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<< May 26, 2006 @ 09:00 >>

It's good to see that with the government spending your money on buying your phone records from the phone companies, and with the government listening in on phone conversations, and with the government scanning the internet... with all of that it is good to see that the majority of the prosecutions relating to these programs have been for minor crimes unrelated to terrorism. Hey, but they're only after the terrorists, right?

Washington Post:

"This higher risk of acquittals is one we acknowledge and accept," McNulty said.

McNulty also revived the use of terrorism statistics compiled by the Justice Department that have been called into question in the past. He said prosecutors have secured 253 convictions against 435 defendants in terrorism-related cases with a "clear international connection."

The Post reported in June 2005 that, according to a computer analysis of an earlier version of the same Justice records, most defendants were charged with minor crimes unrelated to terrorism and nearly half had no demonstrated connection to terrorism or terrorists.

McNulty said prosecutors often needed to use minor crimes, such as immigration violations or fraud charges, as a way to charge suspects who posed a potential threat.

This McNulty guy, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, spoke at the American Enterprise Institute (there's a link to video in the upper right of the AEI page). Somebody asked:

"What is your policy about pursuing prosecutions of people who you run across [through counter-terrorism programs] who have violated the law but about whom you have no suspicions of terrorism?"

McNulty responsed:

"The enforcement of immigration laws, identity theft, identity related laws, financial support, security access - enforcement of crimes associated with those issues is important even if there isn't information specifically tying a particular subject to a national security threat. Why? Because those systems are so vital to us in securing our country, and it's the exploitation of those systems that we have seen as a method of operation for terrorism. So we do put some emphasis on making sure that - and I would say renewed emphasis or special emphasis in recent years in going after things like document fraud crime."

So much for Bush's "we're only going after the terrorists" assertion. You know, Bush says they're not spying on ordinary Americans, but ordinary Americans do things like buy illegal drugs, steal money, steal identities, forge documents, make fake IDs so they can drink under age... And by the Department of Justice's own statements, if an American with no ties to terror pops up through their counter terrorism programs, and they're committing a crime unrelated to terror, they could be prosecuted.

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June 9, 2006 @ 12:57:03

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