In a fascinating article published today in, among other publications, the Washington Post, the AP reports that Italy's prosecutors of organized crime are campaigning against a bill designed to tighten wiretapping restrictions -- and recently found an ally in the U.S. to help their fight.
Sicilian prosecutors say the law proposed by Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government -- which would severely limit the use of electronic eavesdropping, including wiretaps and video surveillance, and stiffen fines for publication of transcripts of wiretaps from ongoing investigations -- would make it nearly impossible to catch fugitive mafiosi or discover their crimes, reported AP writer Frances D'Emilio.
According to her article, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who oversees the Justice Department's criminal division, declined to directly comment on legislation, now in Italy's Parliament. But Breuer added that U.S. prosecutors don't want anything done that would choke off the flow of what he called "extraordinarily helpful" information from Italian organized crime prosecutors.
The article writes:
Pressed by reporters about the proposed legislation, Breuer said the Americans hope that "we would still have the same valuable information" that Italian organized crime investigators regularly share with their counterparts in the United States.
"From a prosecutor's point of view, we don't want anything to occur" that would hamper the Italians from doing their job in fighting organized crime, Breuer said.
What do you think?