Now, we are about to find out whether or not Attorney General Jeff Sessions will uphold the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment against domestic enemies, namely the Central Intelligence Agency. In a report that came out on Wednesday, the Justice Department may have confirmed the documents released by Wikileaks as “Vault 7” are authentic.
The reason for the revelation came as a defendant in an unrelated case attempted to use the documents from Wikileaks to make a case.
Judging by a recent court filing, at least some of the CIA files Wikileaks published earlier this month are genuine, because the government pushed back against having them admitted in court due to the documents’ classified content.
“The government is not able to declare non-government records as classified, unless they are taking ownership of the records themselves,” Bradley P. Moss, a national security attorney, told Motherboard in an email.
Strangely, the court filing was made in a largely unrelated case involving the FBI’s own hacking capabilities. In February 2015, the FBI took over a dark web child pornography site called Playpen, and deployed a network investigative technique—a piece of malware—in an attempt to identify the site’s users.
That investigation has led to hundreds of arrests, but also dozens of contentious court cases across the US. Defense teams have battled over the legality of the warrant used to authorize the hacking operation, as well as access to the source code of the exploit used to hack their clients’ computers.
In this case, federal public defender Colin Fieman wanted to admit some of the Wikileaks documents into court. The idea was to bolster his argument that even with a forensic examination of the defendant’s computer, it would not be possible to see whether someone else planted child pornography on the machine, because the exhibits may show the US government has “the ability to hack into a computer without leaving any trace,” the court filing, written by District Judge Robert J. Bryan, reads.
Whether or not that argument actually holds water is largely irrelevant, as the government did not want the Wikileaks documents included in the case at all.
Child pornography planted by our government on someone’s computer? Say it isn’t so! My goodness, they are running child porn websites and criminally distributing tens of thousands of child porn pictures and videos!
Motherboard went on to detail that the DOJ is attempting to retroactively seal for the case mentioned above and two others because they might “reference matters discussed in a portion of a transcript that is already shut-off from public view.”
In other words, it would expose the criminal activity of the central government.