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Where Did Government Put Your NSA-Wiretapped Phone, Fax and Private Email Communications?

by Dan Scott Sunday, Mar. 15, 2009 at 8:25 PM

Police too easily can take an innocent person’s hastily written email, fax or phone call out of context to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause an arrest or asset forfeiture.

In 2008 Telecoms were granted government immunity after they helped U.S. Government spy on millions of Americans’ electronic communications. Since, Government has not disclosed what happened to NSA’s millions of collected emails, faxes and phone call information that belong to U.S. Citizens? Could those wiretaps perhaps illegal, become a problem for some Americans? Neither Congress nor the courts—determined what NSA electronic surveillance could be used by police or introduced into court by Government to prosecute Citizens.

In 2004, former Attorney General John Ashcroft asked government prosecutors to review thousands of old intelligence files including wiretaps to retrieve information prosecutors could use in “ordinary” criminal prosecutions. That was shortly after a court case lowered a barrier that previously blocked prosecutors from using illegal-wire tap evidence in Justice Dept. “intelligence files” to prosecute ordinary crimes. It would appear this information, could also be used by government to prosecute civil asset forfeitures.

See: http://www.securityfocus.com/news/5452



Considering this court case, it might be possible for NSA to share its “recent” electronic-domestic-spying with countless U.S. police agencies; including contracted-companies and private individuals that have government clearances to facilitate forfeiting Americans’ property—to keep part of the bounty. Police too easily can take an innocent person’s hastily written email, fax or phone call out of context to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause an arrest or asset forfeiture: Under federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to take their property.

IN 2000, Henry Hyde’s bill HR 1658 passed and effectively eliminated the statue of limitations for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture, i.e., the statute runs five years from when police allege they learned an asset became subject to civil asset forfeiture. It is problematic law enforcement agencies and private government contractors will want access to more recent telecom/NSA wiretaps to secure evidence to go back perhaps decades to arrest Americans and or civilly forfeit their homes, inheritances and business under Title 18 of the United States Code. Of obvious concern, what happens to fair justice in America if police become dependent on “Asset Forfeiture” to help pay their salaries?

Patriot Act Retroactive Asset Forfeiture Provisions: Under the USA Patriot Act, witnesses can be kept hidden while being paid part of the assets they cause to be forfeited. The Patriot Act specifically mentions provisions in Rep. Henry Hyde’s bill HR 1658 "The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000." The bill included "retroactive asset forfeiture provisions" that apply retroactively to “assets already subject to government forfeiture”, meaning "property already tainted by crime" provided “the property” was already part of or “later connected” to a criminal investigation in progress" when HR.1658 passed.

To help protect Americans from police forfeiture abuse, Congress should pass legislation that raises the standard of evidence Government uses for Civil Asset Forfeiture from a mere “Preponderance of Evidence”, to “Clear and Convincing Evidence.”

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Mercenary/Security Companies Involved in “Asset Forfeiture” from U.S. Citizens? Ross Wolf Friday, Mar. 20, 2009 at 12:55 PM

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