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View Diary: The Department of Precrime and The Thought Police. UPDATED (246 comments)

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  •  The problem with sleeper cells (3+ / 0-)
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    scionkirk, mediaprisoner, viscerality

    I'm not commenting on this particular case, but the general problem of sleeper cells.

    By definition, the members of the sleeper cells aren't terrorists yet, just ready, willing and able potential terrorists waiting for the coded e-mail.

    Sometimes the FBI gets good info on these cells.  Maybe they have an informant, maybe they manage to get an agent to infiltrate a cell.  The evidence has to stay secret or they lose their source of info.

    The best way of dealing with this is to get the sleeper cell members for actual crimes they have committed.  There was a case in North Carolina where a Hezbollah cell was operating and they were nabbed for some cigarette smuggling scheme (smuggling the cigarettes into gas stations in Michigan where the tax was a lot higher than in North Carolina).

    I'm troubled by the erosion of civil liberties, but I'm also troubled by the sleeper cells.  I don't think we can tell law enforcement that anything effective they can do to disrupt the cells is illegal until a building gets blown up.  (I know you aren't saying that, but it's awfully hard to find a piece of middle ground here where you can operate.)

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