CATO: Surveilling in Secret


Is the surveillance state just a blob of anti-liberty matter that will continue to grow until it consumes us all? Lord, let’s hope not.

(From CATO)

Parallel construction is one of the most frightening civil liberties issues that you may never have heard of. For the purposes of this discussion, I’m defining parallel construction as something that a government body does deliberately to create an alternative explanation for how it found a piece of evidence. The government did Thing A, but it doesn’t want the court, or the defense attorney, for example, to know that it did Thing A, so it goes back and does Thing B.

So how might this work? The Intercept recently had an article about immigration enforcement in Texas, and how state troopers are starting to find people through traffic stops. And I thought, my gosh, when somebody gets pulled over for having windows that are tinted too dark, and then lo and behold! They have an immigration issue! That is kind of too happy for law enforcement to be a coincidence…

…If parallel construction is legal, does the Bill of Rights still have any meaning? If the government can do things that are constitutionally questionable, or that it should know are unlawful, and then simply never tell anyone, do those rights still have any meaning? I think this is very, very frightening.

We do too.