This is the fox watching the henhouse. These are not restrictions, these are just the DOJ getting to ask itself if it really wants to spy on these journalists, and the DOJ telling itself “sure, go ahead.” There’s a further exception that if someone is a member of the media, but the FBI “suspects” they’re an intelligence officer or affiliated with a foreign intelligence service, “no additional approval requirements” are needed. So, as with the Rosen case, the FBI can just declare him a “co-conspirator” and voila, no approval necessary.
Maybe the US government should take it’s own advice and follow it
Law enforcement agencies should not expand their electronic surveillance capabilities until they have addressed core problems of corruption, incompetence, poor oversight, and inadequate training. Echoing concerns long raised by EFF, that’s the message the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent the Calexico Police Department (CPD) following a years-long investigation into alleged corruption by officers.
Not all leaks are alike, nor are their makers. Gen. David Petraeus, for instance, provided his illicit lover and favorable biographer information so secret it defied classification, including the names of covert operatives and the president’s private thoughts on matters of strategic concern. Petraeus was not charged with a felony, as the Justice Department had initially recommended, but was instead permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Had an enlisted soldier of modest rank pulled out a stack of highly classified notebooks and handed them to his girlfriend to secure so much as a smile, he’d be looking at many decades in prison, not a pile of character references from a Who’s Who of the Deep State.
According to documents released to the ACLU, the Oregon DOJ has problems complying with both state and federal laws. Law enforcement agencies are forbidden from conducting surveillance of First Amendment-protected activities unless they can demonstrate beforehand that there is evidence of criminal activity tied to it. But the DOJ’s own presentations suggest agents should perform surveillance first and fix it in post. According to its instructions, agents should be “creative” when looking for justification for surveillance of First Amendment-protected activities. Literally, “any crime will do.”
Civil asset forfeiture allows police to seize property as long as they believe that the assets in question were somehow connected to criminal activity. “As long as they believe” — that’s the key part. Authorities don’t have to actually prove the person was guilty of a crime. They don’t have to even file charges. The presumption of innocence is thrown to the wayside. It’s an egregious violation of the 4th Amendment, but that’s not even the most glaring problem with the system. Under current law, most states allow police departments to absorb up to 100% of the value of the confiscated property — whether it’s cash, cars, houses or guns — and use the proceeds to pad their budgets. It’s an obvious conflict of interest — and boy, is it profitable for law enforcement agencies.