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Dysart Willis

Did FBI commit crimes in search for child porn?

There are criminal defense attorneys and legal scholars who make the argument that in its search for criminals, the nation's top federal law enforcement agency broke more crimes than those who were arrested at the conclusion of its investigation.

As part of "Operation Pacifier," the FBI was for two weeks last year one of the biggest distributors of child pornography. Most of those later arrested were charged with receiving or viewing child porn. The situation has many people asking if the agency has crossed a line and put civil liberties at risk.

After arresting a North Carolina man accused of operating a bulletin board that facilitated child porn transactions, the FBI confiscated the site's server and began operating the notorious Playpen. The resultant "Operation Pacifier" was both a sting and a hacking scheme that ended in arrests for 186 people.

Federal agents reportedly used secret hacking software to invade site-user computers and send identifying data back to the FBI in Virginia.

“This is easily the largest domestic use of hacking by law enforcement in U.S. history,” an attorney at a digital freedom and legal services nonprofit organization.

FBI secrecy about its methods has led at least one federal judge to suppress evidence obtained in a case of a man accused of receiving child pornography from the site. The FBI refused to reveal to the court how the evidence was obtained.

We do not yet know how these cases will be resolved. But we know that anyone facing child porn charges has rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. An attorney with the Raleigh law firm of Dysart Willis can help protect your rights and freedom.