the 160th. Go to DOD’s webpage (do an altavista search for “little bird” and you will find DOD itself asserts that ONLY the 160th SOAR flies this particular helicopter.) However, the 160th has a number of different types of helicopters, not just the little bird. The 160th’s unit patch is death on horseback, their motto is “Death Waits in the Dark.” We have so thoroughly exposed them and what they do, that the Army Times did a PR piece on them, trying to portray them as “just folks,” about a year and a half ago and ran what was, until that time, a picture of their “secret” patch (I had tried to buy the patch several times and through various sources and they did, indeed, up until the Army Times ran the story, try to keep the patch a secret). Prior to the passage of the 1995 Omni-Bus Crime Control Bill (“1995 Crime Bill”), these helicopters and their special ops pilots, were used as a taxi service and private mafia by the FBI and DOE, with funding funneled through the Washington, D.C. government office “Organized Crime and Drug Control Task Force” (“OCDTF”), called the “Organized Crime Task Force,” “Task Force,” or “Racketeering Task Force,” and “Drug Task Force,” to be intentionally confusing and hard to find their phone number. However, it is headed by Paul (may not be the right first name, my memory isn’t what it used to be) Coffey (that’s the right last name). Call D.C. information, ask for the “Organized Crime Task Force” number and call him. Any federal agency could request funds for a “Drug Task Force” through OCDTF and get the funds, and merely claim it was for use to create a “drug task force . ” They did not have to account for how the funds were spent to anyone anywhere and they could use the funds to create a “task force” out of any government agency assets, including military, such as the 160th. As a result, multiple federal agency operatives created their own private “mafias” that were supposedly “drug task forces,” but in actuality, have been involved in drug running, extortion and blackmail. When the 1995 Crime Bill passed, these same people had requested (under the guise of “fighting crime”) multiple and vast authorities to create “drug task forces,” with federal funding, from any government agency asset, and got it. They now operate far more blatantly than in the past, unfettered by any appearance of illegality, though what they are doing is not, in fact, at all legitimate . The 160th now routinely participates, along with other military units, in training police and practicing “urban assaults” over U.S. cities, which has been widely reported in the media at this point. Thus, for you to want to put this in anything associated with “conspiracy, cosmic whatever, and paranormal,” is nothing more than the usual effort to ensationalize and discredit the truth, by associating what amounts to a military takeover in this country, through a combination of drug running, gun running, lobbying, blackmailing congressmen, and terrorism, with the usual pablum of “it’s a conspiracy.” Well, bucko, it *is* a “conspiracy” and a whole lot of these murderers need to be put on trial for exactly that, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit treason, conspiracy to distribute drugs, conspiracy to commit extortion, and a laundry list of other charges.
Article About FinCen Secret Police DUI Checkpoints
DUI checkpoints called ineffective
Patrols may catch more drunks, task force says
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS – Some law enforcement officials say traditional sobriety checkpoints aren’t doing enough to prevent alcohol-related traffic deaths and are calling for other methods to catch drunken drivers.
From 2001 through 2003, the State Highway Patrol staffed 96 checkpoints that averaged 5.18 DUI arrests. Of the 75,930 drivers stopped, fewer than 1 percent were arrested for drunken driving, according to a review of checkpoint statistics the Columbus Dispatch published Sunday.
Col. Paul D. McClellan, highway patrol superintendent, said that while the publicized checkpoints raise awareness about drunken driving, they aren’t the best method for arresting intoxicated drivers.
McClellan was co-chairman of the Governor’s Task Force on Impaired Driving, which recommended in February that DUI checkpoints be changed.
The task force’s report said that it believes “smaller enforcement groups patrolling in identified (drunken-driving) areas may be more effective than current large-scale, stationary checkpoints.”
Erie County Sheriff Terry M. Lyons, who served on the task force, said officers who patrol for DUI enforcement produce more arrests.
One checkpoint per year is staffed by 10 to 20 officers in the northern Ohio county, and Lyons said officers usually make no more than six arrests.
“If you take that amount of officers for six hours and put them on patrol doing strictly DUI enforcement, you’ll more than likely have better results,” he said.
But checkpoint supporters say that arrest numbers don’t tell the whole story.
People are deterred from drinking and driving or designate a sober driver after hearing the checkpoints announced, said Sgt. Carl Booth of the Franklin County sheriff’s office.
