Irvine Won’t Investigate Attempted Bribery of Councilmembers, Waits on FBI

Irvine leaders narrowly voted against conducting a review of their city’s inner workings amid allegations of attempted bribery of two council members in 2018, opting to wait and see whether an investigation from the FBI sheds any light on the issue. 

Melahat Rafiei, a high-profile Democratic leader and consultant, admitted to attempting to bribe those council members and has remained a regular presence at city hall since news of her crimes came to light last May, according to city manager Oliver Chi. 

Some councilmembers called for an immediate investigation to root out possible corruption, while others pointed to a controversial investigation surrounding the Great Park in 2013 as a rationale for avoiding a city probe.

Questions around potential corruption in Irvine have been circulating since last May, when an FBI affidavit focused on an alleged pay-to-play scheme in Anaheim over the sale of Angel Stadium mentioning that a source known as CW1 attempted to bribe two Irvine City Council members.

In a sworn affidavit released last May, FBI special agent Brian Adkins said former Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu tried ramming through the Angel Stadium sale for $1 million in campaign contributions from team officials. 

According to the affidavit, after CW1 was arrested for the attempted bribe, they began cooperating with the federal investigation and wore a wire to meetings with consultants involved in Anaheim’s pay to play scheme.  

The Anaheim land sale fell apart and Sidhu resigned, maintaining he’s done no wrong and hasn’t been publicly charged with a crime.

[Read: Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu Resigns After FBI Reveals Anaheim Corruption Probe]

Melahat Rafiei later identified herself to Voice of OC as CW1, but maintained her innocence over the past year until she signed a plea deal last week. 

[ReadOC Democratic Power Broker Admits To Attempted Bribery of Irvine Councilmembers and Attempted Wire Fraud]

She also admitted to the attempted bribery case in her signed plea deal, saying she arranged for $225,000 to go to two Irvine City Council members in 2018, but was not charged for it by prosecutors. 

That shined a spotlight on Rafiei’s past work in Irvine across numerous city council campaigns, most notably for her role in helping elect Farrah Khan as Irvine’s mayor. 

[ReadConsultant’s Controversial Plea Deal Spurs Calls for Irvine City Hall Probe, Puts Spotlight on Mayor]

It also opened questions over who it was she tried to bribe after the U.S. The Attorney’s Office refused to disclose the council members’ identities to the public, saying their names would not be released unless they were charged with a crime. 

[ReadQuestions Swirl Over Former Irvine City Councilmembers Discussing Accepting Bribes With Cannabis Lobbyist]

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Khan called not to investigate Rafiei’s work, saying she had concerns that any investigation could turn into a politicized attack against herself at taxpayer expense and claiming she cut ties with Rafiei after the news of the arrest broke. 

“If she has had communication with staff, it has been outside my work here,” Khan said. “It’s important for us to seek justice and be sure there is no corruption, but more importantly putting out false information and accusing people falsely is even more dangerous.” 

Councilman Larry Agran agreed, pointing to an investigation of the Great Park that he said cost the city over $2 million, went on for years and was criticized by the state auditor as an improper audit in 2016. 

[ReadFormer Great Park Auditor Surrenders Accounting License]

“There is an ongoing public corruption investigation by the FBI, having read that plea bargain and agreement, it’s pretty clear that there was more than just an attempt to solicit a bribe, that somebody was biting on the other end,” Agran said. “They don’t quit. It’s not going to stop here.” 

Councilwoman Kathleen Treseder disagreed, pointing out how it took three years for Rafiei’s arrest by the FBI to become public knowledge and that the city could have questions the FBI fails to answer. 

“I appreciate the FBI does investigate, they’re working on at least certain aspects of the issue, we can’t guarantee they’re working on the issues we care about,” Treseder said. “They have limited person power. They’ve told me this, they would like to investigate much more potential corruption in Orange County but they only have so many agents.” 

Treseder called for an immediate investigation from an outside contractor, with plans to report their progress within a month. 

Anaheim commissioned their own investigation into corruption after the FBI affidavit was released, with investigators pledging they found “great stuff,” last October, but nothing has been released yet. 

[ReadCity Hired Investigators Find ‘Great Stuff’ in Anaheim Corruption Probe]

Councilwoman Tammy Kim, another former client of Rafiei’s, said she also wanted an investigation quickly to clear anyone of any perceived wrongdoing.  

