Robert Mueller - The ‘Parallel Construction’ Problem

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Robert Mueller - The ‘Parallel Construction’ Problem

Postby toucana on April 15th, 2018, 10:17 am 

Robert Mueller has been little seen or heard of in public since May 2017 when he was appointed Special Counsel. The following film clip is therefore of unusual interest, because it shows him speaking about himself and his career at an ‘Ethos and Profession of Intelligence’ conference held at Georgetown University in mid-2014.

Speaking just a year after his retirement as director of FBI, Mueller takes off his jacket after being introduced by John Brennan the director of the CIA (2013-17), and wastes little time in describing the start of his tenure as FBI director. He had been in his new job just a matter of days in early September 2001 when he was informed by his SACs that hijacked civilian airliners had been flown into the WTC buildings in New York.

The first question he had to answer when briefing president G.W. Bush was this: “What are you and the FBI doing to prevent the next terrorist attack on USA? (6:45)

Mueller has a good deal of interest to say on how the FBI responded to that challenge, and his own views on the future cyber terrorist threats facing USA (13:47).

The most interesting segement however comes when the discussion is thrown open to the floor, and a delegate asks a question about what they call ‘Parallel Construction’ (21:00).

Mueller rather pushes back on the use of this precise term which he says is unfamiliar to him, but the sense of the question is quite clear. In the modern world, the FBI have to build criminal cases on the basis of intelligence-led evidence that which is quite often initiated by a partner agency such as the NSA or CIA, but which can’t be adduced in court, because it isn’t legally admissible as it stands. ‘Parallel Construction’ means the process FBI agents then have to follow to provide a legally acceptable explanation of how they know what they know, and what legally valid chain of probable cause they followed to get there.

The question is tendentious (it was posed by a member of a pressure-group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity) but the answer makes fascinating viewing.
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