It seems that thanks to the removal of authentication services by a vendor, hackers were able to get into Parler and archive a lot of data including content from January 6th, the day of the attempted coup.
Parler users who were influencers or otherwise verified would also upload their social security details.
It also seems that this content includes:
Deleted Messages, maybe even drafts / unsent messages
Metadata of uploaded videos and photos
It is possible that Amazon would probably hand over what they hosted to the FBI anyway, but these archives are now publicly accessible which allows citizen journalists and activists the opportunity to track down illegal activity and notify law enforcement, employers etc.
Wouldn't the hack itself be illegal? Are we now at the point that we celebrate illegal activity in the pursuit of other illegal activity? If the authorities did such a thing (and I'm not accusing any authorities here), it would be deemed "Friut of the poisonous tree".
Frankly, if I were the authorities, I would want the kooks consipring in the open on Parler rather than on more difficult to monitor alternatives such as Signal or Telegram.
Authorities hacking or obtaining information in a questionable manner in the name of National Security is nothing new, and it's often deemed legal in spite of arguments to the contrary. Whether such actions are morally or constitutionally right or wrong is obviously a source of heated debate. If the authorities obtained the information from Parler, one would think they would cite National Security threats arising from the recent breach of the Capitol building as justification for its actions.
I specifically stated I wasn't accusing authorities of anything in regards to the reported hack of Parler for I have no evidence of such. Absent evidence, my personal policy is to reserve judgement. To the best of my knowledge, Parler unlike Signal and Telegram is not an enctypted platflorm. If the authorities wished to monitor what was going on there, it seems they could have easily done so. The potentially illegal activity I referred to would be acts of third parties.
At the end of the day, I'm simply not an end justifies the means guy. By all means, any and all illegal activity related to recent events or aimed at preventing potential future events should be agressively and throughly pursued by appropriate authorities.
All I was saying is that "if" authorities did obtain Parler info for National security reasons, they would likely claim it was legally obtained and is not "Fruit of the poisonous tree". Of course, arguments usually ensue from such controversial actions.
That's fair enough. I fear we risk losing sight of the big picture here. What occurred is arguably an assault by one branch of the federal government (the executive) against a constitutionally co-equal branch (the legislature). While it's absolutely correct that illegal acts took place, this is fundamentally a political (not in terms of partisan politics) assault. The correct response is impeachment, conviction and removal from office. Despite the legal trappings, all of those things are political (in this context) not legal actions and appropriately so.
I fully understand there may not be sufficient Republican support in the Senate. This is inexcusable in terms of defending the institution of Congress and its constitutional prerogatives, however, Congress has been shamefully ceding its constitutional authority to the executive for far too long. On the other hand, current Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives seems to be in no hurry to excercise its prerogative to defend Congress either. One cannot simultaneously call the President an imminent danger while rushing to vote sometime later this week and expect to be taken seriously. Appealing to the executive branch to use the 25th amendment is despite all that happened constitutinally dubious. Congress ought not to rely on the executive to defend itself.
Yes, the President should be removed from office, yet the protocols for doing so are murky. I believe in the greater scheme of things, the political, legal, constitutional, and moral domains intertwine or overlap one another such that no absolute separation of domains is possible. The Supreme Court, for example, inevitably makes legal decisions that are also influenced by moral and political considerations. So for better or worse, the confounding of domains creates confusion and delays in applying what should be totally objective and unbiased protocols.
When I say the constitutional process of impeachment is a political one rather than a legal one, I mean the due process standards of legal prosecution for an alleged criminal offense need not apply. President Trump if impeached, convicted and removed from office wouldn't be denied life, liberty or property as a result. Obviously, neither the House of Representstives or its leadership control the entire process, however, I do believe leadership would be more credible had the House been called into immediate session to consider the matter. If something or someone is an iminent threat, one deals with it immediately not at some later date. It's reasonable but insufficient to ask the executive branch to police itself via the 25th amendment.
When I say the 25th Amendment is a constitutionally dubious means of addressing the situation, I'm referring to the language, which says the President may be sidelined (he wouldn't actually be removed from office) if unable to discharge the duties of the office. Unable is not the same thing as unfit or unwilling. I'm certainly no constitutional scholar, so will be reading this book at my earliest convenience:
I'll risk making myself unpopular and further opine President Trump's address to the crowd prior to the assault on the Capitol does not rise to the level of criminal responsibility. The standard for incitement and/or sedition as a criminal matter based on speech is incredibly high and rightfully so. The most widely cited case is Brandenburg v. Ohio:
Bringing this back to Parler and other social media platforms, generally, the state does not punish folks for speech and, again, rightfully so. Typically one is punished for actions that are crimes not words alone. To the extent one follows up with actions the words one posts on social media, those words would certainly be evidence of intent. Simply put, if I post that members of congress who objected to the certification of President-elect Biden's victory ought to be tarred and feathered and someone else does so, I'm not criminally responsible unless, perhaps, standing next to the barrel of tar and the sack of feathers (iminence). If I follow through on those words, I'm potentially criminally responsible for my actions.
Concerning the confluence of political and legal domains involved in impeachment proceedings, I think the following quote and linked article are informative.
"If impeachment were a purely political process, Congress could legitimately impeach and remove a president from office for any reason or no reason at all. This would make impeachment akin to a vote of no confidence in a parliamentary system, where the legislature can at any time remove its chosen prime minister—albeit with a heightened requirement for removal in the Senate. Conversely, if impeachment were a purely legal process, Congress’s sole function would be to determine the facts and apply the relevant legal standards to those facts to determine whether the president has committed an impeachable offense."
As to the debate over free speech and actions, I'm not sure the current thinking on these matters has addressed and codified how cult behavior fits into the legal framework. Yet given the current situation it remains to be seen if Trump's actions---tampering with election results and possibly altering security procedures with the intention to bring about harm, etc-- are deemed politically and legally impeachable.
It should be interesting to see what takes place at Trump's upcoming trip to "Alamo", Texas, and I hope we don't remember the Alamo more than we already do.
I already have stated I believe President Trump ought to be impeached, convicted and removed from office. I also expressed the opinion Trump's speech prior to the assault on the Capitol may not rise to criminal conduct based on prior Supreme Court precedent (Brandenberg v. Ohio). If there's evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of aiding and abetting beyond speech, a jury would no doubt convict.
Indeed, much remains to be investigated and time will tell if the conspiracy you fear exists and, if so, how widespread it is.
Posting a CNN graphic with no additional context is not cherry picking? I linked articles that provide context for the quotes. I am neither a Republican or a member of right wing media. Neither influences my opinions.
The CNBC article I quoted in part references that same FBI bulletin though not quite as dramatically as CNN. If I'm cherry picking then so are you.
The Hill article addresses your point regarding law enforcement arrests. Congressman Ryan chairs the House committee that oversees funding for the Capitol Police. He not I is quoted as saying there is no current evidence the arrests are indicative of a wider inside conspiracy.