“I don’t want to get in the way of what our residents are asking for,” Kim said. “They’re really asking for a level of transparency and really wanting to understand how someone who is not affiliated with the city was able to engage in multiple parts of the city.”

Councilman Mike Carroll was the last council member to speak on the issue, and his answer was simple – wait and see what the FBI does. 

“If we act now, we won’t know what would have happened potentially,” Carroll said. “But if we don’t act…we preserve our ability to consider to do something.” 

Ultimately, the council voted 3-2 to do nothing, with Treseder and Kim voting to move forward with an investigation. 

It remains unclear when Orange County could get its next peek at the FBI’s investigation. 

Click here to read the full article at the Voice of OC

O.C. Consultant Admits to Fraud

After her arrest, Democratic operative aided FBI in Anaheim corruption case.

A California Democratic Party leader who was central to a wide-reaching corruption investigation in Anaheim involving the proposed sale of Angel Stadium has agreed to plead guilty to attempted wire fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.

Melahat Rafiei, 45, previously secretary for the California Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee, was a well-known political consultant in Orange County.

In late 2019, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court Thursday, Rafiei told a commercial cannabis company owner that she would work to pass a marijuana-related ordinance in Anaheim that would benefit the business, in exchange for a payment of at least $300,000.

What she didn’t tell the client was that she was already working on an ordinance on behalf of other people.

Rafiei also told the client that she would give $200,000 of the payment to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and keep only $10,000 for her work. Instead, she intended to keep $100,000, the agreement said.

According to the agreement, Rafiei instructed her client to pay the $300,000 through checks made out to various entities. She planned to deposit the money in accounts she controlled and “transmit a portion of the funds to others.”

Rafiei has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of attempted wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. She is scheduled to appear in federal court in Santa Ana early next month.

In a statement provided to The Times by her attorney, Rafiei declined to discuss the specifics of the plea agreement.

“I will share my story, in due time,” she said in the statement.

“For now, I will proceed with dignity and humility towards finding peace and clarity in my life.”

The plea deal, she said, will “bring certainty, closure and a path forward.”

After Rafiei was arrested in 2019, she began assisting federal investigators. With her help, the FBI learned that Anaheim was controlled by a “small cadre of individuals,” including former Mayor Harry Sidhu and Todd Ament, the former president and chief executive of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce.

The mayor was accused in a federal search warrant affidavit in May of divulging confidential information to the Angels during the team’s negotiations with the city over the $320-million sale of Angel Stadium in hopes of receiving a million-dollar campaign donation.

The affidavit also alleged that Sidhu obstructed an Orange County Grand Jury investigation into the deal. Sidhu has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.

The discovery shook Anaheim’s political establishment, prompting Sidhu’s resignation and leading to criminal charges against Ament.

The FBI accused Ament of plotting with an unnamed political consultant to funnel Chamber of Commerce money into Ament’s personal bank accounts by laundering it through the consultant’s public relations firm.

Ament agreed to plead guilty in June to submitting a false tax return, lying to a mortgage lender and two counts of wire fraud.

The scandal prompted the Anaheim City Council to void the stadium sale.

Rafiei did not plead to any bribery charges, but her agreement with prosecutors also outlines a bribery scheme.

Prosecutors said in the agreement that Rafiei admitted to bribing two Irvine council members in 2018 in exchange for their agreement to introduce and pass an ordinance allowing her clients to open a retail cannabis store in the city.

It is not clear whether the bribes were ultimately accepted by the council members, who are not named in court documents.

In May 2018, Rafiei met with a medical cannabis professional, the person’s business partner and an Irvine council member.

They discussed introducing an ordinance that would legalize retail medical cannabis in the city, according to the plea agreement.

The council member told them they planned to use a separate member of the City Council to introduce the proposed law, the agreement said.

Unbeknownst to Rafiei, the business owner and partner were acting as informants for the FBI.

After the meeting, Rafiei asked the cannabis business owner to pay her between $350,000 and $400,000 for brokering the ordinance.

She told them that the first council member they met with had asked for $200,000 and the second one, who was allegedly going to introduce the ordinance, was seeking about $25,000, according to the plea agreement.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Melahat Rafiei, Who was Central to the FBI’s Anaheim Investigation, Takes Plea Deal

The former Democratic party leader could face prison time. She hopes her record and FBI cooperation will help.

