Judge in Chicago terrorism case lets defense view government secret surveillance application

  • Article by: MICHAEL TARM , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 29, 2014 - 7:40 PM

CHICAGO — The government can't keep secret its request to conduct clandestine surveillance of an accused attempted terrorist, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday in a potentially far-reaching decision that gives defense attorneys unprecedented access to records filed with a secret intelligence court.

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daytonsajokeJan. 29, 14 8:22 PM

The government can't keep secret its request to conduct clandestine surveillance of an accused attempted terrorist, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday in a potentially far-reaching decision that gives defense attorneys unprecedented access to records filed with a secret intelligence court..........this is perfect example why it was so stupid for Holder and Obama to propose trying terrorists in civilian courts instead of military tribunals.

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edinawaterJan. 29, 1410:21 PM

Mass secret surveillance is how you end up prosecuting, and convicting, innocent people. The details of this case haven't been disclosed yet but the following concept likely applies.

Imagine a bomb has been found. Investigators discover it was made with fertilizer, diesel fuel, Hercules Powder Company blasting caps, and Darice Paddle 22 gauge copper wire. They grab a list of everyone that has purchased that set of items in the last six months and come up with 15 suspects. Now they have a list of 15 innocent people (the real culprit paid with cash and didn't show up on the list at all). The investigators look at each one of those 15 people. One of them put up a Facebook post with an angry rant. Now they have a prime suspect. It's the wrong suspect but nobody can tell the difference.

A prosecutor takes the case to trial. He doesn't disclose how the suspect was discovered; that's a national security secret! The prosecutor shows the jury how the suspect purchased each one of the elements used to build the bomb. What are the odds of that being a coincidence? If you picked one person at random the odds are nearly zero. If you search a huge database of purchases the process is practically guaranteed to pick out an innocent person. Since the defense and jury aren't allowed to know how the evidence was 'discovered' the jury convicts.

The documents disclosed by Edward Snowden show that federal agents are "trained to 'recreate' the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated". If you go back and re-read the article you will see the judge is not requiring the prosecution to disclose if enhanced spying techniques have been used.

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