In 2019, agents of the federal and state governments persuaded judges to issue 99% of all requested intercepts. An intercept is any type of government surveillance — telephone, text message, email, even in-person.

These are intercepts that theoretically are based on probable cause of crime, as is required by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

The 2019 numbers — which the government released as we were all watching the end of the presidential election campaign — are staggering. The feds, and local and state police in America engaged in 27,431,687 intercepts on 777,840 people.

They arrested 17,101 people from among those intercepted and obtained convictions on the basis of evidence obtained via the intercepts on 5,304. That is a conviction rate of 4% of all people spied upon by law enforcement in the United States.

Here is the backstory.

Readers of this column are familiar with the use by federal agents of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to obtain intercepts using a standard of proof considerably lesser than probable cause of crime.

That came about because Congress basically has no respect for the Constitution and authorized the FISA Court to issue intercept warrants if federal agents can identify an American or a foreign person in America who has spoken to a foreign person in another country.

Call your cousin in Florence or a bookseller in Edinburgh or an art dealer in Brussels, and under FISA, the feds can get a warrant from the FISA Court to monitor your future calls and texts and emails.

This FISA system is profoundly unconstitutional; the Fourth Amendment expressly requires that the government — state and federal — can only lawfully engage in searches and seizures pursuant to warrants issued by a judge based upon a showing under oath of probable cause of crime.

The Supreme Court has ruled consistently that intercepts and surveillances constitute searches and seizures. The government searches a database of emails, texts or recorded phone calls and seizes the data it wants.

Thus, when the feds have targeted someone for prosecution and lack probable cause of crime about that person, they resort to FISA. This is not only unlawful and unconstitutional, but also it is corrupting, as it permits criminal investigators to cut constitutional corners by obtaining evidence of crimes outside the scope of the Fourth Amendment. The use of the Fourth Amendment is the only lawful means of engaging in surveillance sufficient to introduce the fruits of the surveillance at a criminal trial.

If the feds happen upon evidence of a crime from their FISA-authorized intercepts, they then need to engage in deceptive acts of parallel construction. That connotes the false creation of an ostensibly lawful intercept in order to claim that they obtained lawfully what they already have obtained unlawfully.

Latest posts by Judge Andrew Napolitano (see all)


Concordia res parvae crescunt


Small things grow great by concord...

Tenth Amendment Center


"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."


FOLLOW US

Get in Touch

3 + 11 =


MAIL:
PO BOX 13458
Los Angeles, CA 90013


PHONE:
213.935.0553

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

LEARN MORE

01

Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles

02

Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog

03

State of the Nullification Movement

108 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report

01

Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty

02

maharrey minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens.

maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues – history, and application today

TENTHER ESSENTIALS

Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!

JOIN TAC

01

The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose – the “Foundation of the Constitution.”

10th Amendment

03

Nullification

Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history – and today.

nullification