Thank you, Judge Rakoff, for being one of the few voices of sanity within the justice system.
It's sad to think that so many judges and prosecutors have abandoned the search for truth which lies at the heart of the word "justice." Too many believe the justice system's purpose is only to arrive at a result, so it may as well be the result they want.
If I lived in a nation that openly spies on everyone's communications, treats dissent like an indication of terrorist sympathies, and then polled thousands of people in that nation, and they told me they have no problem with torture...
I'd be pretty reluctant to publish any story pointing out that torture is wrong, too.
I've yet to see anyone take these lying officials at their word and demand that the Bush administration and CIA officials responsible for *ending* the program be punished for putting America in danger of another 9/11. I'd love to see these guys get whiplash as they'd suddenly have to argue that the existential threat of terrorism ended years ago, or that torture just stopped working, because reasons.
I get that prosecutors work closely with police, but shielding them to this extent seems beyond a close working relationship. Are prosecutors actually afraid that other, non-prosecuted officers will withhold evidence and refuse to cooperate with investigations? That's their job, no?
Seems to me like turning the grand jury hearing process into a de-facto trial (minus the prosecution's adversary) gets past a lot of bureaucratic red tape. Full jury trials can take *years*! This grand jury passed down the prosecution's verdict in just 3 months and the end result even resembles due process if you squint. It's the greatest innovation in criminal justice since the plea bargain!
Seriously, though, our justice system is broken, its overseers are blind to its failures, and if people aren't given redress for deprivations of justice, violent unrest is inevitable. History is full of such periods, and we may be headed into the worst one yet.
I thought that, too. The Republicans get to look like they're fighting Obama, and the Democrats get to rebuild credibility with their base by "fighting" back, though of course not hard enough to stop a bill that Obama will be "forced" to sign because "at least we were able to pass vital cybersecurity legislation (CISPA)" and "we'll fix net neutrality when a Democratic president is elected."
Hayden and Baker would also prefer that anyone who reported on the Snowden docs be barred from *private* employment as well. That is, after all, what the oft-demanded detention of those journalists would accomplish.
That's a good point. Finding out that the list of "official" leaks doesn't match the leaks sourced to anonymous government officials would indicate congress was not informed of the authorization, so the material leaked was either a) false b) unauthorized or c) authorized but not disclosed to congress.
None of those would reflect well on the executive branch, and a combination of all three of those possibilities is highly likely.
5 years of secrecy after the agreement is implemented should be enough for many of the negotiators involved to have found comfortable positions in the finance industry. Clever move, aside from the sheer ass-hatted stupidity of compelling countries full of millions of unwitting innocents to join a deregulatory financial suicide-pact.
Isn't this precisely what happened to Wikileaks? The DOJ started an investigation--finding nothing to this day--and Wikileaks was soon after choked off by financial institutions that before or since have had little compunction about doing shady business with suspicious organizations and individuals. There was never any cost to doing so, until they had to invent a reason to snub Wikileaks, and then suddenly "reputational risk" became a thing.
The DOJ can buy favors from the groups it blesses, and vice versa.
In the spirit of thinking with your head, and not your heart, I encourage you to read up on the root causes of the financial crash of 2008, and associated crimes committed by mortgage lenders and banks. The Libor scandal, robo-signing, MERS, HSBC's money laundering activities, regulatory capture of the SEC and ratings agencies, market manipulation schemes, accounting control fraud, and others that I can't recall of the top of my head. Read what Bill K. Black has to say (former regulator during the S&L crisis) about the financial system's endemic criminality.
Exacting justice for crimes that stole trillions of dollars of wealth from the general public would make us all feel better, of course, but it would also do much to improve the financial sector so that it produces value to the economy, instead of siphoning it away.
Tim Cushing's article on the GAO's scathing report on the failure of the CBP to update their computer system (TECS) already made me suspect a direct reliance of the CBP on the NSA's resources. Looks like that could very well be the case.
It's incredible how Stewart Baker, and those who defend the indefensible acts of the intelligence community generally, assume that appealing to the most extreme authority-worshipers could win them anything. It says a lot about the environment they're used to.
The lack of concern on the part of ICE and CBP about their inadequate systems leads me to suspect that they have a relationship with the NSA to fill the gaps in their capabilities. What with the NSA's data being used by the military to launch drone strikes, and by the DEA to catch drug dealers, among others, it would be unsurprising.
The intelligence agencies don't have the same burdens as other agencies, so related tasks are delegated to them.
If I recall correctly, this very thing happened in the 90's when the FBI lobbied for a law compromising the security features of American technology. For the gazillionth time, our "intelligence" community has failed to learn from its mistakes, and our "representatives" have failed to inform us of how our interests have been sacrificed to build an intelligence system explicitly designed to criminalize dissent and undermine the rule of law.
If it were not for patriots like Snowden, Manning, and others, we would never have the opportunity to fix the system. Refusing to pardon or grant amnesty to them can only be an endorsement of authoritarianism, as that is the only basis for the behavior they brought to light and the only basis of their prosecution.
I can only hope that the possession of illicit media does not become in the future what the possession of illicit drugs is today. Let's nip this one in the bud before we end up with police doing anal cavity searches to find our thumb drives.