Melahat Rafiei, who was a cooperating witness for an FBI probe into a massive corruption scandal involving Anaheim and Irvine, said Wednesday evening that she’s agreed to accept a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s office on charges of attempted wire fraud.

She could face time in prison, though she said she’s hoping the judge will take into consideration the role she played in uncovering those broader scandals.

“I have made this painful choice by weighing my options, the most important of which was the care and custody of my son… ” Rafiei said in a statement provided to the Register. “I know this option will bring certainty, closure and a path forward.”

Rafiei was secretary for the California Democratic Party, was helping run campaigns for a number of elected officials and was a prominent consultant for the local cannabis industry until May of last year. That’s when news broke that she’d been arrested in 2019 on charges of “theft or bribery” involving federal funds related to a cannabis scheme, and that she later had been assisting the FBI with a related investigation.

That probe led to federal charges against former Anaheim Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Ament,and the resignation of then Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu. At that time, the Anaheim City Council voided a $320 million deal to sell Angel Stadium to a business partnership created by the team’s owner Arte Moreno, as the release of wiretap transcripts appeared to support allegations of a self-described “cabal” of business and political leaders that had been exerting “significant influence” over how the city was run.

As for Rafiei, the FBI states that she had promised two executives at a local cannabis company that she could help get a favorable cannabis ordinance passed in Irvine if they gave her money to bribe two council members. She later denied those allegations, saying in a statement that she “never attempted to improperly influence any elected official.” Those charges were dismissed without prejudice, which meant they could always be filed again later.

After that arrest, Rafiei began cooperating with the FBI to bring them information about possible corruption in Anaheim. She says she accepted a request to cooperate, wearing a wire and delivering evidence that the FBI used to charge Ament and to raise concerns about Sidhu’s actions.

The FBI previously said that they did not believe Rafiei was being fully honest with them, even while she was acting as a witness.

Federal authorities couldn’t immediately be reached Wednesday evening for comment on Rafiei’s plea deal.

But her attorney, Alaleh Kamran, said via email that Rafiei’s plea is not contingent on any conditions and that the government “has made no assurances other than what is included in the plea agreement, which will not be filed under seal.”

Wire fraud can carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, or 30 if the victim is a federally insured bank or other financial institution.

“The hope is that the court will take her distinguished career and lack of criminal history into consideration when sentencing her,” Kamran said.

On advice of her attorney, Rafiei said she can’t discuss facts of the case more until it’s fully resolved.

“I will share my story in due time,” she said. “For now, I will proceed with dignity, humility towards finding peace and clarity in my life.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Report: Joe Biden Left Classified Documents in an Old Office

Attorney General Merrick Garland assigned a U.S. attorney to review the roughly ten classified documents that were found in an old office of President Joe Biden, CBS News reported on Monday. 

The classified documents are from Biden’s vice-presidential office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, which is within close proximity to Capitol Hill.

The classified documents were found by Biden’s personal attorneys just days before the midterms on November 2, according to Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber. 

Sauber said the White House “is cooperating with the National Archives and the Department of Justice Justice regarding the discovery of what appear to be Obama-Biden Administration records.”

Once Biden’s attorneys found the documents, they notified the National Archives, who reportedly referred the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), leading to Garland’s appointment of U.S. Attorney John Lausch to investigate how the classified documents ended up in Biden’s old office. 

Sauber said

The President periodically used this space from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 campaign. On the day of this discovery, November 2, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office notified the National Archives. The Archives took possession of the materials the following morning. 

The discovery of these documents was made by the President’s attorneys. The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives. Since that discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.

The classified documents were reportedly in a folder that was in a box with other unclassified materials, according to CBS News. 

However, CBS News’s sources did not confirm what level of classification the documents were nor what the contents of the documents. 

Click here to read the full article in Breitbart Ca

Irvine Mayor Distances Herself From Former Top Democratic Party Official Involved in FBI Probe

When one of Orange County’s top Democratic Party power brokers, Melahat Rafiei, got caught up in the FBI’s investigation into Anaheim last week, there were immediate calls from the state and local Democratic Party officials, with many calling on her to resign all her positions and take a step aside. 

But not Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan.

She was one of the few public officials who initially stood firm by Rafiei, calling her a “friend and advisor.”

