The FBI Director has complained about the media commenting on their assault on the Fourth Amendment.
You may remember that I posted about a horrible action perpetrated by the FBI in vandalizing a suspects internet service so that they thought they needed a repair in their hotel rooms, posing as repairmen to get invited in, and then performing some warrantless searching.
Mike Massnick of TechDirt has written about how the FBI Director James Comey is responding to criticism of that and other cases of snooping. A large part of his argument is that warrantless searching must be good because it works.
Yeah. Does anyone doubt that the Feds could nab more “bad guys” if they were allowed to search all our homes at will without needing to show probable cause? I sure don’t.
I don’t know about you but the crimes our government commits against us do not terrify me nearly as much as the explanations and defenses they offer for those practices. When they open their mouths to press for their alleged righteousness, I wonder if I am dealing with space aliens or Manchurian puppets controlled by some totalitarian government overseas. Surely these people were not born and raised in the USA. (Ha! I didn’t mean to go there, but, when it comes down to it, I want to believe there are hundreds of thousands of forged birth certificates.)
Another amazing tactic of Comey is to complain that he is not allowed to comment on an ongoing case. So it is unfair for the media to make any comments on the story that they are now in court attempting to rip the Fourth Amendment from the Constitution. I’m sure Comey would prefer they shut up and wait until they have won their case and made the Fourth Amendment a dead letter.
Marcy Wheeler has the best response to that, highlighting how the FBI, in this very same case (but it’s also true in lots of high-profile FBI cases) put out press releases that only gave its side of the story, and claimed things as fact that were misleading and inaccurate — but didn’t seem to have any problem with the press taking its one side of the story without considering the response from the accused:
“Jim Comey thinks the press shouldn’t report on this until after the government has had its shot at rebuttal? Does he feel the same about the army of FBI leakers who pre-empt defense cases all the time? Does Comey think it improper for his FBI to have released this press release, upon defendant Wei Seng Phua’s arrest, asserting that he is a member of organized crime as a fact and mentioning a prior arrest (not a conviction) that may or may not be deemed admissible to this case?
“‘According to the criminal complaint, Wei Seng Phua, is known by law enforcement to be a high ranking member of the 14K Triad, an Asian organized crime group. On or about June 18, 2013, Phua was arrested in Macau, along with more than 20 other individuals, for operating an illegal sport book gambling business transacting illegal bets on the World Cup Soccer Tournament. Phua posted bail in Macau and was released.’
“I didn’t see the FBI Director complaining about press stories, written in response to the press release, reported before the defense had been able to present their side.”
And, so, apparently, not only does the FBI director think it’s proper to use deceptive practices if “it works,” he also thinks that the press should only report on the FBI’s side of the story, furthering the deceptive practices with what’s effectively propaganda.
Seriously, where do these people come from?