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In-Depth Interview: Investigative Reporter Trevor Aaronson Warns Against New Police Power As Response to Recent Mass Shootings

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Trevor Aaronson wrote the book exposing FBI abuse of expanded powers enacted after 9/11, and warns against new laws for domestic killers.Aaronson is the author of The Terror Factory, and now writes for The Intercept. The recent articles we discuss are here and here.

We open the podcast with the angry Dayton crowd that chanted “Do Something” to the feeble call for “thoughts and prayers” from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, and invite Aaronson to explain his concerns about reflexive passage of laws to further increase the powers of law enforcement and prosecutors.

PBC argues that the political climate won’t permit passage of rational gun control measures, so lawmakers will seek to find some way of showing they’ll “do something”, like passing a “domestic terrorism” law.  Aaronson notes that we don’t actually have a foreign terrorism law, and that we have plenty of laws on the books to deal with each specific event.  We also note that there’s been no effort to evaluate the good and bad impact of the Patriot Act and other measures, before adding new layers of criminal law.

We also discuss the recent exoneration and release from prison of Hamid Hayat, one of the first targets of “domestic terrorism” under George W. Bush and FBI Director Mueller.  Aaronson summarizes the case, and underscores that journalists–led by former 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman–were key to exposing new evidence that caused the conviction to be overturned.