Following the announcement of the FBI’s investigation, Rafiei publicly identified herself as Cooperating Witness 1, described by FBI officials as a confidential source in their affidavit who wore a wire to multiple meetings with Anaheim officials to aid them in their investigation. 

The affidavit is part of an FBI corruption probe into Anaheim City Hall, which led to former 

Mayor Harry Sidhu resigning and the Angel Stadium land sale getting canned this week.

According to the documents released by the FBI, CW1 “was arrested on a complaint (based on the 2018 corruption scheme involving Irvine officials) and subsequently brought to the FBI office in Orange County where CW1 was interviewed. CW1 agreed to cooperate with the FBI during CW1’s interview. The complaint was dismissed without prejudice based on the government’s motion. CW1 has been assisting the FBI since the date of his/her arrest.” 

In footnotes, agents continued, with special agent Brian Adkins writing “CW1 and the government have not been able to reach an agreement on a pre-indictment resolution, and at this time, there is no further cooperation expected. Based on the government’s interaction with CW1 and CW1’s counsel, I believe CW1’s motive for cooperating in this investigation was to receive leniency for the federal criminal violation CW1 was originally arrested for, as well as other possible criminal conduct.” 

On Tuesday, Rafiei began to publicly dispute that she was ever arrested by the FBI, claiming through a spokeswoman that the documents had it wrong and that while she was detained, she was allowed to leave. 

FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller declined to comment, but said the affidavits are accurate in a text message to a Voice of OC reporter. 

When Rafiei’s name originally came up, Khan was one of her strongest defenders, putting out a statement calling her a “friend and advisor.” 

“I also want to be unequivocal in my support for my friend and advisor, Melahat Rafiei. I have seen her integrity and ethics up close and personal. She is a leader who deserves credit for rooting out this corruption,” Khan wrote in a post on her Facebook and Twitter last Friday. “I stand with her, and believe our justice system will do its job and clear her name.” 

Less than a week later, she issued a new statement. 

“I am horrified by what I have learned in the last week about the depth of manipulation of the public, our institutions, and our communities,” Khan wrote in a second statement posted exclusively on her Facebook page on Wednesday. “The press has reported that a former consultant for my campaign, Melahat Rafiei, is a cooperating witness in the investigation, unrelated to her work on my campaign. Ms. Rafiei is no longer involved in any way with my campaign.” 

When asked by Voice of OC about the second statement, Khan said that the only thing that changed for her was that Rafiei was no longer working as a campaign consultant. 

“I don’t have any contact with her. I still consider her a friend and I hope that justice will be served,” Khan said in a phone call with Voice of OC Thursday morning. 

While Khan did not say in any of her statements when she became aware of Rafiei’s cooperation in the investigation, Ann Solomon, Rafiei’s spokesperson, said Rafiei called and informed all of her clients about her role in the investigation in February. 

“I was on the phone with her through the process. She told every one of her clients what was going on in February,” Solomon said in a Wednesday phone interview. “Every one of them knew.”

But when Voice of OC followed up a day later with Solomon to confirm whether Khan had been notified, she said she didn’t have a full list of clients and could not say for sure whether specific people were informed.  

Cory Allen, who served as both Khan’s assistant on city staff and worked for Rafiei’s campaign consulting company Progressive Solutions Consulting, is still working for Khan, but left Progressive Solutions this month according to his LinkedIn page

Khan did not respond to a follow up text from reporters asking when she first became aware of Rafiei’s work with the FBI. 

This isn’t the first time this year that Khan has issued seemingly competing statements on a controversial issue. 

In March, she was called out for having Ergun Kirlikovali, who openly disputes the existence of the Armenian Genocide, serving on her mayoral advisory committee after a video surfaced showing the two laughing together at a meeting over a basket of Turkish delights. 

Click here to read the full article in the Voice of OC

New Twists in Durham Probe: FBI Danchenko Recordings and Suspicions Fiona Hill Lied

The indictment of Igor Danchenko, the “primary sub-source” of Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier, reveals that the FBI electronically recorded several previously undisclosed interviews with the Brookings Institution researcher. Separately, it raises suspicions, according to congressional sources, that his Brookings superior Fiona Hill may have committed perjury when testifying about Steele during President Trump’s first impeachment.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Fiona Hill, the Brookings Institution boss of Igor Danchenko, above. Congressional investigators suspect she was untruthful about the Steele dossier in her testimony in the first impeachment of President Trump.AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The existence of electronic records of Danchenko speaking to the FBI far more extensively than previously known creates the possibility that much more will come out about the origins of the Steele dossier and the way the opposition research was weaponized. And those under scrutiny in Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia affair will have to wonder whether information to which they previously attested jibes with the Danchenko recordings.

