FISA, the Russia investigation, and our justice system

https://www.lawfareblog.com/inspector-generals-disturbing-fisa-memo

For a while now I’ve been pondering (i.e., getting frustrated at political pundits on both sides) how the events of the Russia investigation relate to broader issues in our justice system. Given the recent IG memo on FISA applications, I’ll offer 4 quick thoughts:

1. Law enforcement and justice work are really hard. Preventing/punishing crime while simultaneously respecting civil rights is not easy, especially given how few cops there are compared to the number of bad guys out there.

2. Many of the shortcomings of our justice system were apparent in the Russia investigation. Detention in solitary confinement while awaiting trial, unfathomable legal bills for innocent people who might happen to have relevant info, invasive/aggressive tactics, overly-harsh prison sentences/guidelines.

3. I don’t see any reason to believe that the Russia investigation was an aberration. This is how our system works. It wasn’t a witch-hunt where they broke all the usual rules. It also wasn’t immune to the larger issues that plague our system.

4. Overall, I believe our justice system is fairer than what’s usually been seen throughout time and throughout the world. But we also have a lot of problems. The US currently locks up more people per capita than anyone else in the world.

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