Friday, March 9, 2007
C-Average Law Enforcement
78%... That’s how well the FBI scores on following the rules that are supposed to protect our rights. It's a high C, but it's still a C, and it's just not good enough. Let's set aside the questions of whether the Patriot Act was a good idea (it wasn't), whether it does enough to protect our rights (it doesn't), whether it gives the executive branch too much power (it does), and even whether this administration can be trusted to protect our rights under any circumstance (they can't.). Let's just focus on one simple question. Are the FBI following the rule of law, no matter how ill-conceived it might have been? In a nutshell, no.
In a review of cases in which the FBI sought information using the Patriot Act, they used it illegally in 22% of them.
They've used the Patriot Act to spy on Americans as often as 56,000 times a year. Again, ignoring the fact that they shouldn't be spying on us in the first place, if 22% of their usage is illegal, that works out to more than 12,000 illegal actions each year... by the FBI... who were supposed to be upholding the law, the last time I checked.
Their defense is that they’re not criminals per se, they’re just incompetent. They accidentally infringe our rights… ten to twelve THOUSAND times per year. They wouldn’t do it on purpose. They just can’t figure out their filing system... Agents make mistakes...
Well, let me be the first to suggest that you hire a secretary and fire some cops.
If an FBI agent were to accidentally tell every fifth suspect that they have the right to a Philly Cheesesteak instead of a public defender, he would probably be fired. On the other hand, if an FBI agent only illegally uses the Patriot Act once out of every five times, he's actually doing better than the average agent. Wow, these guys suck.
Look, we all know that the FBI's "accident" defense is a load of crap. Of course there is criminal misconduct. If I "accidentally" step on your foot every fifth time I walk past you, you are going to conclude, well before the twelve thousandth time, that they aren't all accidents. If only someone could have predicted that the goverment would abuse any power given to them. Perhaps someone who had cracked a history book once in a while... or say... lived through Watergate.
I say it's time to take that bullet away from Barney. We just can't trust him with it any more.