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Crimes of Our Rulers

In its continuing efforts to endanger us, the “FBI authorized informants to break the law 22,800 times in 4 years … ‘for the purpose of furthering our investigation[s].’”

At first blush, allowing 22,800 infractions in 4 years doesn’t seem too alarming, given that even the most innocuous behavior is illegal now. I’ll break the law at least three times today without even trying, and so will you.

But we’re talking actual crimes here against people and property, not such silly offenses as digging ponds on your own land. For example, “an FBI informant was responsible for facilitating the 2011 breach of Stratfor in one of the most high-profile cyberattacks of the last decade. While a handful of informants ultimately brought down the principal hacker responsible, the sting also caused Stratfor, an American intelligence firm, millions of dollars in damages and left an estimated 700,000 credit card holders vulnerable to fraud.”

I’m not sure which is more damning, the perils Our Rulers unleash against us or their justification for so unconscionably jeopardizing us: “’Most crime ‘requires mens rea,’ says [Michael] German [a former undercover agent with the FBI who researches national security law at the Brennan Center for Justice], meaning criminal intent. ‘If I’m committing this activity that would otherwise be criminal, but I’m not doing it for a criminal purpose, I’m doing it for a law enforcement purpose, it really isn’t criminal activity after all.’”

Seriously? And yet if I, a mere serf, am committing activity that would otherwise be criminal but I’m not doing it for a criminal purpose, I’m doing it for a living-my-life purpose—smoking weed to alleviate multiple sclerosis’ pain, say, or forgetting the weapon in my carry-on bag at the airport—it really is still criminal activity after all, for which the State will arrest or even imprison me.

Oh, and get this: “The ‘bigger problem,’ [Michael German] says, is that informants often engage in criminal activity and don’t tell their handling agents about it.” Ya think?

I was ecstatic to read in a techies’ publication yesterday that the “NSA[‘s most recent] leak that has me wondering if we should reclassify the NSA as a criminal organization … [The NSA] put the U.S. at risk and did serious damage to the technology industry. We put folks in jail for one hell of a lot less, so maybe we should stop thinking the NSA is on our side and start treating it as an enemy combatant.” I say we extend that to the FBI, and I bet Mark Luedtke, who alerted me to this latest revelation of its malfeasance, agrees.

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12:06 pm on August 24, 2016