The latest allegation in the Damian Green MP arrest scandal, is that, according to The Times:
From The Times
April 18, 2009
Shami Chakrabarti was target in police search
Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson
Police who arrested the Conservative frontbencher Damian Green trawled his private e-mails looking for information on Britain's leading civil liberties campaigner.
Officers from Scotland Yard's antiterror squad searched the computer seized from his parliamentary office using the key words "Shami Chakrabarti" - even though the Liberty director had nothing to do with the leaking of Home Office documents that prompted the investigation.
In an interview with The Times, Mr Green warned that his arrest and the raids on his Commons office and homes smacked of a "police state". The Tory immigration spokesman said that Ms Chakrabarti's name had been one of the keywords used to go through e-mails and computer documents going back several years.
"This feels to me like a fishing expedition on somebody who embarrasses the government of the day," he said. "That's very disturbing."
Remember how Labour party apologists claimed that it was necessary for the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command to be involved in this affair, simply because they had inherited the functions of the former Special Branch, and that they were used to dealing with complicated computer evidence etc. ? Somehow this did not apply to the "cash / loans for Honours" scandal investigation into the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cronies, where the investigation, included email evidence from No 10 Downing Street. This was left to a "normal" police investigation team led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates , who by an irony of fate, has now replaced the disgraced Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, who was in charge of the supposedly elite Counter Terrorism Command unit when these controversial arrests and searches were made.
If it had been a genuine criminal or national security investigation, then the investigators would have forensically copied disk images of the seized computers, or mobile device flash memory, and done any of their searches and analyses on the copies, not on the originals, which have been returned to the (wrongly arrested) suspect.
The computer forensics disk cloning software used by the Police etc. , such as enCase, also creates cryptographic checksums of each image, which can be used to detect if the computer has subsequently been tampered with or slightly modified, something which usually happens simply by switching it on again.
Any politician or journalist or blogger who has their computer equipment seized by the police during a supposed whistleblower leak investigation, should get their equipment similarly cryptographically checksummed, before switching it back on when it is (eventually) returned. Their lawyers should demand and obtain the cryptographic checksums of any forensic disk images taken by the police, for comparison, to help detect tampering or possible electronic snooping software installation when the equipment was in police custody.
This routine, standard procedure for handling computer evidence preserves the chain of evidence leading up to any possible prosecutions, and does not tip off the potential criminals about what the investigators do, or do not know about any accomplices or co-conspirators, who may not be aware that they are under suspicion. Such "tipping off" offences can carry a criminal penalty of up to 5 years in prison.
Doing anything else with the original computer or mobile phone etc. amounts to tampering with the evidence, which will make it useless in Court, and requires disciplinary action or criminal prosecution of the police or others who were involved.
A "search" for "Shami" on the original computer, could just as easily have been an attempt to plant forged incriminating evidence or to destroy or tamper with something that might establish the alibi of the accused.
If that is the way that the computer evidence in terrorist cases is handled by the supposedly elite Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command, then they are likely to allow real terrorists to go scot free in court, if they ever catch any of them.
This sort of computer forensics incompetence or politically inspired malice, might not be a surprise in a very small Police force like the Jersey Police, (see The arrest of opposition Senator Stuart Syvret in Jersey - another Damian Green MP style scandal ?), but it is utterly inexcusable in the elite Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.
Which other prominent political opponents or critics of this creepy Labour government like Shami Chakrabarti CBE, are being snooped on by the political police or other appartachiki, under the false excuse of "national security" investigations ?
Will there actually be any worthwhile independent investigation into Damian Green's claims about this targeting of Shami Chakrabarti ?