Wednesday, March 21, 2007

All Pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others

You might recognize that line from Orwell's "Animal Farm" but it pretty much fits a disclosure by the Justice Department's Inspector General yesterday that (according to the Washington Post), "the FBI may have violated the law or government policies as many as 3,000 times since 2003 as agents secretly collected the telephone, bank and credit card records of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals residing here."

In other news, in the Justice Department's "Document Dump" from yesterday, comes news that AZ United States Attorney Paul Charlton, one of the 8 USA's fired last year, wanted to institute a policy of requiring federal agents to tape record or videotape interrogations." Like Jerry Maguire, he was fired shortly after calling for this change.

What's more shocking is the internal memos released yesterday. For example, a June
'06 ATF memo to the DOJ opposing such recording states:

"Law enforcement interrogation techniques (although completely legal) may still be unsettling for some jurors in video and audio form."

Even more shocking, an internal FBI memo, also opposing the AZ USA's desire to record interrogations, states:

"FBI agents have successfully testified to custodial defendants' statements for
generations with only occasional and rarely successful challenges.... as all
experienced investigators and prosecutors know, perfectly lawful and acceptable interrogation techniques do not always come across in recorded fashion to lay persons as a proper means of obtaining information from defendants. Initial resistance may be interpreted as involuntariness and misleading a defendant as to the quality of the evidence against him may be unfair deceit."

(Interestingly, in the FBI document, someone has handwritten the words "So we
want to hide the truth? Don't want the jury to reach its own judgement?" in the

A link to Glenn Greenwald's article on subject, which includes pdf images and
links to the dumped docs, is here. You might have to click through Salon's first screen to get there)

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