NEWS: Spying program may be tested by terror case

Spying program may be tested by terror case
By Adam Liptak, New York Times, August 26, 2007

The case is significant in a second way, as a vivid illustration of a new form of pre-emptive law enforcement intended to stop terrorism before it happens, even at the expense of charges of entrapment.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation has an obligation to use all available investigative tools,” prosecutors wrote in a brief urging the court to impose harsh sentences in February, “including a sting operation, to remove those ready and willing to help terrorists from our streets.”

The lead prosecutor, William C. Pericak, an assistant United States attorney, said the sting had worked perfectly.

“You can’t put a percentage on how likely these guys would have been to commit an act of terrorism,” Mr. Pericak said in an interview in his office at the federal courthouse here. “But if a terrorist came to Albany, my opinion is that these guys would have assisted 100 percent.” [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — The idea of “pre-emptive law enforcement” comes straight out of movies like “Minority Report” (representing a future in which criminals are caught before they’ve committed a crime). Anyone who finds comfort in this kind of security should kiss goodbye to democracy. This approach to national security doesn’t present the risk of leading to an authoritarian state; it exemplifies the operation of such a state.

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