Michael Tracey Profile picture
Roving journalist, friend to all dogs mtracey@protonmail.com

Nov 29, 2022, 8 tweets

Federal public defender convincingly argues that the FBI used an unprecedented "modern-day general warrant" to seize personal data of anyone who "could have been" in the approximate vicinity of the Capitol on Jan 6. "Defending democracy" by obliterating bedrock civil liberties

The warrant was "fatally over-broad and devoid of particularity, and therefore impermissible under the Fourth Amendment." There was never any particularized probable cause cited by FBI -- making it certain that searches were conducted on people who committed no crime whatsoever

Rather than establishing any basis for probable cause that subjects of the search had committed a crime, the government relied on hypothesis and conjecture that merely "equated presence at the Capitol with criminal activity" -- bizarrely invoking "the pandemic" in its reasoning

In other words, to obtain its general warrant and seize the personal data of thousands of people without establishing any particularized probable cause that they had engaged in criminal activity, the government simply "equated presence to criminality"

But because this Jan 6 investigation is the most important in the history of human civilization or something, and Democracy™ as we know it hangs in the balance, expect these brazen, precedent-setting abrogations of the Fourth Amendment to be largely ignored -- or cheered

Rebecca Fish -- Assistant Federal Public Defender in Tacoma, WA -- did an excellent, thorough job on this motion. Well worth reading documentcloud.org/documents/2316…

As recently as November 3, a brand new Jan 6 defendant was arrested. FBI agent writes that he/she attempted to use the same "geofence warrant" (general warrant) to establish this suspect's criminality, but failed. Then tried facial recognition software, and failed. But pressed on

The suspect's criminal conduct is alleged to be that he walked into the Capitol at 2:50pm, took a selfie with his wife (who was also arrested), and then walked out at 3:00pm. These were the fruits of an extensive investigation by an agent in the FBI's "Joint Terrorism Task Force"

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