According to Durham’s Nov. 3 indictment of Danchenko, the FBI conducted interviews with him in March, May, June, October, and November of 2017 — well beyond the three days of interviews at the beginning of 2017 previously disclosed in the Trump-Russia affair. (Deep in the Justice Department Inspector General’s report on surveillance court abuses—page 186—there is a passing reference to interviews with the “primary sub-source” in March and May 2017.) Unlike the early interviews, which were memorialized in a “consolidated write-up” of notes taken by agents and provided to lawmakers in heavily redacted form, at least three of the later interviews were recorded legally but without Danchenko’s knowledge — those conducted March 16, May 18, and June 15. The indictment is silent on whether the October 24 and November 16 interviews were also surreptitiously recorded.

Click here to read the full article at Real Clear Investigations

San Francisco sues Defense Department over gun background checks


GunThe cities of San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia filed a sweeping federal lawsuit Tuesday accusing the U.S. Department of Defense of failing to live up to its legal duty to notify the FBI when a member of the military is convicted of a crime that would bar them from buying or possessing firearms.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Virginia, accuses the defense department, the Army, Navy, Air Force and a host of high-ranking Pentagon officials — including Secretary of Defense James Mattis — of unevenly feeding reports about convictions and dishonorable discharges to the FBI’s criminal background check system for the past two decades.

In their joint complaint, the cities contend that these kinds of reporting lapses allowed Devin Kelley — a former member of the Air Force who was court-martialed and convicted of assaulting his wife and stepson in 2012 — to purchase the assault-style weapon that he’s accused of using to kill 26 people at a church in Texas last month. Kelley, who was discharged from the Air Force in 2014, killed himself shortly after the mass shooting. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle

Clinton Allies Target Comey Over New Email Probe


As reported by Bloomberg Politics:

Hillary Clinton’s allies dramatically escalated attacks on FBI Director James Comey in a bid to stem political damage from his disclosure the agency is reviewing a new batch of files that may be related to an investigation of the former secretary of state’s e-mail practices.

Harry Reid, the Senate’s top Democrat, delivered an unusual rebuke to the FBI chief in a letter Sunday that said Comey may have broken the law by revealing the review so close to the election, and suggested the agency is sitting on potentially damaging information about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Reid’s scorching letter — typical of the combative Nevadan’s style — was one of the most confrontational messages being delivered by Clinton supporters, who took to talk shows, newspaper opinion pages and social media to question the propriety of Comey’s disclosure.

Late Sunday, one Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, called for Comey’s resignation. Judiciary is among the congressional committees that oversee the FBI, and Cohen is the top Democrat on a subcommittee with jurisdiction over matters involving ethics in government. …

Click here to read the full story

Hillary Clinton Put Herself Above the Law


hillary-clinton-biopics-cancelled-ftrIn August 2011, Hurricane Irene was threatening to disrupt communications on the eastern seaboard, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal Blackberry was malfunctioning.

State Department official Stephen D. Mull emailed Clinton aide Huma Abedin to offer a back-up. The government Blackberry would have “an operating State Department email account,” he wrote, and would “mask her identity,” but “would also be subject to FOIA requests.”

Abedin wrote back that it “doesn’t make a whole lot of sense” for Clinton to have a State Department Blackberry.

Mull’s email is startling. He was alerting Clinton’s staff that messages sent on a State Department-issued Blackberry would be public records under the Freedom of Information Act, as required by law. Her private server, he implicitly acknowledged, was invisible to public records searches.

“It just boggles the mind that the State Department allowed this circumstance to arise in the first place,” said U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who recently held a hearing in Washington on a Freedom of Information Act request brought by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch. “It’s just very, very, very troubling,” he said.

The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law in 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and it was expanded and strengthened in 1974 following the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

The public has the right to request access to records from any federal agency. The government is required to disclose information requested under the FOIA except for nine specific exemptions, which include personal privacy and national security, but not “running for president.”

Judge Sullivan may allow Judicial Watch to take testimony from Mrs. Clinton’s aides, State Department officials and perhaps the former secretary of state herself, starting in April.

