” The president continues to dispatch his National Security Agency (NSA) spies as if he were a law unto himself, and Congress—which is also being spied upon—has done nothing to protect the right to privacy that the Fourth Amendment was written to ensure. Congress has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, yet it has failed miserably to do so. But the spying is now so entrenched in government that a sinister and largely unnoticed problem lurks beneath the surface.
NSA documents released by Edward Snowden show that the feds seriously deceived Congress and the courts in an effort to spy upon all of us and to use the gathered materials in criminal prosecutions, even though they told federal judges they would not. Among the more nefarious procedures the feds have engaged in is something called “parallel reconstruction.” This procedure seeks to hide the true and original source of information about a criminal defendant when it was obtained unlawfully.
Thus, in order to maintain the facade of spying only for domestic intelligence purposes, and to appear faithful to public and secret promises (the FISA court only sits in secret) that any evidence of criminal behavior inadvertently discovered by NSA spies will not be used in criminal prosecutions, and so as to keep the mechanisms of domestic spying hidden from non-FISA federal judges who are more likely to apply normative interpretations of the Fourth Amendment than their FISA court colleagues, the NSA and the DOJ began the process of parallel reconstruction.
Parallel reconstruction consists largely of the creation of a false beginning—an untrue one—of the acquisition of evidence. This, of course, is criminal. Lawyers and agents for the NSA and DOJ may no more lawfully lie to federal judges and criminal defense attorneys about the true origins of evidence than may a bank robber who testifies in his own defense claiming to have been at Mass at the time of the robbery.
While parallel reconstruction is deceptive, unlawful and unconstitutional, I suspect it is but the tip of a dangerous iceberg spawned by the unbridled NSA spying that Bush and Obama have given us. When you mix a lack of fidelity to the plain meaning of the Constitution with a legal fiction, and then add in a drumbeat of fear, enforced secrecy, and billions of unaccounted-for taxpayer dollars, you get a dangerous stew of unintended tyrannical consequences.”
Read the whole thing at Reason