Department of Justice Drops More Child Pornography Charges

With all of the work the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) went through, including hosting and upgrading a child pornography site, you would think that the Department of Justice (DoJ) would be eager to start the nailing suspects to the wall. But the agency has decided to drop yet more charges because it doesn’t want to explain how the FBI caught the suspect:

In Tippens, the government decided to make such a move rather than allow attorneys for the defendant to present still-classified material discovered on WikiLeaks as trial exhibits. In March, during trial, the defense attorneys told the court they wished to present exhibits showing the government’s ability to, as the judge summarized earlier this month, “hack into a computer without leaving any trace that it had been hacked or that an exploit had been placed on it.”

The result is that Tippens “would not be able to determine whether child pornography had been planted or whether security settings had been modified.”

During trial, prosecutors acknowledged that the material the defense wished to present was classified and that the materials therefore should be excluded. Because of that declaration, and the inability to present classified material that may possibly be helpful to the defense, the defense asked the judge to dismiss Counts 1 (receipt of child pornography) and 3 (transportation of child pornography).

This tendency for the DoJ to drop charges because it doesn’t want to reveal any evidence about how the FBI caught the suspects really makes me wonder what the FBI’s exploit actually did. I’m starting to wonder if it was doing something shady (as in shadier than normal for the FBI) that would prevent the evidence from holding up in court because the agency seems to be pulling out all of the stops to keep it secret.