Hey, all you millions of Americans who say you’re okay with the National Security Agency and other spy agencies collecting massive amounts of electronic information on us. You who say it’s okay because it’s being done to protect us from foreign terrorists. Who say if we’re not helping terrorists, we’ve got nothing to fear.
How do you respond to this news:
(Reuters) — A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to ‘recreate’ the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.
What do you think now that you know domestic law enforcement agencies are using intelligence intercepts and other electronic information not against foreign terrorists, but against Americans who have nothing to do with terrorism?
What do you think knowing that officers of the law apparently are taught how to go into court and perjure themselves — which is itself a crime — regarding how they came to obtain information?
What do you think knowing that defendants may never have a chance to see the true case the government has brought against them?
“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.
“It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”
Ponder that last sentence by the Harvard law professor and former federal judge: “It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”
This is how the government – a government run by persons who have sworn to uphold the Constitution — operates.
Do you who have endorsed the massive electronic spying still see no reason to fear it?
Do you still believe you can trust government to know nearly every move you make?
Here again is the Reuters story. Click on it and read for yourself, if you can stomach it.