The checkpoints must be announced to the public and have to be held in locations that have a history of DUI arrests or alcohol-related crashes. Those rules are part of a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision that stated the checkpoints weren’t a violation of Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures.
But McClellan said that relying on raising awareness with announced checkpoints isn’t enough. He said fewer officers should staff checkpoints and more should be assigned to saturation patrols, where they cruise surrounding roads looking for drunken drivers.
The Franklin County DUI Task Force budgeted $57,000 this year for saturation patrols. In March, the most recent month for which figures are available, officers devoted 110 hours to saturation patrols – similar to the manpower hours of one DUI checkpoint – and made 18 arrests.
McClellan said he wants to see better results by implementing more alternatives to stationary checkpoints.
Supreme Court Decision That Violated
4th Amendment Of Constitution
Making Checkpoints Legal In 1990.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
496 U.S. 444
Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz
CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MICHIGAN
No. 88-1897 Argued: Feb. 27, 1990 — Decided: June 14, 1990
Petitioners, the Michigan State Police Department and its Director, established a highway sobriety checkpoint program with guidelines governing checkpoint operations, site selection, and publicity. During the only operation to date, 126 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, the average delay per vehicle was 25 seconds, and two drivers were arrested for driving under the influence. The day before that operation, respondents, licensed Michigan drivers, filed suit in a county court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from potential subjection to the checkpoints. After a trial, at which the court heard extensive testimony concerning, among other things, the “effectiveness” of such programs, the court applied the balancing test of Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47, and ruled that the State’s program violated the Fourth Amendment. The State Court of Appeals affirmed, agreeing with the lower court’s findings that the State has a “grave and legitimate” interest in curbing drunken driving; that sobriety checkpoint programs are generally ineffective and, therefore, do not significantly further that interest; and that, while the checkpoints’ objective intrusion on individual liberties is slight, their “subjective intrusion” is substantial.
Held: Petitioner’s highway sobriety checkpoint program is consistent with the Fourth Amendment. Pp. 448-455.
(a) United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543 — which utilized a balancing test in upholding checkpoints for detecting illegal aliens — and Brown v. Texas, supra, are the relevant authorities to be used in evaluating the constitutionality of the State’s program. Treasury Employees v. Von Raab, 489 U.S. 656, was not designed to repudiate this Court’s prior cases dealing with police stops of motorists on public highways and, thus, does not forbid the use of a balancing test here. Pp. 448-450.
(b) A Fourth Amendment “seizure” occurs when a vehicle is stopped at a checkpoint. See Martinez-Fuerte, supra, at 556. Thus, the question here is whether such seizures are “reasonable.” P. 450.
(c) There is no dispute about the magnitude of, and the States’ interest in eradicating, the drunken driving problem. The courts below accurately gauged the “objective” intrusion, measured by the seizure’s duration and the investigation’s intensity, as minimal. However, they [p445] misread this Court’s cases concerning the degree of “subjective intrusion” and the potential for generating fear and surprise. The “fear and surprise” to be considered are not the natural fear of one who has been drinking over the prospect of being stopped at a checkpoint but, rather, the fear and surprise engendered in law abiding motorists by the nature of the particular stop, such as one made by a roving patrol operating on a seldom-traveled road. Here, checkpoints are selected pursuant to guidelines, and uniformed officers stop every vehicle. The resulting intrusion is constitutionally indistinguishable from the stops upheld in Martinez-Fuerte. Pp. 451-453.
(d) The Court of Appeals also erred in finding that the program failed the “effectiveness” part of the Brown test. This balancing factor — which Brown actually describes as “the degree to which the seizure advances the public interest” — was not meant to transfer from politically accountable officials to the courts the choice as to which among reasonable alternative law enforcement techniques should be employed to deal with a serious public danger. Moreover, the court mistakenly relied on Martinez-Fuerte, supra, and Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, to provide a basis for its “effectiveness” review. Unlike Delaware v. Prouse, this case involves neither random stops nor a complete absence of empirical data indicating that the stops would be an effective means of promoting roadway safety. And there is no justification for a different conclusion here than in Martinez-Fuerte, where the ratio of illegal aliens detected to vehicles stopped was approximately .5 percent, as compared with the approximately 1.5 percent detection ratio in the one checkpoint conducted by Michigan and with the 1 percent ratio demonstrated by other States’ experience. Pp. 453-455.
REHNQUIST, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, O’CONNOR, SCALIA, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. BLACKMUN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 455. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 456. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, JJ., joined as to Parts I and II, post, p. 460. [p446]