Terrorist hoax sent from library; feds, cops, librarians overreact

Here's an update on the terrorist hoaxer who caused a scramble in Waltham: The hoax email was sent from a public Internet terminal at the Newton Free library.

The feds and cops went rushing to the library to seize the computer, but were refused by city officials and librarians, who told them they needed a warrant. From the News Tribune article:
While one law enforcement official said he was "totally disgusted" with the city’s attempt to hold up a time-sensitive investigation of a potential terrorist threat, Cohen is defending the library’s actions, calling it one of Newton’s "finest hours."
Disgusted? Finest hours? Please. The Newton cops and feds overreacted on this one. As did the mayor and city librarians.

However, the librarians are right -- A warrant is required to conduct this type of search, and by not getting one, the feds and cops would have risked the evidence getting thrown out in court, when the case eventually goes to trial. Law enforcement officials are supposed to live by the rule of law, not break the law. A warrant is required unless someone's life is in danger. That's clearly not the case at the library -- the threat was a hoax, and the hoaxer is obviously not hanging around the library, waiting for the cops to show up.

Grow up, everybody. Be nice to each other. Help each other where you can, but do things by the book. Get the bad guy, and put him behind bars.


Anonymous Andrew said...

Mayor Cohen overstated, unless Newton is sadly lacking in fine hours, but he doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the agents of the law who showed contempt for the law in their rush to seize property.

3:07 PM  

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