Prosecutor, Indict Thyself!

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In 18th century England, criminal cases were privately prosecuted, usually by the victim, although by law any Englishman could prosecute any crime. In an old article on that system, I suggested a possible reason. Over the previous century, England had gone· through a civil war, a military dictatorship, and two successful coups. It may have occurred to people that, if the crown controlled prosecution, the king’s friends could get away with murder.

Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, intercepting communications in ways not permitted by the act, or using information obtained by such interceptions, is a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. It is a crime – but only the state can prosecute it.

Would anyone like to estimate the probability that either Bush, who by his own admission has been using information thus obtained, or the people who obtained it for him, end up facing criminal prosecution?

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