Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Spies corrupt the judicial process

What happens if you let spies loose in law enforcement by allowing them to provide information to law enforcement agencies? We've already seen the result in the Kim Dotcom case: the spies give the police information in secret, and the police lie in court to hide where it came from. But its not just happening here - its also happening in the US:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been the recipient of multiple tips from the NSA. DEA officials in a highly secret office called the Special Operations Division are assigned to handle these incoming tips, according to Reuters. Tips from the NSA are added to a DEA database that includes “intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records.” This is problematic because it appears to break down the barrier between foreign counterterrorism investigations and ordinary domestic criminal investigations.

Because the SOD’s work is classified, DEA cases that began as NSA leads can’t be seen to have originated from a NSA source.

So what does the DEA do? It makes up the story of how the agency really came to the case in a process known as “parallel construction.”

Why do they do this? In part its about protecting sources and methods. But a big motivation is also preventing constitutional challenges to the practice. In other words, the DEA lies to the court to prevent the legality of its actions from being explored, depriving defendants of the legal rights (not to mention the full picture of the evidence against them).

This is an outright corruption of the judicial process. We cannot let it happen here.