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Oregon Prosecutors Wire Tap the Defense of Portland's Christmas Tree Bomb Mastermind

Oregonians might remember the Christmas bomb plot, where Mohamed Mohamud attempted to detonate a bomb at the crowded Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland.

Mohamud was found guilty on January 30, 2013. His sentencing is set for October 1, 2014. One might wonder, why the delay in sentencing? The Oregonian claims sentencing was delayed due to the Constitutionality of evidence gained to convict Mohamud.

"Mohamud's lawyers argued that the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the U.S. to sweep information on foreign nationals outside the country and collect data from citizens communicating with people overseas, violated the Constitution.

That sort of data collection was used in Mohamud's trial; emails exchanged between Mohamud and two terror suspects were used as evidence."

That reporting is incomplete. Documents show the "The FBI wiretapped two conversations and one voicemail defense investigators for Mohamed Osman Mohamud had...and then handed those recordings over to the prosecutor..." The FBI gained some intelligence on Mohamud from another case and thought the prosecutors might find it handy and gave it to them. No warrant was used. No legal proceedings.

While the Mohamud case is being heralded as the litmus test for cases where FISA warrantless wiretapping is used to help prosecute domestic terrorists, it is worth noting that the very same technology used to root out Mohamud and thwart his bomb plot, is also being used in the courtroom to take away his attorney-client rights.

One might also write this incident off as an isolated incident. Just north of Oregon in Washington state, the "U.S. Navy has been engaged in a 'routine' and 'widespread' program of 'hacking' into private citizens’ computers and turning over information to law enforcement agencies." Again, no warrants were used.

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