Speaking with reporters, Pence said he met with police officials last Thursday for a briefing after an Indianapolis Star report revealed the agency had acquired a “Stingray” device for $373,995.
“I believe this technology is in the interest of public safety, and I believe it has enhanced our ability to both protect and save lives,” Pence told reporters. “I was informed that in the limited number of cases where this technology has been used that it has only been used with strict judicial oversight.”
But when pressed, Pence didn’t answer repeated questions about whether the agency obtains search warrants before turning on the devices.
Pence’s press secretary Kara Brooks referred further inquires about the devices to State Police spokesman Dave Bursten, who didn’t immediately return a message this morning from The Star.
Previously, Bursten has declined to answer questions about the devices and would not say whether the agency uses Stingrays without a search warrant.The NSA compels telephone companies to turn over telelphonic metadata in bulk, a step it claims is necessary to protect national security interests, which today means protecting us from terrorists. A federal district court ruled this practice unconstitutional. Of course, most terrorists are funded, trained and directed by the CIA so their activities are curiously never detected in advance by the NSA's snooping. The accused Boston Marathon bombing suspects are perfect examples. Despite being sponsored for immigration to this country by an uncle who works for the CIA and being placed under constant monitoring by the FBI, the two young Tsarnaev brothers we are told somehow managed to build, place and detonate two "bombs" in an area crawling with police and extra security. (Yes, I deliberately put the word in quotes because only made-for-movie special effect bombs were exploded next to crisis actors who were paid to pretend to have suffered injuries, which is self-evident to anyone who views the video of the blast scenes with open eyes).
It's total nonsense for Pence to suggest that a civil police agency has any need to collect cell phone data in bulk for any legitimate law enforcement purpose. It's an unchecked fishing expedition of the worst order that can be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes, not the least of which includes spying on political enemies. No citizen of this state should trust the Indiana State Police to use this spying capability responsibly. Legislation is clearly needed to limit its use strictly to instances where it has obtained an order from a court based on a finding of probable cause, and to impose harsh penalties on those who would use it otherwise.