Clinton also may be interviewed by the FBI, which is separately investigating whether anyone committed a crime by mishandling classified material. The State Department says 22 emails on Clinton’s private server contained “top secret” information. Another 65 have been classified “secret” and 2,028 more are “confidential.”

Now there are reports that the Justice Department has granted immunity from prosecution to the former State Department employee and campaign staffer who set up the private server at Clinton’s home in 2009. Bryan Pagliano invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent when called before Congress last September. He will have to answer questions from the FBI.

This is not nothing.

At a minimum, this is a secretary of state who put herself above the law — a law that was signed by a Democratic president — and who handled sensitive information in a manner that ought to disqualify her from ever receiving a security clearance.

It is bizarre that the Clinton presidential campaign is rolling along as if none of this is happening. Hillary Clinton could become the next president of the United States, assuming she makes it to the November election and has still not been charged with a crime.

But the nation’s ethical standard for president of the United States should be higher than “has still not been charged with a crime.”

We need transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act so the public can hold the government accountable for its actions. When officials can operate in complete secrecy, there is no check on their actions or their ethics.

Using a private email server to evade the Freedom of Information Act is like taking the license plates off a car to evade a ticket from a red-light camera system.

Sooner or later, it’s going to end in a horrible wreck.

Susan Shelley is a San Fernando Valley author, a former television associate producer and twice a Republican candidate for the California Assembly.

FBI Overreach in Pursuit of Apple Compliance


appleThe Apple-FBI saga playing out in a very public way is a classic case of overreach by a law enforcement agency. The FBI is putting extraordinary (and unprecedented) pressure on Apple following the horrific San Bernadino shootings. The U.S. government has filed a motion in court to compel Apple to re-engineer its operating system so that the FCC can investigate whether the shooter used his iPhone to communicate or plan with other potential co-conspirators.

Forcing Apple to crack open its own code might appeal to some people clamoring for a quick fix for the ever-increasing threat of terrorism in our country. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes and the government’s move is an extraordinary threat to civil liberty. It also won’t solve the larger problem. A backdoor won’t stop terrorism, but it will weaken smartphone security systems with no likelihood of any real public benefit. The public, and policymakers, should support Apple’s public resistance to the FBI’s pressure tactics. The FBI’s proposal is dangerous for at least these four reasons:

It Won’t Stop Terrorism

The FBI wants Apple to build a post-incident forensic investigation tool to unpack what may have happened. But that will not actually deter or prevent terrorism. Terrorists will simply switch to using encrypted phones from other countries.

It Will Open Security Loopholes

If the government is allowed to force Apple to provide a backdoor to its operating system, it will weaken security for all U.S. consumers on a go-forward basis This will not force committed terrorists to think twice, but instead could make Apple’s operating system vulnerable to the hacking of consumer data on a large scale given the way this story is playing out publicly as the hacking community will be awaiting the court decision with baited breath.

It Sets A Terrible International Precedent

If the courts force this technology mandate on Apple, it’s also making this technology available to the rest of the world. That means rogue regimes and dictatorships interested in cracking down on the communications and online interests of its citizens will have access to the same security busting technology as the U.S. government. Limiting security on iPhones could put regular citizens, journalists or freedom fighters, who are often on the frontlines of fights against oppression, in peril.

It Encourages Malware

What the FBI is requesting is as akin to introducing a dangerous virus into Apple’s operating system. The FBI is demanding that Apple create malware by reformulating its software. Backdoor access not only creates access for the government but it creates a flaw that black hat hackers will attempt to exploit. There’s a good chance this will create unintended consequences for Apple and its operating system, which could create a myriad of issues for millions of iPhone users.

Terrorism is a serious problem and one we, as a country, must face head-on. But we need to approach the situation in a way that yields results without creating new vulnerabilities. Knee-jerk reactions, like the one we’re seeing from the FBI are certainly not the answer. They only harm civil liberties and create new problems down the line. We need to hold true to our societal principles, including a right to privacy or we risk handing the terrorists their first real victory by causing us to subvert our values for a gamble that evidence collected after this attack might prevent future attacks.

Tim Sparapani is founder of the consulting firm SPQR Strategies and senior policy counsel for CALinnovates. He was the first director of public policy at Facebook and was senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. He is on Twitter: @TimSparapani.

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily