This hasn’t been a good week for those of us who formerly wore a badge and swore the related oath, and who expect our present-day colleagues in law enforcement to uphold the same standards we did.
First, the revelation that the DEA has used something called the Special Operations Division (perhaps appropriately acronymed SOD) to focus attention on suspects, then used the information it provided to ‘manufacture’ an evidence trail leading to their conviction, outraged me. As Karl Denninger rightly fumed:
Oh, I see. So we don’t reveal that we got the “tip” via an impermissible act, we then “find an excuse” to stop the vehicle (perhaps inventing a “burned out tail light” that doesn’t really exist?) and then we bring in a drug dog who “hits” on the car?
The agents then “pretend” that the tip never happened and the traffic stop began with either random selection or via whatever the “excuse” was, rather than the truth — they were targeting the person due to an illegal act in the context of the 4th Amendment and invented the reason for the stop out of whole cloth.
This is blatantly unconstitutional and right up the alley of a police state. The problem isn’t the program per-se. It’s that it is being used in an illegal and felonious fashion by the police themselves and then they commit perjury, a further felony, in concealing or actively lying about how they developed the lead.
The bottom line is that like most of the government today the DEA is completely out of control. In a futile and puerile attempt to control consensual conduct between adults we are now an effective police state — where the methods and so-called “evidence” are not subject to review or challenge.
And don’t think for a minute that they just catch “bad guys” with this sort of crap. By definition a secret program of this sort screws innocent people on a regular basis because there is no oversight or means to detect the abuses and punish the abusers.
And let’s not mince words here: Everyone involved in this is in fact an abuser as lying to a court is perjury and in most cases is a felony. Further, every one of these acts when directed against a US person violates 18 USC 242 (criminal) and 42 USC 1983 (civil) law.
Criminals are called that specifically because they don’t give a damn about the law and the constraints it places on their conduct. When the government is filled with felons committing crimes inside law enforcement agencies and their adjuncts you no longer live in a Republic.
There’s more at the link. He’s absolutely right.
My anger over this affair was compounded by another report today that the TSA‘s VIPR inspection teams are expanding their activities to include all transportation hubs around the USA, not just airports. Here’s an excerpt.
Civil liberties groups say that the VIPR teams have little to do with the agency’s original mission to provide security screenings at airports and that in some cases their actions amount to warrantless searches in violation of constitutional protections.
“The problem with T.S.A. stopping and searching people in public places outside the airport is that there are no real legal standards, or probable cause,” said Khaliah Barnes, administrative law counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. “It’s something that is easily abused because the reason that they are conducting the stops is shrouded in secrecy.”
T.S.A. officials respond that the random searches are “special needs” or “administrative searches” that are exempt from probable cause because they further the government’s need to prevent terrorist attacks.
. . .
T.S.A. officials would not say if the VIPR teams had ever foiled a terrorist plot or thwarted any major threat to public safety, saying the information is classified. But they argue that the random searches and presence of armed officers serve as a deterrent that bolsters the public confidence.
. . .
Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, which has oversight of the T.S.A., said he generally supports the VIPR teams but remains concerned about the warrantless searches and the use of behavior detection officers to profile individuals in crowds.
“This is a gray area,” he said. “I haven’t seen any good science that says that is what a terrorist looks like. Profiling can easily be abused.”
Again, more at the link. Bold underlined text is my emphasis.
Like hell the TSA’s searches are “exempt from probable cause”! The oath of office sworn by all TSA screeners and other personnel (and all Federal employees) states explicitly:
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
If they have to swear to “support and defend the Constitution”, that includes the Fourth Amendment: and that, plus abundant binding precedent, means that apart from pre-boarding security checks, they must have probable cause to search anything or anybody, plus a warrant in the absence of exigent circumstances. If any TSA agent or VIPR team tries to search me anywhere except in a pre-boarding security area, you bet I’ll refuse them permission to do so: and if they try to force a search upon me, they’ll be asking for everything they get. I will not surrender my Constitutional rights and privileges to their bureaucratic nosiness!
I’m reminded of the Florida case that was dismissed earlier this year, when local cops illegally planted a GPS monitor on a suspect’s car, then lied about it – going so far as to erase evidence! The judge ripped them a new one when he threw the case out, and rightly so. I fear someone’s going to have to do the same to the DEA and the TSA before long. They need to be slapped down, hard. If I’d tried to carry out my duties in such an unconstitutional manner I’d certainly have been fired, and probably prosecuted into the bargain! Just who do these clowns think they are?