Breaking this morning is a story that the DEA uses the databases of other law enforcement agencies, including the NSA’s vast phone and Web databases, to identify potential criminals. Then, when they find someone, they’ll look for a way to search the person without giving away that they used those databases, which they’ve coined “parallel construction.”

Parallel construction is a euphemism made up by the government for conducting an unlawful search and then unlawfully concealing that fact from both the courts and defense attorneys, in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, various federal statutes (perjury being the most significant), and the rules of every court. When an illegal search is conducted, it cannot be “made right” by using the bad info and figuring out another way to nab the guy. It’s called using the “fruit of the poisonous tree” and it has been dismissed by every court for about 80 years.

The government will always start its illegal searches with those repulsed by society — terrorists, child pornographers, drug cartel members — and slowly work its way back to “garden variety” criminals. The courts will say, “well, we made it legal for the terrorists, why not for the guy who failed to use his turn signal?” If we don’t stand up for everyone’s rights — even the rights of the most despicable — the rights will be gone for all, and we’ll have deserved it for so easily giving them away. Or instead, we can demand now that the government catch everyone — even terrorists — using investigations that follow the law, followed by a trial that affords them full due process, and only then followed by a jail cell that they justly deserve.