First, Start By Checking their Mail
The government has told us that in order to surveil terrorists it has to infringe upon our fourth amendment rights to be free from "searches" without a prior court order. It has told us that it needs to torture-- I mean, use "alternate procedures" upon-- terror detainees in order to glean information from them. It has refused to allow certain other terrorism suspects to have any due process access to an attorney because that attorney's visit, alone, might interrupt vital interrogation techniques. It has, in short, asked us to make legal sacrifices large and small in the fight against terrorism. So the least it could do, you might think, is figure out a way to open and read the mail of terror suspects currently in prison right here in America.
That's right. According to this report by the Office of Inspector General, the Justice Department has "not effectively monitored the mail of terrorist and other high-risk inmates." Mail monitoring by the Bureau of Prisons (overseen by the Justice department) is deficient in several ways, the IG report concludes. The BOP "does not read all the mail for terrorist and other high-risk inmates on its mail monitoring lists, does not have enough proficient translators to translate inmate mail written in foreign languages, and does not have sufficient staff trained in intelligence techniques to evaluate whether terrorists' communications contain suspicious content," according to the report.
"Similarly," the report continues "we found that the BOP is unable to effectively monitor high-risk inmates' verbal communications, which include telephone calls, visits with family and friends, and cellblock conversations. In addition, the Department does not require a review of all international terrorist inmates to identify those who should be subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), the most restrictive conditions that can be placed on an inmate's communications.... However, the Director and BOP managers stated that the BOP cannot fully implement the planned initiatives because of budget constraints and an increasing inmate population. Consequently, the threat remains that terrorist and other high-risk inmates can use mail and verbal communications to conduct terrorist or criminal activities while incarcerated."
So there you have it. The government that has taken our rights away in the name of fighting terrorism-- in large part based upon the argument that it deserves to be trusted to do it right-- can't even figure out a way to check the mail of known and convicted terrorists. Think about that the next time you hear a Justice Department official looks you in the eye and says a detainee deserves no due process rights.
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Posted by: george m | October 4, 2006 08:03 PM
Posted by: MC | October 5, 2006 01:23 PM
Posted by: Randall Sylvan | October 9, 2006 01:44 AM
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